Bahri Karam Khan
WHY was this land of pures expedient? Dozens of books are there on this vital topic apart from the articles and essays we browse through in print media every now and then, all highlighting raison d’être for the same. Given the scenario in India at the moment, the candid views the writers hold on the count may be summed up in a single sentence. Had Pakistan not come into existence, certainly we would have been victim to the wrath of traditional Hindu mindset for which a Hindu bigot Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, back in 1923, coined the term ‘Hindutva’ and is currently under active execution by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP’s government in the so-called secular India since 2014. A glimpse of such victimization can be had from the brutalities and atrocities they have inflicted on the Indian and Kashmiri Muslims. It is the same Modi who already had his hands smeared with the blood of more than one thousand Muslims in Gujarat while he was the State Chief Minister there back in 2002, and, for that reason, is known as ‘Butcher of Gujarat’.
Hindutva’ is, in fact, a Sanskrit term Savarkar used to describe the ‘Hinduness’ and, according to him, Hindus are the ones who consider India as the land where their ancestors lived and where their religion got its origin. The BJP, it should be kept in mind, is political wing of the cluster of hard-core organizations inter alia including the extremist and militant Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, who all are firm believers in and followers of the fascist ‘Hindutva Ideology’. Hence, implementation of this ideology is their topmost priority.
This spirit in view, their first tenure was featured with many anti-Muslim actions. To quote a few, cow slaughtering and consumption of beef was banned in 24 states (out of 29) and, on the alleged violation or mere transporting cattle, many Muslims were lynched by mobs but with no cognizance by government; triple Islamic divorce was criminalized; Muslims related names of places were changed like Allahabad was renamed as Prayag, Mughalsarai railway junction was renamed after Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay (an RSS leader) and it was planned to change other such names including Ahmedabad as well.
And in his second tenure, Modi, the disciple of Savarkar, turned a dreadful monster for the Muslims. Anti-Muslim amendment in Citizenship Act with maintenance of National Register of Citizens (NRC) to disenfranchise Muslims, the planned killing of Muslims in Delhi early this year, constitutional change in disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir and laying foundation of Ram Mandir (by Modi himself) on site of historic Babri Masjid demolished by BJP extremists back in 1992 the sorrowful scenes of which the Muslims would never be able to forget, are a few of the points from Hindutva agenda the Modi government did implement and hence would be proud of.
This sort of Hindu chauvinism is what was demonstrated in pre-partition India as well. However, since the Hindus were not in power at that time, therefore, it caused no much harm to Muslims. Instead, it augmented the ‘Two-Nation Theory’ that was subsequently used as a vital tool in the struggle for independence. Such activities on the part of religious zealots are, no doubt, understandable. But what was actually strange was that the secular Congress, during their ministries in 1937-39, didn’t spare Muslims and agonized them exorbitantly. It was indeed the secular Congress’ anti-Muslim stance so displayed that changed Jinnah’s mind. Till then, he advocated Hindu-Muslim-unity but now got convinced that the Muslims’ co-existence with the belligerent and fanatic Hindus in one and the same country was not practicable. Thus, to him, a ‘safe-haven’ for the Muslims was as expedient as nothing else.
Jinnah’s leadership qualities were what none of his contemporary leader had. By virtue of such qualities, he had the potential to convert the impossible into possible. He turned the post 1937’s most popular and undisputed leaders for the Muslims and got the title of ‘Quaid-i-Azam’ on the count meaning the ‘Great Leader’. And he really proved himself as such because, within mere a decade, he reorganized Muslim League across the country; moved from its platform a proper demand for a separate Muslim State through the Resolution of 23 March 1940, embarked on a massive movement for the intent and eventually achieved it in the form of this land of pures on August 14, 1947. Today, what the ruling elites are doing in India is a severe blow at the brain-wave of their founding leaders who always used secularism to question the creation and existence of Pakistan.
Simultaneously, it conveys a clear message that Jinnah was absolutely right in his vision for a separate Muslim state which he accordingly got out of the yoke of what otherwise would have been ‘Akhund Bharat’. Secular India which the Congress leaders once used to be proud of is currently under grip of Hindu religious zealots who have transformed it into a purely theocratic Hindu state. And on the target of this religious bigotry are mainly the Muslims because, they view, the Muslims were once Hindus but converted to Islam. The situation has worsened to an extent beyond which 180 million Indian Muslims don’t find themselves in a position to afford the religious bigotry any further.
This strange situation has put the country at stake because for a state like India characterized by pluralism and diversity, nothing other than secularism does suit. Thus, the liberal opinions suggest that the country is moving swiftly towards another partition. Kashmiris are once to get liberated and it is writing on the wall. What however more interesting is that with the Indian Muslims too no option is there except to demand for a ‘safe haven’ in the Hindu Rashtra just as Muslims of the subcontinent had demanded for and achieved. For this purpose however Jinnah’s like leadership is needed.
—The writer is a retired civil servant, researcher and Swat based freelance columnist.