Two-nation theory, still on the march in India?

The Bengali were in the forefront of the “Pakistan Movement”. When the East Pakistan seceded from the West Pakistan, many a writers assumed that it was the end of the two-nation theory that served as the primum mobile of the movement for creating a separate homeland for the Indian Muslim.

Two-nation theory

Some people consider Allama Iqbal the architect of the two-nation theory, but others attribute the theory to Lajpat Roy, a Hindu. Aside from the argumentative rigmarole who first presented the idea, the Quaid translated the idea into a Muslim homeland.

Stanley Wolpert paid tribute to Quaid in the following words, “Few individuals 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”. 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 was all set to drive out 4.7 million 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.


Who created Pakistan

A host of controversies have been debated as to whether he was happy or frustrated at creation of Pakistan. The Quaid did not live long enough after the Partition to explain his view.

Some people even allege that as the Quad had sacrificed the idea of Pakistan at the altar of the Cabinet Mission Plan. He agreed, though conditionally, to a united India. It was Nehru’s obduracy not to accept the Cabinet Mission’s recommendations that culminated in creation of Pakistan (Jaswant Singh, Jinnah: India, Partition, and Independence). Some perfidious minds even suggested that it was the inanimate government-of-British-India notification that created the two states, not animus between Jinnah and Nehru.

Pakistan: A blunder?

A view is that the Quaid was remorseful at the creation of Pakistan. He considered it a blunder (Jinnah Bashing Back with CAA but What Were His Views on Partition? Mohd Ali Jinnah, till the time of his death, even wanted to return to India after his purpose was solved in Pakistan, The Print December 26, 2019).

The Quaid thought that the Muslim League leaders around him were `base coins’ (khotey sikkey) and the `legal tender’ was in pockets of his adversaries (Shorish Kashmiri. Boo-e-Gul, Naala-e-dl, dood-e-chiragh-e-mehfil, pp.317, 419-420). Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas corroborated this view. He ` remembered that once Quaid-i-Azam had said that “What is Muslim League? It essentially comprises three of us; me, my sister and typewriter.”

Historian Mubarik Also confirmed this view. `In one of his articles, Dr Mubarak Ali mentioned in passing that Mr. Jinnah used to claim that he had founded Pakistan with the help of his typewriter and stenographer.‘

According to the book ‘Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire’ written by a British historian Alex von Tunzelmann, Jinnah called the demand for Pakistan the biggest blunder of his life.

On 11 Sept’1948, Jinnah, who was suffering from tuberculosis, lung cancer, and pneumonia, was on a flight from Quetta to Karachi .

On reaching Karachi airport, he saw the then Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and told him that ‘the demand for Pakistan was the biggest blunder of my life’ and something else along the lines of:

If now I get an opportunity I will go to Delhi and tell Jawaharlal to forget about the follies of the past and become friends again.

Lajpat Rai, not Jinnah, propounded two-nation theory

Jinnah was a proponent of Hindu-Muslim amity until his cherished wish was thwarted by the fanatic Hindu. Barring Nehru and Gandhi, all the Hindu leaders were communalistic. Even Nehru, an ostensibly liberal leader, regarded the creation of Pakistan as a blunder. His rancor against Pakistan reaches a crescendo in his remarks: “I shall not have that carbuncle on my back.” (D. H. Bhutani, The Future of Pakistan, page 14).

Historian Ayesha Jalal says: `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’(Ayesha Jalal,  Why Jinnah Matters,  a paper in Maleeha Lodhi (ed.), Pakistan: Beyond the Crisis State). India’s jingoistic military expenditure ratchets up Pakistan’s defence outlays.

A. G. Noorani has exposed fanaticism of the Hindu leaders in his book The RSS: A Menace to India (p. 18):“He [Lajpat Rai] was the first to propound the two-nation theory and also the first to suggest partition of India, in 1899, he wrote: “Hindus are a nation in themselves, because they represent a civilization of their own.” So, it was Lajpat Rai who first propounded the Two-Nation Theory. He also suggested the partition of India….

Barun Das Gupta, in an article Congress, Hindutva and Indian Nationalism (Mainstream Weekly. August 22, 2020) says:

`We blame the Muslim League and its leader, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, for unleashing communal violence and for the partition of India. However, there is no denying the fact that at present there is a surge of militant Hindu nationalism which is not only anti-Muslim but also anti-science, anti-history and against the very idea of India being a plural polity with diverse language, culture, costume, food habit, etc’.

He adds, `There is no denying the other fact either that in the pre-independence days, with the exception of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, most other Congress leaders also cherished a strong Hindu identity and had a strong sympathy for Hinduism (whatever that may mean). Name any prominent Congress leader of those days — Pandit Motilal Nehru, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Pandit Bhulabhai Desai, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Babu Rajendra Prasad, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak — and you will find a strong Hindu identity characterizing them all. Both Lala Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, two of the three famous Lal-Bal-Pal trio, had a strong Hindu sentiment. Though Lajpat Rai once said that “To require India to coalesce into a nation with one religion and one tongue . . . would revive the medieval idea of one empire, one people, one church”, he joined the Hindu Mahasabha. Babu Rajendra Prasad’s India Divided brings out both his Hindu identity and his anti-Muslim sentiments’.

Two-nation theory on the march

Opposition in Rajya Sabha raises issue of hate speech against minorities. But, the Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu did not allow the issue to be raised; He even ordered expunging from records the references to the alleged call by the priest for the killing of a particular minority community.

Narsinghanand, head priest of Ghaziabad’s Dasna Devi temple, is out on bail in connection with a speech he made at a three-day ‘Dharam Sansad’ (religious parliament) held in Haridwar last December. Last week, he organised a mahapanchayat in Delhi without police permission, Yati Narsinghanand, delivered a speech exhorting Hindus to pick up arms claiming they faced the threat of conversion and violence if a “Muslim is made prime minister.”

In Aligarh, district panchayat chairman Vijay Singh had issued an order on April 2 asking all meat shops in areas falling under the jurisdiction of the zila panchayat to shut down “during the period of the Navratri festival”.

In a statement, the Muslim Personal law board lamented that it is even more difficult to live in India than in 1947. In Uttar Pradesh, on the occasion of New Year nine- day celebrations (Navratri), the Hindu forced the Muslim to shut down their meat shops. Harrasing the hijab-wearing Muslim women is an everyday phenomenon. In Gurgaon as elsewhere prayer-goers were beaten for offering nima 9prayer) in the open. India’s Supreme Court has already held that a mosque is not essential to the Muslim mode of worship. Prayers-goers, wearing a prayer cap were brutally beaten. After campaigning against halal meat, right wing outfits have called for a ban on loudspeakers in mosques. It all started with an FIR registered by a lady vice chancellor against use of loudspeakers. Bajrang Dal and Sriram Sena are in the forefront demanding  a ban on loudspeakers in mosques. Backing the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, they warned that they will play Bhajans (Hanuman Chalisa) loudly on speakers to counter them at 5 AM as a protest against azaan from loudspeakers at mosques.

In Karnataka, right-wing vigilantes are out admonishing Hindus not to buy halal mutton from Muslim butchers.

These same vigilantes are also in the forefront of agitations on behalf of the movie The Kashmir Files which enacts the cruelties suffered by Kashmiri Pandits at the harrowing time of 1990. And Kashmiri Pandits through history have been halal meat eaters. It is eerie that  India is the biggest exporter of meat. BJP legislators who fan hatred against meat themselves are the beef exporters.

The fanatic Hindu has been appealing to the Hindu community not to buy fruit from Muslim fruit vegetable and fruit sellers. The propaganda is that he Muslim spit on fruit

Veggies before pushing it into the market.

By corollary the Hindu should boycott India’s famed weavers of sarees, etc., in the holy town of Varanasi, and other famed Muslim-made crafts in brass, porcelain, filigree, textiles, construction activity, and a whole host of other products.

Concluding reflections

Today, when Hindu communalism is threatening to transform India from a secular, democratic State to a Hindu theocratic State and a weak and enervated Congress is finding it tempting to play “soft Hindutva” politics for immediate electoral gains, the future, indeed, seems gloomy’. The CPI(M) leader Yachery has asked Congress to clarify its position on Hindutva.

.In India, they have named Mughal monuments after Hindu icons. They even want to change the name of Hyderabad. Several states have passed anti-conversation laws in flagrant violations of provisions of Indian constitution.

Under Uttar Pradesh anti conversion (love jihad) law, Hindus are allowed to marry Muslims but not vice versa. The law is being applied by police even retrospectively to jail Muslims who married Hindu women years back. Courts are barred.

The so-called love jihad law interferes with personal liberty. It violates Articles 25 to 28, under which an Indian citizen is guaranteed the freedom to practise any religion of his or her choice. It allows the Indian State to intervene not only in the citizens’ private relationship with God, but also in the choice of their spouse. The atrocious law disobeys res judicata, Supreme Court’s decisions in Shafin Jahan v Ashok KM (2018), K.S. Puttaswamy v UOI (2017) and Allahabad High Court’s (November 11) Salamat Ansari v Uttar Pradesh (2020).

India’s prime minister named a bio-technology centre after Rashtraya Swayemsevak Sangh ideologue Golwalkar. The Citizenship Amendment Act and national Register of Citizenship are communalist ploys to harass the Muslim.

The Hindutva influence percolated into even Indian courts. Look at Ram Janambhoomi judgment, verdict that `mosques are not necessary for Muslim worship’ and Rajasthan High Court judge Mahesh Chandra Sharma’s 193-page judgment on `cow’.

His judgment, a mélange of scriptures and law, glistens with hijinks like ‘Peacocks Don’t Have Sex’, ‘Cow is a Surgeon’, `a complete pharmacy’, and cow is a ‘National Animal’. As per Article 48 and 51A (g) it is expected from the state government that they should take action to get a legal entity for cow in this country.”

This `erudite’ judgment mocks Article 51A (h) of Indian Constitution: “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”.

It appears that Hindutva-obsessed India is all set for further subdivision on the basis of the two-nation theory.

Amjed Jaaved
Amjed Jaaved
Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been contributing free-lance for over five decades. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is author of seven e-books including Terrorism, Jihad, Nukes and other Issues in Focus (ISBN: 9781301505944). He holds degrees in economics, business administration, and law.