Why a majority of Muslims opposed Jinnah’s idea of Partition and stayed on in India | Research News,The Indian Express
A standard narrative exists about the role of Muslims during the Partition in India, which talks about how the Muslim community, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his Muslim League, stood for the two-nation theory and demanded the Partition of India. Historical documents, however, suggest that a majority of the Muslims opposed the Partition and stayed in India.
The historic speech made by the first education minister of India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, from the the ramparts of the Jama Masjid in 1947 is oft cited as the perfect example of a Muslim politician standing firm against the Partition of India. Urging his Muslim brethren to stay put in India, Azad famously said, “The minarets of Jama Masjid want to ask you a question. Where have you lost the glorious pages from your chronicles? Wasn’t it only yesterday that on the banks of the Jamuna, your caravans performed wazu? Today, you are afraid of living here. Remember, Delhi has been nurtured with your blood. Brothers, create a basic change in yourselves. Today, your fear is misplaced as your jubilation was yesterday.”
“My aunt would often say it was this speech, delivered by the Maulana, that convinced many families from Old Delhi, UP and Bihar, who were there to take the train to Lahore, to open their bistarband (luggage) and remain in India,” recollects Firoz Bakht Ahmed, grand nephew of Maulana Azad and the former chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad.
Ahmed narrates how his aunt, Quaiser Jahan, was offered a lucrative job as director of Radio Pakistan in Karachi and four Dakota plane tickets for her and her family, to relocate soon after the Partition. “But she refused,” says Ahmed. “She didn’t want to take a chance in a newly created nation leaving the cozy warmth and safety of her home town in Delhi. In her opinion, the newly created Pakistan was sure to bring nothing but turmoil.”
A standard narrative exists about the role of Muslims during the Partition in India, which talks about how the Muslim community, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his Muslim League, stood for the two-nation theory and demanded the Partition of India. “Historical documents prove that the majority of Indian Muslims opposed the concept of Pakistan and stayed back in India, as much as the Hindu population did,” says political scientist Shamsul Islam who has authored the book, ‘Muslims against Partition: Revisiting the legacy of Allah Baksh and other patriotic Muslims’ (2015). “Further, there were elements within the Hindu leadership, those who propagated Hindutva, who stood for and were in fact the original makers of the two-nation theory,” he argues.
Islam in his book suggests that long before the advent of Muslim advocates of the two-nation theory, it was in fact the Hindu nationalists who had propounded the idea. “In fact they borrowed heavily from the Hindutva school of thought,” he writes.