Editorial: The New Year

The Light (Pakistan), 1st January 1948 Issue (Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 3–4)

Every year that comes adds a new chapter to our life, individual as well as national. It constitutes one more milestone along our onward march. We have just closed one such chapter and set up one such milestone in 1947 and are standing on the threshold of another — 1948. While standing at this border line between the outgoing and incoming spans of our life, it will be worthwhile to pause and cast a look back as well as ahead to take stock of our exact bearings and chalk out our course for the future.

1947 shall stand out as a red-letter year in the history of Indian Islam, literally as well as metaphorically. It was a year of great and historic achievements. It was a chapter which summed up a whole volume of our national destiny. From political slavery in which we had been wallowing for a century and a half, we emerged a free people, no longer tied up to the apron-strings of alien domination, masters of our own destiny. This was a momentous revolution that the outgoing year had in store for us. This, however, was not all. We were destined to witness in this most pregnant span of our national life a revolution greater than any event in the history of this land, ancient or modern. Ever since the dawn of recorded history, the octopus of Hindu culture and caste philosophy of life had spread its tentacles over the length and breadth of this subcontinent, stifling and strangulating every up-surge of a rival philosophy and system of life. Buddhism which arose long ago as a protest against this Brahmanic conception of life was so thoroughly devoured by this all-pervading demon of caste and Karma that not a trace of that human philosophy was left in the land of its birth. Other spiritual revolts like Jainism, the cult of Nanak and Kabir with its emphasis on the human values of life and in more recent times, the reform-wave of Brahmo Samaj, shared the same fate, appearing like a bubble on the sea of Brahmanism and re-merging in the same after an ephemeral existence. Even Christianity, a foreign challenge to the supremacy of this enigmatic non-descript system of life known as Hinduism has had to undergo a process of dissolution so as to put on a Hindu appearance.

That exactly was the fate that Islam was threatened with. The struggle to absorb Islam into Hinduism has been going on for a long time, assuming subtle or aggressive form according to the exigencies of the times. For about half a century past, that is, since the down of Hindu nationalism in a most militant form under the impact of the Western culture, this campaign to bring about the liquidation of the foreign faith and culture of Islam assumed a most aggressive and systematic form. Common nationhood, patriotism, democracy — every modern technique was exploited to encompass that end. But Providence willed otherwise. Just at a time when Indian Islam was falling a prey to the subtle influence of Gandhism, the modern-most tentacle of that age-long octopus, there came about the turning of the tide under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah with the result that Islam has not only survived in this life and death struggle but has attained an independent sovereign status of its own, casting away once for all the dead weight of all caste Hindu influences and free once more to chalk out and pursue a destiny of its own in the light and glow of its own Divine genius.

This is an achievement which is not only unparallelled in history; it is an achievement which is also pregnant with historic possibilities. With the human civilization entering upon a new era of ideological conflict, Islam as a humane ideology par excellence, is destined to play a role of its own in this new conflict of values. The advent of Pakistan has provided the physical stage for the successful performance of that role. From Istanbul to Lahore, thousands of miles long Islamic bloc should naturally constitute one of the major world forces that are just now struggling for human leadership. The final clash is bound to be between the spiritual values of life on the one side and the Godless materialistic values on the other. Upon the outcome of this struggle hinges whether this modern civilization is to survive for the good of mankind or it is going to consume itself in mutual strife. And in this reshuffling of values and reconstruction of a new social order, Islam shall be the main, if not the sole standard-bearer of the spiritual values of life.

This is the meaning of Pakistan, the Providential plan working behind the scenes. Viewed against this background, Pakistan is no mere political achievement. It is re-writing history, re-building civilization, reconstructing this rotten social order on foundations of human and spiritual values of life.

While, however, we recount these great achievements of the outgoing year of 1947, there naturally looms large on our vision the tremendous price in human lives and devastation and misery which we have had to pay for this great boon. According to the poet, Islam needs a Karbala to regain life. Just now it has gone through a Karbala unprecedented in history. 1947 may aptly and literally be called a year of blood and tears. And as we take pride in and rejoice in the fact that Islam has been delivered from the threat of perpetual and debasing bondage, our thoughts naturally turn to hundreds of thousands of our fellow pilgrims, men as well as women who have fallen in this great pilgrimage to Pakistan. Nations are always built on the blood of martyrs. And Pakistan has taken a toll of martyrs unknown to history.

This retrospect should enable us to face the incoming year fairly and squarely and adjust our intellectual and moral outlook accordingly. We enter upon 1948 as a Nation and a Free Nation. But we must ask ourselves the question. Are we also a Muslim Nation? Pakistan, as elucidated above, is a Providential plan to restore Islamic values in human life. That also was the avowed objective we put forward while fighting for Pakistan. It should, therefore, be our endeavour to turn the search light on ourselves and seek in our heart of hearts an answer to the question. Are we a Muslim Nation? That should be our motto for 1948. It was not for mere nationhood that we fought. We wanted sovereign nationhood, as we emphasized time and again, to reconstruct our life in the light and glow of the Quranic values of life. If Pakistan is to be only another nationhood in the modern sense of the world, it would be an addition to the existing evils of the world. Pakistan means a social order based on Islamic values of life.

This must be the guiding principle of our life for the year 1948 — individual as well as national. We know for a fact that just now it is not. We only exploited the name of Islam. We never really meant to revive Islamic values, either in our own individual lives or in our national life. Most of us used the name of Islam only as a rallying point to protect our political entity against Hindu domination and today, after achieving Pakistan, we are as much un-Islamic in our modes of thought and life as ever.

We are a nation, no doubt — a free nation. But we are not a Muslim nation. Let us be clear on this point while setting foot in the new span of life that God has vouchsafed us all. Is God anywhere or anytime really in our thoughts? Do our political and social leaders, do our legislators and administrators take light and inspiration from the Quran or the glowing footprints of the Holy Prophet? Are our masses prepared to regulate their lives according to the dictates of the laws of Islam? We have a model in the lives of the first four Caliphs what an Islamic State and Islamic society ought to be like. If we are honest in our professions, if we want Pakistan to grow from strength to strength, if we want Pakistan to attain a place in the sun, it should be the highest ambition of every Pakistanist [Pakistani] to rediscover those eternal and abiding values in his own life as well as translate the same in our state polity. No leader or administrate can be too great for seeking light and inspiration from that source. After achieving Pakistan, it should be our foremost concern to revolutionize the whole of our outlook and remodel the whole structure of our lives on right Islamic lines. This, to our mind, should be the work immediately before us as we enter upon the new year just opening before us. And should we set our faces in that direction in right earnest and pursue this objective with faith and determination as a nation, no problem or danger, internal or external, can do us any harm. An Islamic Pakistan is the only guarantee of a strong and prosperous Pakistan.