Two-Nation Theory

Two-Nation Theory

Pakistan emerged on the globe on the basis of an ideology emanating from and maintaining the idea of a distinct nation. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah has always been vehemently opposed by the Hindu leaders and scholars for wedging in the Indians and crafting the idea of two-nation theory. He was charged for dividing the Indian community on the basis of religion. However, it is an undeniable truth that the Muslims have always maintained their separate identity as a nation across the globe since ever.

Solely sticking to India, there have been efforts to amalgamate Hindus and Muslims together, first in Akbar’s reign, and later during British rule albeit some negate the latter. When Pakistan came into being, the opponents of two-nation theory would still offer reasons to support their viewpoint. Three kinds of arguments are given to rebut the reality that the most potent force behind Pakistan movement was the consciousness of the Muslims as a separate nation.

First, Pakistan was the culmination of the British policy of ‘divide and rule’. Second, Hindus’ shortsightedness and exclusiveness are also blamed among the strongest reasons that engendered the making of Pakistan. The same notion was also raised by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in his book ‘India Wins Freedom’. Third, it is also argued that Muslim separatism started after the British conceded separate electorate to the Muslims in 1909. The philosophy behind all these points has been to blunt upon the reality of the existence of the Muslims as a separate nation, which contributed to the emergence of Pakistan.

Two-Nation TheoryThe points mentioned, no doubt, infused life and strength to the idea of two-nation theory to a great extent. Let us, now, dissect all these points floated to negate the Muslim nationalism.

Firstly, it would be unfair to say that the Muslim nationalism and the subsequent separatism were purely a product of the British mechanism. There were many unifying influences of the British rule in India: namely, education, commerce, industry, civil service, army and judiciary, but the Muslims in all aspects maintained their separate identity. Secondly, the reasoning that the Hindus’ shortsightedness is the reason d’être to stir the Muslims for a separate homeland also aims to dent into the separate identity of the Muslims.

The fact remains that many Hindus including Gandhi and Rajagopalachari had been, at times, sympathetic towards the Muslims. Gandhi had tried hard to save India from vivisection. He even suggested Mountbatten to replace Nehru with Jinnah since his only concern was to keep India united. Stanley Wolpert has recorded Gandhi’s feelings after the creation of Pakistan: “I had to hang my head in shame, for, now, the Hindus and the Muslims are not one at heart…..Today my wings are clipped. If I could grow my wings again, I would fly to Pakistan.”

So such feelings can, by no means, be termed as shortsightedness by any canon of measurement. Thirdly, the reason for the concession of separate electorate to the Muslims in India in 1909 was that that no Muslim candidate could secure a single seat in the legislative council from 1892 to 1906. By that time, the British government was quite convinced that India was not a country of homogeneous nation, and as a result, the British parliamentary system could not be transplanted in India. Lord Morley, being convinced of heterogeneous character of India, wrote to Lord Minto:

“I do not think it desirable or possible, or even conceivable, to adapt English political institutions to the nations who inhabit India.”

Two-Nation TheoryThus, in conceding separate electorates to the Muslims, the British were recognizing the existing multi-national character of India.

Even the giants like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Quaid-e-Azam had, in the start, striven for the unity of Hindus and Muslims. Sir Syed often quoted India as a beautiful bride whose two eyes were Hindus and Muslims. As time elapsed, both were convinced that the Muslims as a separate nation cannot live with the Hindus and establish their social, political and cultural set-up. Whenever there would be endeavour to fuse the two nations together, the outcome shall be like we saw in Akbar’s regime. We have to distinguish between the efforts rendered by Akbar to fuse two nations together and the fight-back given by Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi. Why there emerged a need to purge Islam from Akbar’s impurities. The Fraizi Movement was an outstanding example of such a reformist movement that aimed to withstand the onslaught to adulterate Islam from idolatrous customs and superstitions. Why a sufi scholar like Shah Waliullah felt moved to invite Ahmad Shah Abdali to come into India so as to save the Muslims. No two books are more representatives of two different ideologies of the Hindus and the Muslims as enunciated in Altaf Hussain’s ‘Musadass’ and Bankim Chatterji’s novel ‘Anandamath’

Notwithstanding the efforts to merge Muslims and Hindus together, it remains a reality that there has never been a confluence of the two civilizations in India. They may have meandered towards each other here and there, but on the whole, the two have flowed the distinct courses, sometimes running parallel and at others contrary to each other. That is why, the Muslims in India have always asserted their distinctive culture, civilization, laws, customs, traditions, aptitudes and ambitions. This is the ideology that ultimately led Jinnah for the making of Pakistan on the auspicious day of 14th of August, 1947.

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