B D Sharma
Pakistan came into being on 14th August, 1947 on partition of the Indian subcontinent but it celebrates its national day on 23rd of March every year because the seeds of formation of Pakistan were sown on 23rd of March, 1940 when the infamous Lahore resolution was passed in the session of Muslim League. During the course of negotiations and deliberations with Congress in 1944, Mahatma Gandhi had pushed forward Rajaopalachari’s proposal to “have plebiscite in the districts perceived to be Muslim majority” to ascertain whether the partition was called for or not. Rejecting the formula, Jinnah famously said, “It (the formula) was grossest travesty, a ridiculous proposal, offering a shadow and a husk- a maimed, mutilated, and moth-eaten Pakistan.” In the end Jinnah was able to get Pakistan consisting of two Muslim majority areas of the North West and North East of British India situated afar. It was a travesty of circumstances that his words so eloquently pronounced in 1944 proved prophetic and he was able to procure only a mutilated and moth-eaten Pakistan for his followers.
This irony of Pakistan traces its origin in the inconsistent and contradictory stands its founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah took at crucial junctures. It started with simple things like his transition from his favourite Savile Row suits to Sherwani and Karakoli cap. He pretended that he had launched struggle for the amelioration of the Muslims of the subcontinent but in fact, as many historians believe, Jinnah created Pakistan with the main aim, to quench his personal ambition to wield power. All his life he depicted an enigmatic personality. He started his public life as a nationalist in the Congress party but ended up as a stark communalist in League. He started his struggle as the champion of all Muslims of the subcontinent but when hints came that Pakistan was possible in Muslim majority areas only, then Jinnah took a bemused stance in April,1940 at Delhi that the Muslims of Hindu majority provinces, in the best traditions of Islamic solidarity, should not stand in the way of their co-religionists achieving liberation from the Hindu yoke. He went further when on 30 March,1941 he announced that he was willing to sacrifice about three crore Muslims(living in Hindu majority provinces) to be martyred to liberate seven crore Muslims.
Jinnah’s doubts and confusion became further evident when on the one hand, he consistently put forth his demand for Pakistan and on the other hand he showed readiness to accept the Cabinet Plan which envisaged united India. In addition to sharing the powers of the Central Govt, Jinnah assumed that the five Muslim majority provinces of Punjab, NWFP, Sind, Bengal and Assam, falling in group B and C of the Mission Proposal, along with lot of his hold on a number of friendly Nawabs would grant him effective control of much of India.
This confused state of mind of Jinnah was conveyed by the Governor General, Lord Wavell during his briefing on 28th of March,1946, to the British Cabinet. He told them that ‘though Jinnah is pressing for a separate Pakistan, he is also apprehensive that there is no chance of securing it.’ In the same breath, Wavell told the Cabinet that Jinnah had raised the pitch for Pakistan so high where it was impossible for him to go back from it.
Once it was decided by the British that partition of the country would take place, Jinnah, throwing all logic to wind, started to have a bout of fanciful dreams of having a grandiose Pakistan. He opposed the partition of Punjab and Bengal vehemently and argued before Mountbatten that Punjabis were in the first place Punjabis and Bengalis were first Bengalis before they were Hindus or Muslims. But
Mountbatten demolished his argument by reminding him that Indians were in the first instance Indians before they were Hindus and Muslims. There was, as such, no justification for partition, Mountbatten asserted, on the basis of that analogy. Jinnah was obviously much befuddled and he found himself answerless before Mountbatten’s reasoning.
Having failed to block division of Punjab and Bengal, Jinnah then tried to have at least the whole of Punjab in the ambit of his proposed Pakistan. In furtherance of this design, Jinnah made attempts to woo the Sikhs through Jenkins, Governor of Punjab, by promising that the Sikhs would retain their lands and enjoy full religious freedom in Jinnah’s Pakistan. But Akali Dal dashed all his hopes to the ground by telling Jenkins that ‘they had seen a good deal of Jinnah and had no confidence in him’. The Sikhs were dismayed by the role Jinnah played during the massive massacres of Sikhs in Rawalpindi in March, 1947. Not to speak of coming forward to the rescue of the beleaguered Sikhs, Jinnah and his friends had not even taken the trouble of condemning those riots. It was ludicrous of him now to believe that Sikhs would place their destiny in the hands of such a leader.
On the third plank of his dream of grandiose Pakistan, Jinnah started his maneuvers in other fronts. He tried his best to persuade the Nizam of Hyderabad, the young Maharaja of Jodhpur to join Pakistan. To Nizam he reminded of Islamic bondage and to the immature young Jodhpur ruler, he offered the ‘use of Karachi as a free port, free import of arms, jurisdiction over the Sind railway and a large consignment of grain for famine relief.’ The merger of Jodhpur could, Jinnah thought, trigger the other Rajput States that adjoined Pakistan like Udaipur and Jaisalmer to be swayed likewise. Jinnah had developed insatiable appetite for Hyderabad, Junagarh, Bhopal and even Jodhpur though all these territories fell well within India. He encouraged the Bhopal Camp, a conglomerate of princes, in carving out a block of states from Bhopal to Karachi splitting India into two. A Pakistan having vast and rich swaths of land mentioned above would have, no doubt , made it into a grand country. But it was merely a wishful thinking clearly lacking any logic behind it.
In the fulfillment of these designs, the Nizam of Hyderabad started evading the signing of instrument of accession with India. The other key player, the immature Jodhpur Prince became desperate when he saw his plan falling through that he foolishly attempted to attack Menon with his pen-pistol. Dilly dallying of accession with India by the Nawab of Bhopal also smacked of his complicity with Jinnah. The Nawab flew to Karachi to get clearance from Jinnah before he finally acceded to India on 15th of August, 1947, much later than the majority of other States. But none of these designs succeeded.
On the Kashmir plank Jinnah’s views were equally ludicrous. Involving masses in his planning was not his style of politics. With the Prime Minister of the State, RC Kak at his beck and call and leader of the Muslim Conference, Chaudhary Ghulam Abass of Jammu in attendance, the State posed, he thought, no problem. He had no doubt that Kashmir was a ripe fruit which would fall into his lap only. He would often pronounce that ‘Kashmir is a cheque which is in my pocket. I can encash it whenever I want.’ And when the cheque got bounced, he resorted to coercive methods to grab Kashmir but failed miserably. Pakistan’s attack did indeed hasten the integration of the State with India.
On another plank he had other farcical plan. According to a dispatch from Reuters dated 22, May, 1947 Jinnah had demanded for the joining of the two wings of Pakistan by a land corridor across North India. How could a rational mind could even think of such a ridiculous proposal?
When the plan of dividing Punjab was being formulated, Jinnah again got a rebuff. Radcliffe decided to divide Gurdaspur District with only one of the four tehsils namely Shakargarh going to Pakistan. Jinnah was certain that Pakistan would get whole of Gurdaspur. Similarly Ferozepur and Zira tehsils, initially marked for Pakistan, were awarded to India because of the headwaters that irrigated the princely state of Bikaner were located there. Similarly Pakistan could not succeed to get any princely State of some worth amalgamated in herself. Only three small states of Bahawalpur, Khairpur and Kalat acceded to Pakistan and later on some minor principalities such as Chitral, Dir, Swat, Amb, Hunza and Nagar did merge with it. India on the other hand got more than 550 States merged with it.
Thus all the designs and schemes of Jinnah failed and he ended up in getting what he himself had once termed as ‘a truncated, a mutilated and moth-eaten Pakistan.’ Since he was not realistic in his thinking, so he could not visualize the shape of the country that he was going to get. The fate of this ambiguously shaped country of two distantly situated parts was rightly predicted by the renowned international magazine ‘Life’ in its issue of 5th,January, 1948 that the new country would disintegrate very soon.
The dichotomy in the thinking of its founder permeated to the new country also. Jinnah, once modernist, liberal, cigar-smoking, whisky-drinking and prohibited meat-eating Vakil soon started to feel choked in his new company of religious bigots. Inevitably, in a Muslim country, he started to attract religious labels. ‘Maulana Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Zindabad’ shouted one excited crowd in a small town making him squirm and shout at the crowd. The religious bigots even took ill of his eating and drinking habits.
The Quaid himself threw all the norms of democratic functioning to the wind. He would always preside over the cabinet meetings over the head of Prime Minister. His autocratic propensities showed colours when he undemocratically dismissed two elected provincial governments of NWFP and Sind immediately after partition in complete contravention of the parliamentary system. He imposed Urdu on Bengalis with a fierce reaction from them. On the one hand he assured equal rights to all communities in his famous 11 August,1947 speech and on the other hand, his invocation of Islam and Sharia became consistent and abundant in his speeches, statements and messages. Resultantly, Pakistan strayed to the path of applying and infusing the authority of religion to both State and the Society, when all the civilized world had long discarded the sovereignty of God in favour of a tangible human entity in the management of temporal affairs of man. (God, however, continues to be sovereign of His Heaven and the domain of spiritual affairs of man). So much is Pakistan entrenched in religion that the present PM Imran Khan got swayed with the “Jaadu-Tona” of a soothsayer namely Pinky Pirni. He got this woman, mother of five children, divorced and married her purportedly for the progress and wellbeing of Pakistan. He is also certain that she will help him to establish the state of Medina in Pakistan.
Jinnah had taken help from different sections of society ranging from communists to Islamists, from Ahmedis to Barelvis and landlords to agricultural labourers during his struggle for Pakistan. But soon after independence many of them had to repent for supporting formation of Pakistan. The first victims were the communists. They were systematically crushed. Of the two leftist poets, Faiz Ahmed Faiz was put behind the bar and Sahir Ludhianavi had to run away, stealthily to India. The Ahmedis faced
the brutal attacks first and then the expulsion from Islam. Qadianis like the ace Advocate Zaffarullah and Noble prize winner physicist Abdus Salam, who contributed a lot to Pakistan, were harshly treated.
Pakistan goes with begging bowl to the Western countries but touts her friendship with China, West’s arch rival, as “higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the oceans, stronger than steel, dearer than eyesight, sweeter than honey and so on.” Army of Pakistan, the ‘garrison state’ is the only organ who have clear perception of their objectives, which are either to eliminate their critics and journalists or to collect wealth for themselves by engaging in commercial activities under the camouflage of Fauji Foundation, Shaheen Foundation, Bahria Foundation, Army Welfare Trust and Defence Housing Authority running around 50 commercial entities engaged in the business of sugar to insurance to apparel to cement to fertilizer and what not. A State within a State indeed. Another myth perpetrated in Pakistan is that they are the most brave and valorous race in the world forgetting shamelessly the ignominy of meek surrender to Indian forces by 93000 of them, a world record in recent times. Confusion reigns supreme among Pakistanis even after 75 years as to who their ancestors are. They link their ancestry with Arabs and Central Asians, when more than eighty percent of the Pakistanis are Hindus converts. They would take pride in their links with the wild nomadic tribes and foolishly forget their glorious inheritance flowing from the Indus Valley civilization, Panini and the Taxila University. Quaid who used to often boast that he had single handedly, with the assistance of his PA and a typewriter created Pakistan, would himself face the ignominy of the worst kind in the hands of his Govt. The confusion and quandary, which had reigned over him for years, took ultimately his life also when confusion prevailed at Karachi in the retrieval of seriously ill Jinnah in September, 1948 and expediting his end.
There are many reasons including the lack of modern, secular and scientific education responsible for the sorry state of affairs in Pakistan. Further Jinnah’s split thinking, giving a free hand to the Muslim clerics and their subsequent taking over of the State apparatus has brought Pakistan to much of an abyss. Jinnah had gotten a Moth-eaten Pakistan and whatever the structure of the State was left behind, the same is being eaten up by the other termites- the Generals and Colonels, Maulvis and Pirs, politicians and police, landlords and Badheras.
( The author is a former civil servant)
B D Sharma