Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Maulana Azad stood for a united, secular State of India

Nasir Khan, January 20, 2015

Maulana Azad, the Imam-al-Hind, was an outstanding Islamic scholar, a great orator and a prominent political leader of India during the British rule. He opposed the idea of the partition of India on the basis of religion and warned Muslim leaders of the dangers of a separate homeland for Muslims. This great scholar understood the problems Indian Muslims faced if the demands of an Islamic country (Pakistan) were accepted. 

The events leading to the partition of India in 1947 and the subsequent history of Pakistan have shown the political sagacity and far-sightedness of this astute politician. But the upholders of the two-nation theory had won and the secularists and advocates of a united India had to agree to the partition plan. 

However, it will be a lopsided view to blame only Jinnah. Many sections of Muslim community had fears of Hindu domination in an independent state of a united India. The top Hindu leaders, Gandhi and Nehru, did little to assuage such fears. As British historian Perry Anderson in 2012 in his three profound historical articles, ‘Gandhi Centre Stage,’ ‘Why Partition,’ and ‘After Nehru,’ had shown the situation was really quite complicated and any simplistic interpretations of history of the period that are quite common in India and Pakistan are of little value except for amateurish recriminations and misrepresentation of historical facts of the period.


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