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Direct Action Day and Delhi Anti-Hindu riots: How Jinnah’s Muslim League then and their Orphans today are mirror images

Preparations for ‘either a divided India or a destroyed India’ had started a couple of months earlier when on the 15th of December violent protests were kicked off simultaneously at Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University and a Protest sit-in at Shaheen Bagh carefully coinciding with Amanatullah Khans hate speech.

On the 16th of August, 1946, Mohammad Ali Jinnah gave a call to fellow Muslims across India for a “Direct Action Day” on the streets of Kolkata (then Calcutta) and grandly proclaimed that we shall have “either a divided India or a destroyed India”, never mind the fact he was Indian.

The frenzy that followed was nothing India had seen before. Sword-wielding men in a state of trance went on a killing spree and nearly 10,000 people were killed and up to 15,000 wounded in a span of 3 days.  

74 years later sections of New Delhi started burning on the 24th of February except for this time the war-cry was made on WhatsApp and what followed was looting, burning of homes, schools and shops and deaths of 53 people and among them, a young IB officer Ankit who was chopped 51 times. Took just 3 days 

In 1947 the Muslim League championed by Jinnah was successful in axing 1/3rd of India to create a ‘Fortress of Islam’ called Pakistan. One would’ve hoped they lived happily after but that wasn’t the case. This was followed by Jinnah’s attack on Jammu and Kashmir, next came Hyderabad where the Nizam unleashed his version of Direct Action Day through the Razakars (Muslim volunteers) which resulted in as many as 40000 dead and there are other such incidents which do not find mention in our history books

So why bring back “Direct Action Day” now? Because there are too many similarities and the motives behind the two events are not very different. Both want territory for their exclusive use whatever be the cost

Muslim Leagues Direct Action Day seems to have inspired many, let’s call them Orphans who continue to hatch and take on new avatars like the now rebadged Students Islamic Movement of India also known as SIMI, the Popular Front of India (PFI) which ‘champions’ the cause of ‘Justice, Equality & Freedom’ and is alleged to have organized the anti CAA protests across the country is coincidently headquartered at Shaheen Bagh. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board an NGO which has been masquerading as the sole representative of Muslims since 1972 carried out a near-violent movement for imposing Sharia Law which the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi cheeringly obliged. The list of Orphans also includes Human Rights NGOs and famous (and very wealthy) Lawyers.

Muslim League of 1947 and their present day Indian orphans are mirror images of each other, here are some examples:

  • Both claim to represent minority rights (read: only Muslims)
  • Both hide behind ‘freedom of speech’ to wage war against their own country 
  • Both are supported by the communists 
  • Both find safety in educational institutions like the Aligarh Muslim University and now add JNU and Jamia
  • Fascinatingly both also find many friends among the Indian elite
  • Both believe that Indian Muslims are living under a great threat of becoming 2ndclass citizens 
  • Both swear by the constitution, Jinnah was considered a constitutionalist and we know who invokes the Indian constitution at every debate, discussion and protest

Another interesting one is the language of protest, it is always Urdu right from Kerala to Kashmir. Doesn’t matter if Malayalees don’t speak a word of Urdu but protest banners will be in the Persian script as if Urdu is an expression of freedom

Muslim League was crystal clear in what it wanted and it wasn’t any kind of a power-sharing formula or seat reservation, they even turned down the British Cabinet Missions plan for an interim government with representatives of the League. No sir, they asked for nothing less than a Muslim only nation when they unleashed the ‘Direct Action Day’, killed, raped and got Pakistan, as simple as that!  

‘Direct Action Day’ therefore is a tested formula which these deeply insecure Orphans used on the 23rd of Feb 2020 when a crowd of ~2500 gathered near the Jaffarabad metro station armed with rocks. 

Preparations for ‘either a divided India or a destroyed India’ had started a couple of months earlier when on the 15th of December violent protests were kicked off simultaneously at Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University and a Protest sit-in at Shaheen Bagh carefully coinciding with Amanatullah Khans hate speech

In a few hours as if on cue the mayhem started. The planning was quite detailed and the Orphans knew who to target. 

The run-up to August 1946 was not very different, protests organized by the Muslim league were a result of Congresses rejection of their demand for a separate Muslim Homeland. Living with Hindus was simply not acceptable to them. The League members had convinced Indian Muslims that they will be made slaves of Hindus if they don’t protest for a separate Muslim country

Similarly, the 2020  protests started when the Orphans thought to bring in persecuted Hindus, Sikhs and Christians under CAA would somehow impact their demography. They started spreading a bizarre rumour that Hindu Narendra Modi and Hindu Amit Shah want to strip Indian Muslims off their citizenship!

Both the Muslim League and the Orphans refused to have a dialogue to discuss their issues

The Chief Minister of Bengal at the time was Hussain Suhrawardy who gave incendiary speeches, among them was a call for Jehad against Hindus, cut to 2020 where Amanatullah Khan an elected MLA for the Aam Aadmi Party openly called for “Finishing off these oppressors (Read Hindu BJP)”. Sharjeel  Imam a PHD ‘Scholar’ at JNU and the current poster boy of Liberals publicly chided Muslims for being incapable of bringing life in North India to a stop!

If the Muslim League institutionalised identity politics and created religions consciousness among unsuspecting Indians then it is the Orphans who have carried this legacy forward to the extent they have made careers out of it. 

Remember both Suhrawardy and Amanatullah was/is an elected representative who nonchalantly gave a clarion call to wage war against their own countrymen. 

Whether it was 10,000 slaughtered men and women on the streets of Calcutta, then 2 million killed for the creation of Pakistan or 53 dead in North East Delhi. The orphans simply don’t care for human lives

Is then all lost? Maybe not. The current dispensation is unlikely to turn the other cheek.


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Kabir Pandit is a Corporate Consultant, a husband, father and a chef with a keen eye on Indian Politics and Modern Indian History. While being a part of Delhi's liberal brigade Kabir realised the hypocrisy and falsehoods of nearly everything they claim to stand for. Kabir is also a former Radio Jockey

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