Would Jinnah, a Shia, also have to leave the country he founded?

Mr Jinnah, a twelver Shia himself, would be considered a minority today, in the state that he founded.

Abdul Majeed September 03, 2012
August 15 marked the completion of 65 years since our country came into existence. Yes, it was August 15 and not August 14, however, we officially celebrate our independence day on the 14th.

The Pakistan we see today is not the Pakistan envisaged by the founders of this country. There were a lot of mishaps surrounding the birth of this country as it faced a pre-mature labour. Short-sightedness on the part of leaders of the Pakistan Movement coupled with the intrigue that arose by the parting Britishers resulted in a country that was in shambles as soon as it came into existence.

The very first grave challenge faced by Pakistan was the massive bloodshed that occurred on both sides of the border. Starting from the massacres of non-Muslims in Northern Punjab and Bengal in March 1947, till the brutal slaughter of Muslim refugees in the last months of 1947, sectarian violence affected the whole subcontinent.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz best summed up partition in the following words:
Ye daagh daagh ujaala,
Ye shab-gazeeda seher,
Wo intezar tha jis ka,
Ye wo seher to nahi.

(Such a tarnished beginning and shadow infested dusk; this is not what we were waiting for.)

Mr Jinnah, a twelver Shia himself, would be considered a minority today, in the state that he founded.

At the time of partition, 25% of the population was non-Muslim. This has reduced to a mere 2% since then. This relative decrease in number is chiefly due to the creation of Bangladesh but also due to mass exodus of non-Muslims who had to spend lives as second-rate citizens in their own country.

Arpit Parashar wrote in his article entitled ‘Half a country, half a life’ in Ink Magazine:
“Despite border tensions, migration, chiefly into India, has been a constant since partition. Hindus and Muslims from East Pakistan—then Bangladesh—fled to India to escape the atrocities at home. Rough government estimates suggest that 1o lakh Hindus came in after Partition, another 10 lakh in the 1950s, around 50 lakh in the 1960s. Around 15 lakh of the one crore who came to India in 1970-1971 stayed on. Since then, poverty and sectarian strife at home has led to the migration of about 50 lakh Bangladeshi Muslims to India since 1971.”

He also mentioned that,
“The Constitution of Pakistan upholds Islam as the state religion and allows other religions to co-exist but the ground realities are different. Hindus are termed kafir and their love for their home country is questioned at every level. The Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court Khwaja Muhammad Sharif is reported to have commented earlier this year that the Hindus were responsible for terrorism in Pakistan.”

I should point out that in Pakistan, not only non-Muslims, but also those Muslims who do not conform to the majority's interpretation of Islam are deemed as minorities.

In the infamous Munir Report of 1954, Justice Munir noted that none of the learned Islamic scholars representing their respective sects came to agree upon a single, universal definition of who was a Muslim (and who was not). This results in a situation where if we are Muslim by the standard of one sect's definition, we are considered kafir by the rest of the definitions.

The constant insecurity, disdain and persecution faced by our fellow non-Muslim Pakistanis for the last 65 years is contrary to the teachings of our religion and every ethical principle there is. Even Jogindar Nath Mandal, Pakistan's first law minister chosen by Mr Jinnah himself, had to leave the country in 1950 as a protest against maltreatment of Hindus in East Pakistan.

At the heart of this hatred of others lies the sense of self-righteousness that we have been raised on, and a hefty mixture of cognitive dissonance (difference in what we are told/taught and what the reality is). There exists cultural narcissism; the idea that we are the best nation ever but we have been suppressed by mythical enemies.

The Islamic revivalists of today, while condemning non-Muslims for their exploits against Muslims, forget that non-Muslims enjoyed comfortable lives under Muslim rulers from the time of the reign of Righteous Caliphs till the fall of the Ottoman empire.

I agree in principle with my hyper-nationalist brothers when they denounce the atrocities being committed in Kashmir, Palestine and Burma. I just wish they would speak a single word against Shia genocide, Baloch missing persons, target killing of Hazaras or events like Gojra, which occur in their own backyard.

Raising a voice about minorities is considered a 'liberal elite' hobby but it’s not the liberal elite who lynch innocent Christians, abduct Hindu girls or accuse minors of committing blasphemy.

Detractors point out that highlighting minority rights downplays 'real' issues like the power crisis, unemployment, stagflation, education and health disasters. I partially agree with this criticism, but to quote Saroop Ijaz,
“No issue is more real than murder or witch-hunt. All loss of innocent life is to be condoled, yet not all funerals require the same mourning or outrage.”

It must be mentioned that the so-called 'real issues' have created a frustration that has frequently been outpoured at the cost of minorities.

Someone tweeted the other day:
When Mr Jinnah said, “You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your churches”, he should’ve added, “at your own risk”.

The space for minorities, and people, who speak up about minority rights is closing down at an alarming pace. For the Christians and Hindus who couldn't afford going to a new country in 1947, or the Shias and Ahmadis who immigrated to a new land, the road ahead is a bleak one. This is a dangerous situation because the thirst for blood of minorities will eventually lead to infighting and civil war.

Excommunicating sects one by one will end in disaster. Cyril Almeida writes:
“Pakistan's dirty little secret isn't its treatment of non-Muslims, Shias or other sundry groups who find themselves in the cross-hairs of the rabid and the religious. Pakistan's dirty little secret is that everyone is a minority.”

Read more by Abdul here or follow him on Twitter @abdulmajeedabid
Abdul Majeed A final year medical student with interests in history, political economy and literature. He blogs at http://abdulmajeedabid.blogspot.com/ and tweets as @abdulmajeedabid
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


dev | 11 years ago | Reply There are spelling mistakes in what I wrote yesterday viz. modernisation. Any way, in all aspects of individual and social life truth ,goodness .virtue ,honest conduct,kindness,tolerance and mercy are the basis of true religious philosophy. 3.The difference between good and evil is that goodness spreads love and mutual sympathy and evil brings anger,hate and violence. 4.The true character of our leaders can be judged from what they gave us in 1947 and what they are delivering now. 5 Nations require benevolent but stern leaders with honest and just attitude.We had none. Unfortunately very few people know that before 1947 our leaders were propped up and encouraged by two sets of India concerned foreigners,one group patronised Jinnah,Rehmat Ali and league leaders, the other group befriended congress leaders. In 1947, labour leaders came to power with tilt. Basically most of our leaders were proxy to British interests in subcontinent. 7.During second world war even German backing to few groups influenced mindset of a few leaders. 8.London based absentee leaders were churning out wild unrealistic write ups to detriment of Indian people. 9 Our leaders never preached harmony and peace to our people. Rather it appears whole exercise was for the lust of power. In one of the blogs some body writes of discrimination during his visit to India.Truth is essence of human living. I believe it may not be true.It never happens.Muslims and Christians are freely permitted even in temples of Rishikesh and Hardwar. In India in many temple compounds,men and women spend their leisure without any body raising a finger.I am surprised that such a sad episode really happened.No hindu publically behaves like that unless it is a charged atmosphere.Rather believe me, it is other way round. In India by and large discrimination is result of certain inadequacies and misconduct by a few (with exceptions). Merit and quality is deciding factor for moving up in a social and economic order.Here no body is concerned about some one,s religious credentials. 12 I think both Indians and Pakistanis must not hesitate in taking lessons from each other,they can make excellent team with mutual trust and understanding.There is nothing wrong in reading some thing about Budhist and Christian conduct and philosophy.After prolonged introspection I feel besides all relgions which are equally good in many aspects, I trust Christianity and Budhism happen to be very best religions in world along with other religions but with an edge if we exclude the misconduct of war makers. It is a fact which must be realised and analysed . It would only make us become better after prolonged sickness of body and mind.I have personally participated in all kinds of religious functions.One canot be diehard person to achieve peace.Modes of worship are ways for communicating with God whom we donot see that is why some of us use our own devices for connectivity with him, be it pious actions, love, songs ,good deeds or feeling the blessings of God or even through idols.God is too wise to be remembered by any way one prefers to realise him or feel him.Therefore one must agree that Indian subcontinent,s great ancient people were led or misled by very small diseased minds and the result was disasterous. God forbid it should never happen again. But we too must learn to become human beings first rather than becoming items and specimens of religious marks and identities.
dev | 11 years ago | Reply Unfortunately our leaders were cheats and rabble rousers who thoroughly misguided people under the influence of British.I had seen a few rulers and Maharajas. India, a united India should have been ruled by consortium of these rulers.British should have handed over power to these rulers of India. There would have been no violence, no hatred,no discrimination, no loss of life.Maharajas stood by their people in hour of need. Remember Raja Jai pal and Anangpal of Lahore who laid down their lives along with their families for their people.These Maharajas were well trained in statecraft and administration. I had seen their rule which was million times peaceful and better ruled than today despite moedrnisation.First lesson gulped down their throat was that each subject is like their offspring and they never or rarely acted against their own people unless they were disobedient or at fault. Under their rule their was not a single case of rioting. In 1947 our Maharaja had ordered that in his state he will not accept any violence or a politician who only arouse unfounded fears,confusion disobedience ,hartals,misrule,bias, prejudice and above all the disgarce of all the mutual hatred.Now we have fake and fraudulant democratic and judicial system.Most of Maharajas were kind and it was very easy to have an audience with them.One had to only tell the guards on duty for a message to be conveyed and Maharaja would never disappoint.Once a poorest old woman was given an instant audience as she went crying at his palace. This was the summer palace of Maharaja and he was holidaying.Her life,s entire money was destroyed by rats. Witty Maharaja told her that he didnot own those rats and hence these were out of his control, however she received crisp brand new notes.I have strong conviction that despite all the mud thrown upon them by the politicans who brought death and destitution to millions, not millions of politicians can ever match the glory of a benevolent Maharaja.
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ