Road to In­de­pen­dence

The Miracle - - 14th Aug Pak-Sp. -

This part has been di­vided into var­i­ous seg­ments to con­form to the de­vel­op­ments that grad­u­ally took place be­tween 1857 to1947 - the last cen­tury foothold of the Bri­tish in the Bri­tish In­dia.

“Jange-e-Azadi” (War of In­de­pen­dence)

Although the Bri­tish Em­pire ex­panded, the na­tive In­di­ans never ac­cepted their dom­i­nance. On May 10, 1857, In­dian sol­diers of the Bri­tish In­dian Army, drawn mostly from Mus­lim units from Ben­gal, rose against the Bri­tish in the Meerut gar­ri­son some 80 km from Delhi and marched to Delhi. The ris­ing was mainly to protest against the use of the newly is­sued ri­fle bul­lets, al­leged to have a wax seal­ing made of the fats of pigs that was to be re­moved from the teeth be­fore use. Since pigs are for­bid­den in the Is­lam, the Mus­lim sol­diers re­sented its use and took up arms against their Bri­tish masters. At Delhi, they cap­tured the fa­mous “Lal Qila” (Red Fort) and re­in­stated Ba­hadar Shah Za­far (the last Mughul monarch) to throne. Sol­diers in other gar­risons also fol­lowed the suit and soon much of north and cen­tral In­dia was plunged into a year-long in­sur­rec­tion against the Bri­tish. The Bri­tish re­acted and laid a siege of the Fort, which con­tin­ued for a while but fi­nally the Bri­tish ow­ing to their ac­cess to ar­tillery and large num­ber of forces stormed the Fort. Ba­hadur Shah Za­far fled to Hu­mayun’s tomb. The Bri­tish plun­dered Delhi and killed many In­dian sol­diers (and civil­ians) and ar­tillery was set up in the main mosque in the city to bom­bard sus­pected lo­cal­i­ties, spe­cially the homes of the Mus­lim no­bil­ity. The Bri­tish forces also ar­rested Ba­hadur Shah and days af­ter the ar­rest, a Bri­tish of­fi­cer Wil­liam Hod­son shot Shah’s sons Mirza Moghul, Mirza Khizr Sul­tan, and Mirza Abu Bakr and shame­fully pre­sented their heads to the Shah.

Ali Garh to Mus­lim League

As a con­se­quence to 1857 events, the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment brought In­dia un­der the di­rect con­trol of Crown and a Viceroy was ap­pointed to rep­re­sent the Crown. They also in­creased the num­ber of Bri­tish sol­diers in re­la­tion to na­tive and al­lowed only Bri­tish sol­diers to han­dle ar­tillery. In 1877 Queen Vic­to­ria took the ti­tle of Em­press of In­dia. Ba­hadur Shah was ex­iled to Ran­goon, in Burma where he died in 1862, fi­nally bring

ing the Mughal dynasty to an end. Although the “Jange-e-Azadi” (Lib­er­a­tion War) was bru­tally quelched, the spark for in­de­pen­dence and throw­ing away the yoke of slav­ery at the hands of the Bri­tish had been ig­nited. While the War of In­de­pen­dence had many reper­cus­sions, the in­tol­er­ance to­wards the Mus­lims by the Bri­tish in­creased man­i­fold and the Mus­lims felt de­prived and left out in fields of ed­uca

tion and rep­re­sen­ta­tion in gov­ern­ment ser­vice. At­tacks by Hindu fun­da­men­tal­ists against re­li­gious con­ver­sion, cow killing, and the preser­va­tion of Urdu in Ara­bic script deep­ened their fears of mi­nor­ity sta­tus. In or­der to keep the Mus­lims in the main­stream, rose Sir Syed Ah­mad Khan and launched a move­ment for Mus­lim re­gen­er­a­tion that cul­mi­nated in the found­ing of the Muham­madan An­glo-Ori­en­tal Col­lege at Ali­garh in 1875 (later re­named Ali­garh Mus­lim Univer­sity in 1921). Its ob­jec­tive was to ed­u­cate Mus­lims by em­pha­siz­ing the com­pat­i­bil­ity of Is­lam with west­ern knowl­edge. On 30 De­cem­ber 1906 the All-In­dia Mus­lim League was founded to safe­guard the in­ter­ests of the Mus­lims. A del­e­ga­tion also met with the viceroy, Gilbert John El­liot, seek­ing spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions in gov­ern­ment ser­vice and elec­torates. This had pos­i­tive ef­fect and in 1911 When King-Em­peror Ge­orge V visited In­dia, he an­nounced the re­ver­sal of the par­ti­tion of Ben­gal and the trans­fer of the cap­i­tal from Cal­cutta to present day New Delhi.

Jin­nah and Pak­istan Move­ment

Muham­mad Ali Jin­nah, who had ini­tially

joined the Congress was grossly dis­sat­is­fied with the Congress at­ti­tude to­wards Mus­lims and thus joined the Mus­lim League in 1913.

It was with his ef­forts that Congress recog

nized the sep­a­rate po­si­tion of the Mus­lims and the Mus­lims’ de­mand for a sep­a­rate elec­torate as a part of the Luc­know Pact. How­ever the Hindu prej­u­dice against the Mus­lims could not be hid­den for long and the pub­li­ca­tion of Nehru Re­port (1928) was a great set­back to Luc­know Pact, since the Nehru Re­port negated all its clauses. It be­came ev­i­dent that Congress and Hin­dus wanted to be­come the ruler of In­dia on the ba­sis of nu­mer­i­cal strength and make Mus­lims their sub­jects. This was not ac­cept­able to Mus­lims since they had ruled In­dia for cen­turies and af­ter Bri­tish sub­ju­ga­tion, they were again to fall un­der the Hin­dus as their sub­jects. Jin­nah there­fore re­fused to ac­cept the re­port and pre­sented his fa­mous 14 Points to solve the po­lit­i­cal prob­lems in In­dia. The Mus­lims wished that their sep­a­rate iden­tity should be rec­og­nized and pro­vided con­sti­tu­tional safe­guards to pro­tect their rights. It was then that the first pro­po­nents of in­de­pen­dent Mus­lim na­tion be­gan to ap­pear. Among the first of these was writer/ philoso­pher Al­lama Iqbal, who felt that a sep­a­rate na­tion for Mus­lims was es­sen­tial in an oth­er­wise Hindu-dom­i­nated sub­con­ti­nent. The cause found a leader in Muham­mad Ali Jin­nah, who be­came known as Fa­ther of the Na­tion and even­tu­ally per­suaded the Bri­tish to par­ti­tion the re­gion into Mus­lim- ma­jor­ity Pak­istan, and Hindu- ma­jor­ity In­dia. In the mean­time Choud­hary Rah­mat Ali a Cam­bridge stu­dent coined the word “PAK­ISTAN” for a would-be Mus­lim coun­try, which was pub­lished on 28th Jan­uary 1933 in the pam­phlet “Now or Never.” He made the name an acro­nym of the dif­fer­ent states/home­lands/re­gions, which broke down into: P(Pun­jab), A(Afgha­nia - a ref­er­ence to the North West Fron­tier Province), K( Kash­mir), S(Sindh) and TAN(Balochis­TAN), thus form­ing “’PAK - STAN’”. An “i”’ was later added to the the name to ease pro­nun­ci­a­tion, pro­duc­ing “PAK­ISTAN.”

The La­hore Res­o­lu­tion

The Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment un­der the new con­sti­tu­tion held the elec­tions in 1937, in which Congress gained ma­jor­ity and formed gov­ern­ment in six large prov­inces. In con­nivance with the gov­ern­ment, Hin­dus started per­se­cut­ing the Mus­lims and Hindi was in­tro­duced in­stead of Urdu. The in­tro­duc­tion of “Bande Ma­tram”, the Hin­dus’ na­tional an­them did the rest. There­fore, the Mus­lim League de­cided to ask for a sep­a­rate home­land for them­selves as by now it was clear that both Hin­dus and Mus­lims could not co-ex­ist un­der one flag. In the 27th an

nual ses­sion on 23 March 1940 at La­hore, the Mus­lim League un­der Jin­nah de­manded a sep­a­rate home­land for the Mus­lims of In­dian sub-con­ti­nent. There­after, Mus­lims all over In­dia were asked to join Mus­lims League to safe guard their iden­tity. In the mean­time the 2nd world War had al­ready started and the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment wanted whole hearted In­dian sup­port, there­fore the Viceroy promised that the con­sti­tu­tion would be framed in con­sul­ta­tion with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the peo­ple af­ter the war. In 1942 Sir Stafford Cripps pro­posed do­min­ion sta­tus to In­dia un­der Bri­tish Crown. While Congress re­jected the pro­posal since

it wanted full con­trol over the af­fairs of the gov­ern­ment, Mus­lim League re­jected it since it didn’t prom­ise a sep­a­rate home­land for them. There­after be­tween 1942-45 many at­tempts were made to break the dead­lock, but the Congress re­fused to ac­cept the sep­a­rate iden­tity for the Mus­lims. This fur­ther united the Mus­lims, which re­sulted into land slide vic­tory for Mus­lims in 1945-46 elec­tions. It clearly showed that Mus­lims were a sep­a­rate en­tity and that their de­mand for a sep­a­rate home­land was just.

The Fi­nal Days

The one year pe­riod be­tween 1946 till par­ti­tion of In­dia was very con­fus­ing, dis­turb­ing and cru­cial for the fu­ture of the Mus­lims. The Bri­tish now re­al­ized that Mus­lims were a pow­er­ful en­tity and could not be ig­nored. But at the same time they never wanted to an­noy the Hin­dus who were in ma­jor­ity. There­fore in 1946, a del­e­ga­tion from Eng­land ar­rived with three sug­ges­tions: (1) The Con­stituent As­sem­bly should pre­pare the con­sti­tu­tion, (2) Adop­tion of fed­eral form of gov­ern­ment and (3) Bri­tish In­dia to be di­vided in three groups: (a) First Group - Mus­lim ma­jor­ity prov­inces of Ben­gal and Asam, (b) Sec­ond Group - Pun­jab, NWFP, Sind and Balochis­tan and (c) the Hindu ma­jor­ity Third Group. All groups should com­pul­so­rily re­main in the Fed­er­a­tion for TEN YEARS, af­ter which they had the choice to get sep­a­rated and be­come in­de­pen­dent. Congress ob­vi­ously re­jected the pro­posal since it saw cre­ation of Pak­istan af­ter ten years while Mus­lims re­jected it since they could not wait for ten years. There­fore Mus­lim League started a coun­try wide cam­paign to ex­pose the covert col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Congress and the gov­ern­ment. Af­ter the fail­ure of a pro­vi­sional gov­ern­ment in 1946, where Congress and League mem­bers could not sit to­gether, on 20 Fe­bru­ary 1947 the Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Lord At­tlee de­clared that Bri­tish gov­ern­ment would trans­fer power to peo­ple of sub­con­ti­nent by June 1947. How­ever the new Viceroy Lord Mount­bat­ten as­sessed that there was no hope for a po­lit­i­cal rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and only so­lu­tion was divi­sion of Bri­tish In­dia into two in­de­pen­dent states; Bharat (In­dia) for Hin­dus and Pak­istan for Mus­lims. On June3, 1947, the par­ti­tion of Bri­tish In­dia and es­tab­lish­ment of Pak­istan on 14th Au­gust 1947 was an­nounced.

End of an Em­pire

With the cre­ation of Pak­istan on 14 Au­gust 1947, the Bri­tish In­dian Em­pire faded into the his­tory. But left be­hind many scars that still haunt peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion. Kash­mir be­ing the ma­jor dis­pute be­cause of which not only peace in the re­gion is unattain­able but has brought In­dia and Pak­istan face to face on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions. The lat­est es­ca­la­tion in year 2002 al­most brought the two na­tions at brink of war and at a nu­clear flash point. So long the dis­pute re­mains un­re­solved, no worth­while peace can be en­sured in the re­gion and peo­ple of both coun­tries would con­tinue to suf­fer. http://www.pak­istan­pae­dia.com/hist/hist3.html

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