|Quaid-e-Azam Mohamad Ali Jinnah Time Magazine Cover|
The latest attempt to delegitimize Pakistan is being made by some who now argue that it was late British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill who created Pakistan. The film "The Viceroy's House" is a new manifestation of this delegitimization campaign. It is nothing but false history. Why? Because it ignores several well-documented facts contradicting it, including the following:
1. Churchill was ousted as prime minister of Britain two years before the partition of India when his party lost the 1945 British parliamentary elections. He was replaced by Clement Attlee who introduced the India Independence Act 1947 in the British Parliament. Churchill spoke in opposition to it.
2. Churchill opposed the end of the British Raj. "Churchill was very much on the far right of British politics over India," says Charmley. "Even to most Conservatives, let alone Liberals and Labour, Churchill's views on India between 1929 and 1939 were quite abhorrent." Churchill's stance was very much that of a late Victorian imperialist, says John Charmley, author of Churchill: The End of Glory.. "[Churchill] was terribly alarmed that giving the Indians home rule was going to lead to the downfall of the British Empire and the end of civilization."
3. Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had earlier accepted the Cabinet Mission proposal for full autonomy for Muslim majority provinces and the right to form regional groupings of provinces within India, a proposal that was rejected by Nehru thereby paving the way for the Partition of India.
4. British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten assured Indian leader Jawharlal Nehru in 1947 that Pakistan was only a "nissen hut", a temporary tent. Here's the exact quote from Mountbatten: "administratively it [wa]s the difference between putting up a permanent building, a nissen hut or a tent. As far as Pakistan is concerned we are putting up a tent. We can do no more." Both expected Pakistan would soon fail, fold up and rejoin India. Pakistan has defied that "hope" by not only surviving but thriving in the face of mounting challenges from the first day it became an independent state.
Two Nation Theory:
The Quaid's quest for Pakistan as an independent state for Muslims was motivated by a desire to give India's disadvantaged minority Muslims better opportunities to grow and prosper. While it's true that Pakistan has not lived up to the Quaid's expectations, it is also true that, in spite of all their problems, Muslims in Pakistan are still much better off than their counterparts in India.
The growing intolerance in Modi's India and the Indian government commission headed by former Indian Chief Justice Rajendar Sachar confirm that Muslims are the new untouchables in caste-ridden and Islamophobic India. Indian Muslims suffer heavy discrimination in almost every field from education and housing to jobs and criminal justice. Their incarceration rates are much higher than those of their Hindu counterparts.
According to Sachar Commission report, Muslims are now worse off than the Dalit caste, or those called untouchables. Some 52% of Muslim men are unemployed, compared with 47% of Dalit men. Among Muslim women, 91% are unemployed, compared with 77% of Dalit women. Almost half of Muslims over the age of 40 can not read or write. While making up 11% of the population, Muslims account for 40% of India’s prison population. Meanwhile, they hold less than 5% of government jobs.
Those who say that the Two-Nation-Theory died with the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 are wrong. They need to be reminded that the Lahore Resolution of March 23, 1940, in fact called for two "independent states", not a single "state", in Muslim majority areas of India in the north east and the north west. The other fact to remember is that Bangladesh did not choose to merge with India after separation from Pakistan.
There have also been attempts by some to compare Pakistan with Israel to argue that Pakistan is illegitimate as is the Zionist state.
Such arguments fail to highlight this fundamental difference between the two states: Unlike Israel that was founded by people brought in from Europe for the explicit purpose of creating the Jewish state in Palestine, Pakistan was created by indigenous population of Indian Muslims who were led by leaders born and raised in India. Pakistan is the result of Indian Muslim Nationalist movement, not an outpost of European colonialism started by foreign transplants.
Economic Opportunity For Muslims:
Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah sought better opportunities for Indian Muslims who felt deeply deprived in India. In 1947, most of the agricultural land in the largely agrarian provinces of Sindh and Punjab was owned by non-Muslims. The urban elites of the major cities of Karachi and Lahore were almost entirely non-Muslims. Muslims were in majority in both provinces but they were mostly poor peasants.
In Punjab, two-thirds of the land-holdings and 99% of bank deposits of Rs. 100 crore in Lahore were held by Hindus and Sikhs, according to the British archives researched by Dr. Kirpal Singh, author of "PARTITION of PUNJAB", published in 1972.
Only 3 out of 16 colleges in Lahore were run by Muslims. Of the 15 professional colleges, excluding 3 run by the government, all were run by non-Muslims. All 12 hospitals were operated by non-Muslims. Muslims in undivided Punjab had very low standards of living relative to Hindus and Sikhs, they were poor and backward, and there was no Muslim professional or business class in Lahore of 1947.
In Sindh province, about 60% of the agricultural land was owned by Hindus. The rest of the land was owned by big and small Muslim landowners but they were almost always in debt to Hindu moneylenders who exacted over 100% interest on the money they lent, according to The Imperial Gazeteer of India by W.W. Hunter. These massive debt burdens on Sindhi Muslims were removed when most of the Hindu moneylenders fled to India at the time of the partition in 1947.
Education and health care in Sindh were entirely controlled by non-Muslims, mainly Hindu Sindhis, according to The Imperial Gazeteer of India by W.W. Hunter and Nandita Bhavnani, author of "THE MAKING OF EXILE: SINDHI HINDUS AND THE PARTITION OF INDIA", published in 2014. The educated elite, including the professional and business classes, were mostly Hindus and a few Parsees.
The partition in 1947 has been tremendous boon for both Sindhi and Punjabi Muslims of Pakistan. They have reaped great benefits from: 1) Departure of powerful non-Muslims landowners and moneylenders to India in 1947 2) Massive investments made by Pakistani government in major irrigation projects to create the world's largest contiguous irrigation system for farming since 1947. 3) Large investments in education, health care and urban development that have helped raise standards of living significantly as seen in various health (life expectancy) and wealth (per capita incomes) indicators after 1947.
Pakistan's founder Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah sought Pakistan as a homeland for Indian Muslims where they had better opportunities to grow and prosperity. But the Quaid's vision was a pluralistic vision. It is reflected in the words of what he described as Prophet Muhammad's first constitution called Misaq-e-Madina. It is also found in Quaid-e-Azam's other speeches that are mistakenly seen by some as conflicting with his quote: "Who am I to give you the constitution? The Prophet of Islam had given us a constitution 1300 years ago."
Here is a quote from one of Quaid-e-Azam's August 11, 1947 speech that reaffirm his pluralistic vision of 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"
This vision is a very much Islamic. It is a reflection of the constitution of the world's first Islamic state in Madina. Here's the opening line of Misaq-e-Madina:
"This is a document from Muhammad the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), governing relations between the Believers i.e. Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib and those who followed them and worked hard with them. They form one nation -- Ummah."
It clearly says that all citizens of "Yathrib" (ancient name of Madina), regardless of their tribe or religion, are part of one nation--"Ummah". So the word "Ummah" here does not exclude non-Muslims.
Further into the "Misaq" document, it says: "No Jew will be wronged for being a Jew. The enemies of the Jews who follow us will not be helped. If anyone attacks anyone who is a party to this Pact the other must come to his help."
The Mesaq assures equal protection to all citizens of Madina, including non-Muslim tribes which agreed to it. The contents of Misaq-e-Madina, Islam's first constitution approved by Prophet Mohammad 1400 years ago, appear to have inspired Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah vision of Pakistan where people of all religions and nationalities live in harmony with equal rights and protections under the law.
Some Indian and western writers and journalists present caricatures of Pakistan that bear no resemblance to reality. They portray Pakistan as a artificial and deeply divided failed state. What they fail to see is Pakistan is not one or two dimensional; it's much more complex as explained by Christophe Jaffrelot in his book "The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience".
Political, military, religious, ethnic, sectarian, secular, conservative and liberal forces are constantly pushing and pulling to destabilize it but Pakistan remains resilient with its strong nationalism that has evolved after 1971. Pakistan is neither a delusion nor owned by mullahs or military as claimed by some of Pakistan's detractors.
In a 2015 Op Ed for NDTV titled "What Modi Has Not Recognized About Pakistan", Indian politician Mani Shankar Aiyar recognized Pakistani nationalism as follows:
"..unlike numerous other emerging nations, particularly in Africa, the Idea of Pakistan has repeatedly trumped fissiparous tendencies, especially since Pakistan assumed its present form in 1971. And its institutions have withstood repeated buffeting that almost anywhere elsewhere would have resulted in the State crumbling. Despite numerous dire forecasts of imminently proving to be a "failed state", Pakistan has survived, bouncing back every now and then as a recognizable democracy with a popularly elected civilian government, the military in the wings but politics very much centre-stage, linguistic and regional groups pulling and pushing, sectarian factions murdering each other, but the Government of Pakistan remaining in charge, and the military stepping in to rescue the nation from chaos every time Pakistan appeared on the knife's edge. The disintegration of Pakistan has been predicted often enough, most passionately now that internally-generated terrorism and externally sponsored religious extremism are consistently taking on the state to the point that the army is so engaged in full-time and full-scale operations in the north-west of the country bordering Afghanistan that some 40,000 lives have been lost in the battle against fanaticism and insurgency".
Pakistan was created in the face of strong opposition from Hindu dominated Congress Party and some Muslim groups from the right and the left. The vast majority of Muslims of India supported the Muslim League and the partition of India to carve out the new state of Pakistan. It was a great accomplishment of the Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. His biographer and American historian Stanley Wolpert, Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), has acknowledged it as follows: “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.” Sore losers as they are, Pakistan's and Quaid-e-Azam's detractors continue to promote falsehoods to delegitimize both the founder and the country he created.
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