March 23, 1940 in retrospect

Muhammad Ali Baig

WHAT actually went down on March 23, 1940 and was that merely a document or the road to the ultimate destiny of the Indian Muslims? The chain of events happened during the three day session of All India Muslim League produced such a strong political instrument that ultimately altered the course of history and became the genesis of Pakistan. The foundations of the Lahore Resolution lie in the historic Allahabad Address by Allama Muhammad Iqbal in December 1930, who envisaged the geographical and ideological boundaries of Pakistan. The resolution was a milestone in Pakistan’s 90 years long war of independence and became its declaration of independence as well. Without a doubt, it was the culminating point of Two Nation Theory.
It was the time when the Axis Forces and the Allied Forces were busy in conquering and ruining the sovereignty of the nations around the world but it reflects one amazing fact that, Muslims of India were adamantly determined to turn the tide of history in their favour by transforming Chaudhry Rehmat Ali’s pamphlet “Now or Never” (January 28, 1933) into Pakistan. It just cannot be denied that the Second World War proved pretty much useful for the Muslims of India in realizing their separate homeland.
After the Lucknow Pact of 1916, Jinnah was named as the ambassador of Muslim-Hindu unity essentially due to his faith in peaceful co-existence. He was aware of the many differences between the two nations but was optimistic and hopeful. The chain of events just after the First World War especially the Khilafat Movement and the hypocrisy and duplicity of the Hindu mind forced Mr. Jinnah to think other way around. A series of Hindu orchestrated massacre of Muslims around India in 1920s, and last but not least Nehru Report in 1928; was an eye-opener and subsequently Jinnah’s famous Fourteen Points in 1929 was a clear sign that the Quaid had abandoned his hopes of Hindu-Muslim unity.
The Lahore or Pakistan Resolution depicts one thing in particular that the unity and coherence among the ranks results in a lasting political solution. It is quite unfortunate that the intellectuals and academia of Pakistan have not been that much effective in disseminating the real essence of Pakistan Resolution. Also, many students; especially studying the Cambridge Education are entirely unaware about the pursuit of freedom for Pakistan. Dr. Stanley Wolpert’s book “Jinnah of Pakistan” (1982) is a remarkable account on the Pakistan Movement. If one tries to analyze the Pakistan Resolution, then it becomes evident that a simple yet realistic resolution was translated as an instrument of independence and despite of numerous internal and external threats, Pakistan has been successful in not only preserving its independence and freedom but it is also growing steadily on the international and regional horizons.
In hindsight, it is evident that the Lahore Resolution was not an action and instead it was a reaction of the Muslims of India in response to the series of deceptions by Hindu-dominated Congress. Also, it was Hindus who were completely psyched-out by this determination of Muslims and named it as Pakistan Resolution. Many Hindu scholars especially those belonging to the Akhand Bharat and Hindutva schools of thought; labelled the Lahore Resolution as Pakistan Resolution, but they completely forgot that it actually was a backfire of their narrow mindedness despite of several attempts made by Muhammad Ali Jinnah to bring unity among Hindus and Muslims. In addition to Pakistan Resolution, the 23rd March 1956 marked the emergence of first ever Islamic Republic on the map of the world when the nascent nation-state got its first constitution. 23rd March demands firm reiteration from the people of Pakistan to uphold its political sovereignty and territorial integrity; with an unmatched resolve to protect the motherland from domestic and foreign threats and the protection of the constitution. The entire Pakistani nation pays utmost respect and reverence to all the pioneers of the freedom movement.
Today’s Pakistan is a progressive and democratic one with its concrete commitment to eradicate the evil of terrorism and to abide by the international and regional obligations in good faith. Since its independence Pakistan has been acting in accordance with the Lahore Resolution of Mar 23, 1940 since Jinnah and Muslim League achieved their objective of a separate country and did not violate Indian sovereignty. It puts heavy pressure on Pakistan’s antagonistic neighbouring India to abandon its hegemonic designs, to put a leash on Saffron Terrorism and to conclude composite dialogue with Pakistan for sustainable peace and security in South Asia.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.
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