Ludicrous myths about the Pakistan Movement
Yasser Latif Hamdani
July 5, 2018
One of the persistent myths repeated by Barelvi Ulema in Pakistan is that they helped the Muslim League win the 1945-1946 elections in Punjab. This lie has been repeated so many times that it has come to be accepted as the truth. Unthinking and mediocre academics from around the world have jumped on the bandwagon presenting evidence of Barelvi literature and Barelvi mobilisation in Punjab, which they contend is the only reason why the Muslim League won Punjab in those crucial elections.
IMO, the author "hero worships" D Jinnah warts and allContrary to the popular myth, Jinnah did not abandon his western suits after 1937. It is true that in order to compete with the Congress he wore a Karakul Cap and Sherwani on select public occasions such as mass gatherings but there are more public pictures of Jinnah in a suit than in Sherwani even in the period from 1937-1947. Significantly, he is seen wearing a suit at the most important events during the Pakistan Movement, such as Gandhi-Jinnah talks, meetings with Cripps mission, meetings with the Cabinet Mission, and meetings with the Viceroys. During General Zia’s time it was popularised that Jinnah had given up all his suits after he demanded Pakistan. This is patently untrue.
No wonder the shrewd Maududi did not go gaga over DJinnah !Nor did he give up his penchant for cigars, scotch and a dog on his lap. He continued to travel in first class cabins on his own money and would drink openly in front of visitors. There was no hypocrisy about the man. The Khan of Kalat famously narrated an incident where Jinnah was meeting Muslim notables at his house and his valet came with him carrying a glass of whiskey. The Khan politely suggested that Jinnah should avoid drinking in front of the notables, only to be snubbed curtly in response. One wishes he was the trendsetter for our politicians today, who are given to arguing that the bottles of whiskey they transport actually contain honey.
The news about DJinnah's western orientation and his "lip service" to Malsi was kept "hidden" from the Aam Abduls of undivided India . They would have been "horrified" about his private life, include his marriage to a non-muslim Parsi - half his ageIt is true that after 1937, when converting Muslim League into a mass party, Jinnah made a few references to Islam every now and then but these were always intended to show that Islam was a positive force and not a regressive one. He spoke of women’s rights and the rights of minorities and said that Islam was completely compatible with democracy. Jinnah balked at the idea of an Islamic state, telling Raja of Mahmudabad to distance himself from the Muslim League for propagating such ideas. More pragmatically, Jinnah refused to accept the idea that there should be public prayer at Muslim League meetings, asking very poignantly who would lead such a prayer, a Shia or a Sunni?
Is DJinnah turning in his grave at the metamorphosis that he has undergone at the "hands of the Islamic Republic Of Pakistan"The request had come from the breakaway faction of the pro-Congress Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind led by Ashraf Ali Thanvi and Shabbir Ahmad Usmani. Throughout this period, Jinnah was denounced as Kafir-e-Azam by the Ulema, not just because of his anglicised lifestyle, but because he refused to turn out Ahmadis from the Muslim League and because he appointed a Syrian Christian, Pothan Joseph, as the editor of Dawn. Fatwas were issued against him on a daily basis for his legislative positions such as his support for civil marriage bill which would have allowed inter-communal marriage without conversion or renunciation by either party. To say that such a man wanted an Islamic state is the most ludicrous myth of them all.
Not a single resolution or official document of the Muslim League contained any reference to a promise of an Islamic state. This is a most significant fact given that the voters who were actually going to vote for the elections were not swayed by Barelvi pirs in remote areas of Punjab but actual literature being circulated. These voters were the men and women of the world who saw in Muslim League an opportunity to build up a strong counter-force to what they feared would be caste Hindu domination at the centre. Therefore, this idea that people voted for Pakistan because they wanted an Islamic state ignores the facts. Unfortunately facts have never been taken into account by nationalist mythologies invented post-hoc by post-colonial nation states.
All this is very much true. And you could say that DJinnah, as a lawyer, ( like Hamdani!) "used" Malsi and was himself surprised at the result ( Pakistan ). And he had the gall to mention - as other reports have suggested - that his desire was to afterwards "settle" at his palatial bunglow at Malabar Hill , Bombay