Pakistan came into being on August 14, 1947, despite incessant opposition by Indian National Congress and her allies. At its birth Pakistan was faced with apparently insurmountable problems. The immediate worries were rehabilitation of millions of refugees and restoration of industrial and agricultural infra-structure. The national exchequer was empty. India refused to transfer Pakistan’s share in financial.
Pakistan overcame insurmountable problems of influx of 1947 refugees, skimpy finances and myriad other problems to emerge as a viable entity. We welcomed refugees, while India is all set to drive out 4.7 million Rohingya refugees from its eastern state of Assam.
Fanatic Hindus in Indian National Congress thought that Pakistan would, at best, be a still-born baby. But, Pakistan was able to survive all hurdles. It proved its viability despite severe politico-economic jolts.
Despite lapse of over 70 years, India still has to reconcile with Pakistan, as a reality.
When Jinnah left India on August 7, 1947, Vallabhai Patel said, ‘The poison had been removed from the body of India’. But, the Quaid said, ‘The past has been buried and let us start afresh as two independent sovereign States’.
Even Nehru, an outwardly liberal leader, regarded creation of Pakistan as a blunder. His rancour against Pakistan reached crescendo in his remarks ‘I shall not have that carbuncle on my back’. These remarks have been quoted by D. H. Bhutani in his book, The Future of Pakistan (page 14).
Nehru’s followers continued their anti-Pakistan efforts in the post-Partition period.
Liberal Jinnah versus Hardliner India
Rashtryaya Swayem Sevak Sangh (RSS) is the religious wing of ruling political party Bharatya Janata Party. It exploits issue of beef eating by minorities. India however is the biggest exporter of beef (through Dua Corporation). Yet, mobs of Hindu vigilantes (gau raksshik, cow guards) lynch beef eaters. They worship cow-urine (gau mooter) and cow dung (gau gobre). RSS is increasing its influence and outreach to the world.
Rashtryaya Swayem Sevak Sangh (BJP’s militant wing) held a conclave (Sep. 16-18, 2018) in New Delhi. It was attended by over a thousand intellectuals from all walks of life. Change in RSS’s outlook is understandable. It has grown phenomenally during the past five decades. Its swayamsewaks now hold the top four constitutional posts of India’s president, vice president, prime Minister and Lok Sabha (house of people) speaker. They occupy 20 Raj Bhawans. Eighteen of them are chief ministers. Half the Union Cabinet comprises RSS members. The political initiation of over 1,000 members of legislative assemblies and 250 members of parliament has been through the RSS. About a million
Indians daily attend over 55,000 shakhas (lectures) across the country. Its 500-odd frontal organizations manage colleges, schools, media, hospitals, and tribal and Dalit non-governmental organisations. Ten thousand full-time pracharaks (preachers) are active in politics, culture and
Various think tanks at home and abroad.
`Liberals; were stunned when chief minister Yogi Adityanath of India’s Uttar Pradesh state equated cows with human beings (Tribune , July 25, 2018). They expressed similar reaction when Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma of Rajasthan High Court told reporters (May 31, 2018) `All doctors are frauds and we could have all been cured of diseases with nothing more than cow’s milk.’ He `urged the Centre to declare cow as India’s national animal and recommended life imprisonment for cow slaughter’. Scientists must have smiled at his assertion that `cow inhales and exhales oxygen’, and `a peacock is a lifelong celibate like Krishna’.
At the conclave a Muslim wing of the RSS distributed a pamphlet echoing Sharma’s sentiments. The RSS’s rising influence among all strata of Indian society cannot be ignored. Huffington Post dated August 3, 2017 published a detailed report on benefits of cow-and-dung recipes like: (a) A cow-dung-and-urine beauty soap could stall ageing. Krishna looked like a 12 year old as he used such soap. (b) Cow dung and urine (gao mutra and gau gober) could prevent radiation when used to construct a bunker or rubbed on a mobile phone. This compound can defuse even an atomic bomb. (c) Pregnant women should have cow dung-urine derivatives for normal delivery.
India’s prestigious `Institute of Technology has received about 50 proposals from top research institutions across the country to explore benefits of panchgavya (mixture of cow urine, cow dung, milk, ghee and curd). India’s Union Ministry of Science and Technology has constituted a 19-member panel to conduct a detailed research on cow derivatives and their benefits.
The portents are that the RSS would have a critical role in influencing 2019 general elections.
Rising Hindutva influence does not portend well for minorities in India, otherwise a constitunally `secular’ republic.
On December 6, 1992, Hindu fanatics demolished Babri masjid. There is no evidence about Babur constructing a mosque in Ayodhya after demolishing a Ramjanmabhoomi temple. All sources are mute, be it Babur’s memoir Baburnama, Humayunnama by Babur’s daughter Gulbadan Begum, Abul Fazal’s Ain-i-Akbari or Tuzk-e-Jahangiri. The first reference to Babri appears in a travel account by Jesuit priest Joseph Tiefenthaler in 1768. The inscriptions, inside the mosque, often quoted in books on Ayodhya or Babur, were fake. They were fixed in the mosque 280 years after its supposed construction in 1528.
Babur did visit Gwalior temples. But, neither he, nor his commander Mir Baqi (distinct from Baqi on masjid inscriptions), ever visited Ayodhia. Mir Baqi of the Baburnama was never governor of Ayodhya.
The dispute is about property. The claim that god (Ram) was born there is fictitious. Indian Court ignored the fact that the Muslims have been in current possession of the disputed site since times immemorial. No claim by Hindus during Moghal or British raj? Shankaracharya’s Nyas originally owned only one acre of land, the rest of the land (additional 42 acres of so-called undisputed land) was given to it on lease by Kalyan Singh government in 1992 to develop a Ram Katha Kunj (park).
Threat of anti-minority riots
When Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi demanded a nation-wide ban on cow slaughter (Hindu, November 21, 2005). His demand was bolstered by India’s Supreme Court’s judgment (October 26, 2005) that reversed a 36-year-old ruling, and upheld the constitutional validity of a Gujarat law imposing the ban on slaughtering of bulls, and bullocks.
The fanatics often exploit issue of beef eating to kill minorities. There were anti-Muslim riots in 1707 and 1714, after the death of Moghul emperor Aurangzeb. More anti-Muslim riots took place in Kashmir (1719), Delhi (1729), and Bombay (1786). In Benares (1809), bloody anti-Muslim riots were due to a mosque allegedly having been built by Aurangzeb atop a temple (quasi-Babri-Masjid issue). When the Muslim functionaries were unfairly downgraded, riots took place at different places in Uttar Pradesh (Koil 1820, Moradabad 1833, Shahjahanpur 1837, and Alahabad 1837-52).
The riots in the 1990s were due to Advani’s Rath Yatra (chariot procession), resulting in death of over 200 people mostly Muslims. In January 1993, over 3000 Muslims were killed in Bombay by Shiv Sena in collusion with the police.
Efforts have been made in the past to ferret out causes of communal riots in India. Past inquiry reports into major riots (Delhi 1984, Bhagalpur 1989 and Ayodhya 1992) lament poor governance in preventing or controlling the riots, and prosecuting the rioters. Those having academic interest in details may refer to analysis by V. N. Rai, N. C. Saxena, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch/Asia, besides reports of the Commissions of Inquiry into Disturbance at Bhiwandi (1970), Tellicherry (1971), and Jamshedpur (1979). For further insights, one may look into reports of seminars, titled “State Protected Lawlessness from Ayodhya to Bombay” and Communal Riots and the Role of Law Enforcement Agencies”, convened at Bombay by Iqbal A. Ansari and Dr Asghar Ali (founder secretary general of Minorities’ Council of India).
It appears that the past studies are post-mortem reports. They do not try to determine statistical correlation between cause (economic, political or communal), issues and places of riots to formulate a testable hypothesis about probable causes and venues of riots in future. Lack of futuristic orientation or reliable data may have been fetters to the researchers’ feet.
In the past, fanatic Hindus has started riots to snatch or destroy well-to-do Muslims’ properties. The economic motive behind starting the riots is the foremost in Hindus’ minds. Let us look into the past trend of riots, and the issues on which they were started.
Hindutva. Anti-Muslim violence in India has risen pari passu with upsurge in Hindutva. The leading politicians side with the Hindu extremists for myopic electoral gains. Even Congress leaders have been distributing tridents on plea that their party’s policy is no bar on it. In 1991, India’s thent home minister undertook Rath Yatra (chariot journey) from a Hindu temple in Gujarat to Ram Janam Bhoomi (birth place of Hindu god Ram). That symbolic journey engendered Hindutva upsurge, which resulted in destruction of Babri Masjid in 1992. Subsequently, the BJP, then a marginal group with only two seats in Indian parliament witnessed the party’s cataclysmic rise into a ruling party, as of now.
Hindutva influence has permeated not only into the bureaucracy but also in armed forces, security agencies as also the judiciary. Hindutva influence on Indian armed forces became manifest in the national elections of 1991 when India’s top 25 ex-military officers joined the BJP. Stephen P Cohen in “The Indian Army” says that India’s three wars with Pakistan contributed to the communalisation of her armed forces, as exemplified by an Indian general’s characterisation of Indo-Pakistan wars as ‘communal riots with armour’. In the 1990s, India’s top 25 generals joined the BJP.
To preclude police brutality who acts in unison with mobsters, Khushwant Singh suggested in 1969 drafting a substantial number of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Anglo-Indians and Parsis into the Indian police forces. Police force of Punjab and Haryana should be non-Sikh, and that of Kashmir being non-Muslim, so on.
Battle cries used in the army are Ha Har Maahadev (Shivaji’s slogan), Bajrang Bali ki Jai, Bol Javala Man ki Jai. Hindu mobs attacking the Muslims also use the same slogans. How could the army jawans control the mob chanting the same slogans?
The Ayodhya case judges ordered excavation of the site in disregard of res judicata principles. Possession is nine-point ownership. Existence of Babri Masjid for centuries debars the Hindus from invoking their right to ownership of the site under Limitation Act, enshrining the principle `equity helps the vigilant, not the indolent’.
Professor M. Mohanty of Delhi University is of the view that”Increasing intolerance among the Hindu fundamentalist organisations, which pose a grave threat to democracy, are an indication of the rise of fascist forces in India. Professor Kanti Bajpai of Jawaharlal Nehru University agreed, “The rise of right –wing politics in India is far more advanced and violent than in Austria”.
The Economist: World in 2003 (page 77) states, ‘…nothing so pleases as burning of a few Muslims, the prospects of war with Pakistan and revenge for Muslim invasion of India many centuries ago’.
Gujarat state has lifted the ban on government employees’ becoming members of RSS. Uttar Pradesh state’s legislature has placed restrictions on building and use of places of worship. After approval of the parliamentary committee, Savarkar’s portrait has been hung in Indian parliament. Savarkar thus stands resurrected as a hero of the freedom movement. Savarkar wanted India for the Hindus only.
The riots in the 1990s (e.g. destruction of Babri Masjid in 1992) are markedly different from those in pre-1990s period (e.g., 1948 Hyderabad riots against takeover by India). The pre-1990s pogroms affected mainly slum-dwelling poor Muslims. But, the riots in 1990s hit poor and rich Muslims alike. The stimulating motive was to pauperize the affluent Muslims by looting away their life-long earnings. The affluent and influential Hindus no longer tried to play the role of mediators (unlike the case of previous riots in some industrial cities).
In the Hyderabad riots of 1990, Indian cricketer Azharuddin was attacked in his hometown. During January 1993, Mrs Rahi Masum Raza, wife of script-writer of TV-series Mahabharata fled uptown Bombay for refuge in Bhendi Bazar. In 1991, Muslim professors of Delhi University ran away from their houses to seek safety elsewhere. There are countless other instances of harassment of Muslim prodigies like Dilip Kumar, Saira Bano, Shabana Azmi, Farah Khan, and Ali Sardar Jaafri (poet with Padma Shri award) who was asked by the police to prove his nationality.
From the recent trends, it is obvious that future riots are more likely to take place in localities where the Muslims are economically competitive and affluent. Muslim-owned industrial and business establishments will be the targets.
In fact, Nehru had foreseen this changing pattern of riots, as reflected in his letter September, 1954 to a chief minister (Nehru’s letters to Chief Ministers, Vol. IV, edited by G Parthasarthy, New Delhi Oxford University Press, Delhi). He wrote: “There is also a new motive which previous to the partition was not present. This is the lure of property. In the pre-partition days, whatever communal trouble took place, no one ever thought of driving out the other party from their houses or shops. No one ever thought of profiting by any such action. Now this element has come in and is thought that if the Muslims in a particular area are frightened and made to leave, that property would naturally come to the Hindus”.
Nehru’s observation is borne out by Jabalpur riots in 1961 which aimed at hounding out the Muslim bidi (mini-cigarette) magnate from the local market. Bhiwandi (Maharashtra) riots of 1970 and 1984 were aimed at dispossessing the Muslim of their control of power loom industry. Moradabad riots of 1980 were outcome of jealousy against prosperity of Muslim brassware artisans. Riots of 1984 in Andhra Pradesh destroyed $ 10000 worth of Muslim businesses.
Riots usually take place in urban areas, particularly in industrial cities, like Bombay, Bhewandi, Baroda, Surat , Kanpur, Moradabad, Meerut, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bhopal. Refugee or Bengali migrants dominated areas are particularly riot prone.
They occur usually at places where Muslims are numerically and economically competitive and do not reconcile with an inferior status. No riots take place in areas with thin downtrodden Muslim population, resigned to subjugated fate because of perceived vulnerability, e.g. in coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh, or in the hill districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Issues Triggering Riots. Cow slaughter (actually, if not politicized, it is a non-issue). Hindu extremists desire to enforce a uniform civil code ostensible under Articles 44 and 48 of the Indian Constitution, but actually in violation of Articles 14 (no religious discrimination), 16 (equal opportunities for minorities), 26 to 28 (minorities freedom to manage their own religious affairs), 30 (maintaining minorities educational institutions), 345, 347, 350, 350-A (rights of linguistic minorities). Loud music and Bhajan singing before mosques. Non-traditional routes of processions. Reservation of jobs, and seats in educational institutions. Elopement of Hindu girls with Muslim boys. Characterisation of one by the other community as Malichh and Kafir. Routes of Religious processions. Conversions from one religion to another. Singing or playing Vande Matram aloud before mosques. The de facto status of Urdu especially in Uttar Pradesh. Muslim Personal Law and Uniform Civil Code. Suspicions about Muslims loyalty to India. One could visualise from the past trends where the future riots would take place, and on what issues.
Joint Indo-Pak defence
He hoped India and Pakistan would live in peace after Partition. In his Will and Testament
He bequeathed a part of his fortune to educational institutions in Aligarh, Bombay and Delhi. He never changed his will as he hoped to visit India again.
Lord Ismay, Chief of Staff to the Viceroy recorded an interview with the Quaid. Excerpt: ‘Mr. Jinnah said with the greatest earnestness that once Partition has been decided upon, everyone would know exactly all troubles would cease, and they would live happily ever after where they were’.
Ayesha Jalal in his paper Why Jinnah Matters (Meleeha Lodhi, edited papers, `Pakistan: Beyond the Crisis State, pp. 33-34 ) recalls `Just before his own death, Jinnah proposed a joint defence with India as the Cold War started to shape the world and the two power blocs began to form. Jinnah was still thinking as a South Asian nationalist. … Had Jinnah’s vision prevailed _and found an echo in India, we would have seen a very different South Asia. ..there would have been no crippling defence expenditures. There would have been no reason to join one or other camp of the Cold War. There would have been open borders, free trade and regular visiting between the two countries…. a more humane sub-continent might have emerged … In 1971, when Pakistan was broken in two, its critics jubilantly cried, `Jinnah’s Pakistan is dead’. They were wrong. Jinnah’s Pakistan will be alive as long as …’.
Evolution of Pakistan idea
Lahore Resolution to Pakistan resolution
How the Lahore resolution, as it was called on March 23, 1940, became the Pakistan Resolution? The original resolution of 1940 mentions states, not one state of Pakistan. But, Congress party’s criticism, as also Gandhi’s virulently critical letters to the Quaid, forced the Muslim nation to convert the Lahore resolution into Pakistan resolution. The resolution passed on April 19, 1946 at the Delhi convention, clarified doubts about the word ‘states’ in original Lahore Resolution. It stated, “The zone comprising Bengal and Assam in the North-East and the Punjab, Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluchistan in the north-west of India, namely Pakistan Zones, where Muslims are in a dominant majority, be constituted into a sovereign independent State and an unequivocal understanding be given to implement the establishment of Pakistan without delay? True, the Pakistan resolution was not over-night exploit of a single figure.
It was Allama lqbal who convinced the Quaid of the futility of the idea of continued Hindu-Muslim amity. On June 21, 1937, Allama Iqbal wrote to the Quaid, “In these circumstances, it is obvious that the only way to a peaceful India is a redistribution of the country on the lines of racial, religious and linguistic affinities.” The Muslim leaders only wanted that after departure of the British rulers, The rights of Muslims ‘community’ should not be usurped by the brutal Hindu majority. On March 2, 1941, the Quaid said, “It is as clear as daylight that we are not a minority. We are a nation and nation must have a territory. A nation does not live in the air. It lives on the land and it must govern land’.
The Quaid said at Minto Park on March 22, 1940, “Musalmans are not a minority as it is generally understood. Musalmans are a nation according to any definition of a nation and they must have their homelands, their territory and their state’. On October 27, 1945, the Quaid said at Ahmedabad, “Pakistan is the question of life and death for us. I shall live and die for Pakistan.” “The moon of Pakistan is shining and we shall reach it” (Dawn, October 28, 1945). “We must get Pakistan at any cost. For it we live and for it we will die.” (November 24, 1945, Mardan). “Without Pakistan, there is only death for Muslims.” (February 24, 1946, Calcutta).Creation of Pakistan is a miracle. Hindus’ paranoid hatred converted the Lahore resolution into the Pakistan resolution.n Pakistan Day: What was Jinnah’s idea of independent state for S. Asian Muslims?
Members of the Muslim League were told they could not hope to share power with the Congress unless they submitted to its discipline and became its stooges. There was naturally a rapid, revolutionary change in the outlook of the Muslim League. In 1938, under Mr. Jinnah’s leadership, it formally repudiated the federal scheme of the Government of India Act 1935, and began to consider other constitutional possibilities. In 1939 it declared that Muslim India was ‘irrevocably opposed’ to any federal objective; and in March 1940 was passed at Lahore a resolution, demanding the partition of India and the formation of the Muslim majority zones of the north-west and north-east into an independent sovereign state. Thus, ostensibly, the Muslim League, under Mr. Jinnah’s leadership, had accepted as its goal the chimerical, impracticable scheme of students led by Ch. Rehmat Ali, which the League spokesman had disliked a few years earlier.
The Lahore Resolution was interpreted differently by advocates of Pakistan, but the fact is Pakistan was to be a completely independent sovereign (federal) state. It came into being on 14 August, 1947, with Mr. Jinnah as its first Governor-General and the first president of its Constituent Assembly. The first observation he made in the Assembly was: “You will, no doubt, agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious belief of its subjects are fully protected by the state…I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal, and you’ll 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’s the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state…You’re free to go to your temples, you’re free to go to your mosques or to any place of worship, you may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that has nothing to do with business of the state…If we want to make this great state of Pakistan happy and prosperous we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, especially of the masses and the poor.”
It was culmination of the series of event; and movements that converged into the idea of Pakistan: Muhammad bin Qasim established the first Muslim state in the Sub-Continent in 712-715 AD. Shahab-ud-Din Ghouri wrote to Prithvi Raj in 1192 AD that the latter should cede the MusIim-majority areas of the Punjab, NWFP and Sindh to him or be prepared for a war at Tarain battlefield (page 101, tareekh-e-farishta). After Qasim, Qutub-ud-Din Aibak and the Moghul established their rule in India. There were 76 Muslim rulers who ruled over India for about 690 years. Since early 1870s, there were several movements, which asserted ‘Muslim nationhood’. They covered a broad spectrum of Muslim religious, educational, cultural and political life Aligarh Movement (1870s), the Mohammedan Educational Conference, the Urdu Defence Association (1900), the demand for separate electorates, the foundation of the Muslim League, the Muslim university movement (1910), the pan-Islamic movements beginning with Italy’s raid on Tripoli (1911) and ending with the Khilafat movement (1918-24), and the Kanpur Mosque agitation (1913).
From Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to the Quaid-i-Azam, all the Muslim leaders kept striving for Hindu-Muslim amity. The Quaid began his political career by attending Congress meeting, for the first time on July 28, 1904, Thereafter he struggled for about three decades for the rights of Muslim whom he regarded as a ‘minority’, rather than a nation.
Towards the end of 1930, Allama lqbal used the word ‘community’ for the Muslim population in his address at Allahabad. It was only Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, who used the word ‘nation’ for Muslims in his pamphlet ‘Now or Never (1932)’. Intolerance of Hindus forced Muslims to realise that their rights would be trampled under Hindu Raj. Lucknow Pact (1916) was acknowledged as pillar of Hindu-Muslim friendship. However, Nehru, at the behest of the fanatic Hindus, shattered the spirit of peaceful coexistence by formulating his Nehru Report (1928).
Jaswant Singh had, in his book, Jinnah: India, Partition, and Independence made the revelation that Jinnah shelved the idea of independent Pakistan by putting his signatures to the Cabinet Mission’s recommendations. The Quaid even accepted the recommendations of the Cabinet Mission. This Mission envisaged keeping India undivided for ten years. The constituent assemblies were to consider the question of division after 10 years. When Congress refused to accept the recommendations of the Cabinet Mission, the British government decided to divide India.
Jinnah’s state of mind is reflected in Shorish Kashmiri’s revelation on page 509 of his book bu-e-gul nala-e-dil dud-e-charagh-e-mahfil (Matbuat-e-Chatan, 1988, Lahore). He quotes the Quaid having said `What is Muslim League? I, and my typewriter’. At another place Shorish quotes Quaid as having said `meri thaili main saarey sikkey khotey hain’ (all the coins in my pouch are base).
A democracy, not a theocracy
Doubtless, the Quaid visualised Pakistan to be a democracy, not a theocracy. In a broadcast addressed to the people of the USA (February 1948), he said, ‘In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims _Hindus, Christians, and Parsees _ but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizen and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan’ (Maleeha Lodhi (ed.), Pakistan: Beyond the Crisis State) When an over-ebullient admirer addressed him as `Maulana Jinnah’, he snubbed him. Jinnah retorted, ‘I am not a Maulana, just plain Mr. Jinnah’. About minorities, the Quaid often reminded Muslim zealots ‘Our own history and our and our Prophet(PBUH) have given the clearest proof that non-Muslims have been treated not only justly and fairly but generously. He added, ‘I am going to constitute myself the Protector-general of the Hindu minority in Pakistan’. He joined Christmas celebrations in December 1947 as a guest. In his first seven-member Cabinet, he included a Hindu.
Till his last breath, the Quaid remained an ardent supporter of rights of minorities as equal citizens of Pakistan. Our ministers and other dignitaries shun rituals and customs of minorities. But, the Quaid participated in Christmas celebrations in December 1947 as a guest of the Christian community. He declared: ‘I am going to constitute myself the Protector General of Hindu minority in Pakistan’.
One member of his post-partition cabinet was a Hindu. A Jewish scholar, Mohammad Asad, who embraced Islam, held important positions in post-partition period in Pakistan. Many ‘religious’ scholars copy from his works copiously.
Majority of Pakistanis wish to see Pakistan emerge as a moderate economically viable power. Their attitudes mirror-image the Quaid’s vision. He wanted Pakistan to be a liberal and democratic Muslim state, not a theocracy, plagued by sectarian violence. The following extracts from the Quaid’s speeches and statements as Governor General of Pakistan reflect his vision: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques, or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan…you may belong to any religion, caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State…We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed or another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of the one State”.
The Quaid visualised 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”. A. K. Brohi, in his The Fundamental Law of Pakistan, argues that Pakistan is an Islamic state, but not a theocracy.
Jinnah’s address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, also, epitomises his vision.
The 1954 Justice Munir Kayani Commission ‘Report on the Anti-Ahmedi Riots of Punjab in 1953’, inter alia, elucidates Jinnah’s vision of an Islamic State. The Munir report makes a poignant observation. “Most important of the parties who are clamouring for enforcement of the three (anti-Ahmedi) demands on religious grounds, were all against the idea of an Islamic state. Even Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi of Jama’at-i-Islamic was of the view that the form of government in the new Muslim state, if it ever came into existence, could only be secular. Everybody … agreed that Ahrar was a subversive force.” The report concludes: “…if Ahrar had been treated as a law and order question without any political considerations, one District Magistrate and one Superintendent of Police could have dealt with them.”
We mix religion with politics at various levels and forums. Our Constitution has a long list of Islamic rights. But they are circumscribed the proviso that they are not enforceable through courts. Our law of evidence lays down conditions to qualify as a competent witness. But, a proviso makes any witness acceptable if a competent one is not available.
Islam protects the rights of people from all walks of life, weak and strong, including parents, children, relatives of the poor, spouses, minorities, and prisoners. For instance, Islam gives: right to protect life (Quran 17:33), to protect own and others’ properties (2:188), to protect female modesty (4:24), privacy, own and others’ (24:27), one’s faith, even if it be other than Islam (2:256, 6:109), right of expression (29:46, 4:148), of holding function (3:104), to oppose corruption (5:33), receive education (2:129), justice (2:129), and equality (49:13).
Likewise Islam outlines duties of its followers like the duty to follow the instruction (4:59), abide by the law (7:85, 2:229), maintain peace (25:63), protect life (15:32), to follow persons (2:83), obey parents (17:23-24 31:14), duty to be fair in dealings (55:9, 4:10).
He believed in Islamic principles and democracy and advocated the cause of Pakistan and its masses. The use of the Islamic idiom was not limited to confrontational situations involving India but extended to domestic reconstruction policy. Thus, on February 4, 1948, he told a Sibi audience that he, in wanting to give Balochs a voice in the administration of their province, had been moved by his commitment to the Islamic principles of democracy.
God had taught Muslims that they should settle the affairs of the state through mutual discussion and consultation. “It is my belief that our salvation lies in solving the golden rules of conduct set for us by our great law giver, the Prophet of Islam. Let’s lay the foundations of our democracy on the basis of truly Islamic ideal and principles.” The architect of Pakistan had a dream; he visualized a welfare state. He had conceived Pakistan based on foundations of social justice and Islamic socialism which stress equality and brotherhood of man. Like Allama Iqbal, he was concerned with the problem of poverty and backwardness among Muslims for the eradication of which they looked, on the one hand, to the urges of dynamism, struggle and creativity in Islam and, on the other, to the Islamic principle of distributive justice.
Pakistan needs to change the status quo. A report in Pakistan Economist Intelligence Unit notes “Change is hindered not least because the status quo suits the wealthy landowners who dominate the sector, as well as federal and provincial parliaments. Large landowners own 40 per cent of the arable land and control most of the irrigation system. Yet assessments by independent agencies, including the World Bank, show them to be less productive than smallholders. They are also poor taxpayers, heavy borrowers and bad debtors”.
Our major problem is structural. The economy rests on a narrow production base, heavily dependent on the fallible cotton crop and the low-value-added textile industry; irrigation supplies are erratic (deficiency or floods), and soil erosion and salinity widespread. Low productivity in agriculture can only be reversed through the implementation of serious land reforms (opposed by feudal aristocracy). The opulent wealth in the upper strata of our society need to be ferreted out, and cut to size through radical land reforms and wealth taxation.
Stanley Wolpert paid tributes to the Quaid in following words, “Few individual significantly alter the course of history. Few still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone could be credited with creating a nation State. Muhammad All Jinnah did all three”.
Mr. Jinnah’s speech at the 30th session of the Muslim League during the freedom struggle reflected his vision. “It will be a people’s government. I should like to give a warning to the landlords and capitalists who have flourished at our expense by a system which is so vicious, which is so wicked and which makes them so selfish that it is difficult to reason with them. The exploitation of the masses has gone into their blood. They’ve forgotten the lesson of Islam. Greed and selfishness have made these people subordinate to the interests of others in order to fatten themselves…If they’re wise they’ll have to adjust themselves to the new modern conditions of life. If they don’t, God help them; we shall not help them.”
Aside from Post –Partition Muneer Report on Ahmedi Riots, Moghal-period religious scholars were muckrakers. Aurangzeb’s chief justice, who died in 1675, left behind a fortune of one lac ashrafi (precious coins) and cash of Rs five lac, besides a lot of gold and jewellery (Mubarik Ali, barr-e-saghir main mussulman muashrey ka almia [The trajedy of Muslim Society in the Sub-Coontinent]. page75). Soofis (dervishes) were ruling clique’s touts. They lived in Hindu-majority areas. And never made a genuine effort to spread Islam in non-Muslim communities. Only one non-Muslim embraced Islam at the hands of Nizamuddin Aulya during his life-time (Mubarik Ali, page 45 ibid.). Through their edicts (fatawa), Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Maulana Abdul Bari Farangi Mahal exhorted others to migrate from India (darul harab) to Afghanistan. But, they themselves stayed back in India (Mubarik Ali, page 105 ibid.).
The Mughal and Sultanate rule was neither equitable nor Islamic but dynastic. Jehangir hanged the light-man who happened to have slept during the night. Not merit, but proper connection and pedigree was the Palladian which determined key appointments to the moghul durbar(Moghul court). Mubarik Ali caustically observes the history of the sub-continent would have been different if Muslim communities had aligned with the jat, sikh and other non-Muslims (Mubarik Ali, pages 16, 58, 64 ibid.).
Should India and Pakistan toujours remain at daggers drawn?Jinnah’s vision should be a beacon of light to both India and Pakistan-democracy, equality, peace and welfare of the masses.
Opposing Hindutava: US conference raises troubling questions
Controversy over a recent ‘Dismantling Global Hindutava’ conference that targeted a politically charged expression of Hindu nationalism raises questions that go far beyond the anti-Muslim discriminatory policies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and ruling party.
The conference and responses to it highlight a debilitating deterioration in the past two decades, especially since 9/11, of the standards of civility and etiquette that jeopardize civil, intelligent, and constructive debate and allow expressions of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic attitudes to become mainstream.
Organizers of the conference that was co-sponsored by 53 American universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers, insisted that they distinguish between Hinduism and Hindutava, Mr. Modi’s notion of Hindu nationalism that enables discrimination against and attacks on India’s 200 million Muslims.
The distinction failed to impress critics who accused the organizers of Hinduphobia. Some critics charged that the framing of the conference demonstrated a pervasiveness of groupthink in academia and an unwillingness to tackle similar phenomena in other major religions, particularly Islam.
The campaign against the conference appeared to have been organized predominantly by organizations in the United States with links to militant right-wing Hindu nationalist groups in India, including some with a history of violence. The conference’s most militant critics threatened violence against conference speakers and their families, prompting some participants to withdraw from the event.
Opponents of political Islam noted that Western academia has not organized a similar conference about the politicization of the faith even though powerful states like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have lobbied Western capitals against the Muslim Brotherhood and its Turkish and Qatari supporters with notable successes in France, Austria, Belgium and Britain.
Academia was likely to have been hesitant to tackle political Islam because Islamophobia is far more prevalent than Hinduphobia.
Moreover, perceptions of political Islam, are far more complex and convoluted. Islam is frequently conflated with political expressions and interpretations of the faith run a gamut from supremacist and conservative to more liberal and tolerant. They also lump together groups that adhere and respect the election process and ones that advocate violent jihad.
Scholars and analysts declared an end to political Islam’s heyday with the military coup in Egypt in 2013 that toppled Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brother, who was elected president in Egypt’s first and only free and fair poll. Political Islam’s alleged swansong loomed even larger with this year’s setbacks for two of the most moderate Islamist political parties in Tunisia and Morocco as well as hints that Turkey may restrict activities of Islamists operating in exile from Istanbul.
A more fundamental criticism of the framing of the Hindutava conference is its failure to put Hindutava in a broader context.
That context involves the undermining of the social cohesion of societies made up of collections of diverse ethnic and religious communities since Osama bin Laden’s 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.
The attacks fueled the rise of ultra-nationalism and politicized expressions of religious ultra-conservatism not only in the Hindu world but also in the worlds of other major religions.
These include politicized ultra-conservative Islam, politicized Evangelism and Buddhist nationalism. Right-wing religious nationalism in Israel, unlike Islamism and politicized Evangelism, is shaped by ultra-nationalism rather than religious ultra-conservatism.
The worlds of religious ultra-nationalism and politicized expressions of religious ultra-conservatism are often mutually reinforcing.
Scholar Cynthia Miller-Idriss’s assessment of the impact of Al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks on the United States is equally true for India or Europe.
“In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the rise of violent jihadism reshaped American politics in ways that created fertile ground for right-wing extremism. The attacks were a gift to peddlers of xenophobia, white supremacism, and Christian nationalism: as dark-skinned Muslim foreigners bent on murdering Americans, Al-Qaeda terrorists and their ilk seemed to have stepped out of a far-right fever dream,” Ms. Miller-Idriss said.
“Almost overnight, the United States and European countries abounded with precisely the fears that the far-right had been trying to stoke for decades,” she added.
The comparison of politically charged militant nationalist and ultra-conservative expressions of diverse religions takes on added significance in a world that has seen the emergence of civilizationalist leaders.
Scholar Sumantra Bose attributes the rise of religious nationalism in non-Western states like Turkey and India to the fact that they never adopted the Western principle of separation of state and church.
Instead, they based their secularism on the principle of state intervention and regulation of the religious sphere. As a result, the rejection of secularism in Turkey and India fits a global trend that conflates a dominant religious identity with national identity.
Sarah Kamali, the author of a recently published book that compares militant white nationalists to militant Islamists in the United States, notes similar patterns while drawing parallels between far-right xenophobes and militant Islamists.
Militant Islamists’ “sense of victimhood […] is similar to that of their White nationalist counterparts in that [it] is constructed and exploited to justify their violence… Both mutually – and exclusively – target America for the purpose of claiming the nation as theirs and theirs alone, either as a White ethno-state or as part of a global caliphate,” Ms. Kamali writes.
Similarly, the Taliban defeat of a superpower energized militant Islamists, as well as proponents of Hindutava, with Islamophobic narratives spun by Mr. Modi’s followers gaining new fodder with the assertion that India was being encircled by Muslim states hosting religious extremists.
“Modi is essentially helping the recruitment of…jihadist groups by taking such a hard, repressive line against the Islamic community in India, who are now being forced to see themselves being repressed,” said Douglas London, the CIA’s counter-terrorism chief for South and South-West Asia until 2019.
Panjshir – the last stronghold of democracy in Afghanistan
The Taliban’s rapid advance in Afghanistan has briefly stalled only in the face of strong resistance mounted by the people of the country’s recalcitrant mountainous province of Panjshir. Whoever controls the region’s passes controls the routes leading to China and Tajikistan, but to seize this mountain valley and, most importantly, to keep it permanently under control has always been a problem for all invaders. Eager to let the international community see for the first time in 40 years a united Afghanistan as a sign of their final victory, the radical Islamists were prepared to make any sacrifices, including filling the approaches to the Panjshir Valley up with dead bodies. Moreover, the Taliban’s longtime ally Pakistan, which, regardless of its status of an ally of the United States, has provided them with direct military support. In fact, Islamabad admitted its less than successful role when it proposed signing a truce to find and take out the bodies of its special Ops forces who had died during the attack on the valley. However, drones flown by Pakistani operators, professional commandos (possibly once trained by the Americans), air support and other pleasant gifts from the allies eventually bore fruit letting the Taliban be photographed in front of the mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Massoud Sr., the famous “Lion of Panjshir,” who controlled the valley from 1996 to 2001. The Islamists also took control of the province’s central city of Bazarak.
Having deprived the province much of its Internet access, the radicals, who control most of the Afghan territory, found it easier to wage an information war. Their claims of victories were now more difficult to contest, even though information about their retreat did reach the outside world. Reflective of the heavy losses suffered for the first time by the Taliban and their allies – the Haqqani Network and other remnants of al-Qaeda, as well as by the regular Pakistani army is the brief truce arranged by Islamabad. Looks like the mountain passes leading to Panjshir were literally filled up with corpses…
As for Massoud Jr., the young lion of Panjshir, and his supporters, they retreated to the mountains. In fact, they had nowhere to fall back to. The problem of Afghanistan is its ethnic diversity. Thus, the country is home to 23 percent of ethnic Tajiks, most of whom live in the Panjshir Valley. However, the Taliban rely mainly on the Pashtuns, who account for over 50 percent of the country’s population. As for the new masters of Afghanistan, they are ready to carry out ethnic cleansings and even commit outright genocide in order to bring the valley into submission. To make this happen they are going to resettle there their fellow Pashtun tribesmen. Local men aged between 12 and 50 are already being taken away and, according to the National Resistance Front, no one has seen them again. However, due to the information blockade, the Taliban will not hesitate to refute such facts. One thing is clear: Massoud’s Tajik fighters and the government troops that joined them are fighting for their lives, and there will be no honorable surrender!
The main question now is whether the young lion of Panjshir will receive the same support as his father once did, or will find himself without ammunition and food. After all, the Taliban leaders have reached certain agreements with the United States. Suffice it to mention the numerous remarks made, among others, by President Biden himself about the Taliban now being different from what they were 20 years ago.
But no, the Taliban`s remain the same – they have only hired new PR people. Meanwhile, hating to admit their defeat, Brussels and Washington will have to engage in a dialogue with those who are responsible for the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and for the numerous terrorist attacks in Europe. The Taliban are pretending to make minor cosmetic concessions. Minor indeed, since they are still depriving women of the opportunity to work and study, destroying higher and secondary education and brutally clamping down on people who simply do not want to live according to religious norms.
The United States is actually helping the “new-look” Taliban. Their potential opponents, including the famous Marshal Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, left the country under various guarantees, and Washington is trying to keep them from any further participation in the conflict. Democratic politicians naively believe that by creating an Islamic state and ending the protracted civil war in Afghanistan the Taliban will ensure stability in the region and will not move any further. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan do not think so and are strengthening their borders and preparing to protect their Afghan compatriots, because they know full well that the Taliban`s are not a national political party; they are a radical Islamist ideology.
It knows no borders and spreads like a cancerous tumor, destroying all pockets of Western culture. It can only be stopped by force. However, the two decades of US military presence in Afghanistan showed that Washington, which quickly took control of the country in 2001, simply had no strategy to keep it. The Afghans were given nothing that would appear to them more attractive than the ideas of radical Islam. As a result, the few Afghans who embrace European values are fleeing the country, and those who, like Massoud Jr., decided to fight for their freedom, now risk being left to face their enemy all by themselves.
Misjudgements in India’s Afghan policy
India’s Afghan policy has always been obsessed with the desire to deny Pakistan the “strategic depth” that Pakistan, according to India’s perception, yearns. If India had a pragmatic policy, it would not have found itself whimpering and whining like a rueful baby over spilt milk.
India supported the invasion of Afghanistan by both the former Soviet Union and the USA, both losers. President Trump mocked Modi for having built a library for the Afghan people. Trump expected India to contribute foot soldiers, and by corollary, body packs to the Afghan crisis. India played all the tricks up its sleeves to convince the USA to make India a party to the US-Taliban talks. But the USA ditched not only Modi but also Ashraf Ghani to sign the Doha peace deal with the Taliban.
India’s external affairs minister still calls the Taliban government “a dispensation”. Interestingly, the USA has reluctantly accepted that the Taliban government is a de facto government.
The United Nations’ Development Programme has portrayed a bleak situation in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is faced with multifarious challenges. These include prolonged drought and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, upheaval caused by the current political transition: frozen foreign reserves, and rising poverty.
About 47 per cent of its people live below the dollar-a-day poverty line. If the poverty line is pushed to $2 a day, 90 per cent of Afghans would be poor. About 55 per cent of Afghans are illiterate.
Ninety seven percent of the population is at risk of sinking below the poverty line, As such, Afghanistan teeters on the brink of universal poverty. Half of the population is already in need of humanitarian support. The UNDP has proposed to access the most vulnerable nine million people by focusing on essential services, local livelihoods, basic income and small infrastructure.
Currently, the gross national product of Afghanistan is around $190 billion, just a little more than the $160 billion economy of Dhaka city. The country’s legal exports of goods and services every year account for $1 billion. It imports$6 billion worth of goods and services every year.
About 80 per cent of world production of opium comes from Afghanistan. Every year, Afghanistan produces nearly 10,000 tons of opium and the revenue generated from it amounts to $7 billion approximately. About 87 per cent of the income of opium producing farmers comes exclusively from this single product. The illicit opium export by Afghanistan is worth $2 billion every year. The role of opium is significant.
About 80 per cent of public expenditure in this country is funded by grants. Since 2002, the World Bank has provided Afghanistan with a total of $5.3 billion as development and emergency relief assistance. The IMF earmarked for Afghanistan $400 million in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) for combating the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
The United States has frozen about $10 billion worth of Afghan assets held at various banks in Afghanistan. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has withdrawn the $400 million worth of SDRs allocated earlier to Afghanistan for addressing the Covid-19 crisis. The World Bank has not said anything as of yet, but it may also put restrictions on its funding to Afghanistan.
India’s lip service to Afghanistan
India provided around $3 billion in aid to fallen U.S.-backed Afghan government. It trained the Afghan army and police. But now it is not willing to pay or pledge a penny to the Taliban government. Look at the following Times of India report:
“India did not pledge any money to the Taliban ruled Afghanistan probably for the first time in 20 years. That it has not done so as Jaishanker declared … (At UN, India offers support to Afghanistan but does not pledge money. The Times of India September 14, 2021).–The Hindu, September 11, 2021
India’s tirade against Afghanistan
Indian policymakers and experts say they see no guarantees that Afghanistan won’t become a haven for militants. “Afghanistan may be poised to become a bottomless hole for all shades of radical, extremist and jihadi outfits somewhat similar to Iraq and Syria, only closer to India,” said Gautam Mukhopadhaya, who was India’s ambassador in Kabul between 2010 to 2013. He added that the Taliban victory could have an “inspirational effect” not only for Kashmir’s rebels but wherever religiously-driven groups operate in the broader region… Lt. Gen Deependra Singh Hooda, former military commander for northern India between 2014-2016, said militant groups based across the border in Pakistan would “certainly try and push men” into Kashmir, following the Taliban victory in Afghanistan (With Taliban’s rise, India sees renewed threat in Kashmir, Star Tribune September 14, 2021). “Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh conveyed to Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton that the rise of the Taliban raises serious security concerns for India and the region. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed for an injection of cash into Afghanistan to avoid an economic meltdown that would spark a “catastrophic” situation for the Afghan people and be a “gift for terrorist groups.”). Afghan economic meltdown would be ‘gift for terrorists,’ says U.N. chief” (The Hindu, September 11, 2021)
India’s former envoy to Kabul, Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhyay is skeptical of the conciliatory statements by the taliban government. He advises: “We should welcome recent statements by Stanekzai and Anas Haqqani that suggest some independence from the ISI. But we should also ask some hard questions and judge them by their actions and words, and not let down our guard, both with regard to our multiple security concerns such as whether they can protect us from the Ias and ISI, sever ties with other terror groups, especially those supported by the ISI against India, deny Pakistan strategic depth, and preserve and build on our historic P2P and trade ties; and a genuinely inclusive govt in Afghanistan that accommodates the majority of Afghans who want the rights and freedoms enshrined in the 2004 Afghan Constitution or at least acceptable to the Afghan people.” (Taliban move to form govt, Naya Afghanistan brings new challenge for India, September 2, 2021).
India wants a “central role’ to be given to the UN in Afghanistan. India’s mumbo jumbo implies that Afghanistan should be made a UN protectorate. Indian media is never tired of calling the Afghan government a bunch of terrorists. They have even launched video games about it.
India needs to rethink how it can mend fences with Afghanistan that it regards a hothouse of terrorists.
Better Targeting of Social Protection Programs can Significantly Reduce Poverty in Bangladesh
Social Protection Programs remain central to Bangladesh’s sustainable development policy and are progressively benefitting the poorer households. By improving targeting...
Was Trump better for the world than Biden, after all?
Joe Biden and the State Department just approved a major deal with the Saudis for 500mln in choppers maintanance. Effectively,...
Eritrea: Release journalists and politicians arrested 20 years ago
The Eritrean authorities must immediately and unconditionally release 21 journalists and politicians who were arrested in a sweeping crackdown on...
Torture, killings, lawlessness, still blight Burundi’s rights record
The people of Burundi continue to endure serious human rights violations including possible crimes against humanity, the majority committed by...
Appliance standards and labelling is highly effective at reducing energy use
Policies that introduce minimum efficiency performance standards and energy-consumption labelling on appliances and equipment have led to reduced power consumption,...
Women in Albania to Gain Greater Access to Global Digital Jobs Market
“Digital Jobs Albania” is a new World Bank initiative that will help women in Albania gain better access to online...
How China Exacerbates Global Fragility and What Can be Done to Bolster Democratic Resilience to Confront It
Authors: Caitlin Dearing Scott and Isabella Mekker From its declared policy of noninterference and personnel contributions to United Nations (UN)...
South Asia4 days ago
Afghanistan: Hazaras in danger of extinction
Economy3 days ago
The Economic Conundrum of Pakistan
Finance3 days ago
2021 China-ASEAN Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum
Americas3 days ago
China And U.S. Are On the Brink of War
South Asia4 days ago
Why the Taliban Had to Change
Africa4 days ago
African Union’s Inaction on Ethiopia Deplorable – Open Letter
Middle East4 days ago
IAEA Director General reaches agreement in Tehran, as Biden’s clock is ticking
Americas3 days ago
20 years after 9/11: American decline in the Islamic world and China- Russian emergence