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Jinnah and Secularism: Crime of Jinnah

By: Dr.Dipak Basu
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(The author is a Professor in International Economics in Nagasaki University, Japan)

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In India, we tend to forget the crimes committed against humanity by either the British or the Muslim rulers before them or the Muslim League and its child Pakistan. History books of India hardly mention that in 1943 at least 5 million people in Bengal were forced to starve to death by the British. There are no accounts of how many millions were slaughtered by the Muslim League guided by Jinnah during 1946 to 1948 and subsequently in Pakistan. India has pressed no charges against Yhahiya Khan and Tikka Khan, who have killed at least 3 million people, almost all Hindus, in East Pakistan in 1970.

Some politicians like LK Advani and Jaswant Singh are determined to prove Jinnah"s claim to so-called secularism. They ignored the crimes committed by Jinnah but only cited the speech he made on August 11, 1947 in the Constituent Assembly in front of Lord Mountbatten for the British elite, gathered there. In that speech, Jinnah said that in a future Pakistan, everyone would be treated equally irrespective of their religion and non-Muslims would be free to practice their respective religions in Pakistan. Does that speech make Jinnah a "secularist"? Hitler himself has killed a Jew or Russian. Does that Hitler was a peace-loving German nationalist? It is sadder that both Advani and Jaswant Singh pretend to be leaders of a patriotic nationalist party called BJP but they are following Pakistani historian Ayesha Jalal and a very anti-Indian American historian Stanley Wolpert, who have glorified Jinnah in their recent books.

Definition of Secularism

Secularism is defined in Webster"s Dictionary as: "A system of doctrines and practices that rejects any form of religious faith and worship" or " the belief that religion and ecclesiastical affairs should not enter into the function of the State, especially into public education." The Oxford English Dictionary states that secularism is the doctrine in which morality should be based solely with regard to the well being of mankind in the present life to the exclusion of all considerations drawn from belief in God or in a future State.

George Holyoake and Charles Bradlaugh were two leading secularists and atheists of England in the 19th century, from whom we have obtained the word "secularism". According to Holyoake, secularism maintains the sufficiency of secular reason for guidance in human duties. Secularism also includes the utilitarian rule that makes the good of others the law of duty.

Equal treatment of people of different religions or equal respect for all religions is not secularism, as it implies the affairs of the State must not be influenced by any religious or moral considerations at all. The State must adhere to the strict code of "rationality", which means maximization of its utility, irrespective of moral or religious codes.

Jinnah, had devoted his life to create a nation only for the Muslims out of the Indian subcontinent, Islam was the guiding force, and the ideology of that newly created nation Pakistan. Thus, he cannot be called secular at all.

Muslims and Secularism

Secularism finds no support in Islam. According to Islam, what Mohammed spoke is law that controls everything in the universe. This is a system of life that has been responsible for the creation of everything existing in it and their continuity.

"God can guide you to the Truth. Who is more worthy to be followed: He that can guide to the Truth, or He that cannot and is Himself in need of guidance? What has come over you that you so judge?" (The Koran, 10:35) "He that fights for God"s cause fights for himself. God needs no man"s help" (The Koran, 29:6).

Rule of Allah (Shariah) is compulsory and stipulates basic laws and regulations that cannot be changed. Some of these laws are concerned with the acts of worship, the relations between men and women, etc. What is the position of secularism with regard to these laws? Secularism makes adultery lawful if both the male and the female are consenting partners. Riba or interest on borrowed money is the basis of all financial transactions in secular economies, while the Koran forbids it. As for alcohol, all secular systems permit consumption of alcohol and make sale of it a lawful business.

Secularism is based on keeping religion separate from all affairs of the life and hence, it rules by law and regulations other than Allah"s laws. Thus, secularism rejects Allah"s rules without exception and prefers regulations other than Allah"s and his Messengers. For Muslim societies, acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shariah, denial of divine guidance and rejection of Allah"s injunctions.

If someone says Jinnah was a secular, it makes Jinnah anti-Islamic, a non-Muslim and against the ideology of Pakistan. To judge Jinnah, it is essential to examine his activities and motives, which would prove beyond doubt that Jinnah was devoted to the cause of a Muslim nation, not a secular State.

Activities of Jinnah

Let us look at his early life. Since 1897, Jinnah had been active in Anjuman-i-Islam, the Muslim Bombay"s foremost religious-political body. In 1906, Jinnah opposed the demand for separate electorates, but before long his opposition thawed when he realized that the demand had " the mandate of the community" of Muslims in India. In 1910, he was elected to the Imperial Council on a reserved Muslim seat.
From then on, he came in close contact with Nadwah, Aligarh and the All India Muslim League (AIML). He was chosen by the AIML to sponsor a Bill on Waqf-alal-Aulad, a problem of deep concern to Muslims since the time of Syed Ahmad Khan.
He joined the AIML formally in October 1913 (although he gave up his membership of the Congress in 1920, opposing Gandhi"s policy to confront the British) and became its president in 1916. One outcome of his efforts was the Congress-Muslim League Lucknow Pact of 1916, which settled the controversial issue of separate electorate for the Muslims, paving the way for the birth of Pakistan in future. Thus, Sorojini Naidu was very wrong to say in 1916 that Jinnah was the symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity, because the Lucknow pact, which was rejected by the Muslim League, very soon afterwards has nothing to do with the communal harmony but to do with communal division.

Jinnah was the most westernized political leader in the annals of Indian Islam; no other Muslim political leader could match him in terms of modernity and modern outlook. He was completely at home with the Anglo-Indian society in cosmopolitan Bombay and metropolitan London. During his chequered career, Jinnah encountered an exceedingly large number of leading non-Muslim personalities and a host of British officials more than any other Muslim leader and had the opportunity to interact with them for some four decades. However, during that time, Jinnah married a Zoroastrian girl only after getting her converted to Islam. A great "secularist" Jinnah indeed.

For Jinnah, while national freedom for both Hindus and Muslims continued to be the supreme goal, the means adopted to achieve it underwent a dramatic change. His ultimate objective was to ensure political power for Muslims. After 1937, Jinnah developed close friendship with Mohammed Iqbal, the spiritual founder of the concept of Pakistan. Jinnah called Muslims "a nation", stressing their distinct religion, culture, language, and civilization and calling on them to "live or die as a nation". He even described the League flag as "the flag of Islam", arguing, "You cannot separate the Muslim League from Islam".

In an address to the Gaya Muslim League Conference in January 1938, Jinnah began mapping out his new worldview. He said, "When we say "this flag of Islam ", they think we are introducing religion into politics, a fact of which we are proud, Islam gives us a complete code. It is not only religion but it contains laws, philosophy and politics. In fact, it contains everything that matters to man from morning to night."

In his address at the Patna session of the Muslim League (December 26-29, 1938) he declared: "The behaviour of Congress ministers in the six or seven provinces in which they had gained power under the 1935 Act was that they had compelled Muslim children to accept Vande Mataram as their national song though it was idolatrous and a hymn of hate against Muslims."

For Jinnah, "the creation of a State of our own was a means to an end and not the end in itself. The idea was that we should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play."

In his historic declaration for Pakistan in the Muslim League Conference in Lahore in 1940, he spelled out his reasons for reaching out towards the "Pakistan" goal arguing that, "Islam and Hinduism.... are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are... different and distinct social orders"; that "the Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literature"; "to two different civilizations"; that they "derive their inspiration from different sources of history... (with) different epics, different heroes, and different episodes."

In his marathon talks with Gandhi in September 1944, Jinnah demanded the constituency for the plebiscite to decide upon the demand for Pakistan that would comprise only the Muslims, and not the entire population of the areas concerned.

After Independence, as head of the State he had founded, Jinnah talked in the same strain. He talked of securing

(a) "liberty, fraternity and equality as enjoined upon by Islam" (August 25, 1947);
(b) "Islamic democracy, Islamic social justice and the equality of manhood" (February 21, 1948);
(c) "sure foundations of social justice and Islamic socialism which emphasised equality and brotherhood of man" (March 26, 1948);
(d) "the foundations of our democracy on the basis of true Islamic ideals and principles" (August 14, 1948);
(e) "the onward march of renaissance of Islamic culture and ideals" (August 18, 1947).

These are very "Secular" acts indeed.

He called upon the mammoth Lahore audience in October 30, 1947, to build up "Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam"; to "live up to your traditions and add to it another chapter of glory", adding, "If we take our inspiration and guidance from the Holy Koran, the final victory, I once again say, will be ours" (October 30, 1947).

As for the specific institutions of the new State, he exhorted the armed forces to uphold "the high tradition of Islam and our national banner" (November 8, 1947); and commanded the State Bank research organization to evolve " banking practices compatible with Islamic ideals of social and economic life" and to "work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based on the true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice" (July 1, 1948).

For Jinnah, "the creation of a State of our own was a means to an end and not the end in itself. The idea was that we should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own rights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play" (October11, 1947). He told students of Edwards College, "this mighty land has now been brought under a rule which is Islamic, Muslim rule, as a sovereign, independent State" (April 18, 1948). He even described Pakistan as "the premier Islamic State" (February 1948).

Jinnah"s broadcast to the people of the United States (February 1948) was in a similar vein: "I do not know what the ultimate shape of this Constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy... We have many non-Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Parsis, but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan."

This is the repetition of what Jinnah said on August 11, 1947, which was quoted by many as the proof that Jinnah was "secularist par excellence", but it is misleading, to say the least. Jinnah had said clearly that he wanted equal treatment of people of all religions within an Islamic State, not in a secular State.

While he laid a good deal of stress on Islamic ideals and principles, he ruled out theocracy, saying, "Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds." Technically speaking, theocracy means a government by ordained priests, who wield authority as being specially appointed by those who claim to derive their rights from their sacerdotal position."

Of all of Jinnah´s pronouncements, his August 11, 1947 address has received the greatest attention since the birth of Pakistan, and spawned a good deal of controversy. That address was: "I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time, Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State."

Jinnah´s pronouncement was purely a political speech designed to please the gathered British elite of some of the highest ranks, including Lord Mountbatten and to appease the Hindu minorities in Pakistan in order to protect the Muslims from the growing threat of communal violence in India.

Partition could be attributed to Jinnah´s personal ambition of becoming the overlord of a part of India, when he knew that he could never be in charge of India as a whole.
A close study of all of Jinnah´s pronouncements during 1934-48, and most of his pronouncements, during the pre-1934 period, shows that the word, ´secular´ (signifying an ideology) does not find mention in any of them, even when confronted with the question, he evaded it, as the following extracts from his July 17, 1947 press conference indicates:

Question: Will Pakistan be a secular or theocratic State?
"M.A. Jinnah: "You are asking me a question that is absurd. I do not know what a theocratic State means."

A correspondent suggested that a theocratic State meant a State where only people of a particular religion, for example, Muslims, could be full citizens and non-Muslims would not be full citizens.

M.A. Jinnah: "Then it seems to me that what I have already said is like throwing water on a duck´s back (laughter). When you talk of democracy, I am afraid you have not studied Islam. We learned democracy thirteen centuries ago."

Two-Nation Theory and Jinnah

Pakistan is the result of the ´Two-Nation Theory´ propagated by Jinnah in the Lahore Conference of the Muslim League in 1940, where Jinnah clearly expressed that the Hindus and the Muslims could not live together in one country as they are of separate nations. Mohammed Iqbal was credited with coming up with the Two-Nation Theory in his speech at Allahabad in 1930 to the Muslim League.

"I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind, and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State. Self-government within the British Empire or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Moslem State appears to me to be the final destiny of the Moslems, at least of North-West India."

Jinnah supported Iqbal´s idea wholly. During 1937-39, several Muslim leaders inspired by Iqbal´s ideas, presented elaborate schemes for partitioning the subcontinent according to Two-Nation Theory. It all culminated in the 1940"s Lahore declaration for the creation of Pakistan.

The life of Jinnah and his activities demonstrates very clearly that he was a man driven by the idea of an Islamic State for the Muslims although it would mean destruction of lives of millions.

Jinnah and the exchange of population

Muslim League leaders, Jinnah included, had long advocated exchange of population between Muslim and non-Muslim India. All those, who advocated the establishment of a Muslim State Pakistan, also advocated, as its necessary corollary, the exchange of population. Rahmat Ali, Syed Adbul Latif, and Jinnah, all of them expressed strong and unmistakable views over the exchange of Muslim and non- Muslin population so as to make the future Muslim state more homogeneous, and to solve the minority problem.

In August 14 1946, Jinnah called the Muslims to get Pakistan by swords, while Nehru, Maulana Azad and General Wavell, the then Vice-Roy of India were trying their best to avoid the partition. The result was an organized mass murder of at least 50,000 Hindu and Sikh in Calcutta and in the southern districts of East Bengal, Noakhali and Chittagong in particular. Jinnah had never condemned it but said, referring to the driving out of the Hindus from Noakhali in 1946, that the transfer of population was already in action, and some machinery should be devised for affecting it on a large scale.

At a press conference in Karachi on November 25, 1946, Jinnah appealed to the central as well as provincial governments to take up the question of exchange of population between future Pakistan and India, based on religion.

The Dawn, then edited by Jinnah himself, in December 3, 1946 published a statement, entitled ´Exchange of population a most practicable solution,´, by Khan Iftikhar Hussain Khan of Mamdot, President of Punjab Muslin League. The Dawn, on December 4, 1946, said the Muslim League demanded exchange of population and Sind Premier, Ghulam Hussain Hidaya-tullah had offered land for the Muslims of northern India. Sir Feroze Khan Noon, who later became the Prime Minister of Pakistan, while addressing the Muslim League legislators in Patna, had gone to the extent of threatening re-enactment of the murderous orgies of Chengiz Khan and Halagu Khan if non-Muslims did not agree to an exchange of population. Shaukat Hayat Khan, son of the famous Sir Sikander Hayat Khan, had also given out threats to support transfer of population.

Post-Partition Pakistan rapidly exercised its terror mechanism to expel and decimate the Hindu-Sikh-Buddhist population probably in expectation of Muslims from India to arrive, under the full view of the then Governor General of Pakistan Jinnah. When Pakistan became a serious political proposition after the statement of Clement Atlee, the then British Prime Minister, on February 20, 1947 and progressively as August 15, 1947 approached, the Muslim pace of eliminating non-Muslims from Pakistan was accelerated. Just on the eve of August 15 and after, when Jinnah was proclaiming his secularist credential in his speech, it became a ruthless driving out, an all-out campaign. Jinnah, as the first Governor General of Pakistan, had all the means to control the situation, but he was then busy preparing for the invasion of Kashmir, which took place on October 20 1947.

Exchange of population or even driving out of the Hindu and the Sikh population from the Muslim State, was inherent in the very conception of the State of Pakistan. When Pakistan was established, this inevitable finale to the process of its establishment was executed with equal zeal and collaboration by the people (Muslims) and Government of Pakistan. The process of elimination of minorities went on without check by the Muslim police, officials, and military, all under the control of Jinnah. On the contrary, they abetted the process. No responsible Pakistan or Muslim League leaders condemned such attacks on Hindus, Buddhist and Sikhs.

Governor Mudie of West Punjab revealed in his letter to Jinnah his determination to throw Sikhs out of Pakistan at all cost. Jinnah did not have a word to utter about the murder of over 800 Sikhs in Karachi on January 6, 1948 nor for the matter of that, a word about the massacres of Noakhali, the Northwestern Frontier Province, Rawalpindi, Multan or any other mass slaughtering of the non-Muslims.

Jinnah´s Islamic credential

Partition had its genesis in the Muslim refusal to live as equal partners with the non-Muslim in India after having ruled over them for centuries from 664 AD before the European took over. Partition could also be attributed to Jinnah´s personal ambition of becoming the overlord of a part of India, when he knew that he could never be in charge of India as a whole.

The Two-Nation Theory has its roots in Islam´s two-world theory that splits humanity into Momins and Kafirs..... Believers and Infidels. It is the history, the political culture, and the passion of the Muslims to live in Dar-ul Islam, or the Abode of Islam. Muslims everywhere have always striven to live within it. Islam even makes it the onerous duty of every Muslim, should he be unfortunate enough to find himself therein, to quit Dar-ul-Harb (the House of War, or Non-Islam) and to seek refuge in a land ruled by a Muslim State. Pakistan was the dream of the Muslims in India before 1947 and Jinnah made that dream into a reality.

In the national legislative elections held in 1945 across British India, the Muslim League captured all the 30 seats reserved for the Muslims in the Central Assembly; and in the elections for state legislatures in 1946, the Muslim League won 439 of the 494 seats allotted to Muslims in all British Indian states. Congress had then ceased to represent the Muslims.

The Cabinet Mission Plan of May 16, 1946 was intended to divide India into the states grouped into Hindu and Muslim majority groups: (a) Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Central Province, Bombay and Madras;(b) Assam and Bengal; (c) Punjab, North West Frontier Province and Sindh. The Congress party agreed to this scheme. The Muslim League accepted it first, but rejected it subsequently, and announced in August 1946, its plan of Direct Action, as announced by Jinnah himself. This led to the outbreak of riots against the non-Muslims in Calcutta in August 1946 and in Noakhali in Chittagong area of East Bengal.

The riots soon spread through Bihar to Rawalpindi in Punjab, and the North West Frontier Province. The statement in the House of Commons by Clement Attlee on February 22, 1947, that Britain was handing over power by June 1948, set the smoldering fires into a full blaze. Riots broke out in Rawalpindi district in March 1947, and Nehru flew over the riot affected areas, and was shown the deep well into which the Sikhs and the Hindu women had jumped to save their honour. He then agreed to the principle of partition of Punjab, which had been vigorously demanded by the Sikhs all along in Punjab and later by the Hindus in Bengal as well. Jinnah had never condemned the riots or the massacres.

When Jinnah was proclaiming his secularist credential in his speech, campaign against the non-Muslims became a ruthless driving out, an all-out mass-murder. Jinnah, as the first Governor General of Pakistan, had all the means to control the situation, but he did not.


Although Gandhi and Nehru were not directly responsible for the partition, but they perhaps had contributed towards it by their actions or inactions. Before Gandhi came to India, Hindus and Muslims were united in their struggle for freedom. The song Vande Mataram became the national song because of Muslim Abdul Rasul, who was presiding over the Bengal Congress Provincial Conference session of 1906 in Barisal when hundreds were struck down and grievously injured by the British police for singing Vande Mataram. That brutality at Barisal popularized the song overnight; Surendranath Banerjee, then the leader of The Congress joined in an unprecedented procession of Hindus and Muslims singing national songs and crying Vande Mataram. That unity was destroyed when Gandhi started his Khilafat Movement in 1919 to support a murderous despotic Sultan of Turkey, who had committed genocide by killing 2.5 million Armenians and Greeks in the Ottoman Turkey and who was deeply unpopular in the Arab world subjugated by the Turks. It was a reactionary movement, which had strengthened the hands of the most violent backward-minded Muslims, and split The Congress party. Most of the leaders of The Congress, Anne Bessant, Chittaranjan Das, Surendranath Banerjee, Motilal Nehru, and Bipin Pal left Congress, which was paralyzed by Gandhi, and the Muslim League became stronger.

In 1938, when Subhas Chandra Bose was elected the president of the Congress party, the most popular leader of the Muslims in Bengal Fazlul Haque wanted to collaborate with the Congress, but was rejected by Gandhi. When Subhas Bose was expelled from The Congress by Gandhi, Fazlul Haque joined hands with Jinnah. With Fazlul Haque in The Congress, Muslim League would not be able to partition Bengal. Similarly, Gandhi has rejected Khan Abdul Gaffer Khan and his North West Frontier Province, which had a Congress majority but was included in Pakistan. Asad Khan, the representative of the Khan of Kalat, the ruler of Baluchistan came to Gandhi so that Baluchistan could be within India, but Gandhi rejected him too. General Wavell had tried until the last moment to keep India united, but Gandhi sent a telegram to Clement Attlee, the then Prime-Minister of Britain to replace General Wavell. Sri Aurobindo had advised Gandhi to accept the Cabinet Mission Plan to keep India united, but Gandhi asked Sri Aurobindo not to interfere in political matter. It is still a mystery why Gandhi wanted partition so much, that, according to BR Ambedkar, even in 1940, Gandhi had accepted the Pakistan-proposal and in 1943 in collaboration with Chakravarty Rajagopalachari, had drawn up a detail plan to partition India. Perhaps he though if he could give in to the demands of the Muslim League, lives of the non-Muslims would be spared. However, that does not wash out the sin of Jinnah, who had unleashed a terror campaign against the non-Muslims of British India to create his beloved Pakistan.

The life of Jinnah and his activities demonstrates very clearly that he was a man driven by the idea of an Islamic State for the Muslims although it would mean destruction of lives of millions and uprootment of millions more. The revisionists Pakistani historians like Ayahs Jalap along with the pro-Pakistani American historian Stanley Wilbert, journalist NorAm of The Hindu and The Frontline had tried to put a lot of emphasis on the life of Jonah before 1937, however a close analysis of that life would show a deeply devoted Muslim living in an Anglo-Saxon world and trying to gain acceptability from the British rulers by emulating the outward styles of the ruler. He was a perfect example of the type of Muslims, Syed Ahmed Khan, the founder of the Aligarh University, had advocated to enhance the interests of the Muslims in British India.

As a successful lawyer Jinnah was a very good actor, giving different speeches to satisfy different audience, yet at the same time was extremely ruthless and determined to achieve his target to create a state only according to Islam, where the non-Muslims would have to accept the supremacy of the Islamic way of life. This is not secularism in any sense of the term. The constitution of Pakistan, which he had proposed and was implemented in 1955, was for the Islamic State of Pakistan, not a secular State.

By all accounts, Jinnah has committed crimes against humanity. He was a ruthless killer, because of whom millions of non-Muslims were killed, dishonoured and became destitute in 1947. All these because he wanted to fulfill the dream of Iqbal, the fanatic Muslim poet, the Pakistan, the land for the Muslims only. It is a criminal offence in Europe and in Germany in particular if anyone would try to justify or minimize the crime of Hitler and his Nazi party. Similar criminal law should be implemented in India as well for those who want to glorify Jinnah, a mass-murderer of the same level as Hitler, and his Muslim League.

Dr.Dipak Basu

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