Tuesday October 03, 2023

Two-nation theory - the foresight of Jinnah

March 13, 2020

The two-nation theory was a concept that emphasised a separate state for the Muslims in the subcontinent. From looking into history, it clearly shows that after the advent of Islam in the subcontinent, Muslim nationalism evolved as Muslims and Hindus could not co-exist without nationalism rearing its head.

The Bhakti movement, Deen-e-Ilahi and other similar ideologies, which tried to absorb Islam into Hinduism, prompted Muslim scholars to attempt to preserve the purity of Islam. After the British occupation of the subcontinent, the domination by Hindus, backwardness of Muslims and the threat for their survival, coupled with sporadic clashes between Hindus and Muslims led to the two-nation theory.

The theory describes Muslims as a nation, with different culture, heritage, values and civilisation. The Congress party wanted India to remain united as a secular state with equality for followers of all religions. But the two-nation theory resulted in the partition of British India and the emergence of two separate nations: Pakistan and India.

After more than 70 years, the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was passed in the Indian parliament later last year, which triggered widespread protests all over the country. The bill was passed to provide a pathway to citizenship for refugees who came to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan with one specific caveat: these refugees cannot be Muslims.

The approval of the law — widely interpreted by the more than 200 million Indian Muslims as anti-Muslim — proved beyond a doubt that the RSS ideal of Hindutva is becoming a reality in India, with the objective of suppressing — and worse — evicting Muslims from India. It clearly depicts the foresight of Mohammad Ali Jinnah when he stated: “‘When you [the Congress] talk of democracy, you are thoroughly dishonest. When you talk of democracy you mean Hindu Raj, to dominate over the Muslims, a totally different nation, different in culture, different in everything. You yourself are working for Hindu nationalism and Hindu Raj.” The current situation of India, especially the recent anti-Muslim riots in Delhi, proved that the steps taken by Jinnah which were born out of the two-nation theory were essentially accurate.

The BJP government under the leadership of Narendra Modi is closely working with the Hindu extremists to transform India into complete ‘Hindu Rashtra (a Hindu State)’. This shows that they are trying to dismantle secular India and transform it into an entity based on Hindutva that believes that entire Indian subcontinent is the homeland for only Hindus.

Since 2014, under the BJP government, several movements have started to oppose the Muslim community. A cow ‘protection’ movement has led to several incidents of lynching of Muslims for slaughtering cows. The Babri Masjid verdict in favour of Hindus further emboldened the Hindu fanatics as mosques were ransacked in Delhi by Hindu mobs in the recent violence.

The political support encouraged the Hindu extremists to commit more crimes against Muslims. The “Ghar Wapisi (Return Home)” movement led by the RSS to convert Muslims to Hindu is on the rise in India. It clearly reflects the agenda of Hindutva which shows that other than Hinduism, there is no place for any other religion in today’s India.

This behaviour of Hindu rioters could be a hint at their future plans for a fundamentalist Hindu Raj. But the issue in this design is what will they do after the Muslims are dealt with, who are 14 per cent of the total population of India? If they will continue their fascist movement, who is going to be their next target? If we look at history, then after Muslims, the next target of this fascism could be the Sikh community. The Sikh community has been victim to pogroms from Hindu fanatics in the past. If this madness continues, it could continue until only Hindus remain in India. The process of systematically eliminating the minorities from the country will result in the ruin of secular India. As the Hindutva believes in the supremacy of Hindus and there are no equal rights for minorities, it gives room to Hindu fanatics to kill others.

The freedom given to fanatics in India is leading towards the loss of its integrity. This could only result in radicalisation in other areas — especially in the disputed region of Kashmir. If these activities of the nationalist Indian government are not stopped, it could lead to not only more internal unrest but border conflicts with Pakistan too. The RSS policies are not only a risk for secular India, but also a great threat for the peace of South Asia.

The writer is a freelance contributor