The Speech for the Defence
It is so saddening___ after over a half a century of our national existence___ to come across morbid questioning regarding the validity of the Pakistan ideology. Agreed, we are all entitled to have our own views, but what really concern me are the grounds on which the ideology usually is attacked.
The ideology is abhorrent to us because the Islamic element in it makes it but natural that the edifice of this nation-state should be erected on the foundations of Islam. A large chunk of our writers and thinkers, who unfortunately have monopolised the print media, tamper with the ideology and twist it the way it pleases their pseudo-westernised tastes. They claim that Islam never was a basis for demanding independence from Hindu India. Pakistan was created, they say, merely to give constitutional safeguard to a minority. It may well be true, for all the highbrow intellectual reasoning, but then, if the ‘safeguard’ theory was the only reason for creating Pakistan, I daresay it wasn’t a very bright idea after all, because more than half the Muslim population of India never availed the ‘safeguard’ they had been provided with. (Let me clarify here that Muslims who remained in India did not do it by choice. They inhabited Hindu-majority provinces of India which were not to become parts of Pakistan. Migration for these impoverished masses living as dispersed groups in far-flung Hindu-majority areas was almost impossible, keeping in mind the socio-economic clime of that time. They could not but remain back there). Let us face it then, that if Pakistan was made only to give basic constitutional rights to a minority, this goal remained largely unachieved. If our ideology is only this, why, it failed in its very objective. But no, the reason why Pakistan was created was deeper and more meaningful than merely this. It was precisely to implement Islam at the level of the State. If only a constitutional safeguard was needed, separate electorates or a Muslim majority state within the Indian Union at best could have served the purpose.
This kind of a secularism-inspired interpretation of our ideology makes the entire struggle for Pakistan pointless. It is a debasement, a vilification of the glorious Islamic ideology of Pakistan. Shorn of its Islamic ideology, Pakistan, lets face it, is a mere ring of smoke; a mere speck of territory on the map won by separatists. If our founders toiled so hard for the establishment of a secular state to give basic rights to Indian Muslims, they sadly did it all in vain, for they could very well have professed their secular ideals in a secular India. It is almost ridiculous that a nation demanding separation on the basis of their religious identity should merely be clamouring for a secular state. If Pakistan was only made as a hurried-up asylum for a minority, it was not worth all that__ the struggle, the sacrifice, the horrendous massacre described as ‘more horrible than anything we ever saw’ by the British.
No, Pakistan is worth all that and much more. Pakistan is the culmination of the wishes and ideals of a nation of a hundred million who took to the streets chanting ‘Pakistan ka matlab kiya, La ilaha illallah!’It is the mighty cause that made them willing enough to relinquish hearth and home; it was the vision of Iqbal and the fiery passion of Jauhar; it was the Will of Allah. Quoting the Senior Bhutto, in one of his charismatic speeches at the apex of his political career: ‘Pakistan is not a man-made country. It is a God-made country… it is the creation of the surge of Islamic nationhood. It is the product of an earth-shaking idea. It is a revolution cut out of the Heart of History… Pakistan is a live revolution’.
The great tragedy at partition was an unforeseen disaster caused by the mindless whipping-up of anti-Muslim hatred by the Hindu leaders. It was not a choice that the Quaid made, but a rude shock hurled at him to tarnish the rationale behind his struggle. It was a tragedy insidiously engineered by those who injected the poison of communalism in the frenzied masses. Sad, that it blemished the whole process of Pakistan’s creation. But we need to see facts in their true light, lest it mislead us into mistaken judgement. It will also be relevant here to consider that since partition, 16,000 anti-Muslim riots have occurred in India, and over 7000 mosques have been demolished. It just lays bare the Islam-hatred that is endemic in the body-politic of India, despite its empty boasts of secularism. The failure of ‘secularism’ to diffuse this atmosphere of fanatical hatred against Muslims proves the absolute inability of the two widely different religions to coexist in normalcy. It vindicates the raison d’etre behind what our leaders deemed imperative for our existence in 1947. It proves the foresight, wisdom and judiciousness that inspired the Pakistan idea. Should we not revel in the fact that we have a homeland of our own? A home where we can live without the rankling fear or insecurity that our less fortunate brethren across the border had to suffer in 1992 and recently this year, simply for professing their religious beliefs?
The actual process of the ground-laying of the ideology had begun centuries ago. In the words of the Quaid e Azam: ‘Pakistan was created the day the first Indian national embraced Islam.’ This process reached its culmination and got enrichment from Iqbal’s visionary idealism. The pan-Islamic content of his message makes it clear that he stood for the establishment of an Islamic State. His 1930 speech at Allahabad also proves the point. It was this essentially Islamic ideology that laid the basis for the Pakistan Resolution on 23rd March, 1940and gave impetus to the movement in its final phase.
The Quaid e Azam said: ‘The Musalmans are not a minority. They are a nation by every definition.’ It just makes me wonder: What is it that makes us greater than a mere minority crying out for a fair deal? What is the basis of this nationhood of ours? What lifts us above the bounds of race, ethnicity and culture? What was it that galvanised us from ‘a frustrated mass of people’ into ‘a nation with a future’? It was the Islamic Ideal, which, according to the Quaid is ‘…the relationship that knits the Muslims into one whole… the formidable rock and the sheet anchor providing base to the Muslim Millat.’
The historical 'rebuke' that the fall of Dhaka poses on the Pakistan ideology is also an oft-used reasoning to show that the ideology was 'drowned in the Bay of Bengal in 1971.'
Truth, however, is far removed. What was exposed in 1971 was not the weakness of the ideology, but the myopic vision of the then rulers who thought an equitable parity of the two wings as entirely redundant. As for the current state of affairs, (which to many is indicative of the Pakistan idea being wrong at the very outset), it only lays bare a lack of integrity, sagacity, and commitment on the part of the faces that enter and exit the political stage. That and not the wrongness of the ideology is what lies stripped to nakedness.
The following statement by the Quaid is significant in dispelling the claim of the secularists: ‘Pakistan not only means freedom and Independence, but also the Islamic Ideology which has to be preserved, which has come to us as a precious gift and a treasure.’ And that is not all: ‘In Pakistan lies our deliverance, defence and honour. If we fail, we perish and there will be no sign or symptom of Islam left in the sub-continent.’ Can anyone deny that he was fully conscious of the Islamic content of the Ideology, to realize which he strove so hard? If Quaid e Azam had wanted a secular Pakistan, it beats me how he could then play Iqbal’s ‘Khizar e Rah’ (Guide to the Way). Surely, Iqbal never wanted him to ‘guide’ the Muslims to secularism when he wrote to him: ‘The Musalmans of India look up to you to guide them out of the storm that is coming to India’. How could the two leaders__ one of whom was a Pan-Islamist through and through__ collaborate for the realization of Pakistan, if their ideological views were so irreconcilably disjoint? Quaid e Azam never wanted a theocracy, true. But then, a true Islamic State never is a theocracy. It is not like the archaic Roman Papacy with its exploitative clerical hierarchy which ironically, was ‘divinely anointed’, and hence past accountability to the masses. An Islamic State, as opposed to that, is a practical, modern, forward-looking entity based on the unsurpassed egalitarian principles of Islam which to date serve as a beacon-light for mankind. In the words of the Quaid: ‘…I am sure that our constitution is going to be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam. Today, these are as applicable in modern times as they were 1300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught us equality of men, justice and fairplay to everybody…in any case, Pakistan is not going to be a theocracy to be ruled by a priest...’
Quaid e Azam was a thorough democrat.__ I cannot see why his commitment to democracy implies a secular aspiration. Can anyone say that a religion whose Khalifa was open to question or even blatant allegation of unscrupulousness by the most obscure ordinary is undemocratic? In a time when tribalism and hereditary rule were en vogue, Islam first came up with a system of majority voting for deciding matters which could be referred to public consent. Islam has in it the true spirit of what democracy stands for. It lays immense stress on equality, civil liberty, justice and the provision of security and basic rights to all. It does not take inspiration from man-made Western parliamentary democracy with all its loopholes__ a system which edifies itself on the ignorance and unawareness of the easily swayed ordinary. Islam’s democracy is a class apart, for it does not condone demagogism or populist tactics, nor does it allow its God-given Law to be tampered with by self-serving autocrats. It takes inspiration from its own moral code as laid down by the Creator, which holds forever and for all. That is what the Quaid meant when he spoke his historic, ideology-setting lines: ‘ It is my belief that our salvation lies in following the golden rules of conduct set for us by our great law-giver, the Prophet (SAW) of Islam. Let us lay the foundations of our democracy on the basis of true Islamic ideals and principles. Our Holy Book has taught us that our decisions in the affairs of the State shall be guided by discussions and consultations.’ This statement clearly rules out any hint of secularist aims that may be ascribed to the Quaid. It distinctly alludes to the essentially Islamic idea of governance by consent and council.
Quaid e Azam looked forward to a State where all were equal, irrespective of religious differences. That is exactly what an Islamic State aspires to, unlike the ‘secular’ regimes of today which shamelessly condone the boorish denunciation of minority creeds and sacrilege to their worship-places. How can a religion whose Founder (SAW) equated unjust harm done to a zimmi as harm done to his own self, ever allow religious discrimination under its jurisdiction? Islam guarantees complete freedom of religion and security of life and property to all its law-abiding citizens, regardless of religion. The meticulous rule of the Four Caliphs serves as evidence for all to see.
Advocates of secularism detest the synchronization of ‘religion and politics’. When religions that have difficulty in looking forward are endowed with political dimensions which they intrinsically lack, a spurious mishmash results. Yet Islam is not a religion but a ‘Deen’. A Divine Law Code encompassing ALL aspects of life, ranging from the personal, spiritual and individual to the social, political and economic. Divorcing it from politics will be like mutilating it. Islam is all about justice, rule of law, peace within and peace without__ and that is exactly why it is important for it to stay together with politics. When implemented in its wholeness, Islam adds a moral dimension to politics, transforming it into selfless statesmanship__ almost public servitude under the All Seeing Eye of the Almighty. In this way, it purges away immorality and unscrupulousness from politics and ensures that morality instead of expediency remains at the heart of politics. Therefore, it is imperative for Islam to remain wedded to politics. For if not, the starkly realistic prophecy that Iqbal made so many years ago will doubtlessly prove true: ‘Juda ho deen siyasat say to reh jati hay changezi’. (When religion is separated from politics, only tyranny remains).
I will give Quaid e Azam the last word on it, for sadly, his ideological views are most grossly misread, misunderstood, misinterpreted and abused:
‘Every Muslim knows that the injunctions of the Quran are not confined to religious and moral duties… everyone except those who are ignorant knows that the Quran is the general code of the Muslims. A religious, social, civilizational, commercial, military, judicial, criminal and penal code, it regulates everything… and our Prophet (SAW) has enjoined on us that every Muslim should possess a copy of the Quran and be his own priest and guide. Therefore, islam is not confined to the spiritual tenets and doctrines or rituals and ceremonies. It is a complete code regulating the whole Muslim society, every department of life collectively and individually.’
To people who would still like to believe that Pakistan was not created in the name of Islam, let it be known that is not all that easy to improvise and manipulate the past. Our glorious history is indelibly carved out in the hearts of our people. Let it be known that yes, unsavoury though it may be, the basis of our nationhood is Islam, and that religion is a very, very potent power which you cannot conveniently choose to ignore or shy away from. It can build nations out of mere populations, it can change boundaries, it can never be lopped off from the social structure, never extorted from the hearts of men.
To those whom our ocean of post-partition difficulties turns sceptical of the ideology, let me quote a saying of the Quaid-e-azam:
" It is by resisting, by facing disadvantages, hardships and suffering and maintaining your true convictions and loyalties that a nation will emerge, worthy of its past glory and history, and will live to make its future greater and more glorious in the annals of the world."
This is the idealism of our founding fathers that we failed to rise up to. We betrayed that vision. The pioneers bequeathed to us the legacy___ a strong, promising ideological basis for development; a glorious dream to build reality on… we failed them.
Yet now, we shamelessly whine about the founders being wrong at the very outset. It is interesting to consider the fact that had Pakistan been well on the way to the progress that the ideology aimed at, we would never have thought of questioning it. We sit back complaining and haranguing over things because manna didn't drop into our mouths unasked. The ideology was never wrong, we wronged it, we sinned against it, we betrayed it.
Then what right do we have__ we, who are merely fair-weather companions__ to speak against what we ourselves misappropriated? It is absolutely disgraceful. It is like the kettle calling the pot black; it is like biting the hand that fed you. We are because of that ideology; we owe our existence to that same ideology which is now so odious to us__ and 'odious' because things didn't happen our way. We have chosen to belie our own existence; we have chosen to discard our own identity; we have chosen to bite our own noses to spite our own faces; we have chosen to humiliate our own name, much to the glee of our enemies who will fully capitalize on this fact. We just did not deserve to be the proud bearers of that glorious ideology built on the noble principles of justice, peace, equality and freedom as enunciated in Islam.
It is deplorable that we are unable even to see this simple fact that in order to make the ideology translate into visible success, we shall have to begin by valuing it truly. This will be our stepping-stone to that 'tangible gain', the absence of which disturbs us to the extent of turning us sceptical. Then let us light the candle, come what may, to the idealism of our founders who won us our home. Let us do our bit, lest darkness pervade all over, distorting our judgement, clouding our vision.