Thursday, May 10, 2012

An argument of Hamza Alavi re-examined

Hamza Alavi is attributed with the following argument by Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed:

In the Prof. Karrar Husain Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Social Forces and Ideology in the Making of Pakistan’ delivered in Karachi on 2 November 2002 the veteran Pakistani sociologist and political historian Hamza Alavi has argued that Pakistan was not meant to be a fundamentalist Islamic state. He shows through a review of important stages in the evolution of the Muslim League that the main leadership, particularly Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was opposed to Islamic ideology. Thus, for example, when at the All-India Muslim League’s Session in Delhi in 1943 one Abdul Hameed Kazi tried to canvass support for a resolution that would commit the Muslim League to Islamic ideology and the creation of an Islamic state he was immediately pressured to withdraw the resolution. Alavi’s concluding remarks are the following: Whatever may be said about limitations of the ideology of the Western educated Muslim Professionals and the salariat (and of the feudals in the final round) who mobilised support for the creation of Pakistan, religious ideology was never a part of it ... Fundamentalist Islamic ideology has played no part in the origins of Pakistan.
 Jinnah said the following in camera at that very session of the All-India Muslim League in Delhi, April 1943:
Meanwhile discourage anything that will create dissensions in the Muslim Camp.   For instance, discussion or determination of fundamental rights for citizens of Pakistan, or production of a cut and dried scheme for Pakistan must create controversies and differences of opinion and should, therefore, be avoided for the present.
It is therefore a reasonable question to ask whether the withdrawal of Abdul Hameed Kazi's resolution had less to do with Jinnah's supposed opposition to Islamic ideology, and more to do with his commandment to discourage anything that would create dissensions in the Muslim Camp.  After all, even the "discussion or determination of fundamental rights for citizens of Pakistan" was to be discouraged.

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