Thus spake Quaid

The inclusion of a handful of Hindus in NC does not make it a representative of the minorities.
Thus spake Quaid
File Photo

The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah visited Pakistan in May 1944. A number of receptions were hosted by different groups in Quaid-e-Azam's honour. The National Conference also hosted a reception.  Prominent worker and a close aide of Sher-e-Kashmir, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Zahra Hamdani posed three questions to the Quaid. The Quaid answered the questions politely. The  Quaid's answers reflect his foresight and vision. The questions and answers merit a special mention here for better understanding of the developments that finally landed Kashmir, rather the entire Muslim population of India into trouble.  

Question No 1: Is creation of Pakistan possible in presence of overwhelming majority of Hindus of India?  The Quaid replied, "If De veer can separate Ireland from Britian, why should not 10 crore Muslims succeed in creating a state of their own."

Question No 2: If Pakistan comes into existence, will it not be a poor country? The Quaid replied: "No. Not at all. It is better to live in a shabby hut in Pakistan than live in a mansion in insecure India."

Question No 3: Keeping the Muslim Majority population of the State in view which party can serve the interests of Muslims better, National Conference or Muslim Conference?

The Quaid replied: "Apparently National Conference. But can you tell me how many non-Muslims are members of National Conference."

This stunned the National Conference workers. Hamdani had to eat a humble pie. Someone from the crowd cried, Budh Singh, Kashap Bandhu. This was greeted with laughter by the people present much to the discomfort of the National Conference workers.

The Quaid said: "Had non-Muslims joined the National Conference, the Maharaja's government would have succumbed in seven days."

Muslim Conference leader Ghulam Muhammad Jeweler, who later joined Sardar Ibrahiem's government in Azad Kashmir, hosted another reception in Amar Singh Club.  A number of non-Muslims were invited. The president of All India Kashmir Pandit Yuvak Sabha, Shiv Narain Fotedar who later became a member of Rajya Sabha during Bakshi's regime said: "I am leader of minorities but not Jinnah of Kashmir. The Quaid turned towards him and said: "I wish you good luck."

The process of rechristening Muslim Conference (MC) started in 1933. The annual session of the organization was held at Mirpur (now in Pakistan-administered Kashmir) on September 15-17. Several resolutions were passed on the concluding day of the session.  One of the resolutions sought participation of non-Muslims in the freedom struggle. The resolution was, by and large, welcomed by the members. However, some members described it a conspiracy against Muslim unity. The resolution also evoked reaction from Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal. The great poet in his letter (dated October 12, 1933) urged Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah to ensure unity of Muslims without fail.

The conversion process was formally launched during the sixth annual session of the MC held on March 25-27, 1938 at Jammu.  In his presidential address, Sheikh Abdullah stressed the need for `responsible government.' Several resolutions were passed. It was decided to change the name of the organization to ensure participation of non-Muslims in the struggle.

Surprisingly non-Muslims lived comfortably in Dogra rule. They were loyal to the Dogra rulers and missed no opportunity to subject Muslims to persecution. But, Sher-e-Kashmir saw a role for them in the freedom struggle. But contrary to his expectations, the newly formed National Conference (NC), however, evoked luke warm response from the non-Muslims. Attempts to revive the Muslim Conference (MC) started immediately.

On June 10, 1947, Bazaz wrote an editorial in Hamdard. It read: "The Hindus do not like NC. However, some Hindus have joined it not because they love it but for the hatred it has exhibited against Muslims of India. The inclusion of a handful of Hindus in NC does not make it a representative of the minorities. The Hindus and Sikhs praise NC in public because they believe that it is working against the interests of Muslims…"

Question No 2 and its answer must serve as an eye opener to all those who still see India as a safe place for Muslims. "It is better to live in a in a shabby hut in Pakistan than live in a mansion in insecure India." Prophetic words indeed. The Indian Muslims have been at the receiving end since 1947. However, now they have realised what it means living in Bharat.

Not many tourists from India visited Kashmir this spring. But, a good number of Indian Muslims could be seen roaming around the Boulevard.  The missed no opportunity to interact with the local Muslims.  One such group interacted with my colleague. "We are here to salute your valour. You have been fighting a fascist power for several decades. It is so inspiring. We pray for your success," the group communicated.  According to my friend, the group cursed their former generations of staying in India at the time of the partition.  

Quaid has been proven right notwithstanding the suicide attacks in Pakistan which, Islamabad believes are sponsored by New Delhi.  Yes, the  people who went to Pakistan are called Muhajireen but then the those who came to India are still refugees!

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