Monday, March 8, 2010

1940 Resolution created a nation (23rd March 1940)

Mohammad Jamil

On 23rd March 1940, leadership of All India Muslim League assembled in Manto Park Lahore and passed a resolution for creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of India. Though considered by many as a wishful thinking yet within seven years Muslims of the undivided Indian waged relentless struggle under the charismatic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Pakistan became a tangible entity. In early October 1938, the Sindh Provincial Muslim League had held a conference at Karachi, and it was on this occasion that discussion for demand for Pakistan took place, and the words ‘Muslims as separate nation’ were used. In Resolution No. 5, the Conference castigated the Congress policy of dividing and ruling the Muslims and characterized the Congress organization as fascist.

A clear concept of two-nation theory was, however, established for the first time when Muslim League passed the famous Lahore Resolution on 23rd March 1940. Some unscrupulous elements talk of four separate states but history is the witness that in 1941 through another resolution the contours and areas of two separate independent states India and Pakistan were defined and outlined. Today is, indeed, the day to rejoice as Pakistan Resolution was passed on 23rd March 1940, which was converted into reality or implemented on 14th August 1947.

On 14th August 1947, we got rid of the colonialism but due to inept policies of the government fell a prey to neo-colonialism, and had to depend on the West for our development and defence needs. The dependency syndrome was evident after 11th September 2001 events when Pakistan was coerced into altering its foreign policy. The internecine conflicts amongst political parties and lust of power of the politicians had resulted in three martial laws in 1958, 1968 and 1977, and another military dispensation in 1999. Unfortunately, the people were not treated any better during the tenures of democratic governments. The reason being, degeneration has crept in every stratum of society, but the redeeming feature is that people of Pakistan have not lost hope; their spirit is alive and kicking, and their dream lives on.

Pakistan has seen various shades of governments from democracy to Martial Law to quasi-democracy. On February 18 elections were held and on 24th March 2008 National Assembly elected the new prime minister of Pakistan. It was hoped that the ruling coalition and opposition parties would act in a manner that process of transition could be completed without ‘hiccups’. Smooth transition did take place but both the major parties reinvented their politics of 1990s. The PPP and the PML-N were at daggers drawn when COAS General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani intervened to avert a major catastrophe. Pakistan today is at the crossroads and there is a consensus that there are threats to its internal as well external security.

Our leaders should emulate Quaid-e-Azam who had united the people who were earlier divided on the basis of sects and ideologies. The Muslims of the sub-continent had reposed full confidence in him and accepted his concept and perception of the new state – Pakistan. Today, the myriad political and religious parties, intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals have variegated views and perceptions. Despite having completed more than 61 years of its existence, we still have to listen to the debate as to the purpose for which Pakistan was created.

When the Quaid was asked about the type of constitution Pakistan would have, he replied that the people’s representative would frame the constitution. In order to avert the dangers of sectarian conflicts that could have endangered the stability and security of the country, he had categorically declared: “Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state”. He had also declared that beneficiaries of Jagirs, feudal lords and exploiters were to have no place of privilege in an independent Pakistan. “If any one of you thinks that Pakistan has been created for the feudals and capitalists, I will have none of it”, he had asseverated. The problem, however, is that his speeches are being torn out of context by the vested interest. Some hold the view that Pakistan was created in the name of Islam, therefore Shariah should be enforced; whereas others hold the view that it was created to rid the Muslims of the exploitation by the brute Hindu majority. What is wrong with accepting that Pakistan was created to meet the material and spiritual needs of the Muslims of the undivided India.

As envisioned by the Quaid and explained in his speech to the constituent assembly on 11th August 1947 Pakistan was to be a modern welfare state, where a free and independent people would enjoy equal rights without discrimination on the basis of religion, sect, ethnicity or gender. One could infer that he wished to consider minorities as Pakistani citizens with equal rights and not to be treated the way Hindus had treated the Muslims. By going through the full text of speeches of the Quaid delivered on 24th April 1943 and 11th August 1947, one could find the guidelines and the parameters within which constitution of Pakistan was to be framed by the representatives of the people.

Quaid-i-Azam was a great leader, brilliant statesman and a master strategist, who fought the case for Pakistan so well that he had not only frustrated the designs of the British that wished to see the sub-continent united in one form or another till the last moment, but also made the leaders of brute Hindu majority believe that the partition had saved them from some bigger catastrophe. Pakistan has all the ingredients to make it a modern progressive state. The nature has endowed Pakistan with vast areas of land, variegated seasons suitable for various crops and fruits, rivers, large coastline and abundant natural resources. The people of Pakistan are proud inheritors of traditions of great sufis, saints and poets who fostered the message of peace and brotherhood over the centuries. But where did we go wrong? Unfortunately, Pakistan lost its Quaid and other founding fathers too soon, and conglomerate of privileged few, feudals, bureaucracy and new-rich industrialists devoid of political acumen and vision took over the state.

Political parties did not practice democracy in their parties and failed to establish democratic traditions and promote the culture of tolerance. When in power, they did not discharge their obligations to improve the lives of the teeming millions living below the poverty line. This is the reason for quite some time people had shown insouciance towards the affairs of the state, and a great majority of them stopped casting votes in the general elections. Unless this vast majority of disgruntled and disappointed citizens are inspired to take interest in national affairs and help reform the society, no change can be brought about in either state of society or in the contours of the national uplift.

Not through mechanics of coercion, nor through incentives but by instilling fresh and matter of fact feelings of the obvious in their thoughts and psyche they can be roused to march onwards. Mere existence of contradictions, discrepancies, inequities do not cause a stir in the society unless these are fed into the feelings and consciousness of the people. All flaws and hurdles in the development of a nation that exist in objectivity must enter subjectivity in order to cause movement among the people. Those at the helm should ponder over the causes of our decline, and if dispassionate appraisal is made it will not be difficult to reach the conclusion that absence of socio-economic justice, and depriving the people of their rights were the causes for Muslim countries’ decline and ignominy including Pakistan. Leaderships in Muslim countries should, therefore, use collective wisdom to extricate the Muslim Ummah from the morass it is in. So far as Pakistan is concerned, the government and the opposition parties should focus on solving the problems the people of Pakistan are confronted with, ensure socio-economic justice in the society and allow people’s participation in the affairs of the state.

Special Thx.

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