‘Do you visualize that millions have been exploited and cannot get one meal a day!
If that is the idea of Pakistan, I would not have it …’
Jinnah, 30th Annual Session of the Muslim League, Delhi, 1943
It is an irrefutable fact that the immediate uplift of the masses was emphasized by Jinnah as the foremost goal in almost all his public addresses from 1936 onward, quite often forbidding any other pursuit until the achievement of this goal.
The following is just a tiny selection, confined to speeches delivered on the most important occasions only:
- ‘To the Mussalmans of India in every province, in every district, in every tahsil, in every town, I say, your foremost duty is to formulate a constructive and ameliorative programme of work of the people’s welfare, and to devise ways and means of social, economic, and political uplift of the Mussalmans.’ (25th Annual Session of the League, Lucknow, 1937)
- ‘We have, under the present conditions, to organize our people, to build up the Muslim masses for a better world and for their immediate uplift, social and economic, and we have to formulate plans of a constructive and ameliorative character, which would give them immediate relief from poverty and wretchedness from which they are suffering more than any other section of the people in India.’ (Special Session of the League, Calcutta, 1938)
- ‘I say that the Muslim League is not going to be an ally of anyone, but would be the ally even of the devil if need be in the interests of Muslims.’ (26th Annual Session of the League, Patna, 1938)
- ‘What does the Muslim intelligentsia propose to do? I may tell you that unless you get this into your blood, unless you are prepared to take off your coats and are willing to sacrifice all that you can and work selflessly, earnestly and sincerely for your people, you will never realize your aim … I think that the masses are wide awake. They only want your guidance and your lead. Come forward as servants of Islam, organize the people economically, socially, educationally and politically …’ (27th Annual Session of the League, Lahore, 1940)
- ‘What next? … Think of the future and devise another five-year plan. This could be no other than how best and how quickly to build up the departments of national life of Muslim India [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][educational, social, economic and political]. (28th Annual Session of the League, Madras, 1941)
- ‘At Madras we defined our policy, we defined our ideology, we defined our programme, and … I appeal to everyone of you that you should make some beginning in one direction or other with regard to the programme and the policy that we have laid down.’ (29th Annual Session of the League, Allahabad, 1942)
- ‘There are millions and millions of our people who hardly get one meal a day. Is this civilization? Is this the aim of Pakistan? Do you visualize that millions have been exploited and cannot get one meal a day! If that is the idea of Pakistan, I would not have it.’ (30th Annual Session of the League, Delhi, 1943)
- ‘First, you must undertake, in real earnest, a constructive programme for the uplift of our people, educationally, socially, economically and politically.’ (31th Annual Session of the League, Karachi, 1943)
- ‘… we should wholly and solely concentrate on the wellbeing of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor.’ (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, 11 August, 1947)
- ‘The creation of the new State has placed a tremendous responsibility on the citizens of Pakistan. It gives them an opportunity to demonstrate to the world how can a nation, containing many elements, live in peace and amity and work for the betterment of all its citizens, irrespective of caste or creed.’ (First broadcast after independence, 15 August 1947)
- ‘It should be our aim not only to remove want and fear of all types, but also to secure liberty, fraternity and equality as enjoined upon us by Islam.’ (Address to KMC, 25 August 1947)
- ‘The establishment of Pakistan … was means to an end and not the end in itself. The idea was that we should have a State where we could live and breathe as free men, and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture, and where principles of Islamic social justice could have a free play.’ (Address to the Officers, 11 October 1947)
- ‘… the State exists not for life but for good life.’ (Message on Eid-ul-Azha, 24 October 1947)
- ‘You are only voicing my sentiments and the sentiments of millions of Mussalmans when you say that Pakistan should be based on [the] sure foundations of social justice and Islamic socialism – no other ‘ism’ – which emphasise equality and brotherhood of man.’ (Public Address, Chittagong, 26 March 1948)
- ‘The adoption of Western economic theory and practice will not help us in achieving our goal of creating a happy and contended people. We must work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice.’ (Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the State Bank of Pakistan Karachi, 1 July 1948)
Thus it cannot be denied that Jinnah defined the goal of Pakistan as ‘freedom from fear and want’, or a society based on ‘Islamic social justice’.
The term ‘Islamic social justice’ was also incorporated into the Objectives Resolution adopted by the constituent assembly in March 1949. The mover of the resolution, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, explained the idea as ‘neither charity nor regimentation’ but rather ‘based upon fundamental laws and concepts which guarantee to man a life free from want and rich in freedom’ (Speeches and Statements of Quaid-i-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan by M. Rafique Afzal, pp.228, 232).
On another occasion, Liaquat said that Islamic social justice meant ‘to create such economic conditions that should you go out into the streets to distribute alms, there should be no one so wretched, so needy and so poor, as to look at you expectantly. We do not believe in levelling down people as to kill all initiative. We believe in levelling up people so that the humblest amongst us should be happy and contented’ (Speeches and Statements of Quaid-i-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan by M. Rafique Afzal, p.402).
The other term used by Jinnah, ‘Islamic socialism’, was explained by Liaquat to mean that ‘every person in his land has equal rights to be provided with food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical facilities’ (Speeches and Statements of Quaid-i-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan by M. Rafique Afzal, p.267).
On 29 September 1954, when the constituent assembly was considering changing the name of the state to ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar explained the reason by saying, ‘We propose to run our country on the basis of Islamic socialism; therefore, let us say “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. That is the whole story behind it. There is no other legal implication of the name’ (CAP Debates Vol. XVI No. 31, p.558).
In my book Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times, I have shown that this vision has continued to live in the hearts of the masses, although unknown to the intelligentsia, and (pp.142-143):
One of the most touching references occurs in Bhaiya (1966), an Urdu movie from East Pakistan [now Bangladesh] which featured Waheed in the lead role.
In her moment of distress, the heroine (played by a Bengali talent) stands in front of a photograph of the Quaid and recalls him saying that he would rather not have a Pakistan where the poor continued to be exploited.
She then addresses his picture and says, ‘We have not forgotten your message, Quaid. It has been forgotten by those wealthy ones, who think that the country is their private property. They shatter our peace and comfort for the sake of their own pleasure. They destroy us, Oh my benefactor … Today I rise against them … so that I may prove that our Quaid is right. His word is true’. The movie was released in the same year when Mujib presented his Six Points.
In the meanwhile, the session of the constituent assembly in September 1954, in which Nishtar explained the meaning of ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’, had unfortunately turned out to be the last session of that assembly. The assembly was dissolved soon afterward by those who had usurped power in the land.
In the Munir Report published a little earlier, it had been stated that according to Jinnah the ideal to which Pakistan ‘was to devote all its energies’ was that every citizen should have ‘equal rights, privileges and obligations, irrespective of colour, caste, creed or community’ (Munir Report, p.203). It was not mentioned that he had insisted on the immediate uplift of the masses.
In The Struggle for Pakistan, Dr Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi stated that the purpose of Pakistan was to ‘help in the enrichment of human thought’ (p.14).
In Pakistan Naguzeer Thha [Pakistan Was Inevitable], Syed Hasan Riaz wrote that if Jinnah ever used the phrase ‘Islamic socialism’, it should be discarded as a mistake because Islam does not believe in economic equality (pp. 575-576).
The works of Stanley Wolpert, Ayesha Jalal and Aitzaz Ahsan, already discussed in some of the previous chapters, need not detain us here. The general attitude of these authors is that appeals to eradicate poverty ‘were irrelevant to Jinnah’s predicament’ (Jalal, The Sole Spokesman, pp.42-43).
Thus our most important sources of information since 1954 have been failing to mention the original goal of Pakistan as stated by Jinnah. Many of them have further misinformed us by suggesting that he gave us some other goal. To borrow words from him, ‘Not only they have somehow or the other made you miss the bus, but they have put you on the wrong bus.’
Hopefully, I have been able to prove in my book, Jinnah: The Case for Pakistan, that:
- IT IS A FACT that Jinnah stated quite clearly that India had never been a single country and the false idea of its unity was the first of the two pillars of British imperialism.
- IT IS ALSO A FACT that he said that Western democracy had generally failed in the world, and in India it was serving as the second pillar of British imperialism.
- IT IS ALSO A FACT that he claimed that by demolishing both pillars of imperialism, All-India Muslim League was attempting to liberate the entire subcontinent.
- IT IS ALSO A FACT that he seriously accused Gandhi, Nehru, the Indian National Congress and their associates of wanting to keep the British in India, contrary to their much hyped claims.
- Lastly, IT IS ALSO A FACT that he said repeatedly and persistently that Pakistan is not an end in itself. It is means for achieving Islamic social justice, or a society completely free from ‘want and fear’.
Hopefully, the following have also been proven conclusively:
- INSTEAD OF ACKNOWLEDGING Jinnah’s argument against the One-India fallacy, scholars like I. H. Qureshi, Stanley Wolpert and Ayesha Jalal have been impressing upon us that Jinnah believed India to be a single country. By establishing a ‘Two-Nations Theory’ on this foundation, the scholars lifted the Hindu Mahasabha version of that theory and wrongly attributed it to Jinnah, whose own idea of Two-Nations presupposed that India had never been a single country in its entire history.
- INSTEAD OF ACKNOWLEDGING that he was a relentless critic of Western democracy, academics have been projecting him as a champion of this form of government, without producing even a single quote from him to this effect (if we discount the fabricated quote invented by a perjuring judge).
- INSTEAD OF ACKNOWLEDGING that he claimed that his organization was fighting imperialism in order to liberate the entire subcontinent, the academics have been attributing false claims to him and have thrown us in the completely opposite direction.
- INSTEAD OF ACKNOWLEDGING that he seriously accused Gandhi and his associates of striving to keep the British in India, scholars have again thrown us in the completely opposite direction.
- INSTEAD OF ACKNOWLEDGING that he had urged upon us to devote ourselves for the immediate uplift of the masses through Islamic social justice, we have been made to believe that such concerns had nothing to do with the purpose of Pakistan, and were far from the mind of Jinnah.
Does it matter today that we should know the arguments presented by Jinnah?
This question is outside the scope of this book. However, the evidence already presented here should make it quite obvious that to say that India was ever a single country, even five thousand years ago or five hundred years ago, is to say that federations can be formed without the consent of the federating units, or that boundaries can be defined without consulting the people residing inside them. There is a stark similarity between this idea and the various trends of thought that are sometimes believed to have caused two world wars in the first half of the twentieth century.
Jinnah’s argument that countries can only be formed with the agreed consent of their citizens (Argument No.1 in this book) is evidently quite similar to the premise now accepted by the countries of Europe, and which has helped them achieve a united and peaceful European Union in spite of having killed millions of one another not so long ago.
The first argument of Jinnah can therefore become the starting point for the countries of Asia and Africa to embark on a much-needed discussion.
His criticism of Gandhi and the caste Hindu leadership (Argument No.4) is also important for the same reason. The canonization of Gandhi throughout the world, including the countries of Asia and Africa, is quite obviously contributing to the perpetuation of those ideas that might have caused two world wars in the previous century, and are possibly leading the developing world to the brink of the Third World War now.
In Pakistan, there is a lot of chest-thumping about the collapse of political systems. It is therefore important for an educated Pakistani to know that the Father of the Nation considered Western democracy itself to be the disease that corrupts the body politics (Argument No.2). We also need to learn about the cure he prescribed for this disease – and we have not even heard about that cure so far, let alone try it out to see if it works.
Regarding Arguments No.3 and 5, we only need to remember how Ernest Renan defined nation in his famous paper, ‘What Is a Nation?’ (from which Iqbal also quoted in the Allahabad Address).
‘A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle,’ said Renan, ‘Two things, which in truth are but one, constitute this soul or spiritual principle. One lies in the past, one in the present. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories; the other is present-day consent, the desire to live together, the will to perpetuate the value of the heritage that one has received in an undivided form.’
The most important part of the rich legacy of the Muslims of South Asia, according to Jinnah, is that through our collective effort and with the help of God, we liberated this entire region from bondage and slavery.
This is the crux of Argument No.3 as presented by Jinnah, and whether somebody agrees or disagrees, nobody can deny that this is what he wanted us to believe.
By obviating this argument, the self-styled defenders of Islam as well as the self-proclaimed secularists have together robbed the poor ordinary Muslim in the streets of South Asia of the greatest pride he or she could have had.
By the same token we also have deprived ourselves of the first pre-requisite of a nation as understood by Iqbal and Renan, i.e. the memory of having achieved something together. There cannot be any doubt whatsoever that from the point of view of Jinnah, the greatest achievement of our recent past – as Pakistanis, as Bangladeshis and as the Indian Muslims – is that regardless of whatever differences we may now have amongst us, we together liberated this region from bondage and slavery; and we did this great and amazing work without help from the more privileged Hindu community of the region.
Argument No.5 fulfils the second pre-requisite of a nation, i.e. the willingness to still achieve something together. According to Jinnah, the reason the existing provinces of Pakistan came together, the goal pursued by the vast population of Muslim Bengal with remarkable unity, and the cause supported so selflessly by those Muslims who later stayed behind in India was the immediate uplift of the masses.
Therefore, the five arguments of Jinnah presented in this book are not only historically significant but also currently relevant.
As long as Pakistan claims Jinnah as its founder, it has no choice except to define its existence by two things: (a) it is a country founded by the same Muslim nation of the subcontinent that also liberated the rest of the region from bondage; and (b) the immediate purpose of its existence is to achieve a society not only free from poverty but also free from fear; once this immediate goal is achieved – as it is achievable within a few years by the standards of Jinnah – the country should show to the rest of the world how absolute freedom from want and fear is achieved. No other society in our times has achieved it. The second part in particular, i.e. freedom from fear, appears to be beyond the ability of the so-called advanced nations of the world, who are crying out louder than anybody else about their perceived and real fears.
Our knowledge that Jinnah presented these five arguments should become the starting point for a fresh effort to re-learn our entire history, independent of the universities and the academies of the world.
This knowledge should serve as a platform on which we should unite for achieving the goal assigned to us by him – a society absolutely free from want and fear. Should we choose to achieve this goal, we might hear a voice reaching us from across the tunnel of Time:
There is the magic power in your own hands. Take your vital decisions – they may be grave and momentous and far-reaching in their consequences. Think hundred times before you take any decision, but once a decision is taken, stand by it as one man. Be true and loyal, and I feel confident that success is with you. (Jinnah’s Presidential address to the annual session of the League, Lucknow 1937)
This is a modified version of the last chapter of Jinnah: The Case for Pakistan. Complete references for the facts and quotations cited here can be found in the printed book. Download PDF or find out how to purchase a hard copy.