Published in 1986, ‘Facts are Facts’ by the late Wali Khan was an instant hit. ‘Facts are Facts’ is an attempt to contest text book versions of Pakistan’s history. In a bid to generate debate, the Viewpoint is serializing this text
Communal politics and ideology of Muslim League-I
The Muslim League considered itself to be the custodian of the rights of the Muslims. It offered Pakistan as a panacea for the removal of all grievances, difficulties and problems of the Muslims. Not only was it to be a Muslim country, but also an Islamic State. It is important to make a distinction between these two concepts. There are many countries in which Muslims are the majority; an Islamic country is one where Islamic polity and system of Government is established. If we look at Muslim countries we find that almost every country has a different system of Government: some have monarchy, others have military rule, some have dictatorship and some have a parliamentary government with a plural party system. The Muslim League declared that it wanted to establish Pakistan so that an Islamic judiciary and Islamic society could be created. It would become a model for the entire world of Islam, so that other countries may emulate its example and establish Islamic Governments. In support of its demand for carving out another country, its main argument was that India consisted of two nations. For the first time, the world heard the theory that nations were constituted on the basis of religion. According to the Muslim League, the Hindus and the Muslims constituted two different nations, since their religious faiths were different; therefore, India should be partitioned on the basis of different religions, a Hindu State and a Muslim State. This fundamental principle was articulated by Mr. Jinnah in 1940, while explaining the resolution of Pakistan. "The Hindus and the Muslims belong to two different civilizations; which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions.... To yoke together such two nations under a single State, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that be so built up for the Government of such a State." So far the concept of a nation had been associated with a country, irrespective of whether this country was inhabited by followers of different religions. Take the example of Britain. People of different faiths and communities live there and yet they are all known as British. Similarly, those who live in America are called Americans, no matter what beliefs they profess. This is true of Russia, France, Germany, Italy, etc. Dr Sir Mohammad Iqbal [who is said to be one of the authors of Pakistan] has explained this doctrine in one of his poems:
MAZHAB NAHIN SIKHATA APAS MEN BAIR RAKHNA;
HINDI HEN HAM WATAN HAI HINDOSTAN HAMARA'
Religion does not teach mutual discord. Strung on a single strand, we are one We are Indians.
The two-nation theory, based on religion, propounded by the Muslim League had only one parallel in the world. It was on the basis of this very principle that the Jews persuaded the British Government to carve a separate State of Israel out of Palestine.
Let us examine what strategy the Muslim League adopted to make its ideology acceptable and what conditions it created to safeguard the rights of the Muslims, and usher in a glorious future for them. The first question that needs to be examined is what are the fundamental causes for the present misfortunes of the Muslims? The Muslim League believed that the Hindus were their enemy number one, and although, in all honesty, they knew that there real enemy were the British. The hatred of the Muslims should have been directed towards them rather than the Hindus. The British wanted to destroy Muslim rule not only in India, but in every part of the world. Whenever an opportunity arose, the British did not hesitate to batter the Muslims. History is replete with British atrocities which have left a permanent scar on the Muslims. Starting with the Crusades when the Christians fought against Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi, till the present when the British fragmented the Ottoman Empire, they have inflicted lethal blows on the Muslims. In India, they did not single out the Hindus for persecution, they systematically and mercilessly exploited and destroyed both Muslims and Hindus. In their exploitation game they made no distinction between Hindus and Muslims.
Therefore, it was a new phenomenon in Political Science that a party had emerged in India which considered the Hindus rather than the British as their enemies. They did not stop to think that the Hindus too were oppressed by the British. The British, on their part, made every effort to appear as the imperial benefactors to whom the people of India should pay lifelong homage. Their success can be measured by the fact that if a Muslim soldier was ordered to shoot even at the sacred Kaaba he would not hesitate to do so. Another extraordinary development was that due to this hatred created by the League, the Muslims considered all enemies of the British as their enemies. The League was opposed to the brave soldiers of Islam, those action oriented Ulemas of Deoband, who following the spirit of Islam, were waging an ideological Jehad against the British. They also condemned as Kafirs and traitors, those nationalist Muslims who were fighting against the British with patriotic fervour and in the overall interest of the country. I believe that this was the cardinal sin committed by the Muslim League leaders in pursuing their communal policies. They did not identify their real enemy. Their diagnosis of the malady that afflicted the Muslims, was far off the mark. The real beneficiaries of this diagnostic blunder were the British.
In support of their two-nation theory, the leaders of the Muslim League stated that it was first propounded by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan who founded the Aligarh Muslim University as a modem alternative to the Islamic Academy of Learning at Deoband. A little historical research, however, reveals a different picture. Whatever speeches of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan I have heard are categorically against the two-nation theory. For instance, in his speech at Gurdaspur on 27 January 1884, reproduced on page 339 of the collection compiled by Makhdoomzada Hasan Mahmood, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan said, "We [i.e. Hindus and Mohammadans] should try to become one heart and soul and act in union." He proceeds further and marshalling some historical and logical arguments, says:
In old historical books and traditions you will have read and hear, and see even now, that all the people inhabiting one country are designated by the term one nation. The different tribes of Afghanistan are termed as one nation and so the miscellaneous hordes peopling Iran, distinguished by the term Persians, though abounding in variety of thought and religion, are still known as members of one nation. Remember that the words Hindu and Mohammadan are meant for religious distinction; otherwise, all who reside in this country...in this particular respect belong to the same nation.
In another speech delivered at Lahore in 1884, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan explicated the two-nation theory in detail, "These are the different grounds upon which I call both these races which inhabit India by one word, i.e. Hindu, meaning that they are inhabitants of Hindustan," he said.
(To be continued)
The book in PDF form can be accessed at: http://www.awaminationalparty.org/books/factsarefacts.pdf