Saturday, November 3, 2012

Yasser Latif Hamdani's interview with The Analyst World of Mumbai

What is your idea of Pakistan as lay man? And as a Member of the Bar and a Law Man?
YLH : I have tried but I cannot distinguish between my idea of Pakistan as a layman and as a member of the bar. As I understand it the idea of Pakistan arose out and as a result of the following:
  • The inability of British Indians to evolve a common nationality and this itself has three factors:  a. The insecurity of Muslims – having taken to modern education and British rule much later than the Hindu Majority (a gap of 80 years almost b/w Ram Mohan Roy and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan) b. The unwillingness of the Hindu majority to meet the Muslims half way and allay their fears and c. the role of the British rulers i.e. making Hindu-Muslim settlement a sine qua non and a condition precedent for responsible government in British India.
  • The introduction of separate electorates for Muslims in 1909 (which was – it must be emphasized- opposed by Jinnah) which created a fissiparous tendency.
  • Congress Party’s insistence that it spoke for all India and not just those Indians who supported it.
  • Gandhi’s support for the Khilafat Movement which introduced a permanent religious angle (of the Mullahs) and made religious identities non-negotiable destroying the top down Indian nationalist unity constructed painfully through the Lucknow Pact of 1916.
  • Congress’ unwillingness to accept the Delhi Muslim proposals in 1928-1929 which would have undone the separate electorates. Jinnah had convinced almost all of the Muslim opinion makers to endorse joint electorates in return for reserved representation and constitutional reforms in Sindh and NWFP (KP).
  • The Punjab Muslim thesis at the roundtable conference i.e. represented by the British backed Fazli Hussain and the Unionist Muslims who wanted a watered down Indian federation as opposed to Jinnah’s faction of the Muslim League which wanted a workable federation and Congress which wanted a strong central government.
  • The British insistence at the roundtable conference that the Princely states could negotiate their status vis a vis the Indian federation which was unacceptable to the Indian provinces.
  • And finally in 1937-1938 the inability of the Congress under Jawaharlal Nehru to concede even an inch to the Muslims of the Hindu majority provinces.
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