PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
THIS book was published, in its present form, in the latter half of 1965. The first edition got exhausted sooner than was expected and I have been unable to carry out the revision and rewriting which I had planned. The work of all those who, like the present writer, undertake such jobs in addition to other heavy responsibilities must suffer from certain deficiencies. This applies to all my books, but the present one has had a somewhat peculiar history. It was originally compiled in 1946, as an amended English version of my Urdu book, Afauj-i-Kausar. It was unpublished when the Partition took place and after that the manuscript had to be laid aside for some years. In 1950 a chapter on Liaquat Ali Khan was added and with some other additions the book appeared as Makers of Pakistan and Modern Muslim India. The bulk of the material included in the book was the same as had been compiled in 1946 and was really a book written by a layman for laymen. It was not burdened with footnotes or even with citations, and treatment was kept simple to suit the requirements of the general reader. Owing to the paucity of the material on the subject, however, the book was utilised in some educational institutions and I tried to make the enlarged version, issued as Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan, somewhat more systematic. References were given regularly and copious footnotes added in respect of the additional matter included in this edition, but the greater part of the book remained as it had been written in 1946. I was hoping that when the time came for a second edition of Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan I would be able to rewrite the whole book, quote authorities for all important statements and omit certain portions-e.g. details relating to the history of Aligarh College-which were no longer of material significance. This has not been possible within the time allowed by the publisher for the preparation of the second edition. A good deal of the book, therefore, appears as it was written in 1946, but no effort has been spared to make it more comprehensive and up-to-
vi Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan
date. An enormous mass of new material relating to the struggle for Pakistan has appeared in England, Pakistan and India. Every effort has been made to secure this material and utilise it for purposes of additional information, or rebuttal, where necessary.
Even more strenuous work has gone into the collection of data regarding the areas which constitute Pakistan. So little work had been done in the past in relation to these areas that important figures like Syed Nawab Ali Chaudhry, Sir Shamsul Huda, and Sir Abdul Rahim of Bengal, and Sardar Muhammad Hayat Khan and Khan Bahadur Barkat Ali Khan of the Punjab, Hasan Effendi of former Sind and Sahibzada Sir Abdul Qayum of the Frontier rarely find any place in the history o f the Muslim struggle. Very special efforts have been made to collect particulars about them and give them their proper place in the national history. This has not always been easy and some of the accounts offered here can be treated as tentative. The section relating to Husain Shaheed Suhrawardy has been greatly enlarged and it is hoped justice will be at long last done to that brilliant man, whose share in the achievement of Pakistan was, probably, second only to that of the great Quaid. A special effort has also been made to deal with those who distinguished themselves in the work for the Muslim League in the Punjab, like Malik Barkat Ali, Mian Bashir Ahmad, and Hameed Nizami. At the same time an attempt has been made to achieve a balanced view of the controversies in the Punjab and to show in what respects the position of the Quaid-i-Azam differed from that of the group that has found such an eloquent spokesman in Ashiq Husain Batalvi.
The previous edition of this book contained an important new chapter entitled Jinnah the Man and the Statesman. The elucidation of the achievements and the policies of the Father of the Nation has been further enlarged in this edition. During my study of the events relating to the Partition nothing has impressed me more than the immeasureabie superiority of the Quaid over all his colleagues and the great qualities of his head and heart. His papers have yet not been examined and will require study by wellformed, responsible and understanding archivists, but the vast volume of literature which has poured in recent years regarding the Partition from quartets often unfriendly to the Quaid enables
Preface to the Second Edition
VI) us to see fairly clearly the lineaments of his personality and leaves no doubt about his greatness and essential goodness. The present writer has been approached by some admirers of the Quaid to undertake a full-length biography of the Quaid. In the absence of Quaid’s papers it is not possible to attempt a really satisfactory biographical study, but in the present volume enough has been written to bring out not only the Quaid’s sterling qualities but also show how far removed from the truth is the picture generally painted of him in India and Pakistan. Largely, this has been dc-ne by showing the Quaid in action, e.g. by explaining his handling of the Punjab affairs or by outlining the steps taken by him as the Governor-General of Pakistan not only to save the State from being overwhelmed by unprecedented problems but to safeguard the interests of the non-Muslim minorities. There are also some general sections and it is hoped that a sufficient number of new points have been raised and enough evidence put forward to enable the future biographer to do justice to this greatly misunderstood personality.
In the end it is a pleasant duty to record my thanks. Amongst the many who have helped the uppermost in my mind are Syed Murtaza Ali and other friends in East Pakistan, who not only supplied information regarding personalities there, but also helped me by friendly criticism and suggestions. I am also thankful to Khwaja Muhammad Asif, Editor of The Pakistan Times, forgiving ine access to what was once the Tribune library and to borrow some books not available elsewhere.
It may be a1 little odd to thank officials of an organisation which one has helped to establish and with which one is even connected in a responsible position. My list of acknowledgments, however, would not be complete if do not include the officers of the Research Society of Pakistan-particularly Mr Rafiq Afzal, Acting Secretary. In obtaining material not only about the leading figures of the Punjab but even about the personalities of Muslim Bengal, I have drawn heavily on the small reference library of the Society which contains a near-complete file of the Inqilab and the priceless Mihar Collection of contemporary pamphlets and reports.
S. M. IKEAM
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION
THIS book originally appeared in 1950, under the title Makers of Pakistan and Modern Muslim India (by A.H. Albiruni) and has been out of print for some years. It was not reissued earjier, as I wished to bring the account up-to-date. This has not been found possible, and the present volume deals only with the period ending with the death of Liaquat Ali Khan. The original book has, however, been greatly enlarged, and I hope the additions are substantial enough to justify the change in the title. Out of fifteen chapters, five are entirely new-including a long chapter on developments in the areas which now constitute Pakistan-and there are considerable additions in others. A new section, which may not find ready acceptance, but which has given the writer something of a joy of discovery relates to ”Jinnah, the man and the statesmen”. Some tendentious statements regarding the happenings in East Punjab at the time of Partition, made by V. P. Menon in his The Transfer of Poewr in India, which is an important source book for the period, have made it desirable to deal with that grisly chapter in the history of the subcontinent at some length.
The book has been inscribed to the memory of Iqbal, not only in acknowledgment of the way he inspired the author’s generation, but also in gratitude for many acts of personal kindness. In revising the text and seeing it through the press I have been helped by Dr Syed Razi Wasti, to whom my thanks are due.
A word or two about the origin of some of the pictures appearing in this book may be of interest. The historic photograph of the gathering which took part in the foundation of the All-India Muslim League in 1906 was obtained at Dacca. The author, as Member, Board of Revenue, East Pakistan (1955-7), was in charge of State Acquisition (Abolition of Zamindari] and the Court of Wards. The estate of the heirs of Nawab Salim Ullah Khan was under the administration of the Court of Wards, and the Manager of the Nawab Estate, at my request, borrowed from one of the heirs the
Preface to the First Edition IX original group photograph, and arranged for the identification of as many participants as was possible. The photograph was somewhat faded and Messrs Zaidis, Photographers (Dacca Branch), had to make special efforts to have a reasonable reproduction. The group photograph with Iqbal is a memento of the days when the poet w.as in England in connection with the third Round Table Conference. The autograph copies signed by Iqbal are dated ”London, 29 December 1932”. Shibli’s photograph was obtained, shortly before Partition, from Atiya Begum, who, as is well known, inspired the lyrics of Dasta-i-Gul and Bu’e-i-Gul and to whom the picture was presented by Maulana himself. For an unpublished photograph of Mian Fazl-i-Husain, I am indebted to his daughter, Begum Asghari Manzur Qadir.
In the end, it may be worth while stating that the conclusions drawn in the course of the narrative and comments made are entirely my responsibility. ”There is nothing official about this book. It is a purely private and personal affair.”
1 July 1965
S. M. IKRAM
IN the coming pages an attempt has been made to trace the developments concerning Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent from the unsuccessful War of Independence till the death of Liaquat Ali Khan. Our approach has been largely biographical, but figures have been so selected, and the sketches so arranged, that it may be possible to read in these pages a more or less connected story of the struggle which ultimately led to the establishment of Pakistan.
The British success in quelling the country-wide Revolt of
1857, and the direct assumption by the Queen of England, of government of India, finally set the seal on the extinction of the Mughal Empire of Dehli. It was followed by a further weakening of the Muslim political position which had continued to decline since the death of Aurangzeb. After the Revolt, the position of the Muslims deteriorated still further, as they had to bear the brunt of the disfrust, nay, active hostility of the new masters. Syed Ahmed Khan and his bar-d of workers had to deal with this situation, and by winning the- confidence of the British rulers of India, and by urging upon the Muslims to learn modern sciences and acquire new learning, they enabled the Indian Muslims to adjust themselves to the new circumstances.
For nearly forty years this group, or what may be called the Aligarh School of Politics, was in power, and our first three sketches, i.e. those of Syed Ahmed Khan, Hali and Mohsin-ulMulk, relate to the leaders of this group.
Viqar-ul-Mulk was also one of the Aligarh band of workers, but he had to assume leadership at a time when the annulment of the partition of Bengal, in December 1911, clearly showed that government was not proof against the pressure of political agitation, and it was impossible to safeguard the just interests of Indian Muslims by depending wholly on the goodwill and fairplay of the government in power. The last years of Viqar-ul-Mulk and the career of Maulana Muhammad Ali belong to a period when the old
Aligarh policy had lost ground and a new one had yet to take its place. The process of transformation was greatly accelerated by Shibli and Abul Kalam Azad, who not only criticised the policy of the Aligarh School in political, religious, and educational spheres, but tried to build up a rival leadership by organising and increasing the influence of the Ulama. The resultant confusion was brought to an end by two men of genius-Hakim-ul-Ummat Iqbal, and Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah. They supplied the want of a new, realistic and constructive policy, and one, by seeing the vision of a Muslim state formed by the grouping together ot Muslim majority areas, and the other, by establishing that state, brought the new policy to a successful end. The way for the success of the Quaid was paved by the provincial leaders who built up the Muslim position in the areas where they were in a majority but had been politically and economically ineffective, and by the Aga Khan, who headed the historic Simla Deputation in 1906 and played an important part at the Round Table Conference, a quarter of century later. Muslim Bengal was slow to start, but its contribution on two crucial occasions-at the time of the foundation of All-India Muslim League at Dacca in 1906, and again, at the time of Partition -was important, almost decisive. Amongst her worthy sons whosec areers have been sketched in this book are Syed Ameer Ali, Nawab Salim Ullah Khan, A.K. Fazl-ul-Haq, Husain Shaheed Suhrawardy and Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din. Liaquat Ali Khan’s role, during the lifetime of the Quaid, was that of a loyal and efficient lieutenant, but even then his services were substantial enough to earn for him the title of the Quaid’s ”right hand”. After the Quaid’s death, his responsibilities greatly increased, and the able and skilful manner in which he discharged them was a factor in the consolidation of Pakistan.
Much of the material that has been used, particularly in the earlier part of our book, is in Urdu. Foreign observers, who do not have access to the material in Urdu, have naturally taken time to grasp fully the developments in the national life of the Muslims of the subcontinent, and only now the significance of the forces which paved the way for Pakistan is being realised. For a long time it was thought that not only was the Quaid-i-Azam responsible for winning Pakistan, but that his advocacy was responsible
Xll Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan for the adoption of Pakistan as a goal by Indian Muslims. Now, however, the truth is beginning to be realised. Morgan PhillipsPrice, the prominent socialist leader of England, who, on account of his deep study of Muslim literature, was well qualified to understand the deeper currents influencing Muslim life, said at a meeting of the East India Association:
Some hold the belief that but for Mr. Jinnah, who channelised the Muslim impulse for security and freedom, Pakistan would not have been achieved. After my tour of Pakistan, I am convinced that without Mr Jinnah, it would have still come into existence. But it would have been a very painful emergence.1
This is, perhaps, nearer the truth. At any rate, those who will read in the coming pages an account of Syed Ahmed Khan’s conversations with the Commissioner of Benares in 1867 and his historic letter to Mohsin-ul-Mulk, regarding the destiny of the Hindus and the Muslims, his remarks on Lord Ripon’s Local SelfGovernment Bill of 1883, and his later speech advising Muslims to keep away from the Indian National Congress, will agree that the stage was set and much spade work done long before the Quaid-i-Azam took up the cause of Pakistan. The Quaid’s part in the struggle was decisive and he was, indeed, the chief architect of Pakistan but the foundation had been truly and firmly laid by another great man-Syed Ahmed Khan. As Dr Percival Spear remarks, ”In bis [Syed Ahmed Khan’s] whole attitude was implicit the concept of Pakistan. It only needed the prospect of British withdrawal, something which in his day still seemed remote, to bring it to the surface.”2
1. Dawn, Karachi, 13 February 1949.
2. P. Spear. India, Pakistan, and the West (1st Ed.), p. 191.
Preface to the Second Edition Preface to the First Edition ... Introduction List of Illustrations Chapters 1. The Background
2. Syed Ahmed Khan
5. The Beginnings in Bengal
The Ruin of Muslim Bengal-Haji Muhammad Mohsin-Nawab Abdul Latif-Numerical Expansion of Islam-Syed Ameer Ali-Nawab Salim Ullah
6. Viqar-ul-Mulk ... ... ... 98-110
7. The Religious Groups ... ... ... 111-118
Deoband-Brelvi Sect-Sufi Orders-Nadva-tul-
Ulama of Lucknow
8. Shibli • ... ... ... ... H9-133
9. Abul Kalam Azad ... ... ... 134-148
10. Maulana Muhammad Ali ... ... 149-159
11. Iqbal .. ... ... ... 160-181
12. The Aga Khan
xiv Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan
13. Emergence of the Muslim Majority Provinces ... 190-339 The Punjab-Muslim Organisations : Anjuman-iIslamia - Anjuman-i-Himayat-i-Islam - Cultural Developments-Justice Shah Din and Mian M. Shaft-New Hindu Movements and Economic Exploitation of the Muslims-Mian Fazl-i-Husain Sikandar Hayat Khan-Malik Barkat Ali Bengal-Syed Nawab Ali Chowdhry-A. K. Fazlul-Haq-Sir Abdul Rahim-Khwaja Nazim-udDin-Husain Shaheed Suhrawardy Sind-Hasan Ali Effendi-Struggle for Separation of Sind
North-West Frontier Province-Reforms for N.-W.F.P.-Sir Abdul Qayum-Congress Government-Referendum
14. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah ... 340-452 I. The Beginning-II. Ambassador of HinduMuslim Unity, A Successful Mission-III. Home
Rule League-IV. An Ambassador of HinduMuslim Unity, The Failure of a Mission-V. Wanderings in the Wilderness-The Struggle for Pakistan-Governor-General of Pakistan-Jinnah the Man and the Statesman
15. Liaquat Ali Khan ... ... ... 453-474
Appendices I. Cultural Basis of Hindu-Muslim Separatism .. 475-479 II. Quaid-i-Azam’ s^ Offer of a Joint Defence Pact
with India and Prime Mim-ter Nehru’s Reaction 4bO-481 in. List of the Presidents of the All-India Muslim
League ... ... ... ... 482
Index ... ... ... ... ... 483-506
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
1. Gathering on the eve of the foundation of the All-India Muslim League, Shad Bagh, Dacca, December 1906 Frontispiece 2. The Author and Allama Iqbal Facing page in 3. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan 13
4. Kh. Altaf Husain Hall 59
5. Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk 72
6. Syed Ameer Ali 92
7. Nawab Sir Salim Ullah Khan 94
8. Shams-ul-Ulama Allama Shibli Numani 119
9. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 134
10. Maulana Muhammed Ali 149
11. H. H. tine Aga Khan 182
12. Mian Sir Fazl-i-Husain 213
Chapter 1 THE BACKGROUND
WHEN the proposal for a separate Muslim state was put forward, the non-Muslims were startled. For those who had not kept in touch with the Muslim standpoint expressed normally in Urdu, and had taken for granted that on the departure of the British the majority community would inherit the whole of the subcontinent, it was a ”bolt from the blue”. Now, however, the truth is being realised. Observations of Morgan Phillips-Price have been quoted. Even the thoughtful Hindu writers have recognised that the demand for Pakistan had its roots in the past, and was the outcome of the unwillingness of the Hindus and the Muslims to make adjustments necessary for the evolution of a common nationhood. Dr Sachin Sen, for example, says at the conclusion of his book. The Birth of Pakistan (p. 196) : ”Indian soil was not well watered for the sprouting of secular, democratic nationalism. Wh at was implicit was made explicit by Pakistan. It was a tragic phase of Indian national history that Pakistan was not basically an unnatural growth.”
Muslim writers have, however, gone too far back into antiquity to trace the origin of the new state and some of them have even quoted al-Biruni (d. 1050) to indicate the basis for Pakistan. It is true that the ground for Muslim separatism was prepared when Islam entered the subcontinent, and all efforts to provide a bridge between the Hindus and the Muslims failed. For practical purposes, however, the gradual crystallisation and realisation of the idea of Pakistan is related to the period of the British rule. During the Muslim rule some sort of modus operandi had been evolved. This pro-ved impossible of achievement when democratic institutions were introduced and changes took place in the outlook
Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan of the two communities. This book is an account of the failure of these efforts and the slow growth of separate Muslim nationhood for which a territorial base was found in the Muslim majority areas. If one were asked to gi»e a date for life beginning of modern Muslim separatism, it was probably 1869 when Syed Ahmed Khan, touched to the quick by the growing Hindu demand for replacement of Urdu by Hindi, grimly prophesied that the paths of the Hindus and the Muslims will separate. The letter in which this, great realist has summed up the basis, the advantages and risks of Muslim separatism has been reproduced at length elsewhere, and gives not only the reasons which started the modern course of Muslim separatism but also contains a cool appraisal of the advantages and limitations of this course. After his grave decision Syed Ahmed who had been organising institutions hitherto for the common good of the Muslims and the Hindus-like the Moradabad School and the Scientific Society-felt that it was his duty to save the Muslim community and ensure that in the future it played a role which bore some relation to its past. This book is a study of the efforts which this great man and his successors made to attain this object. As, however, the activities of the promoters of Hindi as well as of those who reacted sharply to thisexample of new Hindu resurgence had their roots in the past, a preliminary chapter is added to indicate the previous landmarksin the history of Hindu-Muslim relationship, and the gradual consolidation of separate Muslim nationhood. It has been subdivided into two sections, one dealing with the period of Muslim supremacy and the other, with the transitional period, beginning with, the death of Aurangzeb, the last of the great Mughals, and ending in 1857, with the defeat and capture of the titular Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah.
On a small scale, the contacts between the Hindus and the Muslims began on the coastline of the Indian subcontinent much earlier, but the two people came in large-scale and sustained
The Background’ f 3
contact only after the Arab occupation of Sind in 712. Muhammad bin Qasim, the Arab conqueror, had to lay down the lines which were to govern their relationship and this he did in what is often referred to as the Brahmanabad Settlement, after the scene of the battle, which, made him the master of the Lower Sind. He acted in a most liberal and statesmanlike manner. He gave the Hindus all the privileges which the Muslim jurists reserve for the People of the Book, and set up a precedent which, in spite of its doubtful legal authority, became the norm during the Muslim rule. The Arab conqueror went further. He seems to have entered into a sort of partnership under which the Arabs looked after the defence of the realm and its law and order, while the Hindu Amils, the traditional civil servants of the area, were in charge of the civil administration. Muhammad bin Qasim was an officer of the Umayyads, but when the Abbasids succeeded them in 750, not only were these administrative policies maintained but the Arab-Indian collaboration was extended to intellectual and cultural fields.
Sind provided the first substantial link between Islam and India, but the main entry of the Muslims in the subcontinent was through the north-western passes, the traditional route of invasion. Some three hundred years after the Arab occupation of Sind, Ghazni, whicb had developed into a major political, military and cultural centre on the outskirts of the declining Abbasid empire, became the base of operations against the subcontinent. In 1020, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (998-1030) annexed Lahore. As the southern parts were already under the Muslims, this annexation meant that by 1020 the areas which constitute West Pakistan today were under Muslim rule.- The heritage of Ghazni in the realm of language, religious practices and law was even more important than that of Sind. The Ghaznavids introduced Persian which was to be the official and literary language during Muslim rule in India, vigorously patronised Sunni creed and promulgated Hanafi law. With occasional and minor departures, these features characterised Indian Islam and served as a binding force.
The conquest of Northern India was the work of Muhammad Ghauri (d. 1206) who came almost two centuries after Mahmud. The original fabric of the Delhi Sultanate was built up by the patient, far-seeing and mild-mannered Iltutmash (1211-36). Its
4 ] Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan
consolidation was due to the great administrative ability of Balban who dominated Northern India, first as an all-powerful noble (1246-65) and later as king (1265-87), for almost half a century. In his days the Mongol invasion was in full swing and this coolheaded realist concentrated on consolidation-to spare Delhi, as he said, the horrors which Baghdad suffered in 1258. Thanks to Iltutmash, Balban and Ala-ud-Din Khalji (1296-1316), India was spared those massacres, depredations and destruction of life and property which the Mongols perpetrated in the neighbouring countries of Central Asia. This was, however, not the period of cordial relations between the Hindus and the Muslims, For one thing, the grim situation created by the standing Mongol threat and their repeated incursions right up to Delhi necessitated strict and harsh measures. Moreover, the Muslim refugees, who had suffered so much at the hands of the non-Muslim Mongols in Central Asia, could not be friendly to non-Muslims in their new homes. The Mongol invasion, however, indirectly contributed to the consolidation of the Muslim rule as it forced a number of Muslim administrators, soldiers, saints and scholars to seek refuge in the newly conquered territories.
The Sultanate was a period of grim struggle in the political and military spheres, but the arrival of a large number of saints, scholars and missionaries led to the expansion of Islam. This was largely the work of the Sufi missionaries, who not only spread Islam in the subcontinent but with their general piety and humanitarian approach provided a meeting ground between Hindu and Muslim seekers after God. Partly as a result of their efforts and example and partly owing to the basic situation within the subcontinent, many Hindu and Muslim saints came together and Hindu society saw the rise of what is called the Bhakti movement. Many of its leaders like Kabir.Guru Nanak and Dadu emphasised common features between Hinduism and Islam, but the commoalv held view that Bhakti was entirely a syncretic movement is wrong. The numerous Hindu saints mentioned under the so-called Bhakti movement represent two distinct trends, similar to the later tolerant, cosmopolitan, Brahmo Samaj and the militant Arya Samaj. Kabir, Nanak and Dadu represented the first group while Chaitaniya and the later Sikh Gurus were spearheads of Hindu revivalism.
The Background ( Chaitaniya’s followers made Mathura the centre of their revivalist activities and soon came in conflict with Muslim authorities.
In the meanwhile the Mughals had occupied the throne of Delhi (1526) and Akbar (1556-1606) launched vigorous and sustained efforts to bring the Hindus and the Muslims together. His efforts in this direction cover three distinct phases. Almost from the beginning of his rule, he tried to secure the collaboration of the Rajput chiefs, gave them high administrative posts, promulgated the policy ofSulah Kul (Peace with all), honoured leaders of Hindu opinion, abolished Jizyah, discouraged the slaughter of cows and patronised Hindu arts like music and Hindi and Sanskrit literature. All this was achieved without offending Muslim opinion, as Akbar remained an orthodox and devout Muslim himself and Muslim religious leaders were still dominant at the court. The second phase began with the discussions of the House of Worship, built in 1575, in the course of which he became disgusted with the disputes and wranglings of Muslim religious leaders. He, now, antagonised Muslim opinion by sanctioning a number of practices against orthodox Islam and was commonly believed to be desirous of initiating a new religion. He actually started accepting disciples with a number of curious and un-Islamic practices. Whether this meant starting a new religion or initiating only a new cult or order has been a matter of controversy. It is, however, certain that Akbar’s ambition was to be ”the spiritual guide” of all his subjects. The third phase of his reign, during which these activities practically ceased, was marked by his estrangement with Abul Fazl in 1597 and the ascendancy of the orthodox nobles at the court. This was also the period when Khwaja Baqi Billah (1563-1603) had arrived at the capital, with the gift of a new spiritual order-the Naqshbandiya-from the homelands of the Mughals and with his piety, spiritual power and adoption of the Naqshbandiya practice of influencing Muslim society by influencing the people on the top, had brought within the circle of his admirers and helpers the leading Muslim nobles at the court, like Khan-i-Azam Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, Shaikh Farid, the Paymaster-General, Miran Sadr Jahan and Qulich Khan, the Viceroy of Lahore.
Akbar’s attempts at religious synthesis were a disastrous failure. They did not please the Hindus. The only Hindu of note who is
Modern Muslim I-idia and the Birth of Pakistan
recorded to have become a royal disciple was Birbal, regarded by succeeding generations as the court jester. Rajput nobles like Man Singh and Bhagwan Singh flatly refused to accept the royal views. The Muslims, on the other hand, were seriously offended.
• Apart from the mistakes made by Akbar, his failure was due to the play of bigger forces. Atthis time a great Hindu religious revival was sweeping the country. Under Chaitaniya’s successors Mathura had become a great centre of Hindu resurgence, where an elaborate programme of temple construction was under way. One of the biggest temples constructed at this time was built by Raja Man Singh himself. Possibly for this or another temple built at Mathura, the local Brahmans were bold enough to appropriate the material collected by the local Qazi for the construction of a mosque. Other incidents of this nature were happening in other centres of Hindu revivalism (e. g. Tahnesar), and antagonising the Muslims.
Akbar’s experiments in the religious field achieved nothing. On the other hand they led to a vigorous reaction under Hazrat Mujaddid Alif Sani (1564-1624). He had spent some years at Fatehpur Sikri, where he helped Faizi in the preparation of his commentary on the Quran but he violently differed from the views of Abul Fazl and was deeply hurt at the excesses of the Hindus and the low regard shown by a Muslim king for Islamic injunctions. He used his powerful pen and spiritual influence to lead a reaction against Akbar’s policy. He urged reimposition of Jizyah, lifting of the ban on cow-killing and abrogation of various other measures taken by Akbar.
The Mujaddid is probably the most forceful religious personality in the history of Muslim India. He had received education under prominent teachers at Sialkot and Sirhind, and had crossed swords with Abul Fazl and Faizi, the leading lights of Akbar’s court. He, however, did not come into his own until, at the ripe age of forty, he became a disciple of Khwaja Baqi Billah. While association with the Khwaja brought him in contact with leading Muslim nobles of the day, the spiritual training and personal encouragement which he received from his teacher greatly heightened the Mujaddid’s spiritual gifts and led to an incredible freeing of his creative powers.
The Mujaddid was a widely-read scholar, and was the greatest
The Backround [
rhetorician and stylist in an age which had produced Abul Fazl and Badayuni. He possessed extraordinary powers of inference and argument and had great moral courage. Even in his early days he had written against the philosophers and the Shias. Now, in a •slightly more congenial reign of Jahangir, he used his powerful pen to denounce Akbar’s policy, innovations and injunctions. In
1620 his courage was put to another test. He was called to Jahangir’s •court in connection with the orthodox objections to some of his •writings. These writings were explained away, but he carried out in practice his denunciation of Akbar’s un-Islamic practices by refusing to perform the deep obeisance ordered by him for all those •who came into the royal presence. He was imprisoned but released after some time and passed away in 1624. After him his work was carried on by his descendants and numerous disciples.
No single individual opposed Akbar’s policy so consistently and forcefully as the Mujaddid, and some recent writers begin the rise -of Muslim separatism with him. There is no doubt that he was the spearhead of Muslim self-assertion and not only did he denounce -un-Islamic practices, but, through his doctrine of Wahdat-ul-Shuhud, provided a positive, philosophical basis for his viewpoint. He, .however, had his limitations. He became the spokesman of the Sunni Islam, but his view brought him into conflict not only with Akbar and the Hindus but also with the Shias. He held and preached that the Shias were heretics, deserving of capital punishment. This stand, in itself, made his teachings an imperfect basis for Muslim nationhood in the subcontinent where Shias formed a sizable and significant portion of the Muslim community. His other difficulty was that he was primarily a Sufi. He emphasised the importance of subordinationg one’s actions to the dictates of the Shariat but he described many mystic experiences of his own, to which strong exception was taken by the ulama. Sheikh Abdul Haq Muhaddis, the leading theologian of the day, •wrote a well-argued pamphlet against him, and his was not the only voice raised in criticism. When the Mujaddid was called to Jahangir’s court the influence of a Shia Wazir may have been at •work, but it has been recorded that the ulama also had objected to certain remarks made by the Mujaddid and the relevant entries from his letters have been cited. Even more significant is the fact
8 1 Modern Muslim fndia and the Birth of Pakistan
that in Aurangzeb’s time, when the supremacy of Islamic law became more firmly established, a number of Fatwas were issued against the Mujaddid’s writings and, at one stage, orders were issued by Aurangzeb’s Chief Qazi, banning the reading of his Maktubat* Aurangzeb, whose guiding principle was to uphold Islamic law and to carry out the injunctions of the religious lawyers, at a late stage of his career banned the study of the Maktubat. but there is simple evidence 10 show that at an earlier date he was in close contact with the Mujaddid’b descendants, had honoured many of them, and carried into practice many proposals of the Mujaddid.
Akbar’s ill-conceived measures in the religious sphere had achieved nothing. On the other hand they led to a reaction which undermined even the existing basis of harmony. This was facilitated by the failure of Dara Shukoh and the success of Aurangzeb in the war of succession to Shah Jahan. On ascending the throne, Aurangzeb (1658-1707) maintained Akbar’s policy of giving Hindus a due place in administration, continued to patronise Hindi and Sanskrit literature by having a Hindi court-poet, but re-imposed Jizyah and abolished the ban on cow-killing. These developments widened the gulf between the Hindus and the Muslims, but perhaps more effective in consolidating Muslim nationhood during this period was the sustained support which Aurangzeb gave to the Muslim educational institutions during his. long reign of fifty years. The popular Islamic curriculum known as Dars-i-Nizamia was coming into being in his reign and the emperor was personally responsible for the grant of an extensive building known as Farangi Mahal of Lucknow to the family of Mulla Nizam-ud-Din, after whom the Dars is named. Aurangzebmade very large grants for the spread of education and the largescale employment of Qazis in his reign offered lucrative openings to those who received proper education in Muslim institutions. He issued orders forbidding Muslims to attend educational institutions maintained b> the Hindus. By the time Aurangzab died, not only had the Muslim people gained a new self-confidence, but there was a large educated class which could maintain Islamic learning and provide the base for the great Islamic religious revival of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The Background [ 9 II
Aurangzeb died in 1707, and in less than fifteen years the prestige of the Mughal monarchy had reached its nadir. Even during the lifetime of the great emperor the military weakness of the Mughals had become manifest. He spent twenty-five arduous years in the Deccan, without decisively solving the Marhatta problem. A single fort like Jinji would take seven years to capture. Aurangzeb’s ability, determination and prestige held the Marhattas in check, but even before he closed his eyes their roving bands had caused havoc and spread consternation deep in the Mughal empire.
After Aurangzeb’s death the pace of disintegration became precipitate. The years 1716 to 1719 saw three puppet kings succeed one another on the throne, at the pleasure of the Syed Brothers. In 1739 Nadir looted Delhi and massacred its inhabitants. In 1757 the battle of Plassey was fought and a rich fruitful province came under the sway of the East India Company. Seven years later the Mughal emperor and the Nawab Wazir of Oudh were defeated at Buxar. By the end of the century Ranjit Singh had occupied Lahore, and Madhuji Sindhia was supreme at Delhi. Attempts made by Hyder Ali and Tipu to reverse the trend of events in the South failed in spite of their bravery, ability and resourcefulness.
The same process of disintegration was visible in the life of the community. This was the worst period in Shia-Sunni relationship. Aurangzeb had striven hard to sustain Sunni orthodoxy but his son and successor made a resolute attempt to turn his empire into a Shia kingdom. In 1712 he ordered the Commander of Artillery torecite Shia formula during Friday prayers from the pulpit of the Badshahi mosque of Lahore. This was successfully resisted by the local public and Pathan soldiers who thronged the streets. There were riots elsewhere-e.g. at Ahmedabad-and the attempt was abandoned, but the eighteenth century remained a period of acute Shia-Sunni conflict. Not only did this lead to assassinations-including that of Mirza Mazhar Jan-i-Janan, a famous saint and poet-but the feud greatly weakened Muslim solidarity. It is true that it normally remained below the surface, and the divisions were
10 ] Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan
not hard and fast. It is also true that the Muslims generally closed their ranks against a common non-Muslim enemy, but these divisions remained serious during the eighteenth century. Dr Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi goes so far as to say, ”It was natural that a tradition should grow up of cooperation between the Shiahs and the Hindus against the major section of the Muslim community.”2 Elsewhere, dealing with the situation after the death of Aurangzeb, he says, ”The rift between the Shiahs and the Sunnis increased, until it was impossible to hope for a concerted attack upon anarchy. . . . The Shiahs were unable to see that it was the power of Islam and not only that of orthodoxy which was at stake... .”J One may not wholly agree with this assessment, but it has to be recognised that, in the eighteenth century, Shia-Sunni differences were a serious factor, and though generally below the surface, and often thinly disguised as Irani-Turani dispute, were on some important occasions-e.g. during the conflict of Safdar Jang with the Mughal king-pretty obvious and proved disastrous.
Politically, the eighteenth century remained a period of defeat and disintegration, but in the cultural and religious spheres it was a time of reconstruction. This was the period when Muslim educational system was standardised and generally adopted over the subcontinent. This period also saw the rapid rise of Urdu to the level of a literary language, capable of giving expression to the thoughts, feelings and learning of Muslim India. Both these developments made for unification and consolidation of the Muslim society.
Even more important was the work of Shah Wali Ullah (1703-61) whom President Ayub called in a speech, delivered at Balakot, ”the Father of Modern Muslim India”. Son of a distinguished scholar who had participated in the compilation of the famous Fatawa-i’Alamgirj, he was born four years before the death of Aurangzeb. He was educated by his father, and later completed his studies in the Hejaz. When he was still abroad, he was receiving reports of chaotic conditions back home and was advised to stay •en in Arabia. He spurned this advice and returned home to take up the task of spiritual regeneration and consolidation. In the course of a well-regulated life, he completed a whole library of books on various branches of Islamic thought, beliefs and learning.
The Background [ which were well suited to the religious needs of the subcontinent and marked the beginning of a new era. He translated the Holy Quran into Persian and wrote learned works on Hadith, but perhaps his biggest contribution to the religious life of the community •was the sane, balanced point of view which he brought to the study of various subjects. The revivalism of the Mujaddid has jiven a new life to Islam, but a broader and more realistic approach was needed to form the basis on which various conflicting groupsthe Sufi and the Mulla, the Shia and the Sunni, the Hanafi and the Hanbali-could agree. Shah .Wali Ullah averred that ” ’adl [justice, balance] was the primal virtue, and the basis of all civilised existence”. By making ’adl his lodestar in treatment of controversies, he put forward a point of view from which only the extremists could differ. In particular, he worked hard and wrote numerous bulky volumes to bring Shia-Sunni dispute to a level where they would cease to be a menace to the corporate life of Muslim India. He ably expounded and defended the Sunni point of view but, unlike the Mujaddid who held Shias to be Kafir and deserving of capital punishment, he adopted a far more liberal attitude towards them. He also stood for reform in social customs, beliefs and practices but warned against cutting oneself adrift from the Muslim society and becoming an ineffectual angel beating one’s wings in the void.
Shah Wali Ullah’s work was carried on by four gifted sons and a host of disciples and pupils. His sons produced two Urdu versions of the Holy Quran and adopted other progressive measures, but like their father did not break away from the community in their enthusiasm for reform and radicalism. The most influential of Shah Wali Ullah’s sons was Shah Abdul Aziz, who refused an offer of appointment at Calcutta Madrassa and devoted fifty years of a dedicated life to give solace and spiritual guidance to Muslim India. In his views he was less venturous than his illustrious father, but he gave moral support to his famous disciple Syed Ahmed Brelvi, nephew Shah Isrnai! Shaheed and son-in-law Abdul Hai who toured all over Northern India to carry the message of Islamic revival and social reform, and ultimately led the unsuccessful Jihad against the Sikhs in the north-west. The Jihad failed but the enthusiasm which was generated was not confined to Delhi. Syed
12 J Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan
Ahmed Brelvi and his two distinguished companion! had spent several months at Calcutta on the way to and from the holy places, and not the least important result of the movement was the new link which it established between Northern India and Muslim Bengal. After the battle of Plassey, Bengal, which even otherwise was somewhat isolated, had become cut off from the centres of Islamic learning in Northern India. This isolation was ended by the Bengali disciples of Syed Ahmed Brelvi-like Sufi Noor Ahmed of Chittagong and Maulvi Imam-ud-Din of Noakhali-and his other Khalifas like Maulvi Inayat Ali of Patna and Maulvi Karamat Ah of Jaunpur, who spent long years of missionary work in what is now East Pakistan. Not only did their activities bring about a new Islamic regeneration in the area, which incidentally provided a large number of recruits for Jihad in the north-west, but by linking Muslim Bengal with Northern India provided that cohesion in the Muslim community which a century later was to be reflected in the two areas being grouped together in the independent state of Pakistan.
Notes 1. F/ifeKhishgi, Maaraj-ul-Wilayat (MS. No. SH. MSS-6281 ofPanjab University Library), p 617.
2. Ishtiaq Husaiii Qureshi, The Muslim Community of the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent, p. 189.