The creation of Pakistan can be characterized truly as a ‘revolution’ when it emerged as an independent nation-state in 1947 because Muslims fought simultaneously against both the Hindu nationalists and the British establishment to achieve an independent state of their own. The Indian subcontinent, most of which had been under Muslim rule for centuries, was colonized and created as one geographical entity by the British. The Lahore Resolution in March 1940 ushered in a new era in the history of Indo-Pakistan because the Muslims of India decided to achieve a separate homeland based on the Two-Nation Theory. The Hindu-Muslim separatism in India had intensified particularly during the British rule in India. The Hindu-Muslim differences and communalism assumed a final shape when Jinnah and the Muslim League, following the historical precedence given by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in the late nineteenth century and the very clear idea of a separate Muslim state put forth by Allama Iqbal in 1930 decided that only two separate and independent political and geographical entities can peacefully accommodate these two nations. The Muslim nation was to comprise Muslim-majority areas in the Northwest and Northeast of British India. The Northwest comprised Punjab, Sindh, NWFP, and Balochistan, and the Northeast consisted of Assam and Bengal.
The Lahore Resolution of March 1940 was the result of the independent evolution of Muslim political thought. It was neither dictated by the British nor encouraged by Lord Linlithgow as some Congress party historians have alleged but was a natural result of the Muslims’ aspirations, interests, and ideas shaped by the evolving political situation in India. Jinnah, like Allama Iqbal, after exploring all other avenues of Muslim survival and security in India, had concluded that the only way the Muslims could save themselves from the stranglehold of a Hindu-majority government and secure their future life in line with their ideals, “religious, spiritual, economic, social and political”, was to have their own independent homeland, territory, and state. Jinnah’s rationale of the Two-Nation Theory was almost on the same lines, tone, and style as had been expounded by Allama Iqbal. But he elaborated it in a manner clearer to the Muslims at large to explain the contradictions which had existed between the Hindus and the Muslims for a long time. He believed that the Muslims of India had survived for centuries with a separate identity and deserved to be considered as a separate nation, for their separate identity fulfilled every sense of the meaning of the word ‘nation’ prevalent in the political dictionary.
The Muslims of India had been ‘roaming in a political wilderness’ but the Lahore Resolution of March 1940 gave them a sense of identity and purpose.
As both the British and the Congress stood for the geographical and political unity of India for a variety of reasons, the resolution failed to make either of them happy. Instead of trying to understand the genuine complaints voiced by the Muslims, the Congress, as a result of the Lahore Resolution — later renamed as the Pakistan Resolution — became even more hostile towards them and adopted a strategy aimed at dividing their ranks. They encouraged all those groups, leaders, and associations whom they thought would oppose the League, Jinnah, and the Lahore Resolution, by providing them with economic, political, and other assistance. Increased Congress opposition to the League, Jinnah and the Lahore Resolution had the reverse effect of its intended goal by increasing their popularity amongst the Muslim masses. Just like the Hindus, the British Government was also opposed to the Lahore Resolution but being the governing power it could not afford to ignore the growing influence of Jinnah, the League and the ‘Pakistan Movement’ among the Muslims of India whose valuable military and other services were badly needed for World War II.
Jinnah elaborated his philosophy of a separate Muslim state through his various speeches and statements. His vision was to make it a modern, democratic and welfare Islamic state where equal rights to citizens irrespective of religion, caste, creed, and gender will be ensured. The workers of the Pakistan Movement though had a thin size of landed aristocracy or traders but mainly consisted of under-privileged classes like peasants, laborers, women, students, lawyers and many other kinds of professionals looking for a better opportunity. They reposed full confidence in Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan and believed in his capabilities to turn the strategic goals into practical shape. They believed the new state will be a panacea for all their ills. Jinnah was possessed of unusual charisma and by relying on his outstanding leadership traits, he enlisted the support of main stakeholders and interest groups. He was able to organize his hard-working group from every nook and corner of India, especially of Liaquat Ali Khan, Zafar Ali Khan, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar (NWFP), Raja Sahib of Mahmudabad (UP), Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy, A. K. Fazlul Haq (Bengal), Sir Abdullah Haroon (Sindh), Qazi Isa (Balochistan) and others. He also mobilized various groups particularly youngsters and students, both male and female, of educational institutions such as Aligarh Muslim University in the UP, Islamia College Railway Road, Lahore, Dacca University, Islamia College, Peshawar et al.
The last phase of the Muslim separatist movement, popularly called the Pakistan Movement (1940-1947) was undoubtedly dominated in large part by Jinnah and a few of his trusted top lieutenants and millions of workers in the field lacking hugely in financial resources as compared to the Congress.
By discarding the common practice in India of civil disobedience or agitational politics to dictate or blackmail the colonial administration, Jinnah adopted only the constitutional and peaceful means to achieve his goal of Pakistan. As an authoritative representative of the Muslims of India, he engaged in talks, exchange of letters, one-on-one meetings, and attended conferences to fight for the case for Pakistan. On one hand, his case for Pakistan was won through secret balloting of general elections of 1945-46, and on the other Jinnah exhibited his matchless qualities as a negotiator and achieved Pakistan by dismantling the artificial creation of British India in the sub-continent. What seemed mission impossible in 1940 at the time of Lahore Resolution became possible within seven years when in the 3rd June Plan put forward by Mountbatten, India was partitioned into ‘Bharat’ and ‘Pakistan.’ Jinnah had turned the Muslim community into a nation, and on the basis of nationalism, he demanded a separate homeland in the Lahore Resolution and in 1947 changed the political map of British India. What a revolution it was to get freedom from the British monarchy and the Hindu hegemony. It is not less in importance than the American Revolution because the Americans got independence from the British only where the Muslims got freedom both from the colonists and their apparent clients — the Hindus.
The creation of Pakistan can be characterized truly as a ‘Revolution’ when it emerged as an independent nation in 1947. However, it is widely believed that from the very first day forces of evil represented by those groups of people who were masters of corruption, treachery, and disloyalty to the millions who had dreamt of a respectable place to call their own started betraying that sacred trust. Like the woman who in 1947 lost nearly her whole family to killings by Hindus and Sikhs while escaping from east Punjab shouted slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ with joy on seeing the Pakistani flag when she neared the border of the new state of Pakistan.
The citizens of Pakistan have yet to realize their dreams and reap full benefits of independence. The political goal of Pakistan indisputably was nothing if it did not refer to social, economic, agricultural, cultural, industrial but most important of all educational progress, in ways and means whereby it would find its place in the finest, most civilized, advanced and strongest — in all respects – nations of not only this region but also the leading representative of the Muslim world while sitting in the company of other advanced nations of the world in an equal setting. Our history is different from that of any other country in the sense that there was indeed what can be called the First Phase of the Pakistan Revolution brought about by the widespread political awareness among Muslims ready to face four times the number of their opponents at any level and at any moment at the call of the Quaid and the Muslim League regardless of their personal and collective fate; its follow-up has been missing.
Pakistan of 2021 has yet to achieve what was expected of the new nation. The reasons are manifold and must be urgently and thoroughly addressed radically by people who are as loyal as the earlier band of Muslim leaders or the country would have failed in its historic mission of creating a NEW homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent. Immense sacrifices would be needed to fulfill the initiation and fruition of this Second Phase of the Pakistan Movement. While the first phase of that movement of our survival gave us a piece of territory after which most of its true leaders quickly departed from this world or were sidelined by the rising crop of crooks and opportunists, the Second Phase of the Pakistan Movement is imperative to imbue the (remaining) Pakistan with what was envisaged by the Quaid and his associates in countless speeches and statements about the true future of the holy land for which they were fighting. Otherwise, it is feared by many, that the foundations of remaining Pakistan will get weakened and give way as had happened once before and may be unable to face the accumulated results of deceit, treachery, crockery, fraud, and endless lies spewed from all sides who command the major avenues of power in various guises at various levels.
In the new state of Pakistan there was the hope of a glorious future for the suffering millions especially in West Punjab and East Bengal but the chicanery and crookedness gradually engulfed the country and though there was a continuous struggle in the right direction, however, forces of darkness eventually overwhelmed the good forces and now Pakistan, overwhelmingly is in deep straits and most of its population has been unable to progress to the level as was envisioned and promised by Jinnah and other founders of Pakistan during the movement for Pakistan. It is a common perception that most decisions are influenced by the IMF, the World Bank, and the likes about our economic arena which affects the totality of our lives for hundreds of millions of our people who see no positive glimmer of hope in the gloomy environment whose masters are nothing but clever opportunists. It is surprising when going through the speeches and statements of the Quaid to his political antagonists in the 1940s the numerous references to the ‘fight till death’ through which he and his followers were ready to defend their honor against far more numerically powerful and numerous opponents while continuing their struggle for independence at the same time. A similar movement, which can be appropriately termed the ‘Phase Two’ of Pakistan Movement, is now needed to save the remnant of the country from the problems which stares its millions right in their faces. No time must be lost to set this movement into motion by inspiring the youth of the country, especially, through compulsory physical training, intense hard work, volunteering, and urge to sacrifice their all for their country, their faith, their families and fellow national brethren as the world around us is both changing and moving ahead rapidly. A similar stirring of the citizens of Pakistan is needed now, led by dedicated and hardworking leaders. These are the people of Pakistan who will not stop at anything less than the goal of laying unshakeable foundations of those aspects of Pakistan for which Mr. Jinnah repeatedly called out such as the highest levels of integrity and of attaining the best in business, sciences, and all other major areas of life.
The writer is former Dean of Arts and Humanities and Chairman, Department of History and Pakistan Studies at Punjab University.
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