By Wajahat Masood
(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edit Bureau)
Barrister Asaf Ali has also been a favourite target of the jabs of the Muslim League historians. It is the same Asaf Ali whose inclusion in the interim government by the Congress had made the Muslim League inducts Joginder Nath Mandal into the cabinet. Dr Fakhir Hussain writes that when he met Asaf Ali after the partition, he had said, “Now when you have established Pakistan, try to manage it properly”.
The basic difference between the democratic and feudal mentality is that the former believes that through dialogue you can find a solution that is beneficial for all the parties which is called a win-win situation. On the other hand the feudal mind thinks that if one party benefits, the other one is bound to lose—a situation which is called ‘zero sum’.
You can make out from the discussion carried out here whose actions among the parties were based on democracy and who was a prisoner of feudal mentality.
If you want to know more about Gandhiji’s association with non-violence and secularism, you should read about his peace mission in Bengal and Bihar in the autumn of 1946. Read about his Maran Varat (fast unto death). When Sardar Patel withheld Rs 55 Crore of Pakistan’s share, Gandhiji again went on a fast unto death. The biggest proof of his unflinching association with higher moral principles is his tragic death as he was killed by the Hindu Mahasabha extremists for raising his voice in the interests of Pakistan and the Muslims.
On August 14, 1947 Muslim-majority Lahore was burning. Millions of non-Muslims had reached refugee camps in their own city. Non-Muslim majority Amritsar was burning. Muslim localities had turned into abattoirs. In Delhi, the capital city of independent India, the fire of communal frenzy was raging. The Purana Qila of Delhi had turned into the last refuge of the homeless Muslims. On that day, Calcutta, the non-Muslim majority city of India presented a unique scene. Here is an excerpt from ‘Freedom at Midnight’:
“Calcutta which should have erupted like a volcano of revenge was passing through such a period that was surprising. A procession was taken out in the evening which was participated equally by both Hindus and Muslims. The procession reached Gandhi’s residence Haidari House. It changed the atmosphere of the city. Hindus and Muslims put their swords back in their sheaths and got busy fixing the national flag in the balconies and electric posts. The doors of the mosques were opened for the Hindus while the Hindus welcomed the Muslims in the temples with love. The people who had been killing each other only 24 hours ago were roaming the streets happily hand in hand. Hindu and Muslim women and children forgot their religious differences and served sweets to each other.”
That was the difference between Calcutta and other cities. Rising above their religious identities and risking their lives, Gandhiji and Hussain Shahid Soharwardi were trying to establish peace. A great historian of modern India and the professor of History at Chicago University Professor Emirates C M Nayeem writes, “With the exception of Suhrawardi, no prominent leader of the Muslim League visited any riot affected area.”
You have already read about the testimony of Mushtaque Ahmad Wajdi to Pandit Nehru’s efforts to stop the violence. Now have the testimony of the distinguished poet and prose writer Josh Malihabadi whom a ‘noble’ minister of Pakistan Mahmood Azam Farouquee turned into a living dead with the help of his official powers and by going back on his promise:
“Shortly after the partition, Sardar Patel, though did not suspend the then Muslim chief commissioner of Delhi who was the son of Aftab Ahmad Khan of Aligarh, seized all his powers through his oral instructions and transferred the powers to the deputy commissioner Mr Randhawa. Muslims were being killed and looted at a large scale. If, during the horrible days, Jawahar Lal (Nehru) had not come out and gone around in the dangerous lanes and by lanes of Delhi slapping the Hindus to stop the riots, not a single Muslim would have survived in the city.
Adul Wali Khan used to say that history was not synonymous with digging old graves but it was a useful tool. With the help of history we get the wisdom that helps us brighten the paths of the future. The preferred policy of the higher leadership of the Muslim League was to focus on the one point programme of the demand for Pakistan avoiding the details and not adopting a fixed point of view. This is the mode of action of the popularity-hungry politics.
With the help of this kind of politics, the support of divergent groups, schools of thought and sections can be made sure. But it has its shortcomings as well. Politics is the name of shaping human collectivity. Human society is a very complicated, fluid and compact phenomenon. Bringing politics under a one point programme inevitably results in ignoring many real and important factors. When one-point politics succeeds in achieving its goal, the aspects which had been ignored raise their heads and give birth to such complications which one could not even have imagined.
One aspect of the shortcomings is that due to its limitations, one-point politics is unable to yield desired results. One of the dangerous outcomes of this kind of one-sided and partial politics is that the political leadership instead of practicality falls in the habit of playing with the emotions of the public. To explain this, a long excerpt from Akhlaque Ahmad Dehlvi’s book ‘Yadon Ka Safar’ is presented here which will give an idea of how vague ideas the higher leadership of the Muslim League had about the nature of Pakistan before partition and how irresponsibly it was playing with the emotions of the people.