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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Milestogo United States Safari iPhone says:

    Obama is doing Allah’s work.

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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)?

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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”?

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

  16. 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/

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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

  26. 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!!

  27. 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

  28. Fingolfin United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    HP
    You are Jagannathan aren’t you?

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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? :)

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    In other words, to any decent bengali Muslim, there would appear to be little fundamental difference between the Congress’s approach to Muslims and West Pakistan’s approach to East Pakistanis.

    This, to me, represents the heart of the TNT. It seems clear to us, but to most Hindus, such ‘confusion’ would make no sense at all.

  36. Bin Ismail Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ BAK (February 5, 2013 at 8:22pm)

    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.

    Well said.

  37. Fingolfin United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    CM
    James Watt did not invent the steam engine. He transformed it and so he is credited with it.

    Akbar created an unprecedented narrative of secularism which both Hindus and Muslims look up to in a time that was not tolerant. The dynasties before were extremely intolerant. What happened to Kabir for example, illustrates that.
    Akbar is not considered secular because of Man Singh, after all, Aurangzeb also had Mirza Raja Jai Singh.
    Akbar ‘revived’ Indian secularism. Hindus for the most part not long before, called any outsider ‘mlecchas’(barbarians).
    His legacy is incredible. To the extent that he is probably the only Muslim historical figure in Indian, who can come back from the sands of time, romance a Hindu woman on the silver screens of Bollywood, and be adored for it.

  38. Fingolfin United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    *in Indian history.

  39. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Fingolfin

    The problem here seems less in recognizing Akbar’s contributions to secularism than in calling him in a Muslim, and thus in imagining that Akbar can ever be any kind of an practicable role model, or a plausible beacon to anyone but a Hindu, or to a Hindu nation.

    As such, Akbar has no role in the Hindu-Muslim relationship except in the mind of Hindus.

    Those are strong statements, no doubt, but Akbar’s deen-e-llahi, just as his ethical system, has no resemblance to Islam.

    Again, this is no criticism of the man’s ‘secularism’ but whether such one odd examples as Akbar or Dara Shikoh should be taken as examples of secularism or examples of the failures of secularism even when promoted at such absolutely highest levels. (May be therein lies hidden some lesson for those who think that the ghost of Jinnah will pull Pakistan out of Islam.)

    FG, if you have read Sen, does the economist realize, and explain that the person who left the greatest religious legacy from those years was not Akbar, but the Great Sufi Saint Sirhindi whose name shall eternally be written in golden letters.

  40. heavy_petting United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Chote Miyan
    .
    “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.”
    .
    You are incapable of implicit messages. Giving implicit message requires a special skill that you don’t have. Sorry.
    …..
    As for reading books, I have read more books than you have. I have also read “The Argumentative Indian”. I have not read “The Argumentative North Indian”, if such a book exists, but I think it doesn’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.”
    .
    Sen is on very certain grounds when he propounds his theories of secularism. I agree with you however that he generalizes too much based on his experience in Bengal. The book should have been titled “The Argumentative Bengali”, but I think he or the publisher wanted to market it nationally hence a change of title.
    .

    .
    “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.”
    .
    Give me a break, will you? Akbar was “syncretic” not ONLY because he appointed Man Singh. Sen was giving a talk, a chat, on a forum. He was/is not writing a scholastic essay on India’s “syncretism”. This objection of yours and your dear friend Juggu’s is as ludicrous as the other one: Sen calls Fajlul Haque secular just because he wrote a congratulatory letter to one Tapan Roy, how dare he!!! Fingolfin is right, “naive” is the correct word for such reading of a discussion.
    .
    “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.”
    .
    Read about Fazlul Haque, alright, before making such inane comments. Read what transpired to him before 1946 and after 1947 as well, in East Pakistan. Don’t judge anyone by the window of 1946-47. The events in this narrow window did not exist in a vacuum. The label of slippery customer applies more to some others you yourself are intoxicated about. But of course, as always, you are too naive and simple for that sort of introspection.
    .
    “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.”
    .
    Ashis Nandy is not a jholawalla, YOU are. I would never call Nandy a jholawalla, far from it.
    .
    “I am not surprised that Jaggu has found holes in his theories.”
    .
    The only holes Jaggu can ever find are on his torso. He is unable to find holes, even craters, anywhere else.

  41. heavy_petting United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Kaalchakra
    .
    Why do you have to come across as the most bigoted around here time and again? Instead of calling tajender etc as Bengali Muslims (he is from the great city of Lucknow) and commenting on the pre-partition Bengal despite your self-acknowledged ignorance on Fazle Haq, Sher e Bengla, you would better concentrate on what you are really good at, Ahmedi bashing (there are plenty of preys here for you). BTW, the language movement in East Pakistan started right in 1948, was led by the students in Dhaka University, was supported by the Bengali speaking Muslim politicians, was rejected by the Urdu speaking “Bengali” politicians (Najimuddin, Suhrawardy, Fajlur Rahman, all of whom were Urdu speaking “Bengali”, and Liaquat Ali Khan who also had his parliamentary seat from what is now Bangladesh), and the first amendment in the language question was brought by the Hindus, widely supported by the Bengali speaking Muslims. So it’s a little more complicated than what your simplistic reading implies. Sorry.
    http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=221008

  42. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    HP

    Please give this a thought: Bengali Muslims’ demand for the primacy of bengali language in Bengaladesh was NOT a rejection of TNT which was just implemented (the preceding year) amidst the most horrible bloodshed and religious violence (on a scale probably probably exceeding (?) what happened in Punjab). Nor does Bengali Muslims’ celebration of a Hindu who promoted Bengali language, after the implementation of TNT, in any way contradict TNT.

    This is where – on this focus on clothes and language – that Mr Huq’s partners, the Hindu Mahasabha and RSS – get their history and understanding of group dynamics wrong.

    Tragically, the modern, rational, progressive Jinnah too made that mistake and imposed Urdu on Bengali Muslims who had done the most – worked the longest and the hardest in the subcontinent – for promoting TNT.

  43. Fingolfin United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Kaal

    you know, it’s difficult to address a comment to you because you have created this Chanakyesque aura around yourself to the extent that no comment of yours can be taken at face value.
    what you really think and believe in is by and large a mystery to me, i have only my theories, so it is seems somewhat disingenuous to make an argument to you.
    But such as it, here it is.
    I think that you are absolutely right.

  44. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    What do clothes and language have to do with TNT? Nothing – Gujrat and Bengal remind us.

    Gujrat is the land of the Great Sufis, of memons and Ismailis, and of Gandhi. All Gujratis speak the Gujrati langauge. They all speak pretty much the same food. I am not sure if Hindu and Muslim Gujratis dress differently. Doubt it.

    Yet Hindus and Muslims there have long lived in a state of cold war. A cold war that culminated in a massacre of Muslims.

    Few people would automatically assume today that Gujrati Hindus are non-communal. Why? Because we KNOW of the riots, of the massacre, and most importantly, of Mr Modi. Irrespective of shared clothes, language, food, or whatever it is that all Gujratis do.

    Strange then that we are unable to see that the same clothes, language, food have no anti-TNT meaning at all when it comes to Bengal – where religious riots and massacres and communal politics took far bigger shapes and had far greater impact.

    —————

    FG, I think you are right as well. I want this to be a fair exchange. Ha ha :)

  45. Fingolfin United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    kaal

    :D
    so, Gujju’s cant be communal because they elect Modi, they do not have a choice.
    we can call them communal, if they had a secular and able administrator to chose from, and yet they chose Modi.
    Until such a time, the argument made comparing Gujerati and Bengali/Punjabi, and bracketing them as communal people as a validation of the TNT, is moot.

  46. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    FG

    That is exactly right. These comparisons can hide more than they reveal. Nor must such comparisons be taken at face value.

    The only point I tried to make is that post-implementation rejection of TNT, as in Bengal, must not be taken as evidence of a-priori rejection of TNT. That was precisely Jinnah’s idea too.

    We have to look at the situation up to 1947 just as it was then – based on what we reliably know today.

    ————-

    And Bengal, from everything I have seen, was always among the most religiously communal of all places in India. Even Akbar faced the wrath of Bengal for breaking communal religious boundaries (OK, that is a bit unfair but I want to deliberately make a point. :) )

    The reason why, IMO, Bengalis and Bangladesh gets painted as ‘rejectors’ of TNT is just post 1947 politics – understandable, and probably well meaning politics, but merely politics, nevertheless.

  47. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    And one more point, my last on this board because nobody can be unaware of the pain such a discussion may cause to some of my best friends. I want to say only what is the minimum necessary here.

    The fact is that Muslims in what is currently Pakistan, in UP etc were always contemptuous and dismissive of ALL Bengalis – Hindus and Muslims alike. If nothing else, you can read the most progressive of them all – Sir Syed Ahmad.

    Muslims in Punjab etc – those who thought of Pakistan – never really thought of Bengal. No B exists in Pakistan. Bengali Muslims tagged along not because they were forced by Punjabis at gun point, but on their own. They had no respect from others before, and they got no respect after. They deluded themselves into thinking they would get respect in Pakistan, just as we sometimes make the mistake today of believing that Bengali Muslims did not see themselves in religious terms prior to 1947. Sure lack of education and poverty often dulls such awareness but sufism is particularly adept at forging identities using ignorance. And if nothing else, Bengali ‘Muslim’ was a sufi.

    With that probably controversial (to some) statement, and begging forgiveness from all my friends for any unfair statements inadvertently made, I will sign off from this board now. Best.

  48. heavy_petting United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Kaalchakra, you amaze me!! If these are what you really said and meant,
    .
    “amidst the most horrible bloodshed and religious violence (on a scale probably probably exceeding (?) what happened in Punjab).”,
    .
    and
    .
    “Strange then that we are unable to see that the same clothes, language, food have no anti-TNT meaning at all when it comes to Bengal – where religious riots and massacres and communal politics took far bigger shapes and had far greater impact.”,
    .
    then please stop commenting on partition, NOW. Instead, first do some fact-checking on communal riots in India. Compare the people killed in the Punjab and Bengal in 1946-1947. KC, there is no comparison (one ran into thousands, the other in hundreds of thousands) , even taking account of the fact that in the Direct Action Day, mostly the north Indian Urdu-speaking Muslim settlers of Calcutta fought with the north Indian Hindus and Sikhs also settled in Calcutta, with a number of Bengali Hindus joining in. Noakhali was a different story, but even then there was no comparison with Punjab!!!.
    .
    Seriously, do you know anything about the history of partition, or just simply right away whatever comes to your mind?

  49. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    OK, romain, I will stop after this. :)

    But since you did mention Noakhali, apart from the Direct Bengal Action Day, I found a few details here. If these are not right, you can please correct us.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noakhali_genocide

    Now, no doubt these attacks were carried out not for religious reasons, but for rational, modern, and progressive reasons alone, but still, reading the details, these do not appear to be representative of a religiously neutral society.

    Were these all North Indians killing other North Indians while Bengalis themselves collectively celebrated Laxmi Puja under Mr Huq’s leadership (:)), it’s hard to say.

    Only two questions, and then I will keep my peace.

    (1) How on earth, Romain, did these North Indians completely take over, for an entire full week, areas of Ramganj, Begumganj, Raipur, Lakshmipur, Chhagalnaiya Sandwip, Hajiganj, Faridganj, Chandpur, Laksham and Chauddagram, and killed, raped and converted each other while real Bengalis, Hindus and Muslims, sat at home, in peace and harmony?

    (2) And if they did, can and should these latter good people be trusted to create and maintain a TNT free society unless we get all these North Indians out from Ramganj, Begumganj, Raipur, Lakshmipur, Chhagalnaiya Sandwip, Hajiganj, Faridganj, Chandpur, Laksham and Chauddagram and all other areas to which they might have spread since then?

    In practical terms, this seems like a lost cause for real Bengalis and for anyone else who might rely on them, do’t you think?

    Regards, and I promise not another word from me on this. :)

  50. RHR United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ Kaal and HP

    Ideas in social sciences are always debatable. Even facts are debatable as these reach us through someone else’s observations and reporting. Many a times biases are there. And when we are trying to interpret those facts ( which themselves are debatable), we have to be mindful of the fact that our conclusions will differ and moreover the counter argument may not be totally wrong.

    A little exercise in doubt is essential…as we may not be totally “right”

    Regards

    Raza

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