Thank you, Mr Jinnah

MAY 31, 2019

The results of the recent elections in India prove that the so-called Indian secularism is dead, if it ever existed. The BJP and Narendra Modi won after months of demonising Muslims. Make no mistake: Modi did not deliver what he had promised in the 2014 elections. Joblessness increased massively, farmers continued killing themselves, and the sudden demonetisation did not result in eliminating black money from the economy. Despite all these failures, however, Modi was able to convince 600 million Indians, mostly Hindus, to give him a second term as prime minister.

Modi succeeded because to the average Indian Hindu, he is the only leader who can solve the ‘Muslim problem’ – convert the Indian-occupied Kashmir into a Hindu majority state, expel Muslims from Assam to Bangladesh, make beef-eating a capital crime. The secular India of Gandhi and Ambedkar is dead, and will never be resurrected.
Those who were born before the partition and grew up in the early years after independence may recall how India tried everything to strangle Pakistan. It invaded Kashmir, Hyderabad and Junagadh, three states where the people or its rulers wanted to join Pakistan. It temporarily blocked the flow into Pakistan of a couple of rivers. Nehru actually believed that Pakistan could not survive economically, and that Jinnah would beg him to take Pakistan back into India in six months. Of course, he could not be blamed for that view.
Most Indian Hindus at that time thought Muslims were too backward and lazy to run a country with very little infrastructure and industry. Such was the discrimination against Muslims that the Karachi Port Trust did not have a single Muslim officer before 1947; it had only three Muslims on its payroll, one was a clerk, another a security guard, and the third a peon. Hindus also dominated the Karachi Cotton Exchange and other trade bodies.
My father used to tell me about the geography textbooks and his teachers in the pre-partition days saying that the climate of Sindh, West Punjab and East Bengal was not suitable for industrialisation. Cotton from Karachi and jute from Chittagong would be shipped to factories in Gujarat and West Bengal, where the workers and officers were mostly Hindu. After independence, it was the Gujarati Muslims who set up textile and jute mills in Pakistan. Of course, the geography textbooks and teachers didn’t say that Hindu industrialists didn’t want to set up factories in Muslim-majority areas, and therefore, the climate was blamed for the absence of industries in Sindh, West Punjab and East Bengal.
There was much more evidence of Hindus denigrating Muslims and regarding them as an inferior species. Restaurants owned by Hindus in Ahmedabad and other cities had signboards that proclaimed “Muslims not allowed.” Gujarat, by the way, is the very state where thousands of Muslims were killed under the benign gaze of Narendra Modi, who deliberated looked the other way when the massacre was taking place. Modi succeeded in the 2014 elections mainly due to the ‘holocaust’ of Muslims in 2002. My few remaining relatives in Gujarat and Mumbai were afraid that BJP and RSS activists would slaughter them if Modi were defeated in the recent elections.
Therefore, it was apparent much before 1947 that in a united India, Muslims would never get their political rights. In the recent Indian elections only 26 Muslims have been returned to the Lok Sabha. To get full representation, there should be at least 75 Muslims in the assembly, as 14 per cent of Indians are Muslims. With only five percent of the seats in India’s parliament, how can Muslims get their rights? This is one reason why very few Muslims have government jobs in India. This was the main reason why Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah tried to get more political rights for Indian Muslims, including special seats in the legislature and assemblies.
When Jinnah saw that even a liberal Hindu like Nehru would not agree to give more seats to Muslims, he had to go all out for partition. Thank you, Mr Jinnah, for saving us from extinction. Thank you for giving us a country where we do not spend sleepless nights wondering whether we shall be safe from people who want to kill us just because we happen to be Muslims.