A dubious attempt is underway in the opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Efforts are being, especially by Congress, made to either put the entire blame on Savarkar and proponents of Hindutva for the ‘two-nation theory’ that led to the partition of the country in 1947 or share the blame equally between Hindu Nationalists and Islamic fundamentalists.
Kapil Sibal said in the Rajya Sabha that the CAB will realize “Savarkar’s two-nation theory”. Sitaram Yechury called the CAB a “bill of Jinnah and Savarkar’s dreams”. Anand Sharma of the Congress went a step further and absolved the Radical Muslims of all sins and put the blame for the partition of the country at Savarkar’s feet. He said, “Two nation theory was never brought in by Jinnah…it was introduced by Hindu Mahasabha in Gujarat in 1937”.
— News18 (@CNNnews18) December 11, 2019
The Two-Nation Theory was introduced by the Founder of AMU
The stand taken by the respective opposition parties reflects a gross denial of history and facts. In reality, the ‘two-nation theory’, as is understood conventionally, was first touted by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. Even Pakistani textbooks credit him for the founding of the theory. He was, of course, the founder of the Aligarh Muslim University.
Syed Ahmed said as far back as in 1876, “I am convinced now that Hindus and Muslims could never become one nation as their religion and way of life was quite distinct from each other.” Seven years later, he voiced similar sentiments. He said, “Friends, in India, there live two prominent nations which are distinguished by the names of Hindus and Mussalmans…To be a Hindu or a Muslim is a matter of internal faith which has nothing to do with mutual relationships and external conditions…Hence, leave God’s share to God and concern yourself with the share that is yours…India is the home of both of us…By living so long in India, the blood of both have [sic] changed.”
He continued, “The colour of both have become similar. The faces of both, having changed, have become similar. The Muslims have acquired hundreds of customs from the Hindus and the Hindus have also learned hundreds of things from the Mussalmans. We mixed with each other so much that we produced a new language – Urdu, which was neither our language nor theirs. Thus, if we ignore that aspect of ours which we owe to God, both of us, on the basis of being common inhabitants of India, actually constitute one nation; and the progress of this country and that of both of us is possible through mutual cooperation, sympathy and love. We shall only destroy ourselves by mutual disunity and animosity and ill will[…]”
The first segment was made in 1876 and the second in January 1883. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was born in May 1883. It appears that the opposition parties want us to believe that Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was a supernatural entity who was capable of introducing a theory years before he was even conceived in his mother’s womb or while he was still an unborn baby.
In 1888, Syed Ahmed Khan again said, “Now, suppose that the English community and the army were to leave India, taking with them all their cannons and their splendid weapons and all else, who then would be the rulers of India?… Is it possible that under these circumstances two nations—the Mohammedans and the Hindus—could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer the other. To hope that both could remain equal is to desire the impossible and the inconceivable. But until one nation has conquered the other and made it obedient, peace cannot reign in the land.”
Will the Congress party now argue that Veer Savarkar came up with the ‘two-nation theory’ as a five-year-old?
Muhammad Iqbal and the Two-Nation Theory
Muhammad Iqbal took forward Syed Ahmed Khan’s idea and advocated for the creation of Pakistan as well. He said, “India is a continent of human beings belonging to different languages and professing different religions…I, therefore, demand the formation of a consolidated Muslim state in the best interests of the Muslims of India and Islam.” He made the statement in his presidential address at the 25th Annual Session of the All India Muslim League on the 29th of December, 1930. He is believed to be the first politician to advocate for the two-nation theory.
In the same address, Muhammad Iqbal also said, “I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim State appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India.”
Even as Iqbal exalted India, it became clear that it’s only the Muslims that he cared about. He stated, “We have a duty towards India where we are destined to live and die. We have a duty towards Asia, especially Muslim Asia. And since 70 millions of Muslims in a single country constitute a far more valuable asset to Islam than all the countries of Muslim Asia put together, we must look at the Indian problem not only from the Muslim point of view but also from the standpoint of the Indian Muslim as such.”
It is a grave insult to India’s honour that the opposition parties only remember Iqbal for his ‘Saarey Jahaan Se Achcha’ but work hard to whitewash his contribution towards the partition of India on a religious basis and the consequent civil war and genocide. Jinnah, of course, took the ideas to their natural conclusion.
Islam and Hinduism: Always Two Nations?
A section of Pakistani historians often traces the origins of the ‘two-nation theory’ to medieval history. From Muhammad Bin Qasim to Mahmud Ghaznavi, there are numerous Islamic invaders which certain Pakistanis consider as the progenitors of the theory that led to the creation of Pakistan. Other Islamic scholars such as Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi and Shah Wali Ullah who lived during the Mughal era are also credited as the founders of the theory. The textbooks, however, continue to maintain that the theory was first propounded by Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of AMU.
However, the idea that Islam and Hinduism constitute two different nations has also been asserted by numerous other philosophers and intellectuals of yore. Karl Marx, the Godfather of Communism and an intellectual the Congress party undoubtedly loves, said as far back as in 1854, “The Koran and the Mussulman legislation emanating from it reduce the geography and ethnography of the various people to the simple and convenient distinction of two nations and of two countries; those of the Faithful and of the Infidels. The Infidel is “harby,” i.e. the enemy. Islamism proscribes the nation of the Infidels, constituting a state of permanent hostility between the Mussulman and the unbeliever.”
Thus, in many ways, the source of the ‘two-nation theory’ lies in the religious scriptures of Islam itself. Over time, it has been observed by non-Muslims and preached by Muslims such as Syed Ahmad Khan at different points in history. To take Karl Marx’s notions of Islam to its logical conclusion, the ‘two-nation theory’ is not only a feature of Islam but also Christianity and Judaism.
We see this playing out perfectly in Pakistan. While Ahmaddiyas and Balochs and Shias got the Islamic State they so craved, they are now being persecuted for their identity by the Sunni population of Pakistan. It’s an inevitable consequence of the nature of Islam and Monotheism in general. There will always be another nation to persecute. The Muslims in Pakistan carved a separate state for themselves in 1947, therefore, now they are oppressing other Muslims along with non-Muslims.
The creation of Bangladesh in 1971 was the most obvious evidence of the fact that the ‘two-nation theory’ is integral to Islam. On certain occasions, the two nations are Hindus and Muslims. And on others, the two nations are Bengali-speaking Muslims and Urdu-speaking Muslims.
Demonizing Hindus: A characteristic feature of the Congress party
One would have thought that the Congress party had fallen as low as it possibly could when it tried to bring into existence the mythical ‘Hindu Terror’ by using the entire might of the state machinery. However, it appears there’s always a new low that the Congress can sink to. Even the partition of India in 1947 is now sought to be blamed on Hindus. Syed Ahmed Khan came up with the ‘two-nation theory’, Muhammad Iqbal carried it forward and Jinnah ensured the creation of Pakistan.
In all of this, the Congress party sing odes to Syed Ahmad Khan, cannot look beyond ‘Saarey Jahaan Se Achcha’ when it comes to Iqbal, its leaders praise Jinnah and then blame Savarkar for the partition of the country. It is rather disgusting to even claim that Hindu Nationalists are responsible for the partition of the country when it was the ‘Secular’ heroes of the liberal establishment that ruled the roost at the time.
Furthermore, it is also argued that the Congress party never agreed to the ‘two-nation theory’. It is also claimed that the Congress party accepted the partition but never accepted the ‘two-nation theory. Such arguments are nothing more than clutching at straws. Acceptance of the creation of Pakistan is an agreement with the ‘two-nation theory’ and every other argument is nonsense. The creation of Pakistan was based on the ‘two-nation theory’, how could anyone then accept Pakistan’s creation but not the argument on which it was based?
Of course, the Congress party and their followers would argue that such a contradiction is possible. But the fact remains that the Congress party did officially recognize the ‘two-nation theory’ the moment it conceded to the creation of Pakistan. Without the ‘two-nation theory’, there was no valid argument for the creation of an Islamic State at that point of time. Therefore, that the Congress party still chooses to blame Hindu Nationalists for the partition only goes on to demonstrate the ingrained Hinduphobia that has gripped the party and perfectly explains its capitulation in the General Elections.