Azad on Pakistan – Dr A Q Khan

Part – II

In continuation of last week’s column, this is Part II of the historic interview.

The other important point that has escaped Jinnah’s attention is Bengal. He does not know that Bengal disdains outside leadership and rejects it sooner or later. During World War II, Fazlul Haq revolted against Jinnah and was thrown out of the Muslim League. H S Suhrawardy does not hold Jinnah in high esteem. Why only Muslim League?

Look at the history of the Congress. The revolt of Subhas Chandra Bose is known to all. Gandhi ji was not happy with the president-ship of Bose and turned the tide against him by going on a fast unto death at Rajkot. Subhas Bose rose against Gandhi ji and disassociated himself from Congress. The environment of Bengal is such that it disfavours leadership from outside and rises in revolt when it senses danger to its rights and interests.

The confidence of East Pakistan will not erode as long as Jinnah and Liaquat Ali are alive. But after them any small incident will create resentment and disaffection. I feel that it will not be possible for East Pakistan to stay with West Pakistan for any considerable period of time. There is nothing common between the two regions except that they call themselves Muslims. But the fact of being Muslim has never created durable political unity anywhere in the world. The Arab world is before us; they subscribe to a common religion, a common civilisation and culture and speak a common language. In fact, they acknowledge even territorial unity.

But there is no political unity among them. Their systems of government are different and they are often engaged in mutual recrimination and hostility. On the other hand, the language, customs and way of life of East Pakistan are totally different from West Pakistan. The moment the creative warmth of Pakistan cools down, the contradictions will emerge and will acquire assertive overtones. These will be fuelled by the clash of interests of international powers and consequently both wings will separate.

After the separation of East Pakistan, whenever it happens, West Pakistan will become the battleground of regional contradictions and disputes. The assertion of sub-national identities of Punjab, Sinds, Frontier and Balochistan will open the doors for outside interference. It will not be long before the international powers use the diverse elements of Pakistani political leadership to break the country on the lines of Balkan and Arab states. Maybe at that stage we will ask ourselves, what have we gained and what have we lost.

The real issue is economic development and progress, it certainly is not religion…

I feel that, right from its inception, Pakistan will face some very serious problems: incompetent political leadership will pave the way for military dictatorships, as has happened in many Muslim countries; the heavy burden of foreign debt; absence of friendly relationships with neighbours and the possibility of armed conflict; internal unrest and regional conflicts; the loot of national wealth by the neo-rich and industrialists of Pakistan; the apprehension of class war as a result of exploitation by the neo-rich; dissatisfaction and alienation of the youth from religion and the collapse of the theory of Pakistan; the conspiracies of the international powers to control Pakistan.

In this situation the stability of Pakistan will be under strain and the Muslim countries will be in no position to provide any worthwhile help. The assistance from other sources will not come without strings…

Q: But the question is: how can Muslims keep their community identity intact and how can they inculcate the attributes of the citizens of a Muslim state?

A: Hollow words cannot falsify basic realities, nor can slanted questions make answers deficient. It amounts to distortion of the discourse. What is meant by community identity? If this community identity has remained intact during British slavery, how will it come under threat in a free India in whose affairs Muslims will be equal participants? What attributes of the Muslim state do you wish to cultivate?

The real issue is the freedom of faith and worship and who can put a cap on that freedom? Will independence reduce the 90 million Muslims into such a helpless state that they feel constrained in enjoying their religious freedom? If the British who, as a world power, could not snatch this liberty, what magic or power do the Hindus have to deny this freedom of religion?…

Muslim history is an important part of Indian history. Do you think the Muslim kings were serving the cause of Islam? They had a nominal relationship with Islam; they were not Islamic preachers. Muslims of India owe their gratitude to Sufis and many of these divines were very cruelly treated by the kings……

If the Muslims still feel under threat and believe that they will be reduced to slavery in free India, then I can only pray for their faith and hearts…Muslims as a community have become cowards. They have no fear of God, instead they fear men. This explains why they are so obsessed with threats to their existence – a figment of their imagination…..

Islam is a universal call to establish peace on the basis of human equality. They know that Islam is the proclamation of a Messenger who calls to the worship of God and not his own worship…

Pakistan has nothing to do with Islam; it is a political demand that is projected by the Muslim League as the national goal of Indian Muslims. I feel it is not the solution to the problems Muslims are facing…

The Holy Prophet has said: “God has made the whole earth a mosque for me.” Now do not ask me to support the idea of the partition of a mosque. If the nine-crore Muslims were thinly scattered all over India, and demand was made to reorganise the states in a manner to ensure their majority in one or two regions, that would be understandable.…

Tell me, who can eliminate these populations? By demanding Pakistan we are turning our eyes away from the history of the last 1,000 years and, if I may use the League terminology, throwing more than 30 million Muslims into the lap of “Hindu Raj”. The Hindu-Muslim problem that has created political tension between Congress and League will become a source of dispute between the two states.

The question is often raised that, if the idea of Pakistan is so fraught with dangers for the Muslims, why is it being opposed by the Hindus? I feel that the opposition to the demand is coming from two quarters. One is represented by those who genuinely feel concerned about imperial machinations and strongly believe that a free, united India will be in a better position to defend itself. On the other hand, there is a section that opposes Pakistan with the motive to provoke Muslims to become more determined in their demand and thus get rid of them.

To be continued