Friday, December 25, 2009

Celebrating Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah's Birthday

Lauded as a "Great Indian" recently by former Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh in his book published this year, Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah was born 133 years ago on Christmas day in Karachi.

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948), the father of Pakistani nation, was a brilliant Muslim lawyer and a great statesman who lived a life that could be described as essentially westernized and secular. He was born in an Ismaili Shia Muslim family, raised in Karachi, receiving his early schooling at Karachi's Sindh Madressah and then received his law education in the U.K. He returned to the Sub-continent in 1896, married a Parsi woman Ruttie Petit, and practiced law in Bombay while waging a struggle for the independence of India from the British. He dressed mostly in the latest English-style suits of his time and spoke mostly in English with occasional Gujarati and Urdu. He did not have religious education and most ulema of his time agreed that his life did not conform to what most ulema considered "Islamic principles". In fact, the ulema on both sides of the partition debate, including Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani and Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani, questioned Jinnah's credentials as a "good, practicing Muslim". He fought for India's freedom, first as the President of Indian National Congress, and then as the head of the Muslim League.

Having worked hard but unsuccessfully for Hindu-Muslim cooperation and unity, the Quaid--i-Azam was disillusioned with the Indian National Congress. He decided to join the Muslim League in 1935. After joining the Muslim League, his goal was to create a separate, independent homeland for Muslims of the Indian Sub-continent, where they could flourish freely without interference from or competition with the politically, educationally and economically dominant Hindu majority in South Asia. But he clearly opposed a "theocratic state" ruled by the religious elite (something like Iran's Guardian Council) with the ultimate veto power over the will of the people and the democratic processes and institutions. In fact, he believed in the separation of church and state, just as much as he favored the superiority of political leadership over the military officer corps in running the nation's affairs.

Here are three excepts from Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's most important speeches laying out his vision for Pakistan:

"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State." Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah in address to first constituent assembly, Aug 11, 1947

"In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims-Hindus, Christians and Parsis -- but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any
other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan." Quaid-i-Azam, Feb. 1948

“Never forget that you are the servants of the state. You do not make policy. It is we, the people’s representatives, who decide how the country is to be run. Your job is to only obey the decisions of your civilian masters.” Quaid-i-Azam's Address to Military Staff College, June 14, 1948.

In the current circumstances when Pakistan is experiencing daily carnage on its streets and the nation is threatened from the forces of darkness, feudal democracy or dictatorships disguised as saviors of the nation, it is important that we understand clearly what the founding father intended for Pakistan. With the above speech quotes from the Quaid-i-Azam, I will let the readers be the judge of his intentions to gain clarity on what Pakistanis must do to translate Quaid-e-Azam's vision into reality.

Related Links:

Jinnah's Vision for Pakistan

Christmas Greetings From Pakistan

Jinnah's Pakistan Booms Amidst Doom and Gloom

Jaswant Lauds Jinnah as "Great Indian"

Introspection of Pakistan's Creation

Muslims in India: Twocircles.net

All India Christian Council

South Asian Christians Celebrate Christmas in Fear

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

But what is the current state. It is an islamic republic with a fundamentalist bent of mind which has created its own monster for its utter destruction.

Best paradox is that the country started by a staunch hindu is still secular and the country started by the so callled secular is a religious republic.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "the country started by a staunch hindu is still secular..."

Is India really secular? Let me share with you an interesting commentary by Kapil Komireddi published in the Guardian earlier this year:

"Indian Muslims in particular have rarely known a life uninterrupted by communal conflict or unimpaired by poverty and prejudice. Their grievances are legion, and the list of atrocities committed against them by the Indian state is long. In 2002 at least 1,000 Muslims were slaughtered by Hindu mobs in the western state of Gujarat in what was the second state-sponsored pogrom in India (Sikhs were the object of the first, in 1984).

For decades Indian intellectuals have claimed that religion, particularly Hinduism, is perfectly compatible with secularism. Indian secularism, they said repeatedly, is not a total rejection of religion by the state but rather an equal appreciation of every faith. Even though no faith is in principle privileged by the state, this approach made it possible for religion to find expression in the public sphere, and, since Hindus in India outnumber adherents of every other faith, Hinduism dominated it. Almost every government building in India has a prominently positioned picture of a Hindu deity. Hindu rituals accompany the inauguration of all public works, without exception.

The novelist Shashi Tharoor tried to burnish this certifiably sectarian phenomenon with a facile analogy: Indian Muslims, he wrote, accept Hindu rituals at state ceremonies in the same spirit as teetotallers accept champagne in western celebrations. This self-affirming explanation is characteristic of someone who belongs to the majority community. Muslims I interviewed took a different view, but understandably, they were unwilling to protest for the fear of being labelled as "angry Muslims" in a country famous for its tolerant Hindus.

The failure of secularism in India – or, more accurately, the failure of the Indian model of secularism – may be just one aspect of the gamut of failures, but it has the potential to bring down the country. Secularism in India rests entirely upon the goodwill of the Hindu majority. Can this kind of secularism really survive a Narendra Modi as prime minister? As Hindus are increasingly infected by the kind of hatred that Varun Gandhi's speech displayed, maybe it is time for Indian secularists to embrace a new, more radical kind of secularism that is not afraid to recognise and reject the principal source of this strife: religion itself."

Anonymous said...

Riaz

The evidence that the people like nandita das is surviving in india with fear for life or fatwa is a clear indication that india is secular. Further can the world say that just becuase america and britan lied about wmd in iraq whatever they say is lie. You are trying to draw anology with fallacy. Further the constitution is not yet changed for hindu country where as it is so for pakistan.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

I think Anon and Riaz are on 2 different plates - constitutional tolerance and social tolerance are different. The Pew Research Center's statement: "India and China, also exhibited extreme, but different restrictions on religion. China showed very high levels of government restriction but low to moderate levels of social hostilities, while India showed very high social hostilities but only moderate to high levels of government restrictions."

Pakistan probably lost both on its way though I'd really like to know how much intolerance is there towards non Muslims apart from the sensationalized news of dwindling Hindu population..

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "I'd really like to know how much intolerance is there towards non Muslims apart from the sensationalized news of dwindling Hindu population.."

Tolerance has clearly been in short supply in Pakistan lately, as obvious from violence in the name of religion, sectarianism, political disagreements, etc.

But there are also many distortions and lies about minority population in Pakistan. In the western part of Pakistan, the minorities never exceeded single digits even at the time of partition when there was mass migration in both directions.

Anonymous said...

"Tolerance has clearly been in short supply in Pakistan lately, "

so in case of Pakistan it is lately and in case of India it is always. Never mind that Pak has killed more of its own people under various pretext than India (and this not counting 1971 Genocide).

India is secular constitutionally and legally. Many Indian Hindus (self included) believe that it is wrong to be secular with those who abuse secularism. But does not take away the fact that india was formed on secular basis and India still does not discriminate based on religion.

Pak is altogether different matter. There discrimination against minority is state legislated and sponsored. No non muslims can become head of state or chief of army/defence. Heck, one has to sign a hatred for Ahmediyas while applying for Pak passport.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "so in case of Pakistan it is lately and in case of India it is always. Never mind that Pak has killed more of its own people under various pretext than India (and this not counting 1971 Genocide)."

Here is Paul Brass, a US scholar and researcher, talking about regular pogroms and production of violence and terror against Indian minorities:

Events labeled “Hindu-Muslim riots” have been recurring features in India for three-quarters of a century or more. In northern and western India, especially, there are numerous cities and towns in which riots have become endemic. In such places, riots have, in effect, become a grisly form of dramatic production in which there are three phases: preparation/ rehearsal, activation/enactment, and explanation/interpretation.1 In these sites of endemic riot production, preparation and rehearsal are continuous activities. Activation or enactment of a large-scale riot takes place under particular circumstances, most notably in a context of intense political mobilization or electoral competition in which riots are precipitated as a device to consolidate the support of ethnic, religious, or other culturally marked groups by emphasizing the need for solidarity in face of the rival communal group. The third phase follows after the violence in a broader struggle to control the explanation or interpretation of the causes of the violence. In this phase, many other elements in society become involved, including journalists, politicians, social scientists, and public opinion generally.

Unlike India, there is no history of organized, state-sponsored pogroms (1984 against Delhi Sikhs, 2002 against Gujarat Muslims) against minorities in Pakistan. What happened in East Pakistan was a civil war inspired by RAW and its agents, and there were unscrupulous killers on all sides, including Pakistan military officers who committed atrocities. Large numbers of non-Bengali civilians and military personnel were also slaughtered by Indian-sponsored Mukti Bahini, as reported in Jessore massacre by Sarmila Bose in India's Telegraph newspaper when the pictures of the dead were mislabeled and misused as false propaganda against the Pakistani military.

Unfortunately, the history is always written by the victors, not the vanquished. Pakistanis clearly lost the war and lost their right to write the "accepted" version of history of what happened.

As late US War Secretary Robert McNamara said in "The Fog of War", the history of WW2 would have been recorded very differently had the Americans and allies lost the war. McNamara even acknowledged that "We would have been tried and convicted as war criminals, had America lost the war."

Anonymous said...

there was anti ahmediya riots in 1953 and 1974. Very lately, eh?

dcruncher4 said...

Another 25 killed today in Karachi. Shias.
Of course Riaz would deny that killing shias is state sponsored. The nauseating dose of religion with only sunni brand being declared halal is not to be blamed, right Riaz.

Riaz Haq said...

dcruchr:

As unfortunate and unacceptable as they are, it's absolutely ridiculous to suggest that Shia killings or Christian killings or Ahmediya killings in Pakistan are state sponsored.

It shows your total ignorance of the Russian, German and Indian pogroms.

One of the worst Sikh massacres took place in two narrow alleys in India's capital New Delhi's poor Trilokpuri colony where some 350 Sikhs, including women and children, were casually butchered over 72 hours, according to media reports.

The charred and hacked remains of the hundreds of dead in Trilokpuri's Block 32 on the smoky and dank evening of 2 November 1984 were stark testimony to the unimpeded and seemingly endless massacre, according to the BBC.

Soon after news of Mrs Gandhi's killing by her Sikh bodyguards spread, Hindu mobs swung into action - like they did elsewhere in the city armed with voters' lists - in Trilokpuri against the low caste Sikhs inhabiting one-roomed tenements on either side of two narrow alleyways barely 150 yards long.

With local police connivance they blocked entry to the neighborhood with massive concrete water pipes and stationed guards armed with sticks atop them.

For the next three days marauding groups armed with cleavers, scythes, kitchen knives and scissors took breaks to eat and regroup in between executing their bloodthirsty mission.

The history repeated itself in Gujarat in 2002, only the pretext and the victims were different this time.

According to Pankaj Mishra, the author of Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond, the names of the politicians, businessmen, officials and policemen who colluded in the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 are widely known. Some of them were caught on video, in a sting carried out last year by the weekly magazine Tehelka, proudly recalling how they murdered and raped Muslims. But, as Amnesty International pointed out in a recent report, justice continues to evade most victims and survivors of the violence. Tens of thousands still languish in refugee camps, too afraid to return to their homes.

dcruncher4 said...

"As unfortunate and unacceptable as they are, it's absolutely ridiculous to suggest that Shia killings or Christian killings or Ahmediya killings in Pakistan are state sponsored.
"

When the atmosphere in the state is created by state sponsored intolerant teaching, by state sponsored hatred for non muslims, all under the garb of islamic studies, the state has to take the blame.

When the state mandates all pakistanis to declare Ahmediyas as non muslims in the most hateful manner, while applying for passport, why is anyone surprised if Ahmediyas are routinely killed.


Add to it the hatred spread by mullas in TV and radio, for which the state does nothing, it is still state sponsored minorities.

Why did you agree that Zial-Ul-Haq's islamization is the root cause of intolerance in Pakistan today. Last I checked Zia represented Pak state for 11 yrs.

At the end does it matter whether in India state sponsored genocide occured 2/3 times. What I see is that number of civilians killed in Pak is far more than india, when taken as a % of population. This year close to 700 Pakistanis have been killed. How many in india?
Any answer for that.

Stop comparing with India all the time. Time to acknowledge that Islam has failed in keeping Pak united. At least India has an excuse of inter religion riots. What excuse Pakistan has to kill each other when 98% are muslims.

Riaz Haq said...

dcruncher:

I know you are trying to rationalize an indefensible position you have take. The fact remains that you'd be hard pressed to find anything like what Paul Brass calls an "institutionalized riot system" with participation of politicians, state officials and security agencies that are responsible for recurring killings of large numbers of minorities, including Delhi in 1984, Gujarat in 2002 and Orissa in 2008.

SM Mushrif, who has over three decades of diligent policing behind him and whose feats include exposing the Telgi scam, has made an elaborate case out of nearly a dozen blasts over a large area of the country conducted by Hindutva terror groups of different stripes. His case: a section of India’s intelligence services, a group in the Indian armed forces and a section of different state police forces have been compromised and infiltrated by these elements, a development that bodes ill for the future of the country.

Anonymous said...

"The fact remains that you'd be hard pressed to find anything like what Paul Brass calls an "institutionalized riot system"

Which kills less people in India than divine sanctioned suicide system in Pak. Wow!!!!

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "Which kills less people in India than divine sanctioned suicide system in Pak. Wow!!!!"

You are wrong. The number of minorities (Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Dalits) killed in India is far larger than the number of minority deaths in Pakistan in religious riots.

Over 250 million people are victims of caste-based discrimination and segregation in India. They live miserable lives, shunned by much of society because of their ranks as untouchables or Dalits at the bottom of a rigid caste system in Hindu India. Dalits are discriminated against, denied access to land, forced to work in slave-like conditions, and routinely abused, even killed, at the hands of the police and of higher-caste groups that enjoy the state's protection, according to Human Rights Watch.

In what has been called Asia's hidden apartheid, entire villages in many Indian states remain completely segregated by caste. Caste-based abuse is also found in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Japan, and several African states.

In support of its assertions of Dalit abuse in India, the Human Rights Watch has documented the following abuses:

* Over 100,000 cases of rape, murder, arson, and other atrocities against Dalits are reported in India each year. Given that Dalits are both reluctant and unable (for lack of police cooperation) to report crimes against themselves, the actual number of abuses is presumably much higher.

* India's own agencies have reported that these cases are typically related to attempts by Dalits to defy the social order, or demand minimum wages and their basic human rights. Many of the atrocities are committed by the police. Even perpetrators of large-scale massacres have escaped prosecution.

Anonymous said...

"You are wrong. The number of minorities (Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Dalits) killed in India is far larger than the number of minority deaths in Pakistan in religious riots."

Show the numbers please. thanks.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "Show the numbers please. thanks."

Please read my comment again.

* Over 100,000 cases of rape, murder, arson, and other atrocities against Dalits are reported in India each year. Given that Dalits are both reluctant and unable (for lack of police cooperation) to report crimes against themselves, the actual number of abuses is presumably much higher.

* India's own agencies have reported that these cases are typically related to attempts by Dalits to defy the social order, or demand minimum wages and their basic human rights. Many of the atrocities are committed by the police. Even perpetrators of large-scale massacres have escaped prosecution.

Except for a some high-profile massacres like Delhi Sikhs, Gujarat Muslims and Orissa Christians, a lot of what happens doesn't even find any mainstream media attention in a prejudiced society.

Here's what Yoginder Sikand wrote last year:

"America's 'global war on terror' has provided a convenient cover to the Hindutva lobby and to fiercely anti-Muslim elements within the Indian state machinery to launch a concerted campaign of terror against Muslims. Large numbers of Muslims in various parts of India continue to languish in jails on trumped-up terror charges, suffering brutal torture as well as routine insults to their religion by police officials. Meanwhile, Hindu terrorists, often in league with the police and the state machinery, are allowed to run riot, unleashing violence and bloodshed on a frightening scale, while the state, the police and the courts take no firm action against them."

You should read Yoginder Sikand, Pankaj Mishra, Kapil Komireddy and websites like twocircles.net and indianchristians.in, if you are serious in learning more about it.

Anonymous said...

Pak christians

http://www.christianmessenger.in/news/pak_291209/856.php

Riaz Haq said...

The film Gandhi was essentially a "paid political advertisement by the government of India", says commentator Richard Grenier in a piece titled "The Gandhi Nobody Knows". Here is an excerpt from it:

AS IT happens, the government of India openly admits to having provided
one-third of the financing of 'Gandhi' out of state funds, straight out of the
national treasury--and after close study of the finished product I would not be
a bit surprised to hear that it was 100 percent. If Pandit Nehru is portrayed
flatteringly in the film, one must remember that Nehru himself took part in the
initial story conferences (he originally wanted Gandhi to be played by Alec
Guinness) and that his daughter Indira Gandhi is, after all, Prime Minister of
India (though no relation to Mohandas Gandhi). The screenplay was checked and
rechecked by Indian officials at every stage, often by the Prime Minister
herself, with close consultations on plot and even casting. If the movie
contains a particularly poisonous portrait of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder
of Pakistan, the Indian reply, I suppose, would be that if the Pakistanis want
an attractive portrayal of Jinnah let them pay for their own movie. A friend of
mine, highly sophisticated in political matters but innocent about film-making,
declared that 'Gandhi' should be preceded by the legend: *The following film is
a paid political advertisement by the government of India.*

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from London Review of Books of "After Nehru" by Perry Anderson:

Why then has the sheer pressure of the famished masses, who apparently hold an electoral whip-hand, not exploded in demands for social reparation incompatible with the capitalist framework of this – as of every other – liberal democracy? Certainly not because Congress ever made much effort to meet even quite modest requirements of social equality or justice. The record of Nehru’s regime, whose priorities were industrial development and military spending, was barren of any such impulse. No land reform worthy of mention was attempted. No income tax was introduced until 1961. Primary education was grossly neglected. As a party, Congress was controlled by a coalition of rich farmers, traders and urban professionals, in which the weight of the agrarian bosses was greatest, and its policies reflected the interests of these groups, unconcerned with the fate of the poor. But they suffered no electoral retribution for this. Why not?
--------
-----------
Congress had failed to avert partition because it could never bring itself honestly to confront its composition as an overwhelmingly Hindu party, dropping the fiction that it represented the entire nation, and accept the need for generous arrangements with the Muslim party that had emerged opposite it. After independence, it presided over a state which could not but bear the marks of that denial. Compared with the fate of Pakistan after the death of Jinnah, India was fortunate. If the state was not truly secular – within a couple of years it was rebuilding with much pomp the famous Hindu temple in Somnath, ravaged by Muslim invaders, and authorising the installation of Hindu idols in the mosque at Ayodhya – it wasn’t overtly confessional either. Muslims or Christians could practise their religion with greater freedom, and live with greater safety, than Muslims could in Pakistan, if they were not Sunni. Structurally, the secularism of Congress had been a matter not of hypocrisy, but of bad faith, which is not the same: in its way a lesser vice, paying somewhat more tribute to virtue.
-------------
A leading test of these professions is the condition of the community that Congress always claimed also to represent, and the Indian state to acquit of any shadow of confessionalism. How have Muslims fared under such secularism, equidistant or group-sensitive? In 2006, the government-appointed Sachar Commission found that of the 138 million Muslims in India, numbering some 13.4 per cent of the population, fewer than three out of five were literate, and a third were to be found in the most destitute layers of Indian society. A quarter of their children between the ages of six and 14 were not in school. In the top fifty colleges of the land, two out of a hundred postgraduates were Muslim; in the elite institutes of technology, four out of a hundred. In the cities, Muslims had fewer chances of any regular job than Dalits or Adivasis, and higher rates of unemployment. The Indian state itself, presiding over this scene? In central government, the report confessed, ‘Muslims’ share in employment in various departments is abysmally low at all levels’ – not more than 5 per cent at even the humblest rung. In state governments, the situation was still worse, nowhere more so than in communist-run West Bengal, which with a Muslim population of 25 per cent, nearly double the official average for the nation, many confined in ghettos of appalling misery, posted a figure of just 3.25 per cent of Muslims in its service. It is possible, moreover, that the official number of Muslims in India is an underestimate. In a confidential cable to Washington released by WikiLeaks, the US Embassy reported that the real figure was somewhere between 160 and 180 million. Were that so, Sachar’s percentages would need to be reduced....


http://www.lrb.co.uk/v34/n15/perry-anderson/after-nehru