by Shamsul Islam 26 August 2019
After the recent [May 2, 2018] attack on Aligarh Muslim University by the Hindutva hoodlums sponsored by RSS/BJP leaders on the issue of Jinnah, the Two-nation theory is once again centre of a fierce debate. The Hindutva gang is using the issue of a photo of MA Jinnah displayed in the student union office since last 80 years to question the loyalty of Indian Muslims. Interestingly, it is being done by the inheritors of the legacy of BS Moonje, Bhai Parmanand, VD Savarkar, MS Golwalkar and other Hindu nationalists who not only propounded the Two-nation theory (aggressively demanding that Muslims should be ousted from India which was primordially a Hindu nation) but still believe that Hindus and Muslims are two different nations.
It was long before the appearance of the Muslim League or Jinnah on the political scene of India. The RSS whose cadres rule India today continue demanding de-nationalization of Muslims and Christians from India.
This reader on the Two-nation theory has been penned on the demand of friends from world-over so that one can have an authentic and systematic understanding of the whole discourse on the Two-nation theory from its birth to the present day.
No other fascist organization, in the present world, can beat Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in demagogy, double-speak and unabashed use of conspiracies. A leading Indian English daily, in the aftermath of 2002 genocide of Muslims in Gujarat, candidly wrote that in case of the RSS, what George Orwell termed as “doublespeak” would be an understatement.[i]It stands true always in the case of RSS. So far as its conspiring mind-set is concerned, it was none other than Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who became the first President of independent India, who brought to the notice of the first home minister of India, Sardar Patel that,
“I am told that RSS people have a plan of creating trouble. They have got a number of men dressed as Muslims and looking like Muslims who are to create trouble with the Hindus by attacking them and thus inciting the Hindus. Similarly, there will be some Hindus among them who will attack Muslims and thus incite Muslims. The result of this kind of trouble amongst the Hindus and Muslims will be to create a conflagration.”[ii]
These above mentioned nasty characteristics of the RSS are in full flow in the case of the recent Hindutva hoodlums’ attack on Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in the name of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Here is a brief recap of the attack: The former Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari was to address students of AMU as part of awarding the life-time membership of the Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union (AMUSU) ceremony on May 2, 2018. This programme of Ansari, the former VP of India had the clearance of the intelligence agencies and local state administration as per the protocol.
According to Ansari, his program at AMU was publicly known and the authorities concerned had been officially intimated about the standard arrangements, including security for the occasions. Despite all this “the access of the intruders to close proximity of the university guesthouse where I was staying remains unexplained”.[iii]
The Hindutva hoodlums justified the attack arguing that in AMUSU a photo of founder of Pakistan was displayed. Jinnah’s photo was there as he was conferred life-time member ship in the year 1938.
It never bothered the Hindutva gang for more than 80 years but resurrected this issue as Hindutva rulers in power in UP were losing fast support of the common Hindus. Ansari, rightly said that precise timings of the attack on AMU and “the excuse manufactured for justifying it” raises serious questions. The Hindutva arsonists demanding removal of Jinnah’s portrait thought that nation did not know that Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, ran coalition governments with the Hindu Mahasabha in 1942-43, as we will see later.
FEW FACTS ABOUT JINNAH WE MUST KNOW
It is pertinent to know the past of Mohammad Ali Jinnah before he became a prophet of Muslim separatism. He was a die-hard secularist and part of Congress leadership, including, Dada Bhai Naoroji, Gopal Krishan Gokhale, Annie Besant, MK Gandhi, Nehrus (Moti Lal Nehru and Jawaharlal Nehru), Maulana Azad, Sardar Patel and other such icons who led the freedom movement against the British rule.
Jinnah was not supporter of the militant activities against the British but when Bhagat Singh was jailed and judicial process to hang him started in his absence, he delivered a powerful speech against his trial in the Central Assembly (the then Parliament of India), on September 12, 1929. Jinnah said:
“the man who goes on hunger strike has a soul. He is moved by that soul, and he believes in the justice of his cause. He is no ordinary criminal, who is guilty of cold blooded, sordid wicked crime… I do not approve of the action of Bhagat Singh… I regret that rightly or wrongly the youth of today is stirred up… however much you deplore them and however much you say they are misguided, it is the system, this damnable system of governance, which is resented by the people,” [iv]
Earlier, in 1916, he was the leading defence counsel of Bal Gangadhar Tilak (a favourite of the Hindutva clan) in a sedition case against him; punishment for which could be death penalty. Jinnah won the historic case against the British government to the terrible humiliation of the foreign rulers.
Around 1935, there arose a serious religious conflict between Sikhs and Muslims of Lahore over possession of a religious site which was claimed to be a [shaheedee/of martyrs] Gurudwara and a mosque by Sikhs and Muslims respectively. The Muslim party approached Jinnah to fight legal battle on its behalf. Jinnah refused the brief and kept away from the case. He parted with the Gandhi led Congress in 1920-21, as former was against mass politics, specially, involving religious leaders in national politics.
Congress tried to isolate him and instead of fighting back, he chose to take a path which led him to lead the same Muslim League which he had described as representative of feudal and aristocratic elements of the Muslim community. In his personal habits and religious beliefs, he could not be counted as a practicing Muslim. He loved pork sausages and ended his day with Scotch. Incidentally, he did not know how to read or write Urdu, being proficient in English and Gujarati.
Importantly, when Jinnah was apostle of the Hindu-Muslim unity and stood for the freedom of a united India, he was denigrated by the Hindutva camp; Gandhi, Motilal Nehru, Azad being the other victims.
HINDU NATIONALISTS AND NOT JINNAH PROPOUNDED THE TWO NATION THEORY
Long-long before the appearance of Muslim advocates of the two-nation theory, Hindu nationalists had propounded this idea. Muslim League practitioners of the Two-nation theory were late comers. In fact, in this case, they borrowed heavily from the Hindutva school of thought.
BENGALI HIGH CASTE HINDUS WERE THE FIRST TO VUSUALIZE INDIA AS A HINDU NATION
The ball was set rolling by the Hindu nationalists at the end of the 19th century in Bengal. In fact, Raj Narain Basu (1826–1899), the maternal grandfather of Aurobindo Ghosh, and his close associate Nabha Gopal Mitra (1840-94) can be called the co-fathers of Two-nation theory and Hindu nationalism in India. Basu established a society for the promotion of national feelings among the educated natives which in fact stood for preaching the superiority of Hinduism. He organized meetings proclaiming that Hinduism despite its Casteism presented a much higher social idealism than ever reached by the Christian or Islamic civilization.
Basu not only believed in the superiority of Hinduism over other religions but also was a fervent believer in Casteism. He was the first person to conceive the idea of a Maha Hindu Samiti (All India Hindu Association) and helped in the formation of Bharat Dharma Mahamandal, a precursor of Hindu Mahasabha. He believed that through this organization Hindus would be able to establish an Aryan nation in India.He visualized a powerful Hindu nation not only overtaking India but the whole world. He also saw,
“the noble and puissant Hindu nation rousing herself after sleep and rushing headlong towards progress with divine prowess. I see this rejuvenated nation again illumining the world by her knowledge, spirituality and culture, and the glory of Hindu nation again spreading over the whole world.”[v]
Nabha Gopal Mitra started organising an annual Hindu Mela (fête). It used to be a gathering on the last day of every Bengali year and highlighted the Hindu nature of all aspects of Hindu Bengali life and continued uninterrupted between 1867 and 1880. Mitra also started a National Society and a National Paper for promoting unity and feelings of nationalism among Hindus. Mitra argued in his paper that the Hindus positively formed a nation by themselves. According to him,
“the basis of national unity in India is the Hindu religion. Hindu nationality embraces all the Hindus of India irrespective of their locality or language.”[vi]
R. C. Majumdar, a keen observer of the rise of Hindu nationalism in Bengal, had no difficulty in arriving at the truth that
“Nabha Gopal forestalled Jinnah’s theory of two nations by more than half a century.”[vii]And since then “consciously or unconsciously, the Hindu character was deeply imprinted on nationalism all over India.”[viii]
ROLE OF ARYA SAMAJISTS
The Arya Samaj in northern India aggressively preached that Hindu and Muslim communities in India were, in fact, two different nations. Bhai Parmanand (1876–1947), a leading light of the Arya Samaj in northern India who was also a leader of both Congress and Hindu Mahasabha, produced an enormous anti-Muslim literature which stressed the fact that India was a land of Hindus and Muslims should be relocated.
Long before V. D. Savarkar (1883-1966) and M. S. Golwalkar (1906-73), who laid down elaborate theories of Hindu Rashtra allowing no place for minorities, it was Bhai Parmanand who declared in the beginning of the twentieth century that followers of Hinduism and Islam in India were two different peoples because Muslims followed a religion which originated in Arab lands. Parmanand specialized in writing popular literature in Urdu in which the main emphasis would be on Hindus being true sons of India and Muslims as outsiders.[ix]
According to his Hindu nationalist logic,
“In history the Hindus revere the memory of Prithvi Raj, Partap, Shivaji and, Beragi Bir, who fought for the honour and freedom of this land (against the Muslims), while the Mahomedans look upon the invaders of India, like Muhammad Bin Qasim and rulers like Aurangzeb as their national heroes…[whereas] in the religious field, the Hindus draw their inspiration from the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, and the Geeta. The Musalmans, on the other hand, derive their inspiration from the Quran and the Hadis. Thus, the things that divide are far more vital than the things which unite.”[x]
He as early as 1908–9, Parmanand called for the total exchange of Hindu and Muslim populations in two specific areas. According to his plan, elaborated in his autobiography,
“The territory beyond Sind should be united with Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier Province into a great Musalman kingdom. The Hindus of the region should come away, while at the same time Mussalman in the rest of India should go and settle in this territory.”[xi]
Lajpat Rai (1865-1928), a renowned leader simultaneously of Congress, Hindu Mahasabha and Arya Samaj,
“long before Mohammad Ali Jinnah pronounced his poisonous Two-nation theory in 1939 and demanded a ruinous partition of India in 1940, the Mahasabha leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai and Savarkar had openly advocated this theory…”[xii]
In 1919, Lajpat Rai while writing on the theme of the Indian National Congress in the Hindustan Review declared that “Hindus are a nation in themselves because they represent all their own.”[xiii]
By 1924 he was more articulate in summarizing his Two-nation theory. He wrote:
“Under my scheme the Muslims will have four Muslim States: (1) The Pathan Province of the North Western Frontier (2) Western Punjab (3) Sindh and (4) Eastern Bengal. If there are compact Muslim communities in any other part of India, sufficiently large to form a Province, they should be similarly constituted. But it should be distinctly understood that this is not a united India. It means a clear partition of India into a Muslim India and a non-Muslim India.”[xiv][Italics as in the original]
Lajpat Rai proposed the partition of Punjab in the following words,
“I would suggest that a remedy should be sought by which the Muslims might get a decisive majority without trampling on the sensitiveness of the Hindus and the Sikhs. My suggestion is that the Punjab should be partitioned into two provinces, the Western Punjab with a large Muslim majority, to be a Muslim-governed Province; and the Eastern Punjab, with a large Hindu-Sikh majority, to be a non-Muslim governed province.”[xv]
It may be noted that Muslim flag-bearers of Two-nation theory had fair knowledge of theories propounded by Bhai Parmanand, Lajjpat Rai and others. However, instead of challenging this anti-national and anti-Muslim theory, they simply copied it.
HINDU NATIONALIST MOONJE, HAR DAYAL, SAVARKAR AND GOLWALKAR AS PROPHETS OF TWO-NATION THEORY
Dr. B. S. Moonje was another prominent Congress leader (who equally dabbled in organizing the Hindu Mahasabha and later helped the RSS in its formation) who carried forward the flag of Hindu Separatism long before Muslim League’s Pakistan resolution of March 1940. While addressing the third session of the Oudh Hindu Mahasabha in 1923, he declared,
“Just as England belongs to the English, France to the French, and Germany to the Germans, India belongs to the Hindus. If Hindus get organized, they can humble the English and their stooges, the Muslims…The Hindus henceforth create their own world which will prosper through shuddhi [literally meaning purification, the term was used for conversion of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism] and sangathan [organization].”[xvi]
It was sheer semi-illiteracy of Moonje that he presented England, France and Germany as justification for India for Hindus. The English, the French and the German identities had nothing to do with religions, these were secular identities of the people living in those countries.
Lala Har Dayal (1884–1938), a well-known name in the Ghadar Party circles, too, long before the Muslim League’s demand for a separate homeland for Muslims, not only demanded the formation of a Hindu nation in India but also urged the conquest and Hinduization of Afghanistan. In a significant political statement in 1925, which was published in the Pratapof Kanpur, he stated:
“I declare that the future of the Hindu race, of Hindustan and of the Punjab, rests on these four pillars: (1) Hindu Sangathan, (2) Hindu Raj, (3) Shuddhi of Muslims, and (4) Conquest and Shuddhi of Afghanistan and the Frontiers. So long as the Hindu Nation does not accomplish these four things, the safety of our children and great grandchildren will be ever in danger, and the safety of Hindu race will be impossible. The Hindu race has but one history, and its institutions are homogenous.
But the Mussalman and Christians are far removed from the confines of Hindustan, for their religions are alien and they love Persian, Arab, and European institutions. Thus, just as one removes foreign matter from the eye, Shuddhi must be made of these two religions. Afghanistan and the hilly regions of the frontier were formerly part of India, but are at present under the domination of Islam […] Just as there is Hindu religion in Nepal, so there must be Hindu institutions in Afghanistan and the frontier territory; otherwise it is useless to win Swaraj.”[xvii]
All such ideas of declaring India as a Hindu nation and excluding Muslims and Christians from it were further crystallized by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in his controversial book Hindutvaas early as 1923. Interestingly, he was allowed to write this polarizing book despite being in the British jail. According to his definition of the Hindu nation, Muslims and Christians remained out of this nationhood because they did not assimilate into Hindu cultural heritage or adopt Hindu religion. Savarkar decreed:
“Christians and Mohamedan [sic] communities, who were but very recently Hindus and in majority of cases had been at least in their first generation most willing denizens of their new fold, claim though they might a common fatherland, and an almost pure Hindu blood and parentage with us cannot be recognized as Hindus; as since their adoption of the new cult they had ceased to own Hindu Sanskriti[culture] as a whole. They belong, or feel that they belong, to a cultural unit altogether different from the Hindu one. Their heroes and their hero-worship their fairs and their festivals, their ideals and their outlook on-life, have now ceased to be common with ours.”[xviii]
Savarkar, the originator of the politics of Hindutva, later developed the most elaborate Two-nation theory. The fact should not be missed that Muslim League passed its Pakistan resolution in 1940 only but Savarkar, the great philosopher and guide of RSS, propagated the Two-nation theory long before it. While delivering the presidential address to the 19th session Hindu Mahasabha at Ahmedabad in 1937, Savarkar declared unequivocally,
“As it is, there are two antagonistic nations living side by side in India. Several infantile politicians commit the serious mistake in supposing that India is already welded into a harmonious nation, or that it could be welded thus for the mere wish to do so. These our well-meaning but unthinking friends take their dreams for realities. That is why they are impatient of communal tangles and attribute them to communal organizations. But the solid fact is that the so-called communal questions are but a legacy handed down to us by centuries of cultural, religious and national antagonism between the Hindus and Moslems. When time is ripe you can solve them; but you cannot suppress them by merely refusing recognition of them. It is safer to diagnose and treat deep-seated disease than to ignore it. Let us bravely face unpleasant facts as they are. India cannot be assumed today to be a Unitarian and homogenous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main: the Hindus and the Moslems, in India.”[xix]
The RSS, following into the footsteps of Savarkar, rejected out rightly the idea that Hindus and Muslims together constituted a nation. The English organ of the RSS, Organiser, on the very eve of Independence (August 14, 1947) editorially chalked out its concept of nation in the following words:
“Let us no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by false notions of nationhood. Much of the mental confusion and the present and future troubles can be removed by the ready recognition of the simple fact that in Hindusthan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and sound foundation…the nation itself must be built up of Hindus, on Hindu traditions, culture, ideas and aspirations.”
In the light of the pre-partition documents and activities of the Hindutva organizations the researchers on the two-nation theory should not overlook the fact that
“It was a theory which long preceded Jinnah, having been expounded by such names as Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya in the late nineteenth-century Bengal and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in the early part of the twentieth, among countless others.”[xx]
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, a keen researcher of the communal politics in pre-independence India, while underlying the affinity and camaraderie between Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League on the issue of the Two-nation theory wrote:
“Strange it may appear, Mr. Savarkar and Mr. Jinnah instead of being opposed to each other on the one nation versus two nations issue are in complete agreement about it. Both agree, not only agree but insist that there are two nations in India—one the Muslim nation and the other Hindu nation.”[xxi]
Ambedkar agonized by the evil designs of Savarkar regarding the Two-nation theory and Hindutva rhetoric over it, wrote, as early as 1940, that,
“Hindu nation will be enabled to occupy a predominant position that is due to it and the Muslim nation made to live in the position of subordinate co-operation with the Hindu nation”.[xxii]
HINDU MAHASABHA LED BY SAVARKAR RAN COALITION GOVERNMENTS WITH MUSLIM LEAGUE
The children of Hindu nationalist, Savarkar ruling India presently are oblivious of the shocking fact that Hindu Mahasabha led by Savarkar entered into alliances with the Muslim League in order to break the united freedom struggle, specially, the 1942 Quit India Movement against the British rulers. While delivering Presidential address to the 24th session of Hindu Mahasabha at Cawnpore (Kanpur) in 1942, he defended hobnobbing with the Muslim League in the following words,
“In practical politics also the Mahasabha knows that we must advance through reasonable compromises. Witness the fact that only recently in Sind, the Sind-Hindu-Sabha on invitation had taken the responsibility of joining hands with the League itself in running coalition Government. The case of Bengal is well known. Wild Leaguers whom even the Congress with all its submissiveness could not placate grew quite reasonably compromising and socialable as soon as they came in contact with the Hindu Mahasabha and the Coalition Government, under the premiership of Mr. Fazlul Huq and the able lead of our esteemed Mahasabha leader Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerji, functioned successfully for a year or so to the benefit of both the communities. Moreover further events also proved demonstratively that the Hindu Mahasabhaits endeavoured to capture the centres of political power only in the public interests and not for the leaves and fishes of the office.”[xxiii]
Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League also formed a coalition government in NWFP also.
MUSLIMS AGAINST PARTITION OF INDIA
One of the greatest lies concerning Partition of India, continuously spread by the Hindutva gang is that all Muslims of India in unison demanded Pakistan and they got the country divided. This lie believed as truth by the Hindutva cadres has become the most important cause of persecution of Muslims in India. It is true that India was partitioned in 1947 due to Muslim League’s demand for a separate homeland for Muslims.
And there is no denying the fact that the Muslim league was able to mobilize huge mass of Muslims in favour of its demand. But it is also true that very large sections of Indian Muslims and their organizations stood against the demand for Pakistan. These Muslims against Partition challenged the Muslim League theoretically and confronted the latter on streets. Such Muslims fought heroically, many times paying with their lives.
The lie of culpability of all Indian Muslims for Partition continues to be spread not only due to the nasty anti-Muslim politics of Hindutva but also due to the fact that Indian Muslims are not aware of the great heritage of their ancestors who challenged the politics of the Muslim League, politically, religiously and physically.
Within weeks of the Pakistan resolution of the Muslim League at Lahore, Indian Muslims organized MUSLIM AZAD CONFERENCE in Delhi (Queen’s Park, Chandni Chowk) between April 27-30, 1940 (it was to conclude on April 29 but was extended by one day due to tremendous participation and pressure of the work) with 1400 delegates from almost all parts of India attending it.
The leading light of this conference was former Premier of Sind, Allah Bakhsh who presided over the conference was one of such heroes. The major Muslim organizations represented in this conference were All India Jamiat-ul-Ulema, All India Momin Conference, All India Majlis-e-Ahrar, All-India Shia Political Conference, Khudai Khidmadgars, Bengal Krishak Proja Party, All-India Muslim Parliamentary Board, the Anjuman-e-Watan, Baluchistan, All India Muslim Majlis and Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadis. The Azad Muslim Conference was attended by duly elected delegates from United Province, Bihar, Central Province, Punjab, Sind, NWF Province, Madras, Orissa, Bengal, Malabar, Baluchistan, Delhi, Assam, Rajasthan, Delhi, Kashmir, Hyderabad and many native states thus covering the whole of India.[xxiv]
There was no doubt that these delegates represented “majority of India’s Muslims.”[xxv] Apart from these organizations a galaxy of leading intellectuals of Indian Muslims like Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari (who was in the forefront of struggle against the communal politics of Muslim League, died in 1936), Shaukatullah Ansari, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Syed Abdullah Brelvi, Shaikh Mohammed Abdullah, AM Khwaja and Maulana Azad were associated with this movement against Pakistan. Jamiat and other Muslim organizations produced large number of booklets in Urdu against Two-nation theory and in support of co-existence of Hindus and Muslims in India.
Allah Bakhsh, in his presidential address declared the Pakistan resolution as suicidal for Muslims as well as India. Stressing the inclusive nature of Indian society and polity he said:
“as Indian nationals, Muslim and Hindus and others inhabit the land and share every inch of the motherland and all its material and cultural treasures alike according to the measure of their just and fair rights and requirements as the proud sons of the soil. Even in the realm of literature one finds common classics like Heer Ranjha and Sassi Pannu, written by Muslim poets, equally and proudly shared by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs in the Punjab and in Sind; to quote but only one example. It is a vicious fallacy for Hindu, Muslim and other inhabitants of India to arrogate to themselves an exclusively proprietary right over either the whole or any particular part of India. The country as an indivisible whole and as one federated and composite unit belongs to all the inhabitants of the country alike and is as much the inalienable and imprescriptible heritage of the Indian Muslim as of other Indians. No segregated or insolated regions, but the whole of India is the Homeland of all the Indian Muslim and no Hindu or Muslim or any other has the right to deprive them of one inch of this Homeland.”[xxvi]
ALLAH BAKHSH MURDERED BY ASSASINS HIRED BY THE MUSLIM LEAGUE
How many of us know that long before MK Gandhi’s murder by the Hindu nationalists, Allah Bakhsh was murdered on May 14, 1943 by professional assassins hired by the Muslim nationalist (Muslim League leaders) at Shikarpur town in Sind. Allah Bakhsh had become a symbol of unity amongst against the Muslim League and its demand for Pakistan. He needed to be liquidated as Gandhi had become the biggest stumbling block in the Hindutva project of converting India into a Hindu rashtra.
THE MUSLIM LEAGUE TERROR
All leading leaders of anti-Pakistan movement were physically attacked, their houses looted, family members attacked, mosques where they stayed or addressed Muslims were damaged, Shiekh-ul-Islam, Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani was victim of violent attacks in UP and Bihar. Maulana Azad, Ahrar leader, Habeebur Rahman, Maulana Ishaque Sambhali, Hafiz Ibrahim, Maulana M. Qasim Shajahanpuri and many other leading ulama faced murderous attacks. At places ulama were attacked with daggers causing severance of body parts, they were shot and office of the Jamiat at Delhi was set on fire. Momin Conference meetings were special targets of attack, its cadres killed and Conference had to warn the Muslim League of war.
According to a contemporary document,
“It is painful to describe how respected nationalist ulama (scholars) and leaders throughout the country were treated by ML. It was despicable, heartbreaking and inhuman. In villages, towns and cities meetings of nationalist were showered with stones and attacked regularly in the most criminal manner. MNG, the volunteer force of ML indulged in unspeakable violence against nationalist Muslims. It was difficult for nationalist Muslims to travel as they were attacked ferociously while undertaking journeys. All those opposing Muslim League were scared and if any dared to challenge them had to bear terrible consequences.[xxvii]
HINDU NATIONALISTS WHO BELIEVED IN THE TWO-NATION THEORY PARADED AS INDIAN NATIONALISTS
Despite all these facts only Muslims are branded as guilty men of Partition and originator and perpetrator of the Two-nation theory. The leading Hindu nationalist leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malviya, M. S. Aney, B. S. Moonje, M. R. Jayakar and N. C. Kelkar, Swami Shardhanand etc. (some of whom were also Congress leaders) did not subscribe to an all-inclusive India but were committed to the building of an exclusive Hindu nation. They believed that India was primordially a Hindu nation and should be nurtured as one. Nevertheless, they went around as great Indian ‘Nationalist’ leaders.
In fact, the majority community had the advantage of disguising their communalism under the cloak of nationalism. Take one glaring example, Madan Mohan Malviya. While he was President of the Indian National Congress which stood for a composite India, in 1909, 1918 and 1933 he also presided over the sessions of Hindu Mahasabha in the years 1923, 1924 and 1936. He was the originator of the most divisive slogan ‘Hindi-Hindu-Hindusthan.[xxviii]Despite his history of spreading communal hatred he continues to be known as a great Indian nationalist leader.
If Muslim leaders can be distinguished on the basis of whether they believed in a multi-religious India or in the creation of Pakistan as a homeland for Muslims, then the same distinction should apply to Hindu leaders. When we study Indian nationalism we are generally told that all Hindus were nationalists whereas there were few patriotic Muslims and the rest were with the anti-national Muslim League. In order to clear the air we need to define what nationalism meant in Indian context. If Indian nationalism had been about creating a multi-religious secular nation state, only those who shared this commitment would be called nationalist or patriotic. But this is rarely the case when we discuss communal Hindus or Hindu Nationalist leaders. Despite their being decidedly against a multi-cultural India, they are still held up as nationalist icons. The truth is that the Hindu nationalist leaders were decidedly anti-patriotic or anti-national, in precisely the same way as the Muslim League was.
In the same way that not all Hindu leaders were patriotic by this standard, not all Muslims were anti-patriotic. A large number of Muslim individuals and mass-based Muslim organizations opposed the Two-nation theory and the creation of Pakistan with all their resources, often laying down their lives. The saddest part is that the children of the Hindu nationalists, inheriting the politics of Two-nation theory are ruling India. This ruling elite whose political ancestors like Moonje, Savarkar and Golwalkar played no role in the freedom struggle, cooperated with the Muslim League and the British rulers are questioning the patriotism of the Indian Muslims.
TASK FOR INDIAN MUSLIMS
The Indian Muslims instead of getting defensive against this onslaught by the anti-national Hindu nationalists must aggressively challenge the propaganda against Muslims. The history is with them. Indian Muslims are children of those fearless Muslims who waged a glorious fight against the Muslim League and its demand for Pakistan. They did not agree to Pakistan but were helpless victims of a deal amongst the British rulers, the Muslim League and the Congress for partitioning India. The following statement of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the Frontier Gandhi to MK Gandhi in June 1947, after Congress had agreed to the partition of India, symbolized the pervasive sense of betrayal of anti-Pakistan Muslim. He wrote:
“We Pakhtuns stood by you and had undergone great sacrifices for attaining freedom. But you have now deserted us and thrown us to the wolves…”[xxix]
Whereas the children of Savarkar and Golwalkar who rule India today, hail from a heritage which propounded Two-nation theory and allied with Jinnah, the Muslims against partition of India had a solid case for not dividing the country on the basis of religion. Their resolve and commitment for a united democratic-secular India was clear from the following anti-Pakistan poem titled, ‘Pakistan chahne walon se’ (To those who want Pakistan) penned by renowned poet, Shamim Karhani which became Indian Muslim’s anthem against the Muslim League. Since Muslim League had converted the demand for Pakistan into a religious project, Shamim Karhani responded in the same vocabulary. Every Indian Muslim should be proud of it.
Humko batlao tau kiya matlab hae Pakistan kaa
Jis jagah iss waqt Muslim haen, najis hae kiya who ja.
[Tell me, what does Pakistan mean? Is this land, where we Muslims are, an unholy land?]
Nesh-e-tohmat se tere, Chishti kaa seena chaak hae
jald batlla kiya zameen Ajmer kee na-paak hae.
[Your slur has wounded Chishti’s breast; Quick, tell me, is Ajmer impure?]
Kufr kee vaadi maen imaan kaa nageena kho gaya
Hai kiya khak-e-najis maen shah-e-meena kho gaya.
[Can you say the precious jewel of Islam ‘Shah Meena’ has lost in the unholy valley of Infidelity?]
Deen kaa makhdoom jo Kaliyer kee abaadi maen hae
Aah! Uskaa aastana kiya najis vaadi mae hae.
[Is the place of high dignity at Kaliyar where Makhdoom (Master of Deen/religion) is resting is an unholy valley?]
Haen imamon ke jo roze Lucknow kee khaaq per
Ban gaye kiya tauba-tauba khitta-e-napak per.
[Whether the Mausoleums/Shrines of Imams at Lucknow are built on impure land?]
Baat yeh kaisee kahee tu ney kee dil ne aah kee
Kiya zameen tahir naheen dargah-e-Noorullah kee.
[A deep sigh came out over your statement. Can you say the Shrine of Noor-ul-lah (at Agra) is not pious?]
Aah! Iss pakeezah Ganga ko najis kehta hae tu
jis key paany see kiya Muslim shahidon ne wazoo.
[Alas! You call the holy Ganga water impure, which was used by martyrs for the ablution (wazoo).]
Nam-e-Pakistan na le gar tujhko pas-e-deen hae
Yeh guzishta nasl-e-Muslim kee badi tauheen hae.
[Don’t take the name of Pakistan if you have least respect for your faith because demanding Pakistan is immense disrespect to our Muslim predecessors.]
Tukre-tukre ker nahin sakte watan ko ahl-e-dil
Kis tarah taraj dekhen gey chaman ko ahl-e-dil.
[Those who have a sensible heart cannot split the country and how will they dare to see a ruined and plundered motherland?]
Kiya yeh matlab hae ke hum mahroom-e-azadi rahen
Munqasim ho ker Arab kee tarah faryadi rahaen.
[Do you want us to remain devoid of freedom and lament like divided Arabs?]
Tukre-tukre ho kay Muslim khasta-dil ho jayegaa
Nakhl-e-jamiat sarasar muzmahil ho jayegaa.
[By division Muslims will split and the tree of community will wilt.][xxx]
November 19, 2018
For some of S. Islam’s writings in English, Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu & Gujarati see the following link:
Facebook: shamsul Twitter: @shamsforjustice
[i] The Times Of India, Delhi, edit, ‘Sangh’s triplespeak’, August 16. 2002.
[ii] Dr. Rajendra Prasad to Sardar Patel (March 14, 1948) cited in Neerja Singh (ed.), Nehru-Patel: Agreement Within Difference—Select Documents & Correspondences 1933-1950, NBT, Delhi, p. 43.
[iv] Quoted in, The Trial of Bhagat Singh — Politics of Justice by A.G. Noorani.
[v] Cited in Majumdar, R. C., History of the Freedom Movement in India,Vol. I (Calcutta: Firma KL Mukhpadhyay, 1971), 295–296.
[vi] Cited in Majumdar, R. C., Three Phases of India’s Struggle for Freedom(Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1961), 8.
[ix] Parmanand, Hamare Qaumi Hero(Lahore: Hindu Bookshop, nd), 1.
[x] Parmanand, Bhai in pamphlet titled, ‘The Hindu National Movement’, cited in B.R. Ambedkar,Pakistan or the Partition of India(Bombay: Government of Maharashtra, 1990), 35–36, first Published December 1940, Thackers Publishers, Bombay.
[xi] Parmanand, Bhai, The Story of My Life, S. Chand, Delhi, 1982, p. 36.
[xii] Noorani, A. G., ‘Parivar & Partition’, Frontline, Chennai, August 22, 2014, p. 52.
[xiii] Ibid., 53.
[xiv] Rai, Lala Lajpat, ‘Hindu-Muslim Problem XI’, The Tribune, Lahore, December 14, 1924, p. 8.
[xv] Cited in A. G. Noorani, ‘Parivar & Partition’, Frontline, Chennai, August 22, 1914, p. 54.
[xvi] Cited in Dhanki, J. S., Lala Lajpat Rai and Indian Nationalism, S Publications, Jullundur, 1990, p. 378.
[xvii] Cited in Ambedkar, B. R., Pakistan or the Partition of India, Maharashtra Government, Bombay, 1990, p. 129.
[xviii] Maratha [V. D. Savarkar], Hindutva, VV Kelkar, Nagpur, 1923, p. 88.
[xix] Samagar Savarkar Wangmaya (Collected Works of Savarkar), Hindu Mahasabha, Poona, 1963, p.296.
[xx] Editorial: ‘Two-nation Gujarat’, The Times of India, 18 April 2002.
[xxi] B. R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or the Partition of India, Govt. of Maharashtra, Bombay, 1990 [Reprint of 1940 edition], p. 142.
[xxii] Ibid., 143.
[xxiii] Samagar Savarkar Wangmaya (Collected Works of Savarkar), Hindu Mahasabha, Poona, 1963, pp. 479-480.
[xxiv] According to records available with the reception committee of the Conference the number of delegates from major Provinces was as follows: United Provinces 357, Punjab 155, Bihar 125, Bengal 105, N.W.F. Province 35, Sind 82, Baluchistan 45, Bombay 60, C. P. 12, Madras 5, Orissa 5, Ajmer-Mewar 12, Assam 25, Delhi 112, Indian States 12. The Hindustan Times, April 28, 1940.
[xxv] Smith, Wilfred Cantwell, Modern Islam in India: A Social Analysis, Victor G. Ltd, London, 1946, 231.
[xxvi] The Hindustan Times, April 28, 1940.
[xxvii] Cited in Adardi, Aseer, Tehreek-e-Azadi aur Musalman, Darul Maualefeen, Deoband, 2000 (6thedition), p. 341.
[xxviii] Gangadharan, K. K., Indian National Consciousness: Growth & Development, Kalamkar, Delhi,1972, p. 97.
[xxix]Khan, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Words of Freedom: Ideas of a Nation, Penguin, Delhi, 2010, pp. 41-42.
[xxx]‘Pakistan chahne walon se’ by Shamin Karhani in Akhtar, Jaan Nisar (ed.), Hinostan Hamara 2, Hindustani Book Trust, Mumbai, 1973, pp. 305-306.
The author of this piece is proud of the fact that he was student of this great patriotic Urdu poet at Anglo Arabic School, Delhi, during 1963-66.