Partition: A mistake?

It was sixty one years ago, on August 15, 1947; Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had echoed with pride and delight, “We end today a period of ill fortunes and India discovers herself again”, but he seemed to have forgotten what had then happened a day ago would evoke India’s ill fortune time and again.


On August 14, 1947, a separate state for Indian Muslims was created resulting in two new countries- India and Pakistan (East Pakistan and West Pakistan). The past and present conditions of the state of East Pakistan which is now Bangladesh is regrettable and the future of it remains uncertain. Neither has India lived in harmony. Following independence were wars of 1965, 1971 and 1991 which saw tension, blood, raucous cry and tears and now India is being tormented by terrorists bred in Pakistan. The recent terrorist attacks in the elite sections of Mumbai claims to be an act of terrorists trained in Pakistan. This heart wrecking episode makes one question if Pakistan was a mistake?


Partition was no consensus. It was one Muslim’s idea turned into a belief for every Muslim’s edification. The idea of Pakistan emanated from Allama Iqbal, a philosopher, writer, one of the prominent leaders of All India Muslim League and the first Muslim (read Indian) to demand for a separate state for Muslims. What baffles me is when this demand was made; India was going through a period of Satyagraha, of Indians being jailed, of every Indian planning a tumultuous day for the British, whereas this learned man who received his education in England and Germany, exhibited indifference. Allama, in his speech, advocated that formation of a new state for Muslims will not be a problem to either states of Muslims or Hindus –“For India, it means security and peace resulting from an internal balance of power; for Islam, an opportunity to rid itself of the stamp that Arabian Imperialism was forced to give it, to mobilise its law, its education, its culture, and to bring them into closer contact with its own original spirit and with the spirit of modern times” .


Allama succeeded in instilling in every Muslim mind, including Ali Jinnah’s, that partition was justified. Both Hindus and Muslims could not remain impervious to the strong ideologies propagated in the name of religion. And as a result partition happened.


Whether Pakistan was necessary or not will always remain debatable. To castigate Allama or Jinnah or Mahatma Gandhi would be a little unfair. Maybe Allama Iqbal wanted a Pakistan to bring Muslims closer to Islam or strengthen his position in politics; but he definitely would not have had dreamt of a Pakistan that would breed unmindful, insensitive Muslims who in the name of jihad would go on a killing spree. What he and others lacked was a wider vision to anticipate the results of partition or, to put it more precisely, the irrational human nature which gets influenced by ideologies and philosophies which inhibits the growth of a human.


What sets a human being apart from an animal is his fastidious nature to choose only what is right. And its time Pakistan understands this. The onus to justify its birth is on Pakistan. Pakistan alone can answer if it was a mistake.


Suhani Dewra

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