“It is wrong not to lay the lessons of the past before the future.”
[Winston Churchill: The Gathering Storm]
The association of Pakistan with the countries lying to its West has a long history, reminiscences of which can still be seen in Pakistan’s national life today. Due to these influences, it so happened that a distinct nation emerged within the sub-continent that continued to live without a name for centuries, and took to be referred as a religious minority. Hence, when the name of ‘Pakistan’1 was allotted to this un-named nation (the areas where Muslims were in majority) and when after the process of self-discovery and self-realization the Muslims realized that they were indeed a ‘nation according to any definition’ belonging to a ‘different religious philosophies, social customs, literatures and civilization’. Then, the reserve formed due to lack of name, deceptive phrases like minority, and the unjust attitude during atrocious Congress2 rule 3,4 ceased to be a reserve anymore, and the nation envisaged the possibility of creating a country for themselves where they could ‘develop to the fullest their spiritual, cultural, economic, social and political life’. So, triggered by the Islamic morals and led by their ‘Quaid-e-Azam’5 Mohammad Ali Jinnah,6 Muslims of India marched to their destiny of sovereign status and won the battle for Pakistan not with an army but with the power of words written with their determination.
It was Jinnah who guided his people to the cause of the freedom. It was Jinnah who stood steadfast for the rights of Muslims of India. And it was indeed Jinnah who led his devoted followers to victory. And all of this with in a decade. It could only have been his utmost devotion and faith in the cause of his dream – the realization of which was thought to be impossible, carried by his strong willful character, which led him to carve out a nation out of a subjugated minority and establish a cultural and national home for it. He brought millions of Muslims together on a platform against the two adversaries, each of them far stronger then himself and his community, and allied in their opposition to the creation of Pakistan.
Could it have been easy for a man who lived a life deemed modern by the people he was struggling for? How could such a man who studied at London, dressed mostly in the latest English-style suits7 (before 1937), spoke a foreign language (English) which most of the Muslim masses who flocked to listen to his speeches couldn’t even understand and married8 out of his religion (Parsi), managed to weld the highly conventional Muslims under his banner of separate Pakistan at the age of sixty-four (in 1940)? He could not have done it unless he staunchly believed that the Islamic values of the community he was supporting were in consonance with progress and modernity, which he practiced.
Jinnah’s forty-four (1904-48) years public political life justifies that he was the most westernized political leader of Muslims. No Muslim political leader of his time could equal him in terms of modernity and a modern outlook. He believed in moderation, ordered progress, democratic norms, Islamic ideals, integrity, dedication, honesty and hard work. These were the core values he was committed to throughout his political career; these formed the part of his personality and these he aspired to see in his country.
Jinnah had a very clear and a straightforward idea about the system of Government he wanted in Pakistan. He wanted to make Pakistan a real Islamic State through democratic process stating that the ‘constitution of Pakistan would be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam’ as ‘Islam and its idealism have taught democracy’. ‘Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state to be ruled by priests with a divine mission as there were many non-Muslims in Pakistan who would share equal rights and privileges as other citizens’. ‘Religion, caste or creed will have nothing to do with the affairs of the state’ for Islam teaches, equality, justice and fair play for everybody.
It may be noted here that, by democracy, Jinnah never meant Western system of democracy, but a sort of Islamic democracy which is at home with Muslims’ ethics, aspirations, values and code of morality as the state which he founded was inhabited by people of various races and ethnicities, religions and castes, so a purely western style of democracy could never suit here. Jinnah wanted to see Pakistan an embodiment of progressive, modern, dynamic and forward-looking Islam. Same were the qualities he sought in the nation of his State. He envisioned a nation that is open-minded with high social and moral ethics and highest aims in economic growth, national solidarity and education. Jinnah said that there were three main pillars, which go in making a nation worthy: education, economic and industrial strength, and defence. His famous slogan of Unity, Faith and Discipline were designed precisely to appeal to the Muslims sense of national solidarity. Jinnah rejected western capitalist economic system and emphasized on an economic system based on the concepts of equality and social justice. He believed that Pakistan was blessed with enormous economic resources and potentials and it is for the people to make best use of them. Laying his importance on national consolidation he urged the nation to ‘work in co-operation, forgetting the past’ and called provincialism a ‘poison’ considering it one of the barrier towards the progress and development of a nation. He emphasized the necessity of educating the nation in ‘scientific and technical education in order to build up future economic life’ so Pakistan could ‘compete with the world’. He envisioned the national character of Pakistan built on ‘highest sense of honor, integrity, selfless services to the nation, and sense of responsibility’ and ‘fully equipped to play a part in the various branches of economic life’.
But Jinnah was not the only Muslim leader of United India who exercised deep influence over the Muslims of the sub-continent. It is true that Jinnah’s determination and his excellent organizing skills were highly important contributing factors, but Jinnah could never create Pakistan, had not the Muslims masses believed in his ideal and faithfully worked with intense zeal for the realization of the same. This consciousness came in the shape of works of literature of poet like Iqbal 9, which reached and touched the hearts of masses. Iqbal through his literature came to have deep influence over the Muslims of the sub-continent. He is credited for initiating the idea of separation, as he was the first prominent public figure to bring forth the demand of Pakistan in his presidential address to the Muslim League’s 10 annual session at Allahabad in 1930 as President of the Punjab Muslim League in words which resound in the minds of every Pakistani even today and which by 1940 became so loud that Jinnah adopted it as the ultimate goal.
Iqbal is the ideological founding father of the nation and can safely be called a modern Muslim reformer. He was driven to the dream of Pakistan on communal lines with which he approached the problem of the future of Muslims and pressed for division of India on racial, religious and linguistic lines. Though Iqbal’s vision of Pakistan had strong religious overtones owing to his strong Islamic upbringing yet he was the only Muslim intellectual of his time who strived to make Islam meaningful for the 20th Century man. He dreamt of the revival of Islam in its original and pure form and believed in the establishment of an Islamic system based on the principles of Islam. He believed in the possibility of the adjustment of Islam in modern world, emphasizing that the true essence of religion Islam is quite open to accept the modern advancements. Indeed, his greatest conviction lies in his call upon Muslims to undertake reconstruction of Islam and Islamic values in the light of modern times in a way that shows it to be a forward-looking religion that promises to serve as a force for good in the world at large. Like Jinnah he considered democratic system drawn in lines with Islamic principles closest to an ideal Islamic state as European democracy could not be applicable without recognizing the fact of communal groups. He advocated a common ground between tradition and modernity; and impressed upon the Muslims on the necessity of inner change by seeking self-realization and action.
Like Jinnah and Iqbal, another person who held strong influence on the Muslims of subcontinent was Sir Syed Ahmed Khan who was the earliest exponent of Muslim Nationalism and made considerable efforts to rehabilitate the Muslims immediately after 1857 rebellion11 in the fields of education, religion, social life and politics.
True, that the birth of Pakistan was triggered by factors like political, religious, economic and cultural, but had it not been for the will of people, the vision of Pakistan could never be realized. Nations can only come into existence if they possess courage to achieve their purpose. And if a nation fails to produce a person with marked leadership abilities their courage could prove futile. Muslims were fortunate to have such leaders in the persons like Jinnah, Sir Syed, Iqbal, Ali Brothers (Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar & Maulana Shaukat Ali Jauhar) and Liaquat Ali Khan during the struggle for Pakistan. These leaders were responsible in creating consciousness among Muslim masses for the realization of their vision of Pakistan and for Muslims they were glimmers of hope in the era of disappointments and deceits. All these leaders had the same idea of the type of state they wanted to establish in the name of Pakistan. Where Iqbal sought a modernized country relying on the principles of Quran interpreted from a fresh angle. Likewise Sir Syed and other leaders also encouraged Muslims to seek Western knowledge and mould themselves according to the modern advancements to keep up with the world yet remaining within the limits laid by Islam. Perhaps Jinnah best represented the concept of the state of Pakistan envisaged by these leaders and their followers in his own words as ‘Let us lay the foundation of our democracy on the basis of truly Islamic ideals and principles’.
The vision of Pakistan does not only lies in history but it also forms a part of our national life. Crescent and star on the national flag is an Islamic symbol signifying progress, enlightenment and knowledge. Even the national anthem reflects Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan aspiring for a destiny that is strong and shining, a land that is pure, resolve, leading the way to progress and perfection, glorifying the past and present.
1. Chaudhary Rahmat Ali, while a student at Cambridge University issued a pamphlet in 1933 entitled ‘Now or Never’ supporting the idea of partition of India and suggesting a name of ‘Pakistan-meaning land of pure’ for the separate Muslim nation. According to him, the word Pakistan was composed in the following manner: Punjab, Afghania (North-West Frontier Province), Kashmir, Iran, Sindh (including Karachi and Kathiawar), Tukharistan, Afghanistan, and BalochistaN.
2. Indian National Congress was the political party representing the Hindus of India. It was formed in 1885 by Allan Octavian Hume, a retired British Official.
3. The British Government announced to hold elections to the provincial legislatives assemblies in 1936-37. Congress got clear majority and as a result Congress ministries were sworn in. Congress rule was extremely crucial in the history of Hindu-Muslim relations as it fully projected Hindu racism and anti-Muslim policies.
4. Jinnah during a Presidential address at Patna in 1938 of a session of Muslim League spoke in detail about the attitude of Congress during its rule to prove that the party is not a national body of India.
5. Quaid-e-Azam means Great Leader. The title was given to Jinnah in 1938 during the Muslim League’s session at Patna by Mian Feroz-ud-Din Ahmad, the Municipal Councilor of Lahore.
6. Mohammad Ali Jinnah was born on 25th December 1876 in Karachi. He was an eminent lawyer, a practical politician, a gifted orator, a sound statesman and the architect of the nation of Pakistan. He joined Muslim League in 1913 that later strengthened the Muslims struggle for freedom. He died in 1948 only a year after he created Pakistan.
7. It was the first time in the December of 1937 at Lacknow that Jinnah made a public appearance dressed in sherwani or achkan, tight pajamas and his trademark karakuli cap. Source: india-today.com/itoday/millennium/100people/jinnah.html
8. Jinnah married Ruttie (Ruttan Bai), the only daughter of Bombay Parsi industrialist, Sir Dinshaw Petit in 1918 in Bombay.
9. Muhammad Iqbal was born in 1877 at Sialkot. He was a prominent poet, philosopher, scholar, lawyer, politician and above all the ideologue of Pakistan. Iqbal is the National Poet of Pakistan. He died in 1938.
10. All India Muslim League was the political party representing the Muslims of India. It was formed in 1906 by Nawab Salim Ullah Khan and Nawab Viquar-ul-Mulk.
11. In May 1857, Indian natives rose in rebellion against the Britishers and marched towards Delhi. Bahadur Shah-II was made the emperor. But the liberation forces were defeated and Delhi was occupied. This rebellion is recorded in history as War of Independence 1857. The war ended in 1858 and brought calamity for the Muslims. As the English launched a mass scale campaign of atrocities against the natives especially Muslims who they held responsible for the uprising.
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