The Two Nation Theory Since Independence

The Two Nation Theory Since Independence
The Two-Nation Theory was a significant political concept that emerged in the early 20th century in the Indian subcontinent, which proposed that Hindus and Muslims were two distinct nations and could not live together in a single state. This theory became a driving force behind the demand for a separate Muslim homeland, leading to the creation of Pakistan in 1947. However, the idea of the Two-Nation Theory and the creation of Pakistan faced significant challenges and had a profound impact on the region, including conflicts between India and Pakistan, the displacement of millions of people, and the emergence of new political and social dynamics in South Asia.

The British gained control of the Indian subcontinent from the Mughal Empire and suppressed both Hindu and Muslim populations. While Hindus and Muslims of the Subcontinent struggled to gain independence from British rule, some believed that if the British left India, Hindus would oppress Muslims as they would be in the minority. The Muslim League felt threatened because they had no government in any region, regardless of whether it was a Hindu or Muslim majority area. The British viewed the Muslim League as the only true representative of the Muslim community, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, but this was not an accurate portrayal. The idea of a separate Muslim state gained traction with the passage of the Pakistan Resolution by the All-India Muslim League in 1940, but the basic ideology of Pakistan as a product of the Two-Nation Theory began earlier with Sir Syed Ahmed's speech in Gurdaspur promoting unity between Hindus and Muslims.

In 1884, Sir Syed clarified this point in his speech by stating, “Remember that the words Hindu and Muhammadans are meant for religious distinction, otherwise all who reside in this country belong to the same nation in this particular respect. There are different grounds upon which I call both their races which inhabit India by the word 'Hindu', that is to say, that they are inhabitants of Hindustan."

The regions of Sindh, Punjab, NWFP and Balochistan were already predominantly Muslim before the creation of Pakistan, and the Muslim leaders of these regions were already watching the rights of their people before the formation of Pakistan. While it is true that these regions had a significant Muslim population before the creation of Pakistan, the idea of a separate Muslim state was not just about religious identity, but also about the demand for political autonomy and representation. The creation of Pakistan was a major political and social change, as it led to the partition of India and the formation of a new country with its own constitution, government, and legal system.

The new country faced many challenges, including the resettlement of millions of refugees, the establishment of a new government and legal system, and the integration of diverse ethnic and linguistic groups. These challenges continue to shape Pakistan's political and social landscape to this day. The mass migration of millions of people across the newly drawn borders of India and Pakistan was a traumatic and violent process that resulted in the loss of countless lives, homes, and livelihoods. The refugees who did migrate to Pakistan faced many challenges in terms of resettlement and integration into a new society.

The 50 million Muslims left behind in India after the 1947 Partition suffered greatly at the hands of Hindus and Sikhs. They had already been suffering due to the Muslim League's political agenda of religious conflict, and were left behind to suffer further. These people did whatever the Muslim League wanted in their struggle for the preservation of the Muslim community. They gave more blood for the freedom of Pakistan than the people of regions like KP, Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan.

It is also worth noting that the promise of a utopian new state in Pakistan was not fulfilled for many refugees, and the reality of life in the new country was often difficult and challenging. Despite these challenges, many refugees and their descendants have made significant contributions to Pakistan's social, economic and cultural development, the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan did give Muslims in the region a separate homeland, and the establishment of Pakistan as an Islamic state was indeed a goal of its founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah (often referred to as Quaid-e-Azam). It's true that Muhammad Ali Jinnah had initially pushed for the establishment of a Muslim state based on Islamic principles, but after the creation of Pakistan, he also advocated for a modern, secular state.

Consider the selection of Jogendra Nath Mandal as the first Law Minister of Pakistan. It is true that he was a non-Muslim and a member of the Hindu community. His appointment was intended to demonstrate Pakistan's commitment to religious tolerance and inclusivity, and to reassure minority communities that they would have a voice in the new state. However, Mandal resigned from his position in 1950 and later left Pakistan due to disillusionment with the government's policies towards minority communities.

Regarding the constitution of Pakistan, it was indeed drafted by a Constituent Assembly that included both Muslim and non-Muslim members. The resulting constitution, which was adopted in 1956, declared Pakistan to be an Islamic Republic and before the partition of India, there were advocates on both sides who argued that Hindus and Muslims were separate nations with distinct cultural and religious identities. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was one such advocate, and his theory of two nations was influential in the development of the Muslim League's demand for a separate Muslim state.

However, after the creation of Pakistan, the leaders of the Muslim League did adopt a more inclusive rhetoric, emphasizing that all citizens of Pakistan, regardless of their religious identity, were equal and free to practice their religion.

The leader of Congress also claimed the same before partition and they wanted a united India. Religion has no role in politics and Hindus and Muslims are citizens of united India. However, the Muslim League did not accept this. In the west, there was a 30-year war between Catholics and Protestants who fought on the same topic. The Protestants demanded that religion should have no role in politics, and both should be dealt with separately. But here, until now, religion is still a dominant factor.

The citizens of any state are referred to by the name of the state, regardless of their religion, caste or creed. For example, there are different tribes in Afghanistan, but they are all referred to as Afghans. Similarly, different people live in Iran, but they are all referred to as Iranians. The same applies to Pakistan, where according to Quaid-e-Azam, all citizens are Pakistani, whether they are Muslim or not. However, why don't they apply the same political scheme while they are in India?

The Muslim League supported separate electorates, while the Congress supported joint elections before the partition because the Muslim League felt that they were separated from Hindus religiously, culturally, and socially. However, when Pakistan came into existence, the Muslim League changed its ideology and proclaimed that all citizens are equal and citizens of Pakistan.

The state has nothing to do with anyone's religion. The basic difference between Pakistan's independence compared to other countries' independence is that they fought before independence and gave their lives, sacrificing their families and property. However, in the case of Pakistan, the situation was opposite as people started giving their lives and sacrificing their families and property after getting independence.