Jinnah and Secularism?II
A man driven by the idea of Islamic State
By Prof. Dipak Basu
Of all of Jinnah´s pronounce-ments, his August 11, 1947 address has received the greatest attention since the birth of Pakistan, and spawned a good deal of controversy. That address was: ?I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time, Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”
Jinnah´s pronouncement was purely a political speech designed to please the gathered Britishers of some of the highest ranks, including Lord Mountbatten and to appease the Hindu minorities in Pakistan in order to protect the Muslims from the growing threat of communal violence in India.
A close study of all of Jinnah´s pronouncements during 1934-48, and most of his pronouncements, during the pre-1934 period, shows that the word, ´secular´ (signifying an ideology) does not find mention in any of them, even when confronted with the question, he evaded it, as the following extracts from his July 17, 1947 press conference indicates:
Partition could be attributed to Jinnah´s personal ambition of becoming the overlord of a part of India, when he knew that he could never be in charge of India as a whole.
Question: “Will Pakistan be a secular or theocratic State??
“M.A. Jinnah: “You are asking me a question that is absurd. I do not know what a theocratic State means.”
A correspondent suggested that a theocratic State meant a State where only people of a particular religion, for example, Muslims, could be full citizens and non-Muslims would not be full citizens.
M.A. Jinnah: “Then it seems to me that what I have already said is like throwing water on a duck´s back (laughter). When you talk of democracy, I am afraid you have not studied Islam. We learned democracy thirteen centuries ago.”
Two-Nation Theory and Jinnah
Pakistan is the result of the ´Two-Nation Theory´ propagated by Jinnah in the Lahore Conference of the Muslim League in 1940, where Jinnah clearly expressed that the Hindus and the Muslims cannot live together in one country as they are of separate nations. Mohammed Iqbal is credited with coming up with the Two-Nation Theory in his speech at Allahabad in 1930 to the Muslim League.
“I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind, and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State. Self-government within the British Empire or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Moslem State appears to me to be the final destiny of the Moslems, at least of North-West India.”
Jinnah supported Iqbal´s idea wholly. During 1937-39, several Muslim leaders inspired by Iqbal´s ideas, presented elaborate schemes for partitioning the subcontinent according to Two-Nation Theory. It all culminated in the 1940'sLahore declaration for the creation of Pakistan.
The life of Jinnah and his activities demonstrates very clearly that he was a man driven by the idea of an Islamic State for the Muslims although it would mean destruction of lives of millions and uprootment of millions more.
Jinnah and the exchange of population
Muslim League leaders, Jinnah included, had long advocated exchange of population between Muslim and non-Muslim India. All those, who advocated the establishment of a Muslim State?Pakistan, also advocated, as its necessary corollary, the exchange of population. Rahmat Ali, Syed Adbul Latif, and Jinnah, all of them expressed strong and unmistakable views over the exchange of Muslim and non- Muslin population so as to make the future Muslim state more homogeneous, and to solve the minority problem.
Jinnah said, referring to the driving out of the Hindus from Noakhali in 1946, that the transfer of population was already in action, and some machinery should be devised for affecting it peacefully and on a large scale. At a press conference in Karachi on November 25, 1946, Jinnah appealed to the central as well as provincial governments to take up the question of exchange of population between future Pakistan and India, based on religion. The Dawn, then edited by Jinnah himself, in December 3, 1946 published a statement, entitled ´Exchange of population a most practicable solution,´, by Khan Iftikhar Hussain Khan of Mamdot, President of Punjab Muslin League. The Dawn, on December 4, 1946, said the Muslim League demanded exchange of population and Sind Premier, Ghulam Hussain Hidaya-tullah had offered land for the Muslims of northern India. Sir Feroze Khan Noon, who later became the Prime Minister of Pakistan, while addressing the Muslim League legislators in Patna, had gone to the extent of threatening re-enactment of the murderous orgies of Chengiz Khan and Halagu Khan if non-Muslims did not agree to an exchange of population. Shaukat Hayat Khan, son of the famous Sir Sikander Hayat Khan, had also given out threats to support transfer of population.
Post-Partition Pakistan rapidly exercised its terror mechanism to expel and decimate the Hindu-Sikh-Buddhist population?probably in expectation of Muslims from India to arrive, under the full view of the then Governor General of Pakistan?Jinnah. When Pakistan became a serious political proposition after the statement of Clement Atlee, the then British Prime Minister, on February 20, 1947 and progressively as August, 15, 1947 approached, the Muslim pace of eliminating non-Muslims from Pakistan was accelerated. Just on the eve of August 15 and after, when Jinnah was proclaiming his secularist credential in his speech, it became a ruthless driving out, an all-out campaign. Jinnah, as the first Governor General of Pakistan, had all the means to control the situation, but he was then busy preparing for the invasion of Kashmir, which took place on October 20 1947.
Exchange of population or even driving out of the Hindu and the Sikh population from the Muslim State, was inherent in the very conception of the State of Pakistan. When Pakistan was established, this inevitable finale to the process of its establishment was executed with equal zeal and collaboration by the people (Muslims) and Government of Pakistan. The process of elimination of minorities went on without check by the Muslim police, officials, and military, all under the control of Jinnah. On the contrary, they abetted the process. No responsible Pakistan or Muslim League leaders condemned such attacks on Hindus, Buddhist and Sikhs. Governor Mudie of West Punjab revealed in his letter to Jinnah his determination to throw Sikhs out of Pakistan at all cost. Jinnah did not have a word to utter about the murder of over 800 Sikhs in Karachi on January 6, 1948 nor for the matter of that, a word about the massacres of Noakhali, the Northwestern Frontier Province, Rawalpindi, Multan or any other.
Partition had its genesis in the Muslim refusal to live as equal partners with the non-Muslim in India after having ruled over them for centuries from 664 AD before the European took over. Partition could also be attributed to Jinnah´s personal ambition of becoming the overlord of a part of India, when he knew that he could never be in charge of India as a whole.
Jinnah´s Islamic credential and the Two-Nation Theory
The Two-Nation Theory has its roots in Islam´s two-world theory that splits humanity into momins and kafirs….. believers and infidels. It is the history, the political culture, and the passion of the Muslims to live in Dar-ul Islam, or the Abode of Islam. Muslims everywhere have always striven to live within it. Islam even makes it the onerous duty of every Muslim, should he be unfortunate enough to find himself therein, to quit Dar-ul-Harb (the House of War, or Non-Islam) and to seek refuge in a land ruled by a Muslim State. Pakistan was the dream of the Muslims in India before 1947 and Jinnah made that dream into a reality.
In the national legislative elections held in 1945 across British India, the Muslim League captured all the 30 seats reserved for the Muslims in the Central Assembly; and in the elections for state legislatures in 1946, the Muslim League won 439 of the 494 seats allotted to Muslims in all British Indian states. Congress had then ceased to represent the Muslims.
The Cabinet Mission Plan of May 16, 1946 was intended to divide India into the states grouped into Hindu and Muslim majority groups: (a) Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Central Province, Bombay and Madras;(b) Assam and Bengal; (c) Punjab, North West Frontier Province and Sindh. The Congress party agreed to this scheme. The Muslim League accepted it first, but rejected it subsequently, and announced in August 1946, its plan of Direct Action, as announced by Jinnah himself. This led to the outbreak of riots in Calcutta in August 1946 and in Noakhali in Chittagong area of East Bengal.
The riots soon spread through Bihar to Rawalpindi in Punjab, and the North West Frontier Province. The statement in the House of Commons by Clement Attlee on February 22, 1947, that Britain was handing over power by June 1948, set the smouldering fires into a full blaze. Riots broke out in Rawalpindi district in March 1947, and Nehru flew over the riot affected areas, and was shown the deep well into which the Sikhs and the Hindu women had jumped to save their honour. He then agreed to the principle of partition of Punjab, which had been vigorously demanded by the Sikhs all along in Punjab and later by the Hindus in Bengal as well. Jinnah had never condemned the riots or the massacres.
When Jinnah was proclaiming his secularist credential in his speech, it became a ruthless driving out, an all-out campaign. Jinnah, as the first Governor General of Pakistan, had all the means to control the situation, but he was then busy preparing for the invasion of Kashmir, which took place on October 20, 1947.
The life of Jinnah and his activities demonstrates very clearly that he was a man driven by the idea of an Islamic State for the Muslims although it would mean destruction of lives of millions and uprootment of millions more. The revisionists had tried to put a lot of emphasis on the life of Jinnah before 1937, however a close analysis of that life would show a deeply devoted Muslim living in an Anglo-Saxon world and trying to gain acceptability from the British rulers by emulating the outward styles of the ruler. He was a perfect example of the type of Muslims, Syed Ahmed Khan, the founder of the Aligarh University, had advocated to enhance the interests of the Muslims in British India. As a successful lawyer he was a very good actor, giving different speeches to satisfy different audience, yet at the same time was ruthless and determined to achieve his target?to create a State only according to Islam, where the non-Muslims would have to accept the supremacy of the Islamic way of life, this is not secularism in any sense of the term. The constitution of Pakistan, which he had proposed and was implemented in 1955, was for the Islamic State of Pakistan, not a secular State.
(The author is Professor in International Economics, Nagasaki University, Japan and can be contacted at email: [email protected])