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-II
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan went to the extent of calling all Indians Hindus, and gave a clear verdict that in this respect, whoever inhabited Hindustan, should be called Hindu irrespective of his faith or creed. This was precisely the approach of Sir Mohammad Iqbal. He said, "We are all Indians, we are all Hindis and our homeland is Hindustan." He finds an Islamic justification for this saying that religion does not teach hatred. It is axiomatic that the tenets of the religion are immutable. The Muslims believe that after Prophet no one has any authority to make the slightest change in the basic tenets of Islam. The question, therefore, arises how can religious tenets vary with changing political ideology? Even Sir Mohammad Iqbal like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had gone to the extent of saying in one of his Persian verses:
DANA-I-SABAHA BA ZUNNAR KASHIDAN AMOZ! GAR NIGAHE TU DO BEEN AST NA DEEDAN AM0Z!
This verse illustrates the underlying unity and brotherhood between Hindus and Muslims. The poet suggests that the beads of the tasbih of a Muslim should be threaded by the sacred thread of the Hindus. He goes on to say that, if you make a distinction between the two, if unity appears duality to you due to your defective eye-sight, alas! you have become blind.
Various resolutions passed from time to time by the Muslim League and the innumerable speeches of Mr. Jinnah prove that they believed that if India was partitioned and Pakistan established, all the difficulties and problems of the Muslims would be resolved. It is a fact that the demand for Pakistan was strongest in those provinces where the Muslims were in minority. This is proved beyond doubt by the results of the 1937 elections to the Provincial Assemblies. Ironically, the Muslim League did not emerge as the sole representative of the Muslims in the four Muslim dominated provinces; not a single member of the Muslim League was elected to the Provincial Assembly of Sind and NWFP, and only one out of 84 Muslim members in the Legislative Assembly of Punjab was a League member. In the above provinces, Muslims had formed governments; Sir Sikander Hayat Khan was the undisputed leader of Punjab, Maulvi Fazlul Haq of Bengal, Khan Bahadur Allah Baksh Somru of Sind and Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayum of NWFP. In these provinces, therefore, the question of safeguarding the rights of the Muslims did not arise. This question was valid only in the provinces where non-Muslims were in majority. It is a fact that the Muslim League was popular in these provinces and their leaders were the all India leaders of the League in Parliament and in Provincial Assemblies.
How far was the Muslim League successful in removing the difficulties and problems of the Muslims in non-Muslim provinces? It is important to remember that by that time the Muslim League had been successful in implementing its policies. After having achieved this extraordinary measure of success, namely Pakistan, the question is how far were the Muslims of these minority-Muslim provinces helped by the League's remedy for the Hindu-Muslim problem? The Muslims already had full authority in the provinces which were to comprise Pakistan. They had already been vested with the necessary political authority which was sought to be achieved through the establishment of Pakistan. The only difference was that these provinces were not grouped together under the name "Pakistan". The real problem was that of the Muslims living in Bombay, Madras, Delhi, UP, Bihar, Central Provinces and Orissa. While the Bombay Muslims faced problems, West Pakistan was established to cover Lahore and Peshawar; similarly, the Muslims of Bihar and Orissa were in great distress, but East Pakistan was established in East Bengal.
It, therefore, follows that not only the Muslims of India who had to live in their respective provinces after partition, but also the Muslims of Pakistan should ask the leaders of the Muslim League how their panacea for the prosperity, happiness, and freedom of the five crore of Muslims living in India has proved to be effective?
With the proclamation of Pakistan, communal riots erupted all over. The two communities turned each other’s camps into slaughter houses. The refugees, having lost everything, migrated from one country to another. No area was safe; hatred and enmity between the Hindus and Sikhs on one side, and the Muslims on the other had grown to an extent that basic human values were lost. In this atmosphere of communal madness, the poor, helpless and oppressed Muslims had no choice but to live with those very Hindus and Sikhs who had been affected by riots. The mental, spiritual, and psychological state of these Muslims was at its lowest. To top it all, those leaders, who claimed themselves to be the sole representatives of the Muslims, had safely migrated to Pakistan leaving behind their Muslim followers to wallow in the mire of bloodshed. All the Muslims who were holding civil or military Jobs, to whom the common people could look up to for assistance, had also opted for Pakistan. Which Muslim League leader felt any pang of conscience at the state of helplessness and misery of the Muslims he had left behind? They, who had nourished the Muslim League with their blood, sweat and tears, collected funds and donations, organised demonstrations and rallies, raised slogans, and had gone to the extent of hating their neighbours, were discarded on the dust heap of history. What happened to all those leaders who had left these Muslims behind at the mercy of the very same Hindus and Sikhs whom they had taught them to hate? These are the questions which should be put to the leaders of the Muslim League.
Apart from Government officials and employees, even small Muslim traders, businessmen and merchants migrated to Pakistan. This dealt a death-blow to the economy of the Muslims in India and subsequently, they were denied all avenues of economic progress. They were trapped like dumb animals. They had been silenced on religious, political and economic matters; the entire environment was hostile to them. Although lakhs of people migrated to Pakistan, nearly five crore Muslims were left in the bondage of the Hindus. To lead a decent and honourable life under these circumstances was not only difficult but nearly impossible. One by one, all their leaders had migrated to the promised land; I can think of only one leader, Nawab Ismail Khan, who refused to go to Pakistan saying that he was not prepared to leave his Muslim brothers in these conditions, and that he would live and die in this very land, along with them. All other leaders migrated with their families to Pakistan in great comfort and safety leaving behind their political comrades and followers to face the ordeal.
The Muslim refugees, having lost everything, and having been mentally and physically wounded, reached Pakistan in a state of utter misery and distress. They thought they would be safe in Pakistan. It is a well-known fact how the rich and influential Muslim refugees in Pakistan took possession of the properties, bungalows, houses and factories of the non-Muslims. The poor riot-affected refugees were left out in the cold to be fed upon the leavings from a rich man's board!
As a legacy of the Muslim League, a political problem thus became a religious one, and a political battle became a communal battle. If it was purely political, the problem would have been resolved with partition. The Muslim League demanded Pakistan, the Congress demanded freedom of India and both were successful. The British departed, and with it ended the period of suppression and bondage. The religio- political pot-pourri was the cup of poison administered by the Muslim League to the Indian Muslims left behind. The communal Hindus, worked up to a state of religious frenzy, were bound to believe that if the country had been partitioned on the basis of religion and if crores of Muslims were left behind, the Hindu-Muslim problem was unresolved. Therefore, the fire of religious madness and communal hatred could not be quenched. The condition of those Muslims left behind was further aggravated by the fact that first they were at the mercy of the Hindu majority but now they were also subjected to their anger and hatred. The conclusion is inescapable. The Muslim League had failed to find a solution to the problems of the Muslims living in the provinces where they were in minority. They also failed miserably in their diagnosis of the Muslim malaise, and, therefore, the remedy proved to be ineffective; instead of improving their condition, the Muslim League policies reduced them to penury, deprivation and humiliation.
(To be continued)
The book in PDF form can be accessed at: http://www.awaminationalparty.org/books/factsarefacts.pdf