Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Volume 6, Number 3, 2005

A national culture for Pakistan: the political economy of a debate
Saadia TOOR SaadiaToor 0 3 600000September 2005 & Francis Original Article Studies 1464-9373 Print/1469-8447 Inter-AsiaFrancis Ltd 10.1080/14649370500169946 RIAC116977.sgmGroup Taylor andCultural2005 Ltd Online


This paper explores the relationship between (national) culture and state formation, arguing that the former is effectively a field of contestation where struggles over hegemony between various classes and social blocs are played out. Cultural nationalism has been the pre-eminent form of nationalism in the twentieth century, particularly within the anti-colonial and postcolonial contexts. Since this form of nationalism lends itself to moral regulation by ruling classes in a way that civic or political nationalisms do not (given its ability to produce and manipulate emotional affect) it becomes imperative to understand its relationship to power and to the project/process of state formation. This paper uses the case of postcolonial Pakistan as a lens through which to explore and analyse the complexities of this relationship during the early years of the Pakistani nation-state. Using primary material – Constituent Assembly Debates and the texts of important intellectual debates on culture during this period – I show the different ways in which Pakistani culture was defined at this time, the politics and interests behind these various articulations, and their ultimate impact on state formation. KEYWORDS: National culture, cultural nationalism, state formation, hegemony, Pakistan, moral regulation

No state, not even an infant one, is willing to appear before the world as a bare political frame. Each would be clothed in a cultural garb symbolic of its aims and ideal being. Can one predict the cultural fashions of the new states? Can one say what the nature of a nation’s cultural raiment will be – what elements of culture will be worn by all citizens as the common core of decency in the new national identity, what elements will be officially put forward as that state’s special claim to respect in the eyes of mankind. (Marriott 1963: 27)

This quote from a seminal social science text published in the 1960s simultaneously highlights the contemporary importance attached to culture within the context of national projects, as well as the international dimension of this desire. At the same time it also displays a surprising lack of expectation that the link between the two is likely to be either obvious or somehow organic or natural: which it is likely to ultimately be presented as being. It also presents the imperative, that a nation must have a culture with which to ‘clothe’ its ‘nakedness’, as well as the choices now opened up before the nation-state, as somehow existing outside the realm of the political. In contrast, I shall show, as we enter the debate with the Pakistan instance, the profoundly political nature of these ‘decisions’, as they inform the affective force of cultural nationalism. If the nation is always the realization of a hegemonic project, then debates over national culture necessarily provide a glimpse into the complex process of hegemony – both the old power bloc’s attempts to maintain it, and its contestation by alliances of different social forces. As such, ‘national culture’ is obviously a category that emerges as important within the ideology of cultural – as opposed, say, to political or civic – nationalism. It is fair to say that by the twentieth century, cultural nationalism had become the
ISSN 1464–9373 Print/ISSN 1469–8447 Online/05/030318–23 © 2005 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/14649370500169946

A national culture for Pakistan 319 hegemonic form of nationalism especially within anticolonial national struggles. This was due in part to the fact that cultural politics formed a privileged aspect of anticolonial struggles,1 because it was so effective in creating precisely the kind of ‘emotional attachment to the nation’ which I.H. Qureshi, Pakistan’s premier Establishment historian, lamented as absent in Pakistan in the period under study – i.e. from Independence through to the late 1960s (Qureshi 1961: 4). The ‘nation’, understood as a political and moral community, needs to be naturalized in order to have the emotive force and inspire the kind of passion and loyalty that is required for the idea of the nation to ‘work’. The ideological labour involved in producing this loyalty to the nation – and by extension, the state which ostensibly represents/embodies it – is performed through the agency of ‘national culture’. As Qureshi goes on to suggest, it can also be done by performed by religion, but only if religion itself is cast in a cultural mould.2 ‘Are the Indian Muslims a nation?’ The problems, contradictions, lacunae and constraints, which I argue made it difficult to articulate a coherent idea of Pakistani nationhood and culture, had their genesis in the mismatch between Indian Muslim identity as consolidated during the period of British colonialism and the actual territorial and demographic reality of the Pakistani nation-state. The concept of the nation had hegemonized political and cultural discourse in colonial British India from the 19th century on, so much so that it was on the basis of claims to nationhood that political identities and representation came to be negotiated. More to the point, these claims (which undergirded the ‘two-nation theory’) had been based on cultural grounds – understood as an ethnic Muslim identity as well as a clearly identifiable cultural history; hence, Islam in a civilizational as opposed to a religious sense,3 being simultaneously Muslim and Indian as a claim to peoplehood separate from, if overlapping with, the sense of belonging to a larger Islamic political community, the ummah.4 The political and cultural importance that the category of nation had come to occupy is testified to by the ways in which claims to nationhood were made and contested and, as in the 19th century, the contestations only reinforced Muslim claims to nationhood. The ‘nation’ thus became the site over which claims to political identity and representation were contested. Thus, Iqbal argued that the Muslims were ‘the only Indian people who [could] fitly be described as a nation in the modern sense of the word’ because the Hindus had been unable to ‘achieve the kind of homogeneity which is necessary for a nation and which Islam [had given to Muslims] as a free gift’. Thus the Muslims in India were not a minority, but a nation (quoted in Barlas 1995: 178). This contestation over Muslim claims to nationhood is best symbolized by an exchange between Gandhi and Jinnah. In September 1944, Gandhi had dismissed Muslim nationalism as used by the League, saying
I find no parallel in history for a body of converts and their descendants claiming to be a nation apart from the parent stock. If India was one nation before the advent of Islam, it must remain one in spite of the change of faith of a very large body of her children. (Jinnah– Gandhi correspondence 1945 [1944])

To which Jinnah had famously replied:
We are a nation of a hundred million, and, what is more, we are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, name and nomenclature, sense of value and proportion, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and tradition, aptitude and ambitions; in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life. By all canons of international law we are a nation. (Jinnah–Gandhi correspondence 1945 [1944])

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The importance of legitimising claims to nationhood on the basis of existing and accepted scientific and legal (’all the canons of international law…’) discourses was also reflected, for example, in a series of articles carried in the Dawn during April 1947 under the general title ‘Are the Indian Muslims a nation?’ and written by someone who claimed simply to be ‘a student of International Politics’. The argument engaged many of the contemporary debates over nationhood, invoking such ‘authorities’ as Mazzini and Lord Acton, as well as issues and debates over nationalism that continue in this field; the logic of the argument is thus strikingly contemporary. Dawn made a case for cultural nationalism based on art/architecture, literature/language and ‘way of life’. Crucial to this claim of a nationhood separated from the majority ‘Hindu’ community was the fixing of a national culture that could be specific to (Indian) Muslims. In this case, the writer’s rather sophisticated definition of ‘common culture’ – ‘developed manifestations of thought and feeling’ – serve to reinforce this distinctiveness. Indian Muslims thought differently, felt differently, had a different and unique history and therefore had a common purpose and interest, hence were a nation. The relation of such nationalism to a territorial definition was at best problematic, and rendered further complex by the unnatural division of space and communities wrought by Partition. In one sense, territorial nationalism – in conjunction with cultural nationalism – was a way to assert the modernity of the national community in question. It was also a secular move – and one that was recognised as such by Muslim critics of nationalist ideology from Jamaluddin Afghani and Muhammad Iqbal to Maulana Abul Ala Maududi. On the other hand, as Barlas notes, ‘if there was a flaw in Muslim nationalist discourse, it was not the inability of the Muslim nationalists … to develop loyalty to a territorially defined … [state], but their continuing sense of commitment to the Indian state’ (Barlas 1995: 176–177). David Gilmartin writes,
Even though the term ‘Pakistan’ was coined to link together into a single territorial reference the names of the provinces of northwestern India, there was little in the rhetoric of the Pakistan movement to suggest that attachment to a particular piece of territory was of critical importance to the idea’s popular meaning. The very uncertainty as to which land was to be that of Pakistan was reflected in the variety of possibilities appearing in various proposals before 1947. (Gilmartin 1998: 1083)

Bengal, he further notes, didn’t even feature in these schemes, yet was a bastion of support for the Pakistan plan. Like historians such as Ayesha Jalal, Gilmartin further suggests that the reason for these multiple overlapping lacunae within the idea of Pakistan was that it was never imagined as an actual independent and sovereign nation-state:
The real struggle of the Pakistan movement … was not so much to create a territorial homeland for India’s Muslims, as it was to create a Muslim political community, to define a symbolic center to give moral and political meaning to the concept of a united ‘Muslim community’ in India. (Gilmartin 1998: 1071)

By August 1947, then, the Muslim ‘nation’ had a separate, sovereign state to call its own but ironically this state resulted in a physical division of the very nation – the ‘united Muslim community in India’ – on whose behalf it had been conjured into being. To add insult to injury, the contours of the new nation-state effectively cut the citizens of Pakistan adrift of some of the clearest manifestations of Indo-Muslim culture and history on the basis of which claims to nationhood had been so eloquently made. Examples of material culture were not the only things left behind in the other Dominion. Muslim nationalism, as an ideology and as a movement had its roots in Muslim minority provinces. This meant that, except for those who managed to migrate to Pakistan, most of the Muslims from these areas were not included in the nation-state whose creation they had supported. Many of these Muslims who had been active in the Muslim League struggle, including some of Jinnah’s own associates such as Ismail Khan and the Nawab of Chhatari,

A national culture for Pakistan 321 ultimately could not ‘tear themselves apart from their social milieu and cultural moorings’ and decided to stay in India; those who did migrate to Pakistan, could not but do so ‘with a sense of unease and remorse’ (Hasan 1993). Like many others, ‘they were pained to bid adieu to the symbols of their faith [and] … no less agonized to snap their ties with Lucknow and Delhi … or the qasbahs in Awadh which served as centres of cultural and intellectual life’ (Hasan 1993) the home of the very civilization whose protection had been the sin qua non of Muslim nationalism. Thus, the very birth of the Pakistani nation-state split the ‘Indian Muslim community’ at the demographic level, but even more foundationally, it effected a contradiction within the very heart of the discursive construct of the ‘nation’. If the majority of the members of the ‘nation-as-community’ were only to be found, strictly speaking, outside the state which was purportedly its embodiment, then where/what exactly was ‘the [Pakistani] nation’? On the one hand, the discourse of the Muslim League was a triumphalist one, albeit tempered by the tragedy that was Partition. Pakistan had been achieved and it was the Muslim League that had achieved it. Accompanying this was the implication that what was most needed now was not a preoccupation with the ‘other Dominion’, but a concern with the new ‘Muslim’ state. In its essence this was a conflict between territorial nationalism and an organically imagined community of Indian Muslims. In Virginia Dominguez’s evocative phrase, it was ‘an ideology of Nationhood in search of content’ (Dominguez 1990: 131). This, then, introduced a major paradox into the heart of the new nationalist project. How could Pakistan claim to be the nation of Indian Muslims if the vast majority of its constituency continued to live in the other Dominion, Hindustan, the land of the Hindus? Then, there was the question of non-Muslims: despite the division of Bengal and Punjab on a communal basis,5 and the communal riots which had accompanied Partition, the new Muslim nation-state included a significant percentage of non-Muslims, particularly Hindus. What was to be done with these Hindu Pakistanis who were a contradiction in terms according to the older definition of ‘the nation’ but whose equal representation – in both senses of the term – now had to be ensured within the new nation-state if it was to be true to its aspirations to modernity and claims of being a modern state? It was clear that the old discourse of Muslim nationalism would no longer serve its purpose of constructing consent. How, then, could the various and diverse interests and identities which characterized the new nation-state be articulated into a new discourse of nationhood? The trauma of Partition was only compounded by the assertion of monolithic and exclusionary national identities by both the new nation-states. As Aziz Ahmad argues, ‘[when] Pakistan came into existence in 1947, it had achieved only a political nationhood. Culturally it was not yet a nation’: the most pressing problem was ‘the cultural counterpart of the political problem of cutting adrift from the Hindu cultural residue of India in order to isolate and establish the new nation’s cultural identity’ (Ahmad 1965). No overlap could be conceded, because if ‘culture is what sets one nation … off from another’ (Handler 1988: 15), then a shared culture with India would undermine the very raison d’être of Pakistan’s establishment. This resulted in the need to ‘homogenize’ the national space – cleanse it of those that did not belong, and demand the return of those that did; and unsurprisingly, the criterion for determining their inclusion/exclusion was to be their religious identity. The absurdity and ultimate violence of such state imperatives can be seen in the anxiety over the ‘recovery and exchange’ of ‘abducted’ women (Menon and Bhasin 1998; Butalia 2000). Sa’adat Hasan Manto6 satirized such attempts to forcibly cut Pakistan and India (and their citizens) loose from one another in his oft-quoted short story Toba Tek Singh, in which the two states orchestrate an exchange of inmates of mental asylums. Through the confusion and ultimate tragic death of the main character, Manto draws out the coercive role of the state, and the pathos – and insanity – of state attempts to impose a national identity on people without their consent.

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As to where Pakistan was located the inmates knew nothing … the mad and the partially mad were unable to decide whether they were now in India or Pakistan. If they were in India where on earth was Pakistan … It was also possible that the entire subcontinent of India might become Pakistan. And who could say if both India and (Pakistan might not entirely vanish from the map of the world one day? (Manto 1990)

This passage reveals both the actual confusion over the boundaries and location of Pakistan, as well as the sheer absurdity of trying to enforce such ambiguous boundaries on people as if they were self-evident truths. It also mirrors Manto’s own feelings about Partition: which country did he now belong to? ‘When he sat down to write he tried in vain to separate India from Pakistan and Pakistan from India’ (quoted in Hasan 1993: 31). The paradoxes and politics of ‘Pakistani culture’ Defining Pakistani culture became something of a national pastime in the period immediately following Independence and Partition. The debate essentially revolved, for example, around whether and to what extent Pakistani culture was or should be Islamic, and even what exactly this meant. The various alternatives being bandied about were not neutral – they either directly represented the interests of particular constituencies/groups or did so indirectly by foreclosing certain political possibilities and opening up others. This section is devoted to fleshing out an analysis of some of the most important of these periods of crisis and contestation, among them the Bengali demand that Bangla be declared the national language of Pakistan along with Urdu. The particular configurations of the ‘imagined community’ which the nation-state claimed to represent, had thus now changed. The immediate issue facing the political leadership and Pakistani intellectuals was, therefore: what exactly is ‘the nation’ that corresponds with the state of Pakistan? The first five years of Pakistan severely tested the discourse of Muslim nationalism and brought out its unresolved contradictions, as well as giving birth to new ones. The imperative of the moment was to create some kind of national consensus since the old one – fragile and momentary as it had been – had assumed a ‘nation’ that was significantly different. The conflict between ‘Pakistani nationalism’ and Muslim nationalism, ironically, became the fundamental issue facing the ruling elite as well as intellectuals in the new state. However, as Gilmartin explains:
While Pakistan had stood during the 1940s as a symbol of moral order, transcending the divisions among Muslims, the Pakistan state that emerged in 1947 generally saw its task not as one of integrating diversity, but rather one of imprinting its authority onto a new and intractable territory. The elites who dominated the new state came quickly to mistrust the particularisms of Pakistani society as a threat to the state’s own moral sovereignty. (Gilmartin 1998: 1091)

Since authoritative claims to power in this period of world history must be made in the name of ‘the nation’, defining the latter becomes a contest between different aspirants to power. And since nations are defined by their unique cultures, ‘national culture’ becomes the locus of these struggles over hegemony. This is why, although Pakistani culture – its existence, its content, et al. – has been the subject of debate at any given point in Pakistani history, the most intense engagements and contestations can be traced to particular periods of political upheaval – especially those that Habermas would call ‘legitimation crises’ (Habermas 1975). As long as no national identity and culture could be identified that corresponded uniquely to ‘Pakistani-ness’, the legitimacy of the Pakistani nation-state itself was at stake, for after all, the authenticity of a claim to nationhood depends on the existence of a unique

A national culture for Pakistan 323 ‘national culture’. Defining a national culture thus became an imperative for Pakistani intellectuals (and the state elite) for several reasons. Not ‘having’ a definable national identity produced an identity crisis of national proportions, an anxiety palpable in the writings of several Pakistani intellectuals over the years, as much as a concern among ordinary Pakistanis evident from debates over national identity and culture within the public sphere of newspapers, cultural and literary criticism and intellectual seminars. For example, Jamil Jalibi, a prominent liberal (West) Pakistani intellectual declared that, because Pakistan had no national culture, it was not fit to be called a nation.7 Jalibi was also the one who, in the aftermath of the 1965 war, revealingly spoke of the absence of a definable/bounded Pakistani culture as a matter to be treated on par with a breach of national security because
[if] someone attacks our geographical borders, or occupies an area of land, we instantly know that the frontiers of our country have been attacked, and we expend all our strength in winning back that piece of land. But when this attack is aimed at our cultural frontiers, we don’t even realise it nor do we experience a sense of loss [because we don’t know what our cultural boundaries are]. (Jalibi 1964: 25–26)

For the Establishment, the lack of a unique Pakistani national culture was also a matter of serious concern, but for other reasons. For if the party of the ruling class – the Muslim League – derived its moral authority from the fact that it was the ‘national’ party, it certainly didn’t help to have ‘the nation’ itself under question. These moments of national identity crisis were also deeply connected to the centrifugal tendencies that characterized the ‘political’ realm in this post-Independence period. Demands for regional/provincial rights or indeed any questioning of the authority and purview of the central government was taken as a direct challenge to the state. The politics of this period – cultural and otherwise – can thus best be framed as a struggle for control over the very terms of the nation-state, insofar as the latter represents both the ideological and the structural (political, economic, institutional) aspects of rule. Moral regulation and the ‘problem’ of East Bengal One of the major pre-occupations of the (West) Pakistani ruling class during the first 24 years of Pakistan’s existence was to limit and/or undermine the influence of East Bengal in national politics. East Bengal was demographically Pakistan’s majority province, with over 50% of Pakistan’s total population. United Bengal had also played a crucial role in the Muslim nationalist movement – the Muslim League was established in Dacca in 1906, and the Muslim League leadership included many prominent Bengalis such as Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy. However, the Punjabi and Urdu-speaking Muhajir ruling group in West Pakistan had no intention of sharing power, although they did initially try collaboration with their Bengali counterparts; this was possible as long as the Muslim League’s rule over East Bengal survived (which, as we shall see, was not long, given its repressive policies). Bengalis also had a history of political awareness and activism and there was a gradual rise in grassroots militancy and political consciousness after the establishment of Pakistan, which threatened the West Pakistani Establishment.8 The latter thus tried all the tricks in the book, and more besides, in order to contain West Bengal and deny it its rightful share in power, from coming up with complex (but bogus) political formulae for representation in the National Legislature and Assembly, to refusing to hold scheduled provincial elections because of the very real fear that the provincial Muslim League would be routed (it was), to perhaps the biggest attempt at gerrymandering ever, the consolidation of the provinces of West Pakistan into a single administrative and political unit.

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The Urdu-Bangla controversy The ruling elite’s first attempt at moral regulation through the rubric of national culture was the squashing of the Bengali demand for cultural and/or symbolic representation within the nation-state. This first manifested itself in the Bangla Language Committee’s demand that Bengali be declared a national language of Pakistan on par with Urdu. This seemed reasonable, given the Bengali share of the Pakistani population. However, the central government’s intractability and intolerance in the face of this reasonable demand turned it into a national crisis, which spread over 5 years. The five-year ‘controversy’ culminated in the tragic shooting by the police on a peaceful demonstration in Dacca on 21 February 1952 – the event, henceforth immortalised and commemorated annually as Ekushey (the Bengali word for ‘21’), generated its own language martyrs and symbols, such as the ‘Shaheed Minar’, and hardly endeared the central or provincial Muslim League governments to the Bengali people. In the aftermath of this tragedy and the political furore it generated, the central government finally declared Pakistan’s second national language.9 This concession to Bengali demands only added insult to injury by exposing the official discourse – which had previously argued that the demands of pro-Bangla supporters were nothing less than sedition – as being about nothing more lofty than political expediency. The reaction to the original demand from West Pakistani intellectuals in particular, but also certain Bengali members of the ruling elite – who were part of a pan-Indian Muslim aristocracy whose habitus included such symbols of Persianate/Mughal high culture as the Urdu language – was, to say the least, overwhelming. One would think, to read Constituent Assembly reports and letters to the editor (of English, let alone Urdu, dailies!) that Bengalis had literally committed blasphemy. The main argument presented against Bengali demands was that only Urdu – as the symbol and repository of Indian Muslim culture – had the right to be designated Pakistan’s national language, given that Pakistan had been established in the name of Islam. The implication was that Bangla (metonymically standing in for Bengali culture as a whole) could hardly aspire to the exalted role of a national language, not being ‘Islamic’ enough. After all, went the discourse, everything from its script to its vocabulary smacked of the corrupting influence of Sanskrit (read: Hindu culture). The implication and the effect of this discourse was the designation of Bengali culture and therefore Bengalis themselves as not really ‘Muslim’ – and therefore, by implication, not Pakistani – enough, being too in thrall of ‘Hindu’ culture and the arts given their interest and investment in such examples of the latter as classical dance, and Rabindranath Tagore, etc.10 The subsequent demand by Bengalis for greater political autonomy was read against this sense that they were not-really, not-quite Pakistani; this ‘common-sense’ enabled and justified the various forms of state repression they were subjected to, up to and including the military action in East Pakistan in 1971.11 Jinnah himself – hardly a fluent speaker of Urdu – told Dacca University students while addressing them in the wake of the first demands articulated at the end of 1947/beginning of 1948, that nothing could displace Urdu from its status as Pakistan’s sole national language, and that anyone who told them otherwise was exploiting them for political ends. Bengali demands were denigrated as examples of the ‘virus of provincialism’ let loose in Pakistan by various Fifth Columnists (variously identified or darkly hinted as being ‘communists’, or ‘Hindu’ elements from ‘across the border’). I have argued elsewhere (Toor c2000) that this discourse of provincialism and the progressive designation of East Bengal/ East Pakistan as a space of sedition was a crucial way in which state formation was effected in this period. This manifested itself in the most ironic and perverse of ways in the secession of Bangladesh. I am not, of course, arguing that there was a direct causal link between the very idea that Indo-Islamic culture alone could be the basis of Pakistani national culture, and the rape

A national culture for Pakistan 325 and murder of Bengalis in 1971. I am, however, trying to show – in this specific instance and in the argument as a whole – that the ways in which national culture gets defined has material consequences for the population being defined, and especially for the groups that are excluded or marginalized from or placed in the liminal zone of any particular definition of ‘the nation’. ‘One Unit’ and the politics of ‘parity’ The original version of the Basic Principles Committee Report – which was understood to be a draft document for the first constitution – submitted under the first Constituent Assembly had proposed a legislature ‘which would transform East Bengal’s numerical majority of the population into a minority of seats’ (Callard 1957: 92). Such efforts to reduce the influence of East Bengal were in fact a consistent feature of Pakistani politics during the period under study – the West Pakistani establishment had no intention of sharing power, let alone letting East Bengal gain the upper hand. This intention was only intensified after the mass character of East Bengali politics became evident through, first, the language movement which later transformed into the movement for greater regional autonomy, and later, the combination of middle class and mass rural politics under the Awami League and Maulana Bhashani. The result of the provincial elections in East Bengal in 1954 (reluctantly called by the Muslim League under severe pressure from the opposition) frightened the ruling clique even more – the Muslim League was routed out of power by the United Front, a coalition of opposition parties which included the Awami League, the Krishak Sramik Party, the Ganantari Dal, Nizam-i-Islam Party and the Youth League. This had immediately led to the imposition of Governor’s Rule in East Bengal. Also in 1954–55, the West Pakistani establishment consolidated the provinces of West Pakistan into a single administrative and political unit in order to undermine and subvert the edge which East Bengal was bound to gain under the principle of proportional representation in the federal system proposed by the emerging Constitution. In 1954, the existing Cabinet was dissolved, thus ending the tenure of the first Constituent Assembly, which had proved unable to pass the West Pakistan Unification Bill. The Bill had been met with severe opposition from East Pakistani members, as well as members of the ‘smaller’ provinces of West Pakistan all of whom feared – and rightly – that this Bill would not only undermine East Bengal’s share of power, but their own position. The reshuffling of the provincial leadership resulted in a handpicked set of men who posed no such problems. It was hardly a surprise, then, that the Bill was passed. But the debates over it are fascinating, both for the glimpse they give us of the power politics at play, but also because of the discursive terrain they chart. Ironically, the main justification presented for the unification of West Pakistan’s provinces into One Unit was a version of the ‘Indus thesis’,12 which had been long been articulated by secular and Leftist intellectuals, particularly – as Mian Mumtaz Daultana13 didn’t fail to repeatedly point out – one Mian Iftikharuddin!14 I shall provide a few relevant excerpts from Daultana’s speech in support of One Unit, to show how the Indus thesis was used to prove that West Pakistan had always – since time-immemorial – been an organic and natural cultural unity. In fact, according to Daultana, this consolidation would be not just the culmination of the Pakistan movement itself (!), but of a much longer historical process. Brushing aside the arguments and protests of its detractors as to the manner and motive of the Bill’s presentation and imposition, he argued instead that:
The real point which we have to consider and decide and the question on which our people have to be convinced is whether the integration of West Pakistan is a natural culmination, a natural fruition, a natural realization or something that is unnatural to the genius of the people who live in West Pakistan. (Daultana 1955: 337, italics added) 15

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But if that was not convincing enough, Daultana could invoke History to speak on his behalf. And not just any history, it was the history of human consciousness itself, for ‘… in the realms of the mind, in the development of the human spirit as far as the memory of mankind can go, the history of the area of West Pakistan has been one’ (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates: 337, italics added). This glorious history was none other than that of ‘the first traces of human consciousness in Mohenjodaro, Harappa and in the regions of Taxila’ (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates: 337, italics added). Incontrovertible proof, once again, argued that ‘from the very earliest time our history has been one’:
Mohenjodaro, Harappa, Taxilla, the great Empire of the Emperor Kaniska, throughout the ages we have faced the world as one unity. Sir, we have always fought together the same enemies; we have faced the same problems; we have made identical adjustments; we have answered the same challenges with the same responses, from time immemorial … In fact the unity of our valley of the Indus gave the first concept of unity to the entire peninsula of Hindusthan. Sir, ours was the first unity that an outsider could perceive in the multifarious diversity of the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent, and it is from our land, the land of the ‘Sindhu’ that the word ‘Hindu’ and the word ‘India’ has been derived. It was our unity that created the conception of unity for the peoples of India. From the very beginning, from the days of Moohenjodaro to the days of our last glorious conflict for freedom against the British, we have always, invariably, acted as one people. We are not, Sir, a congeries [sic] of conflicts; we, Sir, are a pattern of unison. (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates: 339, italics added)

Thus, not only is the case made for the historic unity of West Pakistan, but it is asserted that it was this unity that inspired the idea of a unified India. This led an Opposition member from Bengal to later interject that this was nothing short of a recap of the idea of Akhand Bharat and a clear abrogation of the two-nation theory. But it is when Daultana proceeds to talk about the ‘realm of the very highest traditions of the mind’ that things become even more interesting:
Here again, from the very first day, the people of West Pakistan have always accepted the same spiritual heritage, the same mental direction. I do not speak of today or of the seven or eight hundred years that have passed, but even before the glorious advent of Islam, the philosophy and thought of West Pakistan has been one. (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates: 339, italics added)

And here is where Daultana makes the most interesting move of all, coming from a Muslim League politician:
It is West Pakistan which gave to the entire Hindu religion its first great mystic vision, the Rig Veda. When these first spiritual stirrings decayed and lost direction in a morass of ritual and superstition and the time ripened for the teaching of Gotham to come upon the world, we took them to heart, not through the imposition of Asoka but during the glorious age of our own Kaniskha. (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates: 340, italics added)

It is difficult to understand the importance of this statement unless one recalls that Islam had always been the sine qua non of the Muslim League’s line on Pakistani nationalism. Recall, for example, the crux of the central government’s official discourse on the BanglaUrdu crisis: that the basis for Pakistan was Islamic culture and civilization and Bangla was thus disqualified from being considered Pakistan’s national language because it was not Muslim enough. The historical narrative expounded by Daultana finally got to Islam, but only after a detour through the influence of the Greeks:
… in the final fulfillment of our existence, in the final development and culmination of our thought, when our ears heard the noble message of Islam, we accepted it, not with hesitation, not through conflict, but all the areas of West Pakistan accepted it as if at one moment of illumination, within the first century of the advent of Islam. And once having accepted Islam, despite the various conflicts that have taken place, despite the innumerable vicissitudes and

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tribulations to which this area, being at the very hub of world civilizations, has been subjected we, Sir, have always held to it steadfastly, we have never resiled [sic] from it, we have never compromised it. This indeed is the great and noble heritage of which today we are proud. Therefore, Sir, in culture and spirit and mind we have always, not today, from the very beginning of time been one indissoluble integrated unity. (Constitutent Assembly of Pakistan Debates: 340).

This sounds like the assertion of a national identity rather than an argument for what was essentially a bureaucratic move (even if it had enormous political import). Not only was this an incredible statement to be coming from the representative of a government who cried ‘provincialism’ at the slightest hint of a justified regionalist demand, if the assertion that West Pakistanis formed an ‘indissoluble integrated unity’ in ‘culture and spirit and mind’ were to be accepted as true, then where did that leave East Pakistan? And, in fact, Daultana’s open adulation of a pre-Islamic – and specifically Hindu – past as a legitimate part of Pakistan’s national cultural heritage, led Opposition members to shocked retorts that this sounded no different from the discourse of the Indian nationalists:
Sir, I was wondering whether I was listening to our friend Mr. Mumtaz Muhammad Khan Daultana in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan delivering a speech on the indivisibility of West Pakistan or I was listening to Dr. Rajendra Prasad at a Congress session at Delhi propounding the theory of indivisibility of Mother India!’ (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates 1955–56: 368)

And compelled a passionate outburst from another member from East Bengal:
Sir, if I may be permitted to say so … if everybody in the House closes his eyes and the name of Mian Mumtaz Daultana is effaced from the records and either the name of Sardar Patel … or even that of Gandhiji is substituted in his place and the words ‘One Unit’ are dropped and the idea of Akhand Hindustan16 is placed in its place and if the whole speech is read in a meeting of Hindu Mahasabha, I think the entire Hindu Mahasabha will rise and sing Halleluiah to our Mian Mumtaz Daultana … Where is that Islam in him or in Sardar Amir Azam.17 If you look into his speech, to his references to a civilization which was here supposed to be 4000 B.C. you will see that he is proud of that. His references to Mohenjodaro, his references to Harappa, his references to Ashoka, you look at them. If you belong to that civilization then why are you here. Go where the Ashoka Chakra is flying over the beautiful mosque built by Shah Jahan… His references to these things have really pained me very much. (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates 1955–56: 571)

As I pointed out earlier, by undermining the Islamic basis of the ideology of Pakistan, Daultana’s discourse left no place for East Bengal within the Pakistani national project. If what united the people and land of West Pakistan was an extra-religious history, and one that, it was argued, was a natural and organic fact, then what bound East Bengal to West Pakistan? Clearly the basis of their unification as part of one nation-state could not but be read as something less than natural and organic. As one Bengali member put it:
Your existence may have resulted from that culture [i.e. the Indus Valley civilization], but I wonder where does East Pakistan stand after the exposition of this theory? Is this talk of unity between East and West Pakistan all empty? … What would then bind East and West Pakistan?’ (quoted in Malik 1963: 267)

East Pakistanis could not help but feel that their regional, cultural and historical traditions were slighted by Daultana’s claim of the antiquity of West Pakistan. Noor-ur-Rahman continued his critique by saying that ‘we have our own history and heroes. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was one of them. We all, Hindus and Moslems, are proud of his great deeds’ (quoted in Malik 1963: 267). It may have been more pertinent to have mentioned Tagore, given the treatment he had suffered at the hands of the Muslim League government in East Bengal as well as their attitude of scorn towards Bengali culture due to its supposedly ‘Hindu’ influences.

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In his response to Daultana’s speech, Iftikharuddin cannily admitted that the latter’s historical-cultural argument in favour of the unification of West Pakistan was in some ways a restatement of his own: ‘…my brilliant friend from the Punjab has been guilty of plagiarism by stealing all the arguments that I have been giving for the last four years for the unification of West Pakistan’ (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates 1955–56: 608). This turn of events was astonishing, he stated with some sarcasm, given Daultana’s past record – among other things, signing both versions of the Basic Principles Committee Report (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates 1955–56: 608).18 In any case, there was an important caveat to the claim that Daultana was simply repeating Iftikharuddin’s own thesis. The crucial difference lay in the political projects they were being articulated with, and the form this unification should take, specifically
whether to unify West Pakistan on a federal or unitary basis. My submission is that a federal unity will be more lasting, will be far more democratic, as compared to a unitary unity. That is the difference. (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates 1955–56: 609)

Needless to say, this was hardly a trivial point of difference!19 An important part of Daultana’s speech was devoted to pre-emptive damage control – answering the anticipated (and justified) charge that this was a cynical and politically opportunist move. Opposition to One Unit did not just come from West Bengal, even though it was an open secret that undermining its numerical majority was the reason behind this scheme. The elites of the various ‘smaller’ provinces of West Pakistan were not interested in being subsumed under a unitary Punjabi-dominated provincial administration. Daultana had to address both these charges. The assertion that One Unit was a way to assert the hegemony of the Punjab over the other nationalities was simply untrue, he declared. In fact, it was simply not possible because there was no such thing as ‘the Punjab’. (Rule of thumb: the ruling class has no overarching attachment to its ‘own’ culture and will happily disavow it should that help its project of rule.)
… Sir, the Punjab which we fear so much is not an ethnic entity. It is also not a linguistic entity … Again, Sir, Punjab is not a complex of distinct and desparate [sic] historical experience … Therefore, Sir, what is the Punjab? This Punjab is a term of convenience. This Punjab is in effect a geographical expression… The moment the boundaries of the Punjab cease to exist, there remains no entity that you can distinguish as the Punjab. (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates 1955–56: 355).

An entity that did not exist, according to this logic, could hardly be accused of trying to trample on the rights of the other provinces and nationalities. Quid pro quo. Not only that, but the consolidation of the different provinces of West Pakistan should actually be seen as the way to resolve once and for all the mistrust of the Punjab.
… Sir, this Punjab of which one is often so frightened, really represents nothing. In fact those who hate the Punjabi; those who find that the Punjabis represent something perverse in the life of the nation, for them the real solution is to take away the boundaries of the Punjab… (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates 1955–56: 356)

As further proof that this was not a Punjabi conspiracy, Daultana pointed out that under the provisions of the proposed Bill, ‘the people of the Punjab’ (who had, of course, not been consulted and so had no idea what was being done or said in their name – as various opposition members pointed out) had ‘graciously conceded to accept 40% representation’ rather than the majority which was their due by dint of population. (Of course, this was to be the case only for 10 years). Daultana presented this as a ‘gift’ to the people of the other provinces, and especially to East Bengal, as well as, modestly, ‘the most patriotic concession in the history of political thought’ (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates 1955–56: 356). By this logic, the consolidation of One Unit was – far from being a conspiracy against the

A national culture for Pakistan 329 people of East Bengal – in fact nothing less than an attempt to ensure East Bengal’s rights! This was a clever sleight of hand, since it was the combined population of the various West Pakistani provinces which would be used to counter the demographic dominance of East Bengal, so the population of the Punjab was never the real issue. In an even more astonishing and shameless move, the case for One Unit was actually defended ‘as a deliberate attempt to meet the national demand of Bengal for provincial autonomy’! It is clear – and it was clear to everyone in the Constituent Assembly then – that the consolidation of West Pakistan was not about culture, or history or geography. It was, as Corrigan and Sayer remind us, what integration in the context of the nation-state is essentially and always about: enforcing rule (Corrigan and Sayer 1985: 6–7). In this case, it was about changing the political landscape of Pakistan per se and constraining the political imagination of ordinary Pakistanis. Moreover, the One Unit Bill was not just concerned with the actual administrative consolidation of the territory of ‘West Pakistan’ as its full title made clear: ‘The Establishment of West Pakistan Bill: The Bill to provide for the Establishment of the province of West Pakistan by integrating Provinces and States and for other purposes connected therewith’ (my emphasis). Indeed, among the ‘other purposes’ of One Unit was the counterposing of this new province of West Pakistan to the officially renamed province of ‘East Pakistan’ within a system of ‘parity’, thus effectively neutralising any danger of East Bengal’s dominance. The truth was that without the consolidation of West Pakistan, East Bengal would dominate national politics because of its share of the total population; combining all the non-Bengali provinces (serendipitously, they were all in West Pakistan) ensured that this would not be the case. Since this move on the part of the West Pakistani establishment was bound to be understood by its detractors in terms of a framework of ‘Bengali’ versus ‘Punjabi’, an interpretation which Daultana’s ‘clarification’ affirmed, Mian Iftikharuddin was forced to clarify in his response that the people of the Punjab were an entity separate from the West Pakistani ruling elite. Thus, the political intrigues of the West Pakistani establishment should not, under any circumstances, be associated with the people of West Pakistan. In fact, if their past treatment at the hands of the ruling elite was anything to go by, no benefit was to accrue to them. Iftikharuddin reminded the House that, in crucial ways, the people of West Pakistan were more deprived and suffered greater repression at the hands of the West Pakistani establishment than those of East Bengal. Among other things
civil liberties enjoyed by the people of East Pakistan, even under present constitution, are denied to us in West Pakistan. Why is this? … The reason is very clear. It is here that the present clique wishes to rule. It is through this base that they want to maintain their position for the present and their position in the future… Sir, my Bengali friends … will pardon me when I say that they have completely misunderstood and unconsciously misrepresented to themselves, the position of the present leadership vis-à-vis the people of the Punjab. They have confused in a most dangerous manner the present clique which has ruled over us with the people of Punjab. People of Punjab have no enmity, have never had any enmity with the people of other provinces … Please do not mix the present leadership with the people of the Punjab. In fact, nobody has been a great [sic] enemy of the people of Punjab than the present ruling group. Nowhere have civil liberties been denied in the way that they are denied to us in the Punjab… They adopt special repressive methods to maintain their present power there. If they lose Punjab as their base they will be nowhere. (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates 1955–56: 633– 634)

By dissociating the Punjabi people from the ruling elite, Iftikharuddin undermined the rhetoric of Punjabi nationalism, as well as the tendency to assume a corporate interest based on a shared regional/ethnic identity. Just how much respect the civil-military bureaucracy (which, it has been convincingly argued, has always been the real base of power in Pakistan from the latter’s very inception)

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had for the democratic process and constitutional niceties is evidenced by the fact that before the debate on the One Unit Bill was concluded, the Governor General dissolved the Cabinet and disbanded the Constituent Assembly. A state of emergency was declared, and the announcement that the provinces of West Pakistan were to be merged into one administrative unit followed soon after. Muslim nationalism versus nationalist Muslims: progressive Muslims and the idea of Pakistan The engagement of the Marxist Left with nationalism has always been a complex one, fraught with ambiguities and tensions. However, the terrain of nationalism was a particularly slippery one for Pakistani Leftists – particularly the communists – to negotiate. Despite the official blessing conferred on Muslim nationalism and the demand for Pakistan by the Communist Party of India (CPI) prior to Independence, the vast majority of Muslim communists and sympathisers, especially those in the leadership of the Progressive Writers Association (PWA), tended to be nationalist Muslims rather than Muslim nationalists – i.e. they privileged the Indian rather than Muslim aspect of their identity. Many were, of course, atheists and so this was hardly surprising. Many looked on the Muslim League as a party of reactionary interests, and the demand for Pakistan as communalist in nature, or at least likely to exacerbate communal tensions. Of course, many well-known Muslims in the PWA also switched their affiliations away from the communist party and/or Indian nationalism to the Muslim League as the political situation became more polarized in 1946–47. However, since communalism was one of the main issues which the Progressive Writers Association was devoted to addressing, many shared the opinion that the Muslim nationalist ideology of the Muslim League was based on communal sentiments, and so felt strongly that it should not be supported.20 Hardliners within the PWA such as Ali Sardar Jafri were critical even of the great Faiz Ahmad Faiz, without doubt the most influential Urdu poet of the contemporary period, because Jafri felt that his poetry allowed for too much ambiguity and could as easily be appreciated and appropriated by Muslim Leaguers as by communists. In his attack on the Progressives immediately following Partition, Muhammad Hasan Askari spilt much ink on what he called the particular (and tragic) case of the Muslim Progressive as one who is forced to renounce that which forms the basis of his identity – i.e. the history of Muslim culture and civilisation, the basis of Muslim nationalism – so as to avoid the possible charge of being communalist. After Independence, when – under the influence of what has come to be known as the ‘Ranadive line’, the CPI (and hence the Communist Party of Pakistan) took a radical left turn; existing differences within the Progressive movement became more sharply delineated and took on new meaning.21 As I argued above, the relationship of Pakistani Leftists to Muslim nationalism and especially to the ‘Pakistan Movement’ had been ambiguous at best and suspicious at worse. However, this was clearly not a sustainable position to take if they wished to work within Pakistan; the degree to which the idea of the nation had been naturalized is testified to by the fact that politics – whether of the Right or the Left – had to be articulated within the terms of a nationalist framework; there could be differences over how the nationalist project should be defined, but the idea that something called the (Pakistani) nation existed was not up for contestation. Moreover, given the centrality of the debates over Pakistani national identity and culture, the Left could not afford to ignore the issue. It was imperative, then, that the Left not only not ignore this ideological struggle for the soul of Pakistan, but take it seriously. In particular, because the cultural sphere was precisely where the Left was likely to have the most influence given its historical success within cultural politics in the subcontinent and the political realities of Pakistan. It is also possible that even the hardliners within the All Pakistan Progressive Writers Association

A national culture for Pakistan 331 (essentially the locus of the Marxist cultural Left in Pakistan at this time) recognized the Janus-faced nature of nationalism and saw that the actually existing reality of Pakistan – as a multireligious, multicultural state without a defined nationalist ideology – opened up political possibilities. It is thus not surprising that Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Pakistan’s premier Progressive poet, prominent Left journalist and an active member of the Communist Party of Pakistan until it was banned in 1954, was one of the first and certainly the most prominent intellectual to participate in the national debate over Pakistani culture. During the 1950s and 1960s, Faiz wrote a series of essays on the topic and gave a number of public lectures; he also took part in a broadcast debate on the topic with other prominent intellectuals, such as Jalibi on Radio Pakistan. In the late 1960s, Faiz accepted the invitation to chair the government Commission on Culture and the Arts. His report was unfortunately submitted at the same time as the popular agitation against Ayub Khan reached its climax, and was thus temporarily shelved; however, it formed the blueprint for Pakistan cultural policy under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in the 1970s. In his introduction to the Report, Faiz defined culture as comprising both material and ideological elements besides having both spatial/territorial and temporal/historical aspects. On the other hand, he argued, ‘its ideological component may include extra-territorial and supra-temporal elements’. This was, of course, his way of offering a definition of Pakistani culture that could simultaneously accommodate the history of Muslim nationalism and the reality of Pakistan’s cultural geography; this meant simultaneously acknowledging the possibility that some part of Pakistan’s national cultural history could be shared with India, and accepting the cultural traditions indigenous to the land that comprised Pakistan even if they had little to do with Islam or the high culture associated with Muslim civilization in India. Just how difficult a task this was can be adduced from the semantic and intellectual acrobatics he had to perform. He began by reiterating an accepted truism within Pakistani intellectual circles:
Before the inception of Pakistan, there was, understandably, no such entity as a Pakistani nation. [… there was political community, but no ethnic and geographic unity… ]. Understandably, therefore, the culture of the new Pakistani nation when it emerged was not a finished, ready made unified entity … but a composite of diversified patterns. (Faiz 1968: 15)

Here we see his attempt to set up the national(ist) project as something open, rather than closed and bounded. ‘Nevertheless’, he continued,
these people in all parts of Pakistan shared a common historical experience as well as those common ethical and cultural mores which originated from the religion that they professed. (Faiz 1968: 15–16)

Moreover, there was
considerable difference of opinion on how precisely this culture should be defined. There appears to be some agreement … that the culture of Pakistan includes everything which has been integrated into the bloodstream of our people: a) religion of Islam which provides ‘the ethical and ideological basis for the people’s way of life’ b) indigenous cultures of various linguistic regions c) elements of Western culture absorbed since the days of British occupation. d) distinct cultures of minority groups who form a part of the Pakistani nation.’ (Faiz 1968: 16)

At this point he takes on the contemporary debates over national culture in Pakistan directly, asking rhetorically whether ‘Muslim or Islamic culture’ wasn’t ‘an adequate definition of Pakistani culture’ given that Pakistan was an ‘ideological state and its ideology [was]

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Islam’? This was a question which came up repeatedly in public debate, and showed how sticky the connection between Islam-as-religious-identity and the idea of Pakistan was proving to be despite the fact that the discourse of Muslim nationalism had relied on a cultural rather than a religious idea of Islam. As a Leftist, Faiz’s answer to this question was, obviously, no. But he could not leave Islam out of the equation entirely. His solution was thus to argue that Islam was an important element in Pakistan’s national culture but was not everything; i.e. that it was a necessary but not sufficient condition of Pakistani nationhood because it was not unique to Pakistan. By definition, a Pakistani must have something that was his/hers alone:
[as] Muslims the people of Pakistan naturally share with other Muslims, apart from a common ideology, many elements of a common cultural heritage, collectively called Muslim culture. But as Pakistanis they also possess distinctive cultural traits of their own which distinguish them as a society and a nation from their co-religionists elsewhere. (Faiz 1968: 17)

Second, this assertion that Islam was the only basis of Pakistani culture ‘ignore[d] the political reality of “nationhood”’ which
embodies in itself the political reality of independent existence. It is synonymous with the State. It is the identity with which people are recognized in the community of nations. Nationhood may be a good thing or a bad thing but as long as it exists as a political reality, a national of Pakistan remains a Pakistani… (Faiz 1968: 17)

and would/could not, unless he changed his nationality, become something else.
What sets him and his nation apart from the Sudanese or the Indonesian, therefore, must be something other than religion. This something else is his nationhood and his culture which are two sides of the same coin. (Faiz 1968: 17–18. My emphasis)

By asserting that ‘nationhood and culture’ are ‘two sides of the same coin’, which set one ‘Muslim’ nationality apart from another, he deals a blow to religion as the sole legitimate basis for collective identity in the contemporary world. In fact, the centrality he claims for cultural nationalism would have been – and was, as we shall see – anathema to the likes of Maududi for whom nationalism was nothing less than a Western (or even Hindu/Indian) conspiracy to destroy the unity of the Muslim ummah. The other – and related – issue which preoccupied Pakistani intellectuals at this time (and was actively used by the Establishment) was the issue of ‘national integration’ and its nemesis, ‘provincialism’. As I have shown, demands for regional autonomy, even purely symbolic ones, were instantly labelled ‘provincialism’ by the government and its organic intellectuals and treated as nothing less than seditious. Ayub Khan took advantage of this anxiety over regional demands by turning issues such as ‘national integration’, ‘national culture’ and other such ‘national’ crises into a veritable cottage industry for Pakistani intellectuals. As part of his social engineering efforts, he set up the Bureau of National Reconstruction, which came under the purview of the Ministry of Information. Herbert Feldman tells us in his largely laudatory contemporary account of the first four years of the regime, that
[by] national reconstruction was meant the inculcation of ethical and civic values; the development of a character-pattern; a raising of the cultural and intellectual level, assisting women to overcome the social handicaps that confronted them; encouragement of a healthy national spirit; the elimination of sectarianism, regionalism, and provincialism, and the teaching of simplicity, frugality and good taste in living standards. (Feldman 1967: 84)

The Bureau, often in conjunction with the semi-private Pakistan Council on National Integration and the Pakistan Committee of the Congress for Cultural Freedom,22 organized seminars and conferences on the above-mentioned topics. In contrast to the constant handwringing

A national culture for Pakistan 333 and self-criticism by liberal intellectuals (safely contained within such seminars) about the lack of national integration in Pakistan and the necessity of taking even the most drastic of measures to achieve it, Faiz argues that such an integration could not be either imposed or orchestrated. Even as he built up a case for the importance of art and culture to national integration, and for the involvement of the state in promoting it, Faiz was careful to state that a ‘national culture’ could not be evolved ‘from above’ but must come about gradually through a dialectical process determined in large part by the relationships between the different groups of people who made up Pakistan. Cultural problems, according to Faiz, ‘form an integral part of the basic structural socio-economic problems of every society’, and their solutions therefore lie ‘with the solutions of those problems’ (Faiz 1968: 3). Thus, the idea of a unitary and shared national culture could not be a wielded as an ideological weapon to enforce national unity in the face of glaring social, economic and political inequalities: ‘to evolve a common or unified culture for such a society must presume the evolution of a unified and equitable social structure’ (Faiz 1968: 3). This point is of course is tragically brought home with the secession of East Pakistan in 1971. No amount of seminars on national integration could paper over the cracks created by a development project founded on the twin doctrines of ‘functional inequality’ and the ‘social utility of greed’23 – not to mention bad governance by a cynical political elite bent on holding on to power at all costs. The religious right claims its due The idea that ‘Islam’ was the basis of Pakistan may not have been meant to convey or legitimate the idea of a theocratic state by the modernists in the Muslim League, but that did not prevent it from discursively opening the gates to just such a normative vision of Pakistan. The Jama’at-i Islami of Maulana Abu Ala Maududi was one major player within the political and cultural sphere, which selectively interpreted the mainstream/official discourse that Pakistan was a Muslim/Islamic state to mean that it was – or should be – a theocracy. Maududi himself had been highly critical of Muslim nationalism and the Pakistan movement during the 1930s and 1940s, and had had some choice words for the modernist Muslims who made up the leadership of the Muslim League in its second phase, including Jinnah.24 Maududi’s critique of Muslim nationalism was that it privileged an essentially secular locus of identity and allegiance (i.e. ‘the nation’) which undermined the Islamic community or ummah, which could be the only basis of Muslims’ collective identity. The democratic state, which was the privileged political form within modern (’Western’) nationalist discourse also posited ‘the people’ as sovereign, which undermined the Islamic injunction that God alone was sovereign. In his early political ethnography of Pakistani society, W.C. Smith found Pakistanis from all walks of life espousing the idea that Pakistan was a Muslim state; however, by this they generally meant a state of/for Muslims rather than a theocracy (Smith 1962). The same study showed that the desire for an ‘Islamic state’ and/or society, which was similarly ubiquitous in the discourse of Pakistanis, actually amounted to nothing more than the desire for a ‘good society’ and a ‘moral’ state. When probed further, it became clear that for the majority of people this meant, in essence and aside from the ‘Islamic’ label, a democratic, welfare state. However, Maududi’s Jama’at-i Islami in alliance with other Islamist parties, successfully lobbied the government – which had its own agenda – to introduce the language of ‘Islamic state’ within important pieces of legislation such as the Objectives Resolution and the first Constitution. That the Maududi version of Islam was not the same as that of the Pakistani Establishment – or that the corporate interests represented by the Jama’at’s constituency sat uneasily with the interests of this ruling establishment (until the martial law regime of Zia ul Haq) – is clear from the fact that Maududi was jailed for sedition under

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more than one government, for arguing that their policies undermined the aspirations of the Pakistani people for a ‘truly’ Islamic state and society. Faiz and other Leftists tried to claim for territorial and cultural nationalism a privileged place in understanding and defining Pakistani national identity. The sine qua non of Leftist politics in Pakistan also became the defence of regional claims of autonomy from the centre. Faiz even claimed that art was an important moral social force insofar as it ‘prescribes the good and bad in taste, the ‘cultured’ and ‘uncultured’ in personality and behaviour, the beautiful and ugly in material surroundings’, and so ‘profoundly influences both value judgments and social behaviour within the community’ (Faiz 1968: 6). All this was bound to get a rise out of the Religious Right, given that it arrogated to itself the exclusive right to speak on issues of morality. For Maududi and the Jama’at-i Islami’s intellectuals, the very concept of ‘culture’ became an anathema during this period. They understood it, correctly, as a secular substitute for religion and their response was to denounce it as seditious, and to posit a purely religious conception of Islam. However, the hegemony of cultural nationalism was such that even these arguments had to be cast within a ‘nationalist’ framework. As Bruce Kapferer (c1988) has persuasively argued through a comparative study of Australia and Sri Lanka, and pace Anderson (Anderson 1983) and other literature on the subject,25 nationalism need not be thought of as a universal and monolithic form. The discursive framework of nationalism is capable of accommodating a diversity of political and ideological projects, and cultural codes.26 The Jama’at’s ‘nationalist ideology’ was essentially a religious nationalism that was based on Maududi’s own particularly reactionary understanding of Islam, and aimed explicitly against the cultural nationalism that was hegemonic during this period. In their writings and speeches, the idea of ‘culture’ was directly correlated with communism, and declared a ploy by which to undermine the Islamic foundation of Pakistan.27 So strong was this connection in the minds of these Jama’ati intellectuals, that in the late 1950s Naseem Hijazi, a prominent member of their fraternity, wrote a serialized radio play satirizing two hapless ‘comrades’ deputed by their leader to go to the villages to ‘discover’ Pakistani culture. In his preface to a collected edition of these plays, Hijazi explained that the ‘Progressives’ (read: communists) had, c1956, taken on the ‘mantle of culture’ as a result of their literary activities being curtailed (a reference to the banning of the PWA) and also because they had found it to be the most effective weapon in their assault on Pakistan’s Islamic foundations. As he recalls, the plays were structured around a group of communists and ‘exposed’ their designs on the ‘Islamic’ basis of Pakistan through the agency of ‘culture’:
… this was the time when an army of so-called progressives had declared war on the fortress of the moral and spiritual values of Pakistan through the front of ‘culture’. Those same ‘great artists’ who earlier used to conduct a trade in obscenity in the name of ‘literature’ [i.e. the Progressive Writers], had now, disappointed by the lack of interest shown by the people, taken on their ‘delicate’ shoulders the weight of the service of culture. (Hijazi 1978: i–ii)

But, argued Hijazi, one should not be fooled by this shift in emphasis:
Their goal was still the same as before – only their method had changed. The political circumstances of those years require no paraphrasing or analysis. Our every step [as a nation] was towards decline and degeneration, but despite this, these ‘artists’ realised that there was a strong guard of moral and spiritual values on the national fortress of Pakistan without removing which they could not hope to create a conducive environment for themselves. In this mission these spirited ones threw away their pens and took up dhols and tablas28 instead. It was not mere accident that in this mission our progressives had the cooperation of those enemies of national unity who thought regional cultures were the easiest means with which to awaken regional hatreds … [this was the time when] our respected Progressives thought that the beat of tablas and the tinkling of ghungroos29 was enough to shake the foundations of this neophyte nation-state. (Hijazi 1978: i–ii)

A national culture for Pakistan 335 By collapsing the defence and promotion of performance art forms – folk and classical (as symbolized by the dhol and the tabla respectively) – by the Progressives, with their support for regional rights (particularly East Bengal), Hijazi discredits both in one fell swoop. Support for art – and ‘culture’ more generally – becomes synonymous with sedition in his discourse! (1956, it must be kept in mind, was also the year that saw the consolidation of the provinces of West Pakistan into the infamous ‘One Unit’). In Act One, Scene One of ‘Saqafat ki Talash’, the second-in-command is briefing his team on the strategy of the communists:
Comrade Alif30 says that we have to change our modus operandi because we have been unable to win the people over … we should have realized that the people of Pakistan will refuse to accept any philosophy which is explicitly against the ideology of Islam. We should, instead, try to incorporate entertainment for the people into our slogans. Instead of trying to present communism in opposition to Islam, using culture to lead these simple people astray would be easier. For instance, we could explain to the people that despite being Muslims, it is their duty as human beings to keep their cultural traditions alive … we should make them feel that culture is something without which human beings cannot remain human. Muslims hate dance but tradition and culture are terms with which we can easily lead them astray… (Hijazi 1978: 1).

Since some of Faiz’s essays which I reference here also date from the mid to late 1950s, it is hardly a stretch to read Hijazi’s satire as a critique of Faiz in particular, especially since he is quite clear that his target is the ‘Progressives’ of which Faiz was the most visible and iconic figure.31 Faiz strongly attacked this reactionary approach to culture in his Report to the Commission on Sports, Culture and the Arts, arguing that ‘[t]here is a school of thinking which holds that all cultural activity in general and the performing arts in particular are immoral and anti-religious’ (Faiz 1968: 8), and pointed to the political expediency behind such ways of thinking:
Since independence, these anti-attitudes inherited from the past have been seized upon by certain factions in the country for topical political ends. They first sought to equate all culture with music and dancing and then to equate all music and dance with the lewd vulgarizations of these arts by inept professionals. From these premises, it was easy to proceed to the conclusion that, as has often been done, that all art is immoral, hence anti-religious, hence ideologically unacceptable. (Faiz 1968: 9)

When Maududi and his intellectuals did use the rubric of ‘culture’, it was, unsurprisingly, as ‘Islamic culture’. But their use of the term was different from that current among mainstream Muslim intellectuals, i.e. the sum total of the artistic, literary, architectural artefacts produced either by Muslims or during the various Islamic empires, which together constituted an Islamic civilisation. Nor even the different popular forms of Islam and the literary and artistic works they inspired. No – by ‘Islamic culture’, Maududi meant, simply, the Islamic religious creed as embodied in the Quran, reflected in the shariat [Muslim law], and the rituals of prayer, fasting, alms-giving, sacrifice and Haj which the creed enjoined upon Muslims. It was this definition of ‘Islamic culture’, especially vis-à-vis Pakistani nationalism – that Faiz seems to have encountered frequently during his lectures and radio presentations. Faiz’s aim was to define, pin down, and put in its place this ‘Islamic’ aspect of Pakistani culture, lest it lead to a theocratic meaning à la the Jama’at-i Islami. However, Faiz’s nuanced engagements with the complexities of Pakistani culture and his sensitivity to issues of exclusion and marginality did not always appeal to those who were looking for a simple answer. This is evident from the transcripts of radio presentations and the odd university lecture, where he was invariably – and often frustratingly – asked variations on the same question: ‘Can we not say that Pakistani culture is Islamic culture?’ (Faiz n.d.: 21). In such situations,

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Faiz drew on the accepted idea that a national culture had to be unique to the nation-state and could not be solely based on something that was shared with other nation-states, in order to strategically articulate an idea of Pakistani culture which could not be read as endorsing the Jama’ati position.32 For example, in response to one such question, he replied:
There are aspects of Islamic culture [articles of faith] which are internal and there are some external forms of these which are national in their historical and geographical contexts. This doesn’t mean that they are separate, but that both these aspects combine to make what is called a ‘national culture’. Thus Pakistani culture is only limited to Pakistan, and Islam is not limited by nationalism…but is universal…thus that which is Pakistani culture will be Islamic, not non-Islamic. In fact, you can call it Pakistani Islamic culture. You cannot just call it Islamic culture because you don’t have a monopoly on Islam. (Faiz n.d.: 21, italics added)

The query which followed this one enquired whether ‘…[i]f the culture of every Islamic country is engendered by its specific geographical context, and cannot be Islamic, then that means that there is no such thing as Islamic culture’ (Faiz n.d.: 24). To which Faiz responded:
Since Islam is a universal faith, therefore the culture of every Muslim nation is Islamic culture … but alongside this, every Islamic country has its own national culture as well. There is no contradiction in these two things. (Faiz n.d.: 24)

Here Faiz paused to illustrate the point with the example of Iran, which held on to both the Islamic and the pre-Islamic aspects of its culture; arguing that it was the synthesis of the two which made Persian culture unique.
just like this, Pakistani culture will be both Islamic and Pakistani, but you cannot say that the culture of any one nation is Islamic such that it is the culture of the entire world of Islam… (Faiz n.d.: 24)

In answer to a question by a student as to whether it would not simply be easier to think of Pakistani culture simply as ‘Islamic culture’, Faiz declared
… we cannot completely fit the culture of any one nation with the culture of another nation even if their faith and many other characteristics are shared. For this reason, we should either not use the term Pakistani … but if we do, and we accept Pakistani nationality then obviously you will have to create a separate culture for this nationality if it doesn’t exist, and if it does, then you will have to own it. Pakistan is not Islam, Pakistan is geography, it is the name of a country, not the name of a faith. If you don’t call yourself a Pakistani, and deny your nationality, then it is possible, but if you insist on nationalism, then you have to be persistent about national culture as well, then you cannot consider this national culture part of some other national culture. (Faiz n.d.: 35)

What we are seeing here is the attempt to displace a religious worldview and an essentially religious understanding of political and social order (which interpellates religious identities), in favour of the more secular project of nationalism. The fact that this is an intensely difficult and immensely political process – despite the hegemony of the idea of ‘nation’ – is evidenced by the resistance displayed by the students who comprised Faiz’s audience for these lectures. Here Faiz is trying to disarticulate religion from (national) culture to the extent possible, in response to the argument that Pakistani and Islamic culture were not just related, such that the culture of Pakistan was not one manifestation of the essentially multivarious nature of Islamic culture, but were one and the same thing. The implications of imposing such a limited and unitarian definition of Islamic culture, especially in the context of a diverse nation-state such as Pakistan could only be disastrous. But eschewing Islam as a basis for Pakistani nationhood had implications for how to justify East Bengal as an ‘organic’ part of Pakistan. In answer to a question as to why East

A national culture for Pakistan 337 and West Pakistan should stay together, given his definition of Pakistani culture, Faiz was forced to admit that ‘firstly there is the shared religion, which is the biggest reason’ but backed it up by stating that it wasn’t the only relationship between the two wings. But the alternatives he came up with were rather unconvincing. There was, for one,
the historical connection – for ages we have been associated with the same government and state. Then there is the cultural connection – our mosques and tombs look the same, our learned men and their learned men have gone back and forth… So lots of connections with them that we don’t have with other Muslim countries. (Faiz n.d.: 49)

But if religion were to be eschewed as the (sole, or even main) basis of Pakistani national identity – and the ‘Indus thesis’ made the assertion of a shared culture and/or history between East and West Pakistan, that would imply that the only relationship between the two was a political one. And this would truly be heretical. Moreover, reference to these connections opened up once again the great unsaid: the ‘culture’ and ‘history’ which were shared with India, and hence the impossibility of justifying the establishment on Pakistan purely on the basis of culture. Conclusion Speaking ‘in the name – and language – of the nation’, as Corrigan and Sayer point out, ‘both denies the particularity of what is being said (and who is saying it) and defines alternatives and challenges as sectional, selfish, partial, ultimately treasonable’ (Corrigan and Sayer 1985: 195). When this language of ‘nationhood’ is combined with that of ‘culture’, we get a potent mixture, which explains why ‘national culture’ – far from being an integrative force – is all-too-often a space of intense contestation within nation-states. In Pakistan, defining a national culture has been similarly important both for the Establishment and its detractors precisely because of its double-edged nature. Boundary-definition is also a powerful form of rule – who gets to be within and who is designated outside the nation is strategically important, as important as what alternatives – political, economic, social – are designated to be acceptable or unacceptable given a certain definition of ‘Pakistan’. It is obvious from the case of the controversial One Unit Bill, and the changes it wrought, that the need to hold on to power can over-ride the imperatives of ‘nationalism’ and nation-building for the ruling establishment. So much so that in order to undermine East Bengal and neutralise the rising mass politics of the region, as well as quell dissent in West Pakistan, the establishment did not hesitate in throwing out the two-nation theory and its assumption of Muslim nationalism as the basis of the Pakistani nation-state when it suited them. As Faiz pointed out, ‘cultural problems do not relate to the arts alone’ but were intimately tied to the very structure of society, especially its socio-economic aspect (Faiz 1968: 3). Social equity – or, the resolution of the ‘basic structural socio-economic problem[s]’ – of a society was thus the only way of ensuring a just and permanent resolution of the problem of cultural integration. Since the lack of national integration in Pakistan was taken as a cultural rather than a socio-economic or political problem, even the most culturally sensitive initiatives could finally achieve nothing in the face of the persistent inequalities between the West and East as well as the unresolved political demands of the East Pakistanis, which increasingly became couched in the language of ‘internal colonialism’. The state’s violent attempts at suppressing these demands – and by so doing, attempting to suppress the differences and inequalities themselves – ultimately resulted in a bloody pogrom against the Bengalis and the secession of East Pakistan. The secession and subsequent establishment of Bangladesh is often referred to as an example of a failure of national integration, but as Corrigan and Sayer so eloquently put it,

338 Saadia Toor
Social integration within the nation state is a project, and one in constant jeopardy from the very facts of material difference – the real relations of bourgeois civilization – whose recognition official discourse seeks to repress. (Corrigan and Sayer 1985: 197)

Thus, no amount of cultural initiatives and other attempts at national unity – even the brief moment of consolidation and national solidarity during and immediately following the war with India in 1965 – could ultimately paper over or make up for the glaring inequalities produced by the economic policies pursued by various administrations, culminating in Ayub’s ‘Decade of Development’ and embodied in various Five-Year Plans. People may not live by bread alone, but without bread they cannot live at all. Notes
1. See, for example, Chatterjee (1993, 1989). 2. As both concept and phenomena, ‘religion’ and ‘culture’ are often so deeply articulated in real life that it becomes difficult if not impossible to separate their effects; this overlap and ambiguity it produces enables many slips within nationalist discourse in Pakistan, as I argue in my work. 3. On this, see Aziz (1967: particularly pages 8 and 123). 4. Up until the mid-1930s, Indian Muslim intellectuals understood themselves as having two separate identities – Muslim and Indian – which they did not see as mutually antagonistic. Even the creation of Muslim homelands proposed by Muhammad Iqbal as a solution to the communal problem was pitched as a move that would simultaneously preserve ‘the life of Islam as a cultural force’ while strengthening Indian Muslim loyalty to the Indian state. Thus Muslim nationalism had not and was not automatically articulated within the framework of separatism. 5. Under the original terms, the whole of Bengal and Punjab were to be part of Pakistan as Muslim majority provinces; their partition was the result of pressure from militant Hindu nationalist groups. 6. Manto was and remains one of the most popular and controversial Urdu writers of his time, and also one of the most relentless chroniclers of the violence – physical, symbolic, psychological – of Partition. 7. In this essay, Jalibi features as a representative liberal modernist Pakistani intellectual of this period; Faiz represents the Marxist, and Hijazi the religious Right. 8. For instance, East Bengal instituted far-reaching land reforms in the early 1950s which scared the West Pakistani ruling class. 9. This remained pretty much a formality, as various speeches by Bengali members to the Constituent Assembly in subsequent years testify to. 10. Tagore was officially banned from the airwaves in East Bengal and it was considered seditious activity to play or sing his songs. East Bengalis considered Robindroshongeet (or the songs of Tagore) to be an integral part of Bengali culture, whether Muslim or Hindu. 11. The attitude of the West Pakistani elite towards Bengalis also became increasingly more racialised over time, which enabled the horrific actions of the West Pakistan army during the civil war of 1971, in which, among other things, the rape of Bengali women was justified on the basis of ‘purifying’ their ‘race’. 12. Focusing on the Indus valley civilization as an important – indeed, the distinguishing – aspect of Pakistani culture was a familiar secularist move by Leftist and liberal Pakistani intellectuals. The place of this ancient civilization, and that of the Gandhara period within Pakistani culture, was the subject of much debate from the very beginning. 13. Daultana was the main protagonist from the Government side, and widely known to have been the architect of the Bill. Daultana had been Chief Minister of the Punjab when the anti-Ahmediyya riots racked the province in 1953, and was held accountable for them by the Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Punjab Disturbances. 14. Mian Iftikharuddin was himself a social democrat, but was nevertheless the most important patron of the communist Left in Pakistan, especially through the platform (and employment) he provided them through the Progressive Papers Ltd. The various publications of the PPL were extremely influential in Pakistan, and the most important platform for Leftist views, which was the reason staging a takeover of the PPL was one of the first things which Ayub ordered after his coup d’état in 1958. 15. All references from the Constituent Assembly debates including quotes from speeches of particular members such as Daultana are cited collectively in the bibliography under the general head of Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates (1955–56).

A national culture for Pakistan 339
16. Akhand Hindustan: literally, ‘United, Indivisible India’. It was the slogan used by the Indian National Congress to counter the Muslim League’s demand for a separate state. It also became associated with militant Hindu nationalist outfits like the Hindu Mahasabha. 17. The actual mover of the Bill. Daultana strategically chose not to introduce it himself. 18. Both versions of the BPC report were criticized by East Bengali Opposition members as proposing a legislature which reduced East Bengal’s majority to a minority in the House, and also reiterated that Urdu was to be the only state language, a slap in the face of the Bengali language movement. Iftikharuddin’s jibe refers to the centrality given to Islam as the basis of the Pakistani nation-state within both these versions. 19. Iftikharuddin’s amendment highlights the fact that intentions and interests and effects cannot be read off from the cultural content of particular nationalist discourses. For that it is important to pay attention to who is articulating these discourses and the political projects they are being harnessed to. 20. This undermines the general understanding of the PWA as somehow completely and directly under the control of the CPI. It must be remembered that before Partition the CPI supported the Muslim League’s demand for an independent state on the basis of the nationalities thesis. 21. See Coppola (1975), especially Chapter V, ‘The Progressive Writers’ Association in India and Pakistan: 1947–1970’. 22. This was the local chapter of the Cold War cultural organization, the Congress for Cultural Freedom. 23. Both of these were the declared assumptions underlying the economic policies of Ayub’s notorious ‘Decade of Development’ instituted under the tutelage of the consultants from the Harvard Advisory Group. The good people from Harvard are also credited with being behind Ayub’s system of ‘Basic Democracies’. 24. The Progressive intellectual Safdar Mir used this historical record of Maududi to good effect in his attack on the Jama’at-i Islami in the late 1960s. 25. Some representative examples are Hobsbawm (1990), and Gellner (1983). 26. For example, Kapferer found a nationalism based on a historically grounded egalitarian code, as opposed to the Sri Lankan one, which rested on a deeply embedded sense of hierarchy. 27. In part because communists such as Sardar Jafri and Faiz Ahmed Faiz had consistently articulated a materialist – and hence necessarily secular – understanding of culture. 28. Traditional percussion instruments. 29. Dancers’ ankle-bells. 30. Alif is, of course, the first letter of the Urdu (as it is of the Arabic and Persian) alphabet. This is a sly reference to Mian Iftikharuddin – whom we encountered earlier – whose name in Urdu begins with Alif. 31. For this he was made the victim of much red-baiting at the hands of the Jama’atis during the mid to late 1960s. 32. These complex counter-arguments also point to the difficulty – and often impossibility – of separating the ‘religious’ from the ‘secular’. At the same time, Faiz’s continuous attempts to do so point to the necessity from a secular/liberal/Leftist perspective of drawing a distinction between these two or at least expanding what is meant by ‘the religious’ aspects of culture.

Ahmad, Aziz (1965) ‘Cultural and intellectual trends in Pakistan’, Middle East Journal (Winter): 35–44. Anderson, Benedict (1983) Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London: Verso. Aziz, K. K. (1967) The Making of Pakistan: A Study in Nationalism, London: Chatto & Windus. Barlas, Asma (1995) Democracy, Nationalism and Communalism: The Colonial Legacy in South Asia, Boulder: Westview Press. Butalia, Urvashi (2000) The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Callard, Keith B. (1957) Pakistan, a Political Study, London: Allen & Unwin. Chatterjee, Partha (c1993) Nation and its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Chatterjee, Partha (1989) ‘The nationalist resolution of the women’s question’. In Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid (eds) Recasting Women, New Delhi: Kali for Women. Coppola, Carlo (1975) Urdu Poetry, 1935-1970: The Progressive Episode, unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Chicago. Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates (1955-56) Government of Pakistan, Karachi: Manager of Publications.

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Corrigan, Philip and Sayer, Derek (1985) The Great Arch: English State Formation as Cultural Revolution, New York: Blackwell. Dominguez, Virginia R. (1990) ‘The politics of heritage in contemporary Israel.’ In Richard Fox (ed.) Nationalist Ideologies and the Production of National Cultures, Washington, DC: American Anthropologial Association, 130–147. Faiz, Faiz Ahmad (1968) Report of the Commission on Sports, Culture and the Arts, Islamabad: Government of Pakistan. Faiz, Faiz Ahmad (n.d.) In Search of Pakistani Culture and National Identity (Pakistani Kalcar aur Qaumi tashakkhuss ki talaash). Feldman, Herbert (1967) Revolution in Pakistan: a Study of the Martial Law Administration, London: Oxford University Press. Gellner, Ernest (1983) Nations and Nationalism, Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Gilmartin, David (1998) ‘Partition, Pakistan, and South Asian history: in search of a narrative’, Journal of Asian Studies 57(4): 1068–1095. Habermas, Jürgen (1975) Legitimation Crisis, Thomas McCarthy (trans.), Boston: Beacon Press. Handler, Richard (1988) Nationalism and the Politics of Culture in Quebec, Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press. Hasan, Mushirul (1993) ‘Introduction’. In India’s Partition: Process, Strategy and Mobilization, New York: Oxford University Press. Hijazi, Nasim (1978) In Search of Culture (Saqafat ki taalaash), Lahore: Qaumi Kutub Khanah. Hobsbawm, Eric (1990) Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, New York: Cambridge University Press. Jalibi, Jamil. (1964) Pakistani Culture: The Problem of the Creation of a National Culture (Pakistani kalcar: Qaumi kalcar ki tashkil ka mas’ala), Karachi: Mushtaq Book Depot. Jinnah-Gandhi correspondence (1945 [1944]) In P.C. Joshi They Must Meet Again. Bombay: People’s Publishing House. Kapferer, Bruce (c1988) Legends of People, Myths of State: Violence, Intolerance and Political Culture in Sri Lanka and Australia, Washington: Smithsonian Institute Press. Malik, Hafeez. (1963) Moslem Nationalism in India and Pakistan. Washington, DC: Public Affairs Press. Manto, Sa’adat Hasan (1990) ‘Toba Tek Singh’. In Manto namah, Lahore: Sang-i Meel Publications (Sang-i M¯il Pabl¯ikeshanz) Marriott, McKim (1963) ‘Cultural policy in the new states’. In Clifford Geertz (ed.) Old Societies and New States: The Quest for Modernity in Asia and Africa, London: The Free Press of Glencoe. Menon, Ritu and Bhasin, Kamala (1998) Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Qureshi, I.H. (1961) ‘The problem of national character’. In The Problem of National Character: a Symposium, Lahore: Pakistan Philosophical Congress and Bureau of National Reconstruction. Smith, W.C. (1962) Pakistan as an Islamic State: Preliminary Draft, Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf. Toor, Saadia. (c2000) Constructing the Pakistani Nation-State: the National Language Controversy, 1947–1952, unpublished Masters Thesis, Ithaca: Cornell University.

Author’s biography
Saadia Toor teaches Sociology at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island. She is a development sociologist and recently completed her doctoral dissertation on the relationship between national culture and state formation from Cornell University; this paper is a revised version of a chapter from this dissertation. Originally from Lahore, Pakistan, she has been active in progressive politics both in Pakistan and in the US. Her research and political interests include the politics of culture, globalization, feminism and nationalism. Contact address: Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, Building 4-S Room 223, College of Staten Island, 2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10314, USA; Email:

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