A vision of a Muslim corridor



Syed Shahbuddin

Published — Friday 21 December 2012

Last update 21 December 2012 12:36 am

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Another popular Muslim theory was propagated that Muslim concentration areas in the north, in Punjab, UP and Bihar, could form a corridor between East and West Pakistan. The theory was further extended by some to include the Hyderabad state which was ruled by the Nizam who aspired to be independent. All these were illusions. A look at the map will show that the few pockets of Muslim concentration in the north, namely, Mewat or Rohilkhand or Purnea, were far apart from each other and could hardly bridge the geographical gap between the two Pakistans and there was no reason for India to be generous enough to oblige Pakistan and make any special arrangement.
Also anyone with a sense of history should have known that the Nizam could not rule forever in the age of democracy, as his people were 90 percent non-Muslims and demanded to be a part of free India. Some misguided local Muslims, put their faith in the Nizam of Hyderabad and other Muslim princes, soon realized that the princes would all be consigned to the dustbin of history. The Nizam’s Army and the Razakars could not protect him. He finally surrendered to India and in 1957. Hyderabad was trifurcated on linguistic basis, with the three parts merged with Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
On the eve of partition, it is amazing to recall that a small section of the Muslims in India even believed that the creation of Pakistan was but a step toward another Muslim invasion and re-conquest of India! Fortunately the people who saw hope of security in Pakistan soon saw the stupidity of their own imagination. Pakistan would hardly take care of non-Punjabi refugees from UP or Bihar (except some elite and professionals); the settlement of Biharis in Karachi, in the so-called Bihar Colony, a low-lying area subject to floods, spoke for itself. The Biharis and people of UP continued to be marginalised in government service and professional education. First they were eased out of the administration. Today the Mohajireen (migrants) applying for admission to professional courses are asked to indicate where their grandparents were born! Not surprising, many qualified Mohajireen have emigrated from Pakistan to the US and the Gulf.
In his negotiations with the Congress leadership or the British Government, Jinnah used the terms “Muslim India” and “homeland for the Muslims of India,” particularly after the Resolution adopted by the Muslim League National Council at its last meeting held in Delhi in 1946 which gave final touches to the Pakistan Resolution. Since 1940 Jinnah had not only spoken of Muslims as distinct from Hindus and other non-Muslims living in the subcontinent, but he had deliberately ignored the wide variation of language, culture and race as well as social organization and economic status among Muslims living in various parts of the subcontinent. He loudly proclaimed the concept of Muslim India but no one asked him to define the term Muslim India and the concept of “Muslim homeland” and clarify whether it meant only the Muslims living in the majority provinces or included also those who lived in the minority provinces for record. In some statements after Pakistan was born, Jinnah went on to describe Muslims in India as “our minorities.”
In his negotiations with the Cabinet Mission, Jinnah rather brutally propounded the hostage theory but it collapsed when Punjab and Bengal were partitioned and West Punjab and East Bengal drained of the Hindus and the Sikhs. But Jinnah was too much of a jurist to envisage publicly that the Muslims who would continue to live in India on partition shall be in any legal sense Pakistani citizens residing in India, with as much right to citizenship of Pakistan as the Pakistanis living and born there. Realistically Jinnah, even though he acknowledged the contribution of Muslim Indians to the making of Pakistan, never offered to open the doors of Pakistan, except to the selected protagonists of the Pakistan Movement. He was no Muslim “Zionis”’ who would accept the inherent right of any Muslim, anywhere in the subcontinent, to migrate to Pakistan.
Some businessmen, particularly in Bombay and Calcutta, like the Memons, Bohras, Ismailis and Iranians, saw a promising field in Pakistan for business, free of competition from the Birlas and Dalmias. Many of them migrated to Pakistan and in collaboration with the local capital set up enterprises in both wings. They thought they would reap a bumper harvest because of their initiative and experience but soon they were overtaken by the Punjabi elite on one side and Bengali nationalists on the other. Some propertied classes had also migrated to Pakistan in the hope of getting a share of the vast properties left behind by the Hindu emigrants, in Lahore, Karachi and other cities.
Some Urdu poets and writers thought of a glorious future in a state which was created in the name of Urdu. These included Baba-e-Urdu Moulvi Abdul Haque, and the great revolutionary poet, Josh Malihabadi.
Many civil servants and army officers, expecting rapid promotion in Pakistan to fill the vacuum, opted for Pakistan (but there were a few exceptions like Azim Hussain, ICS, and Major General Habibullah). They indeed went quickly up the ladder. For example, Ayub Khan, a colonel in 1947, would not have become a general in united India nor Ghulam Mohammad, Choudhary Mohammad Ali and Iskandar Mirza reach the summit which they could not even visualize.
Even some theologians migrated. Some of them thought of playing a big role in the politics of Pakistan which was propagated as the biggest Muslim state committed to Islam. These included great scholars like Abul Ala Maudoodi and Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani. Some returned, some emigrant ulema established madarsas on the model of Deoband. These madarsas later, with US help and support of the Pakistan Army, produced the Taliban to take over Afghanistan and now threaten Pakistan itself.
In a global sense, Jinnah was totally out of touch with reality. This became evident after the birth of Pakistan. By virtue of numbers Pakistan aspired to lead the Muslim world which included Muslim minorities in India and elsewhere. This pretension by the Pakistan leadership was rejected forthrightly and out of hand by all important Muslim countries including Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It was clear, and has been so for centuries, that Muslims who live across international borders do not constitute one nation in the political sense. The nation-state system depends on well-defined territory and borders.
The net achievement of the Pakistan Movement was nothing more than to carve out of the subcontinent a territorial state with a Muslim majority. International law debunks and contradicts the so-called “ideology” of Pakistan. Its ideological foundations were so weak that Maulana Abul Kalam Azad predicted its break-up between east and west within 25 years of its formation.

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