111 510 510 libonline@riphah.edu.pk Contact

Azad on Pakistan

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was an influential Congress leader of the Independence Movement. He was a scholar, an historian, and linguist and a religious scholar. At the age of 35 he became the youngest president of the All India National Congress

On October 28, I wrote a column quoting extracts from an interview given by him to Shorish Kashmiri of ‘Chattan’, Lahore. This column is in response to requests to publish the whole interview. However, due to space constraints, it has been abridged.

The original interview was published in Urdu and was later translated into English by former Union Cabinet Minister, Arif Mohammad Khan. This English version is taken from Khan’s translation.

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 problems, then I would have extended my support to it. A section of Hindu opinion is now turning in its favour. By conceding NWFP, Sindh, 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.

…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….By the time of the decline of the Mughal rule, Muslims in India were a little over 22.5 million. 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 gone up…Under British influence we turned Islam into a…hereditary community.

The Indian Muslims have frozen Islam and its message and divided themselves into many sects…clearly born at the instance of colonial power….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. …..

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 non-Muslim lands and many ancestors of the supporters of Pakistan would not even have entered the fold of Islam?…

The impact of western thought and philosophy has made the crisis more serious. The way the leadership of the Muslim League is conducting itself will ensure that Islam will become a rare commodity in Pakistan and Muslims in India….Pakistan, when it comes into existence, will face conflicts of a 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….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.

A: Many ulema were with Akbar-e-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 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.

…If Pakistan was right for Muslims, I would have supported it. But I see clearly the dangers inherent in the demand. I do not expect people to follow me. …. 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.

…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 on any natural barrier a 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 relations between India and Pakistan…The politics of Partition will act as a barrier….Indian Muslims will have three options before them:

• They become victims of loot and brutalities and migrate to Pakistan; but how many Muslims can find shelter there?

• 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.

• A good number of Muslims, haunted by poverty, political wilderness and regional depredation, decide to renounce Islam.

Prominent Muslims who support the 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 does Pakistan hold 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.

To be continued

Email: dr.a.quadeer.khan@gmail.com

Dr. A. Q. Khan, "Azad on Pakistan," The News. 2013-12-04.
Keywords: Social sciences , Congress party , Religious issues , Muslim league , Muslims-India , Politicians , Muslims , Hindus , History , Islam , Shah Waliullah , Imam Hanbal , Maulana Abul Kalam Azad , Arif Mohammad Khan , India , Lahore , Kashmir