August 13, 2003

The two-nation theory - still in the minds of Indian & Pakistanis

In 1947, India was divided on the basis of the two-nation theory. The theory was farcically based on religion- Hindu & Muslim and propagated by the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Although there was no transfer of population in the partition formula, the reality was far from imagination. Hindus and Muslims were supposed to live in India and Pakistan as they did at the time of partition. But the communal elements on both sides drove out the minorities intimidating with riots, in Pakistan nearly all of them. Some one million people were killed and twenty million uprooted from their country in the name of religion, Hinduism in India and Islam in Pakistan. Women and children were the worst sufferers.

Kuldip Nayar, an eminent Indian columnist writes in an article on how the ghost of the theory is still haunting Indian & Pakistanis:

INDIA'S partition is 56 years old. Still the controversy over the two-nation theory has not ended.

Some quarters in Pakistan continue to sustain the old notion of two-nation theory. In this they find the justification to sustain fundamentalism. They want to keep the bogey of religion alive. This gives them a point to play with the emotions of the masses. This can delude people who want their leaders to improve their economic conditions.

The concept of the two-nation theory, the division between Hindus and Muslims, is also creeping into India's polity. There is a deliberate plan to saffronize the society. Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani feels no hesitation in saying that the BJP (The ruling party) has been making Hindutva a poll issue and would do the same in the next election.

The BJP's statements on the Babri Masjid are not only contradictory but ominous. It says that the temple would be built on the site where the Babri Masjid stood before demolition. At the same time, it says that the dispute would be solved either through negotiations between the Hindus and Muslims or by the court verdict.

How can one trust the BJP? Today the BJP has accused the NHRC of being anti-Hindu because of its decision to approach the Supreme Court on Gujarat. Tomorrow the BJP will dub the court anti-Hindu if it decides that the Masjid was not built by demolishing a Hindu temple. Already there are newspaper reports that the excavations carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India at the site under court orders have not yielded any evidence that the Masjid was built after destroying a temple. India's ethos is pluralism. Hindus and Muslims constitute one nation. The BJP is dividing the society. It is definitely playing into the hands of those in Pakistan who have an agenda. They want to pit Hindus and Muslims against one another all the time. This is their ethos. The BJP is no different from them.


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