Don’t prove the partition was a mistake

Today, there have been a growing section of educated people who are found articulating that the partition of India was wrong and Pakistan was a spacious mistake. According to their perspective and supporting arguments; the partition of India divided the Muslims of India; there were more Muslims left in India than Pakistan; the partition costed the lives of millions of innocent people; the atypical creation of Pakistan proved to be a failure with the its further break-up in 25 years in the shape of creation of Bangladesh and so on. The astonishing dilemma is that the majority of people who are found arguing these statements are intellectuals, writers, professionals and even politicians.

To understand any historical development one has to go back and examine the event by analysing the facts & findings and the progression of incidents which made the development happen. It is not sensible practice to judge the existence of any historical episode with the present circumstances.

To evaluate the creation of Pakistan one should to back and study the entire sequence of developments happened during the struggle of Muslim League of India in securing the basic rights of Muslims of India. The leadership had to choose the last bitter option to demand a separate land for the Muslims of India.

The Indian Muslim had been living with the people of other faith especially with Hindus, comfortably, from centuries until the British took over the control of India from the Mughul Emperor. The British ruled the Indian subcontinent for nearly 200 years – from 1756 to 1947.

Since the civil disobedience started by Indians in 1857, the British government abolished the powers of the British East India Company, which had ruled the sub-continent on behalf of the British Crown, and took on direct powers of governance.

British Rulers launched political reforms allowing the formation of political parties in 1880s. The Indian National Congress, representing the overwhelming majority of Hindus, was created in 1885.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan –” A great Muslim Scholar – told the Viceroy that the English system of open elections would not be suitable for India as contrary to Europe there were vast differences based on religion and caste in India. A system of open elections would mean the majority (Hindu) community would override the interests of the minority especially the largest minority Muslims. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan demanded for separate representation of Muslims in the electorates to secure appropriate representation of Muslims in the political system.

The Muslim League was formed in 1906 to represent and protect the rights of the Muslim minority. In the same year, Muslims met the Viceroy of India for grant of separate electorate in legislative assemblies for Muslims. In response, British government decided to increase the seats of locals in legislative assemblies.

In 1909, the British introduced constitutional reforms. The demand of Muslims of separate electorate was also accepted and in the process, in 1911 Bengal was partitioned on the basis of Muslim and Hindu majority areas.

The Muslim League was still facing frustrating hurdles in negotiating the constitutional arrangement with Indian National Congress. At that time, Mohammed Ali Jinnah was a leading figure of the Indian National Congress.

In 1913, Jinnah was invited by the Lucknow based Muslim Leaguers, led by Wazir Hassan, to join Muslim League, as the League leadership wanted to establish good understanding with Congress. Later, Mohammed Ali Jinnah reassessed the situation and recognised the value of an organised Muslim constituency and a role for himself as a spokesman of Muslims.

Separate electorates and one-third representation in the Central Legislature, in accordance to the Muslims proportion in India’s population, were the two main Muslim demands from the Muslims leadership until late 1930s.

In 1924, when Mr. Ghandhi called All-Parties Conference in Bombay to find a solution of the Hindu-Muslim question. Mohammed Ali Jinnah attended the conference and asked for the safeguards for the Muslims. In 1926, Muslim League at its session in Delhi demanded the revision of the Government of India Act 1919 and asked for the immediate appointment of Royal Commission to place the Indian Constitution on a sound and permanent basis.

From Delhi Muslim Proposal of 1927 to three amendments to the Nehru Report of 1928, then from Fourteen Points of 1929 and to three Round Table Conferences held in London from 1930 to 1932, Mr. Jinnah came up with many proposals. He even managed to convince his party (Muslim League) to drop the demand for Separate Electorates but insisted firmly on one-third Muslim representation in the Central Legislature. Hence, Mr. Jinnah from the Muslim League platform tried every possible political solution to secure the rights of the Muslims.

However, the Congress was found unwilling to separate Muslim representation in Central Legislature. Yet there was no any demand from Muslim League for the partition of India. As a matter of fact, when (then) Muslim student, Chaudhry Rehmat Ali put forward the idea of a separate Muslim country in 1933, Jinnah and other Muslim leaders were unwilling to accept it.

The Leadership of Muslim understood the division of India means leaving behind the traditional centres of Muslim culture, as well as a significant number of Muslims, in a Hindu-dominated India. However, the Congress Rule from 1937 to 1939 became the turning point for the Muslim League to re-think their options. The Congress instead of taking everyone together went all out to impose Hindu political and cultural ideas on the Muslims. Many Muslims now feared the destruction of their way of life in a Hindu-dominated independent India and the discriminative attitude with Muslims during the Congress Rule.

Hence, in 1940, a formal demand for independent State for Muslim –” Pakistan –” was approved in the form of Lahore Resolution 1940 by the Muslim League.

It is arguable that if the Congress had adopted a fair and reasonable attitude towards Muslim demands, there would have been no division of India and no Pakistan.

It is also very important to remember that even as late as 1946, when the Cabinet Mission proposed a united India in which two regions in the north-west and north-east would have assured Muslim majority, Mr. Jinnah persuaded the Muslim League to accept this proposal. Jinnah’s action proved the first priority for the Muslim League Leadership remained the protection of the rights of Muslims rather than the partition of India.

The Founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, in his speech at the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, said, “The demand and struggle for Pakistan had been ensured mainly because there was a danger of denial of basic rights to the Muslims in the Indian sub-continent…. the story of Pakistan, its struggle and its achievement is the story of great human ideals struggling to survive in the face of odds and difficulties …… I reiterate most emphatically that Pakistan was made possible because of the danger of complete annihilation of human soul in a society based on caste”. Jinnah’s statements clearly articulate that he and his Muslim League opted the demand of a separate land in extreme circumstances to secure the basic rights of the Muslims, at least where they are in the majority.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah started is political career from Congress and he had very close Hindu friends. He was never found against Hindus. In his speech to the first legislative assembly of Pakistan, Jinnah said, “you may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state …… we are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and citizens of one state……. in the course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state”.

It was unfortunate that just in one year time, the founder of Pakistan Mohammed Ali Jinnah died on 11th of September, 1948 and the next to the founder and the first Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaqat Ali Khan was brutally assassinated on October 16, 1951. Since then Pakistan went into the hands of people who could not show the ability to run Pakistan according to dreams of the creators. Therefore, by looking at today’s shape of Pakistan one should not prove to condemn the decision of the creation of Pakistan.