Tag Archives: Muslim League

Book review: Jinnah’s Pakistan failed him and how

By Vivek Katuj

Tilak Devasher’s Pakistan: Courting the Abyss is a comprehensive and clinical survey of a deeply troubled country which has become a centre of extremist ideologies and terrorist violence; consequently, a threat to many of its own nationals as also to countries in its neighbourhood and beyond. Devasher competently examines the causes for Pakistan’s evolution along this trajectory as well as the failure of its political process to develop firm democratic roots and its economy remaining stunted.

The foundations of Pakistan are embedded in the Muslim elite’s despondency at the loss of political power to the British and its failure to accept democracy as the future system for a united and Independent India. That led to separatist tendencies which, after the establishment of the Muslim League in 1906, took concrete shape in the demand for separate electorates. Muslim separatism was encouraged by the British as part of their policy of “divide and rule”. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, once an ambassador of Hindu Muslim unity and later the Muslim Quaid-e-Azam took this separatism to its culmination in the Partition of India. Devasher navigates events and processes of the creation of Pakistan and shows how they continue to cast a shadow on the country. Read more

Source: Asian Age


Excerpts: Muslim Politics in Bihar: Changing Contours by Mohammad Sajjad

BiharMohammad Sajjad, Muslim Politics in Bihar: Changing Contours

Routledge, London/New Delhi, 2014

This book is a study of participation of the Muslim communities, with their intra-community socio-economic stratifications, in the politics of India’s eastern province, Bihar, during colonial and post-independence period. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in the resistance against the Bengali hegemony, the Urban educated middle class of Muslims along with their Hindu counterparts, more specifically the Kayasthas (the Hindu community of scribes), organized themselves along the lines of ‘regional patriotism’ or ‘subordinate nationalism’ and succeeded in creating province of Bihar out of the Bengal in 1912. The Congress made its significant headway in Bihar only after that. Gandhiji’s intervention (1917) in the Champaran Satyagraha (which had intermittently been manifesting since the 1860s under the leadership of local intelligentsia, and had re-intensified since 1907), and the subsequent Khilafat-Non Cooperation Movements (1920-22) galvanized the Bihar people in anti-colonial popular struggle once again, after the movement of 1857. In all these movements including the movements/initiatives for modern education in the nineteenth century, Muslims had considerable share. Subsequently, with the growing political strength of the Congress in the 1920s, rural landed elites like the Rajputs and Bhumihars started dominating the Congress as also in the structures of power like the local bodies created by the colonial state in accordance with the Act of 1919. It started creating misgivings among the increasingly politicized communities of Muslims about the Congress. This is also to be understood that from the 1930s onwards the Congress was under pressure from the landed elites because of which it had started developing sour relations with the emerging rural forces and the grievances of the intermediate castes; the Kisan movement, the Triveni Sangh, the Harijan assertion, the tribal movements, etc., had constant tension with the Congress. Read more

‘Muslims in India will learn to live as second class citizens’: Iqbal author

Iqbal died in 1938, two years before the Muslim League adopted the resolution for Pakistan in Lahore in 1940, but he was honoured as the spiritual founder and national poet of the new nation when it came into being in August 1947. Questions arise about why Iqbal — who believed in Hindu-Muslim unity, who wrote Sare Jahan Se Achcha and poems on Lord Ram and the Gayatri Mantra — became a believer in Muslim communalism in his later days. These questions are explored by journalist, writer, publisher and filmmaker Zafar Anjum in his book, Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician. Anjum, who is based in Singapore, spoke to Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com in a two- part interview

iqbal front“What makes me sad is that, even after 60 years of Independence, the virus of communalism and parochialism is alive and kicking in India,” says Zafar Anjum, author of Iqbal in a Rediff News interview.

“Today, Hindu domination is complete in India.

Iqbal and his fellow Muslim leaders fought a long fight to get equal constitutional rights for Muslims and they failed.

The Indian National Congress never accepted this idea (of separate electorates) on the principle that India would be a secular State and Muslims need not worry about it.

The Congress’s secularism turned out to be fake… what the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) calls pseudo-secularism or tokenism or appeasement of minorities.

Iqbal knew that democracy is a game of numbers and that Muslims would be marginalised in a Hindu-majority India. That fear has now come to pass.

There is no need to suspect anyone’s intentions in India. The tokenism of Congress is over. Soon, Muslims in India will learn to live as second class citizens of the State.”

Read More

Excerpts: Contesting Colonialism and Separatism: Muslims of Muzaffarpur since 1857

The following has been excerpted from Mohammad Sajjad’s Contesting Colonialism and Separatism: Muslims of Muzaffarpur since 1857  published by Primus (Ratnasagar): Delhi 2014, pp. xviii+265.

Contesting ColonialismThis monographic account on the Muslim communities of Muzaffarpur in north Bihar explores its history (1857-2012),  the socio-political behaviour, economic conditions and negotiation for share in power-structure, in three segments: (a) political evolution of the locality during the colonial era explaining the sub-regional socio-political setting; (b) their  participation  in  the  Congress-led movements till the 1930s,  (and tells largely untold story of Muslim resistance to League’s communal politics of territorial separatism despite their grievances against and alienation from the Congress during 1937–47); and (c) the post-independence experiences and political behaviour (their anxieties, problems and prospects) in  continuity with the one in colonial era characterized more by inclusive politics of communitarian collaborations and less by conflicts and exclusivism.

This is a mix of history from a local standpoint and also a local history, describing the broader events of the Indian politics in the context of the local political system as it evolved, and the participation as well as location of the Muslim communities in those events and processes. Inter-community cooperation and harmony prevailed over the divisive politics even during the most vitiated atmosphere of 1946–7.

It analyzes Muslim adjustment in the post-partition days, their engagement with the evolving secular democracy, seeking educational upliftment, and political empowerment through language politics (rather than insisting on the politics of religious identity) while not confining their politics only to sectional issues or groups. It also looks at the growing assertion of subordinated Muslim communities, and delineates fault-lines within the leaderships of the Muslim communities.   Read more