Maulana Azad and Partition


Update: Correction: The following article is considered to be fake, hence readers are advised to post no further comments on a fake article. We have decided not to delete this post in order to preserve the comments in this thread.

The following is a historic interview with Maulana Azad, an advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity and an opponent of partition,  in which he predicts the trials that are now facing Pakistan. Partition was a complicated phenomena, one that has been oft debated and though about by South Asians.

For those interested in learning more about the history of partition, PPP Marxist activist Lal Khan has written a though provoking book “Partition can it be Undone”.


THE MAN WHO KNEW THE FUTURE

by Matbooat Chattan Lahore

Congress president Maulana Abul Kalam Azad gave the following interview to journalist Shorish Kashmiri for a Lahore based Urdu magazine, Chattan, in April 1946. It was a time when the Cabinet Mission was holding its proceedings in Delhi and Simla. Azad made some startling predictions during the course of the interview, saying that religious conflict would tear apart Pakistan and its eastern half would carve out its own future. He even said that Pakistan’s incompetent rulers might pave the way for military rule. According to Shorish Kashmiri, Azad had earmarked the early hours of the morning for him and the interview was conducted over a period of two weeks. This interview has not been published in any book so far — neither in the Azad centenary volumes nor in any other book comprising his writing or speeches — except for Kashmiri’s own book Abul Kalam Azad, which was printed only once by Matbooat Chattan Lahore, a now-defunct publishing house. Former Union Cabinet Minister Arif Mohammed Khan discovered the book after searching for many years and translated the interview for COVERT

Q: The Hindu Muslim dispute has become so acute that it has foreclosed any possibility of reconciliation. Don’t you think that in this situation the birth of Pakistan has become inevitable?

A: If Pakistan were the solution of Hindu Muslim problem, then I would have extended my support to it. A section of Hindu opinion is now turning in its favour. By conceding NWFP, Sind, Balochistan and half of Punjab on one side and half of Bengal on the other, they think they will get the rest of India — a huge country that would be free from any claims of communal nature. If we use the Muslim League terminology, this new India will be a Hindu state both practically and temperamentally. This will not happen as a result of any conscious decision, but will be a logical consequence of its social realities. How can you expect a society that consists 90% of Hindus, who have lived with their ethos and values since prehistoric times, to grow differently? The factors that laid the foundation of Islam in Indian society and created a powerful following have become victim of the politics of partition. The communal hatred it has generated has completely extinguished all possibilities of spreading and preaching Islam. This communal politics has hurt the religion beyond measure. Muslims have turned away from the Quran. If they had taken their lessons from the Quran and the life of the Holy Prophet and had not forged communal politics in the name of religion then Islam’s growth would not have halted. By the time of the decline of the Mughal rule, the Muslims in India were a little over 22.5 million, that is about 65% of the present numbers. Since then the numbers kept increasing. If the Muslim politicians had not used the offensive language that embittered communal relations, and the other section acting as agents of British interests had not worked to widen the Hindu-Muslim breach, the number of Muslims in India would have grown higher. The political disputes we created in the name of religion have projected Islam as an instrument of political power and not what it is — a value system meant for the transformation of human soul. Under British influence, we turned Islam into a confined system, and following in the footsteps of other communities like Jews, Parsis and Hindus we transformed ourselves into a hereditary community. The Indian Muslims have frozen Islam and its message and divided themselves into many sects. Some sects were clearly born at the instance of colonial power. Consequently, these sects became devoid of all movement and dynamism and lost faith in Islamic values. The hallmark of Muslim existence was striving and now the very term is strange to them. Surely they are Muslims, but they follow their own whims and desires. In fact now they easily submit to political power, not to Islamic values. They prefer the religion of politics not the religion of the Quran. Pakistan is a political standpoint. Regardless of the fact whether it is the right solution to the problems of Indian Muslims, it is being demanded in the name of Islam. The question is when and where Islam provided for division of territories to settle populations on the basis of belief and unbelief. Does this find any sanction in the Quran or the traditions of the Holy Prophet? Who among the scholars of Islam has divided the dominion of God on this basis? If we accept this division in principle, how shall we reconcile it with Islam as a universal system? How shall we explain the ever growing Muslim presence in non-Muslim lands including India? Do they realise that if Islam had approved this principle then it would not have permitted its followers to go to the non-Muslim lands and many ancestors of the supporters of Pakistan would not have had even entered the fold of Islam? Division of territories on the basis of religion is a contraption devised by Muslim League. They can pursue it as their political agenda, but it finds no sanction in Islam or Quran. What is the cherished goal of a devout Muslim? Spreading the light of Islam or dividing territories along religious lines to pursue political ambitions? The demand for Pakistan has not benefited Muslims in any manner. How Pakistan can benefit Islam is a moot question and will largely depend on the kind of leadership it gets. The impact of western thought and philosophy has made the crisis more serious. The way the leadership of Muslim League is conducting itself will ensure that Islam will become a rare commodity in Pakistan and Muslims in India. This is a surmise and God alone knows what is in the womb of future. Pakistan, when it comes into existence, will face conflicts of religious nature. As far as I can see, the people who will hold the reins of power will cause serious damage to Islam. Their behaviour may result in the total alienation of the Pakistani youth who may become a part of non-religious movements. Today, in Muslim minority states the Muslim youth are more attached to religion than in Muslim majority states. You will see that despite the increased role of Ulema, the religion will lose its sheen in Pakistan.

Q: But many Ulema are with Quaid-e-Azam [M.A. Jinnah].

A: Many Ulema were with Akbare Azam too; they invented a new religion for him. Do not discuss individuals. Our history is replete with the doings of the Ulema who have brought humiliation and disgrace to Islam in every age and period. The upholders of truth are exceptions. How many of the Ulema find an honourable mention in the Muslim history of the last 1,300 years? There was one Imam Hanbal, one Ibn Taimiyya. In India we remember no Ulema except Shah Waliullah and his family. The courage of Alf Sani is beyond doubt, but those who filled the royal office with complaints against him and got him imprisoned were also Ulema. Where are they now? Does anybody show any respect to them?

Q: Maulana, what is wrong if Pakistan becomes a reality? After all, “Islam” is being used to pursue and protect the unity of the community.

A: You are using the name of Islam for a cause that is not right by Islamic standards. Muslim history bears testimony to many such enormities. In the battle of Jamal [fought between Imam Ali and Hadrat Aisha, widow of the Holy Prophet] Qurans were displayed on lances. Was that right? In Karbala the family members of the Holy Prophet were martyred by those Muslims who claimed companionship of the Prophet. Was that right? Hajjaj was a Muslim general and he subjected the holy mosque at Makka to brutal attack. Was that right? No sacred words can justify or sanctify a false motive.

If Pakistan was right for Muslims then I would have supported it. But I see clearly the dangers inherent in the demand. I do not expect people to follow me, but it is not possible for me to go against the call of my conscience. People generally submit either to coercion or to the lessons of their experience. Muslims will not hear anything against Pakistan unless they experience it. Today they can call white black, but they will not give up Pakistan. The only way it can be stopped now is either for the government not to concede it or for Mr Jinnah himself — if he agrees to some new proposal.

Now as I gather from the attitude of my own colleagues in the working committee, the division of India appears to be certain. But I must warn that the evil consequences of partition will not affect India alone, Pakistan will be equally haunted by them. The partition will be based on the religion of the population and not based on any natural barrier like mountain, desert or river. A line will be drawn; it is difficult to say how durable it would be.

We must remember that an entity conceived in hatred will last only as long as that hatred lasts. This hatred will overwhelm the relations between India and Pakistan. In this situation it will not be possible for India and Pakistan to become friends and live amicably unless some catastrophic event takes place. The politics of partition itself will act as a barrier between the two countries. It will not be possible for Pakistan to accommodate all the Muslims of India, a task beyond her territorial capability. On the other hand, it will not be possible for the Hindus to stay especially in West Pakistan. They will be thrown out or leave on their own. This will have its repercussions in India and the Indian Muslims will have three options before them:

1. They become victims of loot and brutalities and migrate to Pakistan; but how many Muslims can find shelter there?
2. They become subject to murder and other excesses. A substantial number of Muslims will pass through this ordeal until the bitter memories of partition are forgotten and the generation that had lived through it completes its natural term.
3. A good number of Muslims, haunted by poverty, political wilderness and regional depredation decide to renounce Islam.

The prominent Muslims who are supporters of Muslim League will leave for Pakistan. The wealthy Muslims will take over the industry and business and monopolise the economy of Pakistan. But more than 30 million Muslims will be left behind in India. What promise Pakistan holds for them? The situation that will arise after the expulsion of Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan will be still more dangerous for them. Pakistan itself will be afflicted by many serious problems. The greatest danger will come from international powers who will seek to control the new country, and with the passage of time this control will become tight. India will have no problem with this outside interference as it will sense danger and hostility from Pakistan.

The other important point that has escaped Mr Jinnah’s attention is Bengal. He does not know that Bengal disdains outside leadership and rejects it sooner or later. During World War II, Mr Fazlul Haq revolted against Jinnah and was thrown out of the Muslim League. Mr H.S. Suhrawardy does not hold Jinnah in high esteem. Why only Muslim League, look at the history of Congress. The revolt of Subhas Chandra Bose is known to all. Gandhiji was not happy with the presidentship of Bose and turned the tide against him by going on a fast unto death at Rajkot. Subhas Bose rose against Gandhiji and disassociated himself from the Congress. The environment of Bengal is such that it disfavours leadership from outside and rises in revolt when it senses danger to its rights and interests.

The confidence of East Pakistan will not erode as long as Jinnah and Liaquat Ali are alive. But after them any small incident will create resentment and disaffection. I feel that it will not be possible for East Pakistan to stay with West Pakistan for any considerable period of time. There is nothing common between the two regions except that they call themselves Muslims. But the fact of being Muslim has never created durable political unity anywhere in the world. The Arab world is before us; they subscribe to a common religion, a common civilisation and culture and speak a common language. In fact they acknowledge even territorial unity. But there is no political unity among them. Their systems of government are different and they are often engaged in mutual recrimination and hostility. On the other hand, the language, customs and way of life of East Pakistan are totally different from West Pakistan. The moment the creative warmth of Pakistan cools down, the contradictions will emerge and will acquire assertive overtones. These will be fuelled by the clash of interests of international powers and consequently both wings will separate. After the separation of East Pakistan, whenever it happens, West Pakistan will become the battleground of regional contradictions and disputes. The assertion of sub-national identities of Punjab, Sind, Frontier and Balochistan will open the doors for outside interference. It will not be long before the international powers use the diverse elements of Pakistani political leadership to break the country on the lines of Balkan and Arab states. Maybe at that stage we will ask ourselves, what have we gained and what have we lost.

The real issue is economic development and progress, it certainly is not religion. Muslim business leaders have doubts about their own ability and competitive spirit. They are so used to official patronage and favours that they fear new freedom and liberty. They advocate the two-nation theory to conceal their fears and want to have a Muslim state where they have the monopoly to control the economy without any competition from competent rivals. It will be interesting to watch how long they can keep this deception alive.

I feel that right from its inception, Pakistan will face some very serious problems:
1. The incompetent political leadership will pave the way for military dictatorship as it has happened in many Muslim countries.
2. The heavy burden of foreign debt.
3. Absence of friendly relationship with neighbours and the possibility of armed conflict.
4. Internal unrest and regional conflicts.
5. The loot of national wealth by the neo-rich and industrialists of Pakistan.
6. The apprehension of class war as a result of exploitation by the neo-rich.
7. The dissatisfaction and alienation of the youth from religion and the collapse of the theory of Pakistan.
8. The conspiracies of the international powers to control Pakistan.
In this situation, the stability of Pakistan will be under strain and the Muslim countries will be in no position to provide any worthwhile help. The assistance from other sources will not come without strings and it will force both ideological and territorial compromises.

Q: But 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.

A: 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.

Q: It is clear that Muslims are not going to turn away from their demand for Pakistan. Why have they become so impervious to all reason and logic of arguments?

A: It is difficult, rather impossible, to fight against the misplaced enthusiasm of a mob, but to suppress one’s conscience is worse than death. Today the Muslims are not walking, they are flowing. The problem is that Muslims have not learnt to walk steady; they either run or flow with the tide. When a group of people lose confidence and self-respect, they are surrounded by imaginary doubts and dangers and fail to make a distinction between the right and the wrong. The true meaning of life is realised not through numerical strength but through firm faith and righteous action. British politics has sown many seeds of fear and distrust in the mental field of Muslims. Now they are in a frightful state, bemoaning the departure of the British and demanding partition before the foreign masters leave. Do they believe that partition will avert all the dangers to their lives and bodies? If these dangers are real then they will still haunt their borders and any armed conflict will result in much greater loss of lives and possessions.

Q: But Hindus and Muslims are two different nations with different and disparate inclinations. How can the unity between the two be achieved?

A: This is an obsolete debate. I have seen the correspondence between Allama Iqbal and Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni on the subject. In the Quran the term qaum has been used not only for the community of believers but has also been used for distinct human groupings generally. What do we wish to achieve by raising this debate about the etymological scope of terms like millat [community], qaum [nation] and ummat [group]? In religious terms India is home to many people — the Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Sikhs etc. The differences between Hindu religion and Islam are vast in scope. But these differences cannot be allowed to become an obstacle in the path of India gaining her freedom nor do the two distinct and different systems of faith negate the idea of unity of India. The issue is of our national independence and how we can secure it. Freedom is a blessing and is the right of every human being. It cannot be divided on the basis of religion.

Muslims must realise that they are bearers of a universal message. They are not a racial or regional grouping in whose territory others cannot enter. Strictly speaking, Muslims in India are not one community; they are divided among many well-entrenched sects. You can unite them by arousing their anti-Hindu sentiment but you cannot unite them in the name of Islam. To them Islam means undiluted loyalty to their own sect. Apart from Wahabi, Sunni and Shia there are innumerable groups who owe allegiance to different saints and divines. Small issues like raising hands during the prayer and saying Amen loudly have created disputes that defy solution. The Ulema have used the instrument of takfeer [fatwas declaring someone as infidel] liberally. Earlier, they used to take Islam to the disbelievers; now they take away Islam from the believers. Islamic history is full of instances of how good and pious Muslims were branded kafirs. Prophets alone had the capability to cope with these mindboggling situations. Even they had to pass through times of afflictions and trials. The fact is that when reason and intelligence are abandoned and attitudes become fossilised then the job of the reformer becomes very difficult.

But today the situation is worse than ever. Muslims have become firm in their communalism; they prefer politics to religion and follow their worldly ambitions as commands of religion. History bears testimony to the fact that in every age we ridiculed those who pursued the good with consistency, snuffed out the brilliant examples of sacrifice and tore the flags of selfless service. Who are we, the ordinary mortals; even high ranking Prophets were not spared by these custodians of traditions and customs.

Q: You closed down your journal Al-Hilal a long time back. Was it due to your disappointment with the Muslims who were wallowing in intellectual desolation, or did you feel like proclaiming azan [call to prayer] in a barren desert?

A: I abandoned Al-Hilal not because I had lost faith in its truth. This journal created great awareness among a large section of Muslims. They renewed their faith in Islam, in human freedom and in consistent pursuit of righteous goals. In fact my own life was greatly enriched by this experience and I felt like those who had the privilege of learning under the companionship of the Messenger of God. My own voice entranced me and under its impact I burnt out like a phoenix. Al-Hilal had served its purpose and a new age was dawning. Based on my experiences, I made a reappraisal of the situation and decided to devote all my time and energy for the attainment of our national freedom. I was firm in my belief that freedom of Asia and Africa largely depends on India’s freedom and Hindu Muslim unity is key to India’s freedom. Even before the First World War, I had realised that India was destined to attain freedom, and no power on earth would be able to deny it. I was also clear in my mind about the role of Muslims. I ardently wished that Muslims would learn to walk together with their countrymen and not give an opportunity to history to say that when Indians were fighting for their independence, Muslims were looking on as spectators. Let nobody say that instead of fighting the waves they were standing on the banks and showing mirth on the drowning of boats carrying the freedom fighters


47 responses to “Maulana Azad and Partition”

  1. This interview is an extraordinarily interesting find.
    It throws a completely new light on Azad, a fascinating character.
    It shows that he had no respect for Hinduism, even despised Akbar for not being Muslim enough.
    It shows that he was keen to spead Islam among the Hindus – not a fact about him known in India.
    But it also shows astonishing political foresight about the unfolding of Pakistan’s history. He even foresaw the expulsion of Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan !

  2. Here is a rebuttal to the interview by YLH, Co editor of PTH. Though YLH has lost his temper while using foul words about a Agha Shourish, but still his critique is worth read…..an objective and brilliant effort
    http://pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/the-man-who-forged-an-interview-shorish-kashmiris-maulana-azad-hoax/
    Now let us see the obvious gaping holes in this so called interview:

    1. First of all the interview finds no mention in any of the official works on Azad. It is only found in Agha Shorish Kashmiri’s book on Abul Kalam Azad which was financed and published by Kashmiri himself.

    2. Azad says “H S Suhrawardy does not hold Jinnah in esteem”. Jinnah’s relationship with Suhrawardy soured in late 1947 but in April 1946 there were no such signs. Till 1947, Suhrawardy was tipped to be Pakistan’s firs t Prime Minister. Infact in his book “India Wins Freedom” Azad hints that Jinnah sidelined Nazimuddin because Nazimuddin was not the loyalist others (presumably Suhrawardy) were.

    3. Azad is quoted as saying that “East Pakistan’s confidence will not erode as long as Jinnah and Liaqat Ali Khan are alive”. This is a rather odd statement on three counts. One in April 1946 no one used the term “East Pakistan”, secondly Liaqat Ali Khan just did not enjoy the kind of importance that is being attached to him and third that while Jinnah was ageing and was expected to die sooner or later, Liaqat Ali Khan was relatively young, and certainly younger than Azad. This sounds eerily similar to something our established Pakistan Studies’ books would say about Quaid-e-Azam and Quaid-e-Millat.

    4. Azad is shown to speak about the “assertion of the subnational identities of Punjab, Sindh, Frontier and – please note- Balochistan”. There was no Balochistan issue till the annexation of Kalat. Balochistan did not exist as a proper province, let alone register as a possible hotbed in April 1946. All of Baloch grievances revolve around the purported events of March 1948 and the annexation in 1956. There is no way Azad could have spoken about Balochistan in April 1946.

    5. Then Azad is quoted as saying “incompetent leadership will pave way for military dictatorship as has happened in many Muslim countries”. Till April 1946, there were no known coups in Muslim countries. Perhaps Azad was referring to Turkey but then Turkey was not a military dictatorship as Ataturk had retired from the military and was the elected – though autocratic – president of Turkey. His prime ministers, Ismet Inonu and Celal Bayer, had followed suit.

    6. Azad then looks into his crystal ball and speaks of “heavy burden of foreign debt”. Foreign debt was an unknown and unlikely creature in Pakistan till the 1960s when Pakistan financed the building of a new capital. In April 1946, there were no apprehensions of foreign debt. Pakistan no doubt asked for military aid from the US soon after independence but that was hardly debt. Unless ofcourse Azad knew that the Congress planned on withholding Pakistan’s share of the treasury- another unlikely proposition since in April 1946 it wasn’t even clear that there would be a partition (except maybe in the note sent from V P Menon to George Abell on January 23rd 1946 which demarcated Pakistan exactly and precisely).

    7. Azad is lavish in his praise of Jinnah as the best ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity, something he misses out completely in his book “India Wins Freedom”. Other than this purported interview Azad has never acknowledged Jinnah’s contributions to the Congress. It was just not Azad’s style. The description itself seems to follow the passages on Jinnah by Dr. B R Ambedkar’s “Pakistan or Partition of India”. Granted that this book was in circulation at the time but my bet will be that it was Kashmiri and not Azad who read it.

    8. Azad then goes on to say “In the battle of Jamal, Qurans were displayed on the lances”. How strange and ironic that a learned Islamic scholar and authority would make such a major error? It was Jang-e-Sifin – between Muawiyah and Ali- where the Qurans were displayed on the lances. I for one cannot believe that Maulana Azad would say something like that given that this was his bread and butter. Had this been suggested about Jinnah or even Nehru or Iqbal it would have been believable but certainly not Azad.

  3. This is an excellent writer, scholarly written and nicely debated. This may not be interview of maulana Azad, but carry the weight. We the Pakistani need to reform else we will certainly meet the fate predicted by author. Pakistan making was correct but it is hijacked by ruling elites including mullahs and dictators. We are trapped in quagmires. We once again need to liberate this country and redefine its course

  4. This is an excellent article, scholarly written and nicely debated. This may not be interview of maulana Azad, but carry the weight. We the Pakistani need to reform else we will certainly meet the fate predicted by author. Pakistan making was correct but it is hijacked by elites including mullahs and dictators. We are trapped in quagmires. We once again need to liberate this country and redefine its course

  5. As a Hindu I read all this and only feel: we Hindus had a VERY narrow escape in 1947. Jinnah saved us.

    Imagine if the Pakistan deal had not gone through and we were stuck with the Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims – nearly 500 million Musims in all ……India would have been a bedlam and the Hindu-Muslim battles so daily and unceasing that life would have been unbearable.

    Azad doesn’t matter and should be ignored.

    The one who matters is Jinnah, because out of an impossible situation he forced through some sort of deal which gave both Hindus AND Muslims a future.

    Admittedly the cost was very great, and I regret the heavy loss of life in the Partition riots as much as anyone. But without a Partition, the chaos and communal battles would have destroyed India.

    As for Nehru’s reasons for accepting Patition, they are crystal clear. Nehru, often an indecisive man, was at his very best in this cruial time for the fate of India. He and Patel took a very hard decision and saved the country from complete collapse. Here is what Nehru told his biographer Michael Brecher in about 1960:

    “”Well, I suppose it was the compulsion of events and the feeling that we couldn’t get out of the deadlock by pursuing the way we had done….the feeling that even if we got freedom for india, with that background [i.e. under the Cabinet Mission scheme], it would be a very weak India, that is, a federal India with far too much power in the federating units. A larger India would have constant disintegrating pulls. ….and so we accepted [Partition] and said, let us build up a strong India. And if others do not want to be in it, well, how can we and why should we force them to be in it?”

    All those who say Jinnah was just bluffing with his Pakistan demand and did not really want Partition have to be asked: Do you seriously think the rest of India has nothing better to do with its time than to play bluffing games with Jinnah?

    How many more bluffs were there going to be?

    Nehru needed a strong central government to integrate India and enable it to survive. Jinnh would accept only a central state weakened to the extreme. That was asking for civil war and chaos.

    We can now say: Well done, Panditji! You let two-thirds of the turbulent Muslims go to their two widely separated pieces of land, and saved most of the good parts of India for the rest of us, in one piece.

    Jinnah was beaten hands down in the poker match by clever Panditji.

  6. Dear Khawer

    You must not presume I lack affection for the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent – inlcuding Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    They are wonderful people, I find, individually: warm-hearted and smiling. I admire their religion a lot more than they generally respect mine: I think Islamic architecture is superb, and I readily admit Muslim life has its tremendous satisfactions for the believers.

    But in a way THAT is the whole trouble.

    Muslims love their way of life so deeply – with excellent reason – that they seem to find it hard to live and let live with others like the miserable Hindus on equal terms.

    Hindu life has all sorts of problems, and I am no enthusiastic admirer of it, on the whole. But it is my heritage, and I would like it to survive.

    Please re-read what I wrote above. Do you honestly think Hindus and Muslims would have lived on tolerable terms in a united Independent India? With a weak central government? With Hindus and Muslims ranged against each other in the legislature and army? Hardly.

    So I say: let Muslims live their life in their own country, the life of Islam with all its wonders, and let the shabby Hindus live their lives in a separate state – pursuing Hinduism for what it is worth.

    That’s not cynicism. It’s common sense.

  7. Jinnah once told a Hindu audience: You are told I am the enemy of Hindus. But one day even Hindus will have to admit I was your best friend.

    I am paraphrasing Jinnah. I think it was in the early 1940s. But the sense of his words was like that. He was certainly proved right.

  8. Ganpat Ram :
    Jinnah once told a Hindu audience: You are told I am the enemy of Hindus. But one day even Hindus will have to admit I was your best friend.
    I am paraphrasing Jinnah. I think it was in the early 1940s. But the sense of his words was like that. He was certainly proved right.

    Reference????

  9. AAMIR:

    I came across the quotation during the hooh-hah about the Jaswant Singh book praising Jinnah. I should have noted it down but didn’t. I vaguely remember the occasion as a speech by Jinnah to Benares Hindu University. I my be completely wrong.

    That’s the best I can do, I’m afraid. I did a google search which came up with nothing.

    In any case, don’t you admit he could have said it with good reason? Girilal Jain (not all of whose views I endorse) called Jinnah “The greatest benefactor of Hindus in modern times, if not a Hindu in disguise.” This is in his book “The Hindu Phenomenon”.

    Jinnah did have Hindu connections: his grandfather was a convert to Kohajism from Hinduism.

    By the way: how do Pakistani Muslims feel about their Hindu past? Is there any pride in it?

  10. Ganpat Ram :
    AAMIR:
    I came across the quotation during the hooh-hah about the Jaswant Singh book praising Jinnah. I should have noted it down but didn’t. I vaguely remember the occasion as a speech by Jinnah to Benares Hindu University. I my be completely wrong.
    That’s the best I can do, I’m afraid. I did a google search which came up with nothing.
    In any case, don’t you admit he could have said it with good reason? Girilal Jain (not all of whose views I endorse) called Jinnah “The greatest benefactor of Hindus in modern times, if not a Hindu in disguise.” This is in his book “The Hindu Phenomenon”.
    Jinnah did have Hindu connections: his grandfather was a convert to Kohajism from Hinduism.
    By the way: how do Pakistani Muslims feel about their Hindu past? Is there any pride in it?

    I would still ask for the Reference for you statement ” Ganpat Ram :
    Jinnah once told a Hindu audience: You are told I am the enemy of Hindus. But one day even Hindus will have to admit I was your best friend. I am paraphrasing Jinnah. I think it was in the early 1940s. But the sense of his words was like that. He was certainly proved right.”

  11. AAMIR:

    I’ll keep trying to find it. What Jinnah may have said is something like: Pakistan is in the best interests of the Hindus. Which seems to me incredibly true.

    You seem to be a great chap for finding sources on Pakistani history. Have you any idea about such a remark by Jinnah?

  12. Ganpat Ram :
    AAMIR:
    I’ll keep trying to find it. What Jinnah may have said is something like: Pakistan is in the best interests of the Hindus. Which seems to me incredibly true.
    You seem to be a great chap for finding sources on Pakistani history. Have you any idea about such a remark by Jinnah? By the way: how do Pakistani Muslims feel about their Hindu past? Is there any pride in it?

    Dear Mr Ram,

    As a Human Being every Muslim should respect Hindu Community,their Religion and Culture. Regarding mine and my ancestor’s past was not Hindu but Pagan:) Mongols were Pagan and outsiders but after embracing Islam Mughals invaded India and married lot of Hindu Ladies [Reference: The Mughal Throne by Abraham Eraly – published in India]

  13. AAMIR:

    I was asking about the great majority of Pakistanis who are undoubtedly the descendants of converts from Hinduism or Buddhism.

    In any case, even the Mughals did intermary with Hindus and were therefore partially Hindu at least racially. I have read in Eraly’s book that Akbar and Jehangir not only allowed their Hindu wives to practice Hindu worship in the Mughal court but even joined them and celebrated Hindu festivals.

  14. Ganpat Ram :
    AAMIR:
    I was asking about the great majority of Pakistanis who are undoubtedly the descendants of converts from Hinduism or Buddhism.
    In any case, even the Mughals did intermary with Hindus and were therefore partially Hindu at least racially. I have read in Eraly’s book that Akbar and Jehangir not only allowed their Hindu wives to practice Hindu worship in the Mughal court but even joined them and celebrated Hindu festivals.

    Dear Mr Ram,

    Great Pakistani Majority is like Great Indian Majority and both are worried about Bread and Butter and survival.

  15. I am not too surprised about Azad’s ultra-Islamic tendencies. He was a strange man. Nehru, who knew him well and liked him, noted his penchant archaic Islamic thinking. My guess is that he opposed Pakistan not only because of the human tragedies he thought it would bring, but simply because he realised in a united India, with only the badly divided Hindus to deal with, Muslims would be amazingly powerful. He thought Jinnah overrated the Hindus, and was throwing away a prospective Muslim-dominated India for two paltry patches of land on the margins of India.

    I put it to you that Jinnah had an amazingly powerful will but very poor poltical judgement. He imagined Gandhi and Nehru were ferocious enemies of Islam, when they were nothing of the kind. In short, Jinnah made the pitiable blunder of mistaking a cat for a tiger.

  16. ABDUL NISHAPURI:

    Thank you for your message.

    One of my most valued colleagues is a Muslim guy from Punjab, and he has helped me to an incredible extent. I am no Muslim-hater.

    Id Mubarak !!!

  17. Ganpat Ram :

    I put it to you that Jinnah had an amazingly powerful will but very poor poltical judgement. He imagined Gandhi and Nehru were ferocious enemies of Islam, when they were nothing of the kind. In short, Jinnah made the pitiable blunder of mistaking a cat for a tiger.

    Dear Mr Ram,

    Nehru and specifically Late. Mahatma Gandhi were not the enemy of Islam and you are right about Jinnah’s Political Judgement. In my humble opinion it was the Ego [size of Himalayas] of all those Political Leaders both Hindus and Muslim that resulted in a catastrophe like partition and they are all responsible for Innocent Lives Lost during the partition. They are indirectly responsible for the Losses and Barbarity during Partition.

  18. Dear Aamir:

    To pursue our dialogue, I say Jinnah was a tiger who mistook the Hindu cat for another tiger.

  19. Ganpat Ram :
    Dear Aamir:
    To pursue our dialogue, I say Jinnah was a tiger who mistook the Hindu cat for another tiger.

    I say Indians and Pakistanis should start collecting the pieces and start dialogue on every level Govt to Govt, Intellectual to Intellectual, Religious Leaders to Religious Leaders, NGO to NGO and above common people to common people [like us], and accept our past mistakes [past centuries] and move on. Poor people of both the countries who have no access to the basic facilities need peace and prosperity. There must be unification like East and West Germany.

  20. Dear Aamir:
    One very simple reason why Azad understood the Hindus in Congress better than Jinnah did was that he had worked with them all his life in that same party. Azad did not take them as seriously as Jinnah did; he did not see any great danger from them.

    If the Muslim leaders had some flexibility and sense of humour they would just have participated in the great game of Indian politics on the same terms as everybody else, and come up winners. They had much more unity than the Hindus. They would have readily found allies among large sections o Hindus. Frankly, it is the Hindus who had more to fear. Jinnah did not realise all this. He seemed to be in a hurry to quit India as if it was a burning house, when it was an easy-going society, really.

  21. Dear Aamir:

    If India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are to rejoin, their leaders must have the spirit of someone like Akbar. I am not idealising him: he was a ruthless ruler. But he tried o appreciate Hinduism, though of course a Muslim. That was the right approach.

  22. Ganpat Ram :
    Dear Aamir:
    If India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are to rejoin, their leaders must have the spirit of someone like Akbar. I am not idealising him: he was a ruthless ruler. But he tried o appreciate Hinduism, though of course a Muslim. That was the right approach.

    Dear Mr Ram,

    I don’t explain Akbar’s Sulah-e-Kul through Islam/Hindu Religion but through his practical approach. He was pragmatic and used his brains to cultivate Majority.

  23. Dear Aamir

    Precisely. We need leaders who are pragmatic. What I fnd detestable about religious fanatics is that their world is not only frightening but extremely BORING.

  24. Dear AAMIR:

    On a more realistic note, we could do with some good, tough Punjabi and Pathan troops on our border with China.

    And once India is reunited, we must on no account hear again about what terrible guys the Brahminised Hindus are. All must learn the hard lesson that being Indian counts above everything.

    I admire the Chinese for putting their country ahead of any religion they might happen to have. Chiang Kai-Shek was a Baptist, but no-one in China cared a hoot about that.

  25. We can conveniently shove [wherever it is appropriate] Two Nation Theory and Islamic Ideology and we should do this quickly.

    منموہن سعودی عرب پہنچ گئے
    آخری وقت اشاعت: اتوار 28 فروری 2010 , 09:37 GMT 14:37 PST
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/india/2010/02/100228_saudi_india_sz.shtml

    بھارت کا کہنا ہے کہ ترقی کے شعبہ میں سعودی عرب کے ساتھ کافی امکانات ہیں

    بھارت کے وزیراعظم منموہن سنگھ سعودی عرب کے تین روزہ دورہ پرگزشتہ روز ریاض پہنچے تو ان کا شاندار استقبال کیا ہے۔ سعودی عرب کی پوری کابینہ بھارتی وزیر اعظم کا استقبال کرنے کے ایئرپورٹ پر موجود تھے۔

    گزشتہ اٹھائیس برس میں کسی بھارتی وزیر اعظم کا سعودی عرب کا پہلا دورہ ہے۔اس سے قبل سنہ انیس سو بیاسی میں اس وقت کی وزیراعظم محترمہ اندرا گاندھی نے سعودی عرب کا دورہ کیا تھا۔

    سنیچر کو ریاض روانگی سے قبل ایک سعودی اخبار کو انٹرویو دیتے ہوئے منموہن سنگھ نے کہا تھا کہ پاکستان کے ساتھ بات چیت کے علاوہ کوئی دوسرا متبادل نہیں ہے۔

    ان کا کہنا تھا کہ وہ اپنے پڑوسی ملک پاکستان کے ساتھ کشمیر سمیت ہر مسئلے کو حل کرنے کے لیے دہشتگردی کے خوف کے بغیر ماحول میں بات چیت کے حق میں ہیں۔ منموہن سنگھ کے ساتھ سعودی دورہ پر ان کی کابینہ کے چار وزراء بھی گئے ہیں۔

    اس دوران بھارتی وزیرخارجہ برائے مملکت ششی تھرور نے ریاض میں بعض بھارتی ٹی وی چینلز سے بات چیت میں کہا ہے کہ سعودی عرب اور پاکستان کے اچھے رشتے ہیں اور وہ بھارت اور پاکستان کے درمیان تعلقات بہتر کرنے میں سعودی عرب اپنا کردار ادا کر سکتا ہے۔

    جانے سے قبل وزیراعظم منموہن سنگھ نے کہا تھا’میرا یہ دورہ اس حیثیت سے اہم ہے کہ میں سعودی عرب جانے والا تیسرا بھارتی وزیر اعظم ہوں۔‘

    مسٹر سنگھ نے کہا ’سکیورٹی، سائنس، ٹیکنالوجی، فضائی سائنس، انسانی وسائل، تجارت اور ترقی کے دوسرے شعبوں میں بھارت اور سعودی عرب کے درمیان تعاون کے بے شمار امکانات ہیں اور دونوں ایک ساتھ مل کر بہت کچھ کر سکتے ہیں۔‘

    بھارت اپنی توانائی کا بیس فیصد حصہ سعودی عرب سے حاصل کر تا ہے۔ دونوں کے درمیان تقریباً پچیس ارب ڈالر سے بھی زیادہ کی تجارت ہوتی ہے اور دونوں اسے اور بڑھانا چاہتے ہیں۔

    وزیرااعظم منموہن سنگھ کا سعودی عرب میں شاہانہ انداز میں استقبال ہوا ہے ۔

  26. Dear Aaamir;

    Regrettably, I do not know how to read Urdu. I would be grateful if you would give a brief idea of what is stated above.

    Thanks !

  27. Dear Khawer Khan:
    Just remember the history of this. No-one on the Congress side wanted to “get rid” of the Muslims. It was the Muslims who supported the idea of Pakistan with great fervour, and kept saying they wanted to quit India.

    All Nehru finally decided was, if they so much want to get out of India, and refused to accept the idea of a strong Indian state, they would be better off being allowed to have their own state.

    These are the historical facts. If Muslims keep telling Hindus they don’t want to associate with them, ridicule everything Hindu in the most contemptuous style (Jinnah regularly dismissed Gandhi as “a haggling Bania”) , then eventually Hindus conclude we two communities are better off separate.

    What is so strange about such a conclusion?

    If Muslims do want to re-unite, my guess is that many Hindus would accept, provided the old contempt for Hindus is renounced once and for all.

  28. The other side of tragedy —by Anum Raza Hasan

    Humanity amidst Insanity: Hope During and After the Indo-Pak Partition By Tridivesh Singh Maini, Tahir Malik and Ali Farooq Malik
    UBSPD; Pp 186

    Every crisis poses an opportunity to seek some lesson, some space to persuade reflection. From tragedy can come wisdom that might open minds, that might save lives. This book epitomises the hope and progressive foresight in daring to look at the other side of tragedy.

    The reality of the 1947 partition of the subcontinent was almost 2 million people dead and 15 million displaced. The consequences led to three wars, mindless confrontation, billions of dollars spent on the military and millions of people reeling in poverty. South Asia, which could well provide world leadership in the understanding of different faiths and bring harmony between them, has actually still not fully recovered from the trauma of 1947. The authors however realise the first step is to confront the human stories of that summer and then to attempt to heal the wounds. The future of the planet they say depends on dialogue and understanding, which renders this book a welcome initiative in the right direction.

    Humanity amidst Insanity is a novel approach by an Indian and two Pakistani journalists to bring the human and positive episodes of the 1947 partition holocaust to the reader. It compiles a series of interviews of the survivors of Indo-Pak partition who owe their survival to the other community. The authors suggest that the partition of India showed us some of the worst sides of humanity but even in those dark days, the human spirit of compassion remained resilient. Simplistic in tone and language, this read brings home a forgotten or perhaps an underestimated lesson that humanity prevails no matter what the condition.

    The book poses two significant questions eventually addressed through interviews and supporting literature, asking what were the types of intercommunity bonds that existed pre-partition and were there social barriers between communities that should have been checked in time? And what was the nature of pre-partition camaraderie in villages and towns? It is suggested that if one were to look at the overall organisation of pre-partition societies, there was cohesion generated by ‘tribe’ or biradari, rural commonalities, linkages and economic interests. The anthropological paradigm of ‘ethnic bonding’ between some Punjabi castes like the Jats on both sides of the border and the common ‘Punjabi ethos’ show a complete neutralisation of the Muslim-Hindu divide during partition, with faith and nationalistic fervour taking precedence. In the pre-partition milieu, religious identity in rural settings was overshadowed by bonding between similar tribe or caste or occupation or geography.

    Another perspective highlighted is the notion of honour (izzat), which was of paramount importance for individuals of all participating communities. Many individuals saved people from other communities as a manifestation of honour, whether while doing their duty or in a personal capacity notwithstanding religion, caste and creed. The concept of ‘watan’ or paidaish or place of birth proved to be equally important for analysing the quandary of the generation surviving the trauma of partition. The positive, it is suggested, continues to reflect when establishments acknowledge the significance of watan or paidaish place when it comes to politicians. It has been aptly said: “Every bird loves to fly back to its nest and so do we, human beings. We are passionately attached to our roots, the pull of these roots beckons us to our ancestors” (pg, 39).

    Holocaust scholar Marianne Hirsch’s ‘concept of postmemory’ is cited to prove significant, as some of those who were interviewed were not actual witnesses to the happenings during partition but had been fed on stories related to it. The authors do acknowledge the shortcomings of oral history such as inherent biases of the individual interviewed. However, despite the limitations, the authors believe oral narrative offers a different way of looking at history, a different perspective and insider snippets. For instance, Brigadier SS Chowdhary, a retired army officer from the Assam Regiment now living in Chandigarh, recollects his concern while fighting the wars of 1965 and 1971: he was keen to know whether any of his previous colleagues were on the other side. In spite of the fact that India and Pakistan were so hostile to each other, there was this curiosity in his mind that he might be fighting against his old friends. Fahmida Bano from Lahore reminisces how her husband took care of their Sikh friend’s daughters from Amritsar and brought them to Lahore to stay with them for months till the partition quagmire settled down and eventually took them back to India.

    The authors in the final chapter proficiently recommend a greater concentration of literature, movies and media coverage on the positive episodes of partition. There remains a need to acknowledge that in such an environment of barbarism there were people who helped and protected the followers of other religions. It is of paramount importance to glean these riveting episodes as the generation of partition survivors fades into oblivion (pg, 165). Hence survivors like them should be treated as a valuable storehouse of information and their experiences should be documented properly. They propose recommendations such as building a memorial-cum-museum at the Wagah border, commemorating the victims of partition with the names of individuals who rescued individuals from other communities, more objective history textbooks, and easier visa access/free visa travel for people over the age of 65.

    Unfortunately, one only reminisces about the hate, revenge and ego clashes of 1947, but it is time to draw lessons from previous attitudes driven by ignorance and manipulations of sheer power politics to ensure that those mistakes are not committed again. This book offers enlightenment on just that kind of progressive literature that India and Pakistan need for enhanced understanding to draw on a common history and moreover a common spirit of humanity.

    Anum Raza Hasan is a freelance journalist. She can be reached at anum.rhasan@gmail.com

    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\03\11\story_11-3-2010_pg3_6

  29. Nothing historical about this interview. The interview was a fabrication invented by Agha Shorish Kashmiri – the pro-Congress Ahrari (and also anti-Ahmaddiya fanatic).

    I am sorry to see a blog committed to PPP forwarding garbage like this.

  30. @YLH Sorry to learn that the interview is a fabricated one. Perhaps Khawer Khan can offer some comments as he posted this article, please?

  31. I trust YLH on these issues. If he saying this is fake, I believe it is fake.

    Should we delete it?

  32. I suggest we leave the post as it is.

    We may however append a note right at the front of the article stating that the article is considered to be fake, hence readers are advised to post no further comments on a fake article.

    Khawer, can you add that bit please? Thanks.

  33. We may however append a note right at the front of the article stating that “the article is considered to be fake, hence readers are advised to post no further comments on a fake article”.