Course: Ideological Foundations of Pakistan (537)
Level: M.Sc Semester: Autumn, 2022
ASSIGNMENT No. 2
Q.1 Account for the Mopla Revolt in 1921. Also describe the Hindu-Muslim Riots that followed the uprising of Moplas. Discuss in detail.
The Congress and Khilafat movement was organized in massive proportion in the Malabar district of Kerala. The majority of population of most of the Talukas of that district were Mopla Muslims. They were mostly poor peasants or Jenmis (Bonded labour) while the landlords were mostly Hindus. Before 1921, the British rulers had almost always turned the anger of Mopla peasants into communal lines and defeated them. This time Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Saukat Ali jointly toured Kerala and propagated for Swaraj and Khilafat. The response was tremendous and Khilafat committees were formed almost everywhere.
In August, 1921, the police issued rule 144 in the two Talukas of Ernad and Valluvamad, because these two were strongholds of the Moplas. The police also tried to arrest on 20th August 1921, the Secretary of the Ernad Khilafat Committee. The Moplas resisted this arrest with swords and spears. Led by the Police Superintendent of Ernad, a huge police party forcibly entered the Tirurangadi Masjid. At once, the protest movement spread like wild fire and took the character of a mass rebellion. The Moplas captured police thanas one after another, looted Government treasury and burnt official documents in the courts and the Registry offices. Led by desperate rebel leaders like Ali Musaliar, the Mopla rebellion took unprecedented form. According to historians of the Congress movement in Kerala by 28th August, 1921, the British rule totally collapsed in the areas of Malappuras, Tirurangadi, Sazeri and Perinthalmanna. Historian Roland Miller wrote that while British controlled the main cities, the entire rural area of Malabar was completely controlled by the Mopla rebels for 3 whole months. More than a million people in 220 sub districts were involved in this mass uprising.
The British Government invoked Marshal Law to crush the rebellion. Then started the reign of terror. An instance is the episode of 19th November, 1921. On that day in a small compartment of a train, 122 Moplas were packed like Sardines and were taken to Coimbatore, 90 miles away. At Coimbatore, when the doors of the compartment were opened, it was found that 64 prisoners had been suffocated to death. All told at least 10,000 Moplas were killed in the name of crushing down the rebellion and 3,000 more were sentenced to transportation for life and shipped off to the Andamans. Except the revolt of 1857 and the Santhal revolt prior to that so many people had never been killed by the British in any other single movement. Many Hindus had also participated in the Mopla rebellion. No Hindu leader or even leaders of the joint movement were allowed to enter the area during the rebellion. Among the 1st 46 Mopla rebels given life sentences, side by side with Maid Maulavi, Mahammad Abdul Rahman and Hassan Koya were one Namboodri, one Menon, one Nayar and Narayan Menon, Madhaba Nabi.
The Malabar rebellion] of 1921 (also called Moplah rebellion, and Mappila rebellion) started as a resistance against the British colonial rule in Malabar region of Kerala. The popular uprising was also against the prevailing feudal system controlled by elite Hindus. The British had appointed high caste Hindus in positions of authority to get their support, this led to the protest turning against the Hindus.
For many, the rebellion was primarily a peasant revolt against the colonial government. During the uprising, the rebels attacked various symbols and institutions of the colonial state, such as telegraph lines, train stations, courts and post offices.
There were also a series of clashes between the Mappila peasantry and their landlords, the latter supported by the British colonial government, throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. The heavy-handed suppression of the Khilafat Movement by the colonial government was met by resistance in the Eranad and Valluvanad taluks of Malabar. The Mappilas attacked and took control of police stations, colonial government offices, courts and government treasuries.
For six months from August 1921, the rebellion extended over 2,000 square miles (5,200 km2) – some 40% of the South Malabar region of the Madras Presidency. The British colonial government sent troops to quell the rebellion and martial law imposed. An estimated 10,000 people lost their lives, although official figures put the numbers at 2337 rebels killed, 1652 injured and 45,404 imprisoned. Unofficial estimates put the number imprisoned at almost 50,000 of whom 20,000 were deported, mainly to the penal colony in the Andaman Islands, while around 10,000 went missing. According to Arya Samaj, about 600 Hindus were killed and 2,500 were forcibly converted to Islam during the rebellion.
Contemporary colonial administrators and modern historians differ markedly in their assessment of the incident, debating whether the revolts were triggered by religious fanaticism or agrarian grievances. At the time, the Indian National Congress repudiated the movement and it remained isolated from the wider nationalist movement. However, some contemporary Indian evaluations now view the rebellion as a national upheaval against colonial rule and the most important event concerning the political movement in Malabar during the period.
In its magnitude and extent, it was an unprecedented popular upheaval, the likes of which has not been seen in Kerala before or since. While the Mappilas were in the vanguard of the movement and bore the brunt of the struggle, several non-Mappila leaders actively sympathised with the rebels’ cause, giving the uprising the character of a national upheaval. In 1971, the Government of Kerala officially recognised the active participants in the events as “freedom fighters”.
Q.2 What were the factors which led to the British Government to appoint Simon Commission? Also describe how the commission was received by the Indian People. Discuss.
The Indian Statutory Commission also known as Simon Commission, was a group of seven Members of Parliament under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon. The commission arrived in India in 1928 to study constitutional reform in Britain’s largest and most important possession. One of its members was the future leader of the Labour Party Clement Attlee, who became committed to self-government for India.
At the time of introducing of Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms in 1919, the British Government declared that a commission would be sent to India after ten years to examine the effects and operations of the constitutional reforms and to suggest more reforms for India.
In November 1927, the British government appointed the Simon Commission two years ahead of schedule to report on India’s constitutional progress for introducing constitutional reforms, as promised. The Commission was strongly opposed by many Indians. It was opposed by Nehru, Gandhi, Jinnah, the Muslim League and Indian National Congress because it contained seven members of the British Parliament but no Indians. However, it was supported by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Periyar E. V. Ramasamy and Chaudhary Chhotu Ram.
Prominent Indian nationalist Lala Lajpat Rai led a protest in Lahore. He suffered a police beating during the protest and died of his injuries on 17 November 1928.
The Government of India Act 1919 had introduced the system of diarchy to govern the provinces of British India. Indian opinion clamored for revision of this form of government, and the Government of India Act 1919 stated that a commission would be appointed after ten years to investigate the progress of the government scheme and suggest new steps for reform. The Secretary of State for India F.E Smith feared that the ruling Conservative government was facing imminent electoral defeat at the hands of the Labour Party, and hence feared that the commission would be filled by its members and sympathizers. Hence, the commission was appointed ahead of time, and seven MPs were selected to constitute the promised commission to examine the state of Indian constitutional affairs. He also ensured that there were no Indians in the commission, as he believed the Labour MPs and Indian members would join together. The Viceroy of India Lord Irwin too supported the decision to exclude Indians as he too thought they would vote together with the Labour MPs but also because he thought the Indian representatives would fight each other.
Some people in India were outraged and insulted that the Simon Commission, which was to determine the future of India, did not include a single Indian member. The Indian National Congress, at its December 1927 meeting in Madras (now Chennai), resolved to boycott the Commission and challenged Lord Birkenhead, the Secretary of State for India, to draft a constitution that would be acceptable to the Indian populace. A faction of the Muslim League, led by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, also decided to boycott the Commission.
In face of the opposition from the Congress, F.E Smith wanted to publicize the meetings of the Commission with “representative Moslems” in order to “terrify the immense Hindu population by apprehension that the Commission is being got hold of by the Moslems and may present a report altogether destructive of the Hindu population.”
However opinion was divided, with support for co-operation coming from some members of the Muslim League and also both Hindu Mahasabha and members of the Central Sikh League. An All-India Committee for Cooperation with the Simon Commission was established by the Council of India and by selection of the Viceroy, Lord Irwin. The members of the committee were: C. Sankaran Nair (Chairman), Arthur Froom, Nawab Ali Khan, Shivdev Singh Uberoi, Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Hari Singh Gour, Abdullah Al-Mamun Suhrawardy, Kikabhai Premchand and Prof. M. C. Rajah.
In Burma (Myanmar), which was included in the terms of reference of the Simon Commission, there was strong suspicion either that Burma’s unpopular union with India would continue, or that the constitution recommended for Burma by the Commission would be less generous than that chosen for India; these suspicions resulted in tension and violence in Burma leading to the rebellion of Saya San.
The commission found education was denied to untouchables who were ill-treated in the name of caste.
Protests and death of Lala Lajpat Rai
The Simon Commission left England in January 1928. Almost immediately with its arrival in Bombay on 3 February 1928, its members were confronted by throngs of protesters, although there were also some supporters among the crowds who saw it as the next step on the road to self-governance. A strike began and many people turned out to greet the Commission with black flags which was written ‘Simon Go Back’. Maghfoor Ahmad Ajazi led the demonstrations against Simon Commission in Patna. Similar protests occurred in every major Indian city that the seven British MPs visited.
One protest against the Simon Commission became infamous. On 30 October 1928, the Commission arrived in Lahore where it was met by protesters waving black flags. The protest was led by the Indian nationalist Lala Lajpat Rai, who had moved a resolution against the Commission in the Legislative Assembly of Punjab in February 1928. The protesters blocked the road in order to prevent the commission members from leaving the railway station. In order to make way for the Commission, the local police led by Superintendent James Scott began beating protesters. Lala Lajpat Rai was critically injured and died on 17 November 1928 due to the head injuries he had sustained.
The Commission published its 2-volume report in May 1930. The commission proposed to abolish the diarchy, an extension to autonomy of provinces by establishing representative government in provinces. However it allowed the British governors of provinces to retain much of their emergency powers, hence in practice very little autonomy was to be given to the provinces. Most notably the commission’s report did not mention dominion status at all. The commission also recommended to retain separate electorates as long as inter-communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims remained.
In September 1928, ahead of the Commission’s release, Motilal Nehru presented his Nehru Report to counter its charges that Indians could not find a constitutional consensus among themselves. This report advocated that India be given dominion status with complete internal self-government. Jinnah declared the report as “Hindu Document” and presented Fourteen Points of Jinnah in response to the Nehru Report. The Fourteen Points consisted of Muslim’s minimum demands from the British Rule.
By the time it was published the commission was already overshadowed by a declaration by the Viceroy of India Lord Irwin on 31 October 1929 which reinterpreted the 1917 declaration (which had led to the Mortagu-Chelmsford reforms) as the British government’s final policy goal always being India’s attainment of dominion status. He also called for a round-table conference in London regarding this. Although this remained controversial among many conservatives in London, in reality there was no change in British policy as the promise was very vague and far in the future.
The outcome of the Simon Commission was the Government of India Act 1935, which called for a “responsible” government at the provincial level in India but not at the national level—that is a government responsible to the Indian community rather than London. It is the basis of many parts of the Indian Constitution. In 1937 the first elections were held in the Provinces, resulting in Congress Governments being returned in almost all Provinces.
Clement Attlee was deeply moved by his experience on the Commission and endorsed the final report. However, by 1933 he argued that British rule was alien to India and was unable to make the social and economic reforms necessary for India’s progress. He became the British leader most sympathetic to Indian independence (as a dominion), preparing him for his role in deciding on Indian independence as British Prime Minister in 1947.
Q.3 Appraise the efforts Quaid-i-Azam made to make the British parliamentary system of Government responsive to the Muslim needs and interests. Discuss.
The period of 1941-1947 is very important in the political career of Quaid-i-Azam regarding establishment of Pakistan. The Pakistan Resolution of 23rd March 1940 defined the goal of Pakistan. On the face of Congress opposition to the Pakistan scheme, Quaid-i-Azam stood firm like a rock. In an article published in the Times and Tide of London, Quaid-i-Azam reiterated that Hindus and Muslims are two different nations and insisted on the two nations sharing the governance of their common motherland.1
The Second World War had a significant effect on the events leading to creation of Pakistan. The British Government was eager to attain the cooperation of leading parties of India including All India Muslim League. Quaid-i-Azam elaborated Lord Linlithgow on the League Working Committee’s stance that as a pre-condition of League’s full cooperation and support to the war effort, the British Government should give assurance that no policy declaration would be made or any constitution framed without the approval or consent of the Indian Muslims.2
On August 8, 1940, in a view to gain Indian support, the British Government issued a white paper that “after the war a constituent Assembly would be formed which will include all the elements of the national life and its task would be to prepare the framework of the country’s future constitution”.3 The scheme was called the August Offer. Quaid-i-Azam as a constitutionalist realized the importance of August Offer and in a meeting of League Working Committee “expressed his satisfaction over the British Government decision that no future constitution would be adopted without the prior approval and consent of the League”.4
To bring an end to the political deadlock of India, the British Government send Sir Stafford Cripps. He arrived in India on 22nd March 1942 and held talks with Indian leaders including Quaid-i-Azam on his famous proposal called as CRIPPS PROPOSALS. The proposals included some important points like complete independence to India after war, framing of new Constituent Assembly and if a province wants not to accede, she was given this option.
The Cripps proposals were rejected both by the Congress and Muslim League. Though Quaid-i-Azam was against these proposals and termed it as “vaguer terms and unfair to Muslims in obliging them to take part in a constitution making body whose main object, contrary to their, was the creation of an all-India union”.5 Besides rejecting, Quaid-i-Azam saw a ray of hope in the Cripps proposals and had admitted that the only positive aspect of the plan was that” for the first time, the British Government agreed in principle to the idea of partition”.6
The Congress was adamant to oppose the British Government at any cost. To give impetus to this stance, the Congress Working Committee on 14th July 1942 passed a Resolution calling upon the British Government to quite India immediately. Quaid-i-Azam sensed the real motive of Congress Resolution. In an statement to the press, Quaid-i-Azam revealed that the aim of the Congress is “blackmailing the British and coercing them to concede a system of government and transfer power to that government which would establish a Hindu raj immediately under the aegis of the British bayonet thereby placing the Muslims and other minorities and interests at the mercy of the Congress raj”.7
Not all Muslims looked up to Jinnah. Many criticized him, some because they found him too Westernized, others because he was too straight and uncompromising. One young man, motivated by religious fervour and belonging to the Khaksar, a religious party, attempted to assassinate him on 26 July 1943. Armed with a knife he broke into Jinnah’s home in Bombay and succeeded in wounding him before he was overpowered. Jinnah publicly appealed to his followers and friends to “remain calm and cool”8 The League declared 13 August a day of thanksgiving through out India.
When Gandhi realized that Quit India Movement was heading nowhere but towards failure, he approached the Viceroy and at the same time, sought settlement with the Muslim League. With this end in view, C. Rajagopalachari, the only person who was seeking some understanding with the Muslims, wrote a letter to Quaid-i-Azam on 8 April 1944. He forwarded to the Quaid-i-Azam his formula known as C.R. Formula.
- Rajagopalachari termed it “a basis for a settlement which I discussed with Gandhiji in March 1943 and of which he expressed full approval”.9 Quaid-i-Azam responded to C. R. Formula not by himself but instead said that the matter to be presented before Working Committee of the All India Muslim League. Salient features of the C. R. Formula were formation of interim government, plebiscite to decide the issue of separation from Hindustan, mutual agreements in case of partition etc. The C.R. formula became the basis for Gandhi in connection with his talks with Quaid-i-Azam.
JINNAH GANDHI TALKS are an interesting chapter in the history of India. The two major figures of their parties were watched with an air of expectancy, aimed at breaking the political stalemate between the League and the Congress for a settlement to pave the way for Indian independence. Though the talks were between two personalities but actually it was the clash of two schemes, C. R. Formula advocated by Gandhi and Pakistan Resolution by Quaid-i-Azam. Gandhi and Jinnah met on 9 September 1944 and the meeting was followed by a series of letters exchanged between the two. In a letter wrote to Gandhi, Quaid-i-Azam questioned his position, “representative Character and capacity on behalf of the Hindus or the Congress”.10 Quaid further wrote that you cannot discuss the Hindu-Muslim settlement and you have no authority to do so.
To this M. K. Gandhi replied that he was participating in the talks in individual capacity.11 Quaid-i-Azam primarily based his views on Lahore Resolution that the areas in which the Muslims are in majority should be grouped to constitute independent states. M. K. Gandhi insisted on C.R. Formula as starting point. He added that after the war an interim government would be set up and a plebiscite will be held as to decide in favour of separation from Hindustan or against it. To this Jinnah replied and saught clarification for the mechanism and authority to decide and work out these matters. The Jinnah-Gandhi talks failed as C.R. Formula and Pakistan Resolution could not be reconciled. But it exposed the Gandhi’s Congressite-cum-Mahasabhite face. He wrote to Quaid-i-Azam that “I find no parallel in history for a body of converts and their dependants claiming to be a nation apart from the parent stock”.12 Quaid-i-Azam reiterated that Muslims are a nation by any definition and by all canons of international law.
The failure of Gandhi-Jinnah talks necessitated the need for all the political parties of India to come to some political settlement of the communal tangle. On June 14, 1945, Lord Wavell announced for re-organization of Governor General’s Executive Council. The arrangement put forward by Lord Wavell is called WAVELL PLAN. A conference was called by the Viceroy at Simla and invited inter alia Quaid-i-Azam to attend the Conference. At the SIMLA CONFERENCE the Muslim seats became the bone of contention. Congress insisted on nominating two Muslims of its own while Quaid-i-Azam demanded that “all Muslims appointed to the Council should be from among the All India Muslim League”.13 The Simla Conference failed mainly because of the refusal of the British Government and the Congress to recognize the All-India Muslim League as the only representative body of Muslim India. Now the challenge before Quaid-i-Azam and Muslim League was to prove that Muslim League is the only representative organization of Muslim India and it was proved in the General Elections of 1945-46.
To set the preparations for GENERAL-ELECTIONS 1945-46, a campaign for collection of funds was started in July 1945. In response donations in large sums received from all over the India and the Indian Muslims abroad. Parliamentary Boards were set-up in each province to decide the issue of allocation of Muslim League tickets. The democratic attitude of Quaid-i-Azam can be witnessed in allocation of seats and it was made clear by Quaid-i-Azam that he will never interfere with the work of the Parliamentary Boards nor be interceded on behalf of any aspirant. Quaid-i-Azam urged on the Leaguers to concentrate exclusively on the elections. In a telegram to medical students of Calcutta, he advised “establish complete unity, face election with grim determination. Issue life-death. Every vote for the League means rescue of hundred million Musalmans, Islam Pakistan”.14 The League performed well in the elections. It swept all the Muslim seats in the Central Assembly and captures 428 out of 492 Muslim seats in the provincial legislatures. The League’s claim to speak on behalf of Muslim India has now been fully realized.
After the War the British Government was left with no option but to give independence to India. In these circumstances the Secretary of State for India, Lord Pathick Lawrence on February 19, 1946, announced the formation of the CABINET MISSION to solve the Indian political tangle. The salient features of Cabinet Mission Plan were long term and short term. The long term plans were union of India, grouping of India into 3 groups based on Communal lines and option of reconsideration for any group, the terms of constitution after 10 years. The Short term plan including setting up of an interim government by the Indian representatives. Quaid-i-Azam rejected the Cabinet Mission plan and in a statement on 22 May 1946 said, “Pakistan is the only solution to the constitutional problems of India”.15 But being a lover of democracy, the Quaid-i-Azam rested the decision with the League Council. In the meeting of League Council, Quaid-i-Azam expressed his firm faith that the Muslims of India would not feel at rest till the creation of Pakistan. He further added, “the scheme contained in itself, a basis for Pakistan”.16 The Congress out rightly rejected the Cabinet Mission Plan while the Muslim League accepted it. It was binding on the British’s Government to invite Muslim League for the formation of interim government but it was not done so. Under these circumstances, the League on 27 July 1946, decided to withdraw its support for the plan and to take DIRECT ACTION to attain Pakistan. In this meeting Quaid-i-Azam remarked, “the Cabinet Mission has played into the hands of the Congress. It has played game of its own”.17 However due to the stern responses, the League along with Congress was invited to form the interim government.
The last Governor General of India, Louis Mountbatten arrived India on 22nd March 1947. Louis Mountbatten was sent by the British Government on a special mission to transfer power to India. With this end in view he prepared a plan for the transfer of power known as MOUNTBATTEN PLAN OR 3RD JUNE PLAN. Important points of 3rd June Plan were adequate arrangements of Punjab and Bengal assemblies if they favor partition of these provinces, referendum in NWFP and Sylhet for deciding their fate to join India or Pakistan etc. The Plan was presented on June 2, 1947 before the Indian leaders including Quaid-i-Azam. Being a constitutionalist and firm believer in democratic norms, he remarked, “I can express my own opinion in this regard but the Muslim League is a democratic institution. Therefore, the League and Working Committee would contact the people before making any final decision”.18 The plan was finally approved by League Council on 9th August 1947.19 The plan of 3rd June paved the way for partition of India in general and of Punjab and Bengal in particular.
To give effect to the 3rd June Plan, a commission was formed headed by Sir Cyril Radcliff known as RADCLIFFE COMMISSION. The Commission was assigned the task of demarcating the contiguous Muslim and non-Muslim majority areas of the Punjab and Bengal. The award of Radcliffe Commission was very astonishing to the Muslims. Great injustices were done by the Award. The Muslim majority areas of Gurdaspur, Jullundur, Ferozpur, Zira and Ambala were handed over to India due to the clandestine efforts of Congress in general and V.P. Menon in particular. The Quaid-i-Azam expressed his grief and resentment on the Award and said that they have been squeezed inasmuch as it was possible and it was an unjust, incomprehensible and even perverse Award.20 During these circumstances the independent Muslim State of Pakistan emerged on the map of the world on 14th August 1947 and Quaid-i-Azam became the undisputed first Governor General of Pakistan.
Q.4 What were the factors responsible to bring abut a change in Mohammad Ali Jinnah form ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity to the “Champion of Muslim Rights”?
Jinnah as a staunch supporter of Hindu Muslim and Indian unity started his political career with Indian National Congress in 1906. To bring closer all the Indian communities he even “bitterly opposed the introduction of separate electorate in the district boards and municipalities”1 at the Congress session of 1910.
Jinnah started his parliamentary career in 1910 and on January 4, elected as member of Imperial Legislative Council from Bombay. On the insistence of Sayyid Wazir Hasan and Mohamed Ali, ”Jinnah became a member of the League on October 10, 1913”2 Jinnah was instrumental in persuading the All India Muslim League to amend its constitution by adding a suitable self government under British Crown. In October 1917, he joined the Home Rule League founded by Annie Besant to further the cause of attainment of self rule for India. On the internment of Annie Besant, he became President of the Home Rule League of Bombay on 17th June 1918. He used his position to organize public meetings throughout the Bombay Presidency, mobilized propaganda and publicity campaigns.3
In 1918, he held a vigorous campaign against the farewell party in honour of the Governor of Bombay, Lord Willingdon. “In the company of hundreds of his supporters present on the occasion, Jinnah told Willingdon to his face that the people of Bombay were not party to commemorating or approving his services as Governor”.4 The efforts of Jinnah were applauded and Jinnah Memorial Hall was constructed as a tribute to him from the people of Bombay.
Another landmark of Jinnah’s political struggle, to bring closer the Hindus and Muslims, was Lucknow Pact. In December 1916, AIML and Congress met in Lucknow. It was due to untiring efforts of Jinnah that the Congress “agreed to separate electorate, for the first and the last time”.5 To applaud these efforts of Jinnah, he was given the title of ‘Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity’ by Sarojni Naidu.
To counter the secret and revolutionary activities during the World War I, an Act was introduced by the British Government known as Rowlatt Act. Jinnah opposed the Act as it was against all the fundamental notions of law and justice. He “resigned from Imperial Legislative Council as a protest”.6
For survival of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey, Khilafat Movement started in India in 1919. Congress participated in the movement and M.K. Gandhi “was elected President of the Khilafat Conference at Delhi”.7 This was followed by the Non-Cooperation Movement which triggered violence in India. Jinnah was against Gandhi’s Non Cooperation Movement so much so that he remained away from it. ”He had a feeling that the League was being overshadowed by Gandhi’s ideologies, so he distanced himself from Khilafat Movement”.8
The dream of Hindu-Muslim unity seemed collapsing but it was Jinnah who stepped forward and presented his Delhi Muslim Proposals in 1927. For the sake of Hindu-Muslim unity, the Muslim League was ready to forego the demand which was cry of the Muslim India, the ‘separate electorate’. The Delhi-Muslim Proposals “reflected his intentions and revealed his views about Hindu-Muslim Unity”.9 These efforts were undone by the Nehru Report. Jinnah opposed it tooth and nail. “The Nehru Report of 1928 made no concession at all, and was rejected by all shades of Muslim opinion”.10
Reaction to Nehru Report was the famous Fourteen Points of Jinnah. These Fourteen Points clearly reflected the demands, sentiments and aspirations of the Muslims”.11 The Congress did not give any importance to these points and instead determined to oppose them.
In order to discuss the political deadlock and reach some constitutional settlement of British India, Round Table Conferences were held in London from 1930-1932. Jinnah “played a vital role on Federal Structure Sub-Committee”.12 The Round Table Conference proved that the two main communities of India held bipolar and contradicting views on Indian constitutional progress.
To end the stalemate British Government announced Communal Award on 16 August 1932 leading to the enactment of Government of India Act 1935. The Act was neither held by the Muslim League nor by the Congress. But this Act became the basis for the future constitutions of India and Pakistan
Q.5 Explain the two nation theory form the view point of both communities i.e. Muslims and the Hindus.
The two-nation theory is an ideology of religious nationalism that influenced the decolonisation of the British Raj in South Asia. According to this ideology, Indian Muslims and Indian Hindus are two separate nations, with their own customs, religion, and traditions; consequently, both socially and morally, Muslims should have a separate homeland within the decolonised British Indian Empire.
Syed Ahmad Khan, the pioneer of Muslim nationalism in South Asia is widely credited as the father of the Two-Nation Theory. The theory that religion is the determining factor in defining the nationality of Indian Muslims was promoted by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and became the basis of Pakistan Movement. The Two-Nation theory argued for a different state for the Muslims of the British Indian Empire as Muslims would not be able to succeed politically in a Hindu-majority India; this interpretation nevertheless promised a democratic state where Muslims and non-Muslims would be treated equally.
Opposition to the two-nation theory came chiefly from Hindus, and some Muslims, (the Muslim League having won a near-unanimous majority in the Muslim-majority districts in the provincial elections of 1946.) They conceived of India as a single Indian nation, of which Hindus and Muslims are two intertwined communities. The state of India officially rejected the two-nation theory and chose to be a secular state, enshrining the concepts of religious pluralism and composite nationalism in its constitution. Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region three-fifths of which is administered by the Republic of India, and the oldest dispute before the United Nations, is a venue for both competing ideologies of South Asian nationhood.
In general, the British colonial government and British commentators made “it a point of speaking of Indians as the people of India and avoid speaking of an Indian nation.” This was cited as a key reason for British control of the country: since Indians were not a nation, they were theoretically not capable of national self-government. While some Indian leaders insisted that Indians were one nation, others agreed that Indians were not yet a nation but there was “no reason why in the course of time they should not grow into a nation.” Scholars note that a national consciousness has always been present in “India”, or more broadly the Indian subcontinent, even if it was not articulated in modern terms. Indian historians such as Shashi Tharoor have claimed that the partition of India was a result of the divide-and-rule policies of the British colonial government initiated after Hindus and Muslims united together to fight against the British East India Company in the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
Similar debates on national identity existed within India at the linguistic, provincial and religious levels. While some argued that Indian Muslims were one nation, others argued they were not. Some, such as Liaquat Ali Khan (later Prime Minister of Pakistan) argued that Indian Muslims were not yet a nation, but could be forged into one.
According to the Pakistan’s government official chronology,] Muhammad bin Qasim is often referred to as the first Pakistani. While Prakash K. Singh attributes the arrival of Muhammad bin Qasim as the first step towards the creation of Pakistan. Muhammad Ali Jinnah considered the Pakistan movement to have started when the first Muslim put a foot in the Gateway of Islam.
Roots of Muslim separatism in Colonial India (17th century–1940s)
It is generally believed in Pakistan that the movement for Muslim self-awakening and identity was started by Ahmad Sirhindi (1564–1624), who fought against emperor Akbar’s religious syncretist Din-i Ilahi movement and is thus considered “for contemporary official Pakistani historians” to be the founder of the Two-nation theory, and was particularly intensified under the Muslim reformer Shah Waliullah (1703-1762) who, because he wanted to give back to Muslims their self-consciousness during the decline of the Mughal empire and the rise of the non-Muslim powers like the Marathas, Jats and Sikhs, launched a mass-movement of the religious education which made “them conscious of their distinct nationhood which in turn culminated in the form of Two Nation Theory and ultimately the creation of Pakistan.”
Akbar Ahmed also considers Haji Shariatullah (1781–1840) and Syed Ahmad Barelvi (1786–1831) to be the forerunners of the Pakistan movement, because of their purist and militant reformist movements targeting the Muslim masses, saying that “reformers like Waliullah, Barelvi and Shariatullah were not demanding a Pakistan in the modern sense of nationhood. They were, however, instrumental in creating an awareness of the crisis looming for the Muslims and the need to create their own political organization. What Sir Sayyed did was to provide a modern idiom in which to express the quest for Islamic identity.”
Thus, many Pakistanis often quote modernist and reformist scholar Syed Ahmad Khan (1817–1898) as the architect of the two-nation theory. For instance, Sir Syed, in a January 1883 speech in Patna, talked of two different nations, even if his own approach was conciliatory:
“My friends! This India of ours is populated by two famous communities, the Hindus and the Muslims. These two communities stand in the same relation to India in which the head and the heart stand in relation to the human body.”
However, the formation of the Indian National Congress was seen politically threatening and he dispensed with composite Indian nationalism. In an 1887 speech, he said:
Now suppose that all the English were to leave India—then who would be rulers of India? Is it possible that under these circumstances two nations, Mohammedan and Hindu, could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer the other and thrust it down. To hope that both could remain equal is to desire the impossible and inconceivable.
In 1888, in a critical assessment of the Indian National Congress, which promoted composite nationalism among all the castes and creeds of colonial India, he also considered Muslims to be a separate nationality among many others:
The aims and objects of the Indian National Congress are based upon an ignorance of history and present-day politics; they do not take into consideration that India is inhabited by different nationalities: they presuppose that the Muslims, the Marathas, the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Banias, the Sudras, the Sikhs, the Bengalis, the Madrasis, and the Peshawaris can all be treated alike and all of them belong to the same nation. The Congress thinks that they profess the same religion, that they speak the same language, that their way of life and customs are the same… I consider the experiment which the Indian National Congress wants to make fraught with dangers and suffering for all the nationalities of India, especially for the Muslims.
In 1925, during the Aligarh session of the All-India Muslim League, which he chaired, Justice Abdur Rahim (1867–1952) was one of the first to openly articulate on how Muslims and Hindu constitute two nations, and while it would become common rhetoric, later on, the historian S. M. Ikram says that it “created quite a sensation in the twenties”:
The Hindus and Muslims are not two religious sects like the Protestants and Catholics of England, but form two distinct communities of peoples, and so they regard themselves. Their respective attitude towards life, distinctive culture, civilization and social habits, their traditions and history, no less than their religion, divide them so completely that the fact that they have lived in the same country for nearly 1,000 years has contributed hardly anything to their fusion into a nation… Any of us Indian Muslims travelling for instance in Afghanistan, Persia, and Central Asia, among Chinese Muslims, Arabs, and Turks, would at once be made at home and would not find anything to which we are not accustomed. On the contrary in India, we find ourselves in all social matters total aliens when we cross the street and enter that part of the town where our Hindu fellow townsmen live.
More substantially and influentially than Justice Rahim, or the historiography of British administrators, the poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938) provided the philosophical exposition and Barrister Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1871–1948) translated it into the political reality of a nation-state. Allama Iqbal’s presidential address to the Muslim League on 29 December 1930 is seen by some as the first exposition of the two-nation theory in support of what would ultimately become Pakistan.
Some Hindu nationalists also tended to believe Hindus and Muslims are different peoples, as illustrated by a statement made by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1937 during the 19th session of the Hindu Mahasabha in Ahmedabad regarding two nations –
There are two antagonistic nations living side by side in India. India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogenous nation. On the contrary, there are two nations in the main: the Hindus and the Muslims, in India.
The All-India Muslim League, in attempting to represent Indian Muslims, felt that the Muslims of the subcontinent were a distinct and separate nation from the Hindus. At first they demanded separate electorates, but when they opined that Muslims would not be safe in a Hindu-dominated India, they began to demand a separate state. The League demanded self-determination for Muslim-majority areas in the form of a sovereign state promising minorities equal rights and safeguards in these Muslim majority areas.
Many scholars argue that the creation of Pakistan through the partition of India was orchestrated by an elite class of Muslims in colonial India, not the common man. A large number of Islamic political parties, religious schools, and organizations opposed the partition of India and advocated a composite nationalism of all the people of the country in opposition to British rule (especially the All India Azad Muslim Conference).
In 1941, a CID report states that thousands of Muslim weavers under the banner of Momin Conference and coming from Bihar and Eastern U.P. descended in Delhi demonstrating against the proposed two-nation theory. A gathering of more than fifty thousand people from an unorganized sector was not usual at that time, so its importance should be duly recognized. The non-ashraf Muslims constituting a majority of Indian Muslims were opposed to partition but sadly they were not heard. They were firm believers of Islam yet they were opposed to Pakistan.
On the other hand, Ian Copland, in his book discussing the end of the British rule in the Indian subcontinent, precises that it was not an élite-driven movement alone, who are said to have birthed separatism “as a defence against the threats posed to their social position by the introduction of representative government and competitive recruitment to the public service”, but that the Muslim masses participated into it massively because of the religious polarization which had been created by Hindu revivalism towards the last quarter of the 19th century, especially with the openly anti-Islamic Arya Samaj and the whole cow protection movement, and “the fact that some of the loudest spokesmen for the Hindu cause and some of the biggest donors to the Arya Samaj and the cow protection movement came from the Hindu merchant and money lending communities, the principal agents of lower-class Muslim economic dependency, reinforced this sense of insecurity”, and because of Muslim resistance, “each year brought new riots” so that “by the end of the century, Hindu-Muslim relations had become so soured by this deadly roundabout of blood-letting, grief and revenge that it would have taken a mighty concerted effort by the leaders of the two communities to repair the breach.”