At last the Indian National Congress had to accept the two nation theory. Who accepted it first or why he did so, did not matter. The country was divided based on the theory that the Hindus and the Muslims constituted two different nations, while nobody cared to ask the question during the days of the Mughal rule or earlier. Even Mohammed Ali Jinnah did not relish the idea when it was first mooted by the Ali brothers. Nobody had then expected that it would gain acceptance and from the basis for the country’s division. People had lived for hundreds of years-both the Hindus and the Muslims – side by side, breathing the same air, drinking the same water, living here and dying here. Not that there was perfect cordiality all the time. A number of Muslim invaders slaughtered the Buddhist and the Hindus alike, pulled down their places of worship, plundered their wealth, and persecuted them mercilessly. Their rulers taxed them heavily and forced them to live a life of constant fear and suffering. But still, the Hindus put on a brave demeanor and put up with all the hardships courageously and lived even though a few embraced Islam when they were threatened to choose between death and Islam. The Muslims invariably felt that their destinies were tied with that of the land, though they robbed some of the Hindus of their last penny, reducing them to the status of ‘hewers of wood’ and ‘drawers of water’ and the idea of two nations had never entered into their minds.
When Zinnah succumbed to the idea, Gandhiji tried to win him back to his side with the offer of Prime Minister ship of free India. He said if Zinnah accepted to head the interim government Pandit Nehru would be his deputy. Zinnah was not to be baited, if it was bait, He had already turned towards the west and the creation of anew nation completely occupied his mind and heart.
And so was Pakistan born. But India had won its freedom. Never mind if Punjab and Bengal were divided. We had our midnight freedom. Not a drop of blood was shed. The lion had shaken to the core at the sight of the magic wand. We simply held it before its eyes. This was only a dream. It did not last long. The country plunged into a blood bath that no where had a parallel. Thousands were butchered; millions ran for life, leaving everything behind, leaving the land that was suffused with the breath of their fathers and forefathers, the land they had loved so dearly.
That was not all. A number of Muslims from many parts of the land left for the newly born country which perhaps looked like a paradise on earth. India did not object to the mass migration. Any one was free to go or come. But before long these pilgrims came back. The land that had held no attraction a few days ago did not object to their transmigration.
Now the question is did any Hindu who had come from Pakistan to India, go back to Pakistan disillusioned? Not that it maters much. But why didn’t they go? Did they really accept the two nation theory? It was thrust on them and so they had to accept it out of sheer compulsion.
The Nawabs of Nizam and Jhunaghad did not think that they had a duty to respect the will of their subjects. They felt that as rulers they could let their free will shape the course of history. But the story of Kashmir was different. The Hindus King had no choice before him. When his kingdom was attacked by the so called tribal, he knew fully well who was really behind the thrust. Even then Pandit Nehru did not concede to the request of the Kashmir Prime Minister until Sheik Abdullah who Nehru thought was the real representative of the Muslim majority, endorsed the Maharajah’s proposal. When subsequently elections were held, the Abdullah government was not voted down, which though not directly, amounted that the Muslims of Kashmir did not subscribe to the two nation theory. If Pakistan without attacking Kashmir, had allowed the Maharaja or his people to express their free will whatever course it might have taken, the situation would taken been different.
Now the upsurge in Kashmir with its Pakistani manipulations, tries to move the clock back to the eve of partition. To brush it aside as a trouble created by a few hundreds of Pakistani trained militants does not sound very convincing. If it was that simple and that the militants did not sound very convincing. If it was that simple and that the militants did not have a popular base in at least a few areas in the valley why were they not liquidated yet? If there was no sufficient justification, why did the government of India give Kashmir’s a special status?
Things have gone too far. The present situation is distressing now that the popular government was dismissed. For more than two years, the gun has been in fully play, with a great degree of freedom. But the voices are not silenced, firing and counter firing continue. Peace is not near in sight. It is time to denounce meaningless prestige and bring all the people connected to a conference table and chalk out a way out. As long as India talks about Pakistani intransigence it will go on harping on the UN resolutions. There are people all around ready to nod approvingly at what Pakistan does.
The Muslims living in other parts of India too have great responsibility. No use of remaining as silent spectators. They have to stand up and denounce secessionist tendencies that are sweeping across the valley like a whirl wind. They should remember that the government and the people in general are ready to treat them with love and respect and that the Hindus who never subscribed to the two nation theory treat the Muslims only a religious minority like the Christians or the Buddhists. It was India that had banished Satanic Verses long before Pakistan and many Muslim nations did. The Hindus too have a part to play. They should not forget that theirs is a society that has seen God in every living being, a society that has not only preached but also practiced religious tolerance they should assure their Muslim brethren that they want to end their wranglings over Mandir – Masjid issues.
If India is a symbol of secularism, Kashmir is a symbol within a symbol. While India is that of Hindu brand, Kashmir should be its complementary part of Muslim brand. And the two should together declare that they can live together in spite of divergences with mutual respect and understanding.
Sam J Thomas is a freelance writer and has written content for several web & print media projects. He is currently preparing content for Kerala House Boat Package -based tourism website and http://www.solvedquestionpapers.com.