India sans Gandhi

There are so many who question rationale for the demand of separate state for Muslims; They even dispute the relevance of the two nation theory in present day context.
India sans Gandhi
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Indian freedom struggle galvanized millions of people of all classes and ideologies into political action and brought a mighty colonial empire to its knees. But the struggle for independence from colonial rule marked the birth of two dominions, India and Pakistan. Unlike many other countries creation of Pakistan was based on an ideology rather than geography, language or race. Political history of Pakistan began in 1906 with the birth of All India Muslim League, established against the India National Congress which it accused of failing to protect the interests of the Muslims. All India Muslim League was established at Dhaka which now remains neither part of Pakistan nor of India. Muslim League tried to secure Muslim interests but failed to get positive response from the Congress leadership.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah then identified as the messenger of Hindu Muslim unity, struck a deal with Moti Lal Nehru in Lucknow(1916) in order to accommodate the Congress point of view as far as he could. He agreed to confine Muslim representation in legislature to mere 40% both in Bengal and Punjab where their population exceeded 55% in lieu of weightage for Muslims in the provinces where they were in minority. Advent of Gandhi on Indian political scene led to crumbling of these equations and polarization of Hindus and Muslims on religious lines. Gandhi used the Muslim disenchantment with British over maltreatment of Turkey, the seat of Ottoman Caliphate to mobilize Indian society and finally abdicated Khilafat Movement converted it in to the Non-Cooperation Movement. During Khlafat Movement Hindu- Muslim unity reached to its climax its abdication and transformation in to non-cooperation, subsequent withdrawal on an irrelevant pretext led to ill will between the communities. The scenario was further complicated by inception of Shudhi Sanghtan Movement aimed at bringing Muslims back to Hindu fold. It led Sir Muahammad  Iqbal  to call for  autonomous provinces for Muslims within the confederation of India through his famous Allahabad lecture. Refusal of Indian National  Congress to share power with Muslim league in UP set a stage for parting of ways between the League and the Congress.

The Muslim League rose to popularity when Muhammad Ali Jinnah propounded the Two Nation Theory and led the party  to adopt Lahore resolution of 1940 demanding separate nation states for Muslims in the East and West of British India. Even after adoption of this resolution Jinnah tried to reconcile in lieu of a constitutional frame work that could ensure 33% representation for Muslims within the  central legislature. Congress didn't concede to this demand compelling Jinnah to insist on partition of the country. His efforts eventually culminated in  the form a successful movement which resulted  in partition of British India and  emergence of Pakistan as an independent Muslim Nation.  

Muhammad Ali Jinnah refused to accept Nehru's view that British Imperialism and Indian Nationalism  were the only two forces in India. He reminded Nehru that there was another party, Muslim League, which alone had the right to represent Muslims of India. He said Muslims are nation by the definition of the Nation and millions of Muslim people cannot be regarded as minority. Integration between the communities  could not be achieved even through efforts of the Mughal emperor Akbar.

In the estimation of Jinnah  Muslims and Hindus  constituted two different nations in respect of civilisation and culture and acceptance of one India for Muslims  would mean  getting freedom from the British rule but landing under the Hindu rule. Atrocities  of British rulers & their Hindu  officials  against  Muslim masses created an atmosphere conducive to partition though apart  from  Muhammad Ali Jinnah there were others  who demanded it. These included  president of Hindu Mahasabha Savarkar who  frequently referred to Hindus and Muslims as two nations.  Lala Lajpat Rai  too advocated the Partition of India in 1924. There are so many who question rationale for the demand of separate state for Muslims.

They even dispute the  relevance  of the  two nation theory in present day context. History and subsequent events in India have proved Jinnah right. Muslims continue to  live in India under continuous insecurity. Six thousand anti-Muslim riots have consumed thousands of lives and property worth billions. One cannot forget the recent Muzzafarnagar riots where at least 42 Muslims were killed and 50000 people were rendered homeless. Babri Masjid was destroyed and those who committed this crime ascended to highest positions of power. Despite provision for freedom of religion in the constitution  Supreme Court of India  legitimises  rules making shaving of beard  compulsory for Air Force officials.  Today Muslims do not  have free choice to eat.

One cannot overlook  the Dadri Lynching Episode where a Mob entered a Muslims house accusing the inmates have consumed beef and resorted to lynching  of one Mr Ikhlaq to death.  Secular India remains an illusion while Hindu Rashtra is an unavoidable eventuality. History has vindicated   the stand of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He was  correct in  demanding separate state for Muslims. The situation is not only alarming for Muslims but other minorities and weaker sections. They too feel insecure. The fate of Dalits, Christians and Sikhs too remains uncertain.

The Sikhs faced a holocaust in the aftermath of killing of Indira Gandhi while Dalits suffered immensely through eleven incidents of violence against them in the recent past. India has not only killed Gandhi but his vision of India as well. His slogans like swadeshi  of course continue to be exploited for profit seeking by some sanyasi run companies.

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