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The Chronicles Of A Birth Foretold

  • Ch. Mhammad Ashraf
  • May, 2018
  • 621
  • National

At the end of the day, one can take solace from the fact that no matter how chequered and tortuous the course of events, the Muslim India achieved its manifest destiny and Pakistan is here to stay.

“Pakistan came into being when the first native of India embraced Islam”, is a mantra most Pakistanis believe in as an article of faith. “ No, Pakistan was created when Muhammad bin Quasim appeared on the Mekran coast in AD 712”, claims another school of thought. Polemics aside, no doubt, the largest Muslim state in the world announced its birth to the world on the 14th of August 1947. However, there were portents and omens; predictions and warnings; a whole lot of those, that preceded by centuries the birth of the newest nation-state, among the first of the 20th century. It all started with the two-nation theory. In 1817, James Mill, the English philosopher and political theorist, in his History of British India propounded that two different civilizations and/or nations are living together in India. Sir Syed in 1882 reiterated this with much greater force of reasoning. Veer Savarkar, the founder of Hindu Mahasabha, the virulently anti-Muslim communal Hindu Mahasabha organization added his powerful voice in subscribing to the much debated subject. While delivering his presidential address at the 19th session of his party at Karnavati (Ahmadabad) in 1937, Mr. Savarkar stated: “India cannot be assumed today to be a Unitarian and homogeneous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main; the Hindus and the Muslims, in India.” Scholars have debated this point adnauseum with a view to underplaying the historical statement (confession?) emanating from an avid and rabid ideologue of the Hindutvabut for the most part the truth has refused to die away.

Purna Swaraj: The flag of India was unfurled on the banks of the Ravi River at Lahore on 31st December 1929, by none else than Mr. Gandhi himself. The occasion was the annual session of the Indian National Congress (INC), and Jawaharlal Nehru was elected the president of the party in that session. From that fateful but historic day, the demand became a one-point official agenda of the Party. INC had been holding its annual sessions ever since its founding in 1885, with a bit of humble submission of innocuous demands of social nature, buta great deal of fanfare. People in general and the government of day, looked forward to the yearly drama with a lot of amused anticipation.Afterall, 6 of the preceding presidents (not including A.O. Hume, ICS, who all but ‘midwifed’ at the birth of the INC) were of European descent. There was little chance that the occasion would create a law and order issue.  So what was so special about the Lahore session? The answer is that it was for the first time that the party had raised the demand of the Purna Swaraj (total self-rule). This was not for the first time that the clarion call was made on that misty Lahore morning. Almost 10 years earlier, Congress leader and Urdu poet, HasratMohani was the first activist to demand complete independence from the British in 1921, from an All India Congress Forum.

From Lahore to Allahabad: The distance by rail/road between the two historical places is a mere 620 miles with two historic events taking place there within a gap of 703 days. Both distances are nothing impressive. Yet, however, as the events moved fast forward, it will be light years which would separate the Hindu India and the Muslim India. The gulf between the two communities which had lived side-by-side for a thousand years, albeit with a constant unease, would become all but un-bridgeable within a short span of time

“Muslim State within or without the British Empire”: The Allahabad Address by Allama Muhammad Iqbal: The address which forms the cornerstone of the struggle for Pakistan was delivered by the poet-philosopher during the 25the annual session of the All India Muslim League, on the afternoon of Monday, 29th December, 1930 at Allahabad. The basic outline of the famous address is too well-known to be repeated within the limited space available for the present article. There are two curious features of this otherwise scholarly and landmark address which are somewhat puzzling to a student of freedom movement in general and the struggle for Pakistan in particular. For one thing, Iqbal only talked about the Muslims of the North Western parts of the British Indian Empire. It is difficult to believe that he was not aware of the existence of an equally numerous population of his co-religionists in the North-eastern regions, i.e. Bengal, Assam, Bihar, etc. Why did he not talk of their political future? Secondly, it was merely an address by Iqbal in his personal capacity since it did not become part of the resolution by AIML during the Allahabad session. Nor, for that...

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