Sunday, March 1, 2015

Jinnah: "I don't regard myself as an Indian"

(Originally blogged about here.)

In an interview of Jinnah by Norman Cliff, published in the News Chronicle(London) of March 30, 1946, Jinnah declared "I don't regard myself as an Indian".  This was just after the Cabinet Mission arrived in India, and just before they arrived at Delhi to start conferring with Indian leaders.  This interview was mentioned in the Times of India a couple of days later, and so was known in India.

With respect to Ayesha Jalal's thesis that Jinnah never intended the existence of an independent Pakistan, I suppose Jinnah's regarding himself not as an Indian was also merely a negotiating ploy.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Islamic Roots of Pakistan

A Nation Insufficiently Imagined? Debating Pakistan in Late Colonial North India
by Venkat Dhulipala
Indian Economic Social History Review July/September 2011 vol. 48 no. 3 377-405

This paper is a must-read.   But here is an excerpt, emphasis and {} added.  This is about how Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani put the idea of Pakistan in a Quranic/historic context, that helped the Muslim League win the 1945-46 elections

I'm told by a respected BRFer that

Jinnah & ML were able to 'recruit' such key conspirators as Usmani or the Pir of Manki Sharif (who won NWFP for the ML and also sent jihadists into J&K in October 1947) for their pet Pakistan project. Jinnah conceded space to these Islamists in order to win their support. In the previous page we saw how Jinnah promised allegorically to Mawdudi that the land he was acquiring can be used to build a mosque. But, with the Pir of Manki Sharif, who was more rustic and not sophisticated like Mawdudi, Jinnah was forced to spell out the exact details. The letter that Jinnah wrote to the Pir of Manki Sharif, in Naushera of NWFP, in which he said that Shariah will be imposed in Pakistan to manage the affairs of the Muslim Community, was produced in the Constituent Assembly in 1949 to support the Objectives Resolution.

In fact, the two Usmani brothers (Zafar Ahmed Usmani & Shabbir Ahmed Usmani) became the lynchpin during the critical phase before and after Independence. They became very close to Jinnah. Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani had already apostatized Shi'a (and Jinnah was a Shi'a !). This Usmani was asked by Jinnah himself to raise the Pakistani flag in Karachi, the then capital, on August 14, 1947. It was this same Usmani who later drafted the Objectives Resolution. He also led the janazaa prayers of Jinnah (in the Sunni way) in public after Ms. Fatima Jinnah had secretly conducted the same in a Shi'a way.  Maulana Usmani famously demanded ‘jiziya’ from non-Muslims in the Constituent Assembly and told Pakistan’s first Minister for Law and Labour, Jogendra Nath Mandal, a Hindu, that non-Muslims should not hold such key posts in an Islamic state, an advice that a disgusted Mondal took to heart and resigned.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Venkat Dhulipala v Ayesha Jalal

It is a popular theory in some circles that the demand for Pakistan was merely a bargaining position that Jinnah took, and it was the stupidity of everyone else that they did not realize this, and ended up giving Jinnah Pakistan.   The most prominent exponent of this point of view is Ayesha Jalal.

Venkat Dhulipala has a book forthcoming, "Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India", and an excerpt from it was published in the Hindu.  It takes on the idea of Pakistan as a bargaining position head-on.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Connecting minor dots...

One of the small pleasures of this work is the connecting of minor dots.  In this case,  this is about some statement about Pakistan that M.A. Ispahani mentioned in a letter to M.A. Jinnah.

Briefly, in the Second Series, Volume X of Z.R. Zaidi's Jinnah Papers, item #28 is a letter from Ispahani to Jinnah, dated October 23, 1943. An excerpt:

At the last Food Conference in Delhi, Chhotu Ram and Baldev Singh, who attended the Conference on behalf of Punjab would not give in on the point of food supply to Bengal on the question of price. This had a very bad effect, so much so that you must have read in the papers what Lord Hailey had to say about Pakistan.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Muslim League nominees to the Interim Government 1946

A story of the Muslim League nominees to the Interim Government in October 1946,  and its later (mis)remembrance by Maulana Azad is spelled out here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Jinnah-Suhrawardy April 1946

 In March 1946, the British impression was that Jinnah did not hold H.S. Suhrawardy in high regard.  The break between Jinnah and Suhrawardy became explicit and public only later in 1947.

The following is from The Transfer of Power, Volume VII, editors Mansergh and Moon, 23 March – 29 June, 1946, item #17 “Record of Meeting between Field Marshall Viscount Wavell, Cabinet Delegation and Provincial Governors on Thursday, 28 March 1946″.


The Governor of Bengal (Sir Frederick Burrows) said that the election results would not be complete until the end of March…..Unfortunately, now that Sir Nazimuddin had withdrawn from politics there was no honest politician left. The probable Prime Minister in a Muslim League Government was Mr. Suhrawardy, though neither Mr. Jinnah nor anyone else thought very highly of him. The Governor thought it possible that Sir Nazimuddin might return to the leadership of the Provincial League party with Mr. Jinnah’s support, in which case Mr. Suhrawardy might go over to Congress.