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A glance at the Two Nation Theory

A glance at the Two Nation Theory

“India is not a national state. India is not a state, but a subcontinent composed of nationalities, the two major nations being Hindus and Muslims whose culture, art, architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of value and proportion, laws and jurisprudence, social, moral codes, customs and calendar, history and traditions, aptitudes and ambitions, outlook on life and of life are fundamentally different. By all canons of international law we are a nation.” —Quaid-e-Azam (1937)

With the growth of Muslim nationalism in the Hindu-dominated India, the “Two Nation Theory” had evolved and persisted throughout the period; both the communities lived together under the same rulers. Their integration, however, was inconceivable and, even the Mughal emperor Akbar’s efforts to unify both the Hindus and Muslims into a single nation had miserably failed. Later, during the British Raj, the Muslims were in a state of agony at the hands of Hindus as well as the British. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah refused to accept Nehru’s notion that there are only two forces in India, British imperialism and Indian nationalism, as professed by the Congress.

Indian National Congress would quite often criticise Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and accuse him of disrupting centuries-old Hindu-Muslim unity through his ‘myopic’ vision of the Two Nation Theory. But, a dive into reality tells something different. A look into the chronicles of history reveals that the concept that “Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies,” was not a spontaneous thought; rather it evolved over many centuries and was strengthened by maltreatments of Muslims at the hands of Hindus.

In the year 1906, Muhammad Ali Jinnah joined the Indian National Congress (INC). He later joined All India Muslim League (AIML) in 1913 and during his association with both parties at once, he remained a staunch supporter of Hindu-Muslim unity. It was due to his relentless efforts that a joint session of INC and AIML took place at Lucknow in 1916 where an agreement, commonly known as Lucknow Pact, on the right to separate electorate for the Muslim was concluded between both the parties. For that reason, Ms Sarojini Naidu gave him the title of the “Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity”. But, the Congress, later, went back on the words it had given in this Pact mainly because of persistent heavy-handedness of Hindus. Hence, Mr Jinnah had to resign from Congress in 1920. This sufficiently proved that both nations won’t live together anymore.

If we explore the annals of history we find that the arrival of Muhammad bin Qasim in Sindh was the first step toward the creation of Pakistan. The differences between the two communities were so wide and so diverse that Al-Beruni, who accompanied the armies of Mahmud Ghaznavi to India, also observed in his book that Hinduism and Islam are totally different from each other. They have nothing in common and they cannot be united. This, in effect, was a very initial shape of the Two Nations Theory.

Two Nation Theory is actually based on this very fact that Hindus and Muslims are two entirely different nations from every point of view; they have different languages, different histories, one’s heroes are other’s villains, etc., and they are poles apart also in their social norms. With the exception of a few people like King Akbar, who married non-Muslim girls — mainly for his political motives — Muslims and Hindus neither intermarry nor do they inter-dine.

Hindus could not tolerate the existence of Muslims on the Indian Subcontinent. That’s why they launched various movements like Bhakti Movement and Shuddhi Movement whereby they tried to make Muslims abandon their religion and adopt Hindu ideals.
Moreover, Urdu-Hindi Controversy does also speak volumes about the highhandedness of the Hindus.

Urdu was so popular on the Indian Subcontinent that in UP alone, out of 23 newspapers in 1863, 17 were being published in Urdu and only 4 in Hindi language. People preferred to read and write in Urdu because it was an easy and easy-to-adapt-to language. But in 1861, the first step to eliminate Urdu — supposedly the language of the Muslims — and promote Hindi instead was taken in Banaras when some prominent Hindus founded a movement whose main objective was to replace Urdu by Hindi (written in the Devanagari script) as the court language, as well as the language of instruction.

In 1867 when Urdu-Hindi controversy started, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan wrote a letter to Mr Shakespeare, the then Divisional Commissioner of Banaras. In that letter, Sir Syed used the word “nation” for Muslims. He wrote, “Now I am convinced that these two nations, Hindus and Muslims, will never reach on any agreement upon any matter in future”. On the basis of this letter, sir Syed is called the real founder of the Two Nation Theory.

The language discord between the two communities kept on aggravating the situation. Hindus had acrimony against Muslims owing to the Urdu language. After Mr Jinnah parted ways with the INC, opposition of Muslims by Hindus also got intense. This can be assessed by the fact that in 1925, the INC adopted a resolution whereby INC leaders resolved that Hindustani would be the only national language of India. Only ten years after, in 1935, they used the term Hindi Hindustani, or in other words, Hindi language, instead of Hindustani or Urdu for the national language.

On February 20, 1938, Subash Chandra Bose, the then president of INC declared, “Only Hindi can be the common language of India.” At last, Hindus achieved their motive and Urdu was removed from all offices and Hindi was declared the official language. This step was only taken to debilitate Islamic history, culture and teachings.
The sole purpose of Hindus was that the British must leave India and transfer power to them so that they may oppress the Muslims and avenge their millennium-long rule over India. They didn’t want the colonial rulers to divide India into two dominions as the Muslims had been demanding since long.

But, the atrocities of Hindus and a would-be dark future of the Indian Muslims spurred Jinnah and his fellows to work for the partition of India and to achieve a separate homeland for the Muslims. Jinnah’s Fourteen Points and Iqbal’s famous Allahabad Address had made it clear that Muslims wanted freedom from the tyranny of the British as well as that of the Hindus.

Islamic ideology is the underlying philosophy of the Two Nation Theory. Pakistan is a state founded on ideological basis and not on the territorial grounds. The Two Nation Theory became a reality with distinct ideology called Pakistan Ideology. Pakistan Ideology is the cause of creation of the country, the driving force of its existence and also the destiny of the people.

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About Jamal Abdul Nasir

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The writer can be contacted at: jamalpsychologist@gmail.com

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