Aug 15, 2017 Sarwar Bari Comments Off on Arch-enemies of Jinnah and Gandhi
The writer works with Pattan Development Organisation and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Seven decades after Pakistan and India came out of British colonial rule, we see that the enemies of Jinnah and Gandhi are ruling the two countries — in India directly while in Pakistan indirectly. Let’s decipher the facts. Like most freedom movements, in united India too there were many groups who had struggled for liberation from the colonialists. Each group had its own distinct interest, rationale and ideology. Thus, they had opposed each other while ‘fighting’ for freedom. This was a natural process. Sadly, the followers and those who had some similarities with Gandhi and Jinnah gradually became irrelevant, while the archenemies of the two great leaders managed to seize power.
In India, Hindu zealots the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha who had vehemently opposed Gandhi’s political ideology managed to ‘capture’ hearts and minds and now a RSS member is the prime minister of India. Consider their rise. On January 30th 1948, Nathuram Godse — a diehard member of the RSS assassinated Gandhi. He stated in the court that he killed Gandhi because he had openly criticised the Nehru government for not releasing Rs550 million to Pakistan. The Indian government had to reverse its decision due to Gandhi’s fast. This angered the RSS. Pakistan’s rightist historians tend to suppress the cause of Gandhi’s assassination.
For few decades after the independence, the RSS supported BJS — the earlier face of BJP, which could not win more than four to six seats in the Lok Sabah. Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in 1975, which lasted for two years. Though Indians rejected Indira Gandhi’s authoritarianism, it paved the way for extremist parties to widen their social roots. Since then, there has been no stopping. A party that could kill the founding father now will have no hesitation in killing thousands of Muslims. It is worth recalling that Narendra Modi joined the RSS in his youth. In 1985 he joined the BJP. When he was chief minister of Gujarat, he was allegedly responsible for massacring hundreds of Muslims in 2002. Today India is being ruled by the archenemies of Gandhi.
Our Islamist zealots — the archenemies of Jinnah, including the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and the offshoots of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and Majlis-e-Ahrar, though failed miserably to obtain even 5% votes in any past election, became influential by dancing to the tunes of the establishment. The founder of the JI had written before independence, “Pity! From League’s Quaid-e-Azam down to the lower cadres, there is not a single person who has an Islamic outlook and thinking and whose perspective on matters is Islamic.” But the party took a great somersault soon after. They decided to dominate the new country. This was not possible unless it is cleansed of Jinnah’s legacy. The incipient establishment soon embraced their ideology as it suited its interest too.
Consider. The government had let the Hindus (who had fled to India) to come back and reoccupy their property. The government surrendered quickly to bigots’ pressure by abandoning the policy. Within six months of Jinnah’s death, the Objectives Resolution — foundational step towards Islamisation — was presented in the Constituent Assembly. Out of 69, only 21 MPs voted for it, while 48, including all the 23 non-Muslim MPs, opposed it. Yet it became a statute. This profound appeasement set the future direction. In 1951 Jinnah’s enemies launched anti- Ahmadi movement, which turned into riots in Lahore. The purpose was to push the government to dismiss Zafarullah Khan as the foreign minister.
Moreover, in the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, out of 69 members, as many as 23 or 33% were non-Muslims. Today we have only 10 (3%) non-Muslim MPs. Jinnah had also appointed a Hindu as law minister, an Ahmadi a foreign minister. A similar trend could be seen in India, too. In 1980, there were 49 Muslim MPs in the Lok Saba. Currently out of 552, there are just 22 (5.5%). And all of them belong to the leftist and centrist parties.
Coming back to Pakistan. The second amendment in the 1973 Constitution encouraged enemies of Jinnah once again. Sadly, a so-called secular and socialist Z A Bhutto facilitated the move. General Zia (1977-88) was the first ruler who brought the enemies of the founding father to the corridors of power. They became part of his cabinet. They soon sacked seculars and liberals from universities and state bodies and helped promote the interests of the Western powers. General Zia had also helped the offshoot of the Majlis-e-Ahrar to forge a terrorist outfit.
What we are harvesting today in the form of terrorism was sown then. During 1988-1990s, the JI and other extremist parties joined the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad, led by Nawaz Sharif. General Musharraf (1999-2008) in this regard was not different. He helped the mullahs to form a grand alliance — the Muttahida Majlis–e–Amal — and manipulated the electoral process for their victory too.
Can anyone deny that since 1977 Jinnah’s enemies have been provided complete impunity to spread hate against minorities and secularists? People could not even celebrate the coming of New Year. They could attack churches and lynch innocent people in the name of blasphemy. Literally a mob was allowed only recently to lynch Mashal Khan — a secular and a progressive university scholar. In 2014, an innocent Christian couple were burnt to death in Kot Radha Kishan. Between 2003 and 2016, the enemies of Jinnah killed as many as 62,000 innocent people. A large majority of them were Muslims.
Across the border the RSS could lynch Muslims on frivolous allegations too and destroy their mosques. With Modi coming to power the frenzy of the RSS and the Bajrang Dal — another fascist outfit has risen to new heights due to cow vigilantism and the impunity that is available to such groups. Lynching of Pehlu Khan in April, Mohammad Akhlaq in 2015 and the attack on an independent MLA, Engineer Rasheed, reveal the true face of enemies of Gandhi. Rasheed had to equate RSS thugs with Taliban, “I want the whole world to know that Talibanisation is not just taking place in Pakistan. It is happening all over India too.” Isn’t it similar to the fascism of our extremists?
In spite of their mutual hatred for each other, they look alike. Each needs the ‘other’ in order to perpetuate its domination. Both hate liberalism, secularism and humanism but love fascism. Both attack those who would dare to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Both abhor reasoning and dialogue. Both love democracy as long as it serves their interest and turned democracy into fascism when it doesn’t. In Pakistan, anti-Jinnah groups would also attack those who are seen celebrating Basant or Baisakhi. They would not hesitate to kill shrine goers too. If Babri Masjid is destroyed by anti-Gandhi thugs there, our anti-Jinnah extremists would destroy temples here.
Conclusion: the hatemonger bigots remained steadfast in their hate for Jinnah and Gandhi and their followers in the respective countries. However, unlike India, here in Pakistan due to continuous appeasement of the civil-military establishment, the enemies of Jinnah have virtually become its junior partners. No wonder, most people perceive them as agent of the corrupt status quo. Hence, they don’t vote for them. While in India, the electorate does.
Should the people of Pakistan and India want to live in peace and have a prosperous life, they must then rise against the archenemies of Gandhi and Jinnah in their respective countries. Let us strive to make the souls of both the countries’ founders rest in peace.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2017.
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