March 23, 1940: Making of Pakistan
By Asif Haroon Raja
Yesterday on March 23, 78th Pakistan Day was celebrated with vivacity and zest. Armed forces carried out brilliant march past in Islamabad and delighted the audience. To trace back the significance of this day, the idea of Pakistan in embryonic form was given by poet-philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal in his historic address at Allahabad in 1930. He had envisioned Pakistan based on Muslim majority provinces of Punjab, NWFP, Baluchistan and Sindh. Ch Rehmat Ali coined the name of Pakistan in 1933.
On March 23, 1940, Lahore resolution was moved by Fazlul Haq and seconded by Chaudhry Khaliquz-Zaman in the presence of over one lac people who had gathered at Minto Park. In his address, Quaid e Azam elucidated the concept of two-nation theory which had initially been espoused by Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan and then by Allama Iqbal. Subsequently, Jinnah had given fillip to this theory. He is on record having said that the first brick of Pakistan was laid by Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 when large numbers of Buddhists and low caste Hindus fed up of cruelty and injustices of Hindu Brahmans had embraced Islam.
The Lahore resolution provided a framework for realization of the goal of a separate homeland for the Muslims of South Asia. It outlined the plan calling for separation and a federation of Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan and NWFP where Muslims were in majority, having full autonomy. It dug the last nail in the coffin of united India professed by All India Congress and Hindu Mahasaba leaders.
Lahore resolution demolished the much publicized claim of Nehru and Gandhi that Indian Congress was the sole representative of the whole of Indian population including 95 million Muslims, and that there were only two parties – the British and Congress – that could settle the issue of independence. MA Jinnah showed to the world that All India Muslim League (AIML) under his leadership was the sole representative of the Muslims of the Subcontinent. The resolution ignited unprecedented enthusiasm and spirit amongst the Muslims and crystalized into a mass movement.
Gandhi condemned the resolution and equated it to vivisection of Bharat and sacrilegious bisection of body into two parts. He said that he will not be a party to the division of India. Besides the Hindu leaders there were many Muslim leaders like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Josh Malihabadi who were against the division of India. Same was the case with the religious leaders of Jamiat Ulma-e-Hind, Majlis Ahrar and Jamaat-e-Islami. It was due to divisions among the Muslims that AIML fared poorly in 1937 elections in Muslim majority provinces. It won only 22% of total Muslim seats (104 seats out of 489 seats). AIML performance was better in Hindu majority states where it secured 27 out of 66 seats.
Pakistan movement under the dynamic leadership of MA Jinnah gained unprecedented momentum after the passage of Lahore resolution and within seven years, their struggle culminated into the creation of Pakistan on August 14, 1947. The voluntary help extended to the millions of immigrants by the people of Pakistan to get settled in the new country has no parallels.
In the backdrop of British-Hindu combine conspiracy and their umpteen tricks and intrigues to prevent division of India, birth of Pakistan was undoubtedly a miracle of the 20th century. Jinnah turned the dream of Iqbal into reality without firing a bullet through the dint of his hard work and unswerving resolve. It left the conspirators dumbfounded and the world gaping with awe and wonder. The Quaid freed the Muslims of the subcontinent from the cruel clutches of Brahmans who had aspired to eliminate them or extinguish their Islamic identity, ideals and culture and to keep them perpetually enslaved.
Their sinister intentions to keep the Muslims deprived of their basic constitutional rights were exposed by Moti Lal Nehru report in December 1928. Jinnah in his bid to seek constitutional safeguards for the Muslims put forward his 14 points in 1929.
Rejection of separate electorates that had been accepted in 1916 Lucknow Pact and refusal to accept majority of the Muslims in Bengal and Punjab, and not treating provinces of Sindh, Baluchistan and NWFP at par with other Hindu majority provinces, and refusal to grant constitutional safeguards to the largest minority in India dejected Jinnah and he had to abandon his policy of Hindu-Muslim unity and their joint constitutional efforts.
After gaining political power in 8 out of 11 provinces and establishing their government in 1937, the Congress made the entry of Leaguers into the Cabinet conditional to dissolution of AIML parliamentary organization and to join the Congress. The Congress in league with Gandhi embarked upon a systematic program to Hinduize the Muslims that were treated as 2nd rated and polluted citizens. They had refused to accept the Muslims as a separate entity and AIML as their true representative.
Coercive rule of the Congress from 1937 to 1939 convinced Jinnah, who had been given the title of Quaid-e-Azam by Maulana Zaheeruddin in 1938 that the Muslims will remain subservient to Hindu domination and they will be treated shoddier than the Shudras (untouchable Hindus). He united the divided AIML and galvanized the Muslims of the Subcontinent to help him in fighting their case for self-determination and create a separate state for them. In response to Nehru-Gandhi slogan of one-nation, Jinnah asserted that the Muslims are a separate nation with altogether different habits, dress, food, art, literature, language, laws, customs, traditions, history, culture and religion.
From 1944 onwards, the populist slogan, “Pakistan ka matlab kia, La Ilaha Illalah” echoed in every nook and corner of India. When Gandhi asked the British to quit India, Jinnah responded by stating “first divide and then quit”. Thereon, the Indian Muslims started chanting “Le kar rahein ge Pakistan, butt kar rahe ga Hindustan”. The demand made for a sovereign independent state (Pakistan) for the Muslims was further elaborated through another resolution on April 9, 1946 which incorporated Muslim dominant majority Bengal and Assam in the four zones already defined in 1940.
No amount of cajoling, guile or coercion could deflect Quaid-e-Azam from his mission of making Pakistan. He remained steadfast because of his incorruptibility and high principles. Despite his serious illness and his doctor’s advice to refrain from outdoor activities, he pursued his goal relentlessly. He hid his illness fearing that his detractors may not exploit it to their advantage and to the detriment of the cause of Pakistan.
When he breathed his last on September 11, 1948, and left the weeping Pakistanis orphaned, Lord Mountbatten lamented that had he known about the nature of his illness, he would have delayed the Partition. Providence impelled the British to hasten the June 3, 1947 Partition plan, which in normal conditions would have taken at least one year to complete the formalities.
The great Quaid caused another grief to the conspirators by making Pakistan stand on its own economic legs and shaming those who had prophesized that Pakistan will collapse under the weight of economics within six months. Pakistan’s economy and GDP remained much ahead of India till as late as 1991.
When Jinnah was asked as to what will be the ideology and constitution of Pakistan, he promptly replied that Pakistan was the only Muslim country created on the basis of Islam and it already has a readymade constitution in the form of Meesakh-e- Madina, and there can be no other system superior to the one ordained in Quran and practiced by our Holy Prophet and Khulfa Rashida.
Besides the role of founding fathers of Pakistan, the Muslims of the Subcontinent had also played a vital role by rendering huge sacrifices to achieve a separate homeland where they could live according to their values and aspirations. Quaid-e-Azam had aspired to make Pakistan a true Islamic welfare state based on the principles of Islamic social justice with equal rights for all citizens. He wanted to make Pakistan a model state for the Muslim world in particular and the world in general. Alas! None among his successors could realize his dream.
Today, Pakistan is intensely divided along religious, ethnic and sectarian lines. These divisions have occurred as a result of leadership crisis, political polarization, societal upheavals, class frustrations, ideological divides and theological differences. Self-interests have overtaken national interests. Moral turpitudes have dipped low and the society as a whole is merged in immoral practices. Media has been instrumental in polluting the minds of the people and in promoting liberalism and negativity. Media has bred extremism, intolerance, immorality and obscenity and is responsible for fomenting disillusionment among the youth and for channeling their thoughts towards unconstructive channels rather than inculcating positivity and productivity in them.
Media has made the settled issues controversial by debating two-nation theory, ideology of Pakistan, and suggesting that Hindus and Muslims lived happily together in united India until the British arrival. It is being advocated that the British sowed seeds of dissension between them and that Pakistan was an outcome of British ‘Divide and Rule’ policy and that the Muslims fell prey to it. Role of Quaid-e-Azam in accepting moth eaten Pakistan is being negatively portrayed. Some are trying to spoil the reputation of Allama Iqbal. Funded by foreign powers, media has become a powerful organ of the state because of slackness of the government, state institutions, parents, educationists and religious scholars.
The parliament has lost its prestige and supremacy due to infighting between the politicians, their insatiable greed for power, pelf and wealth, and their habit to seek assistance from the establishment or the judiciary to gain or retain power. Politicians are the biggest enemies of democracy. They have all along remained so immersed in filling their personal coffers that they have paid little attention towards institutional building, depoliticisation of civilian bureaucracy and police, improvement in education sector and health facilities, reformation of criminal justice system for speedy and inexpensive justice, setting right the system of accountability by overhauling NAB, FIA and FBR and above all reforming electoral laws. Their disdainful conduct has brought democracy into disrepute and kept the institutions weak and corrupt.
We as a nation have gone astray and have lost sight of core values and a sense of direction to move forward on the right path. Everyone blames the other and desires accountability of others only. Ongoing political tussle which has intensified after controversial Senate elections, judicial activism, tug of war between power centres, rising regionalism and tumbling economy have made the overall situation grave. The country is drifting towards a crisis situation at a time when elections are only three months away. The explosive situation suits the Indo-US-Israel nexus which has been jointly planning to destroy Pakistan.
There is an urgent need to cool down tempers, defuse the simmering lava and get united to hold fair and free elections and ensure smooth political transition. There is also a need to reignite the spirit of 1940s and 1965 by rejuvenating enthusiasm and patriotism and integrating the nation to be able to face the internal and external dangers squarely.
The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, and editor-in-chief Better Morrow magazine. firstname.lastname@example.org