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Social Forces and Ideology in the Making of Pakistan Author(s): Hamza Alavi Source: Economic and Political Weekly,

Vol. 37, No. 51 (Dec. 21-27, 2002), pp. 5119-5124 Published by: Economic and Political Weekly Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4412987 . Accessed: 22/03/2011 00:35
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Forces and Making of

Ideology Pakistan



Religious parties were implacably hostile to the Pakistan Movement. When, inaugurating Pakistan's constituent assembly, Jinnah proclaimed Pakistan's secular ideology he was voicing the established secular ideological position that the Muslim League had adhered to throughoutits career. Futndanmentalist Islamic ideology played no part in the origins of Pakistan, although contemporaryideologues of Islamic fundamtentalism, including academics, claim that it was Islamic ideology and slogans that created Pakistan and that they therefore have the right to decide its future.

of you will recallMohammad 'any Ali Jinnah's well known speech that he gave when inaugurating Pakistan's new constituent assembly. In that speech he spelt out the secular vision for the new country, which had inspired him and others through the many decades of struggle. He said: You may belong to any religion or caste or creed. That has nothing to do with the business of the state. ... We are starting withthisfundamental principlethatwe are all citizens and equal citizens of the state. ...We should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in the course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense, as citizens of the state. It was not until 1952 that Jinnah's unworthy successors turned away from that secular ideal and began to exploit the worn out rhetoric of religion to restore their failing political fortunes. They cried out that 'Islam was in danger'! Coming from them, that was an insincere, bogus and empty slogan, when they had nothing positive to offer to the people. Our tottering leadership believing mistakenly that the slogan of Islam would be sufficient to silence any opposition, resorted to that stratagem. At first they had not yet gone beyond paying lip-service to the name of Islam. In March 1949, the constituent assembly adoptedthe 'Objectives Resolution' which included a clause which said that: 'Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives, in the individualandthe collective spheres, in accord with the teachings and requireM a Economic and Political Weekly

mentsof Islamas setoutin theHolyQuran as andthe Sunna.'Thatwas not intended, of Islamicideology. yet,to signaladoption That was madequite clear in the speech of LiaquatAli Khanwhen he movedthe objectivesresolution.This was no more than a formal nod in the direction of without restrictrhetoric, actually religious ing the constitutionin any way. When Liaquat movingthe objectivesresolution explicitly ruledout mullahideology. He said: 'Sir, I just now said thatthe people are the real recipients of power. This, naturally,eliminatesany danger of the of a theocracy'.That was establishment followed, in September1950 by the Inof theBasicPrinciples terimReport Committee (BPC) which too said little about GWChoudhury, Islamic ideology.Indeed, who was a committedIslamist,said that it contained'verylittleif anyprovision as to the Islamiccharacter of the new constitution.The ulama,he continuedwere most unhappyaboutthat.(Speechesand of PakiDocumentson the Constitution stan, p 30) However,beforethe BPC could move its finalreport, a major event on to prepare took place which shook the foundations of the state of Pakistanto its roots. On February21, 1952 the historic Bengali movement erupted spontaneously language all overEastBengal,withgreatforce.For severaldaysthewholeof EastBengalwas in the hands of the languagemovement committee.Surprised at the unbelievable success of the movement,its leadership to takethemovement was unprepared any In a few daysit subsided. further forward. But it remaineda majorpotentialchallenge. Ratherfoolishly Pakistan'sruling elite, insteadof going some way to meet thattheycould Bengalidemands, thought

isolatethe Bengalinationalists by raising religious slogans. Slogans of 'Islamic' weretaken ideologyand'Islamic'identity to counter up Bengali anger. Insteadof causesof Bengali lookingattheunderlying an argument discontent, they put forward that we are all 'Muslimsand Pakistanis' and thereforewe cannot be Bengalis or Sindhisor Baluchor Pathan. This was an ethnicredefinition which had little to do withreligiousvaluesas such.Itwasmerely a bankrupt which led political argument only to disaster. In responseto the Bengali movement, therefore,the Final Reportof the BPC, presentedon December 22, 1952, now containeda largedose of 'Islamic'ideology. G W Choudhury, jumpedwithjoy andwrote:'The seconddraftconstitution (which was his namefor the final report of the BPC) was noted for its elaborate to theIslamiccharacter provisions relating of the proposed constitution.' (ibid,p 31). Liaquatand his cohort,when faced with the challenge of regionalmovementsas well as a crumblingparty,shoutedeven more loudly that 'Islam was in danger'. Nearly five years after partition,thus, Islamic ideology was adoptedby our mediocre rulers,whohadnothing positive to offerto the people.To makethisaboutturnmore credible,they decidedto give the newfoundreligiousideologyan institutional form.A board of Talimat-i-Islamia was set up and the senior ulamawhom to find theirforLiaquathad persuaded tunes in Pakistan,were given jobs in it. The board was not to have any real was powers.Pakistan's ruling bureaucracy in no moodto sharepowerwithmullahs. the functionof the boardwas Therefore, only advisoryandthattoo on matters speto it. 'Advice' fromthe cifically referred 5119

December 21, 2002

board was notbindingon thegovernment. When the boarddid make suggestions, aside. brushed theywereunceremoniously But the seniorulamaseemedto be happy enoughwith theirwell paidjobs and atmullahs such tendant Recalcitrant prestige. Maududi foundthemselvesin as Maulana jail. Suchnominalconcessionsto Islamic under successivegovideologycontinued ernmentsuntil ZulfiqarAli Bhutto,with hismisguided policies,reactivated populist the mullahswho, ironically, turned out to be his nemesis.General Zia, in turn,lacking all legitimacy,decidedfor his partto exploit Islamto the hilt. Severaldecades fromhis legacy later,we arestill suffering which even successive democratically have failed to undo. electedgovernments The unexpected successes of fundamentalistreligiouspartiesin the generalelections of 2002, testify to the fact that we fruitof thepolicy arereaping theinevitable of placatingthem. s clearstatement asideJinnah' Sweeping about Pakistanideology, his successors belatedlyredefinedit. In 1969 General General SherAli, YahyaKhan'sminister, declared that'Islamicideology'was to be 'Pakistanideology'. This solution was projectedbackwardsinto the past and historians(in Pakistanand also abroad) have takenup the task of justifyingthat bogus claim. Textbookswere rewritten. fromourpast by Todaywe areseparated half a centuryof lies. Even people with a secularoutlook,have begunto wonder whetherit was not religion,afterall, that aboutthe creationof Pakireallybrought stan.Someof themassumethattheremust havebeen a mass movement.How can a massmovement without getoff theground a powerfulreligiousideology drivingit. What other explanationcould there be, No they ask. All this is mereconjecture. one has as yet examinedthe social forces that were actually responsible for the creation of Pakistan. Ourtruepasthasbeen snatched fromus andlies buriedwhereit cannotbe found.We have to disinterit. Let us therefore have a look at it.

Moder IndianMuslimpoliticshad its beginningsin the Muslimminority provinces of northern India,notablythe UP, andBengal.In the Muslimmajority areas of westernIndia,thatnow formPakistan, namely, the Punjab,Sindh, Baluchistan and the NWFP,Muslimswere relatively backward and the urbanpopulation was

predominantlynon-Muslim. The educated classes that were behind modern Indian Muslim politics were absent in those areas. It was in northern India, that modern Indian Muslim politics were triggered off by the new Anglo-vernacular language policy that was introduced by the British in the 19th century. It abolished the use of Persian as the official language. Persian was the language of the northern Indian, Muslim Ashraf, the pre-colonial ruling elite. Abolition of Persian as the official language hit them hard. To qualify for governmentjobs,they hadto taketo English education. Hindu service castes, like kayasthas, khatrisand Kashmiribrahmins in northernIndia(or the baidyas, kayasthas and brahmins in Bengal) took to English education morerapidlyandcompeted more successfully for jobs than the Muslim Ashraf had previously monopolised. Muslims began to lose their primacy. In looking at the impact of colonial rule on the Muslim Ashraf, we can divide them into three categories, for they were affected differently. Firstly, there were the landlords who were political allies of the Britishfor which they were muchfavoured. As a class they were the most loyal to the raj. There were some exceptions though, like the rajasof Mahmoodabad(father and son) who were active in the Muslim League. The second group of Muslim Ashraf were the ulema, who were the hardesthit by the new language policy. They lost out when children who used to go to their madaris, to learn Persian and Arabic, were now sent to English teaching schools. The introduction of new statute law written in English, took away legal roles which the ulama performed by way of the application of shari'a law in particularcases or issuing fatawa on contentious issues or mediating disputes. These functions atrophied. In response, the ulama at first engaged in militant campaigns against the British (and the Sikh) and played a prominentrole in the national revolt of 1857. They were crushed brutally.After the revolt the ulama retreatedinto their seminaries such as the newly establisheddar-ul-uloomatDeoband or the older Firangi Mahal, etc. As a class, they did not re-enter the political arena until they were drawn into the Khilafat movement in 1918. The most importantAshraf group, however, behind modern Indian Muslim politics, were the educated Ashraf who depended mainly on careers in government employment. I have designated them as the 'salariat', i e, those who aspire to

anddependon careers in salaried employin the government ment,overwhelmingly in the absenceof a large enoughprivate sector.Associatedwith the salariatwere suchas lawyersanddoctors. professionals For themthe new languagepolicy meant thatthey too had to have Englisheducation. Competing with the Muslimsalariat and professionalswere Hindus who aspired to similaremploymentin government or as professionals.Unfortunately, of given the communal(caste!)structure Indiansociety, Muslimand Hindumembersof the salariat were andprofessionals each other because their lives pitted against and careerswere embeddedwithin rival institutionalised communities. Themutual the Muslim andHindu between competition salariat wasof nodirect concern forthe vast of Muslimsor Hindus.Muslim majority Ashrafwere preoccupied with questions abouttheirown futureand ignoredpoor Forexample Muslimsandtheirproblems. large numbersof Muslim Julahaswere a profound crisisin the19th goingthrough becauseof competition frommill century, made cloth, both importedand locally inIndian textilemills.TheAshraf produced were unconcerned with the problemsof the very poor and sufferingJulahas.The salariatand the professionalshad their own specific intereststo pursue.Competitionbetweenthesepetitbourgeois Muslim andHindugroups,shapedthepolicies of the All IndiaMuslimLeague,and the Indian National Congress, respectively. nationalism Theyusedconceptsof Indian andMuslim tolegitimise their nationalism, narrowclass demands. There is a myth that Muslim Ashraf were underprivileged andbackward. That idea comes from WilliamHunter'sbook
on Indian Musalmans, which is based on

easternBengaldata,whereMuslimswere ButMuslimAshraf trulyunderprivileged. of northern Indiawereover-privileged. In the UP, Muslimswere only about 12 per cent of the population, a small minority. Nevertheless,in 1857 MuslimAshrafof UP held no less than64 percent of posts in the subordinate judicial and executive services(positionsabove thatrankbeing the domainof the white-man). However, thosehighly Muslim Ashraf were privileged rapidly losingthatlead.By 1886Muslims heldonly45 percentof thoseposts,though with a Muslimpopulation of only 12 per These cent,theywerestillveryprivileged. figuresshow thattheirlead was beingcut down.SirSyedAhmad therefore proposed that there should be a 50-50 quotaeach


Economicand PoliticalWeekly December21, 2002

for the two communities. Modem Indian Muslimpolitics, in its origin, was therefore quota politics and not a religious movement. English education was the key to futureprosperity.The Aligarh movement sought to propagate English education amongstMuslims.Given SirSyed Ahmad's lead Muslim educational societies began to come up all over India, to teach English. A new Anglo-vernacularculture, which was relatively more oriented towards science and reason, began to evolve, though often expressed in Indian idiom. It was the culture of Muslim Ashraf salariat and professional groups. It did not extend to the poor, whetherMuslim or non-Muslim. The culture of the Muslim poor tended to be dominated by the mullahs. Sir Syed Ahmad pioneered the cause of English education and rational and scientific thought amongst Indian Muslims. He was concerned only with the future of Muslim Ashraf; not with the future of all Muslims inclusive of the poor. This is not widely realised. Sir Syed Ahmad looked upon 'low born' people with aristocratic disdain. Commenting upon qualifications for membership of the viceroy's legislative council, for example, he expressed his deeply rootedclass (caste?) prejudicewhen he said that 'It is essential for the viceroy's council to have members of high social standing. Would our aristocracy like that a man of low caste or insignificant origin, though he may be a B A or an M A , and have the requisite ability, be placed in a position of authorityabove them and have the power of making laws that affect their lives and property?' Political activity on behalf of the Muslim salariatand professionals emerged on the public platform in 1906, when a delegation of Muslim notables called on Lord Minto the viceroy to lobby for the English educated Muslim Ashraf. When Nawab Mohsin ul-Mulk, who then headed the Aligarh establishment, learntabout the speech of Lord Morley, the secretary of state for India, announcing plans for constitutional reforms in India, he at once set about organising a delegation of Muslim notables to put their proposals before tile viceroy, setting out demands of the educated Muslim Ashraf. Francis Robinson, summing up the result, writes: Lord Minto 'promised (them) ...nothing except sympathy.' Indian nationalist as well as communist historians have blown up the significance of that meeting out of all proportion,claiming, in MaulanaMohammad Ali's words, that this was a 'command

at thebehestof the viceroy, performance' as partof a policy of divide-and-rule. It has now beenestablished thatthis charge has no truth in it. Amongst others the Indian historian BimalPrasad hasrecently thedetailsof thatstoryto prove unravelled that this charge is not at all true. The initiativefor the meeting came entirely from Mohsin-ulMulk. inDecember Later inthesameyear, 1906, the Muslim League was founded when Muslimleaders metatDhakaattheinvitation of Nawab Salimullah.But the UP of Ashraf,led by Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk Aligarh, hijackedthe new organisation of takingall the top posts and a majority theworking committee The memberships. League took up seculardemandsof the western educatedMuslim professionals andthesalariat. to placetheissue Attempts of Islamicideologyon theMuslimLeague andinvariably unsuccesswererare agenda in its no ful.Religious ideologyplayed part the mullahs ideology. Not surprisingly, were hostile to the MuslimLeaguefrom the outset. to takeup theearliestattempt Arguably, Islamic ideology, was made by Shibli Nu'mani, who was committedto theocraticvalues.Heproposed thattheAligarh should beIslamised. Shibliwanted syllabus to changethe syllabusawayfromEnglish and modern sciences, towards Islamic learningand the Arabic language.The and responseof the Muslimprofessional salariat classes to thatattempt is exemplified by theviews of SirRazaAli, a lawyer who was a close and very influential collaboratorof Sir Syed's successors, Mohsinul-Mulk andViqarul-Mulk, atthe centreof the Aligarhestablishment. Raza Ali attacked Shibli'sproposal in anarticle of which he publishedin TheStatesman, offers an extractin his autobiography RazaAli wrotethatthereis sometimes a conflictbetweenreasonandsentiments. But,he wrote,theconflictbetweenreason and the sentimentsthatunderlieShibli's is greater thansuchconflictabout proposal other issue. The of theachieveany memory ments of Cordova and Baghdad is as toMuslims asheramulet ('taawiz') enticing is to a superstitious womanwho holds it close to her heart.The truthis that it is difficultnotto sympathise with extremely suchfeelingsof Muslims. Butit is alsotrue thatto deny realitythatis openandmanifest, would also be very foolish. The proposalthat is now in front of us (i e, Arabiceducation,as proposedby Shibli HA)is, superficially, extremely appealing.

However,we mustnotturnourfacesaway
from reality. ...The question before us is:

'Whatkindof education doesourcommunity wantand need?In my view the kind of educationthatwe most need is education thatwouldbe most usefulin helping us to deal with the affairsof this world to earn their livelihood.' (AimalNama, p 170).Thatwastheessenceofthe Muslim Leagueideology. Raza Ali warnedthat the need of the Indianeducated Muslimmiddleclass was notthatof a hypothetical to original return Islamandthecreation of an'Islamic State', to be ruledover by mullahs.Theirmost urgentneed was the provisionof an educationthatwould help them in grappling with the affairsof this world;education thatwouldhelp theircominggenerations to earntheir livelihood.He spelt out the secularideology of Muslimnationalism, clearly reiterating the interests of the Muslimsalariatand professional classes. Shiblihadto leave Aligarh,for it was not a place where his theocraticideas could flourish. As fortheMuslimLeague,as it attracted wasa parallel moreandmoresupport, there shift in its class supportbase. Therewas an increasedparticipation of men drawn from more modest strataof society. Far fewerof themwere now fromsubstantial landed families. According to Francis Robinson,the great majority(of them) belongedto the class which occasionally hada smallpittance in rentsfromlandbut, generally,in orderto survive,hadto find in serviceor theprofessions. employment Thatwas a less privilegedsection of the MuslimAshraf.Amongstthemthe Muslim Leaguefoundits enduring class base, even thoughsalariat members frombetter off families,some landlords like the Raja of Mahmudabad, the father (not to be confusedwithhisequallyactiveson,Amir Ahmad andsomebusinessmen, still Khan) continuedto play a partin it.
... which can help the coming generations

Withthesechangesin its class base,the centreof gravityof the Muslim League shifted theAligarh conservatives awayfrom toarelatively more radical based leadership on Lucknow(to which the Leagueoffice was moved). By 1912 the energeticand radical WazirHasan,tookoveras general secretary. A new phase began in the anditsattitude politicalstyleof theLeague towards the Congress.Therewas a grow-

Economicand PoliticalWeekly December21, 2002


in the MuslimLeaguethat ing realisation against theywouldnotmakeanyheadway theBritishcolonialrulewithout establishCalls ing a unitedfrontwiththeCongress. therefore for Hindu-Muslim were unity reiterated. TheMuslim Leaguelookedforsomeone who could build bridges between the Leagueandthe Congress.Jinnahwas the obviouschoice.He hada highstanding in the Indian National Congress and was ideallyplacedto bringthetwo movements together.In October 1913 when Wazir HasanandMaulana Mohammad Ali were in Londonto see the secretary of statefor India (who, in the event, refusedto see to meet them!)they took the opportunity Thetwo persuaded himtojoin the Jinnah. MuslimLeagueand work for Congressthat League Unity.Jinnah agreed, provided his commitments to the Congresswould remain. Jinnah worked hard forCongress-League unity,which was sealedby the Lucknow pact adopted at a joint session of the Congressandthe Leaguein 1916. Under the pact, the Congress accepted some Muslim demands, including their key forseparate a Muslim demand electorates, demand whichwas stronglysupported by ThepactalsospecifiedprovinceGokhale. wise weightage for Muslims. That was Muslimminority verycontroversial. provincesliketheUP,weregivenabiggershare of seats than that provided under the Reforms.That was at the Morley-Minto costof Muslim majority provinces. Bengal with a Muslimpopulation of 52 per cent was given a shareof only 40 per cent of seats. Punjabwith a Muslim population of nearly55 per cent was given a share of only 50 per cent of the seats. On the otherhand,the UP with a Muslimpopulationof only 12percentwasgivena share of no less than30 per cent. After all the UPelitewererunning theshow.Thisturned out to be the most contentiousaspect of the Lucknowpact.The Congressfor its hadconceded theMuslimdemand for part separate electorates because Muslims believedthat they could not get elected underjoint electorateseven in Muslim majorityconstituencies,because of the effects of property Later, qualifications. outto be a sorepoint however,thisturned witha newgeneration of Congress leaders. Justifiedcriticismof the Lucknowpact shouldnotmakeusunderestimate itssignificance. It had succeededin bringingthe andtheMuslim Congress Leaguetogether on to a commonplatform to fight British

It was the Muslim League imperialism. andJinnahwho had initiatedthatbid for unity and the Congressrespondedpositively. Jinnah was a unifier and not a as generallysuggested.He separationist, persisted in that difficult role, despite of a centuryuntil setbacks,for a quarter a pointwas reachedwhen,despiteall his efforts, unity was no longer an option. The LucknowPactwas not only about Muslim demands. It also incorporated shareddemandsof the Congressand the Leaguevis-a-visthe colonialgovernment
againstwhich they would struggletogether.

thepactdemanded that Thus,forexample, inthelegislatures, electedmembers should be in a majority. It demanded thatin the there should be four-fifths elected provinces membersand only one-fifth nominated, and thatthe membersof councilsshould be elected directlyby the people, on as broada franchiseas possible and so on. Thus contraryto popular opinion, the Lucknowpact was not just about concessions to the Muslim League. It also speltout the basison whichthe Congress and the Muslim League could carrythe anti-colonialfreedom struggle forward as close allies. The significance together, of the Lucknowpact was greaterthanis generallysupposed. Beforethe politicsof the Lucknow pact could have a chance to unfold, it was torpedoed .by the Khilafatmovementof 1918-24, in which the mullahswere the mainforce. Until thenreligiousideology was absentfrom IndianMuslimpolitics. The religiousfocus of the Khilafat movementbroughtaboutshifts in the Muslim Secularists likeJinnah Leagueleadership. and WazirHasanwere drivenout of the League and second rank leaders like Maulana Shaukat Ali movedintothe first rank.It was Mahatma Gandhi,however, who was the true leaderof the Khilafat movement- in his own words he had become the dictatorof the movement. aroundhim were fanaticalmullahslike Maulana AbdulBariof Firangi Mahal. But at every stage they asked Gandhito tell themwhatto do. UnderGandhi'sleadership the Khilafat movement became a massmovement. Butit collapsed powerful soon becauseof its own internalcontradictions. Gandhi claimed that he had madethe Khilafatmovementa meansof establishing Hindu-Muslimunity. But unlike the Lucknow pact, the Khilafat movementtriggered off fiercecommunal riotsinthe1920s.TheLucknow pactwhich hadworkedforunitybetweentheMuslim

Leagueandthe Congress,was lost somewhere along the way. It is quite truethatthe MuslimLeague represented only a smallMuslimelite.The Muslimmasses,theworkers andpeasants, werelargelyuntouched by it.Themullahs, who were behindthe Khilafat movement, did not voice the demandsof the Muslim peasantand the workingclass either;its methods remained restricted to elite negotiationsat the top.The mullahswerepetty the bourgeois radicals who represented deadpastrather thanthe future, the direction towardswhich Muslimsalong with the rest of Indianeededto go. The main consequenceof the Khilafatmovement was that it dealt a blow to the Muslim Leaguefromwhichit did not recoverfor morethana decade.Havingno truemass base amongst the working masses, the MuslimLeagueexisted duringthat time only nominally,as a side-show for the Khilafatists. After the abolition of the Ottoman Khilafat nationby theTurkish republican alists led by MustafaKemal,the Khilafat movement,in spite of its mass base, becamea lost causein India.It did not leave a permanent mark on Indian Muslim politics, except that it had enabled the mullahs to organise. Gandhi helped hardliner Muslim mullahs,the so-called 'DeobandiSunnis', to set up a political
organisation, namely the Jamiat-i-Ulama-

i-Hind which implacably opposed the Muslim League and its leadership.The BarelviSunnis,moresuperstitious butalso moretolerant, nopart intheKhilafat played movement becausetheydidnotacceptthe on the Khalifa, legitimacyof the Ottoman thathe wasnotdescended fromthe ground Itmightbe notedthatin addition Quraysh.
to the Jamiat-i-Ulama-i-Hind, two other

extremely dogmatic religious political of mullahswereto emerge, organisations theMajlis-i-Ahrarand theJamaatnamely, i-lslami. They were all bitterlyopposed the Muslim League and its westernised leadership, and eventually they also opposedthe demand for Pakistan with unabated vehemence. These religiouspartieswere unableto to allow themto generate enoughsupport stop the Muslim League. Some Muslim and even Leaguers,like the Ali Brothers Jinnah's theyoungRaja AmirAhmad ward, Khan of Mahmudabad(the son) did succumbfor a time to Islamic ideology. But, as he told me, that was a passing phase. He realisedsoon that this fundamentalistideology was a delusion.Like-


Economicand PoliticalWeekly December21, 2002

andotherslikethem wise,theAli Brothers too returnedto the secularist Muslim League.The Khilafatinterludedid not convert theMuslim Leagueintoa religious movement. It was only on the ideological Ali Khan eveof independence thatLiaquat was able to induce a few Ulama of the
Jamiat-i-Ulanla-i-Hind, to migrate to

Pakistan in thehopethatin a Muslimstate thanin HinduIndia. theymightfarebetter

They formed the Jamiat-i-Ulama-i-Islam.

They had little influenceon state power untilthe adventof the regimeof General Zia.All thatwhile,thePakistan movement remained a secular movement of Muslims, not a movementof Islam. However,by the time secularistslike Jinnah,who had left the MuslimLeague at the time of the Khilafat movement, Muslim League it,itwasachanged rejoined inaradically political(andconstichanged context.As a result,thecentreof tutional) gravityhadshiftedfromMuslimminority like UP andits salariat base, to provinces andtheir domiMuslim majority provinces landed That feudal nating magnates. hapof pened becauseof the implementation the Montague-Chelmsford reformsunder thegovernment of Indiaactof 1919.Under thatact, limitedpowerwas transferred to Indianministers,at the provinciallevel, of the governover certaindepartments ment.Thatinjecteda new logic in Indian of state politics.Fromthenon distribution patronage by Indianministersbegan to playa partin building uppoliticalsupport. Muslims of theUPandMuslimminority provincesand their salariatand professionals, who were the MuslimLeague's main power-base,being a minorityand unableto forma government, were now outof thegame.NordidtheMuslim League of the feudalmagnates securethe support Theyhadtheirown automatically. politics. The MuslimLeague continuedon their supportbut it was now a shadow of its formerself. In the Punjab, Muslimfeudals,in alliancewithHinduandSikhfeudalsandthe of East Punjab(led by Sir jat biraderi ChhotuRam) ruled the roost underthe bannerof the unionistparty,which was overby SirFazliHusain who was presided not a feudal but who understood the needsof feudals better than they could themselves.Along with their clear class as landedmagnates, interests the unionist i e, Punjabi ideologyincluded Punjabiyat, nationalism.They were wary of more radicalpolitics impingingon them from of India. Theunionists other believed parts
Economic and Political Weekly

thatthe Britishwouldruleover Indiafor were narrowly ever. Theiraims therefore focused on governingand exploitingthe Punjab and insulating it from outside influences whilethegoingwasgoodunder the British.As the prospects of indepenon dence (underCongressrule)appeared the agendathey optedfor an independent theBritish within Commonwealth. Punjab, Chief minister Sikandar Hayat, Fazli Husain's successor, even tried to get Churchill'ssupportfor an independent withintheempire. But,intheevent, Punjab that projectwas not taken up. Fazli Husain successfullydivided the middleclassintotworivalgroups, Punjabi urbanand rural.The salariatand professionalsof rural origin,whoenjoyedfeudal patronage,got priorityand preference. UrbanMuslims,on the otherhand,were a deprived minority in unionist ruled aboutsocialinjustice, Punjab. Beingbitter to thehotrhetoric manyof themresponded of the fundamentalist religiousgroup,the The MuslimLeaguewas Majlis-i-Ahrar. weak and ineffectiveand too dependent on the unionists,to be able to give them an independent lead.The Punjabi feudals, SirFazli sawtheMuslim Husain, especially, Leaguenot as a seriousrival who might theirholdoverpowerin possiblythreaten the province.They tolerated it, and even it andcertainly usedit for their patronised purposeswhen the occasion requiredit. SikandarHayat thereforeeven entered into a pact with Jinnah.

theMuslimlandedmagnates of thePunjab hadjoinedit, exceptfora smallmisguided under KhizrHayatKhan. rump Theyhung on to thedreams of an independent Punjab in the BritishCommonwealth which the Britishwere not going to give them.The situationin Sindh was similarto that of the Punjab.So by the time thatindependence came, the feudal landedmagnates of Punjaband Sindh had takenover the MuslimLeague.No ideologyexcepttheir concernfor self-preservation was needed to drawthemto the League.The peasants whomtheydominated completelyneeded no ideology to make them vote as their landlordinstructed them to do. The Pakistanmovement,thus,was not
drivenby any religious ideology andexcept

It was notuntilthemid-1940s,whenthe of independence approach beganto look like a reality,thatthe landedmagnates of realised, Punjab firstly,thattheywouldnot be givenanindependent withinthe Punjab Commonwealth, which they wanted. to their Secondlytheysawa mortal danger survivalas a class, if independence were to come to the Punjabunderthe Indian National TheCongress wasfully Congress. committedto land reform,on which a committee,presidedover PanditNehru forsomeyears. himself,hadbeenworking Forthe survivalof theirclass, the Punjabi feudalsreckonedthatPakistan underthe MuslimLeague wasa workable alternative for them,the moreso becausethey knew thatif they'joined' theLeague, theywould, in effect, 'takeit over'.Theywouldcontrol it. MianMumtaz Daulatana was amongst thefirsttosee thisandhejoined theMuslim Leaguein 1943. By 1945 virtuallyall of

for EastBengal,therewas no massmovement as such to go with it. Manypirs in Punjaband Sindh were amongthe great landedmagnates who optedfor Pakistan. At theirbehesttheir'mureeds' celebrated the ideaof Pakistan withgusto.Fromthis a false impression hasbeentakenby some scholarsthat it was the idea of Pakistan which had motivatedthem, whereas in truthwhatthey were celebrating was the of their when he the joy pir, joined League andthereby averted thethreat of Congress land reforms. 'Islamic'ideology was indeedinvoked inthePunjab butnotbytheMuslim League. It was invokedby the hardliner Majlis-iwhichbitterly Ahrar, opposedtheMuslim League, tooth and nail, denouncingits leadersas kaffirs.It was the only 'mass' appealin the name of Islam and with it idea.The mainbase opposedthe Pakistan of the Majlis-i-Ahrar was amongst the urban the lowermiddle pettybourgeoisie, class, which had been neglectedbecause of the anti-urban policy of the unionist
party with whom the Muslim League had movement in the Punjab that made its

collaborated. It was only in Bengal that the Muslim in Leagueled a genuinemass movement, the 1945 elections; but that was not a Untiltheelectionsof religiousmovement. 1937theBengalMuslim Leaguewasunder thecontrol of theDhaka Nawabfamilyand a small coterie aroundit - the Bengali feudals. They were challenged by the KrishakProjaParty,led by Fazlul Haq, whosepoliticalbasewas amongst thewell off peasantry. The final vote in the 1937 electionwasevenlydividedbetween them and they formeda coalitiongovernment. In 1943 the greatBengalfaminekilled three and a half million Bengali poor

December 21, 2002


who hadno reservesto fall back peasants were on whenthefaminehit.Thepeasants soon on the warpath.Their movement known as the Tebhagamovement,was led All India mobilised by the communist Kisan Sabha. It was against that backwhentheBengalpeasant hadbeen ground, thatthe 1945electionswereheld. aroused, In 1943 a remarkable man named Abul Hashimwas elected as the generalsecretary of the Bengal Provincial Muslim League.He professeda confusedmixture of socialismand Islam.He took over the taskof organising for the Muslim support League, with the help of the Tebhaga activistsas his localcadres.Pushingaside the Dacca Nawabfamily and otherelite leaders who had so far controlled the MuslimLeague,Abul BengalProvincial Hashim organised the Muslim League election campaignin which he focused on the concrete needs and economic demands of the small peasants. If that mass movementwas drivenby an ideology, it was not religious ideology. He mobilisedthe peasantry behindthe Muslim League by giving class slogans and not religious slogans. Religiousideologytherefore playedno part in the 1945 election campaign in Bengal. It turnedalmost entirelyon the economicdemands of theBengalpeasant; the genius of Abul Hashimand his colleagues of the All India Kisan Sabha, their movementfrom degeneprevented intocommunal slogansthatit could rating havehappened all too easily. The Bengal peasants (who were overwhelmingly Muslim)depended verylargelyonjute as a cash crop and were therebyenmeshed in the globalised cash economy. Their immediate conflict was with tradersand who all happenedto be moneylenders, Hindu,Abul Hashimtook up both these issuesbutas purely economicclass issues, withoutallowingthemto turninto communalconflict.He promised the peasants Pakistan thatthefuture would government be theirgovernment, a peasantraj. That wouldscaledowntheirdebts government the traders from andtakestepsto prevent theirinterests. manipulating pricesagainst Thepeasants werealsopromised abolition of zamindari. The Bengalpeasantry was led to believe thatPakistan was going to be ruled by the peasants.If an ideology therewas, it was a peasant ideology.That was the oppositeof the feudaldominated andSindh.Due to AbulHashim's Punjab successfulcampaignthe BengalMuslim Leaguesecured114seatsin theprovincial

assemblyas againsta totalof 121Muslim seats. Religiousideology played no part in this, not even by way of rhetoric. But, in the end, the peasantswere cheated,as they always are. Abul Hashim having servedtheirpurpose, thepowerfulDacca Nawab group had little difficulty in manoeuvring him out of the way; in February1947 when he was sent on indefinite leave to his native village in Burdwan.The Bengali Muslim feudals were back in the saddle- that is a long story and sad story by itself. The final result,as we can see, was a Pakistandominatedby feudals (both of West Pakistanand also of East Bengal) associated witha rulingbureaucracy. The ruling group was soon joined by an all InthePunjab andSindh powerful military. the feudalswon andimposedtheirfeudal values on us for decades.In Bengal, despitetheoverwhelming popular victory,it wastheBengaliMuslimfeudalswhowere backin powerat the timeof the partition. Atthetimewhenit wascreated, Pakistan's wasnotthatof religiousideology problem but, rather,that of feudal domination.. tothepresent-day claimsof the Contrary mullahs,the MuslimLeaguehad consisa secular stancethroughtentlymaintained out its careerexceptfor the briefKhilafat interlude. Therehad been some attempts to bringIslamicideologyon to theMuslim But suchattempts were Leagueplatform. rare andtheywereinvariably defeated. For brevity,to give only one example,one of the rare attemptsto bring the issue of Islamicideology on to the agendaof the All IndiaMuslimLeaguehas been documented by SharifuddinPirzada in his collectionof MuslimLeaguedocuments. At theAIMLsessionin Delhiin 1943,one Abdul Hameed Kazi canvassedsupport for a resolution thathe proposed to table, to committhe MuslimLeagueto Islamic ideology and the creationof an Islamic state.Immediately there from waspressure his everyonethatforced Kazito abandon idea. It was such widespread opposition in the MuslimLeagueto the ideology of the religious parties that marginalised religious fanaticswho were bitterlyopposedto theAll IndiaMuslimLeagueand its leadership and,eventually,to the idea of the Pakistan. Religiouspartieswere, as I have said, hostile to the Pakistan moveimplacably ment.In Punjaband Sindh,the powerof the feudal landed magnates was itself sufficientto line up supportin the 1945 elections and no mass movement was

needed; nor did any mass movement actuallyarise.Anyonewho has lived in a Punjab village for an extended period wouldrealise this. In East Bengal there was indeed a powerfulmass movement, as I havesaid.It was led by the legendary HashimKhan,with the help of cadresof the Tebhaga movement.Their slogans, however, were explicitly secular.There were indeed occasionalpopulardemonstrationsin towns.The sloganswouldbe cast in termsof demands of Muslimsand not in termsof Islam, thoughat times a rarevoice speakingin the nameof Islam mightjoin in. But thatwouldnot makeit anIslamic'mass'movement. Negotiations with the Congressand the Britishwere settled throughnegotiationsat the top. When Jinnah proclaimed Pakistan's secularideologyhe wasvoicingtheestablishedsecularideologicalpositionthatthe MuslimLeaguehadadhered to throughout its career.Fundamentalist Islamic ideology played no part in the origins of Pakistan,although contemporaryideoincludloguesof Islamicfundamentalism ing academics,claim that it was Islamic ideology and slogans that createdPakistanandthattheytherefore havethe right to decide its future.BE
Addressfor correspondence:

[This paper is based on the author's Professor KarrarHussain Memorial Lecture delivered on November 2, 2002.]

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Economicand PoliticalWeekly December21, 2002