A story is told about Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of radio, who was considered mad by people. They felt that his idea that sound waves can be transferred from one distant place to another without wires was based on lunacy. Similarly, Galileo Galilei was put under arrest when he claimed that the earth revolves around the sun rather than the other way round. His view was considered as going against religious norms.
History is full of examples of discoverers, visionaries, leaders, activists, etc., whose view met with opposition and criticism. But time proved that they were right. The same goes for the likes of our national leaders such as Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar, Allama Iqbal. They all faced criticism and opposition, even from many Muslims of the Subcontinent, when they put forward their idea of a separate homeland for the Muslims.
But the current treatment of Muslims by the Hindus in Kashmir and many states of India proves that all those visionary Muslim leaders were right.
Pakistan Resolution, passed on March 23, 1940, was the formal adoption of the idea of a separate Muslim homeland by the political party, Muslim League. It laid the foundation of a tremendous political struggle under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. It also served as the foundation of Pakistan, an independent country for Muslims. Hence, it holds tremendous significance even in this time and age.
India and Pakistan have fought many wars and are arch enemies of each other. The root cause has been the Muslim majority state of Kashmir, which is under unfair occupation of India. Though Pakistan Resolution did not directly address the Kashmir region, it was always an essential part of the plans of our national leaders based on Pakistan Resolution.
After the creation of Pakistan, Jinnah had ordered the armies under his control to attack the occupied Kashmir. He wanted Kashmiri Muslims free from the influence of Hindus as quickly as possible. After Jinnah’s death in 1948, the issue has remained unresolved and the animosity between the two countries has stayed strong. The fact is that even in divided India, the Hindus in India have constantly created trouble for Muslims of the subcontinent. So everything that Pakistan Resolution was based upon has stood the test of time.
How true these words by Muhammad Ali Jinnah seem to be even in today’s world: “It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different social orders. It is a dream that the Hindu and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality; and this misconception of one Indian nation has gone far beyond the limits, and is the cause of most of our troubles, and will lead India to destruction, if we fail to revise our notions in time.”
Going forward, as a country, can we still draw any lessons in the light of the Pakistan Resolution? We certainly can. For one we cannot hope for complete peace in Pakistan unless the Kashmir issue is resolved. The second thing is we cannot trust the Hindus of India, in general, to ever end their animosity of Muslims of India and Pakistan.
Hindus and Muslims have ‘different social orders’ rather than having different ‘religions in the strict sense of the word’. They cannot exist cordially for long. These are the sad truths that we need to realise as a nation.
Another sad truth is that we have failed to build on the achievements of our aforementioned national leaders. If anything, as a nation, we should be ashamed of our achievements after independence. We have so much that our great national leaders did not have, but still their achievements overshadow ours. They did not have the control/rule of a free, independent country or its resources. They were slaves of the British and faced oppression from the Hindus who were the dominant local force in all aspects. They did not have the communication means to spread their message to Muslims across the subcontinent. They did not have enough resources to organise Muslims as an influential political force.
But still their ambition and the political foresight outwitted the colonial masters and an exceedingly strong Hindu presence. We should have learnt from their message and their achievements. But we have failed to achieve all that we should have in nearly 73 years of our existence.
Knowing is important. It is only after knowing that we can reflect on and realise things. Every year, March 23 serves as a reminder that we need to build on the work of our forefathers — something for which we have failed miserably. But all is not lost, most importantly because we are an independent nation and we can take control of our future. It will need a lot of determination, effort and sacrifices — things that our forefathers have already shown us how to do.
And when we compare their determination, the effort they had to make and the tremendous sacrifices they made, what we need to do simply pales in comparison. But I have faith that we can do the founders of our nation proud if we try and develop in us the same passion and love that they had for Pakistan, because passion and love for our country can help us overcome any hurdles that come our way.
Published in Dawn, Young World, March 21st, 2020