Jinnah and His Pakistan
According to the Oxford dictionary, an ideology is “a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy”. The people and the elements that make up an ideological theory strive to achieve, expand and implement it to reap its benefits. An ideology by its nature is expansive in nature and its implementation and imposition seeks to attain the objective it was created to achieve. The ultimate goal is to sustain a people’s future under the guidance of the principles and ideology their nation chose for themselves. The ideology of Pakistan; the idea upon which the Pakistani nation bases its existence, has become a topic of argument among many, since historical revisionists affected by secular-liberal political and philosophical thought began their movement to reinterpret events and restate motivations leading to the creation of Pakistan.
Pakistan by consensus is accepted as an Islamic ideological state that based its existence on political Islamic thought and the two-nation theory that separated it from a united secular India. To create a new narrative challenging that consensus required careful omissions, cherry picking evidence, forgeries, distortions and overemphasizing certain quotes and, quite conveniently, ignoring their proper context and supporting evidence. Yet the new narrative fueled by certain external elements did manage to create the confusion it sought to create.
The ideology of Pakistan bases itself upon the Islamic concept of Ummah. The idea of Muslim nationalism that the religion of Islam itself makes its followers a single united entity, a nation. This idea is an exception to the commonly accepted idea of a nation-state that identifies and structures itself upon common descent, race, history, ethnic origin, culture, shared language, inhabiting a particular region or territory. The idea was that the Muslims of the Subcontinent are a separate civilization and culture from the majority Hindus that have distinct and antagonistic ways of life, two distinct social orders that cannot coexist peacefully and live under a common nationality. Therefore, the Muslims of the Subcontinent demanded to live in a separate homeland in which they could govern themselves freely according to the tenets and requirements of their religion, as defined in the Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him). This idea wasn’t a new one, indeed it was proposed in India by thinkers and intellectuals long before the movement for Pakistan actually began, and it certainly wasn’t new in the history of Islam.
Jinnah himself earlier was convinced of the idea of a United India. The Lucknow Agreement 1916 between the Muslim League and Congress is evident to this claim. Later, Jinnah was titled as the advocator of Hindu-Muslim unity. But as time passed and events unfolded, the prejudice of the Congress, their partisan approach and the bigotry, discrimination and intolerance from the Hindus prompted change in how Jinnah perceived the future for both the communities. Jinnah acquitted himself of the Congress in 1920 and started advocating for the Muslims’ rights. The call for greater autonomy and separate electorate moved to partition as the only solution. Hindu-Muslim clashes became commonplace when the Congress came to power. The Islamic philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal had been an influence and inspiration for Jinnah who convinced him to return from London and lead the Muslim league. Jinnah returned to guide the struggle towards a new and powerful movement. His views and ideals regarding the future of the Subcontinent had changed.
Iqbal had been a strong proponent of Muslim revivalism and had expressed on multiple occasions views that later came to be known as the two-nation theory who Jinnah not only agreed to but oversaw its implementation. Jinnah once, expressing his sentiments regarding Iqbal once said: “To me he was a personal friend, philosopher and guide and as such the main source of my inspiration and spiritual support” (April 1938). After the Lahore resolution was passed on 23 March 1940, later termed the Pakistan Resolution, Jinnah said: “Iqbal is no more amongst us, but had he been alive he would have been happy to know that we did exactly what he wanted us to do.” In his speech at Guwahati Polo Ground on 6th of March, 1946, Jinnah said, “Muslims demand an independent sovereign nation, for we are not willing to endanger our future in the slavery of Hindus in Hindutva-thriving new India.”
The role of women carries vital importance in any freedom struggle. Jinnah acknowledged this view; the following snippet from the history of Pakistan should be an eye-opener for many. On 25th of February, 1946, in Calcutta (now Kolkata), while addressing to the convention of Muslim women, Jinnah said, “It is a duty upon every Muslim woman to participate in the struggle for Pakistan. No freedom struggle has ever won its glory without the participation of women. Without existence of Pakistan, the Muslims and Islam will perish from this region. It is a matter of life and death. Our women must flourish their children in such a manner that they are the leaders of tomorrow; the hearts of whom are cherished with the love of Islam and their brethren. We will win Pakistan at all costs.”
Jinnah did what he could do in his capacity. In his speech to the Dhaka University on 24th of March, 1948, he said, “I did what I could in my capacity. I did what a Muslim would do under these circumstances. The responsibility he would pay even on the price of his life.”
Pakistan, being a state of vital geostrategic importance to the world, a “bulwark of Islam” and the sole possessor of the “Islamic bomb” is trying to make through a series of criticisms and conspiracies, though it is holding up. The revitalization of the ideology of Pakistan is of the same importance as it was almost 70 years ago. Successful at some fronts, while failing at others, Pakistan still retains its position as pivotal to the geopolitics of this region as well as global.
The following statements and quotes by its founding fathers would indicate to any neutral observer, what its founding fathers envisioned the new Modern-Islamic state to be like.
The Historical Basis for Pakistan
Jinnah did not just see the formation of Pakistan as a temporary solution to the Hindu-Muslim problem, he viewed it in a much wider historical context, as the continuation of a legacy. He did not relate the inhabitants of the new Muslim state, that was carved out of India, with their supposed descent from the Indus valley civilization. No, indeed for him Pakistanis trace not their origins in a polytheistic culture that existed in this region a few thousand years ago, Pakistanis trace their origin with Islam, with the first Muslims who entered the Subcontinent. The warriors who conquered Sindh laid the basis for Pakistan. Jinnah addressed the students of Ali Garh University in March of 1944, saying, “Pakistan indeed came into existence when the first Hindu of Subcontinent converted to a Muslim. This individual is now attributed to a sovereign independent community; thus a new nation emerged in the Subcontinent.”
The Vision Behind Independence
According to Jinnah’s vision, the partition wasn’t demanded just to secure the Muslims from the Hindus’ ill-treatment or discrimination. Although indeed it did play a part, but the actual vision was far greater. He delivered a speech at the frontier Muslim League Conference at Peshawar in November 1945 saying, “We have to fight a double-edged battle, one against the Hindu Congress and the other against the British Imperialists, both of whom are Capitalists. The Muslims demand Pakistan, where they could live according to their own code of life, their own cultural growth, traditions and Islamic laws.”
Quran as the Basis for Unity and National Cohesion
Jinnah persistently exhorted the relationship between Pakistan and Islam. In the yearly proceeding of Muslim League convention in Karachi in 1943, he said, “Of all the relationships, which is the one which binds the Muslims into one Ummah? Do we know about the foundation upon which the community of Islam is built upon? The anchor which holds us into one? That relationship, foundation, and anchor is the Holy Script of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), the Qur’an.”
No –ism Other Than Islam
Jinnah believed in the comprehensiveness of Islamic teachings in political, social, economic, military; in-short all aspects of life. He, while addressing to a delegation of students in March of 1944, said, “Islam and its teachings are our mentor and complete code of conduct of life. We do not need any other flag, neither any Socialism, Communism nor any other –ism.”
Pakistan was neither insufficiently imagined nor was it an outcome of any unintended consequence or just a political enigma. As Jinnah once addressed a huge gathering in Hyderabad on 11th of July, 1946, saying, “It is the Muslim League which fortified the ranks of Muslims for the struggle of Pakistan. Some may refer it to as an ‘unintended consequence’, as some may believe it. But in reality, it was the brotherhood, equity and the will to win just rights that we took our freedom struggle in our hands so that we may sustain our future in accordance to our Islamic teachings, and I assure you, that is the only meaning of Pakistan. We can never sustain our precious lives under the slavery of Hindus.”
Dismissal of Ethnic or Tribal Partisanship
The elements contributing to the collapse of national unity was the discrimination based upon color, caste, language, ethnicity or race. Jinnah condemned this dilemma in a speech in Dhaka in March 21, 1948, saying, “I wish we do not speak representing ourselves as Punjabi, Baluchi, Sindhi, Pathan, or Bangali, but Muslims. There is no shame in it.”
The Need for Partition
Jinnah very well perceived and foresaw the need for partition of Subcontinent. While addressing the students of Muslim University Ali Garh, on 8th of March, 1944, he said, “What is the basis for the struggle of Pakistan? What is the need for such a partition? The elements contributing to this are neither the narrowness of Hindus nor the bigotry of Congress, but the basic call of a sovereign independent Islamic state.”
A Sovereign State
Jinnah proposed Muslims to be a separate nation from the Hindus, therefore, went to great lengths in winning the due rights for Muslims in India. Jinnah, while addressing a historic conference in March 1940, said, “Under any definition of Nationalism are the Muslims a sovereign nation. Therefore, they are deserving to a call of an independent state where they could spend the rest of their lives in accordance to their beliefs and ethnic values of economy, social and politics. The Hindus and Muslims differ greatly to each other; they differ in their culture, history, language, code-of-conduct, ethnicity, in short, all aspects of life.”
The Preservance of Islamic Culture
Addressing to a delegation of army personnel on October of 1947, Jinnah said, “Our ideal for the need of a sovereign state, namely Pakistan, was so that we may allow our future generations to flourish in the light of our unique cultural and socio-economic Islamic values.”
The Deteriorated Western System
Jinnah strongly opposed the interest-based Western capitalistic economic system. In his speech at the inauguration ceremony of State Bank of Pakistan on 1st of July, 1948, he said, “The western economic system is creating irresolvable problems. It is unable to imply the just principles among the people. We must, as a Muslim, bring forward an economic system which enjoys the parity values of Islamic teachings.”
A Stable Democratic System
Jinnah did not perceive the parliamentary democratic system to be feasible for Pakistan. He himself, in a hand-written note on his vision for the future constitution of Pakistan dated 10th July 1947 had stated that the presidential form of government is more suited for Pakistan. Under a heading of “Dangers of Parliamentary form of Govt.” he wrote that “It has worked satisfactorily so far in England, nowhere else.”
Safe Haven for Minorities
Jinnah not only looked forward to the prosperous future of Muslims in Pakistan but also looked forward to the well-being of minorities. Jinnah, in his speech in Mumbai, on 27th of March, 1947, said, “We assure Hindu community that the Hindus in minority in Pakistan will be dealt with just, equitable manners. Islam teaches the Muslims to do so. Our history is evident to our behaviors.”
Jinnah perceived the emergence of Pakistan as preservation of Islam in the Indo-Pak region (Subcontinent, then). He said, “In order to preserve the existence of Islam in the Subcontinent, the emergence of Pakistan is necessary. Remember, if we fail to do so, we will perish and there will be no signs of Muslims and Islam in the Subcontinent.”
On 18th of December, 1946, Jinnah addressed to a gathering in Cairo, saying, “If Hindutva-thriving government is established in Subcontinent, then it is the death of Islam and Muslim countries, worldwide.”
Jinnah himself proclaimed during his visit to the Middle East in December 1946, if Pakistan was not created ‘the whole of the Middle East and Egypt in particular would be threatened by Hindu imperialism.’ This clearly shows that the interests of Muslims were not only unsecure in the United India but in the whole world, and Jinnah and his fellows, including students and ulema in masses, conceived this truth.
A Well-Thought-Out Constitution
Jinnah, in an interview to an American correspondent, on February of 1948, said, “The constitution of Pakistan is yet to be compiled; I don’t have the knowledge of its nature at the moment but I am assured that it will be in accordance to the teachings of Islam; it shall be followed as it was then, almost 1300 years ago.”
The Congress leaders residing in NWFP tried to demotivate the Pakhtuns of the province by propagating the idea that the constitution of Pakistan shall not accompany the teachings of Islam whatsoever. Jinnah himself rejected this propaganda on 28th of June, 1947, from New Delhi, saying, “These people (of NWFP) are Muslims first, Pakhtun later. If this province did not accede with Pakistan, it will collapse by the hands of Hindu tyrants. The propaganda regarding constitution of Pakistan is nothing but ill-fated propaganda. It is a step to jeopardize the future of Muslims of (NWFP). Our Constituent Assembly will strictly be in accordance to the teachings of Quran and Sunnah.”
On August 30, 1946, addressing to the masses at Qaisar Bagh in Bombay, Jinnah said, “No force can stop us from achieving our ambitions. The ideology of Pakistan shall not be defeated, nor will it be thrashed or broken-down. The 10 Crore Muslims can’t be perished. In distinction to rendering all kinds of sacrifices, we will win Pakistan at all costs.”
A Rejection of Secularism
By acknowledging and affirming, religion to play an equal role in both the private and public spheres, Jinnah had clearly rejected the idea of a secular nation where religion is strictly kept confined to the Mosque or Church. In a speech he made in September 1945 he said, “Every Musalman knows that the injunctions of the Quran are not confined to religious and moral duties. From the Atlantic to the Ganges, says Gibbon, the Quran is acknowledged as the fundamental code, not only of theology, but of civil and criminal jurisprudence, and the laws which regulate the action and the property of mankind are governed by immutable sanctions of the will of God”. Everyone, except those who are ignorant, knows the Quran is the general code of the Muslims”.
The writer is a staff member of Invite