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Sunday, December 27, 2009 08:02:08 PM, Team ummid.com

Maulana Azad and partition: In the current debate on partition started by Jaswant Singh’s book every one is talking about the role of Jinnah, Nehru and Sardar Patel in partitioning of India but hardly anyone has mentioned what Maulana Azad .... Read Full

Nehru, Jinah and partition

"Muslims have every right to demand constitutional safeguards, but partition of India cannot promote their interests. The demand is the politically incorrect solution of a communal problem", said Maulana Abul Kalam Azad more than sixty years ago. It was the time when majority of Hindu and Muslim leaders in India were of the view that partition is the only solution to communal problem in India.

 

Maulana Azad made these observations while talking to Shorish Kashmiri - veteran journalist of the time and editor of Chattan. Former Union Minister Arif Mohd Khan translated the Urdu interview published in Chattan that was carried by Covert with the title 'The Man who knew the future.

 

Maulana Azad's above observations came when Shorish Kashmiri asked, the question is how Muslims can keep their community identity intact and how they can inculcate the attributes of the citizens of a Muslim state.

 

Maulana Azad replied: Hollow words cannot falsify the basic realities nor slanted questions can make the answers deficient. It amounts to distortion of the discourse. What is meant by community identity? If this community identity has remained intact during the British slavery, how will it come under threat in a free India in whose affairs Muslims will be equal participants? What attributes of the Muslim state you wish to cultivate? The real issue is the freedom of faith and worship and who can put a cap on that freedom. Will independence reduce the 90 million Muslims into such a helpless state that they will feel constrained in enjoying their religious freedom? If the British, who as a world power could not snatch this liberty, what magic or power do the Hindus have to deny this freedom of religion? These questions have been raised by those, who, under the influence of western culture, have renounced their own heritage and are now raising dust through political gimmickry.

Muslim history is an important part of Indian history. Do you think the Muslim kings were serving the cause of Islam? They had a nominal relationship with Islam; they were not Islamic preachers. Muslims of India owe their gratitude to Sufis, and many of these divines were treated by the kings very cruelly. Most of the kings created a large band of Ulema who were an obstacle in the path of the propagation of Islamic ethos and values. Islam, in its pristine form, had a tremendous appeal and in the first century won the hearts and minds of a large number of people living in and around Hejaz. But the Islam that came to India was different, the carriers were non-Arabs and the real spirit was missing. Still, the imprint of the Muslim period is writ large on the culture, music, art, architecture and languages of India. What do the cultural centres of India, like Delhi and Lucknow, represent? The underlying Muslim spirit is all too obvious.

If the Muslims still feel under threat and believe that they will be reduced to slavery in free India then I can only pray for their faith and hearts. If a man becomes disenchanted with life he can be helped to revival, but if someone is timid and lacks courage, then it is not possible to help him become brave and gutsy. The Muslims as a community have become cowards. They have no fear of God, instead they fear men. This explains why they are so obsessed with threats to their existence — a figment of their imagination.

After British takeover, the government committed all possible excesses against the Muslims. But Muslims did not cease to exist. On the contrary, they registered a growth that was more than average. The Muslim cultural ethos and values have their own charm. Then India has large Muslim neighbours on three sides. Why on earth the majority in this country will be interested to wipe out the Muslims? How will it promote their self interests? Is it so easy to finish 90 million people? In fact, Muslim culture has such attraction that I shall not be surprised if it comes to have the largest following in free India.

The world needs both, a durable peace and a philosophy of life. If the Hindus can run after Marx and undertake scholarly studies of the philosophy and wisdom of the West, they do not disdain Islam and will be happy to benefit from its principles. In fact they are more familiar with Islam and acknowledge that Islam does not mean parochialism of a hereditary community or a despotic system of governance. Islam is a universal call to establish peace on the basis of human equality. They know that Islam is the proclamation of a Messenger who calls to the worship of God and not his own worship. Islam means freedom from all social and economic discriminations and reorganisation of society on three basic principles of God-consciousness, righteous action and knowledge. In fact, it is we Muslims and our extremist behaviour that has created an aversion among non-Muslims for Islam. If we had not allowed our selfish ambitions to soil the purity of Islam then many seekers of truth would have found comfort in the bosom of Islam. Pakistan has nothing to do with Islam; it is a political demand that is projected by Muslim League as the national goal of Indian Muslims. I feel it is not the solution to the problems Muslims are facing. In fact it is bound to create more problems.

The Holy Prophet has said, “God has made the whole earth a mosque for me.” Now do not ask me to support the idea of the partition of a mosque. If the nine-crore Muslims were thinly scattered all over India, and demand was made to reorganise the states in a manner to ensure their majority in one or two regions, that was understandable. Again such a demand would not have been right from an Islamic viewpoint, but justifiable on administrative grounds. But the situation, as it exists, is drastically different. All the border states of India have Muslim majorities sharing borders with Muslim countries. Tell me, who can eliminate these populations? By demanding Pakistan we are turning our eyes away from the history of the last 1,000 years and, if I may use the League terminology, throwing more than 30 million Muslims into the lap of “Hindu Raj”. The Hindu Muslim problem that has created political tension between Congress and League will become a source of dispute between the two states and with the aid of international powers this may erupt into full scale war anytime in future.

The question is often raised that if the idea of Pakistan is so fraught with dangers for the Muslims, why is it being opposed by the Hindus? I feel that the opposition to the demand is coming from two quarters. One is represented by those who genuinely feel concerned about imperial machinations and strongly believe that a free, united India will be in a better position to defend itself. On the other hand, there is a section who opposes Pakistan with the motive to provoke Muslims to become more determined in their demand and thus get rid of them. Muslims have every right to demand constitutional safeguards, but partition of India cannot promote their interests. The demand is the politically incorrect solution of a communal problem.

In future India will be faced with class problems, not communal disputes; the conflict will be between capital and labour. The communist and socialist movements are growing and it is not possible to ignore them. These movements will increasingly fight for the protection of the interest of the underclass. The Muslim capitalists and the feudal classes are apprehensive of this impending threat. Now they have given this whole issue a communal colour and have turned the economic issue into a religious dispute. But Muslims alone are not responsible for it. This strategy was first adopted by the British government and then endorsed by the political minds of Aligarh. Later, Hindu short-sightedness made matters worse and now freedom has become contingent on the partition of India.

Jinnah himself was an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. In one Congress session Sarojini Naidu had commended him with this title. He was a disciple of Dadabhai Naoroji. He had refused to join the 1906 deputation of Muslims that initiated communal politics in India. In 1919 he stood firmly as a nationalist and opposed Muslim demands before the Joint Select Committee. On 3 October 1925, in a letter to the Times of India he rubbished the suggestion that Congress is a Hindu outfit. In the All Parties Conferences of 1925 and 1928, he strongly favoured a joint electorate. While speaking at the National Assembly in 1925, he said, “I am a nationalist first and a nationalist last” and exhorted his colleagues, be they Hindus or Muslims, “not to raise communal issues in the House and help make the Assembly a national institution in the truest sense of the term”.

In 1928, Jinnah supported the Congress call to boycott Simon Commission. Till 1937, he did not favour the demand to partition India. In his message to various student bodies he stressed the need to work for Hindu Muslim unity. But he felt aggrieved when the Congress formed governments in seven states and ignored the Muslim League. In 1940 he decided to pursue the partition demand to check Muslim political decline. In short, the demand for Pakistan is his response to his own political experiences. Mr Jinnah has every right to his opinion about me, but I have no doubts about his intelligence. As a politician he has worked overtime to fortify Muslim communalism and the demand for Pakistan. Now it has become a matter of prestige for him and he will not give it up at any cost.

 

Part of Maulana Abul Kalaam Azad's interview

with Shorish Kashmiri - veteran journalist of the time and editor of Chattan.

Former Union Minister Arif Mohd Khan translated

the Urdu interview published in Chattan

that was carried by Covert with the title 'The Man who knew the future.

 

(Courtesy: Covert Magazine)
 

 

 

 

 

 

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