FAQs about “The Untold Story of Pakistan”


The following questions were received from the participants of the course “The Untold Story of Pakistan“. The answers have been provided by the facilitator. The course is currently being organized by Behbud Learning Resource Centre. This page will keep growing as more feedback is received during the subsequent sessions, and in the re-runs of the course.


Table Of Contents

Recent additions


Questions asked in the third session on Saturday 16 November are being posted under this heading, and will remain here for a week. Afterwards, these questions will also be merged with the rest of the page.


Making a team


Please share how you would like the team to be formed and how I can be a part of it.

This is a very special course because although the information shared here is derived directly from the primary sources and as such it is part of heritage which every Pakistani would be proud to own, yet this information has unfortunately become so rare that it might need a regular follow-up. Otherwise, things learnt in the course can fizzle out or get buried under the loads of knowledge and information that bombards us every day, and which often comes from a very different paradigm than the one introduced here.

Therefore, it might be desirable – or perhaps even needed – that at the end the course, we devise some way of following up the learning and even updating it. Also, many of the participants can probably develop these ideas and enrich them with their own contributions, based on their areas of expertise, and that could also be shared.

This is the reason that as the facilitator of the course (and the provider of the information, which I have dug up through years of my research), I feel a very strong need that at least the most interested participants should form some kind of a team. It can even interact either by meeting periodically, or through social media and the email, or both.

The purpose would be to do something for (a) self-studying in greater depth the issues introduced here; (b) spreading and sharing this learning; and (c) to see if we can indeed bring a positive change in the society towards reviving the spirit of Iqbal, Jinnah and other such visionaries, and invoking the unity which they gave us and which, for all we know, might still be there even though dormant.

I hope that this would answer the above question, and also other similar questions written by the participants in the “Suggestions” section of the feedback form at the end of the third session, such as:

  • What goals does the team want to achieve?
  • What would you want the team to achieve?
  • Without knowing what exactly the team would do and what its aims would be, it is difficult to say aye or nay.
  • If we make a team or a group to further the ideas discussed here, how will it be different from political activism, or a politically and ideologically invested group? (Because I was an activist once, and it took me a while to see the problem of being an “activist” – politically oriented. Perhaps the goal of formulating a team needs to be explained!).
  • I need to think more about forming a team or being part of the team.

Other participants have showed much eagerness, and some have also offered suggestions about how the team should be formed or what it should do, such as:

  • Team-building for the concept is a great idea.
  • Yes, I’d love to be part of a team trying to develop a collective will.
  • Can you please start writing short items for us to educated the masses? Since you are so well-read, you would know how to start, and we will forward them. Please start with simple to understand items and short ones – so that the people are made to think and reflect, that will give them an understanding of Iqbal Studies.
  • Yes, we should develop a team – at least a think-tank where we are able to discuss solutions and probable routes. I really resonate with the idea of checking my thinking about the poor – I try to help them but feel we live in different worlds. But we must humanize them – something to think about!
  • We should start meeting in the manner Mohammedan Educational Conference used to set up its meetings. Anyone can host a meeting if he or she is interested, and this should happen every three months.
  • Yes, we should form a team.
  • Yes, I’ll be part of the team.

Hence, the ideas suggested by the participants are that if a team is formed, it could be for the concept learnt in this course. It can also share and forward these ideas, or work as a think thank for discussing solutions for the society. It can follow the model of Mohammedan Educational Conference (open-minded discussions for arriving at consensus, and the meetings to be rotated). On the more practical side, it can try to do things for changing attitudes about the under-privileged class so that we learn to relate to their humanity. It can also seek to develop a collective will, and find ways of doing so.

A think tank is also a good idea, but it can also start as a study group, where each participant studies a recommended reading (from the works of Iqbal, Follett, Jinnah and other primary materials introduced in the course), according to their interest and expertise, and then share their views and findings with the rest of the group. The team can also discuss some of the questions and suggestions from the previous sessions, which lend themselves for discussion in such a team, e.g.:

  • How can we achieve consensus in this day and age?
  • How can we resume the process of setting our goals collectively again, as a nation? How can we start it again?
  • How can we change ourselves? It seems to be a case of easier said than done.How do we go about working towards our collective will? If we have been consciously or unconsciously following a goal every twenty years, what is the goal we are supposed to follow now?In today’s political context, how do we envision Hindus and Muslims respecting each other as unique nations?I would like to bring change, but how do I begin?
  • What can we all do – as individuals or in groups – to achieve our collective goal?

One of the participants wrote, “I’m most interested to make a team with your leadership – but I am a rebellious comrade, by nature! That could be very helpful – but also disruptive!” I do not mind the second part but as far as the first part is concerned, no I do not suggest a team to be led by anybody. I would be happy to facilitate as long as needed (which, I hope, should not be very long), but the idea is to have a group that functions rather like a “Simorgh”.


Other recent questions


How could we really work for the “unborn” future?

Let this be something to be considered by all of us together.


I am repeating myself – but again – how do we go about developing the collective will?

Like the previous question, let this be something to be considered by all of us together.


What does one have to do to promote uniform culture?

I would like you to tell me.


A bit more clarification on the workings of individual and collective transformation, and their complementary roles.

We might as well start by questioning the widespread notion that the individual and the society are two separate entities. It is true that many thinkers have believed in this dichotomy, and unfortunately our existing understanding and education has been heavily dominated by them, but on the other hand there have been many other thinkers – no less credible – who strongly denied any such dichotomy.

Iqbal, for instance, believed that the individual and the society complemented each other, and one grew and evolved through the other. Through him, the idea can be traced back to the Quran itself. It might also appear that this idea formed the spirit of Muslim legal thought for centuries, and was also reflected in the work of many influential Sufi masters such as Attar, Nezami, Rumi and Saadi. In modern times, the idea was presented most forcefully by Rousseau. Subsequently, it evolved through the work of Ernest Renan, C. R. Das and the entire school of thought led by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. All-India Muslim League was probably the first (and possibly also the last) political organization to be formed precisely on this basis, while the most detailed explanation of this idea can be found in The New State (1918) by Mary Parker Follett.

So, the basic idea behind the individual and collective transformations, and their complementary roles, is that an individual and the society are interconnected, or may even be seen as different aspects of the same reality, and the most detailed explanation of it can be found in the above-mentioned work of Follett.


Can this course be made simpler and more concise?

(So that the common man can understand the thought process of Iqbal and Jinnah).

Yes, definitely. I will first try to write a summary of this course in three parts (each part covering one session), simplifying the content and even rearranging it in the light of what I have learnt as a facilitator from the first run of the course). Then, a simpler version of the course can be derived from that summary. How does this sound?


It seems a mammoth task to eradicate poverty completely. How can we do that?

Very good question. I will try to answer it through a fresh interpretation of Iqbal’s parable of Marghdeen, very soon.


How did Europe achieve peace, justice and prosperity when the sub-continent could not?

In my humble opinion, the South Asian sub-continent has been failing to peace, justice and prosperity because the post-colonial thought has been dominated by the point of view expressed by the Indian National Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha in their resolutions of June 1947. This point of view is quite contrary to the line of thinking which had been adopted by the All-India Muslim League and epitomized in the Delhi Resolution of 1946, adopted by the Muslim League legislators. It is the second line of thought that led Europe to achieve peace, justice and prosperity after the world wars.

So, in one sentence the answer to your question would be that South Asia has failed to achieve peace, justice and prosperity because its best minds have ignored the point of view expressed by the All-India Muslim League in the 1940s, and have remained influenced by the points of view of the Congress and the Mahasabha; whereas Europe achieved peace, justice and prosperity by following a line of thought very similar or perhaps even identical with the one that had been proposed by the All-India Muslim League for the sub-continent.


If Pakistan was meant to be formed with peaceful means, what events led to bloodshed between the Hindus and the Muslims?

The answer depends on who we ask, so I would only share the answer given by Jinnah and his colleagues, especially Liaquat Ali Khan. When the All-India Muslim League proposed the idea of Pakistan in March 1940, the Hindu leadership of that time failed to raise any reasonable and fair objection but allocated a formidable amount of money and human resources for churning out hysterical and emotional outbursts against the idea of Pakistan, and feeding this malicious propaganda to all strata of society from the lowest to the highest. Through its propaganda, it sought to condition the minds to see the idea of partition as the vivisection of a sacred motherland, the slaughtering of a cow, or the cutting of a baby into two pieces. As early as 1940, Jinnah began to warn these opponents that their hysterical mania can lead to disastrous results, and he begged them to come up with any fair and reasonable objections if they had any, so that their could be a meaningful dialogue.

So, from Jinnah’s point of view, this was the main reason why emotions got so heated up by 1947, and led to a bloodbath. In all fairness, we should compare it with the very recent example of the referendum conducted in Britain over the question whether Scotland should remain in Britain or leave. Many in England were opposed to the idea of Scotland leaving the union, but did they did not create any hysteria, nor used such analogies like vivisection and slaughter.

It might be said that some on the Muslim side also expressed themselves irresponsibly while advocating the idea of Pakistan, but whether or not they did so, we are speaking here mainly of the attitude of the top leadership, and the examples they set before their followers. For this purpose, we need only to compare the statements of Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan with those of Nehru, Gandhi and Rajagopalacharia, in order to see the difference – and the Muslim League Legislators’ Resolution of April 1946 with the Congress and Mahasabha resolutions of June 1947. The difference will be obvious to anybody who compares these documents.

After the holocaust that accompanied the Partition in 1947, both Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan raised the allegation that it was the result of an organized effort on part of some of the enemies of Pakistan, and the objective was to end Pakistan in its infancy (and this had been stated by both the Congress and the Mahasabha as their goal and their hope for the future, in their resolutions of June 1947, although they did not specify the means through which they were going to achieve this end).


The 7 Stages – I feel I would like more to reflect upon.

I would be very glad to answer any specific question.


What is the “uniform culture” of today? Consensus on what?

I would like you to tell me.


Can you please give us more details about the subject of the movie Ishara (1969) – written, produced and directed by Waheed Murad?

Sure. You can start with my paper “A portrait of the artist as Waheed Murad“. Further details can be found in my book, Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times (2014).


Do these 7 stages lead as a cycle, as history keeps repeating itself in an evolutionary process?

We do not have any data on the basis of which this question could be answered adequately but my tentative hypothesis would be, yes, quite possibly.


What after 2026? We need to be prepared for the phase after 2026 as well.

I think that it might depend to a great extent on how we tackle our problems today. Let’s create unity and mutual respect in the society, so that we may develop a collective will.


Please do a session on Javid Nama.

Thank you. I will try to do it soon.


How can I make a collective effort to improve our nation?

I would like you to decide, and please share.


I am still thinking about individualism-collectivism to take Pakistan forward.

I will be glad if I could be helpful by answering any specific question which you might have in this regard.


If Rousseau believed that there should be no political party in a democracy, where does All-India Muslim League fit in that theory?

All-India Muslim League was open to all schools of thought among the nation – unlike a political party, which represents only one school of thought. Hence, Jinnah called it a “national organization”, and not just a political organization.


At present the political parties having the same manifestos are following the “new caste system” of the majority rule mindset which Muhammad Ali Jauhar warned us against. When did our political leaders deviate from the path shown by Iqbal?

I might already have answered this question here.


FAQs from the previous sessions follow.

Sources and approach


Don’t you think that the acclaimed purpose of this course might be rather too high for some participants?

If so, then we should reconsider the value of our education. The purpose of this course is just to show that each one of us can (a) make Pakistan a leader of South Asia for establishing perpetual peace and justice in the region; (b) eradicate poverty completely from society; and (c) achieve success in personal career while contributing to the two aforesaid goals. This is the least – and not the most – which Allama Iqbal and Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah believed each one of us to be capable of.


While forming an opinion on something like the history of South Asia, independence from the British rule and the creation of Pakistan, should one consider the statements of the influential personalities of that period, or the works of the latter-day analysts, or literature, and why?

It depends on your purpose. If you want to achieve what Jinnah believed you to be capable of achieving, then follow the guidelines given by him until you have achieved those goals. Other considerations can come later.


Did your approach to writing and thinking about Iqbal change entirely or partially during your researches?

I think that every reader of my work is entitled to judge this matter independently, and regardless of what I suggest. As far as I am concerned, it seems to me that my approach has changed entirely, or at least radically. I say this because the only parts of my previous writing and thinking about Iqbal which I still retain are those that can easily be adjusted to my new approach.

Please discuss the top-down theory a bit more. After reading Jinnah: The Case for Pakistan, it seems to me that the top-down theory is the reason why our common goals and our true history disappeared after 1954.

Leaders like Iqbal and Jinnah always claimed that they were articulating the thoughts of the masses, rather than presenting their own points of view. The opposite idea, the top-down approach or “aristocratic radicalism” – was epitomized by Gandhi, the spiritual dictator who would have an entire sub-continent follow his “inner light”. Modern writers tend to attribute the same approach to the Muslim leaders too, which is problematic. More details can be found in chapters 3 and 4 of Jinnah: The Case for Pakistan. Possibly the best handbook on the subject from a general point of view is The New State (1918) by Mary Parker Follett, which offers a very strong argument to show that significant ideas do not and cannot originate with a single individual or even with a few chosen ones.


How can we say that the goals which the Muslim leaders of British India claimed to be commonly adopted and achieved were indeed the goals of the entire community?

This course presents the point of view of those leaders only, since it has become practically unknown to us today. Please do not feel that you would be expected to agree with them. It would be quite sufficient if you concede that their point of view also deserves to be heard with patience. This is what this course is all about: the story of Pakistan from the point of view of those who led its creation. You are most welcome to approach it like a movie – enjoy without believing. When it is said that the purpose of the course is to show you that can fulfil certain high goals for yourself, for the nation and for the peace of the world, it only means that the course will help you see that you have this potential. It does not mean that you also have to agree with the points of view presented during the course.


I want to know more about people’s lived experiences during the periods covered in this history. How did the general population feel?

I wish we could cover this topic, but unfortunately it is outside the scope of this course. The reason is that any generalization about the experiences and feelings of people from a bygone era depends on what methods are deemed reliable for evaluating the data, and that is a matter to be decided in the domain of education before it could be applied to history.


Clarification of facts


What kind of modern education was it which, according to Sir Syed and his school of thought, became the direct cause of Hindu-Muslim hostility?

Those who are not familiar with the primary sources might even be surprised to know that Sir Syed and his school of thought considered modern education to be the direct cause of Hindu-Muslim hostility. I have presented several relevant quotations in the first episode of my Urdu blog series Aazadi (detailed bibliographical references, omitted from the online posts, can be found in the corresponding chapter of the hard copy).

To put it briefly, those pioneers said that the education provided in the British-managed schools was the direct cause of hostility between Hindus and Muslims because the syllabus was over-critical of the Muslim rulers of the past. So, it was this particular aspect which, according to Sir Syed and his school of thought was the direct cause of Hindu-Muslim hostility. Later, Iqbal and Jinnah added that the false perception of history acquired through the British-sponsored education also perpetuated the fallacy that India was or had been a single country. If severe criticism of the Muslim rulers of the past had sparked the Hindu-Muslim hostility, the myth of India’s unity sustained that hostility by adding fuel to it.


As Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and his school of thought considered Western education to be the direct cause of hostility between the Hindus and the Muslims, I would like to know and understand whether Western education is to be disregarded completely? Should we take nothing from the West?

They were not for a complete rejection of any type of education – modern or classical, Western or Eastern. They only said that the severe criticism of Muslim history in the syllabi of the British-managed schools was the direct cause of Hindu-Muslim hostility. They aspired to develop a system of “national education”, deriving those elements from modern, Western or any other system that could help the community achieve its common goals.


Did the British bring a radical change in the system of education only because they wanted to impose their own system, or was it also to place the Muslims in a disadvantaged position?

Unfortunately, we have become too suspicious. The Muslim leaders whose legacy we are considering in this course usually kept a remarkably balanced approach. I think that it would be fair to say that the final verdict of the Muslim India on the British Raj was Jinnah’s toast to King George VI, offered on 13 August 1947. I would recommend that you seek your answer there.


Why did the Muslims of South Asia avoid modern education initially?

To answer this question, I’d have to delve into my primary sources again, and that may take some time. But I can tell you where I would start my search. In December 1870, Sir Syed formed a committee for the purpose of finding out the answer to this question. It was called “Committee Khwastgar Taraqqi-i-Taleem-i-Mussalmanan” and its findings were published in the form of a report. In my humble opinion, that document should be our standard reference on this issue. It has been discussed to some extent by Hali in his authoritative biography of Sir Syed, Hayat-i-Javid.


The Parsi leader Dadabhai Naoroji was quite vocal in pointing out that the British colonialists were draining away the wealth of India. Yet, in 1886 he contested for a seat in the British parliament from Finsbury and assured his potential voters – mostly British – that if he got elected, his first loyalty would be to them. Was Naoroji guilty of betraying his Indian fellow-citizens?

No. Dadabhai Naoroji did not betray his Indian fellow-citizens, as his candidature was supported by most schools of thought back home in India – including the newly formed Indian National Congress. When he eventually won the seat from Finsbury in 1892, felicitations were sent to him not only by the Indian nationalists but even by Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, the right hand man of Sir Syed and a formidable opponent of the Congress. In 1905, Iqbal mentioned in his travelogue a barber from Bombay (now Mumbai), who was an admirer of Naoroji. When Iqbal asked him what Naoroji was doing in London, he replied, “He fights for us coloured people.”


How would you compare the Western psychoanalysts’ theory of ego with Iqbal’s concept of khudi?

Iqbal has himself done the comparison in some detail. The basic point is that the modern psychologists treat ego as a mental construct – more or less a creation of our mind. Iqbal, on the other hand believes ego or self (“khudi”) to be real.


How can we make sure that the collective will is on the right path?

(as it seems that too much depends on the collective ego or the collective will of the masses).

Your question makes me realize that there is a need to explain the whole idea of the collective ego in detail, but in clear terms, because it has been missing from our education for so long. I will try to do that elsewhere, but in short, a collective will is a part of the collective ego, and both refer to the nation as a whole, rather than just the masses. In any case, the concept of a collective ego pre-supposes that a collective ego cannot be wrong (and the same goes for the collective will, obviously). I would say that if we do not believe this to be possible, we should reject the entire concept of the collective ego (including the collective will).

To think of a collective ego which could go wrong would not be logical thinking, in my humble opinion. For instance, the concept of God requires the pre-supposition that God cannot be wrong. If some people do not agree with this, they usually deny the existence of God completely rather than asking how it could be known if God is always right. So, if there is a collective ego or a collective will, it can never be wrong. Otherwise, there is no collective will. In Islam, the idea can be traced back to many sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him), to the effect that the combined deliberation of the his followers could never go wrong. Traditional interpretations of such sayings might not have developed the idea implied in them to a complete concept of a collective ego, but Iqbal did.

The answer which I have provided here belongs more properly to the domain of science, philosophy or religion. Coming back to the content of the current course, if there is a collective ego involved in the events covered here, it has been manifesting itself through that series of goals which we discussed. You can look at those goals to see if the path identified by them is correct or not.


We need to make an important distinction between writers who are just popular, and writers who become “uniformly” popular, i.e. they achieve popularity across all sections and schools of thought in a society. The writers discussed in this course belong to the second category. It seems to me that they aligned themselves with the collective will, and then tried to persuade others to do the same. I hope that this answers your question?


Can you share some book or material written by C. R. Das?

You can start with Freedom Through Disobedience. This is the presidential address delivered by C. R. Das at the 1922 session of the Indian National Congress (Iqbal endorsed it as a political embodiment of the same spiritual principle which Iqbal had presented in “Asrar-i-Khudi”). Also available online is a collection of some of the earlier speeches of Das, India for the Indians.


The idea behind “Pakistan” coming into being, etc., etc.,?

This is a big question, but I hope that we are getting many useful details in this course?


A vast majority of Muslims in the minority provinces of British India voted for Pakistan. Why they all did not migrate to Pakistan? Why they chose to stay behind in India after the Partition? How come Muslims are still in a very large number in India?

The transfer of population was not a part of the idea of Pakistan. This was one of the earliest clarifications that Iqbal made after proposing a consolidated Muslim state in his Allahabad Address in December 1930. In the very next month, in January 1931, he explained in one of his letters that he did not propose an exchange of population. This was further reiterated in the Pakistan Resolution of March 1940, which stated clearly that all rights of the religious minorities in Pakistan would be safeguarded “in consultation with them”, and the same was asked for those Muslims who would be left behind in India. This clause was ratified again in the resolution passed by the Muslim League legislators at Delhi in April 1946.

Why migration to Pakistan became necessary for some Muslims of India after 1947, and who was responsible, are separate questions. However, the fact remains that at the time of voting for Pakistan in the late 1945 and early 1946, the Muslims of the minority provinces were under no impression that they would be moving to Pakistan. This is why very few of them left before the partition. Most of those who migrated eventually, did so after the partition.


Did we indeed achieve a real collective ego in 1946?

The answer would depend on how we define a real collective ego. According to my understanding, based on Iqbal’s description of a collective ego, the answer is yes.


Since India is doing so well politically and economically, they could argue that their point of view is successful rather than the Delhi resolution.

It is debatable whether India is indeed doing well politically and economically, or by what standards. Leaving aside those quibbles for now, if we agree just for the sake of argument that it is indeed doing well politically and economically, those achievements would only indicate success in two areas domestically. This would not prove that India’s point of view about the entire South Asia is also correct (or, as you have said, “successful”). The major argument in favour of the Delhi Resolution versus the Mahasabha and Congress resolutions of June 1947 is that the countries of South Asia have been persistently choosing, and are still choosing, to base their mutual relationships along the path indicated in the former and not the latter.

Besides, more often than not in history, it has been the underdog whose case has won eventually. For instance, when the British established their East India Company in 1600, their country was lagging behind its European rivals. It continued to do so for almost two centuries, before eventually becoming the largest empire in the recorded history.

Likewise, the Quran tells us that some of the companions of David felt intimidated by the apparent superiority of their enemy, but the more insightful ones said, “How often a little company has overcome a numerous company, by God’s will! And God is with the patient.” (2: 249) (Incidentally, the prayer which they made just after this, i.e. Verse 250 of Chapter 2, is quoted at the conclusion of the Pledge that accompanied the Delhi Resolution).


Please share some details about “the pledge taken by us before we are born.”

It is called “Ehd-i-Alast” (the Pledge of Alast”) and is derived from the following verse of the Quran (in the Arabic text, the word “alast” appears in the phrase translated here as “Am I not your Lord?”):

“And when your Lord took from the children of Adam, from their backs, their posterity and made them testify about themselves — “Am I not your Lord?’ They said, “Yes, we testify!” — so that you cannot say the Day of Resurrection, “We had no idea,” or say, “Our ancestors associated partners with God, and we came after them. Will You then let us perish for the deeds of those who got themselves to nothing?”

Verse 172 of Chapter 7 (Surah al-Araf)

Many individuals and families were not expecting partition. How do we reconcile this with the Muslim League’s demand for the partition?

This is basically a question for political science, and hence outside the scope of this course, but I can share with you the answer which Jinnah gave to this question (because this is not a new question at all).

He said that such questions should not arise if you concede that the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent were indeed a nation. He gave examples from his times, and we can find from ours. Many individuals and families in Great Britain were not expecting Brexit. How do we reconcile this with Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union? The President of the United States is seldom elected unanimously, yet he is not called the President of the Republicans or the Democrats, he is POTUS. The foreign policies of the nations are usually the policies of just one political party and are often opposed by other political parties of the same nation, and yet we call them the British foreign policy, the American foreign policy, and so on.


According to Jinnah, the real purpose of Gandhi and the post-1927 Hindu leadership was to keep India under the British rulers (reference: the chapter ‘Aristocratic radicalism‘ in Jinnah: The Case for Pakistan). As they failed in achieving that goal when Pakistan came into being, what new goal did they adopt after 1947?

I do not wish to present my own opinions or interpretations. Therefore, I would only repeat something from the note presented by Muhammad Ali Jauhar to the First Round Table Conference in London in January 1931.

Jauhar said that the problem of the sub-continent was that it was getting ready for majority rule (democracy) for the first time in its history, whereas in all the previous centuries the destinies of the majority had always been controlled by a certain caste, thanks to the caste system. In the past, the master caste used to be the Brahmin. In the modern times, it had been replaced by the capitalist – the baniya. This caste was attempting to distort democracy into a system of government where the rule of the majority should be only superficial and nominal. Behind the scenes, the capitalist caste could control the ruling majority and the entire electorate just as the Brahmins used to control the rulers as well as the masses in the past. Do you think that is what has been happening in South Asia since 1947, or even today?


Why were the progenitors of Pakistan unable to pass on to their successors their modus operandi, i.e. consensus, goal-oriented approach and the aim of eradicating poverty?

First we need to decide who their successors were. In this course, we are trying to see that the real driving force of a society is neither the intelligentsia nor the politicians but only, and only, the masses. So, the first question which we need to address is whether the progenitors of Pakistan also considered the masses to be their real successors. If so, were they able to pass on their modus operandi to the masses? I hope that this course will help you arrive at a very clear answer.


Since consensus (“universal agreement”) was the guiding principle of the mainstream Muslim leadership during the colonial era, when did the consensus-building stop?

At some levels, it never stopped – the level of the collective ego and the uniform culture. Unfortunately, both levels remain far below the radar of our educated consciousness. I will share some data about this (although not conclusively) in the latter part of this course.

In politics, both Iqbal and Jinnah had stated in categorical terms that there should be only one political organization for the nation, and it should not be restricted to any particular school of thought. Liaquat Ali Khan also held the same premise, and so did others of this school of thought. If we follow their point of view, we can say that the consensus-building stopped when the original Muslim League which had founded Pakistan was denied its status of a national organization. It was besieged by rival political parties and was subsequently banned along with them. Later it was revived only in name, and was thrown at the mercy of whoever could grab it. This painful process started within a few years after the birth of Pakistan.

In the domain of ideologies, the Munir Report published by the government in 1954, the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly by the Governor-General the same year, and the ruling of the Federal Court in its favour in 1955 were the major steps through which the consensus-driven approach was replaced by a dichotomous conception of society where various groups are supposed to remain perpetually in conflict with one another.


If the people of those times left behind so much for their country, who has obliviated all these things from our education?

Honestly, I would like you to find out and also let me know.


Did we achieve the goals after 1947 – such as the Tashkent Agreement and SAARC – unconsciously?

I would like you to tell me.


Can our next goal be to fulfil the dreams of all the people of South Asia?

(Such as ensuring that the Muslims as well as the minorities get their rights, and the eradication of caste system from the Hindu society? Just as Jinnah fulfilled the dream not only of Iqbal but also of C. R. Das).

It seems to me that the consensus of all the nations of South Asia, especially Pakistan, is already in favour of this goal. What do you think?


Who is carrying this thought forward today, knowingly or unknowingly, as uniform culture?

You are. As I hope to show in the segment about the current stage, today’s uniform culture is not represented by any individual writer – nor is it possible in this age of social media. So, unlike the previous stages where one face could be designated as the poster image for the uniform culture of that stage, today it is all of us together. Almost everybody – educated as well as the uneducated – is now a co-creator of culture, in the sense that he or she is expressing a view, not just in writing but through voice, video, image, memes and so many other ways. So, this is our uniform culture.

The question before us, therefore, whether all these views are contradictory, or are they different pieces of a bigger picture? I am inclined towards the latter.


How far the existing polarization in our society can pose a challenge in coming towards a collective will?

My study of Iqbal and the related areas has led me to believe that the lack of a goal must also be contributing to the polarization. Perhaps it’s fair to think that this polarization is likely to be reduced if a common goal appears in sight? By goal, we mean something very practical and not speculative – in my humble opinion, the existing polarization has also resulted from the fact that we have been indulging too much in speculation and arguments, and have long been ignoring the very notion of having to achieve some tangible but broad and universal goals.


Are we today a nation according to the definition of Ernest Renan (which was also used by Allama Iqbal in the Allahabad Address)? What can we do to be one nation again?

Ernest Renan defined nation as having achieved something together in the past and a willingness to achieve more together in the future. As I have tried to suggest in the last chapter of Aazadi, and will also do so in the middle part of the course, the process of conceiving a common goal and adopting it has never stopped. Moreover, these subsequent goals are consistent with the foundations laid down by the All-India Muslim League in 1946, and can be seen as the perfectly natural stages in the same evolution. If these observations of mine are accepted (and that is a big if, I admit), then we can say that we are still a nation according to the definition of Renan but we have become unaware of this fact – since we have been achieving common goals unknowingly!

In my personal opinion, these goals are being achieved by the will of the masses – the ordinary, mostly unschooled and underprivileged people. This opinion rests on certain statements by both Iqbal and Jinnah, where the masses are described as the real driving force of the society and serious doubts have been expressed about the educated Muslims and the intelligentsia.


Introspection


It seems that the Muslims of South Asia had achieved a remarkable unity by 1946. What happened to that unity after the partition? How have we become so disunited? If we had achieved a real collective ego in 1946, what happened to it after 1947? How have we arrived in the condition in which we find ourselves today?

A detailed answer can be provided elsewhere, but how about turning this into an introspective process for now? Each one of us can start by asking: Have I been contributing to that unity? If so, how? If not, why? Your answer about yourself, if it is brutally honest, can give you a remarkable insight into the society at large, since you are the microcosm of the whole society.


How come that those who disagreed with the progenitors of Pakistan gained such a great following in this country?

Please allow me to suggest a rather unusual approach for now (detailed answer can be provided elsewhere). Rather than thinking about the society in general, think about just yourself for a moment (after all, you are the microcosm of the whole society). Did you at any time become a follower to some extent of somebody who disagreed with the progenitors of Pakistan? If so, how? What were the things that led you into it? A brutally honest answer about your personal journey might give you a profound insight into the answer about the society in general.


How come we got derailed and lost the path carved by the Founding Parents? How was the legacy of the progenitors of Pakistan distorted?

My suggestion is to change the “we” in the question to “I”, and spend some time in painful soul-searching: “How come I got derailed and lost the path carved by the Founding Parents? And, how come the legacy of the progenitors of Pakistan got distorted “in my perception”? You are the microcosm of the whole society, and whatever is true about you is likely to be interlinked with the deepest truths of the society.


Lack of correct knowledge leads to lack of direction?

I believe that forgetting our history is the biggest single cause of our problems today, and much can be remedied automatically if we could only reclaim this knowledge. So, you can see that I am placing the greatest emphasis on the need for the correct knowledge. Yet, if you asked me if the lack of correct knowledge is the only reason for lack of direction, I would say that although it can be a major factor, it seems unlikely to be the only factor. In my humble opinion, we lose direction when we lack correct knowledge and are also unwilling to stick together, do not love and respect one another, and refuse to arrive at decisions collectively. If we are willing to stick together, if we love and respect everyone, and if we agree to arrive at decisions collectively, then only the lack of correct knowledge may not cause a loss of direction. Rather, in that case, the chances are that our knowledge might get corrected automatically.


What is the cause of our nation’s present mayhem and chaos?

[In the words of another participant:] What has made us reach this situation in the country today, where there is a total chaos?

I would like the participants to tell me. On such burning issues, our collective answers can be far better than the opinion of any one expert – such as me. In all humility, I can only suggest that in my personal opinion the ultimate reason could be that we forgot our social contract, which, according to those who led the creation of Pakistan, was the resolution passed by the Muslim League Legislators in Delhi in April 1946.


Why is there a class of elite who are troubled with the Pakistan idea of being a separate nation? They don’t accept the Two-Nations Theory.

Leaving aside a detailed answer for some other occasion, let’s consider the fact that many of those who are sceptical about the idea of Pakistan and the related concepts have not been exposed to the true idea as presented by the progenitors. Now, as you grasp that idea, how about spreading it and seeing if a few of the minds around you start changing?


How can we educate our masses in the true sense about our Holy Book and its relevance in our day to day life? What is the solution, if any, to the religious fragmentation?

For us ordinary Muslims, and especially the Pakistani Muslims, an important task that still remains to be done is to collect in one place the most valuable insights which the progenitors of Pakistan, especially Allama Iqbal, offered into certain specific verses of the Quran. Again, this is something that can start individually because hardly anyone of us has done this. This can also start a process of solving the religious fragmentation because, after all, fragmentation also exists within each one of us. Although we call ourselves Pakistani Muslims, how far has anyone of us reconciled our understanding of Islam with the insights offered by the progenitors of the idea of Pakistan?


Can our learning these things about our history bring a positive change in the society today?

I would like you to tell me at the end of the course.


Let’s educate ourselves more about Iqbal’s concept of ‘shaheen’ (eagle).

That’s done in another course which I offer, “Shaheen Ki Parwaz”, but it seems that you have got the gist so well just from the first session of the current course (and I expect that many others would too) that you can work on it even by yourself.


Problem-solving


How can we achieve consensus in this day and age? How can we resume the process of setting our goals collectively again, as a nation? How can we start it again? How can we change ourselves? It seems to be a case of easier said than done.

This is a problem-solving question, and we can hope to find some solutions collectively in the final part of this course – with input from everybody. I request you to do some more reflection on this very important issue, and please make your valuable contribution.


How do we go about working towards our collective will?

[In the words of another participant:] Wondering how specifically can contribute to sustaining the goal or to align to the Pledge of 1946, but I suppose those will be covered in the final session?

Yes, this is the big question to which I hope all the participants can contribute a big answer together.


If we have been consciously or unconsciously following a goal every twenty years, what is the goal we are supposed to follow now?

Let’s try to answer this together in the final part of this course. Since this question is about the present times, about which any of us could be as much well-informed as the other, let’s put our minds together on this.


In today’s political context, how do we envision Hindus and Muslims respecting each other as unique nations?

This is also a problem-solving question. I hope that it can be answered collectively by the participants in the final part of the course, and possibly in our own respective circles even afterwards – let this course be the starting point for many good things.


I would like to bring change, but how do I begin? What can we all do – as individuals or in groups – to achieve our collective goal?


Actually, this is the big question which I would like us to answer together, towards the end of this course. I believe that the answers created collectively, through a process of integration of each others’ ideas, can be far better than the products of a single mind.


See also


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