By Matlubul Hassan Saiyid   -  Few of us, who have not been close with Quaid-i-Azam would understand that he was essentially a statesman and not so much a tactician as others would have us believe. His life long political career was marked more by long term considerations than the achievement of immediate objectives and make-shift arrangements. He could, for this reason, afford to subordinate personal matters to the general interests of corporate life. Principles were of much more consequence to him than temporary gains, even if they conformed to his own point of view. Contrarily he would uphold to popular sentiment even if it cut against his own personal wisdom. He had the courage to own the difference. But he never gave up the attempt to convince others, just as he never revoted against the considered opinions contrary to his own. This emanated from one of the strongest characteristics of his great personality that he was n absolutely selfless man, and this singles him out as a unique individual in the era in which he lived.

For a man, who has no personal interest, and yet universally acknowledged to be capable to forming his own opinions, it is not always easy to give up, unless he is convinced that the other side has a strongest case, and that it is convincingly represented. In these matters Quaid-e-Azam was essentially a democrat. He never refused to give cognizance to a – of opinion, even though not acknowledged by modern methods of recognition, but nevertheless capable of contributing to the general interest of the citizens of his country.

In this respect he had a vigilant eye and he was seldom unaware, but never deliberately indifferent. Paradoxically as it may appear to some, Quaid-e-Azam’s greatness took root in his realization that he was but a small factor in public opinion and that he could be wrong and therefore he must consult more important elements of public life so that he could correct himself. This was again a selfless act. It was a unique privilege of Quaid-i-Azam that he had always been elected unopposed in all the elections to which he was a party, except in the case of 1946 Constituent Assembly pools. In this election he did not even seriously appeal to the voters to elect him. They just did on their own. But he took advantage of this fact to assert his representative character.

The period in which Quaid-i-Azam lived was an age of giants, not only among the Parsis, Hindus and Muslims of India, but among the people of the whole world, and each one of them had worked in his own sphere, and had influenced his people guiding them by his own personal exemplary character and share logic. The greatest among the achievements of Quaid-i-Azam was that he brought his people to a united platform, enthused in them a sense of discipline and gave them courage to assert their self-respect.

From the very beginning of his political career he had shown signs that he was nearly obsessed with the desire that India should become independent as soon as possible. The British Government was committed to the policy of gradual political reform, and Quaid-e-Azam and his colleagues, Muslims, Parsis and Hindus took hold of every opportunity for the expeditious fulfillment of that policy. That is why, perhaps, he is generally known to be a constitutionalist.

On the other hand, the bureaucracy of the Government of India, which consisted of British Civil servants, was not inclined to encourage any kind of reform either constitutional or administrative. They very often took shelter under the argument that proposals emanating from the Indian leaders were not fully representative of the united Indian opinion to warrant any serious consideration. To overcome this difficulty Quaid-i-Azam and Gokhale had been constantly busy in working out formulas of reform acceptable to Hindus and Muslims. Due to the untiring efforts in this direction he earned from Gokhale the enviable title of being an “Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity”. He worked for this unity all his life, even though in later years the outlook of Hindu leadership had materially changed, and it began to see the dream of Hindu domination over Muslims of India with the help of British bayonets in a government designed on the British parliamentary system of democracy.

The taste of this Hindu thinking was experienced by Muslims during the Congress Regimes that were established in the provinces under the Government of India Act 1935, and Quaid-e-Azam was quick enough to register his emphatic protest. The countrywide observance of the deliverance day by Muslims on his appeal, after the resignations of these governments, established two major factors about the Hindu mentality. It gave indications that Muslims had fully understood the Hindu designs in their future dealings and that Hindu leaders did not really wish independence, but to coerce the British Government to surrender power to Hindus only and still remain in India to give them support in what they intended to do. Quaid-i-Azam had warned that if this happened it would lead to a complete chaos and bloodshed.

In this background it should be understood the real motivation for the demand of partition. The Resolution that the All-India Muslim League passed at Lahore in 1940, was thus not the outcome of Quaid-i-Azam’s thinking alone. It was on the contrary, an embodiment of a collective opinion of Muslims of India, which included all schools of thought and all interests.

Put out as a constitutional proposal, this Resolution envisaged an evolutionary process in which the Muslim majority areas would carve out homelands for the Muslims to be able to govern themselves eventually independently, as Quaid-e-Azam himself said, according to their own genius. It would, therefore, be utterly strong to seek what Quaid-e-Azam wanted Pakistan to be. The more practical and realistic approach would be to rediscover as to what the Muslims of Indian or more appropriately what the Muslims living in the majority areas wanted it to be. In fact Quaid-e-Azam himself and emphatically stated before and after the establishment of Pakistan that he was not in a position to anticipate the corporate decision of Muslims of Pakistan as to what pattern the constitutional framework of Pakistan would take.

Out of the millions of words that Quaid-e-Azam had uttered during the course of his public life, little more than a dozen of them have become recently a subject of controversy.

His endorsement of the so called “Islamic Socialism” in Chittagong in 1948 is one instance. Nobody has cared to investigate how these words had occurred in the original address presented to him there and how he happened to say that these words voiced his own sentiments. What was the need of his inserting “not any other isms” on the spur of the moment? Who drafted the original address? Who drafted his reply? Was he correctly reported in the newspapers?.

The fact remains, as is established from his speeches that Quaid-e-Azam did not believe in any kind of isms. He was indeed very clear about it. He said the code of life given to Muslims as a divine revelation was enough and required no qualifications.

The other instance is his reference to the hope that Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims in the political sense in a speech which he delivered to the first meeting of the Constitutional Assembly. Interested parties have misinterpreted these words to mean that Quaid-e-Azam intended Pakistan to be what they said a “Secular State”. There could be no greater disrespect to him than to relegate to him to the position of a materialist. What he meant was that Hindus and Muslims would be equal in the eyes of law. This is borne out from the fact that Quaid-e-Azam had categorically stated, times out of number, that the demand for partition was based on the fact that Muslims were not willing to become the victims of the “Cruel Hindu Caste System” as Sir Hassan Suhrawardy put it. They feared that in a democratic India on the British pattern of parliamentary party system they would face total annihilation as a political and social identity, bound together by much a higher code of life than by mere economic considerations.

From the above it becomes clear that Pakistan was founded purely on the principle of self preservation and certainly not on the basis of any consideration of economic or social progress. The latter could be a natural corollary, but not the basis of motivation. It must be repeated here that Quaid-i-Azam was not the initiator of the idea of Pakistan. He was only a spokesman. He and his colleagues merely expressed the sentiments of the people at Lahore in a constitutional form and language, as the first step towards their realization eventually. For Muslims, Pakistan has never been and is still not, an end in itself. It has been, and still is, a means to an end. It is not the intention here to prove that among Muslims there were no factions in subscribing this point of view. Schools of thought did exist among them who were not satisfied with the proposals contained in the Lahore Resolution.

Firstly there was a group of individuals, who sincerely believed that the main consideration was to shake off the yoke of foreign domination. This, in their opinion, could be achieved with the collaboration of Hindus. They believed that Hindus could do no harm to Muslims after the British had left, because Muslims could look after themselves in an independent India. They did not believe that Hindus were not keen on the British leaving India and that on the contrary they wanted them to remain there until Hindus obtained, what Mr Gandhi called, “the substance of Swaraj”, which would in fact mean the power to annihilate Muslims from the subcontinent. This group believed, probably sincerely”, that Lahore Proposals”, would delay independence.

The second group, probably the most ignorant among them, was of the opinion that the Lahore Proposals was an outcome of the British Strategy. This group became immediately converted to the ideology of Pakistan as soon as it discovered that partition became inevitable. The third group concerned itself with Muslims remaining in India if partition took place. It was of the opinion that partition was not the real solution. They paid no attention to the provision in the Lahore Resolution that effective and mandatory safeguards for the minorities should be provided in consultation with them in the constitutions to be framed for Pakistan and India.

The fourth group consisted of the incorrigible economists, who would under the influence of the Jewish philosophy that man’s peace of mind and family happiness were of secondary importance. The real need was the economic return for his endeavours which he must continue to assert by all methods of destruction, because otherwise no one is inclined to listion to him. In this process they hoped to make their own leadership strong. They were a part of an international movement. For them India, Pakistan or for that any other country had no real significance.  No one can say that leaders of Pakistan today are unaware of these historical facts. But it would be worthwhile to analyse whether we have actually fulfilled the aspirations of the Muslims of this country and have ensure their self-preservation.

By Matlubul Hassan Saiyid