Why Pakistan

Pakistan, by the mercy of AIlah-Subhana-wa-Taala, is already 63 years old. But, unfortunately, there are a few stray and insignificant voices that challenge the legitimacy and the need for the establishment of the Islamic state. Why Pakistan? they ask. Surely, this is nothing but their ignorance of history. Pakistan is not only the outcome of the Muslim struggle after the passing of Pakistan Resolution, in 1940, but its need dates back to the 1206 AD when Qutb-ud-Din Aibak established Muslim rule for the first time in Delhi. Since then the Hindus of Hindustan were trying to isolate the Muslims and drive them out of the country, which they claimed to be their exclusive abode. But the need for a separate state for the Indian Muslims was intensified after the First War of Independence in 1857. Although the war was lost, yet the Muslims were singled out for fanning the flames of independence and for heading the movement. The intensity of British reactions can be gauged from Prime Minister of England Viscount Palmerstons letter dated October 09, 1857, to the Governor-General of India, Lord Canning. He wrote: Every civil building connected with Mohammedan tradition should be levelled to the ground without regard to antiquarian veneration or artistic predilection. To the British the word 'Muslim meant 'rebel and they came down on them with a heavy hand to ensure that these brave and proud people would not raise their head against the British authority. Meanwhile, the Hindus, who were looking for an opportunity to politically and socially annihilate the Muslims, joined hands with the British. They considered the Muslims as foreigners and intruders, even after 600 years of their presence in Hindustan, as good citizens of the state. The Hindus never accepted them or their children, as sons of the soil. They made several unsuccessful attempts to oust the Muslims from Bharat Mata, beyond the Himalayas and across the Arabian Sea. Against this backdrop, they made their last desperate attempt in the historic battle of Panipat, in 1761, against Ahmad Shah Abdali, but were routed out by his forces. It was in this distressing scenario that a rising star of hope for the Muslims appeared on the political horizon - a star that dazzled the world by creating a nationwide state, and changed the world map. He was none other than Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Mohammad Ali Jennabhai, son of Jennabhai Poonja, to M.A. Jinnah, and finally to the Quaid-i-Azam, was a remarkable transformation. This transition, however, was not smooth; the path was long, bumpy and arduous and entailed a lot of sweat and toil. Barrister Mohammad Ali after financially securing himself decided to enter the political arena, in 1905, at the age of 30, as a staunch nationalist from the platform of the Indian National Congress. He immediately made a mark as a bold champion of self-government of India, with a mission to advance the cause of Hindu-Muslim unity. Nevertheless, the narrow-minded Hindus within the Congress vehemently opposed, but Jinnah was not deterred. He utilised every opportunity that came his way to advance his conviction that the freedom of the subcontinent lay in Hindu-Muslim unity. In 1913, while retaining his Congress membership, Jinnah joined the All-India Muslim League and succeeded in bringing the two parties closer to each other. This collaboration reached its peak when the Lucknow Pact was signed on December 30, 1916, between the Congress and the League due to Jinnahs effort. It provided the blueprint for the establishment of an independent India. This was the high mark of cooperation ever reached between the Hindus and the Muslims. Thereafter, the advent of Gandhi in the Indian politics; Gandhi-Nehru axis; The Nehru Report; Jawaharlals only two parties doctrine; Congress attitude towards the Leaguers in Muslim minority provinces after the 1937 elections; and many other actions of the Congress leaders widened the gap between the two parties. After 20 years, Jinnah parted with the Congress, but he continued to promote the need for Hindu-Muslim unity at every political meeting that he attended during the ensuing decade. He presented his famous 'Fourteen Points for reconciliation that were rejected outright by the Congress, while 'The Nehru Report was adopted in its totality. In the meantime, the conditions within the Muslim community were dismal. There was chaos, demoralisation and complete lack of faith in their destiny. All the four Muslim majority provinces were in disarray. Maulvi A.K. Fazlul Haq in Bengal, Sir Fazl-e-Hussain and Sir Sikander Hayat Khan in Punjab, Abdul Ghaffar Khan in NWFP (now Khyber Pakhtukhwa), and 35 Muslim members in the Sindh Assembly were divided into four splinter groups, who played into the hands of the Hindus in the their provinces. At this time of despair, Jinnah with his advancing age and failing health picked up the gauntlet. The 1945-46 general elections in the subcontinent gave him a thumping mandate to represent solely the Indian Muslims. That eventually brought about the 'miracle of the 20th century. Hence, the Muslims of the subcontinent called him the Quaid-i-Azam. Pakistan emerged as a dominion: The date was August 14, 1947, corresponding to the 27th of the lunar month of Ramazan - the most cherished and auspicious of all the nights of the holy month. The Quaid, unfortunately, left for his heavenly abode only after 13 months of the creation of Pakistan. His untimely death created a big leadership void. After him, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan took time to come out of the shadows of his mentor, but the difference was obvious he was no Quaid-i-Azam. Soon after, Liaquat AIi Khan was assassinated. Consequently, Pakistan started to drift away from Jinnahs ideals. The politicians and bureaucrats started to serve their interests, rather than the masses. Successive governments failed to introduce the man, who gave us Pakistan, to the younger generations. It is unfortunate that the new generation only knows Quaid-i-Azam as a leader who created Pakistan, and nothing more. Perhaps, because no comprehensive biography so far has been written about the person, who was not only one of the leading actors in the finale of the liberation drama of India, but also the creator of a new country. Stanley Wolpert, the world known historian, wrote about our Founding Father: Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nationwide state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three. Jinnah made history and no one has the right to question it. But what our historians have made of him needs to be studied and rectified. It is a sad historical lapse that Jinnah has not been placed on the pedestal that he deserved. Pakistani intellectuals, men of letters and historians owe a lot to the Pakistanis, particularly to the younger generations. The danger is that with the past becoming more and more remote, and with the passing away of the old guards, the coming generations may even forget Jinnah. But before this happens, the men of letters, especially the historians, should write comprehensive documentaries showing Jinnah, as a person and founding father of Pakistan. For this, the Pakistan government has to play a positive role by encouraging the historians and men of letters by rewarding them with suitable honours, and even by giving them financial assistance to conduct research on the Quaids life, his achievements and even his role in gaining independence for the subcontinent from the British Raj. n The writer is former A DC to the Quaid-i-Azam.

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