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Two Nation Theory and Creation of Bangladesh

Raza Habib RajaThis article is not a “defense” or repudiation of the two nation theory (TNT). Rather it tries to critically evaluate the argument that creation of Bangladesh in fact proved that the two nation theory was not valid. Those who claim that the two nation theory has proven to be a failure cite creation of Bangladesh as an example. It is claimed that ethnic nationalism trumped religion and therefore the two nation theory has proven to be a failure. I do not intend to prove that the two nation theory is wrong or right but just evaluate it with reference to creation of Bangladesh.

Frankly speaking I am not a history expert and do not claim any command on minute details of partition and its various narratives. However, as a student of political thought and comparative politics, I have often been fascinated by the two nation theory. Now for someone who calls himself a “Pakistani Indian”, it may appear that I will be a staunch opponent of the “two nation” theory. The way, it is often interpreted is that Hindus and Muslims are two distinct nations who would have found it impossible to live together and therefore Muslims who were the minority at that time would need a separate politically autonomous state. I do oppose this version and I think that it is highly debatable. If being a Muslim is the criteria of a separate state then why stop at India? Why not also include all the Muslims of the world and merge them into one nation state?

We know such a thing is not possible and is in fact laughable. The two nation theory would start making sense if only we understand the fleeting concept of identity. We are not just Muslims, but are also have ethno linguistic identities which at times may be competing with each other and at times complimenting each other. Everything revolves around a complex phenomenon known as identity and in politics that is often the most important factor in mobilization. Identity itself may be constructed or at times may simply be something you are born with. Moreover, identity may be dormant and can become active. It is when an identity becomes active, political expression follows.

How a particular identity becomes active often depends on the perceived benefits as well as drawbacks associated with it. It also becomes active, if there is a perception that you are being victimized on the basis of that particular identity. Once an identity is activated, it can form various political expressions which range from political mobilization to demand greater rights to outright demand s for a separate nation state. What determines the exact form of political expression depends on many things. For example gender identity can form a political expression but it is not possible ( at least has not happened ever) for women to demand a separate country! Demand for equal pay and improved civil rights are expressed largely through civil society and do not aim to change the geographical and administrative structure of a particular country.

On the other hand ethnic identity can form various political expressions ranging from formation of political parties on ethnic lines to demands for a separate state. Ethnic nationalists can demand a separate state particularly when an ethnicity views that it is possible to secede and the secession will lead to better standard of living and greater rights. The demand for a separate nation state is also hugely dependent on actual geographical dispersion of the population belonging to that ethnicity. If there are geographical concentrations then the demand for secession is more likely compared to a situation where the ethnicity is evenly dispersed all over the country.

Religion like ethnicity is an identity though compared to ethnic identity is less “rigid”. It is generally said that religion is merely set of believes, but at least in political literature, it has always been considered much more than that. In fact, some have gone to the extent of calling religion of birth as a form of ethnic identity. Yes theoretically speaking it could be changed, but religious identity is a powerful identity particularly in circumstances where discrimination or perceived discrimination is conducted on religious lines.

Put simply religion can also be an effective political identity provided certain conditions are there. And like other identities, it can form a political expression of demanding a separate state.

Demand for Pakistan ( whether we consider it as an actual demand or as bargaining ploy by Jinnah) was a consequence of an activated political identity. There were incidences which activated the Muslim identity and Congress is equally responsible for that as much as the Muslim elites.

Like ethnicity, religion can be a politically potent factor leading to possible demands of a nation state. In Pakistan’s case Muslims were also concentrated in two geographical zones (present day Pakistan and Bangladesh). While a substantial number was also dispersed all over the country there is no denying of the fact that areas forming West Pakistan ( Present day Pakistan) and East Pakistan (Bangladesh) were Muslim majority areas.

It is true that ethnic identity on its own is often a stronger motivating factor though at the time of independence there were no mass movements demanding independence on ethnic lines. In fact if demand for a nation state is only justified on ethnic lines then India itself should have been divided into many parts as there are so many languages spoken there.

Moreover, the term “partition” is misleading because India has rarely been politically a single unit. Throughout its history, there was just a loose geographical continuity which has always enabled this land to be called India. Within this geographical unit, there have been various political configurations. The right question is not whether there should have been a “partition” but rather whether the areas coming under present day Pakistan and Bangladesh should have joined Indian federation ( as visualized by Congress) or not.

So there were in reality various identities emerging out of Indian subcontinent. There was a broader Indian identity, religious identities, and ethnic linguistic identities. In other words there have always been nations within a nation. And then there is a concept of hybrid identity. It is not important for many to be just Muslims but rather they want their religious freedom as well as their ethnic and cultural independence. So I may be Muslim but at the same time I would prefer that my Punjabi cultural freedom is also safeguarded.

When Bengali and Sindhi Muslims voted for Pakistan (after all let’s not forget that these two provinces clearly voted for Pakistan), the idea was not merely preservation of their religious freedom but a combination of both religious as well ethnic/cultural freedoms. Thus when Bengali Muslims (who were also geographically concentrated) voted for creation of Pakistan, it was also for the preservation of their Bengali identity along with religious identity.

The choice was to join Indian federation or join Pakistan. Those who voted for Pakistan joined Pakistan with the view that perhaps their ethnic and cultural freedom would be better safeguarded in Pakistan rather than India.

The reason why Bangladesh came into being is less to do with fallacy of two nation theory but more with how actually West Pakistan treated East Pakistanis. It is not the idea itself but the way Pakistan tried to over centralize and negate Bengali culture and their ethnic identity. Pakistan superimposed Urdu over Bengali and adopted a policy of sustained repression. Bengalis seceded mainly because of the way we treated them. The discrimination activated the Bengali nationalism and led to secession. But once again it was the hybrid identity of both Islam and Bengali ethnicity which dictated the choice of independence rather than merger with India. What had earlier prompted them to opt for Pakistan, once again led them to become an independent state.

The two nation theory would have been discarded IF Bengalis had opted to join India in 1971 rather than opting for going independent.

Personally I think history is yet to give its verdict about the two nation theory. We cannot just say that just because Bangladesh came into being therefore it is wrong.

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559 Responses to "Two Nation Theory and Creation of Bangladesh"

  1. M3T United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    You give me what you Arab-based claims are about India and I will give you the source you need to check out those claims.

  2. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Darbari Gmasti says:
    February 2, 2013 at 5:21 am
    temples circulates and keeps money within the country and society

    temples hides money ,reduce gdp, elevate poverty.now days ashrams are money laundering centres.keeping trillions of dollars in vaults without paying tax is crime against humanity.

  3. syed United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    @no-communal (January 31, 2013 at 9:41 am)
    .
    //…If the goal of TNT was really that the “Hindu-majority provinces having a separate political identity from Muslim-majority provinces” and the “nation” in TNT really meant “communities”, why were only a grouped federation and a complete separation put on the table but not the system in which the Muslim majority provinces would have had Muslim governments anyway even independent of TNT?…//
    Before I come to the question you have raised, please allow me to express my admiration for your noble thoughts as well as your pseudonym. Personally, I too, am very much a non-communal person. My circle of friends includes people from all religious backgrounds. I firmly believe that religion should be kept out of politics. I also firmly believe that the state should be inclined neither favourably nor against the religious beliefs of either an individual citizen or a religious community. The state has to be absolutely neutral in this respect. The state has to be secular. Having said that, when I turn back to examine the political scene of Undivided India just before Independence, what I see is, the Congress’ image evolving rapidly as a “not-so-non-communal party” and the Indian Muslims increasingly feeling that Congress might not stand for them. I also notice, the Congress increasingly becoming the voice of the Indian Hindu Community and the League increasingly becoming the sole political party representing the Indian Muslim Community in the Indian political scene. I am not at all judging the TNT or its validity or for that matter its invalidity. I’m just examining the scenario. So, it was no longer about individuals. Many Muslims continued to have many Hindu friends and vice-versa. It was not about individuals, it was about two emerging political forces, each striving for its own political breathing space. The fact that there existed regions within India that were Muslim-majority and vaster regions that were Hindu-majority, only catalysed the process of two communities turning into two nations within a single nation, and then these two nations leading to the emergence of two nation-states.

  4. syed United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    @Ppaktea (January 31, 2013 at 9:09 pm)
    .
    //…he was clear and unambiguous that a sovereign Pakistan was his aim and in his view the only thing that would satisfy the Muslim League. I quote…//
    .
    Yes, and inspite of that, he accepted the CMP.

  5. kaalchakra United States Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Bangladeshi TNT, Similar to Sindhi TNT? Baseless Speculation Continued III :)

    Before presenting this third installment, let’s reiterate the obvious – friends with specific Bengali/Sindhi background know far more about contextual details than I ever will, so everything here should be taken only for what it is – bouncing around of a few ideas for the consideration of our Hindu friends who outrightly reject TNT.

    I had suggested that Bangladesh can actually be seen as the archetypical case of TNT. If we assume that TNT is true, then we should find that Bengali Hindu will find it very hard to grasp, let alone morally accept, what a Bengali Muslim like tajender naturally sees: that Islam creates a set of socially positive conditions, and Hinduism creates a parallel set of socially negative conditions – which make the overarching political dominance of Hindus (through their dominating Brahmin-bania combination) acceptable to poltical Muslims in the long-term.

    This must NOT be taken as a “regressive communal” arguement, but a logical and secular one. It relies only on the welfare of the overall society. So clearly so, that at least some logical and secular Bengali Hindus should agree with it. These logical and secular Hindus would rather live in a modern progressive state led by visible Muslims, than in a regressive one led by visible Hindus. The number of such Hindus may be small but it is not trivial.

    A similar preference for TNT-Free ‘joint-living’ exists among some Punjabi Hindus who have still not come to terms with the obviously traumatic division of Punjab.

    Yet, the group closest to Bangladeshi Muslims in its orientation to TNT may that of Sindhi Muslims.

    Allow me to explain.

    Sindh too is the land of Sufi-Peeri-Muridi ‘spirituality’. Many Sindhi Hindus continue to remember the TNT-free idyllic living in the past, which was destroyed by non-Sindhis, for non-Sindhi reasons. Sindhi ‘nationalist’ Muslims today ‘reject’ TNT, as has arisen a secular Bangladeshi.

    But, this again, seems to be a post-1947 phenomenon: rejection of TNT principle, after its implementation – not in the least different from Jinnah’s stand.

    Historians will correct us, but there was probably no massive anti-TNT movement among Sindhi Sufi-Peeri-Muridi Muslims prior to its implementation. G. M. Syed, a secularist and nationalist, was its supporter.

    In BOTH cases, Bengali and Sindhi Muslims ‘rejected’ TNT as a counter to the Punjabi and Mohajir Muslims, who were the new dominant players with little to balance them regionally.

    —————

    The secular, modern, rational Sindhi Muslim often sees himself or herself as a semi, or full-fledged Persian, of sorts. He clearly distinguishes his associations from those of India (Sindh different from Hind). He or she remembers little of value in the pre-Islamic Hindu past, and whatever is seen of value in that past, in his or her mind, is largely disconnected from India.

    Living with the Hindu, in itself, was never an issue for him or her too. There again, the threat related solely to the Hindu threatening to become poltically visible or powerful (and hence destructive, in addition to being socially destructive).

    Thus the TNT of the Sindhi Muslim, of the Bengali Muslim, of Jinnah who himself had an Ismaili heritage was never fundamentally of different kinds. It was always non-communal, secular, rational, progressive, and modern. It was invariably based on a common understanding of what is good for the society at large. I do not see much evidence that it has been fundamentally rejected in either Sindh or Bangladesh, let alone in Punjab. Indians like RHR continue to be few and far between in any of these places.

    ——————

    Rex, you and RHR are like my two dear brothers. I, the third brother, absolutely love trying to understand and appreciate both of you separately. You know how families are. Brothers tend to be very different and its always someone’s job to listen to everyone and try to make sense of them, in their own words. :)

  6. Chote Miyan United States Safari Mac OS says:

    KC,
    “In BOTH cases, Bengali and Sindhi Muslims ‘rejected’ TNT as a counter to the Punjabi and Mohajir Muslims, who were the new dominant players with little to balance them regionally.”
    .
    That’s an excellent point but I am not sure if there is a similarity between the two groups beyond that.
    .
    “The secular, modern, rational Sindhi Muslim often sees himself or herself as a semi, or full-fledged Persian, of sorts. ”
    .
    Is that true? I have met quite a few Sindhi Muslims in the US and call it an observational bias, but none of them have professed being a Persian of any sort. I had earlier asked Zahar to reveal to us about her/his Arab heritage and that was because almost all the Pakistanis I have met in the US have been actually quite vocal in touting their castes, especially the Rajputs. But then again, it may not be true for the population in general.
    .
    I thought that there was almost a reflexive reaction among Sindhis to the larger narrative being forced upon them. You see it more and more how personalities like Dahir are celebrated.
    .
    RHR,
    Btw, you are in one of my friends’ list on Facebook. Just realized this a few days ago. :)

  7. kaalchakra United States Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    CM

    A very good observation, indeed. There is an attempt to construct an ‘alternative’ narrative locally (as both PTH and ET are attempts to construct alternative narratives nationally). There is more open discussion of how Sindh was ‘attacked’. I once read a long article by a Sindhi Muslim how, according to his knowledge’ Sindhi ‘script’ was changed to its Persian base, etc. But, my argument is that, if TNT is really true then these ‘alternative’ narratives will run into a HARD LIMIT as to how far they can stray from the original TNT, despite some people’s ‘best intentions’ (defining communal as bad, non-communal as good).

    What may happen instead, for instance, is localization, or sub-nationalization, of association and celebration (just as some Punjabis might argue in favor of better treatment of historical Porus) rather than a shift in the underlying civilizational argument.

    The best study, of course, would be to see how Sindhi Muslims, living in Sindh itself today, tend to think and argue. That is a lot of work, and I hope someone will have an interest in undertaking that project. My arguments are self confessedly based on what I have learnt reading a few Sindhi Muslim wirters and interactors online.

  8. RHR United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Chote Miyan

    Then give me the honour of being a fb friend!!

    Regards

    Raza

  9. Ppaktea United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Syed,

    It was a farce of an acceptance, with full knowledge that it was unworkable and through an acceptance statement that twisted and distorted the CMP in a self-serving way. Also read the conversation that Jinnah had with Woodrow Wyatt (quoted in the Transfer of Power).

  10. no-communal United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Kaalchakra
    .
    “Before presenting this third installment, let’s reiterate the obvious – friends with specific Bengali/Sindhi background know far more about contextual details than I ever will, so everything here should be taken only for what it is – bouncing around of a few ideas for the consideration of our Hindu friends who outrightly reject TNT. ”
    .
    Kaal, no matter how you twist your argument the fact remains the same. The TNT doesn’t make sense in present day India, it doesn’t make sense in the present day Bangladesh.
    .
    “I had suggested that Bangladesh can actually be seen as the archetypical case of TNT. If we assume that TNT is true, then we should find that Bengali Hindu will find it very hard to grasp, let alone morally accept, what a Bengali Muslim like tajender naturally sees: that Islam creates a set of socially positive conditions, and Hinduism creates a parallel set of socially negative conditions – which make the overarching political dominance of Hindus (through their dominating Brahmin-bania combination) acceptable to poltical Muslims in the long-term. ”
    .
    What makes you so sure that tajender is a Bengali Muslim, let alone his views represent the Bengali Muslim point of view? I think a Bengali Muslim of the Dhaka variety will find the formulation (“Islam creates a set of socially positive conditions, and Hinduism creates a parallel set of socially negative conditions”) quite remarkable. Kaal, the other day I chanced across the video of a popular Bangladeshi theater and in it two characters were arguing about a famous Bengali quote. They were arguing if it was said by Tagore or Swami Vivekananda and the answer they arrived at, correctly, was Vivekananda. About political dominance of the Hindus, you conveniently forget that the Bengali Muslims already had “overarching” political power. It was given to them by the Communal Award (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Communal_Award_in_Bengal_1932.png). The Hindu Muslim problem of India was about the power grab at the center, between INC and AIML. Bengal remained largely untouched until 1944, the end of the tenure of the Shyama-Haque government.
    .
    “Islam creates a set of socially positive conditions, and Hinduism creates a parallel set of socially negative conditions” is what TNT has become in Pakistan because of the dominance of the religious ideologues, but average Bengali Muslims are far from such a formulation. It may be hard for you to accept this because of your close interaction/association with the likes of Rex Minor.
    .
    “This must NOT be taken as a “regressive communal” arguement, but a logical and secular one. It relies only on the welfare of the overall society. So clearly so, that at least some logical and secular Bengali Hindus should agree with it. These logical and secular Hindus would rather live in a modern progressive state led by visible Muslims, than in a regressive one led by visible Hindus. The number of such Hindus may be small but it is not trivial.”
    .
    No such Bengali Hindu exists. Bengali Hindus would prefer living under neither “visible Muslims” nor “visible Hindus”. To some in north India the choice may have been an either-or but it wasn’t/isn’t so in Bengal.
    .
    “Sindh too is the land of Sufi-Peeri-Muridi ‘spirituality’. Many Sindhi Hindus continue to remember the TNT-free idyllic living in the past, which was destroyed by non-Sindhis, for non-Sindhi reasons. Sindhi ‘nationalist’ Muslims today ‘reject’ TNT, as has arisen a secular Bangladeshi.”
    .
    You need to make a difference between this Sufi-Peeri-Muridi Islam (which is often an object of scorn for you) and the situation that religion is not so terrobly important at all. There is a difference between the two and with respect to the sub-continent the latter applies to India and Bangladesh. From all that I hear Pakistan (or formerly West Pakistan) may be a different story.
    .
    “Thus the TNT of the Sindhi Muslim, of the Bengali Muslim, of Jinnah who himself had an Ismaili heritage was never fundamentally of different kinds. It was always non-communal, secular, rational, progressive, and modern. It was invariably based on a common understanding of what is good for the society at large. I do not see much evidence that it has been fundamentally rejected in either Sindh or Bangladesh, let alone in Punjab.”
    .
    Kaal, no matter how you try to frame this, it’s a deceptive argument. The TNT was/is never non-communal, secular, rational, progressive, and modern. In the hands of Jinnah it was a political tool in his last seven years. Among some pan-Indian Muslim ideologues the Islamic way was the greatest way which needed to be protected by TNT. But this was/is not the case in East Bengal. Without the constant interventions from INC and AIML Bengali Muslims would very likely not have subscribed to TNT. Why would they want separation from the Hindus who gave almost all of their cultural icons? They already had political power, why would they want separatation from Calcutta? It true that when the whole country flared up in hatred neither the Bengali Muslims nor the Bengali Hindus were untouched by it. But before this Fazlul Haque begged INC to join him and form a coalition government. Spurned by the Congress he formed one even with the Hindu Mahasabha. These should give you pause in your thesis even if “friends with specific Bengali/Sindhi background know far more about contextual details than you ever will”.

  11. romain United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    NC,

    dude you took the air out of Kaal’s balloon. Well done.

  12. Chote Miyan United States Safari Mac OS says:

    KC,
    I am not completely confident but isn’t it worthwhile to look at TNT in terms of rural urban divide. I have read multiple accounts from people who have lived in rural Punjab that say that the common people there even now are skeptical about this theory and explain the Partition in terms of terms like, “the times were bad, etc.”
    The crux of TNT rested on a delineation of the physical space. The urban centers with their relatively modern ghettos were a fertile breeding ground for development of such a theory. Coupled with the nascent ideas of nationalism, it provided a perfect launch pad. In the rural areas where there was much more co-dependency and an inherent distaste with such a radical shift from the status quo due to innate conservatism, such a theory would, by default, have little attraction. The idea of Pakistan, in my view, cannot be merely explained in terms of TNT. You cannot convince a whole population to uproot to a totally new place in face of insurmountable odds simply on the basis of some new fangled notion that they cannot live with the Hindus. You have to give them a vision of a future. And what better vision can be than a complete breakaway from the past. The Muslim middle class of the Indo Gangetic belt, MP, and Hyderabad, and other such places faced a Hobson choice: status quo and, therefore, a continuity of a past that had lived its sell out date a long time ago or a future fraught with consequences. While a significant blame is heaped on their shoulders, let’s not lose sight of the desperate courage that put faith in such an infant idea. In comparison, our choice between Modi and Rahul is far easier. Will India turn communal if we select Modi?
    .
    I also think it’s important not to lose sight of the bigger picture by useless distractions of what Fazle Huq or that huq would have done. The idea that because Hindus in Bengal had already given up all their icons therefore there-was-no-reason-for-Muslim to vote for TNT etc., inherently presupposes that Hindus decided what Muslims wanted and what was “enough” for them, which reinforces the superior status of the Hindus in Bengal. Once again, a timely analogy is Kashmir. It enjoys a special status. Petrol and almost all items of daily consumption costs lower there than the rest of the India. The Govt. is the biggest employer. For all practical purposes, there are barely any Hindus left in the valley. Yet it doesn’t stop Kahsmiris from coming out every summer and engaging in a pitched battle. In summary, nationalism is a funny business.
    .
    Btw, I think Rexie has a man-crush on you.
    .
    RHR,
    I would love to and meet you as well. You seem like a genuinely nice guy.

  13. kaalchakra United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    NC, CM, Romain

    Nationalism is a funny business, and I mostly look at it as an outsider – no matter what kind of nationalism it is. :)

    In this, my approach is a bit like that of RHR. There is no attempt to accept or reject any version of nationalism for myself. Acceptin one version any one version too strongly (say, Indian nationalism) makes it difficult to appreciate another version (say, TNT) on its own terms.

    This absolutely IS a ‘rural-urban’ thing. More broadly, it is about being ‘educated’ in a certain ideology and of being in ‘competitition’ with others for valued resources.

    For instance, a lot of people (I have some old Indians I have known for a while) rely overwhelmingly on ‘education’ to remove all difference. That is a mistake. “Education” actually can sharpen divides, by strengthening separate identities. The ‘nature’ of education matters a lot more than education itself.

    ————-

    NC and Romain

    Did TNT apply to Bengali Muslims or to Bengladesh? Those who think there may be something real behind this idea will see it appearing in places like Punjab, Sindh, Bengal, the rest of India, in different shades – not in terms of total acceptance or rejections.

    But before we go further down that road, let me make sure, first, I understand this perspective clearly myself. So bear with me for a little longer, please.

    ————————————

    RHR

    I think a real believer in TNT (without getting into whether it is a ‘good’ thing or ‘bad’) would argue that TNT actually continues to be alive in India itself. And I am not speaking of Bengal alone any more.

    In other words, TNT is not merely about ‘geographical’ separation per se. It is about the separation of minds.

    Do I understand the TNT idea correctly? if not, how would you put it? I am not asking Rex because Rex and I agree on a lot of stuff already. :)

    Thanks in advance.

  14. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Kaal,

    I am personaly not acquinted nor have any contact with non-believers per say. I am a blogger and communicate with all sorts of people without asking them of their background, try to understand their opinions and write my comments on matters which I have some knowledge.

    Many labels have been given to me, most reflecting the state of the mind of the writer and some with the absence of any energy, turning me cold and off.

    I guess this is unlike a musical concert where every musicians play their individual instruments more or less simultaneously to a predetermined given musical piece. This creats the warmness and acts as a collator of the energy unleashed by the conductor and the listening audience in the concert hall. This is definitely not the case in blogging and sometimes causes the release of negative energy.

    However, to be able to appreciate the TNT, it would be very simple if the Indian boggers were to accept as a prerequisite the rights of all natives of the south Asian sub-continent people and were to grant them the right to choose their own Govts. in a peaceful and democratic order, regardless of the geographical lines of the territory they live in. I know it is hard for people who do not genuinely believe in democracy nor in the existance of God the creator of the universe.

    It was not easy initialy for the communist Soviet Union either as has been difficult for all monarchs, and the rulers of the ancient world order to respect freedom of the individual and to grant the right to people to choose their own Govts. But today the European continent provides a model, an example of how people can live together as one and yet separately in their communities, cantons and provinces having elected administrations and even separate labels for symbolic identities. The former National borders gradualy becoming almost meaningless.

    Rex Minor

  15. arkmb Pakistan Safari Mac OS says:

    CM
    “In comparison, our choice between Modi and Rahul is far easier. Will India turn communal if we select Modi?”
    Didn’t india turn communal in 1947?
    your analysis about rural vs urban,lower class vs elite class,educate vs uneducated divide is excellent,in gist haves rather than have-nots were promised and alluded to greater profit and bounty in promised land of TNT.

  16. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    KC,

    As usual, excellent comments. Education can actualy sharpen divide by stregnthing separate identities. Yes, it does and to overcome this phenomina, we have the exchange of students, apart of teaching foreign languages, we have joint education centres with our main WW rival France where students from both countries receive their education. It is a long process but should be preferable for the neighbours in place of playing cricket games.

    India and Pakistan could follow this track once they have a peace treaty between their countries.

    Rex Minor

  17. RHR United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ Kaal

    Strange but I am not a proponent of TNT. However, for me it is just an idea which is effective irrespective of whether I like it or not. Nations are not mutually exclusive though nation states are. In India, with within Indian nation there is Tamil Nation, Telugu Nation, Assamese nation and so on. Even these nations are not exactly homogeneous. You can call Muslims and Hindus as nations though living and intermingling under the broad umbrella of a United India

    The concept of nation along religious line is possible provided circumstances are such.

    Now whether this is a GOOD thing or not, it is a separate question

  18. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    rhr and kaal, creation of pakistan was british kindness to the haves not and suppressed of subcontinent.in bengal muslims have no middle clas.same was condition of victim of brhmnsm in west pakistan.this was great progressive step.victims should thank britishers for their kindness.
    creation of pakistan was result of of natural war between haves and haves not.nothing to do with religion.moolnivasis fought with brhmn invadersbut lost.then they converted to budhdhism and fought but lost after 1000 years.again converted to islam and fought.britishers saved nearly half by creating pakistan.
    nobody could think that biswas(low caste) can become president of bangladesh

  19. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Tajender,

    Strange that you ignore the current President of the USA. Without showing disrespect to biswas about whom I have no knowledge, if a son of a muslim Nomad from Kenya and an American woman of Irish descent can grow up in the streets of Al capone city and become the 2nd term President of the USA and has managed to unload the bag with clintonian worms, then any thing is possible in any part of the world. The wind of change from the deserts loaded with cosmic energy can make impossible a reality. Just watch for the stars at night and try to listen to the silent march of the caravans.

    Rex Minor

  20. Milestogo United States Safari iPhone says:

    Obama is doing Allah’s work.

  21. romain United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    dear Kaal Mian,

    In my simple mind, i explain TNT by its outcome. In other words to me the solution defines the problem. Lemme explain in my simple way – for no matter how the problem is first perceived, ultimately it leads to a solution and the process of solving it keeps moving the starting point.

    TNT was a aolution to a problem(47). Since the problem was not well understood, 1971 happened.

    In my myopic view, the Indians solved this problem brilliantly by making language (or cultural) based states or nation-states as RHR calls them.

    In pakiland too, this realization is coming albeit late whereby language and language derived culture is forcing them to create new state(s) punjab state. Sindhis want a breathing space, and the Mohajirs want a JinnahLand or whatever. You could say that TNT hasnt been solved – no equilibrium has an achieved.

    So the the orignal premise of TNT, ie religion, was not the problem that needed to be solved, the solution was more of distribution of power and cultural identity IMHO.

    In my very simplest and humble opinion, MAJ and ML wanted power. Congress did not want to share it. MAJ and cohorts realized that religion could be used to consolidate their power and so they used it.

    Asheya Jalal when she says MAJ did not want partition, she is probably right. But when congress called his bluff, MAJ was cornered and his ego prevented him from backing down. So a moth eaten Pakiland resulted where a majority seceded from the minority (71) and what is left is still struggling to find solutions.

    The partition of Bangal was originally done by the British for administrative puposes. More muslims died in the protests than hindus. And as NC pointed out Muslims were more than willing to join Hindu Mahasaba to form a government – where was TNT then?

  22. romain United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Dear Kaal Mian,

    Hit return too soon.

    The question is did MAJ have to use religion to gain power?

  23. romain United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    … and what does it say about his prowess as a politician, leader that he utilized the principles, ie religion, of his Masters, british, to gain power?

    Maybe this question is really for YLH and on the other board

  24. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    If one was to ignore Bangla Desh in the heading of the article and re-read it as it is, the commentry of the bloggers could have taken a different direction. I have done this and am of the conclusion that this is perhaps RHR’s finest and classic writings which I have ever read. The article specificaly stipulates and points out to the importance of the ethnic cultures including the languages of the people who because of the religion came together and became the People of Pakistan.

    The failure of the people to become a Nation is due to the fact what RHR describes, was the ethnic and cultural background which in my assessment was not fully thought through by Mr Jinnah and his close associates and advisrs at that time and nor were they considered for priority after partition. The introduction of the urdu language as a lingua Franca for the total people was a task, disregarding the status of other languages and ofcourse respective cultures, and is perhaps the causual factor of the instability in the land, relying mostly on the slogan of religion for unity. Bangla Desh became the real victim with its vast majority being snatched away from the torso of Pakistan. Religion was victimised later by the liberals educated class after it was instrumentalised by the military as well as civilian leaders.

    The language is the vehicle for ideas and without ideas, there are no innovations and iventions in Nations. In terms of statistics of literacy in Pakistan, it is not even possible to decode the info from the internet.

    Rex Minor

  25. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Romain

    Do you think the Dhaka session of The All India Muhammadan Educational Conference (1906) might tell us something about the nature of Hindu-Muslim unity in Bengal during the period we are discussing? It followed immediately after the partition of Bengal (1905) that you mentioned.

    Bengali Muslims led India in winning a communal award. Bengal led India in communal riots. Bengali Muslims were second to none in advancing Muslim League agenda.

    Romain, are we letting the fact that Bengali Muslims were beaten at their own game by their UPite and Punjabi brethren mislead us into believing that Bengali Muslims were not champions of TNT (at least any less than Punjabi and UPite Muslims)?

  26. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    And this brings us to the point I highlighted earlier, as in the case of Sindhi Muslims. In the Great Sweepstakes of TNT, immediately following 1947, Bengali Muslims and Sindhi Muslims, as intra-Muslim groups, lost big while Punjabi Muslims and Mohajirs won huge.

    However, that does not in any way provide any evidence that any one of them did not believe in TNT.

    Had Jinnah been alive, I daresay he might have said that his TNT is alive and represented better in the area of Bengal today than in West Pakistan.

    Would he be wrong? If so, why? Thanks romain.

  27. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Perhaps, the logical difficulty lies in our exclusive focus on the event and notion of geographical separation, itself. For understandable reasons, such things are emotionally most traumatic and logically hardest to understand for Hindus.

    So it might help to take a look within Pakistan itself today. There too, some Shias and Ahmadis have begun to feel that they lost some advantage in separating themselves from the mass of Hindus who had formed the common focus of ALL – Sunnis, Shias, Sufis, Ahmadis and the rest, and had thus kept internal conflict at bay.

    However, some people’s desire today to return to their perceived ‘safety’ of pre-1947 existence must not lead us to conclude that prior to 1947, TNT made any less sense to any one group than to others.

  28. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Does internal Conflict within Pakistan negate TNT? Hopefully, the last installment. :)

    So, I have not seen compelling evidence that TNT belonged to any one (some) regional group(s), as such. Nor that the later separation of regions negates the truth of TNT as seen by its supporters: which is, that to the extent Muslims can gain political power, Muslims cannot live indefinitely under the political domination and control of Hindus (and various Hindu oppressors). In that, Hindus and Muslims are separate nations.

    Similar, doubts are often raised by a few people in view of the unfortunate conflict we sometimes hear reported from within Pakistan itself.

    Such doubts are based on a complete lack of understanding of TNT, and ultimately of Islam and Pakistan.

    The divides we see within Pakistan have ALWAYS existed. No Muslim of any knowledge of Islam and no significant Muslim group has ever accepted Ahmadism as any form of Islam. Neither pre-nor post 1947. Shia and Sunni divide and conflict is ancient. It has existed both within and outside India.

    How many people here know much about the famous Shia College of Lucknow? It was founded and later supported by Shias because, in the eyes of many Shias, Aligarh had become totally sunnified. They did not see it as a citadel of islam, but a citadel of sunnism.

    Yet Jinnah was a shia (or whatever he believed he was). Internal conflict and dissension existed prior to TNT mobilization and existed post TNT mobilization. Theoretically and practically, TNT and internal conflict and dissension have no relationship.

  29. ExWho India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    dear PTH friends

    Those who came up with the TNT or believed in it were emotional, emotionalized, anger-complexed, self-glorifying (or self-pitying), self-righteous people. They were not thinkers or scholars or philosophers or statesmen of high(est) rank.

    >

    Any muslim who wanted to be important found some reason to join that TNT bandwagon. Thus the mass of the TNT-crowd grew and grew. Later Jinnah (a typical muslim megalomaniac) too jumped in – directly into the wagon-driver’s seat.

    >

    Hence all our discussions about the TNT 80 years later are silly.

    Why go down to the level of people who come up with emotional, self-righteous “theories”?

  30. Milestogo United States Safari iPhone says:

    Jinnah as a Shia might have conspired against Sunnis by setting in motion – the partition of Pakistan.

    All land belongs to Allah, therefore wherever sunni Muslims are in majority they have a right to rule – be it Kashmir, banaras Hyderabad or London…

  31. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    “emotional, self-righteous”

    Only to its detractors, not to its supporters.

    TO its supporters, TNT was and is a rational, progressive, modern, and non-communal theory. It is based on a specific understanding of what Islam and Hinduism are as social structures, and what their individual histories are as social effects.

    Jinnah had that understanding, and while he might have been mistaken in the eyes of a few people here, he was a rational, progressive, modern, non-communal man.

  32. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Wow. Shia College has Hindified its website. This must have happened VERY recently.

    http://www.shiapgcollege.ac.in/

  33. no-communal United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Kaalchakra,
    .
    Are you talking about the “Nation” in the Two Nation Theory in the sense of large communities or in terms of mutually exclusive (and perhaps antagonistic by consequence) independent nation states? There are many here who tell us that the TNT as advertised in the Pakistan movement had in fact to be interpreted as the former. They tell us that it was the Congress Party that interpreted TNT as a demand for an independent Muslim nation state and, willingly or unwillingly, shoved Pakistan down the throat of an (unwilling) AIML. But this question is important also for the issues you bring up, notably the Dhaka Education Conference and so on, because such conferences are not part of the more restrictive definition we Indians are used to. As you know, Indians are used to a much narrower definition of TNT — the demand for a sovereign independent Muslim nation state (upon independence from the British rule) which would go by the name of Pakistan with its own sovereign Constitution. The origin of this demand, that eventually led to Partition, has a well documented history as well as geography that you cannot simply just wish away.

  34. manish Norway Opera Mini Unknow Os says:

    Kaal

    Great analysis regarding TNT.
    We have for far too long neglected the role played by bengali muslims in conception and subsequent crystallization of TNT, and have blamed the Punjabi pakistanis for the partition, when all they did was to prove themselves better at the game the bengali muslims were playing.
    kudos for highlighting that point.

    Further,
    i do know about the Shia College as I belong to Lucknow.
    and saw it while going to medical college via the ‘Laal pulh’.
    however, lukhnavi nawabs have developed so much love for engineering and management that they have, to some extent, forgotten about this college, and all we today remember is IIM, Sitapur Road.
    engineering college is IET beside Jankipuram.
    Even that godforsaken National PG college is more reputed today than Shia College.
    Shia College today is only a shade of what it was in the past.

  35. no-communal United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    “We have for far too long neglected the role played by bengali muslims in conception and subsequent crystallization of TNT, and have blamed the Punjabi pakistanis for the partition, when all they did was to prove themselves better at the game the bengali muslims were playing.”
    .
    The All India Muslim League was a party of the Muslim salariat in north India. This is where the demand for Pakistan came from. The Muslim League had little following either in Punjab or in Bengal before the last, defining, elections of 1946. No one informed can “blame” Punjabi Pakistanis for any development that brought matters to a precipice in 1946.

  36. manish Norway Opera Mini Unknow Os says:

    @ NC:
    you are enlightened and informed, so you know the truth.
    but a common indian tries to understand everything of the period of 40s from present situations.
    and, in this, he sees muhajirs as victims in their own country and bangalese as the people who were wronged in ’71.
    so he thinks that it’s the punjabi pakistani who is the villan today, and it was he who was villan back in ’47.
    although what one or two idiot indians think should not bother an intellectual like you, but when they form numbers in 100s of millions, their opinions matter.

    i just wanted to say that whatever was the role of bengalese need to be understood.
    thank you.

  37. Chote Miya United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Manish,
    The demand for Pakistan or a separate homeland for Muslims first came from Iqbal, hailing from Sialkot, Punjab. Before that it was Lala Lajpat Rai who floated a similar theory.

  38. Chote Miya United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    KC,
    I think you are getting too complicated about TNT. TNT got traction because of its possibility. Had there been a uniform distribution of Hindu, Muslims and Sikh population, there would have been no TNT. The demands then would have been on the basis of shared ethnicity. In essence, it was a dressed up version of the age old fight between a central authority and the federal units.

  39. no-communal United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    manish
    .
    “but a common indian tries to understand everything of the period of 40s from present situations.
    and, in this, he sees muhajirs as victims in their own country and bangalese as the people who were wronged in ’71.”
    .
    Oh I see, you are representing the common Indian (100s of millions of them) trying to understand everything {b} of the period of 40s from the present situations. Do be so kind to tell us “whatever was the role of bengalese” that “need to be understood” and “the game the bengali muslims were playing” in this period.

  40. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    NC and CM, good points, as usual. Let me get back to you. Many thanks in advance.

    ————-

    Manish

    If you are from Lucknow, then you might/ought to also know of another great name – raja of mahmudabad. A close friend of Jinnah and a key benefactor of Pakistan. I can bet most Lucknowite Hindus – even casual students of history – haven’t much idea as to how important the gentleman was.

    BTW, talking to Lucknowite Hindus one gets a similar feeling as one does talking to Bengali, Sindhi, Punjabi Hindus. They know of Aligarh, but that is seen as somehow far away, ‘different’. In Lucknow or its history itself, they see no evidence of anything like TNT or anyone supporting it.

    One theory is that this problem springs from the basic nature of Hinduism – in how it teaches most Hindus to think of the world around them.
    ————————-

    The advantage of not seeing these things in terms of ‘blame’ or ‘credit’ is that we are more likely to accept what facts clearly tell us. We can, for instance, also argue that by playing a leading role in conceptualizing and implementing TNT, Bengali Muslims did themselves and everyone else a great and lasting ‘favor’. You would agree that all of that is just a matter of perspective.

    ————–

    The fate of the venerable Shia College appears to reflect the competitive situation of most other traditional (liberal?) institutions of learning. The market now belongs to IIMs, IITs, polytechnics etc.

  41. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Kaal,

    Are you sure you are still commenting within the scope of RHR article, which has clearly defined the contours of and within the TNT context?

    Rex Minor

  42. heavy_petting United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Dear Kaalchakra and Chote Miyan
    .
    You’ve got a new friend (http://www.firstpost.com/india/why-amartya-sens-shallow-secularism-is-past-its-sell-by-date-175033.html), his name is R. Jagannathan. Congratulations!!

  43. romain United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Kaal mian,

    Did Dacca Education Conference raise the the demand for TNT or did it raise a demand for better cultural and educational facilities for Bangali Muslim? Alsa what was the medium of instruction that Dacca Univ started with? Was it Bangali (Bangal) or English/Urdu/Arabic? Therein lies the key diffrence.

    Were ML members also members of the congress believing ML to be a cultural org and congress a political one? Wasnt MAJ himself member of both?

    So I dont believe founding of ML by ltself was a trigger for TNT. What you could argue is that a cultural / social organization founded by the Bengali Muslim was hijacked and turned into a political outfit by non-bengalis.

    Please note I am not saying that BMs did not want MAJ’s TNT. They did. They realized they made a mistake and demanded and got BD, which to me proves that TNT as envisioned by MAJ was undone. So RHR’s assertion is wrong.

    Cultural bonds being stronger than reliious ones. Even the Baloch nationalism is proving this. As the Punjabi migration inceases, the violence in baluchistan increases. Of course there are underlying layers of economic causes as well.

    I believe that current state of Pakiland where the essence of TNT resides continues to prove TNT daily. On a side note it would be tragic if Pakiland were to fail though I would to see Pakiland on the boil so it would be inward focussed with all the ensuing benefits for Indians.

    Onto the next board

  44. Fingolfin United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    HP
    You are Jagannathan aren’t you?

  45. heavy_petting United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Fingolfin, No I am not Jagannathan. Jagannathan writes essays without knowing his subject matter, as he admits himself. I don’t.

  46. Fingolfin United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    HP
    lol, yes, that ‘article’ was incredibly naive. No i only thought you were Jagannathan because i thought the commentator ‘Ranjan’ sounded a lot like you, and the zeal with which he was defending Jagannathan made me think that the R in the writers name stood for Ranjan.
    Anyway, probably wrong on all counts.
    Just took a random guess for fun.

  47. Chote Miyan United States Safari Mac OS says:

    HP,
    Let me bring a relevant quote by Carl Sagan:
    “The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”
    .
    I am sure you will understand the implicit message. As always, you are blinded by a Sen’s achievements and, therefore, take his word as gospel truth. I have read his work, “The Argumentative Indian”. You probably haven’t. Sen does appear on a less certain ground when he propounds his theories of secularism. When I read that book, I was struck by how easily he generalized the whole subcontinent by his experience in Bengal, and that too in a small part of Bengal. I am not surprised that Jaggu has found holes in his theories. Was Akbar really the first emperor to practice secularism because he placed Man Singh as his general? That is factually incorrect as well. Before Akbar, Ibrahim Lodhi had a Hindu general, Hemu who briefly captured the throne of Delhi. The syncretic philosophy started much earlier, during the time of Amir Khusrau. Of course, don’t let facts get in the way of a good story.
    Whether Huq was secular or not is a moot point. He was, first and foremost, a politician and a very slipper customer. I am surprised that Sen is advocating a refinement of the definition of secularism. By his logic, Modi is secular too.
    .
    I thought you would be a little more circumspect with singing hosannahs of Bengali Jholawallahs after the turd that came out of that self-appointed intellectual, Ashis Nandy.

  48. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Rex

    Poor RHR must be tearing his hair out seeing how far I have scampered off from his thesis. Sometimes it is fun to be mischievous by design :)

    ———————

    Don’t know who Mr Huq was or why anyone ought to care for him. But the fact that Hindu Mahasabha and Mr Huq were willing to work with each other can’t be taken to mean that Hindu Mahasabha and Bengali Muslims saw each other as one nation.

    ————————

    Romain

    “Bengali Muslims saw that TNT was a mistake. So they broke away from Pakistan and formed an independent Bangladesh….”(rephrased).

    I am seriously amazed at that reading of history. We accuse our Pakistani friends of being delusional regarding their past, but this, at least to me, in all humility, takes the bakery.

    Brother, you were just pulling our legs, right? :)

  49. BAK United Kingdom Internet Explorer  Windows Phone OS 7.5 says:

    It was the persistently chauvinistic attitude faced by the Muslim League that led to India getting divided in 1947, and it was the chauvinistic attitude faced by the Awami League that led to Pakistan getting divided in 1971.

  50. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Bak

    Good point. The Awami League did not represent any break from the Muslim League itself. It was the Bengali Muslim’s realization and frustration (expressed so often by Tajender here) that while he could not live with Brahmin-Bania oppressors, he still faced racism and institutionalized discrimination at the hands of West Pakistan.

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