Mohammad Ali Jinnah is regarded as the founder of Pakistan. It is often forgotten that Jinnah started his politics as a secularist and a leader of the Congress Party. He, however, transformed himself into a rabid communalist and coined the slogan “two Nations and two people”. He said that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together and are allergic to each other. He said they were two different philosophies and he gives an example that a Muslim eats a cow but the Hindu worships it.
That famous word “Two Nation Theory”, thus was coined. The British accepted this Two-Nation theory and decided that an independent Muslim State needs to be carved out for Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. The state of Pakistan was created. The state itself was an anomaly as it was separated by 1200 miles of Indian territory. Whereas East Pakistan was mainly Bengali speaking, West Pakistan was mainly Urdu speaking and apart from religion, both of them had nothing in common. In addition because of the great distance between the two parts, there was very little chance of integration between East and West Pakistan.
The Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi stoked the flames of discontent and helped create an independent Bangladesh. In other words, she broke Pakistan into two parts. Many people at the time said that the two-nation theory was dead and gone.
The creation of Pakistan and the acceptance of the Two-Nation theory took place in 1947 and now over 7 decades have passed, yet the question which is in mind of many is whether in the modern context, as far as India is concerned: is the two Nation theory dead?
The political scenario in India
Let us have a look at the political scenario in India. India is home to the second-largest Muslim population in the world, in fact, there are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan or Bangladesh. This is a massive minority but as can be seen, the Muslim leadership has not integrated with India The Hindu population also by and large is suspicious of the Muslims and consider them as fifth columns in India. The divide between Hindus and Muslims has not been breached one can just see from the ongoing dispute of the Babri Masjid, which has been simmering for 70 years that there is no sight of a solution, as both communities do not wish to give and take. Muslim leaders like Owaisi, day in and day out bring out that Muslims are separate from Hindus and they do not want to integrate with the nation and want their own personal law and constitutional guarantees of the rights.
The large Muslim minority in India is in real terms acting as a roadblock to the development of the country. Muslims even now in India think of themselves as separate Nations. Bangladesh me have broken from Pakistan but Indian Muslims still identify with Pakistan. Actually, if you look at history, the concept of Pakistan originated from Bhopal, Lucknow, and Bihar and these States never became part of Pakistan because they were in the heartland of India. The seeds of Pakistan have remained in communities in these areas and given a chance the Muslim community in India would like nothing better than to have a separate Homeland, in other words, a third partitions. On the face, it looks preposterous and many Hindus and some Muslims will join the issue with this statement but a closer look at the state of affairs shows that there is no social intercourse between Hindus and Muslims in India. Muslims want their own laws and to be governed by the Sharia and they want separate rights from the Hindus and at every stage, they point out that they are a distinct society.
Two Nation theory not dead
One can safely say that the old two Nation theory is certainly not dead as far as India is concerned. It’s very much alive and kicking and men like Iqbal will be happy in their graves to know that Hindus and Muslims are in fact two separate Nations. Many point to the fact that Hindus and Muslims have lived together for 1000 years. However, people miss a very subtle point and that is that both the communities lived together when the Muslims were the rulers, though the Hindus were in the majority.
If such a scenario is replicated that once again the Muslims become the rulers of India, then only are the Muslims ready to consider India as one Nation. What is the solution for this? I am afraid there is no solution as the Hindu by his very nature is the weak as well as a pacifist and he will go to any length to try and placate the Muslims in the hope that they will accept India as one nation. It’s not going to happen and over the decades the differences between Hindus and Muslims instead of going down have accentuated.