Jinnah’s two nation theory

It is after the tragic events in 1937 that Jinnah transformed from a symbol of Hindu Muslim unity to advocate for a separate home land for Muslims.

According to K.K. Aziz in his book, the Making of Pakistan, a Study in Nationalism, that ‘nation’ is essentially a european concept and during the middle ages groups of students from one country working in the european universities were called nations.

K.K. Aziz has identified thirteen conditions or beliefs which seems to make up its creed like common group feelings, love for fellow nationals, common hostility to others., common territory, common sovereign government, common moral, social economic institutions or ideas, possession of some cultural characteristics (language, customs, traditions, manners, music) common religion, common history/origin, common national character, common pride in national achievements, devotion to the nation and last is the nation will one day be great.

In 1192 on the eve of battle of Tarain, according to historian Farishta, Sultan Muizzuddin had suggested to his rival Pirthviraj the partition of India leaving the region of Sirhind, Punjab and Multan with Sultan and retaining rest of India for himself. Al-Buruni also pointed out 150 years later, the existence of two big groups of people subscribing to two different regions. It was Shah Waliullah who wrote a letter to Ahmed Shah Abdali of Afghanistan to rescue Indian Muslims from the atrocities of Hindus. This letter to a Afghan leader reflects that Muslims living in any part of the world are part of one Muslim nation. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan addressed Muslims of sub-continent as a quom(nation) and some consider him as first person to present the idea that Muslims and Hindus were two separate nations formed the foundation for what become the Pakistan Movement. The Agha Khan, Ameer Ali, Johar Ali brothers and others often referred Muslims as a nation. But Quaid-e-Azam was for the first to proclaimed that there are two distinct nations, Muslims and Hindus which could not live together.

In 1934 the principal of the Mohammadan Anglo Oriental college, Aligarh, Sir Theodore Morrison wrote “The Hindus and Muslims were two distinct nations the Muslims rest assured that they were not alone in their concern for preservation of their characteristics civilization. VD Savarkar coined he word “Hindutva” in his book titled “Hindutva” in 1937 while speaking at the 19th session of the Hindu Mahasabha and said “there are two nations in India, Hindus and Muslims”. According to Jinnah the concept of two nation theory originated the day the first Hindu converted to Islam. Earlier Jinnah was the only politician to be called the best ambassador of Hindu Muslim unity in the sub-continent.

It is after the tragic events in 1937 that Jinnah transformed from a symbol of Hindu Muslim unity to advocate for a separate home land for Muslims. Jinnah said “we are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture and calendar, history and traditions, aptitudes and in short we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life” Hindus and Muslims were not able to live together therefore Jinnah vision was that Muslims should have an independent state where they can practice their religion feely and live peacefully. His vision was a state where all irrespective of their class, creed were supposed to be equal and where religion would not play a defining factor in the business of the state. Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan was based on democracy, rule of law, equality, derived from teachings of Islam where people of all faiths who lived side by side enjoying full equality and religious freedom. According to Stanley Wolpert “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history, fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly any one can be credited with creating a nation state and Muhammad Ali Jinnah did all three”.

The Bande Mataram was also a compelling factor for the Muslims of sub continent for the search of their identity. The Bande Mataram was adopted the as national anthem in the Congress governed provinces after 1937 elections and Muslims children were compelled to sing the anthem. The Bande Mataram tells the story of a secret Hindu group plotting to overthrow the Muslims power in Bengal in the 18th century. It was recited as a vow and pledge. Jinnah described it “Idolatrous and worse—a hymn of hatred for Muslims”.

The writer is a retired brigadier and freelance columnist. He tweets @MasudAKhan6.

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