Which Way to Pakistan?
by Maulana Muhammad Yaqub Khan
وَعَدَ اللّٰہُ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مِنۡکُمۡ وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ لَیَسۡتَخۡلِفَنَّہُمۡ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ کَمَا اسۡتَخۡلَفَ الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِہِمۡ ۪
“God has promised those who are men of Faith and doers of righteous deeds that He will give them the Kingdom of the earth as He gave it to those before them” [The Holy Quran, 24:55].
“Seek ye the Kingdom of Heaven and all things will be added unto you.” [Matthew 6:33].
This paper has been supporting Pakistan from the very inception of the idea. The idea, though not the name, was first of all brought into the realm of serious politics by the late Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal in his Presidential Address at the Muslim Conference in Allahabad. This was long ago when there was practically no Muslim English press to take up the cry. All the publicity it got was through this paper, which devoted one special issue to it.
We supported the idea of a Free Islam in a Free India because of the sheer justice of it. The freedom movement that was putting up a fight against foreign domination under the colour of nationalism and was sweeping everything before it threatened to sweep the culture of Islam as well. Even a man of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan’s (of Zamindar) fame had no compunction in blazing the front page of his paper with such lines as:
جو مولوی نہ ملے گا تو مالوی ہی سہی
خدا خدا نہ سہی رام رام کر لیں گے
“If we don’t find a Maulvi (to lead us) a Malavi (referring to Pandit Madan Mohan Malavi) will do,
Instead of saying Khuda Khuda we might as well take to saying Ram Ram.”
To the Hindu, however, the Freedom Movement meant not only the freedom of the peoples of India but a restoration of the ancient Vedic culture and civilization of India. It was at bottom a Hindu revivalistic movement. Just in the days when a leader of Islam was urging his co-religionists to say Ram Ram instead of Khuda Khuda [God, God, i.e., Allah, Allah], a question was put to Mahatma Gandhi that if he believed Islam to be a true religion (as he has ever said), why not embrace it? His reply was illustrative of the Hindu mind. He said in substance that the word Ram had become part and parcel of his being and from no other word, God or Allah, could he draw the same spiritual food. To the Hindu freedom fighter, the overthrow of the British Raj has invariably meant one thing — the revival of the golden Vedic civilization of ancient India. And that has been the main driving force of the freedom movement with the Hindu. Simultaneously with the freedom movement was started the Shudhi movement to reclaim Muslims to the Hindu fold, the indigenous faith and culture of India.
Now, this was hardly playing the game. The Musalman [Muslim] had joined hands with the Hindu for the freedom of India. The banya in the Hindu, however, saw in it an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Under cover of nationalism he started foisting his own culture on the Musalman. This was stealing a march on his comrade-in-arm, if not an actual stab in the back. Dr. Iqbal’s penetrating eye saw the danger and with his characteristic force he raised the cry of a Free Islam in a Free India — a cry which, under the leadership of Mr. Jinnah, has already become the rallying point of Muslim India and materialized into a formal demand of Free Muslim States in India, popularly known as Pakistan. And, today the entire field of Indian politics has been monopolized by the Pakistan controversy. Hindu India is up in arms against the idea and has been opposing it tooth and nail. Only recently an Anti-Pakistan Conference was held here in Lahore under the auspices of the Maha Sabha [a Hindu political party]. The Musalmans are day by day growing into their conviction that Pakistan alone is the guarantee of the future of Islam in India and preparations are briskly afoot to hold a Pakistan Conference here. The British Government also has come to talk of the Indian situation in terms of Pakistan. In view of all this we consider it necessary to offer a few comments on the controversy and call attention to certain facts which are very often overlooked in the heat of the controversy.
In the first place, it must be clearly understood that the Pakistan movement was never intended to be nor must ever be allowed to deteriorate into an anti-Hindu movement. The Hindu opposition to it as well must not degenerate into anti-Islamic demonstration. Even when India has been partitioned into Muslim India (Pakistan) and Hindu India, the strength of each part and that of India as a whole will lie in close co-operation and friendship between the two parts. That, in fact, is the one idea that was responsible for the conception of Pakistan — viz., to so adjust the balance of power between the two major communities as to make them inter-dependent for their peace and prosperity. The democratic system of the Western type, which means majority rule, will make the fixed unchangeable Hindu religious majority the virtual dictator of the country, placing a whole nation of 90 million Muslims at its mercy. The sponsors of Pakistan hit upon this plan as best calculated to make the two communities inter-dependent upon each other. This is the cornerstone of Pakistan and let it not be lost sight of by the Hindu or the Musalman. And it is but plain common-sense that the freedom, prosperity and greatness of India depends on such inter-dependence upon each other. The Hindu, therefore, is not on firm ground in his opposition to Pakistan. His crusade against it means that he is not prepared to accept a position of inter-dependence with the Musalman and is bent upon dominating him, under the cover of democracy, a myth which stands already exploded in Europe herself, the home of democracy.
As regards Musalmans, the only comment we have to offer is to call attention to some internal inconsistencies which do not augur well for the Pakistan ideal. There can be no political ideal without an ideology at its back. Democracy, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Nazism are not mere political stunts. They have each a definite ideology of social reconstruction as its foundation. The Hindu movement of India is also galvanized by the ideology to revive the ancient civilization of India. Mahatma Gandhi begins his day with a hymn from the Gita. Speaking at a Christian Missionaries’ Conference, Mahatma Ji [Mahatma Gandhi] observed that although he owed a great deal to the teaching of Christianity, especially to the Sermon on the Mount, he must frankly say that when he found the horizon overcast with dark doubts and difficulties he turned to the Gita and found light and strength there. The Gita, the Hindu Faith, the Hindu culture, this is what you find in the centre of the picture with the Hindu revivalist movement, emblazoned on its very colours. This is, let us say at once, as it should be. They have set the revival of Hindu civilization as their goal and quite consistently they have put Hindu Faith, the Gita, the Vedas, Vedanta, Sanskrit in front of their onward march. Can the Musalmans say the same of their Pakistan movement? That is the comment we wish to commend to the earnest consideration of the Musalman.
What is the ideology at the back of the Pakistan movement? To safeguard the faith and culture of Islam by safeguarding the political individuality, integrity and sovereignty of the Musalman. But can we say that in our struggle for Pakistan we have put the faith and culture of Islam in the forefront?
Whatever else may be included into the connotation of these terms, there can be no two opinions that two things must be at once put down as the nucleus of the culture of Islam — the Quran and the mosque. It was out of this twin fountainhead that flowed the river of the culture of Islam. Can the leaders of the Pakistan movement say that these occupy the central place in their thoughts and lives? Do they turn to the Quran in moments of doubts and difficulties, as Mahatma Gandhi does to the Gita? Do they derive their main inspiration from that Book which claims to have come for the guidance of humanity at large? To put it more bluntly, is it Islam that is the burning passion with them or the political future of the Musalman?
The Prophet [Muhammad (pbuh)], who was the founder of the greatest Pakistan known to history, spent most of his time on the prayer mat. His feet got swollen, for such long hours would he stand in communion with God at the dead of night. Right on the field of battle, when all seemed lost, what would he do? He was seen in a corner, humbly prostrating and rubbing his forehead on dust in supplication to God. Is there anything of that kind, even in the shape of a tendency, in the Pakistan movement?
Prof. Halim of the Muslim University, in an illuminating address the other day, emphasized this very point when he urged that the Western education and sciences may by all means be imparted to the Muslim youth but care must be taken to stamp these with the stamp of Islam. That is very well. But may we ask what exactly that “stamp” is to be? That stamp can only be the restoration of the Quran and the mosque to a place of honour in the daily thoughts and lives of the Muslim youth. Is that being done at the Muslim University or at other Islamic institutions? In this connection, we offered a suggestion the other day, viz., that the professors, teachers and students of Islamic educational institutions should start with at least one common prayer at midday (Zuhr). For aught we know it has fallen flat on everybody concerned. Sher-i-Bengal [Abul Kasem Fazlul Huq] is the only exception that has, as already observed in these columns, made it compulsory for all institutions with Muslim students to close at midday for Zuhr prayer.
This to our mind is a weakness of the Pakistan movement to which we feel duty bound to call attention. No amount of Hindu opposition can do any harm to the movement, based as it is on elementary justice and fair-play. If, however, it ever fails it will fail for this internal weakness — it lacks the only driving force that can count, the force of faith. To struggle for the political welfare of the Musalmans and give Islam a secondary place in our lives is to put the cart before the horse. That is against the laws of God as enunciated by the Quranic and Gospel verses quoted above. Earthly kingdom, according to this Divine decree, is added unto those who are men of faith and do good, who aspire for the kingdom of Heaven. Iqbal has only interpreted this law in his couplet:
تھا یہ اللہ کا فرماں کہ شکوہِ پرویز
دو قلندر کو کہ ہیں اس میں ملوکانہ صفات
[“It was the command of Allah that the grandeur of Pervez (Persian king),
Be given to the Qalandar (Sufi saint; ascetic), as he has angelic qualities.”]
These are home truths which anybody can see. If we mean the reconstruction of our future on the foundations of Islam, let Islam take the centre of the picture in our lives, especially of those who are leading the movement. The Quaid-i-Azam [Muhammad Ali Jinnah] must have the Quran in his right hand and Pakistan in his left. But for this Pakistan may go the way of so many other movements which emerged on the horizon of Muslim India and after an ephemeral twinkling died a natural death. We must give Islam the place of honour in our hearts if we mean business; otherwise, it is the proverbial Turkistan, not Pakistan, that must be in store for us:
ترسم کہ بہ کعبہ ہرگز نہ رسی اے اعرابی
این راہ کہ تو میروی بہ ترکستان است
[“O Bedouin, I fear that you will not reach Kabah,
Because the road you are on leads to Turkestan.”]