This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The Two-Nation Theory also known as The Ideology of Pakistan1 was the basis for the Partition of India in 1947. It stated that Muslims and Hindus were two separate nations by every definition, and therefore Muslims should have a self-governing homeland in the Muslim majority areas of British India for the safeguard of their political, cultural, and social rights, within or without a United Nation. The two nation theory is the reason Pakistan came into being and acquired independence.
The Two-Nation Theory or Islamic Ideology of Pakistan was merely a negation of the philosophy that the Indian sub-continent was only one nation. The Two Nation Theory explains that Indian sub-continent has two large communities as Hindus and the Muslims. The Two Nation Theory developed through an evolutionary process. The Muslim modernist and reformer Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1817-1898) was the pioneer of the Two Nation Theory. He used the word “Two-Nations” for Hindus and Muslims once he was convinced of the Hindu and Congress’s hatred and prejudice towards the Muslims of the sub Continent. The famous poet and philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), provided the philosophical explanation whereas Barrister Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1871-1948) translated it into the political reality of a nation state.2 The All-India Muslim League, in attempting to represent Indian Muslims, felt that the Muslims of the subcontinent were a distinct and separate nation from the Hindus. At first they demanded separate electorates, but when they came to the conclusion that Muslims would not be safe in a Hindu-dominated India, they began to demand a separate state. The League demanded selfdetermination for Muslim-majority areas in the form of a sovereign state promising minorities equal rights and safeguards in these Muslim majority areas.
1 Samina Mallah,"Two-Nation Theory Exists," Pakistan Times, hereafter, Mallah, “Two Nation” 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Nation_Theory#cite_note-Two-Nation_Theory_Exists-0
The evidence cited for the differences dates to the beginning of the eleventh century, when the scholar Al-Bairuni (973-1048) observed that Hindus and Muslims differed in all matters and habits. Allama Iqbal's presidential address to the Muslim League on December 29, 1930 is seen as the first introduction of the two-nation theory in support of what would ultimately become Pakistan. Ten years later, Jinnah made a speech in Lahore on March 22, 1940 which was very similar to Al-Biruni's thesis in theme and tone. Jinnah stated that Hindus and Muslims belonged to two different religious philosophies, with different social customs and literature, with no intermarriage and based on conflicting ideas and concepts. Their outlook on life and of life was different and despite 1,000 years of history, the relations between the Hindus and Muslims could not attain the level of cordiality.3
MUHAMMAD ALI JINNAH’S ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF TWO NATION THEORY
Quaid-E-Azam a first rate lawyer and later on the father of Pakistan entered politics in 1906 by taking part in the Calcutta Session of the All India National Congress. Jinnah joined congress because it aimed at securing self-government by adopting constitutional means. He was greatly impressed by Krishan Gopal Gokhale and aspired to become ‘a Muslim Gokhale’. He eagerly desired to raise the status of India in the international community and to develop a sense of Indian nationalism among the people of India.4 By 1916 Jinnah became a prominent face in the politics of the subcontinent. He was respected by the Muslims and the Hindus of India. He resigned from the executive council in protest against the passage of Rowell Act. By 1920 Gandhi became a prominent figure in the Indian politics. Gandhi was an extremist Hindu leader with pro-Hindu approach to politics. Jinnah resigned from the Congress in 1920 due to Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement and joined the Muslim League. After resigning from the Congress, Jinnah stayed away from politics for several years but the pro-khilafat period saw the rise of Jinnah again, however by 1928 after the publication of Nehru Report he had changed his mind about Hindu-Muslim unity. The elections of 1937 proved to be the turning point in the relations of the two parties. The congress’s decision of eliminating the Muslims from the ministries of the six provinces under their party widened the gap between the Hindus and Muslims. Jinnah was highly pained to find
3 Ibid p 1. 4 M. Ikram Rabbani Introduction to Pakistan Studies (Lahore: Caravan Book House 2007) p.17.
the Congress acting in a highly anti-Muslim behavior. In 1937 he declared “Muslims can expect neither justice nor fair play under Congress Government.” In Muhammad Ali Jinnah's All India Muslim League Presidential Address delivered at Lahore, on March 22–23, 1940, he explained:
“ It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders, and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality, and this misconception of one Indian nation has troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, and literatures. They neither intermarry nor inter-dine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspect on life and of life is different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes, and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built for the government of such a state.”
Allama Iqbal's statement explaining the attitude of Muslim delegates to the Round-Table Conference issued in December, 1933 was a rejoinder to Jawahar Lal Nehru’s statement. Nehru had said that the attitude of the Muslim delegation was based on “reactionarism”. Iqbal concluded his rejoinder with: “In conclusion I must put a straight question to pundit Jawahar Lal, how is India's problem to be solved if the majority community will neither concede the minimum safeguards necessary for the protection of a minority of 80 million people, nor accept the award of a third party; but continue to talk of a kind of nationalism which works out only to its own benefit? This position can admit of only two alternatives. Either the Indian majority community will have to accept for itself the permanent position of an agent of British imperialism in the East, or the country will have to be redistributed on a basis of religious, historical and cultural affinities so as to do away with the question of electorates and the communal problem in its present form.”
In his book Pakistan or The Partition of India, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, has written a subchapter titled If Muslims truly and deeply desire Pakistan, their choice ought to be accepted. He writes that if the Muslims are bent on the creation of Pakistan, then it must be conceded to them. He asks whether Muslims in the army could be trusted to defend India. In the event of Muslims invading India or in the case of a Muslim rebellion, "Whom would the Indian
Muslims in the army side with?" he questions. He concludes that in the interests of the safety of India, Pakistan should be acceded to, should the Muslims demand it. According to him the Hindu assumption that though Hindus and Muslims were two nations they could live under one state, was but an empty sermon, a mad project, to which no sane man would agree.5 Samina Mallah claims that the Two-Nation Theory is relevant to this day citing factors such as lower literacy and education levels amongst Indian Muslims as compared to Indian Hindus, long-standing cultural differences, and outbreaks of religious violence such as those occurring during the 2002 Gujarat Riots in India, however she adds that even after 60 years of independence, Pakistan has not confirmed to being a One-Nation in that it shows disunity.6
Some historians have claimed that the theory was a creation of a few Muslim intellectuals. Prominent Pakistani politicians Altaf Hussain of Muttahida Qaumi Movement believes history has claimed the two-nation theory is wrong. A newspaper report quotes him saying "The two-nation theory died with the break-up of the country in 1971" (referring to the secession of East Pakistan as Bangladesh in that year).7 Ahmad Faruqui, reviewing Stephen Cohen's book, Jinnah's unfulfilled vision: The Idea of Pakistan refers to Cohen's observation that the vision of the two-nation theory is beset with problems. Pakistan was to be a home to the Muslims of South Asia. Before partition, in a population of 400 million, 100 million were Muslims. When partition took place, a third of the Muslims were in West Pakistan, a third in East Pakistan, and a third remained behind in India. After the secession of East Pakistan, in 1971, only a third of the Muslims of South Asia resided in the "new" Pakistan, making it difficult for Pakistani leaders to defend the twonation theory. The reviewer also adds that Cohen considers Pakistan's vision unjustifiable because there are as many Muslims in India and in Bangladesh as there are in Pakistan, and that though Bangladesh continues to exist as a separate state from India, it does not change the reality that the majority of the Muslims of South Asia now reside outside of Pakistan. Ahmad also mentions Cohen quoting Altaf Hussain. “The idea of Pakistan was dead at its inception, when the majority of Muslims decided to stay
5 Ambedkar, Bhimrao Ramji, Pakistan or the partition of India (Mumbai: Thackers 1945). . 6 Mallah "Two Nation” 7 Staff report (2004-11-02). "Two-nation theory died with Pakistan’s break-up, says Altaf" (in
English). Daily Times (Pakistan). Retrieved 2009-10-06.
back after partition, a truism reiterated in the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.”8
In the light of what has been discussed above I think the two nation theory is perhaps one of the best things that has happened to the Muslims of the Sub-Continent. If it had not been for the two nation theory, if our leaders had not realized that Muslims and Hindus are two separate nations, entities, we would have been a minority under the Hindu rule. I think we are blessed to have an independent Muslim State where we can live the way we want and this independent state could not have come into being without the concept of the Two Nation Theory.
8 Faruqui, Ahmad (2005-03-19). "Jinnah's unfulfilled vision: The Idea of Pakistan by Stephen Cohen" (in
English). Asia Times (Pakistan). Retrieved 2009-10-06.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.