word Pakistan first appeared in this famous pamphlet as 'Pakstan.'
The idea was to make a federation of the five Muslim majority areas
in the Northwest India, here collectively called PAKSTAN - an acronym
coined with the initials of Punjab, 'Afghan Province' (NWFP), Kashmir,
Sind and the last letters from Baluchistan. In Persian, the word
meant 'the land of the pure,' but this meaning, even if implied,
was not mentioned. It may be noted that Bengal was not included
in this federation, and the author elsewhere proposed an independent
East Bengal by the name of Bangistan.
Chaudhry Rahmat Ali, the author, and his friends
were studying at Cambridge in 1933 when they proposed their scheme
to the Muslim delegates of the Third Round Table Conference. The
scheme, as explained in the text, was "basically different
from the suggestion put forward by Doctor Sir Mohammad Iqbal in
his Presidential address to the All-India Muslim League in 1930.
While he proposed the amalgamation of these Provinces into a single
state forming a unit of the All-India Federation, we propose that
these Provinces should have a separate Federation of their own."
3, Humberstone Road,
28th January, 1933.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am enclosing herewith an appeal on
behalf of the thirty million Muslims of PAKSTAN, who live
in the five Northern Units of India - Punjab, North-west
Frontier (Afghan) Province, Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan,
embodying their inexorable demand for the recognition of
their separate national status, as distinct from the rest
of India, by the grant of a separate Federal Constitution
on social, religious, political and historical grounds.
May I venture to request you to acquaint
me please with your valuable opinion as to the proposed
solution of this great Indian problem as explained herein?
I do hope and trust that, vitally interested
as you are in the permanent solution of this problem, the
objects outlined in the appeal will meet with your fullest
approval and active support.
Now or Never
Are we to live or perish forever?
At this solemn hour in the history of India, when
British and Indian statesmen are laying the foundations of a Federal
Constitution for that land, we address this appeal to you, in the
name of our common heritage, on behalf of our thirty million Muslim
brethren who live in PAKSTAN - by which we mean the five Northern
units of India, viz.: Punjab, North-West Frontier Province (Afghan
Province), Kashmir, Sind and Baluchistan - for your sympathy and
support in our grim and fateful struggle against political crucifixion
and complete annihilation.
Our brave but voiceless nation is being sacrificed
on the altar of Hindu Nationalism not only by the non-Muslims, but
to the lasting disgrace of Islam, by our own so-called leaders,
with reckless disregard to our future and in utter contempt of the
teachings of history.
The Indian Muslim Delegation at the Round Table Conference
have committed an inexcusable and prodigious blunder. They have
submitted, in the name of Hindu Nationalism, to the perpetual subjection
of the ill-starred Muslim nation. These leaders have already agreed,
without any protest or demur and without any reservation, to a Constitution
based on the principle of an All-India Federation. This, in essence,
amounts to nothing less than signing the death-warrant of Islam
and its future in India. In doing so, they have taken shelter behind
the so-called Mandate from the community. But they forgot that that
suicidal Mandate was framed and formulated by their own hands. That
Mandate was not the Mandate of the Muslims of India. Nations never
give Mandates to their representatives to barter away their very
souls; and men of conscience never accept such self-annihilating
Mandates, if given-much less execute them. At a time of a crisis
of this magnitude, the foremost duty of saving statesmanship is
to give a fair, firm and fearless lead, which, alas, has been persistently
denied to eighty millions of our co-religionists in India by our
leaders during the last seventy-five years. These have been the
years of false issues, of lost opportunities and of utter blindness
to the most essential and urgent needs of the Muslim interests.
Their policy has throughout been nerveless in action and subservient
in attitude. They have all along been paralysed with fear and doubt,
and have deliberately, time and again, sacrificed their political
principles for the sake of opportunism and expediency. To do so
even at this momentous juncture is a policy of Bedlam. It is idle
for us not to look this tragic truth in the face. The tighter we
shut our eyes, the harder that truth will hit us.
At this critical moment, when this tragedy is being
enacted, permit us to appeal to you for your practical sympathy
and active support for the demand of a separate Federation-a matter
of life and death for the Muslims of India - as outlined and explained
India, constituted as it is at the present time, is
not the name of one single country; nor the home of one single nation.
It is, in fact, the designation of a State created for the first
time in history, by the British. It includes peoples who have never
previously formed part of India at any period of its history; but
who have, on the other hand, from the dawn of history till the advent
of the British, possessed and retained distinct nationalities of
In the five Northern Provinces of India, out of a
total population of about forty millions, we, the Muslims, constitute
about thirty millions. Our religion, culture, history, tradition,
economic system, laws of inheritance, succession and marriage are
basically and fundamentally different from those of the people living
in the rest of India. The ideals which move our thirty million brethren-in-faith
living in these Provinces to make the highest sacrifices are fundamentally
different from those which inspire the Hindus. These differences
are not confined to the broad basic principles-far from it. They
extend to the minutest details of our lives. We do not inter-dine;
we do not inter-marry. Our national customs and calendars, even
our diet and dress are different.
It is preposterous to compare, as some superficial
observers do, the differences between Muslims and Hindus with those
between Roman Catholics and Protestants. Both the Catholics and
Protestants are part and parcel of one religious system - Christianity;
while the Hindus and Muslims are the followers of two essentially
and fundamentally different religious systems. Religion in the case
of Muslims and Hindus is not a matter of private opinion as it is
in the case of Christians; but on the other hand constitutes a Civic
Church which lays down a code of conduct to be observed by their
adherents from birth to death.
If we, the Muslims of Pakstan, with our distinct marks
of nationality, are deluded into the proposed Indian Federation
by friends or foes, we are reduced to a minority of one to four.
It is this which sounds the death-knell of the Muslim nation in
India forever. To realise the full magnitude of this impending catastrophe,
let us remind you that we thirty million constitute about one-tenth
of the whole Muslim world. The total area of the five units comprising
PAKSTAN, which are our homelands, is four times that of Italy, three
times that of Germany and twice that of France; and our population
seven times that of the Commonwealth of Australia, four times that
of the Dominion of Canada, twice that of Spain, and equal to France
and Italy considered individually.
These are facts - hard facts and realities - which
we challenge anybody to contradict. It is on the basis of these
facts that we make bold to assert without the least fear of contradiction
that we, Muslims of P A K S T A N, do possess a separate and distinct
nationality from the rest of India, where the Hindu nation lives
and has every right to live. We, therefore, deserve and must demand
the recognition of a separate national status by the grant of a
separate Federal Constitution from the rest of India.
In addressing this appeal to the Muslims of India,
we are also addressing it to the two other great interests - British
and Hindu - involved in the settlement of India's future. They must
understand that in our conviction our body and soul are at stake.
Our very being and well-being depends upon it. For our five great
Northern states to join an All-India Federation would be disastrous,
not only to ourselves, but to every other race and interest in India,
including the British and the Hindu.
This is more especially true when there is a just
arid reasonable alternative to the proposed settlement, which will
lay the foundations of a peaceful future for this great sub-continent;
and should certainly allow of the highest development of each of
these two peoples without one being subject to another. This alternative
is a separate "Federation of these five predominantly Muslim
units - Punjab, North-West Frontier Province (Afghan Province),
Kashmir, Sind and Baluchistan. The Muslim Federation of North-West
India would provide the bulwark of a buffer state against any invasion
either of ideas or of arms from outside. The creation of such a
Federation would not materially disturb the ratio of the Muslim
and Hindu population in the rest of India. It is wholly to the interest
of British and Hindu statesmanship to have as an ally a free, powerful
and contented Muslim nation having a similar but separate Constitution
to that which is being enacted for the rest of India. Nothing but
a separate Federation of our homelands would satisfy us. This demand
is basically different from the suggestion put forward by Doctor
Sir Mohammad Iqbal in his Presidential address to the All-India
Muslim League in 1930. While he proposed the amalgamation of these
Provinces into a single state forming a unit of the All-India Federation,
we propose that these Provinces should have a separate Federation
of their own. There can be no peace and tranquillity in the land
if we, the Muslims, are duped into a Hindu-dominated Federation
where we cannot be the masters of our own destiny and captains of
our own souls.
Do the safeguards provided for in the Constitution
give us any scope to work for our salvation along our own lines?
Not a bit. Safeguard is the magic word which holds our leaders spellbound,
and has dulled their consciences. In the ecstasy of their hallucinations
they think that the pills of safeguards can cure nation-annihilating
earthquakes. Safeguards asked for by these leaders and agreed to
by the makers of the Constitution can never be a substitute for
the loss of separate nationality. We, the Muslims, shall have to
fight that course of suicidal insanity to death. What safeguards
can be devised to prevent our minority of one in four in an All-India
Federation from being sacrificed on every vital issue to the aims
and interests of the majority race, which differs from us in every
essential of individual and corporate life? What safeguards can
prevent the catastrophe of the Muslim nation smarting and suffering
eternally at the frustration of its every social and religious ideal?
What safeguards can compensate our nation awakened to its national
consciousness for the destruction of its distinct national status?
However effective and- extensive the safeguards may be, the vital
organs and proud symbols of our national life, such as army and
navy, foreign relations, trade and commerce, communications, posts
and telegraphs, taxation and customs, will not be under our control,
but will be in the hands of a Federal Government, which is bound
to be overwhelmingly Hindu. With all this, how can we, the Muslims,
achieve any of our ideals if those ideals conflict-conflict as they
must-with the ideals of Hindus?
The history of the last century, in this respect,
is full of unforgettable lessons for us. Even one who runs may read
them. To take just one instance: Despite all these safeguards and
guarantees we have enjoyed in the past, the very name of our national
language-URDU, even now the lingua franca of that great sub-continent-has
been wiped out of the list of Indian languages. We have just to
open the latest census report to verify it. This by itself is a
tragic fall. Are we fated to fall farther? But that too is dust
in the scales by comparison with the tremendous national issues
involving our whole future as a nation and a power not only in India
but also in the whole of Asia.
In the face of these incontrovertible facts, we are
entitled to ask for what purpose are we being asked to make the
supreme sacrifice of surrendering our nationality and submitting
ourselves and our posterity to Non-Muslim domination? What good
is likely to accrue to Islam and Muslims by going into the Federation
is a thing which passes our understanding. Are we to be crucified
just to save the faces of our leaders, or to bolster up the preposterous
falsehood that India can be a single nation? Is it with a view to
achieve a compromise at all costs, or is it to support the illusion
that Hindu nationalism is working in the interests of Muslims as
well as Hindus? Irony is flattered to death by a mental muddle of
such a nature and on such a scale. We have suffered in the past
without a murmur and faced dangers without demur. The one thing
we would never suffer is our own self-strangulation. We will not
crucify ourselves upon the cross of Hindu nationalism iri order
to make a Hindu-holiday.
May we be permitted to ask of all those statesmen
- Muslim or British or Hindu-supporting the Federal Constitution,
if it is really desirable to make our nation sacrifice all that
Islam has given Us during the last fourteen hundred years to make
India a nation? Does humanity really stand to gain by this stupendous
sacrifice? We dare say that still in Islam the ancient fire glows
and promises much for the future, if only the leaders would let
it live. Whilst in Europe, excluding Russia, in about the same area
as that of India and with about the same population, there live
and prosper as many as twenty-six nations, with one and the same
religion, civilisation and economic system, surely it is not only
possible but highly desirable for two fundamentally different and
distinct nations, i.e., Muslim and Hindu, to live as friendly neighbours
in peace and prosperity in that vast sub-continent. What bitter
irony is it that our leaders have not the courage to stand up and
demand the minimum for our political salvation.
We are face to face with a first-rate tragedy, the
like of which has not been seen even in the long and eventful history
of Islam. It is not the question of a sect or of a community going
downr but it is the supreme problem which affects the destiny of
the whole of Islam and the millions of human beings who, till quite
recently, were the custodians of the glory of Islam in India and
the defenders of its frontiers. We have a still greater future before
us, if only our soul can be saved from the perpetual bondage of
slavery forged in an All-India Federation. Let us make no mistake
about it. The issue is now or never. Either we live or perish for
ever. The future is ours only if we live up to our faith. It does
not lie in the lap of the gods, but it rests in our own hands. We
can make or mar it. The history of the last century is full of open
warnings, and they are as plain as were ever given to any nation.
Shall it be said of us that we ignored all these warnings and allowed
our ancient heritage to perish in our own hands?
MOHD. ASLAM KHAN,
President, Khyber Union.
|SHEIKH MOHD SADIQ,
|INAYAT ULLAH KHAN,
Secretary, Khyber Union
Source: Rahmat Ali: a biography
By K. K. Aziz (1987). Vanguard Books (Pvt) Ltd, Lahore
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