Founding stories

Published: March 13, 2012
The writer is a partner at Bhandari, Naqvi & Riaz and an advocate of the Supreme Court. The writer can be reached on Twitter @laalshah. The views presented in the article above are not those of his firm

The writer is a partner at Bhandari, Naqvi & Riaz and an advocate of the Supreme Court. The writer can be reached on Twitter @laalshah. The views presented in the article above are not those of his firm

One million people died in Partition. Ten million people lost their homes. Logically speaking, none of that has anything to do with the merits of the two-nation theory. But we are not creatures of logic.

Let me start with the first point.

The two-nation theory is the argument that Muslims and Hindus are two intrinsically, inherently different peoples; each a nation entitled to its own sovereign territory.

There is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a nation. Formulations in international law tend to be circular: a nation is thus a collection of people sufficiently large and sufficiently different from other people, as to be entitled to self-determination. Self-determination, on the other hand, is what nations are entitled to.

The result of this circularity is that we are left with only an eyeball test; if it looks like a nation, talks like a nation, quacks like a nation, then by golly, it is a nation. In this frustrating sense, nationhood is much like pornography, the best definition of which remains Justice Potter Stewart’s statement, “I know it when I see it.”

To return to my point, Partition does not prove that the Hindus and the Muslims of the subcontinent are two different nations. All it proves is that people are capable of doing horrible things to each other.

Before I wind up in hot water, let me clarify for the benefit of the excessively patriotic that I am not, repeat NOT, saying that the two nation theory is wrong. I’m just saying that the fact that a million people died because of the pursuit and political realisation of that theory is logically irrelevant to the truth of the two-nation theory.

At the same time, what is important to note is that logic is not the key factor here. As Kathryn Schulz explains in her fascinating book, Being Wrong, (Ecco; June, 2010) people are born storytellers. We make up stories every day. In fact, we make up stories every minute.

To clarify, the point that Schultz makes is not that people spend all day, every day telling yarns to each other. Instead, her point is that we take the incomplete information received by our senses and join the dots to get a complete picture of the world. Most times we get the picture right. Sometimes we get the picture completely wrong, so wrong that we just make things up out of thin air to explain otherwise inexplicable stuff, a behaviour called ‘confabulation’.

Schulz illustrates this behaviour by using examples from people who had been treated for epilepsy through a procedure in which the tissue connecting the left and the right halves of the brain was cut. Because this tissue had been cut, information processed by one half of the brain (such as what the person saw) was not available to the other half of the brain responsible for speech. For example, a patient who was shown nude pictures kept on giggling out of embarrassment. However, when she was asked why she was giggling, the part of her brain responsible for speech could not access the information that she had been shown embarrassing pictures. The result was that she ‘confabulated’ and responded by saying that she was laughing because the doctor had asked such funny questions.

A different insight that comes to us from economics is that people are ‘loss averse’. In simple language, what that means is that people don’t like losing something they have a lot more than gaining something they don’t have.

To illustrate this point, consider a game which involves flipping a coin. If the coin comes up heads, you get paid Rs100. If it comes up tails, you have to pay Rs100.

In purely logical terms, the two choices are equal. Most people, however, don’t see things that way. Instead, as shown by Kahneman and Tversky (and they got a Nobel Prize for this insight), people normally only want to play this game if the payoff for calling the coin toss correctly is double the penalty for getting it wrong. In other words, people will play the game only if you give them Rs200 for getting the coin toss right, and make them pay Rs100 for getting it wrong.

For what it’s worth, this behaviour is not restricted to humans. A study carried out by Yale University scientists in 2005 found that capuchin monkeys behave in the exact same way. Loss aversion, in other words, has very deep evolutionary roots.

If we put the two points together, what we get is this: a million people died in the pursuit of the two- nation theory, a terrible loss by any standard. As human beings, we have a tremendously deep need to make sense of our world, and particularly of things that hurt us. At least in my view, the consequence is that, irrespective of the historical facts, there will always be a ready market for the argument that Pakistan should be a fundamentalist Islamic state.

If Pakistan was intended to be liberal and secular, then it means one million people died because the Muslim elite of the subcontinent didn’t trust the Hindus, not because there is any thing different between the two peoples. Historians may think that is an accurate way of describing what happened. But in terms of inspiring people, it certainly lacks the clarity and passion of the mullah’s vision.

Does this mean that liberals in Pakistan are doomed to falter before the devotees of a militant religious identity?

To some extent, yes. People who want a liberal, secular Pakistan will always have trouble grappling with the tragedy of Partition. At the same time, traumas diminish with every generation. My father was told by his father to shoot the women and children first if the walls of their house were breached, an episode which he has obviously never forgotten. I was told that story by my father and while I am unlikely to forget it, it is also normally not something I think about. My son, too, has heard the story but what happened to his Dada six decades ago belongs in some distant prehistory when dinosaurs also roamed the earth.

They say time heals all wounds. Let’s see what it does in the case of Partition.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (90)

  • faraz khan
    Mar 13, 2012 - 12:17AM

    And yet the people who migrated from india to karachi at partition are still not treated as sons of the soil and are forced to ask for a muhajir province of their own.the wounds of partition still haven’t healed.


  • Shahid
    Mar 13, 2012 - 12:20AM

    Even if they were two nations, how came they lived for thousands of years togather ? and what was the need for partition except that it was a british conspiracy.


  • Max
    Mar 13, 2012 - 12:33AM

    I am sure the readers are familiar with Fred Block’s famous article” Ruling Class Does not Rule.” I guess it was published in Socialist Revolution/Review in the middle of 1970s.
    Yes! ruling class always finds someone to mobilize their message/movement. The emerging economic elite of Bombay and the forgotten ruling elite of Delhi had so much in common and it was not difficult for them to find someone to mobilize the movement. What other way could have been better than playing with the religious emotions.
    It worked and worked up-till 1971. The nation that separated is paying the price now. The Hindus and Sikhs are gone, but we had not to work very hard to find the next target and they were Ahmedis, Christians, Shiites, and obviously the regional mushrooms are also heading up. Recommend

  • siddiqa
    Mar 13, 2012 - 12:35AM

    i really enjoyed reading this article :) It’s a huge coincidence that I was having an arguement with other tweeple on this topic and then you posted this! i love the part where you said
    “Partition does not prove that the Hindus and the Muslims of the subcontinent are two different nations. All it proves is that people are capable of doing horrible things to each other.”
    I don’t think I have seen it put in better words !


  • Shahid Jamil
    Mar 13, 2012 - 12:37AM

    A substantially large portion of the killings took place in Punjab where the boundary lines were drawn dishonestly. If the British had not committed the mischief and allowed the Muslim majority areas, without which India would not have had any access to Kashmir, to join Pakistan, the history would have been totally different. There may still have been some disturbances but the scale of the atrocities would not have been catastrophic. We would also not have been left with the Kashmir tragedy.

    So let us not try to confuse the issues of the “Two Nation Theory” and the human killings, and discredit those who led the movement for the creation of Pakistan. They tried their level best to reach a reasonable settlement to the communal problems of India – Cabinet commission’s failure due to Congress leadership’s intransigence is a case in point – but did not succeed as there was no reciprocating hand on the other side. Please read what Abul Kalaam Azad has said in his seminal work on India’s freedom about the behavior of Congress’s leadership at that time.

    Now the prominent leadership of the Muslims also included Muhammad Iqbal who was by no stretch imagination a member of the elite classes of Indian Muslims. He was the person who formally put forth the vision of Pakistan and relentlessly pursued it till the time of his death and but for his efforts, Jinnah may never have decided to come back from England and take up the leadership of Muslims of India to struggle for Pakistan. He was from, at best, a middle class family background and was born and raised in Sialkot and Lahore and not in UP.


  • fahim
    Mar 13, 2012 - 12:42AM

    “so wrong that we just make things up out of thin air to explain otherwise inexplicable stuff, a behaviour called ‘confabulation’.” Is exactly what has happened to this country since its birth. The founding father didnt get time to shape his views .Successive politicians and establishment made absolutely false, ridiculous stories of a monster in east, either to get votes or to illegally usurp power and to control uneducated, hungry, dirt poor mass by fanning rabid hysteria. Result, today we are compared with bottom 10 countries in world, while IMF last month updated their website with India to be World # 3 economy by PPP overtaking Japan.


  • faraz
    Mar 13, 2012 - 12:45AM

    Well two nation theory didn’t work. Religion is not enough to form a nation. More than half of Muslim population didn’t chose Pakistan; and more than half of those who did, parted ways in 1971. There are tensions between various provinces, ethnicities and languages. Baloch have expelled hundreds of thousands of settlers, and Karachi is experiencing ethnic violence since 1985. Punjabis of Pakistan are more similar to Punjabis of India, rather than pushtoons, Baloch or Sindhis. Pushtoons of FATA are more similar to Afghan pushtoon than other Pakistanis. People love Hindi movies because the language and culture is similar.

    Muslim league in West Pakistan consisted of feudals, pirs and sardars who joined the party only to save their privileges. Most the mullahs opposed Pakistan and its founder who was a liberal and belonged to the minority sect. Interestingly, even Jinnah accepted the Cabinet Mission plan, but things spiraled out of control and ended up in massacre and partition.


  • John B
    Mar 13, 2012 - 12:51AM

    The religious and ethnic fervor of the subcontinent was such that it was a foregone conclusion then that partition was inevitable and perhaps it was the best thing happened to the subcontinent, which otherwise would have been marred with civil war. However, two generations have passed, and the grand children’s are at the helm and it is up to them to make the destiny. Except for the states that have gone through the trauma of partition, I see other Indian states moving on in outlook.

    The Theory of two nations is a valid argument, however repugnant it is to the human thought and values. Two nation theory operates in middle east(Israel and Palestine,) Sudan and S. Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Sri Lanka either overtly or subtly.

    In an autonomous federal state structure where the commerce is integrated, the national governments become only an administrative arm and borders have only taxation value and it is exactly going to happen when PAK government integrates its commerce with India.

    Whether the third generation of PAK wants that will determine the outcome of founding stories.


  • American Desi
    Mar 13, 2012 - 12:57AM

    Jinnah and his ilk had it so easy! When the struggle against imperialism was bearing fruit, Jinnah (a Muslim elite) picked a fight with the people who had struggled for independence on the basis of a false argument, Muslim incompatibility with the Hindhus, to found Pakistan. Jinnah and Muslim League are solely the responsible for the partition and bloodbath associated with it.Recommend

  • Falcon
    Mar 13, 2012 - 1:04AM

    Very well written article. I specially liked how you elaborated on the issue of information distortion.


  • Domlurian
    Mar 13, 2012 - 1:13AM

    Very few people in India have been personally affected by Partition. Therefore, Partition is an irrelevant event to the majority of Indians.


  • Kashif Jahangiri
    Mar 13, 2012 - 1:14AM

    Good write up, but I wonder why the author had to be so defensive and fearful to say: “Before I wind up in hot water, let me clarify for the benefit of the excessively patriotic that I am not, repeat NOT, saying that the two nation theory is wrong.” The two nation theory, in the sense it is understood by many in Pakistan (and as described in the above article) is a false concept that cannot help creating a peaceful society. I had dealt with this subject in my article published in The News on 13 August 2011. Will put up the link for those interested.Recommend

  • Noor Nabi
    Mar 13, 2012 - 1:15AM

    The creation of Bangladesh in 1971 convincingly proved the hollowness of the two-nation theory.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Mar 13, 2012 - 1:23AM

    I guess reason of partition was economy after century of queens ruled indian muslims lost there economy superiority which we had in mughal era and another reason was feudals of
    north india these muslim feudals had to lose every thing in united india and then what happend Hindus Brahmins minds never accepted any body to there equal status and that racism was also biggest factor in partition of india and dont forget guys MQM urdu speakiers
    mei naa maanu.


  • Shehzad Shah
    Mar 13, 2012 - 1:30AM

    Good one! Another point is that the Muslims who died didn’t just offer up their lives for Pakistan; most were forced to flee by the threat of attack and very few did it as a matter of choice. Most had been indifferent to the whole Pakistan movement up till that point. If the departing British had done a better job of maintaining security in the last months of the Raj, the migrations & massacres might never have happened.


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 1:52AM

    Very well written, clearly illustrates the point that how our opinion is clouded in decision making due to incomplete information. However, in most decisions we do not follow the logical sequence when taking decisions, especially if religion is mixed with politics, problems are not solved but compounded.

  • Arijit Sharma
    Mar 13, 2012 - 2:03AM

    Honestly, this spate of articles questioning the two nation theory is beginning to scare me.


  • Akbar
    Mar 13, 2012 - 2:44AM

    Even to operate a commercial airline we need a soon to be retired air chief marshal. Oh Gosh! what a pathetic nation we have become. There is no respite in sight as the land of pure belongs only to mighty, mightier and mightiest.


  • Mirza
    Mar 13, 2012 - 2:55AM

    FN, what a great Op Ed! You have hit it out of the ballpark once again. Thanks


  • syed Hassan
    Mar 13, 2012 - 2:58AM

    An excellent article but hard to diggest, even for pseudo liberals.


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 2:58AM

    Dear Feisal Naqvi. Your column brought sad memories of the aftermath of those tragic days.Yes for my son ,it does not mean much, but it is profound,for me.It was my task along with my brother who was 17 and 9 years senior,along with my other male member father(46) to defend 4 female along with my 35 year old mother,with crude weapons,home made,to protect,defend and preserve(like presidential oath of USa) the Hindu honor,in the hands of a 8 year boy!!I do not want to remember..Terrible news was coming across the borders,those were terrible days.We are reaping with compound interest for our deeds.I do not know if ever,we will get over this,only thing I ,get solace is,to-day in America,there is very little hatred between north and south,I guess couple 100 years might do it,but there is one major aspect in USa’s favor,there is no religious divide,and it is very advanced educated society,if every one was as thoughtful as you,there might be hope,but it far from that kind of educated critical mass to get there.Things are not very encouraging at this time in Pakistan,abduction,ransom,indiscriminate killing,suicide bombing and many more obsticle.I think to reduce the trama,of partition,what we must do,is to draw right conclusion like USa did,and removed slavery,and slowly undid the under laying causes,can we do it?,it is doable,but unlikely, and very difficult.There are several reasons ,one is religion,intolerance,very poor Govt.,law order or lack of ,it..Your writing helps,but English is not the medium,Urdu,is.For good or ill,Two nation theory can not be,and should not be undone.Let us,leave it alone.It is water over or under the bridge.


  • Rehan
    Mar 13, 2012 - 3:04AM

    In my humble opinion, partition was a mistake. We were all living peacefully until the British came and found ways to divide us. We are one people, one culture, and one language (little difference between Hindi and Urdu but colonial masters always exaggerated it). We were tricked into partition in a tragic way.
    And the unraveling of the ‘two-nation’ theory can be seen today. Bangladesh is gone, Baluchistan will go in a few years, and now there are ramblings of a Mohajir province/country. Just some honest thoughts.Recommend

  • Shahbaz Asif Tahir
    Mar 13, 2012 - 3:36AM

    With due respect to you, I feel you need serious help.
    May Allah Subhana, guide us to sirat e mustaqeem, Ameen, Ya Rabal Alameen


  • MIlesToGo
    Mar 13, 2012 - 3:51AM

    Next question to ponder is – are Muslims and Europeans two different nations?


  • Alam
    Mar 13, 2012 - 4:42AM

    Excellent article.

    Also, the Pakistani liberals need to show what Muslim elites were doomed to lose if partition had not happened. Similarly, how the tribal mentality of haves-not have been exploited in the past, as well as today, in the name of religion, language, etc.

    Second, liberals need to show the founding leaders of Pak were just human beings, who were way off in their conjectures about how Muslims would be treated in “Hindu-dominated” India. And how they were off in recognizing the issues faced by Muslims. Syed Ahmed Khan was better in this regard decades ago, before Allama Iqbal and Jinnah came up with their diagnosis and prescription


  • Cynical
    Mar 13, 2012 - 4:55AM

    Too dazed to articulate a response.The clarity of vision is heart wrenching but necessary.
    I know a few (among those millions) stories involving both sides from the people who lived that time.


  • Ali Tanoli,
    Mar 13, 2012 - 5:12AM

    is two nation theory only applys to west pakistan muslims or does its applies to kerala madras muslims ?????


  • Ali Tanoli,
    Mar 13, 2012 - 5:21AM

    Two Nations theory is like English and Urdu lang Rich class speaks and learn and lived in English way of life and poor Urdu class for poors that is two nation theory just for muslims
    of North not for south indias muslims.
    why Naqvi sahab dont wanna say that this was wrong thing to do then may be there migration was wrong too


  • Max
    Mar 13, 2012 - 5:48AM

    @Shahid Jamil:
    I disagree Sir. I come from that area that you are mentioning. The causes of massacre on partition were not the boundary issues but the seeds of hate that were sowed years earlier. Punjab was actually the last one to enter this hate tamasha.
    Punjabis had lived together for centuries and we could have lived despite all this. Two of my aunts were married just 20 miles from my ancestral village and they and their families arrived about ten days after partition and were protected and brought to border by a Hindu friend of my grandfather.
    Please do not blame others for your misdeeds.


  • Mir Agha
    Mar 13, 2012 - 6:23AM

    So bangladesh should revert back to east pakistan? Using Naqvi’s train of thought, bangladesh only proved that people commit horrors upon each other regardless of whether they are one nation or not, and doesn’t prove that bengali muslims of the awami league persuasion are a different nation. Of course all this rhetoric is premised on the assumption that a colony, called British India, was one nation, and that (despite historical facts) it was all chummy between the disparate nations/groups in what became British india. Challenging that baseless assumption leads to the excessively “hindutvatized” indians and self-styled reactionary liberals of pak throwing a hissyfit.


  • Hindi hain hum
    Mar 13, 2012 - 6:49AM

    The Muslim League and Jinnah represented the elite among subcontinent’s Muslims. Iqbal proposed the 2-nation theory and Jinnah campaigned for it. Their focus was on trying to ensure that muslims wouldn’t be marginalized. But the seed of the theory of nation founded exclusively for a specific religion also contains a kernel of intolerance for unbelievers.

    In the process of their campaign, Iqbal and Jinnah underestimated or perhaps didn’t foresee the risks of radical extremist Islam. It is ironic, but not at all surprising, that while Jinnah/Iqbal didn’t want to repose their trust in the idea of a tolerant and secular India, the nation that is their legacy today exhibits distrust in the very idea of tolerance for minorities.


  • Babloo
    Mar 13, 2012 - 7:26AM

    There are many lessons to learn from the tragic history of partition. Hindus and Sikhs were wiped out in the land they had lived for thousands and thousands of years. The 1941 and 1951 census of West Pakistan lays out the brutal facts. Millions of muslim families were uprooted from their lands were they had equally lived for generations. In india, the lessons we are taught is that , mixing religion with politics, can reduce man to a beast. What’s the lesson the tragic events have taught people of pakistan. It looks like people on different sides of the border have drawn different lessons from the same tragedy. But only one of those lessons is correct. Do you know whwich one ?


  • amit
    Mar 13, 2012 - 7:51AM

    partition is the best think ever happend otherwise we become minority in india and muslim become majority .see vary high birth rate of pak,india and bangladesh muslim and hindus/sikhs and muslims birth rate difference is growing vary fast after 1980. in 1947 they are 27% in south asia and today they are more than 40-45% and growing 2X faster than non-muslims.indian sikh/hindu produced commonly 1/2/3 children today mostly 2 and indian muslim produced 3/4/5 children.and muslims are behind us in education and many field..officilly muslim population in india 13.4% but according to wikileaks and many report they are more than 20-22% ..


  • aayush
    Mar 13, 2012 - 7:55AM

    @John B:
    well whats difference does it makes if it was a civil war, we have already fought 4 wars and result is zero, neither of the countries gained anything from the war.. i am not opposing your statement that partition was correct, but stating that if it did not happen it would have resulted in civil war is of no use as we already had wars.. technically may be different but ask relatives of people on both sides who lost their life “does it makes any difference had their relatives died in a civil war ?”


  • ajit
    Mar 13, 2012 - 7:57AM

    i have not read such a brilliant article on partition in any of indian papers. you have all the qualities like scientific inquiry, clarity of thought, neutrality on different positions and ability to use language effectively for what it makes a convincing argument.


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 9:14AM

    Faisal you cannot give logical arguements against Two Nation theory. The paradox you made of Pornography and Nation shows how mentally sick you are. It has become fashion for pseudo-intellectuals to object the very foundations of Pakistan. Recommend

  • harkol
    Mar 13, 2012 - 10:21AM

    This is a great article. In fact, it explains why Kashmir can’t go Pakistan way or Independent anymore. The cost associated with it is way too high. It’ll lead to galvanizing the communal hatred all over again, can lead to elimination of Minorities (like what happened in Pakistan). And large scale migrations.


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 10:32AM

    When I read the story your father told you – there are numerous such stories told by sikhs and sindhis residing now in Bombay and other places.
    Unlike the displaced in Pakistan they had no time or avenue to nurse their hatreds. the govt was keen to maintain peace and these refugees had to get on with the task of living. Apparently on the way to the Wagah border (pakistan side) there is a board declaring the number of muslims killed during partition. Perhaps, like Marvi Sirmed once said in a talk show where she was typically shouted down, it is time to face some uncomfortable truths. Visit the places in sindh and punjab where communities of hindus and sikhs were uprooted and killed etc – that will give you a sense of balance and begin to banish atleast for future generations that partition was an event where only muslims were killed.


  • kamran
    Mar 13, 2012 - 11:12AM

    @Shahid Jamil:
    i think the country was drawn in dishonesty, Muslims ruling for 900 years but once a country was reverting to the true population they believed they cant live together. 15 % muslims in India still living, 2 % hindus left in Pakistan, many being forcefully converted.


  • imran
    Mar 13, 2012 - 11:21AM

    Simply, author want to tell us that reality is “constructive”.(Germans and Japanese leaders constructed a progressive and positive discourse for their people in Post War era). Qaued-e-Azam want to construct other discourse and that was liberal tolerate and secular Pakistan but mullha successfully constructed totally opposite discourse, hostility and rigidly and circumstances help them. Later military came to power and to them two nation theory and hostility were well payoff, so they continued with hostile discourse and it creates both political imbalance between military and civilian power and same time it create imbalance between civil and military spending . To deconstruct Pakistan image of discourse, we need to get rid of mullahs’ propaganda and militarily role in Politics.


  • Harish Puri
    Mar 13, 2012 - 11:50AM

    The two nation theory would have made sense if ALL the muslims of the subcontinent had migrated to Pakistan. As it transpired, LESS THAN HALF of them left, which made nonsense out of the theory!

    Also, the fact that India survives as a secular state in which the minorities enjoy equal rights and freedom (it is the only country in which EVERY sect of Islam is free to practice their own brand of the religion) only proves the hollowness of the theory.

    If religion alone was enough to bind a nation together, you wouldn’t have had a Bangla Desh today!


  • Khalid Aziz Chaudhary
    Mar 13, 2012 - 12:00PM

    Well, when it comes to partition and two nations theory, I find Maulana Azad and Bacha Khan’s ideas regarding partition much relevant, liberal and progressive. Muslim League’s hollow slogans and mindless rhetoric during the freedom struggle have a lot to do with our present state of affairs as a nation. When leaders like Gandhi, Azad, Bacha Khan, Hakeem Ajmal and Hasrat Mohani were suffering from house arrests and imprisonments for their freedom struggle our Muslim League’s elitist leadership was busy inventing hollow slogans in their lavish drawing rooms.


  • Feroz
    Mar 13, 2012 - 12:05PM

    Excellent article ! Partition was a blunder of epic proportions but as an Indian I am very happy. Bringing India to where it is today has taken hard work. While Pakistani citizens think Indians have not reconciled to partition and will conquer them, nothing can be further from the Truth. History will prove that India could never have reclaimed its lost glory without shedding dead weight in some form or the other.
    History has also proved to the World that a nation formed on the basis of Religion will live an existence of permanent struggle. Even today the struggle in India is to keep Politicians on track and prevent them from exploiting religious emotions for political gains. We can see the problems and challenges clearly making it much easier to confront them.
    If the inroads made by the merchants of Religion in Pakistan is not rolled back expeditiously, the State will collapse.


  • Abhi
    Mar 13, 2012 - 12:39PM

    This theory was not a scientefic theory so cannot be proved.
    No doubt it has caused big harm to Indian subcontinent, but now it is not useful to debate on it.


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 1:15PM

    Two nation theory was wrong and it has been proven over and over again. Jinnah was wrong to have gotton millions killed for his personal ambitions.

    every passing day when hindus and muslims live peacefully in india proves TNT wrong, every time a muslim president takes oath TNT is proven wrong, every time muslim billionare emerge from india TNT takes a hit, every time a muslim joins BJP he proves TNT wrong.

    IF TNT was ever right then Bangladesh would have been with pakistan, instead it is a independent secular state. if TNT was right then there would be no MQM in pakistan.

    give TNT a rest people.


  • mateen saeed
    Mar 13, 2012 - 1:44PM

    “one million people lost their lives”, there is need to bring out true statistical record. How so many lives were lost when there were no suicide bombers, no Kalashnikovs, other deadly weapons etc. How and when counting was made, true counting not based on exaggerations which has been and is likely to remain hallmark of our ideology of Pakistan brought out by a minister of General Yahya Khan.


  • Am
    Mar 13, 2012 - 1:55PM

    Good riddance as far as India is concerned.
    @Ali Tanoli – valid question to ask that. A Tamil speaking Muslim for example will have more in common with a fellow Tamil Hindu than a Punjabi speaking Muslim. So much for two nation theory!


  • Am
    Mar 13, 2012 - 2:05PM

    To clarify – good riddance in terms of geography. I was not referring to the tragic loss of life.


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 2:24PM

    @Shahid Jamil:

    If the 2 nation theory is indeed correct then why didn’t the Bengalis break away? Why was the call for Bangladesh made in the first place?

    You are actually saying 2 set of Human Beings are so different, in spite of living together for centuries, that they have to go their separate ways?

    Also how can you explain a Sikh being the PM of a nation 80% Hindu? Sikhs, like Muslims, have a different Religious background and different culture.

    Two-nation theory is disproved each day Pakistan and Bangladesh stay different nations. Jinnah was wrong, Nehru right.


  • sohaib
    Mar 13, 2012 - 4:00PM

    What does the author exactly mean by ‘excessively patriotic’? How can intellectual types like you can keep questioning the very basics of this country and ‘excessively patriotic’ types can keep quiet? You dont have to be ‘excessively patriotic’ to love your country and to have good hope for it. The first important thing to understand is that the two nation theory was the cause of arrogance of hindu population towards muslims. And you can sense that arrogance in comments that Indians make here on these pages. There was no bigger nationalist than Jinnah. yet he realised through his struggle that separation was the only way out. Please stop questioning the existence and basis of this country. Better yet, read history and free your mind of this apology and slavery.


  • ukmuslim
    Mar 13, 2012 - 4:28PM

    i am a marathi muslim from konkan. in my village and other surrounding area there are hundreds of muslim families living peacefully. we speak marathi. TNT and its related violence did not affect us mostly. one of my grandfather’s cousin migrated to karachi during partition. since then that family lives in karachi slum. while we are quite well off, educated leading a stable, peaceful and prosperous life. if you ask me or my people to undo the partition like germany, we will vote against it. we are very much happy with the status quo.


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 4:32PM

    @faraz: Dear faraz very well summed up. I agree with each word. Regards. VK


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 4:51PM

    In many years I have not read a more apt comment than ““Partition does not prove that the Hindus and the Muslims of the subcontinent are two different nations. All it proves is that people are capable of doing horrible things to each other.” HAM BULBULE HAI IS CHAMAN KI YE GULISTAN HAMARA. Let boarders remain but fade so that we freely move marry work any where; and be happy


  • Sara
    Mar 13, 2012 - 5:22PM

    Going by the author’s logic, there should only be on nation and one state in the world. Other countries have become independent for lesser reasons than Pakistan did. We are better off without India. Recommend

  • Sara
    Mar 13, 2012 - 5:24PM


    If the 2-Nation Theory is incorrect, why didn’t Bangladesh rejoin India in 1971?


  • Indian viewpoint
    Mar 13, 2012 - 5:24PM

    The Fact is that of the 1.2 billion indians, perhaps less than 20% recollect or have any idea about either partition or two nation theory. They however do remember kargil and mumbai attacks,even 1971 being a distant memory.
    65% of indians are less than 35 years old and were born after 1980, and 50% were born after 1990. So Indians have no interest in partition, and niether in wanting to take over even an inch of pakistan. All indians are happy with our country, and its huge diversity. Our language/cultural diversity is much larger than our religious diversity, and we enjoy it all. From food, to dress to dance to music,. indfians speak 35 languages with thousands of dialects. Yet they are first and foremost Indian.
    Pakistan will surely follow a similar pattern provided that democracy takes root, and the Army does not constantly scare the population by calling India an evil and large adversery( just to keep its importance).
    Muslim Kashmiris are less than 0.5% of Indias population. They have grievances, but no more than the rest 99.5%. They will come around in another decade of prosperity and normalization.
    Partition was terrible, and no one hopes it ever happens again.


  • kaalchakra
    Mar 13, 2012 - 5:27PM

    This article seems quite unfair to Pakistan’s history.

    (1) Pakistan was not the demand of merely the elite. We know that Jinnah was the sole representative. Sole representative of whom, we must ask? The elite? Of course, not. He was the sole representative of all Muslims – from Muslim peasants to Muslim princes, of liberal Muslims and nonliberal Muslims.

    (2) The problem was not that the elite Muslims could not trust Hindus. The problem was that Hindus could not be trusted. Muslims tried their best, bent over backwards, agreed to almost everything Hindus asked for. Recall, Jinnah had worked so hard to give Hindus whatever they wanted that even the fanatical Hindu Mahasabha publicly honored him with the title of ambassador of unity.

    (3) The constant shenanigans of the Congress and Muslim League’s efforts to reach a compromise have been listed in detail by Maulana Azad in his book. Maulana regularly lamented that he had to work with unreliable people who did not understand the concept of justice, unlike Mr Jinnah who was known far and wide as a man of principles, justice, and of his word.

    (4) There are many more things that can show how Muslims simply were not allowed to live in peace. The horrors of the anti-Muslim Congress rule in UP shook even liberal Muslims as far as Multan and Malta. There is also a decades-long, illustrious history of Muslims (ably supported by many patriotic Christians and Hindus) struggling for Pakistan where they could keep power in the right hands and build a perfect society. There was enormous racism. Liberal Pakistanis don’t mention it but Hindus were always making fun of Muslims for being tall, white, and fair – although at least some Muslims didn’t look much different from Hindus.

    The arguments for separating were endless, but the good thing is that finally, except for some extremist Hindus like BJP, Mahasabhas and RSS, nobody else is too unhappy about it.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Mar 13, 2012 - 5:31PM

    @Ali Tanoli:

    ……and then what happend Hindus Brahmins
    minds never accepted any body to there
    equal status and that racism was also
    biggest factor in partition of india
    and dont forget guys MQM urdu
    speakiers mei naa maanu.

    Dear brother, as usual, your comments neither make any sense by themselves or in the context of the topic at hand or in the context of human intelligence. How you come up with such stuff day after day …..sometimes, many times a day really amazes me.


  • Ibrahim Qureshi
    Mar 13, 2012 - 5:36PM

    My parents migrated from India to Pakistan in 1947 and we have done quite well all the for it. Some of their cousins didn’t and they are living in poverty in India and being discriminated against in jobs, etc. In Mumbai, Muslims are not given good homes on rent. As a Muslim family, we benefited greatly from the creation of Pakistan.


  • kaalchakra
    Mar 13, 2012 - 5:37PM


    Sure, some Hindus and Sikhs died, as was inevitable, but you can’t blame Mr Jinnah or his Muslim League for ever employing threats of violence, direct or indirect. On the contrary, Mr Jinnah traveled far and wide trying to prevent violence against Hindus and Sikhs. The great man died in a van in which he was rushing some Hindu and Sikh children to a nearby hospital – a fact that has not been publicized yet.


  • Vijay K
    Mar 13, 2012 - 5:38PM

    The ultimate tragedy : After the treacherous British divided the sub-continent and created hatred, we foolishly continue to buy weapons from them to support their economy and destroy the future of our children. If we are so stupid, we deserve nothing better.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Mar 13, 2012 - 5:45PM


    We were all living peacefully until
    the British came and found ways to
    divide us. We are one people, one
    culture, and one language (little
    difference between Hindi and Urdu but
    colonial masters always exaggerated
    it). We were tricked into partition in
    a tragic way.

    The original plan of British was to divide the country into Hindustan, Pakistan and Princistan consisting of the hundreds of independent princely states. Ideally they wanted a weak, divided, chaotic Indian sub-continent where they could have considerable political leverage (in conditions similar to those of pre-British India).
    And we Indians are much indebted to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for ensuring such ideas didn’t gain foot hold.


  • Kashif Jahangiri
    Mar 13, 2012 - 6:32PM

    Here is the link to my article, referred to above, on the so-called Two Nation Theory…..


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 6:34PM

    @American Desi:
    Apparently you did not open any book of history of the subcontinent before writing this. MA Jinnah who was a member of Congress Party called a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity by Sarojini Naidu.

    Dadabhai Nauroji sent Sarojini Naidu and MA Jinnah, two young students, from England to work for his political campaign—-Independence of India.


  • kilo
    Mar 13, 2012 - 6:36PM

    Two nation theory did not entail migration but once the partition was announced emotions were flared up due to ,as someone described, overwhelming sense of betrayal and did not know how to react except by killing each other…since at the core we were probably one nation!Recommend

  • mrs ahmed
    Mar 13, 2012 - 6:57PM

    currently muslim population is about 300 million in INDIA and roughly 200 in Bungaladesh and 200 mllion in Pakistan , there four it makes up altogether 700 million in relation to say 800million Indians belonging to Hindu religion , ans say 200 million other faiths , therefour it was hindu conspiracy to create Pakistan , although muslims were minority but were very significant , it was fear muslim domination which created Pakistan with collaboration of British and congress , also the formost reason to create a buffer state against Afghans who have been for centuries , periodically invading india , and plundering it , , because there main occupation and skill is war and killings , so the intellectuals new it would happen in future so they created poor pakistan to take the brunt which is happening otday , and muslims are divided in three countries where as hindus remains under one state.
    so happy two nation theory and happy creation of Pakistan


  • Babloo
    Mar 13, 2012 - 7:38PM

    Mrs Ahmed wrote
    “…therefour it was hindu conspiracy to create Pakistan ,”
    Love the comedy , but the tragedy called Pakistan makes me sad.


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 7:43PM

    India would not take them in,did you ever consider that?No hard feeling Bangladesh,We wish you well,prosper and enjoy your freedom.Recommend

  • Ahad shafique
    Mar 13, 2012 - 7:53PM

    In my reply to your article, what i personnaly think is that “two nation theory” is just crap. Once i was a solid beliver of this theory but after coming to UK some of my closest friends are hindus and muslim indians and we all live under one roof. Although the religion is different but the mutual intrests are alot. Its all about respecting the religions i respect theirs and in turn they respect mine thats it.Recommend

  • Irshad Khan
    Mar 13, 2012 - 8:16PM

    Many people think that Hindus exploited Muslims to demand a separate country as they wanted to get rid of the areas which were revenue deficit areas and full of militants, since centuries under the slogan Hatiar hamara zewar hai. Further, they wanted to divide Muslims of Sub-Continent in several parts, later-on fighting with each other. Who is living peacefully now and prospering.


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 8:29PM


    Haha. Good one.

    You know as well as I do that once Nations are created it is very unlikely to go back to their previous avatar.

    Same reason why Soviet Union cannot get back together. Besides, when there are open borders its almost as if borders are immaterial. And, thank Goodness that Bangladesh is no where near like Pakistan(if you know what I mean)!

    Now, that I have answered your question, do ponder why Bangladesh broke off and why Muslims are killing Muslims in Pakistan a Country which was supposed to be a safe haven for them and for the reason for being a lesser Muslim. That is of course if you dont believe that RAW and CIA are responsible for it.


  • Insaniyat
    Mar 13, 2012 - 8:38PM


    If the 2-Nation Theory is incorrect, why didn’t Bangladesh rejoin India in 1971?

    Because- 3 Nation Theory is more correct.


  • Am
    Mar 13, 2012 - 8:47PM

    @Sara: That Bangladesh did not join India after 1971 doesn’t prove that the two nation theory is right. The question is whether India would have accepted Bangladesh in it’s own union if it offered to join, the answer is a resounding no. Much water had flown by then in Padma and reversal of partition was out of question by 71.


  • ZYX
    Mar 13, 2012 - 9:20PM


    appreciate the comment abt b-desh


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 9:46PM

    Feisal,saheb has penned a very profound,thought provoking column,what have we done with it?Spew hate,you are bad,we are good,pointless writing non-sense.As I said,he brought sad memory,my son today is in on official work to St Luies (USA),I ‘m communicating and keeping in touch,by instant messaging,the world has gone so ahead,he has no clue how is grand father and his future father 8 years and all, lived to make him what he is today.He could not care less.What we to day miss,is a longing for bright future.Whose fault is this,we are stuck in no mans land?If I had an answer,I would be a rich man,I could bottle the magic potion and give it for 10cent each and still make a fortune,but unfortunately I have none,other than earnestly tell my youngster not to go that rout as it is path leading to abyasses and destruction and darkness.We,like a moth to flame,run unchecked towards the flame,is this our Fate?I sincerely hope not,Pakistan is in doldrums for a while now,few people like Prof Hoodbhoy and Feisal are doing their best,but ————.Is it enough?I hope so.We must learn from our folly,and without unduly scared we must move on,to build our nation,our suffering society and future generation,I die happily now as I gave my son a fighting chance without telling sad and scary story.It brings smile to my face.I have not wasted away my life in hate,blame game,I’m good,my religion only good,my country innocent,and other counter productive thought.Thank you,TRIBUNE and Feisal Naqvi and other good folks of the Sub-Continent.Nice day and good future,long life,and joy and Happiness,Free at last!Cheers!


  • Mar 13, 2012 - 10:07PM

    When you say two set of Human Beings are different and cannot live together, in spite of peaceful co-existence for hundreds of years, you are pushing ahead a rhetoric that is simple not true. You are creating a country based on the principle of division, as opposed to unity.

    I am glad Pakistan happened because Muslims would have never been satisfied by anything but Pakistan. The demand would have gotten more louder, sharper and violent, thereby destabilizing the foundations of India, as compared to after creation of Pakistan, which enabled India to define itself in a less emotive and balanced atmosphere.

    What makes India and Pakistan different is the ideology and legacy.

    India was seen by the people who fought for its freedom as an all inclusive, secular, Democracy, where everyone is treated equal. Pakistan’s purpose was vague. Its ideological foundations shaky. Jinnah, being a good lawyer that he is, played all sides. He sided with Feudals as well to achieve his aim. In view of all this Jinnah is left undefendable.

    The basic point is India was created on the basis of unity, Pakistan on the basis of division between man. In India Religion is used to unite, in Pakistan it is used to divide.


  • Vijay K
    Mar 13, 2012 - 10:37PM

    @kaalchakra: Im afraid you got the facts surrounding The Quaid’s death wrong.

    Mr Jinnah was recouping from TB in Quetta, but when his condition worsened, he was flown back to Karachi.
    “The plane landed after about two hours at the Air Force base at Mauripur. Mr Jinnah was carried into an army ambulance which then sped south of the highway towards Karachi. After about four or five miles, the ambulance came to a stop. There was a breakdown due to some engine trouble. It could not start. Meanwhile Mr Jinnah’s pulse started becoming weaker and irregular…
    One hour passed this way.
    Finally another ambulance came and Mr Jinnah reached the governor-general’s mansion at 6.10 pm. Four hours and ten minutes later he was dead. ” – Mayank Soofi

    Not sure where you fabricated your story from.


  • Babloo
    Mar 13, 2012 - 10:49PM

    The nation was ‘created in the name of religion’ and millions of innocents died.
    Don’t be surprised if the nation is destroyed in the name oif religion and millions of innocents die.Recommend

  • J T
    Mar 14, 2012 - 1:00AM

    @vijay k, I am pretty certain “kaalchakra” is being satirical. Here’s what he said: “but you can’t blame Mr Jinnah or his Muslim League for ever employing threats of violence, direct or indirect.” That is probably a reference to the call for the so-called “direct-action.” ;-)Recommend

  • Mar 14, 2012 - 4:36AM

    The author’s objective here is to clear up the reason for the creation of Pakistan for the deluded Pakistani population who’ve been brought up to believe the fantasy of the Two Nation Theory. The real reason was what the author mentions: the feudals and elite in United India were afraid of the Congress’ plans to remove the zamindari and nobility customs. They were afraid they would lose their privilege. In order to safeguard that, they colluded to propagate a random theory that called for the creation of a separate homeland where they would be in control – it was quite easy to stir up passions in the common Muslims and get them to act as cannon fodder for their plans. As you can see, feudals still control Pakistan for the most part along with the Army. One of the first acts in independent India on the other hand, was the removal of zamindari, the stripping of feudal privileges, and the disbanding of the hundreds of princely states.

    So many people lost their lives quite unnecessarily when they had been living happily and peacefully with each other for centuries.

    The sooner Pakistanis realize that the two nation theory is fantasy and was just a political tool in the hands of the feudals, the sooner they will embrace the idea of peaceful coexistence, stop looking at India as an enemy and become a contributor to the prosperity of its people and its neighboring countries. It has so much potential to be a flourishing commercial hub lying as it does between such giant economies that it can easily become a very rich country in a short time.

    From India’s POV, Partition was a good thing overall and I am thankful for it.


  • mallani kop
    Mar 14, 2012 - 7:48AM

    the two nation theory is no different from the belief of the zionists in demanding a separate country, and in presisting in denying the palestinians justice. israel and pakistan are the products of the two nation theory.


  • PakiKaka
    Mar 14, 2012 - 9:53AM

    Sir, I’m a patriot Pakistani, yet i denounce two nation theory. Because patriotism does not believe i blindly follow anything that doesn’t make sense. Owing to the massive distortion that has pervaded our history books i wouldn’t be sure that someone of Jinnah’s calibre and intellect would say anything close to two nation theory. I do believe that Jinnah didn’t want partition. He wanted more autonomy for Muslim majority provinces and only when Congress opposed it he realized there was only one way out of it and that was a separate state for Muslims and not ‘Islam’. But i still doubt he propagated two nation theory. Nations are not a product of religion, they can never be.


  • Mar 14, 2012 - 9:55AM

    @Arjun: Dear Arjun you have very aptly explained the entire game plan. I was old enough and am a witness to the horrors of partition. The entire concept of Pakistan was proposed, accepted and implemented within few months and before people could realize the consequences it happened. It was a typhoon that killed and destroyed any one who was near. But yes what ever happens happens for good. Now looking back we feel sad for loss of so much life and property and for the people who were uprooted from their homes of thousands of year and shoved into a land whose people, language, customs and way of life was alien. we pray God will forgive those who for their ego and selfish aspirations brought this. Let us now open the boundaries and do our best to make the life of our elders a little more happy by making them let go to the places where they some time lived happily. Accepting the realities we should live together as two friendly countries and work for progress.


  • V. C. Bhutani
    Mar 14, 2012 - 11:29AM

    I have run through 83 comments that you have published. Every idea that I spoke about in my comment has been touched upon by one or other of the comments. I cannot understand why you found my comment so irrelevant. I thought I had written soberly. But, of course, I respect your editorial privilege.


  • Abhi
    Mar 14, 2012 - 3:24PM

    Well as an indian i have no complains!
    I am glad that people who consider themselves muslim(?) first pakistani later left india
    A nation having these people will never prosper!

    Good Riddance!
    Thank you Jinnah!


  • Yaida
    Mar 14, 2012 - 3:36PM

    @Shahid: A thousand years back the Indian subcontinent did not have the same ratio of Muslims among them. That might be one of the reasons there was no conflict to speak of. Most of them converted only after the Mughals established their domination.


  • ambreen wajid
    Mar 14, 2012 - 4:42PM

    Dear Mr. Neqvi,

    I too, like you grew up on partition stories from my grandmother. Instead of cindrella stories I was told about the kidnapping and killing of my grandmother’s brother and son. I too thought they were fascinating stories of a time and place gone by like your little son. But recently I had the chance to take my family to their ancestral place in india. Believe me the horrors and the suffering were no fantasy; they still exist as real and as painful as it was then, albeit in memory only.

    My point being that no amount of academic understanding or debate can replace reality and its aftermath. Partition happened through a river of blood. Accept it. Move on, yes; build relations, yes; but never forget.


  • Tilsim
    Mar 15, 2012 - 4:36AM

    Partition. Learn from it. Move on but never forget. Partition riots show how ordinary people manipulated by politicians and extremist ideology will act in a worst manner than any beast can even imagine.

    The danger of massive violence between Pakistan and India is not over. Far from it. Those very same politicians and the high priests are still very much active. We must guard against mass violence by teaching ourselves and our kids about the horror that visited these lands to say never never never again. There should be a programme in schools on both sides of the border that looks at the violence and the causes of the violence. Each day pray for peace, friendship, tolerance and links between the people of these lands. We do not want to witness those scenes again. Ever.


  • Khakwani
    Mar 16, 2012 - 2:39AM

    pseudo intellectuals…huh …..if you are saying two nation theory is not wrong, then in short you mean all those one millions lives, scarifies were purposeless. On a quick note current Pakistan scenario has nothing to do with partition or two nation theory.


  • Mar 16, 2012 - 5:02AM

    @Khakwani: Sir we are not pseudo intellectuals. In fact we are not intellectuals as
    intellectuals some time complicate simple matters. We the conman man who have seen the horrors of partitions are saying that yes two nation theory was wrong and what you are calling sacrifices were no sacrifices for any cause but plain simple murders by both, Hindus and Muslims, as boundaries of Pakistan were created by consent voting and not by sword.One commentator has very aptly said that ” ““Partition does not prove that the Hindus and the Muslims of the subcontinent are two different nations. All it proves is that people are capable of doing horrible things to each other.”


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