EVOLUTION OF THE TWO-NATION THEORY
EVOLUTION OF THE TWO-NATION THEORY
- There was a frontal attack on the Congress by Dufferin, the viceroy, and Colvin, the Lt. Governor of the United Provinces. Syed Ahmed Khan and Raja Shiv Prasad of Bhinga were propped up as an anti-Congress front by the Government.
- Syed Ahmed Khan appealed to the educated Muslims to stay away from the Congress, although some Muslims did join the Congress.
- These included Badruddin Tyabji, Mir Musharraf Hussain, A. Bhimji and Hamid Ali Khan.
- Agha Khan led a Muslim delegation (called the Simla delegation) to the viceroy, Lord Minto, to demand separate electorates for Muslims at all levels and that the Muslim representation should be commensurate not only with their numerical strength but also with their ‘political importance and their contribution to the British Empire’.
- Minto assured them of special communal representation in excess of their population for their “extraordinary service” to the empire.
- The All India Muslim League was founded by Agha Khan, Nawab Salimullah of Dacca, Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk and Nawab Waqar-ul-Mulk to preach loyalty to the British Government and to keep the Muslim intelligentsia away from the Congress. EVOLUTION OF THE TWO-NATION THEORY
- Separate electorates were awarded under Morley- Minto Reforms.
- Punjab Hindu Sabha was founded by U.N. Mukherji and Lai Chand.
- First session of All India Hindu Mahasabha was held under the aegis of the maharaja of Kasim Bazar.
- During this period, the Muslim League was dominated by younger Muslim nationalists such as Mohammad Ali, Maulana Azad and Jinnah.
- But their nationalism was inspired by a communal view of political questions. EVOLUTION OF THE TWO-NATION THEORY
- The Congress accepted the Muslim League demand of separate electorates and the Congress and the League presented joint demands to the Government.
- But the Congress and the League came together as separate political entities arid the Congress gave political legitimacy to the existence of the Muslim League.
- Muslims participated in the Rowlatt and Khilafat Non-Cooperation agitations but there was a communal element in the political outlook of Muslims.
- The shadow of communal riots loomed large over the country. The Arya Samaj Its started Shuddhi (purification) and Sangathan (organisation) movements. The Shuddhi movement was aimed at reconverting to Hinduism the converts to Islam.
- The Muslims started the Tabligh and Tanzim movements in retaliation. Some nationalists also turned communal.
- The Swarajists were divided along communal lines and the Responsivists among them joined the Hindu Mahasabha.
- The Ali brothers, after having put up a spectacular united front with the Congress, accused the Congress of protecting only Hindu interests. The Congress failed to evolve a suitable strategy to counter the rise of communalism.
- The Nehru Report on constitutional reforms as suggested by the Congress was opposed by Muslim hardliners and the Sikh League.
- Jinnah proposed fourteen points demanding separate electorates and reservation for Muslims in government service and self-governing bodies.
By negotiating with the Muslim League, the Congress made a number of mistakes:
- It gave legitimacy to the politics of the League, thus giving recognition to the division of society into separate communities with separate interests.
- It undermined the role of secular, nationalist Muslims.
- Concessions to one community prompted another community to demand similar concessions.
- This diverted attention from launching an all-out attack on communalism.
- Some Muslim groups, such as Jamaat-i-ulema- i-Hind, State of Kashmir and Khudai Khidmatgars participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement but overall the participation of Muslims was nowhere near the level of Khilafat agitation.
- While the Congress stayed away from two of the three round table conferences held in London to discuss further constitutional reforms, the communalists attended all three of them.
- Communal Award accepted all Muslim communal demands contained in 7e 14 points.
- After the Muslim League performed badly in the 1937 provincial elections, it decided to resort to extreme communalism.
- There began a tendency to project the Muslims, not as a minority but as a separate nation (in the early 1930s this idea of a separate Muslim nation was proposed by a young Muslim intellectual Rahmat Ali and later developed further by poet iqbal).
- From now onwards, communalism was organised as a mass movement with its base among middle and upper classes. Vicious propaganda was launched against the Congress by Z.A. Suleri, F.M. Durrani, Fazl-ul-Haq. etc.
- Extreme communalism was based on fear, hatred and violence of word and deed.
Till 1937 ;
- There had been liberal communalism, centred around safeguards and reservations. It was communal while upholding certain liberal, democratic, humanistic and nationalistic values and the notion that these diverse communities could be welded together into one nation in one national interest.
- The extreme communalism of Muslims found its echo in militant communal nationalism of Hindus represented by organisations such as the Hindu Mahasabha and RSS and thoughts of leaders like Golwalkar. EVOLUTION OF THE TWO-NATION THEORY
There were several reasons for the advent of extreme communalism.
- With increasing radicalisation, the reactionary elements searched for a social base through channels of communalism.
- The colonial administration had exhausted all other means to divide nationalists.
- Earlier failures to challenge communal tendencies had emboldened the communal forces.
- Jinnah blocked all avenues for conciliation by forwarding the impossible demand that the Congress should declare itself a Hindu organisation and recognise the Muslim League as the sole representative of the Indian Muslims. EVOLUTION OF THE TWO-NATION THEORY
March 24, 1940:
- The “Pakistan Resolution” was passed at the Lahore session of the Muslim League calling for “grouping of all geographically contiguous Muslim majority areas (mainly north-western and eastern India) into independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign, and adequate safeguards to Muslims in other areas where they are in a minority”.
During Second World War:
- The British Indian Government gave a virtual veto to the League on political settlement.
- The League made full use of this privilege and stuck to its demand of a separate Pakistan throughout the negotiations under the August Offer, Cripps’ proposals, Shimla Conference and Cabinet Mission Plan. EVOLUTION OF THE TWO-NATION THEORY
- Finally, it got what it had aspired for- an independent Pakistan comprising Muslim majority areas of Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, North-West Frontier Province and Bengal in 1947.