By Syed Ubaidur Rahman
Many Muslims in the country believe that creation of Pakistan has been a great blunder for the entire country, especially its Muslim population. Muslims, after the partition got divided in almost three equal parts between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
While Muslims have stopped completely having any hope from Pakistan given its backwardness and lack of development they bemoan the loss suffered by the Muslims of the Sub-continent as a well-thought out plan by the Congress and the British colonial rulers, who wanted to completely decimate the Muslims and make them politically irrelevant in the new India.
There is no denying that the Partition completely destroyed the Indian Muslim community and impacted the major role that Muslims played in the affairs of the country till then. On 14 August 1947, Muslims, despite opposition from a substantial Muslim population, agreed to have a small nation on the periphery of India.
It was a blunder that historians will never stop talking about and accusing those Muslim leaders of destroying the Muslim community of the Indian subcontinent that till the time of the Partition was almost an equal force and enjoyed even larger share in the national resources than their population. The importance of the Muslim community in continental India can be gauged by the fact that Muslims had Prime Ministers in undivided Punjab, undivided Bengal, First Prime Minister of Bihar, nine Muslim leaders became Congress Presidents with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad being the longest serving Congress President till the Partition.
Muslims had large number of technocrats in key positions across the country, they were well-entrenched in judiciary, politics, every initiative including Indian National Army (INA) of Subhash Chandra Bose, where Muslims were a driving force and General Shah Nawaz Khan had led the INA to major victories over British forces in North West India.
There were a large number of Muslim principalities from huge princely state of Nizam in Hyderabad Deccan, besides numerous others spread across the country.
Delhi University, where it is hard to find a single Muslim academic in key position now, many Muslims were head of different faculties at the time of Partition. One of the best universities in India, Delhi University was dominated by Muslim academics.
Haryana, Punjab and Himachal, the states that used to be part of undivided Punjab had absolute Muslim majority, and had the country not been partitioned, the Gurugram, or Gurgaon as it was known till a few years ago, would have at least two third or even more Muslim population. United Province, rechristened as Uttar Pradesh where Muslims make around twenty percent population would have not just a lot higher Muslim concentration, the Muslim intelligentsia and the elite Muslims including top Muslim bureaucrats, police officials, university professors, who made the blunder of leaving for Pakistan, would have ensured that the Muslims were a lot better than what they are now.
When the interim government was formed in 1946, a year before the Partition, there were eight Hindu, five Muslims and a Sikh ministers in the cabinet. These included Jawaharlal Nehru (INC), Vallabhbhai Patel (INC), Rajendra Prasad (INC), Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar (All-India Muslim League), C. Rajagopalachari (INC), Baldev Singh (INC), Liquat Ali Khan (All-India Muslim league), Ghazanfar Ali Khan (All-India Muslim League), C. Rajagopalachari (INC), Jagjivan Ram (INC), Jogendra Nath Mandal (All-India Muslim League), Abdur Rab Nishtar (All-India Muslim League), Asaf Ali (INC), C.H. Bhabhax (INC).
There are still many people in the community who claim that the entire Partition was a well-planned conspiracy hatched against Muslims to drive them out of India. It is nothing more than a childish assertion.
A long discussion on an Indian Muslim forum throws light on how many Muslims continue to perceive it as a ‘conspiracy’ against the Muslims.
Islamists continue to see it as scheming against the Muslims. A person with Islamist leaning says, “Sadly, discussions on sensitive topics, including partition, have often led to bitterness, at times even to names calling, on this and other forums of Indian Muslims. Anyone interested in the pre-partition politics MUST read H M Seervai’s book Partition of India: Legend and Reality…As far as Lahore declaration is concerned, this is a long document that has been interpreted and seen by different parties differently. Those who are interested here is a link to the complete text http://www.indiaofthepast.org/contribute-memories/read-contributions/major-events-pre-1950/290-the-demand-for-pakistan-23-march-1940”
He goes on to add, “In order to avoid bitterness and acrimony what can be safely said is that partition was as sad an event as were the jang-e-jamal and jang-e-siffin. Only Allah knows who succeeded and who failed in those tests but what is clear is that the ummah did not learn lessons from these tragedies and paid an extremely heavy price for ignoring Holy Prophet’s warning: ‘Never draw your sword against the other of my ummah. Once if it is, it will not go back in its sheath till the Doomsday’…Muslims were blessed with the opportunity to rule a vast region like the Indian subcontinent for almost 1000 years but, except a few very pious individuals, majority of our ancestors failed in following Divine Guidance. They became as casteists and as elitists as the majority community. They failed as rulers and their dependents failed to unite after the humiliation in 1857. They again failed in getting united in 1947. The tragedy of 1947 was a punishment as well as a test. But sadly, those who migrated and those who stayed in India both have failed in the test.”
In response, an educated Indian Muslim, based in the US says, “Muslims cannot both demand a real secular India where Muslims have real equal rights and also condemn India’s Muslim rulers in their 600 year rule (1857 – 1250), and especially the Mughal rulers in their 300 year rule (1857 – 1492) for putting into practice equitable and fair treatment of Hindus and a secular society. At least in the 300 year long Mughal era Hindus were given equal respect, positions of power and wealth, royal family members and princes intermarried with Hindus, synthesized many Hindu cultural (not religious) practices and traditions with Islamic practices to create the great Indo-Islamic civilization, which is distinctly different from Arab, Irani, Turkish Islamic civilizations and cultures.”
He goes on to add, “People who bring in Islam to say that Mughal rulers and Muslim rulers were in error and lacking in their duty in being secular and accepting of Hindus , and not oppressing their culture, traditions, religion, history are grossly misrepresenting Islam. Quran forbids the oppression of religious minorities . The prophet and the Khulfa Rashdn were especially careful in NOT exerting any pressure in their Islamic states on those who preferred to remain Christian or Jewish or Zorastrian etc.”
If that is not enough, he adds further, “Pakistan Movement: The beginning of Pakistan movement (demand for the creation of a Muslim nation by carving India) by Muslim League can be traced at least to 1930 when in the Allahabad convention of League Iqbal as president of League formally demanded that in his Presedential address supported by a majority of League members. The demand from Muslim League supported by majority of Muslims and the emphasis on Muslims and Hindus being two separate nations kept growing and was reaffirmed in the 1940 Lahore session of League. In the span between 1930 and 1946 it was Muslim League that exhorted Muslims to press for Pakistan, resulting in many Muslim Hindi riots with much loss of life; throughout India muslim League aggressively drummed up the two-nation theory in st0rmy rallies In several elections Muslim electorate wholeheartedly supported Muslim League candidates who won while Muslim candidates f Congress lost badly. What more proof is needed that representatves of Muslims initiated and fully supported the partition to create Pakistan”.
He goes on to add that the demand for partition created anti-Muslim hatred among Hindus (though it is factually incorrect as Hindu Mahasabha had been doing it across North and Western India, long before the word Pakistan was even uttered).
“In the face of such solid Muslim community action why we expect that Hindus who were more than double the population of Muslims will not react and say: OK, let us partition Inda. And also some Hindu leaders developed a kind of hate for Muslims…So for anyone to say that Patel or Nehru or some Hindu leaders, other than Muslim League bear primary responsibility for either the two nation theory r the partition has absolutely NO basis in fact. It is just an emotional statement that no one in the world buys. Because after 1947 Muslims have done much worse in every arena and Hindus have done much better, soe Muslims want to lay the onus for partition on some Hndu leaders eg Patel, Nehru etc”. adds he.
“In 1947 Patel may not have any love for Muslims because of the partition circumstances and reacted strongly sometimes on Muslims but to say that he hated Muslims or was communal is utter nonsense. Again today some Muslims are looking someone to blame for their miseries and they find Patel. At the same time I will say that a segment of Hindus and Hindu Mahasabha were anti-Muslim and that movement grew into RSS and has now mushroomed first into Vajpayee’s BJP and now into the murderous Modi BJP. Today we can see that Vajpayee BJP was not good for Muslims but was also not the enemy of Muslims. Modi BJP is bent on reducing Muslims to second class citizenship status.”
He accused Maulana Abul Kalam Azad of being a time server, who had no love for the Indian Muslim community. “Azad was a politician who struggled all his life for acceptance from Muslims as their leader. He was an Arabic-Farsi-Urdu-theology scholar. He lacked the ability t be a mass leader. Yet he had a burning desire to be a leader. So Gandhi found a use for him in the face of the fierce, very competent and very intellectual attack from Jinnah…He often sacrificed the core interests of Muslims to please Gandhi and Congress. In 1920 when the Muslim community raised Rs 30 lakh to transform MAO College into AMU, Azad proposed that this money be given to the Khilafat movement ?? That was just to please Gandhi and ensure that Congress leaders think of him as loyal to Congress. Thank God other Muslim leaders rejected that suggestion or else it would have caused a huge loss to the Muslims of India” adds he.
This rejoinder brought very sarcastic reaction from the first respondent who said, “So, Azad was a liar, Jinnah was a crook, Ali brothers were emotional, to some even hypocrites, and one can go on and about all of the Muslim leaders. The account of an eminent Parsee like HM Seervai is not acceptable to us. What more can be said? If Patel was a Muslim sympathiser then there is no reason to deny Modi’s sincerity in his ‘sab ka saath sab ka vikas’ claim. No one should condemn Sareshwala and others like him for supporting Modi. A known Shi’a scholar from Lucknow has already claimed that Yogi is fair to Muslims. I better stop here and let it be my last response on this issue”.