Friday, January 3, 2014

Interview: Maya Tudor : The Promise of Power

 From the Indian Express

 Unlike the Congress, the Muslim League failed to create a social and economic programme, or rural-urban alliances’

Maya Tudor, a lecturer in government and public policy at Oxford University, recently published ‘The Promise of Power’, investigating the origins of India and Pakistan’s regime divergence in the aftermath of independence. In Delhi for a lecture tour, she spoke to Yamini Lohia. Excerpts {of excerpts}
In your book, you identified the leading political parties, the Congress and the Muslim League, as the major difference between India and Pakistan at the time of Partition. How do you think their leadership contributed to the divergent paths?
I wouldn’t say it was leadership. ....... But the parties were more than their leaders, at least in India, and that was the difference. It was just leaders in the case of Pakistan. There wasn’t much of a party organisation in terms of real representation in rural areas and a real programme. So on issues like what kind of programme of economic governance India was going to pursue, what kind of social programme and what the ideology of citizenship was — what made the Indian citizen an Indian citizen — on all these questions, India’s nationalist movement did more to develop a clear programme. They weren’t addressed in Pakistan until much later. India also built a movement that had substantial support in the countryside. That’s what made a difference.

To a certain degree the movement was the same movement in India and Pakistan, in that it shared a common enemy, the British. At what point do you see the trajectory splitting?
You see the trajectory really beginning to change in the period starting in 1920, which was the starting point of the Congress’s drive towards mass mobilisation......

Why didn’t the Muslim League have a similar trajectory?
I think there are two factors. One, as we’ve already discussed, is the divergent nature of parties along with the three dimensions of programme, organisation and alliances. The second factor is the analytically prior one, which is that the independence movement for Pakistan was founded by the well-to-do landed aristocrats. They were pro-colonial when the Muslim League was set up. ..... ....Unlike the Congress, the Muslim League failed to create a social and economic programme or rural-urban alliances because it didn’t have the incentives. The elites were heavily buttressed — it was a quid pro quo — by the colonial regime, which was helped by having local allies who were then nominated to colonial councils and the like.

You argue that the conception of nationalism in the two countries is very different. Is it that the Muslim League had a singular definition of what it meant to be a Pakistani?
....... But over time, the Congress also came to stand for something positive; at least in principle, it stood for the rejection of caste inequalities, economic nationalism and so on. What Pakistan stood for was never really clear.....

The League’s nationalism was also exclusive — to be a citizen of Pakistan, in some sense you had to be a Muslim. Because Pakistan was initially justified as a homeland for Muslims in the run-up to independence, Pakistani citizenship was, in some sense, equated with Islam.......

No comments:

Post a Comment