South Asia Case

Published: 2021-09-14 14:30:08
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Fifteenth August 1947 was a turning point in the history of South Asia. The imperial withdrawal resulted in the bifurcation of British India into two successor states: India and Pakistan (Roy, 2012, p.23). This essay will attempt to critically evaluate the notion that Pakistan would not have emerged without Jinnah. It will look at the role of Mohammed Iqbal, the British Imperial Authority, the Congress, the Muslim League and Jinnah himself as the major players in the vivisection of the country. It will ultimately conclude that although Jinnah was undeniably a good politician and asset towards the partition for Muslims, the reason that he was able to prosper is due to the fact that circumstances allowed him to do so, hence it will deem the statement to be exaggerated, as there were other factors that also contributed to the partition.

Although it is undisputable that Jinnah was the point of call for the leadership of Indian Muslims, in order to correctly evaluate the extent of importance that he had with the emergence of Pakistan, we must look at the origins of such ideas. We must explore the origin and nature of the ideological shift towards Muslim separatism through these personalities. Who made the concept of Pakistan relevant? Herein lays the introduction of understated characters within Indo-Pakistan politics such as Mohammed Iqbal and Abdullah Haroon.
The relationship between Jinnah and Mohammed Iqbal have been said to have led to significant political developments in the history of Modern India (Datta, 2002, p.5033). From outwardly expressing a burning passion for Indian nationalism and its heterogeneous culture, to calling for a separate homeland for the Muslims of India, Mohammed Iqbal went through a drastic change in his beliefs. It is said that he began to reflect on his religious issues in the wake of the European aggression against the Muslim countries, including Turkey and Persia (Datta, 2002, p.5033). Nevertheless, after going through this transformation, he is now seen within Pakistani historiography as the founding and spiritual father of Pakistan. His poetry became a medium of integrating and consolidating Muslims as a strong pan-Islamic community inspired by the highest ideals of truth love and justice (Datta, 2002, p.5034). He constantly reiterated this through his poetry, 'religion was the foundation of nationality' (Datta, 2002, p.5034). According to Iqbal, it was unheard of that a state would make decisions and would function without the input of religion - he believed in a formation of a North West Muslim state as destiny for the Indian Muslims and expressed these sentiments more than often.

Iqbal's poetic vision marked a distinct shift from a synthetic view of India to a cry for a separate homeland (Datta, 2002, p.3045). It is undeniable that his ideas can be seen to be reflected within the beliefs of Mohammed Ali Jinnah; after all, he was one of the first to be relatively vocal on a larger stage about the idea of what was to be known as 'Pakistan'. However, some writers have gone as far as stating that he was most important when trying to understand the formation of Pakistan, however, this is where we must analyse the facts. Iqbal did not take an active part in politics until 1927, thus to say that he was extremely influential and potentially more so than Jinnah is inaccurate. Essentially, he was a poet and not a politician, thus his political clout was second to none. This was demonstrated in the Muslim League session in Allahabad in 1930 where he expressed his desire to free Muslims from the geographical limits hitherto imposed by the British imperial government (Datta, 2002, p.3056). But, this speech was not taken seriously by any Indian political party, including the Muslim League. Drawing from his example, it is evident that Jinnah was more crucial to the creation of Pakistan because politicians and civilians alike paid heed to him due to his self-earned elevated status in society.

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