Some argue that the Two Nation Theory died with the 1971 partition of Pakistan that led to the separation of East Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh. Others say that the TNT (Two Nation Theory) was dead the day Pakistan's founder Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah passed away on Sept 11, 1948.

As Pakistanis observe the 65th anniversary of the Quaid-e-Azam's passing, let's examine the state of the Two Nation Theory which gave birth to the Pakistan movement on March 23, 1940.

The key question that needs to be answered regarding the events of 1971 is as follows: Did the Awami League in East Pakistan fight to create their own country later named Bangladesh? Or did they shed their blood to re-unify the eastern wing of Pakistan with India?

These questions are answered by French historian Christophe Jaffrelot in his book "A History of Pakistan and its origins".

Jaffrelot  cites British-Pakistani history Prof Samuel Martin Burke rejecting the notion that the Two-Nation Theory died in 1971 with Pakistan's split into Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Burke says that the two-nation theory was even more strongly asserted in that the Awami League rebels had struggled for their own country, Bangladesh, and not to join India. In so doing, they had put into practice the theory behind the original resolution to form Pakistan, which envisaged two Muslim states at the two extremities of the subcontinent.

Here's an excerpt from the Pakistan Resolution passed in Lahore in March 1940:

"Resolved that it is the considered view of this Session of the All-India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to the Muslims unless it is designated on the following basic principle, viz. that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North-Western and Eastern Zones of India should be grouped to constitute "Independent States" in which the Constituent Units shall be autonomous and sovereign"

Clearly, the Pakistan Resolution called for "Independent States" of Muslim majority areas in the "North Western and Eastern Zones of India" in which the "Constituent Units shall be autonomous and sovereign".

What happened in 1971 with the creation of Bangladesh essentially put into practice the theory behind the original resolution to form Pakistan, which envisaged two Muslim states at the two extremities of the subcontinent.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Jaswant Lauds Jinnah

Are Muslims Better Off in Jinnah's Pakistan?

Comparing Pakistan and Bangladesh

Is This a 1971 moment in Pakistan's History?

Is Pakistan Too Big to Fail?

Global Firepower

Jinnah's Pakistan Booms Amidst Doom and Gloom

Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah's Vision of Pakistan

India Wins Freedom by Maulana Azad

Ayesha Jalal Taking On Pakistan's Hero

The Poor Neighbor by William Dalrymple

Iqbal and Jinnah

Views: 820

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 28, 2015 at 7:45am

Book Review: The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience

BY Jibby Katayan, DNA, India;

Jaffrelot delves into great detail on three sources of tensions that roiled Pakistan: ethnic schisms, be it Bengali, Baloch, or Pashtun, and their federal aspirations that came into conflict with the unitary definition of the Pakistan nation; the army's tendency to interrupt the democratic process; and differences between Islamists and those who view Islam as a common cultural identity marker that distinguishes Pakistan from, say, India.

Jaffrelot concludes that Pakistan appears less vulnerable to the centrifugal forces of ethno-nationalism in the 2000s compared to the 1970s, when these movements first assumed militant stances. A notable feature of the chronic instability and alternating periods of democratisation and martial law is that the country never slipped out of the clutches of the ruling elites. As a result, land and fiscal reforms were non-starters and benefits of secular education never really reached the grassroots.

This directly fed into Zia-ul-Haq's Islamisation policy – a period of unprecedented state support for madrasas coupled with liberal funding from Saudi Arabia. However, Jaffrelot is clear that Zia was driven by the idea of state control over Islamic religion and would never have brooked Islamic leaders calling the shots in Pakistan. Nevertheless, Pakistan paid a heavy price for his Islamisation policy. It sprung two offshoots, jihadism and sectarianism, that pose a greater threat to Pakistani society than the possibility of ethnic strife or another army coup.

Jaffrelot is unsparing in blaming Pakistan for promoting jihadism, expecting this to provide a strategic counterweight against India, and extend Pakistan's influence in Afghanistan. In this context, Pakistan could have made a clean break with Islamists post-9/11. Here, Jaffrelot notes that the Pakistan army's perception of the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani network, and Lashkar-e-Taiba as assets and the refusal to tackle these groups head-on enabled them "to acquire such power that today they can defy the state and create the conditions of a low-intensity civil war". In discussing the possibility of civil war, Jaffrelot proceeds to discuss the army's actions in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

In the end, Pakistan's (and India's) best bet for long-term survival is economic upliftment of the masses. The world over, there is growing discourse around economic inequality, but South Asian nations continue to be enmeshed in the polarising rhetoric of cultural-religious nationalists.

Jaffrelot has given us a comprehensive tome, that combines a sociological perspective of Pakistan's history and a deep – occasionally sympathetic – understanding of positions staked out by the politicians and army generals in steering the country through choppy waters.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 9, 2015 at 5:41pm

Anam Zakaria's oral history of bloodshed: "Footprints of Partition" #India #Pakistan #Britain #1947 

Anam Zakaria is a development professional, educationist and researcher based in Pakistan. She has an academic background in international development from McGill University and started her career with the Citizens Archive of Pakistan in 2010. She led their Oral History Project, collecting narratives of the first and second generations of Pakistanis. The Footprints of Partition is her first book.

Tell us about the methodology of your research. What do oral histories offer to the existing discourse on Pak-India history?

Oral histories, for me, help deconstruct metanarratives. The dominant discourse in Pakistan that I was familiar with throughout my childhood revolved around the bloodshed and violence of Partition. It helped me value the creation of Pakistan but always left me with a bloody aftertaste, a gruesome picture of battered bodies, massacres and blood-strewn trains. While many people I spoke to narrated similar horrific stories of Partition, interviewing them helped me understand that the past can never be a linear trajectory, nor black or white. There are many nuances that are missed in recorded history and speaking to Partition survivors brings those nuances to light, giving me (and hopefully my readers) a more holistic understanding of the past.

You say at some point that you did over 600 interviews for the Citizens Archive of Pakistan. Why did you choose to include these ones in your book?

To give you a candid answer, I chose the ones that left me with a lingering to go back and know more, that opened my eyes to new realities and left me with a desire to further explore my history. These were the stories I wanted to share with people. The research and writing process was a very personal journey for me. I was learning, unlearning and relearning. I wanted my readers, especially the younger ones, to have a chance to do the same through my book. This is not to say, however, that I was only moved by a handful of stories and not by others. One aspect that I was sure of from the very beginning was that I wanted to particularly focus on those stories where people had a chance to revisit their past, or at least had a longing to do the same. I was interested in knowing about their experiences for this was something one did not find in history books. I also wanted to include stories from different generations in order to explore what the journey of Partition has been like and what meaning Partition and the ‘other’ hold for different groups of people.

These stories don’t often feature in history books, either for the purposes of propaganda or due to issues of verifiability. In the absence of evidence, how much weight can we attach to these stories? The job of oral histories is not just to record history but to also give us a glimpse into how people feel about an event and how they choose to remember it. To filter out the feelings and sentiments of people who went through Partition perhaps raises its own questions of validity.

Pakistan is one of the few countries left with their first generation alive, and to deny them a voice simply because it may not be considered fact would be an injustice to the nation. We need to understand what goes into making history, and the eyewitness accounts of those who saw the creation of this country must be recognised as part of it. After all, who decides what history is and how it should be recorded?

What do you hope it to achieve with this book?

I hope that my book is able to highlight these relationships, and that it is able to record this part of our history for the future generations that are at risk of absorbing a rigid understanding of the past. This, in no way, should challenge our nationhood or patriotism. Who says patriotism needs to be based on hatred and hostility?

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 24, 2015 at 8:28am

#India was better off under #British rule: #Hindu #RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat. #UK #Pakistan via @timesofindia

Expressing concern over the dominance of 'rich and powerful people' in politics, besides the soaring inflation rate, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said that India's situation was better during the British rule.

"After Independence, the dominance of rich and powerful people in politics and rising inflation have worsened the country's situation, which is worse than what it was during the British rule," Bhagwat said.

Speaking at a function organized by Bhonsala Military School (BMS) to celebrate its platinum jubilee year in Nashik on Monday, Bhagwat said, "All political parties were in power some or the other time during the last 64 years since Independence, but the situation has not improved. Hence, citizens must introspect over what went wrong."

Stating the importance of imparting education through the mother tongue, he said, "Today, there is an insistence on education in a foreign language (English), instead of education in the mother tongue. As a result, the importance of the foreign language has increased to a large extent in the country."

Bhagwat laid stress on the need for imparting military education to students, citing rising threat to the nation.

He said, "Even 64 years after Independence, India is being threatened by China and Pakistan. With rising concerns over internal security, we should give top priority to military education to students to make India strong."

Bhonsala Military School was founded in 1937 by leader Dr B S Moonje, who also played a role in mentoring RSS founder K B Hedgewar.

"The school was founded by Moonje to protect the nation and has so far served as a feeder institute to fulfill the backlog of military officials," Bhagwat said. Senior RSS functionary Prakash Pathak said that the BMS was going to start a similar facility exclusively for girls in Nashik city

The BMS, run by the central Hindu military education society (CHMES), is also mulling setting up a flying club and a pilot training institute, besides a centre for service preparation and aeronautic engineering education. "We have received a lot of proposals from states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttarakhand for setting up military schools there and will soon take a call on this issue," Pathak said.

BMS students, also called 'ramdandees', earlier gave a salute to Dr Moonje. Bhagwat also released a book, 'Smaran Samaranche', written by Nashikite Girish Takale.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 2, 2015 at 9:20pm

What makes Pakistan resilient
By Tariq MahmudPublished: November 2, 2015

Anatol Lieven and Christophe Jaffrelot, two distinguished writers, in their copious research over time, have taken their readers through the chequered chronicles of Pakistan’s history. Their writings on Pakistan are marked with recurring manifestations of violence and instability, of divergence and divisiveness, of an existential threat still looming large. Both, however, stop short of calling the country a failed or a failing state. According to them, it is the quality of resilience of the state and society that keeps Pakistan afloat.

Over the years, the country has faced acts of terrorism, extremism, sub-nationalist insurgencies and many other challenges, like natural calamities, with societal overlaps providing support to the state’s endeavour to counter them. Resilience, as a phenomenon, has lately been engaging the attention of social scientists. It is a unique capability, which after turbulence and disruption, enables a society to revert to its normal chores. Social receptors, spread over the entirety of societal fabric, respond to the recurring threats with innate spontaneity while the key organs, on balance, continue to retain their basic elements and functionality. The virtue of resilience is not something unique to Pakistan. It is found in other societies as well as it is a normal behavioural response in the face of sudden, mounting odds. What distinguishes Pakistan from the rest is that despite exceptional odds peculiar to the country, there is innate strength with a measure of efficacy in our fallback options. Pakistan is the only country in the post-Second World War era, which suffered a violent disintegration within 24 years of its existence at a scale never known till that point in history. Despite the fissiparous tendencies, the country has existed for over four decades as a compact state with a sense of history and a vision for the future.

Pakistan’s real and perceived vulnerabilities have been attributed to our relatively weak political traditions; these are also attributed to our ideological precepts and assumptions. To Pakistan-watchers, a deterministic form of religion, an over-centralised political dispensation and a skewed civil-military relationship explain much of the country’s paradoxes.

However, there could be a counter-view as well. Deterministic Islam, in many ways, offers choice and autonomy to its followers when it comes to its practice. Islam in Pakistan is the state religion but its practice is a privatised affair. There is no central command authority when it comes to religion, with the Auqaf departments only exercising control over a few mosques. It is the khateeb of the mosque who sets the pace. There is no concept of a supreme religious leader vetoing parliamentary decisions. There can be no denying that certain elements have flexed their muscles to appropriate the right to interpret religion as their exclusive preserve. However, thanks to society’s innate resilience, there continues to prevail, a no-win situation for them.

On a larger plank, we may view the separation of East Pakistan, which amongst many other things, was also on account of a lack of shared interdependencies. It was a case of unequal exchange both, in quantitative and qualitative terms that poisoned the relationship between the two wings of Pakistan. The situation in Balochistan, as of today, alludes to the same drift. During the Musharraf era, the province received an exceptionally large allocation in the public sector development programme, but regrettably there was no framework to cultivate a sense of ownership and mutual sharing with the Baloch people. We need to turn latent interdependencies into a living force and a sustained policy framework as a way forward for Balochistan. That is the only way to deepen resilience in that part of Pakistan, which is also our largest province.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 9, 2016 at 9:57pm

Nadeem Farooq Paracha in Dawn on Two Nation Theory:

In the late 19th century, Nabagopal Mitra, one of the pioneers of Hindu nationalism, authored a paper in which he described the Hindus of India as a nation that was better than the Muslims and the Christians. He added that ‘the basis of national unity in India was the Hindu religion’ and that the Hindus should strive to form an ‘Aryan nation.’

In an early 20th century pamphlet, Bhai Paramanand, a leading member of the Hindu reformist movement the Arya Samaj, described the Hindus and Muslims as being two separate nations who were ‘irreconcilable.’ In his autobiography, ‘My Life’, Pramanand mentions how in 1908 he called for an exchange and settling of Hindu and Muslim populations in different geographical areas.

In a December 14, 1924 article in the Bombay daily, The Tribune, Congress leader and Hindu nationalist Lajpat Rai too called for a ‘clear partition of the region into a Hindu India and non-Hindu India …’

In 1923, poet and playwright, VD Savarkar, coined the word, ‘Hindutva’ in a book (also titled Hindutva). He coined the word to mean ‘Hinduness’ and wrote that the Muslims (and the Christians) of India were outside of ‘Hindu nationhood.’ Then, in 1937 while speaking at the 19th session of the influential Hindu Mahasabha, Savarkar insisted ‘there are two nations in India: Hindus and the Muslims.’

In 1939, MS Golwalker — the supreme leader of the radical Hindu organisation the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) — published his book, ‘We, Or Our Nationhood Defined’. In it he asserted that the minority communities of India (specifically, Muslim) should merge with the Hindu nation or perish. He wrote that non-Hindus in India could not be considered Indian unless they were ‘purified’ (i.e. converted to Hinduism).

Golwalker described the Hindus as being India’s ‘national race’ and pointed at the example of Nazi Germany’s eradication of the Jews as a way to deal with minorities who refused to adapt to the culture of the national race.

Interestingly, during the recent rise in the attacks against Muslims in India, the country’s PM and the chief of the BJP, Narendra Modi, suggested that India’s Muslims should not be rebuked but need ‘purification’ (parishkar). Modi was referring to the use of this word in this context by BJP’s prime ideologue, Pandit Upadhyaya. Upadhyaya had first used the word decades ago as an extension of the Sanskrit word Shuddi used by Hindu nationalist Dr. PS Moonje in 1923. Shuddi also means ‘purification’ and Moonje had used it to mean the conversion of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 6, 2018 at 9:58am

#Indian #Muslims left out of #India's growth story, World Bank study shows. Mobility levels for #African-#Americans in the #US are better than those for Muslims in India but #mobility among lower caste SCs, STs is comparable to that of African-Americans.

“Higher caste groups have experienced constant and high upward mobility over time, a result that contradicts a popular notion that it is increasingly difficult for higher caste Hindus to get ahead,” Asher and his co-authors point out. The extent to which inter-group differences in mobility are driven by location varies substantially by group. Among STs, the district of residence explains 59% of the upward mobility gap with upper castes, the study shows. Place matters considerably less for SCs (14% of the upward mobility gap) and Muslims (9% of the upward mobility gap).

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 21, 2020 at 7:19am

#BJP's Ram Madhav: “The RSS still believes that one day these parts which have, for historical reasons, separated only 60 years ago will again through popular goodwill come together and Akhand (united) Bharat will be created" #Hindutva #India #Pakistan

Faced with an ultimatum, the Congress had to make a choice. It could either accept the Plan as a whole, with grouping and a weak Centre – and keep India united. Or it could press for Partition. After vacillating for a few months, as anarchy mounted all around, the Congress chose Partition.

There was already a plan for Akhand Bharat in 1946 – and India's founding fathers rejected it
If Akhand Bharat was as desirable as BJP’s General Secretary Ram Madhav claimed in a recent interview, why did the Congress reject the united India promised in the 1946 Cabinet Mission Plan?

Politically uniting the subcontinent into one entity has long been a cherished goal of the Hindutva movement. Even Vinayak Savarkar, who was an explicit supporter of the Two Nation Theory never, unlike Jinnah, spoke of Partition (although his conception of India had Muslims “play the part of German Jews”). Nevertheless, any practical conception of a united subcontinent has eluded its supporters. In fact, in the summer of 1946, a year before the British transferred power, a constitutional scheme for a united subcontinent was keenly pushed by the Raj and hotly debated by politicians ­– but in the end was firmly rejected by India’s founding fathers.

The Cabinet Mission Plan

This constitutional scheme is known to history as the Cabinet Mission Plan, uninspiringly named so because it was led and drafted by three members of the British cabinet. After two centuries of holding onto India, the British, greatly diminished by World War II, were desperately looking to get out. This three-member team was, therefore, entrusted to find a way to transfer power into Indian hands. The delegation arrived in India in March 1946 and set about talking to Indian politicians of all stripes. After a grueling month of discussions, the Mission was ready to make some suggestions.

The way it saw things, there were only two options to transfer power. The first was to partition British India into a sovereign India and Pakistan (which – spoiler alert – was what happened eventually). Partition, however, was much disliked by the British, who wanted to keep India united and preferably in the Commonwealth in order to best maintain its influence even after its formal exit. It was obviously disliked by the Congress, which was still opposed to splitting British India. Somewhat surprisingly, given his strident demands for “Pakistan”, the partition plan was also rejected by Jinnah, who called it “definitely unacceptable”. Consequently, Partition as an option, was dropped by the Cabinet Mission.

Three-tiered federation of united India

That left the other option, which was a united India. Declared on May 16 1946, the final scheme proposed by the Cabinet Mission took great care to explicitly point out that is was rejecting a sovereign Pakistan. It proposed a three-tiered federation, with British India’s provinces split into three groups which correspond roughly to present day India, Pakistan and a combination of Bengal and Assam. The plan was very close to what the Congress had wanted from the Cabinet Mission during its negotiations, rejecting Muslim League proposals which wanted “parity” (or equal representation) between Hindu and Muslim provinces at the Centre. The Congress had bitterly opposed this – Gandhi has called parity “worse than Pakistan” – and the Cabinet Mission had agreed, simply dividing seats in the central legislature by population.


You need to be a member of PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network to add comments!

Join PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

Pre-Paid Legal

Twitter Feed

    follow me on Twitter

    Sponsored Links

    South Asia Investor Review
    Investor Information Blog

    Haq's Musings
    Riaz Haq's Current Affairs Blog

    Please Bookmark This Page!

    Blog Posts

    Sindh introduces online education app for primary schools

    Sindh News

    Sindh education department on Saturday has introduced online education for kindergarten (KG) to grade five students by launching a mobile education application in the province due to ongoing coronavirus…


    Posted by Sobia Anjum on June 6, 2020 at 1:28am

    Worldwide corona cases cross 6,851,513 death toll stands at 398,256

    Breaking News

    The deadly COVID-19 claimed 398,256 lives so far and infected 6,851,513 people worldwide while 3,351,323 patients have recovered.

    The declared cases have been registered in 213 countries and territories since the first…


    Posted by Sobia Anjum on June 5, 2020 at 11:59pm

    © 2020   Created by Riaz Haq.   Powered by

    Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service