By Armughan Naeem Khan.
Republic day or Pakistan day has the greatest of significance in the history of Pakistan. This was the day when the Muslims of India formally passed a resolution to demand a separate homeland for the Muslims. This resolution initially known as the Lahore resolution was later remembered as the Pakistan resolution. The Muslims of Indian subcontinent had ultimately reached upon a consensus that it was not possible for the Muslims to survive in a country under an overwhelming and tyrant Hindu majority, especially after the end of British rule the situation was likely to go worst. This resolution was presented on 23rd March 1940 during the annual general body meeting of All India Muslim League with Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah presiding the session.
Indian subcontinent was already inhibited by two nations much before the advent of British colonization of the Indian Subcontinent. Since the British were invaders and unaware of the national dynamics of India, they set up their rule as if Hindu and Muslim were one nation. Such an arrangement was unaccepted to Muslims who had ruled over India for centuries, so the stood up to establish themselves as a separate nation totally different from the Hindus. The resolution mainly stated that a Muslim state be made comprising of the areas where Muslim populace exists in majority. Although the resolution was carried away by strong emotions and unanimously accepted, still there was no clear definition of Muslim majority areas or a clear definition of the boundaries for such a Muslim state to be. So there was to be a subsequent Delhi resolution in 1946.
In this way a path to a separate identity was paved which was to later transform into an ideology. Although this demand for a separate homeland was a result of massive thought process of philosophers, thinkers, politicians and other great Muslim leaders but the basic idea of the resolution presented and passed on 23rd March 1940 was that of none other than Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, the great Muslim philosopher who could foresee well into the future, the ill fate awaiting the Muslims of India at a time when there seemed no apparent chances of the British going away from India. Dr. Iqbal shared his thoughts with Mr. Jinnah through his letters which he wrote to Mr. Jinnah from May 1936 to Nov 1937.
It was same Dr. Iqbal who had earlier convinced Mr. Jinnah to move from London to India and assume the leadership of Muslims of India. Dr. Iqbal wrote to Mr. Jinnah that he must put across a demand for separate homeland and as early as possible and hold Muslim league session at the Muslim majority region of Lahore. Soon Mr. Jinnah got fully convinced with Dr. Iqbal’s visionary idea and decided to act upon this advice.
So the annual general body meeting of All India Muslim League was arranged at Lahore. Mr. Jinnah travelled by train from Delhi to Lahore. Wherever Mr Jinnah passed, he was warmly received and joined by mobs of patriotic Muslims. Mr Jinnah presided over the session which continued from 22nd to 24th March 1940. Mintoo park Lahore (later Iqbal park) was flushed with patriotic reps of Muslims depicting the contrasting Muslim culture from all over India who had come to stand shoulder to shoulder for their leader who by then had scrupulously earned the status of the leader of Muslims. The crowds were anxious to see and listen to the great leader. When Mr. Jinnah and Khan Liaquat Ali Khan made their appearance at the venue amidst the squad of Muslim league guards, the crowd greeted them in the most historic manner. Among the many prominent Muslim leaders present at the occasion were Maulana A.K Fazalul Haq, Chaudry Khaleequz Zaman, Nawab Bahadur Yar Jang and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Dr. Muhammad Alam, Sardar Aurangzeb Khan, Sir Abdullah Haroon, Qazi Essa, Syed Zakir Ali, Maulana Abdul Hamid, Nawab Muhammad Ismail, Syed Abdul Rauf, Abdul Hamid Khan and begum Muhammad Ali Johar clad in traditional burqa. Muslim poet Ghayas Ghazi Abad read his famous poem “Millat ka pasban hai Muhammad Ali Jinnah” (Muhammad Ali Jinnah is the custodian of this nation) as a tribute to Mr. Jinnah. The poem became which was an instant hit stands highly popular even today.
This Lahore resolution was later remembered as the Pakistan Resolution. The draft for this resolution was jointly made by Mr. Jinnah and Sir Sikandar Hayat. Whereas Khan Liaquat Ali Khan presented it before the subject committee of All India Muslim League. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan translated it into Urdu, while it was the great Maulana A.K Fazalul Haq, Chief minister of Bengal, better known as the Lion of Bengal who presented the resolution to the open house on 23rd March 1940. The masses heard Mr. Jinnah’s two and half hour long extempore address with great attention. Although bulk of the masses didn’t understand English but mere respect of the great leader was enough for them. Mr Jinnah made his historical remarks:
“The Hindus and the Muslims belong to two different religions, philosophies, social customs, and literature. They neither inter-marry, nor inter-dine together, and indeed they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspects on life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Muslims derive their inspirations from different sources of history. They have different epics, their heroes are different, and they have different episodes. Very often the hero of one is foe of the other, and likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and the final destruction of any fabric that may be so built for the government of such a state.”
The resolution was immediately seconded by Muslim leaders and representatives including Sir Abdullah Haroon from Sindh, Qazi Essa from Balochistan, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan from Punjab and Sardar Aurangzeb from NWFP. Although there was no immediate response to the movement but soon after the resolution had to face too many challenges in the shape of Cripps mission, Simla conference, Quit India movement and Cabinet Mission. These challenges exposed the British mindset as well who were all set to hand over the reign of entire India to the Hindus in utter disregard of the rights of minorities. It was obvious that if the British left India without bringing the partition into effect, the idea of Muslims getting their rights would be farfetched.
Today Minar e Pakistan (Minaret of Pakistan) stands tall exactly at the same place where this historic event took place some seventy seven years back and bears testimony to the commitment and resolve of the Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent. The resolution was a practical manifestation of the Muslim ideology, all over India. Forceful presentation and immediate acceptance of the resolution with a heavy voting adequately showed the apprehension and concerns of Muslim league leaders which they had from the Hindus. The resolution had given a clear destination to the Muslims who stood united and firm under the able leadership of Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The journey was too long, too challenging, too demanding and too disastrous but what awaited at the end of this journey was the dream come true in the form of an independent and sacred homeland, Pakistan.
The writer is a seasoned writer, poet, lyricist and analyst.