“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.
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