Friday, December 31, 2010

Rehmat Ali - the changing contours of Pakistan

Sikh reaction to the Muslim League's 1940 Lahore Resolution resulted in Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, the original author of Pakistan, revising considerably his scheme for sovereign Muslim states in India.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Ideology of Pakistan

This is from "Pakistan & Constituent Assembly", by Iftikhar-ul-Haq (1946). It is a reply to Gandhi's
"I find no parallel in history for a body of converts and their descendants claiming to be a nation apart from the parent stock. If India was one nation before the advent of Islam, it must remain one in spite of the change of faith of a very large body of her children."
 You do not claim to be a separate nation by right of conquest, but by reason of acceptance of Islam. Will the two nations become one if the whole of India accepted Islam? Will Bengalis, Oriyas, Andhras, Tamilians, Maharashtrians, Gujaratis, etc., cease to have their special characteristics if all of them become converts to Islam?
Iftikhar-ul-Haq writes:

"I have no quarrel with the beliefs of other religions.  Christianity in modern times has lost its vitality and Hinduism may be a rigid and insular social system, yet as a religion it has no hard and fast principles.  It can at once accommodate an atheist, a theist and a polytheist.  But the religion of Mussalmans is diametrically different from this.   For a Mussalman religion is not a private affair, but a special outlook on life, a specialized attitude of mind, and a general code of Laws and regulations.

Islam does not confine itself to spiritual tenets, moral doctrines, or ceremonies of life, marriage and death, but governs the Muslim society and every sphere of human life, individually and collectively.  Islam is the motive spring of all our activities in every department of life and Quran is the fundamental code not only of theology but also of civil, commercial, judicial, criminal and penal jurisprudence.

Not only this, it lays down the broad principles upon which the government of a country is to be based, and Islam is a state concept in itself.  The rules and laws laid down in the Quran are to be enforced by state authority, otherwise this body of regulation would be reduced to the status of academic theories.  Islam comprises in itself the state and the church, and but for ruling power it would be a hollow force, a mystical religion, a collection of worn out dogmas and effete superstitions. Politics is a part of Islam and the religion of a Mussalman is his politics.  This is what Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru contemptuously called "Mediævalism," and it is exactly this spirit and ideal which the Mussalmans cannot afford to forgo.  Little does the learned Pandit realize that his so-called "Modernism," based as it is on national egoism, is only another form of barbarism.  It is a direct outcome of an over-developed industrialism, through which men []acify their primitive instincts.

The systematic collection of statutes and the body of laws so arranged in Islam is Almighty's guidance and the enforcing power is "Hakumat-i Ilahya"—the kingdom of Almighty God.  Thus when a people has been gifted with the statute-book, they must have the state power to put it into practical use, or in other words, they ought to be the agents of Almighty to rule the land.   To these people, Islam gives the name of Muslims and their mission in life is to carry out His orders, spread the message and gospels of Quran, and bring peace and order to the ailing humanity.  But the membership of this organization is not restricted by the barriers of class, race and geography.   All those who come under the banner of Islam and subjugate themselves to the will of Almighty, form this cosmopolitan society, called the brotherhood of Islam.

The Quran speaks of true followers as one without any distinction of caste and colour.  Thus race, colour and language, the community of which is considered the sole basis of nationhood, have no recognition in Islam.  The renowned historian Hane-Poole in his history of India observers: "The caste system had accustomed Indians to immovable barriers between classes and though Muslim kings had no claim of pedigree and not much distinction of ceremonial purity, they formed in a way a caste, the caste of Islam, a fellowship of equal brotherhood unsurpassed in coherence and strength in all the world.  The great power of Islam as a missionary influence in India has been due to the benefi[] of this class.  The moment an Indian accepts Islam, he enters a brotherhood which admits no distinction of class in the sight of God and every advancement in office and rank and marriage is open to him."

Here is contained an exact classification of the two nations—Hindus and Muslims, and also the reply to Mr. Gandhi's query: "Will the two nations become one if the whole of India accepted Islam? Will Bengalis, Oriyas, Andharas, Tamilians, Gujaratis, etc., cease to have their special characteristics if all of them become converts to Islam?"  It is a pity that a man of Gandhiji's intelligence and acumen cannot see the fact as it is, while a foreign historian could fully understand the problem.  Mr Gandhi should know that Islam brings in its train revolutionary ideas, which overshadow the special characteristics of different people who accept Islam as their creed and religion.  Islam brings complete metamorphsis in the outlook towards life, character, social behaviour, political thoughts and sense of value and proportion of every convert to Islam....."

Iftikhar-ul-Haq continues:

"From the above discussion, another fact is prominently conspicuous, viz., Mussalmans can have no compromise, but only a treaty with non-Muslims.  The very idea of forming a composite organization with non-Muslims is alien to Islamic teachings and philosophy.  Mussalmans can enter into coalitions with non-Muslim bodies but they can never merge their entity with non-Muslims and must keep their independent national character intact.  So there is a religious bar for Muslims to enter into a political organization formed of all the heterogenous elements such as Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, etc."


Well, Pakistan has had 62+ years to demonstrate that the theory above is workable.

K.L. Gauba

I came across the book "The Consequences of Pakistan", 1946,  by K.L. Gauba and was curious about the author.  Read about him here.

"Half-a-century ago, if the name of K L Gauba had been in any general knowledge examination paper, almost every candidate would have got the answer correct : eldest son of the banker millionaire and first Hindu minister of Punjab, Lala Harkishan Lal Gauba; barrister, author, politician; a man who took his religion and his women as it suited him; much censured and much reviled for whatever he did.
What made Kanahya Lal Gauba the odd man out in every society is not very hard to guess. His father was the most distinguished and respected Punjabi of his times. K.L. , as he was popularly known, flouted social norms of the times, by going through a much publicised conversion to Islam almost entirely to hurt his father - as Mahatma Gandhi's son had done to him. He was careful to retain his initial identity and never used his new name Khalid Latif in full. As a convert, he won the hearts of Punjabi Muslims and cashed in on his popularity by winning an election to the Punjab Assembly from a purely Muslim constituency which included Lahore's notorious red light district, Hira Mandi, where he had been a familiar figure even before his conversion. Although he wrote a book on the life of the Prophet Mohammed, it was common knowledge that his conversion was 'naam ke vastey' and 'kaam ke vastey'."
"On the partition of the country, Khalid Latif Gauba did not stay on in Muslim Pakistan but migrated to India with other Hindus and Sikhs. A few months later I ran into him in Simla. He had acquired a very lovely, young, burqa-clad Begum from Hyderabad. After some time the Hyderabadi Begum vanished and was replaced by another lady, and later yet another. K.L. settled down in Bombay but his practice never picked up. He moved from big to smaller apartments and then to a lodging house. He tried to add to his meagre income by writing articles and books. He churned out another scissors-and-paste job listing atrocities committed against Indian Muslims which, though entirely unauthenticated, provided plenty of propaganda fodder to Pakistan. K.L. gradually sank into poverty and spent his last years living on the charity of his step-brother, M L Gauba and his generous-hearted Sindhi wife, Gopi."