B.Y. Chaudhry – Pakistan’s Founder and the Ideology of Pakistan

By Bakshish Yousaf Chaudhry
This article appeared in Dawn on August 16, 2009

IN 1940 came the Muslim League’s Lahore Resolution with all its ambiguities and contradictions demanding that the geographically contiguous areas in which the Muslims were in majority (the northwest and the east) should be grouped together to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.


In 1946 the Muslim League agreed to the cabinet mission plan which proposed to put Muslims into two autonomous regions within the Indian federation but this plan did not materialise. A month before leaving Delhi for sovereign Pakistan its founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah (the Quaid-e-Azam) dismissed a suggestion that the new country should be a theocracy. The purpose of the creation of Pakistan, he said, was not to create a theocratic and monolithic state but to safeguard the social, economic, and political rights of Indian Muslims. Once Pakistan was created the rights of even non-Muslims were to be protected as equal citizens.


The current crisis has its origin in large measure to a dogmatic view propagated by some politicians that ‘ideology’ of Pakistan was Islam. But the Quaid-i-Azam never made any mention in his speeches and conversations nor used the term of Ideology of Pakistan. Instead, he made it clear that his ideal was to create a democratic state for Indian Muslims where faith would be a personal matter of each individual.


For fifteen years after the establishment of Pakistan, nobody used the term ideology of Pakistan nor was it known to anybody. In 1962, a member of Jamaat-i-Islami, Maulvi Abdul Bari of Lyallpur (now Faisalabad) used this term for the first time when the political parties bill was under discussion. Chaudhry Fazal Ilahi, who later became president of Pakistan, objected to this construct and asked what he meant by this. On this the member who had moved the bill said, “Ideology of Pakistan is Islam.” Nobody raised any question or sought explanation and the bill was passed.


The Quaid-i-Azam’s vision was as clear as crystal and his guidance superb. His utterances in public and private did not leave any one with the slightest doubt that he was a forward-looking, progressive and rational man and wanted a secular Pakistan.


Now the question arises, can we subordinate the acquisition of knowledge to any ideology? The answer is that we cannot do so. If we subordinate the acquisition of knowledge to any ideology, we reduce the field of knowledge to what the ideology teaches us because the ideology has to run through a groove or a defined channel and does not let us go out of it. It was a Christian dogma for centuries that the centre of the planetary system is earth. Copernicus showed that the centre of that system is not earth but the sun and the earth revolves round it. Galileo further illustrated this theory. For this he was placed before an inquisition tribunal for having expounded a theory which was opposed to the Christian ideology.


We cannot subordinate education to any ideology. The object of education is to acquire knowledge, knowledge of everything, of universe, the remotest nebula, the knowledge of light travelling at the speed of 186,000 per second. The knowledge of the mightiest galaxies is within our reach. Knowledge of everything which exists in the universe is not beyond our reach. Knowledge has no limits. There are a number of branches of knowledge. Now if we subordinate the acquisition of knowledge to any ideology, political, economic, or religious, we reduce the field of knowledge because it imposes limitations on human intellect and on our activities.


Education being imparted in madressahs (seminaries) is subordinated to an ideology and therefore does not inculcate quest for knowledge among students there. Apart from inculcation of a dispassionate quest for truth in them the seminaries fail to enable students to take some socially useful profession in life. They are taught that only their creed is based on truth and that other faiths and creeds are incarnation of evil. The attempt to mould the minds of the young through education started in early 1980 with the political agenda of the Islamisation of the state.


The curriculum was redesigned and textbooks were rewritten to promote the ideology of Pakistan and create a monolithic image of Pakistan as an Islamic state and only the Muslims were the citizens of Pakistan. Pakistan is a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi religious society. Non-Muslims are an integral part of it. Many of them have contributed to the image, stature and wellbeing of the country.


The term globalisation was coined towards the end of the 20th century. This term highly speaks of the wonders of the present century. With the invention of the most modern means of transportation and the most sophisticated means of communication world has shrunk into a global village. The world is contracting and the foreigner is becoming my brother. He cannot live without me and I cannot live without him. We both cannot hate each other. If I lose somebody due to hatred then I lose myself. My country can only expand in peace, the peace that is born of dialogue between peoples.


It is extremely dangerous and lethal to establish a monolithic society. In a monolithic society different creeds cannot co-exist peacefully. All diversity should be forced into unity. We live in a pluralistic society where different religion co –exist peacefully. The most important thing in a pluralistic society is to accept unity in diversity.


We must know full well that Pakistan was created not in the name of Islam but in the name of enabling the Muslims of the subcontinent to live according to their cultural practices, religious values and age-old customs. So, Pakistan was not meant to be a theocratic and monolithic state. It was created to safeguard the social, economic and political rights of Indian Muslims and also treat the non-Muslims as equal citizens.


The architect-founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah told the new nation in his historic address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, that “You are free to go to your temples, your are free to go to your mosques, or to any other place of worship in the state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state. I think that we should keep this in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual.”


This excerpt of the speech of the founder of Pakistan clearly speaks about pluralistic society in which full freedom of religion would be given to all communities and there would not be any discrimination on the basis of caste or creed and cultural diversity would be recognised and respected to promote national unity. As a prudent politician and statesman, Jinnah knew full well that in a multicultural society like Pakistan discrimination on the basis of religion could impede communal harmony and hinder economic development process.


Pluralism is the root of democracy which stipulates that all the people irrespective of their caste, colour, creed and ethnic affiliation should be given equal rights and affiliation. Some politicians assert that democracy is a multi-valued notion and not a single-valued one and it should be shared rather than monopolised.


The message of the founder of Pakistan to the nation was unity, faith and discipline. His speeches clearly outline the kind of unity he envisioned to make Pakistan a progressive state. He stood for unity in diversity. Progress, prosperity, solidarity and integrity of Pakistan lies in the successful practice of the democratic system. This must also be borne in mind that religion is not for the state but it is for the people who live in the state.


After sixty two years Pakistan still remains in the list of backward countries. The people of Pakistan are at the mercy of the unjust social system or the criminals and terrorists. Nobody is safe at home or out of home. The poor are becoming poorer and the rich are becoming richer.


The Quaid-i-Azam set an example for the others. When he was the governor-general of Pakistan his salary was rupee one only. At this moment


Pakistan is completely in the grip of crises and our rulers are enjoying life. Let us seek the solution of all our problems by keeping in mind the principles the founder of Pakistan upheld.

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