|The Two Nations Theory|
Events in the late 1920s and 1930s led Muslims to begin to think that their destiny might be in a separate state, a concept that developed into the demand for partition. Motilal Nehru convinced an "all-party" conference in 1929 to suggest changes that would lead to independence when British took up the report of Simon Commission. The majority of delegates demands the end of the system of separate electorates. Jinnah, in turn, put forward fifteen points that would satisfy Muslim interests - in particular, the retention of separate electorates or the creation of "safeguards" to prevent a Hindu-controlled legislature. Jinnah's proposals were rejected, and from then on co-operation between Hindus and Muslims in the independence movement was rare.
In his presidential address to the Muslim League session at Allahabad in 1930, the leading modern Muslim philosopher in South Asia, Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), described India as Asia in miniature, in which a unitary form of government was inconceivable and religious community rather than territory was the basis for identification. To him, communalism in the highest sense was the key to formation of a harmonious whole in India. Therefore, he demanded the establishment of a confederation India to include a Muslim state consisting of Punjab, N.W.F.P, Sindh, and Balochistan. In subsequent speeches and writings, Iqbal reiterated the claims of Muslims to be considered a nation "based on unity of language, race, history, religion, and identity of economic interests".
Iqbal gave no name to his projected state. That was done by a group of students at Cambridge in Britain who issued a pamphlet in 1933 entitled Now or Never (by Ch. Rehmat Ali). They opposed the idea of federation, denied that India was a single country, and demanded partition into regions, the Northwest receiving national status as a "Pakistan". They explained the terms follows: "Pakistan…is…composed of letters taken from the names of our homelands: that is Punjab, Afghani, [N.W.F.P.], Kashmir, Sindh, Tukharistan, Afghanistan, and Bloachistan. It means the land of the Paks, the spiritually pure and clean."
In 1934, Jinnah returned to the leadership of the Muslim League after a period of residence in London, but found it divided and without a sense of mission. He set about restoring a sense of purpose to Muslims, and he emphasised the Two Nations Theory.
The 1937-40 period was critical in the growth of the Two Nations Theory. Under the 1935 Government of India Act, elections to the provincial legislative assemblies were held in 1937. Congress gained majorities in seven of the eleven provinces. Congress took a strictly legalistic stand on the formation of provincial ministries and refused to form coalition government with the Muslim League, even in the United Provinces, which had substantial Muslim minority, provinces such as Punjab and the N.W.F.P. The conduct of Congress governments in Muslim-minority provinces permanently alienated the Muslim League.
By the late 1930s, Jinnah was convinced of the need for a unifying issue among Muslims, and Pakistan was the obvious answer. At its annual session in Lahore on March 23, 1940, the Muslim League resolved that the areas of Muslim Majority in North-western and Eastern India should be grouped together to constitute independence plan without this provision was unacceptable to Muslims. Federation was rejected. The Lahore Resolution (forward by Sher-e-Bengal Mr. A. K. Fazal-e-Haq) was often referred to as the "Pakistan Resolution"; however, the word Pakistan did not appear in it.
An interesting aspect of the Pakistan movement was that it received its greatest support from area in which Muslims were a minority. In those areas, the main issue was finding an alternative to replacing British rule with Congress, that is, Hindu Rule.
During World War II, the Muslim League and Congress adopted different attitudes toward British priorities were driven by the expediencies of defence, and war was declared abruptly without any prior consultation with Indian politicians. Congress ministries in the provinces resigned in protest. As a consequence, Congress, with most of its leaders in jail opposition of the Rule, lost its political leverage over the co-operation, gaining time to consolidate. The British appreciated the loyalty and valour of the British India Army, many of whose members were Punjabi Muslims. The Muslims League's success could be gauged from its sweep of 90 percent of the Muslim seats in the 1946 elections, compared with only 4.5 percent in the 1937 elections. The 1946 election was, in effect, a plebiscite among Muslims on Pakistan. In London it became clear that there were three parties in any discussion on the future if India: the British, Congress and the Muslim League.
Spurred by Japanese advance in Asia and forceful persuasion from Washington, British prime minister Winston Churchill's coalition war government in 1942 had dispatched Sir Stafford Cripps to India with a proposal for settlement. He plan provided for dominion status after the war for and Indian union if British Indian provinces and princely states wishing to accede to, a separate dominion for those who did not, and firm defence link between Britain and an Indian union. Cripps himself was sympathetic to Indian nationalism. However, his mission failed, and Gandhi described it as "a post-dated cheque on a crashing bank."
In August 1942, Gandhi launched the "Quit India Movement" against the British. Jinnah condemned the movement. The government retaliated by arresting about 60,000 individuals and outlawing Congress. Communal riots increased. Talks between Jinnah and Gandhi in 1944 proved as futile as negations between Gandhi and the viceroy.
New elections to provincial and central legislatures were ordered, and a three-man team came to India from Britain to discuss plans for self-government. The cabinet Mission Plan, proposed by Cripps, represented Britain’s last, desperate attempt to transfer the power it retained over India to a single union. The mission put forward a three-tier federal form of government in which the central government would be limited to power over defence, foreign relations, currency and communication; significant over powers would be delegated to the provinces. The plan also prescribed the zones that would be created: north-west Bengal and Assam would be joined to form a zone with a slight Muslim majority; in north-west, Punjab, Sindh, N.W.F.P., and Bloachistan would be joined for a clear Muslim majority; and the remainder of the country would be third zone , with a clear Hindu majority. The approximation of the boundaries of a new Pakistan was clear from the delineation of the zones. The mission also suggested the right of veto on legislation by communities that saw their interests adversely affected. Finally, the mission proposed that an interim government be established immediately and that new elections be held.
Congress and the Muslim League emerged from the 1946 elections as the two dominant parties, although the Muslim League again was unable to capture a majority of the Muslim seats in the N.W.F.P. At first, both parties seemed to accept Cabinet Mission Plan, despite many reservations, but the subsequent behaviour of the leaders soon led to bitterness and mistrust. Nehru effectively quashed any prospect of the plan’s success when he announced that Congress would not be "fettered" by agreements with the British, thereby making it clear that Congress would be its majority in the newly created Constituent Assembly to write a constitution that conformed to its ideas. The formation of an interim government was also controversial. Jinnah demanded equality between the Muslim League and Congress, a proposal rejected by the viceroy. The Muslim League boycotted the interim government, and each party disputed the right of the other appoint Muslim ministers, a prerogative Jinnah claimed belonged solely to the Muslim League.
When the viceroy proceeded to form an interim government without the Muslim League, Jinnah called for demonstrations, or "Direct Action", on August 16, 1946. Communal rioting broke out on an unprecedented scale, especially in Bengal and Bihar. The massacre of Muslims in Calcutta brought Gandhi to the scene, where he worked with the Muslim League provincial chief minister, Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy. Gandhi’s and Suharwardy’s efforts clamed fears in Bengal, but rioting quickly spread elsewhere and continued well into 19476. Jinnah permitted the Muslim League to inter the interim government in an effort to stem further communal violence. Disagreements among the ministers paralysed the government, already haunted by the spectre of civil war.
In February 1947, Lord Mountbatten was appointed viceroy with specific instructions to arrange for a transfer of bower by June 1948. Mountbatten assessed the situation and became convinced that Congress was willing to accept partition as the price for independence, that Jinnah would accept a smaller Pakistan than one he demanded (that is, all of Punjab and Bengal), and Sikhs would learn to accept a division of Punjab. Mountbatten was convinced by the rising temperature of too distant and persuaded most Indian leaders that immediate acceptance of his plan was imperative.
On June 3, 1947, British prime minister Clement Attlee introduced a bill in the House of Commons called for the Independence and Partition of India. On July 14, the House of Commons passed the India Independence Act, by which two independent dominions were created on the sub-continent; the princely states were left to accede to either. The partition plan stated that contiguous Muslim-majority districts in Punjab and Bengal would go to Pakistan, provided that the legislatures of the two provinces agreed that the provinces should be partitioned- they did. Sindh’s legislature and Balochistan’s jirga (council of tribal leaders) agreed to join Pakistan. A plebiscite was held in Sylhet District of Assam, and as a result, part of the district was transferred to Pakistan. A plebiscite was also held in N.W.F.P. Despite a boycott by Congress, the province was deemed to have chosen Pakistan. The princely states, however, presented a more difficult problem. All but three of the more than 500 states quickly acceded to Pakistan or India under guidelines established with the aid of Mountbatten. The states made their decision after giving consideration to the geographic location of their respective area and to their religious majority. Two states hesitated but were quickly absorbed into India: Hyderabad, the most populated of the princely states, whose Muslim ruler desired independence; Junagadh, a small state with a Muslim prince that tried to accede to Pakistan despite’s majority Hindu population. The accession of the third state, Jammu and Kashmir, also could not be resolved peacefully, and its indeterminate status has poisoned relations between Pakistan and India ever since.
Throughout the summer of 1947, as communal violence mounted, preparations for partition proceeded in Delhi. Assets were divided, boundary commission were set up to demarcate frontiers, and British troops were evacuated. The military was restructured into two forces. Law and order broke down in different parts of the country. Civil servants were given choice of joining either country; British officers could retire with compensation if not invited to stay on. Jinnah and Nehru tried unsuccessfully to quell the passions of communal fury that neither fully understood. On August 14, 1947, Pakistan and India achieved independence. Jinnah became the first governor general of Dominion of Pakistan.
Thus, Pakistan came into being a the chapter of the history of Pakistan Movement closed.
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