Tag Archives: Muslim League

The Two-Nation Theory, Partition and the Consequences – Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed

 Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University and a leading authority on the Politics of South Asia and an eminent author will deliver next lecture (21 st one) in the Democracy Dialogues Series, organised by New Socialist Initiative

He will be speaking on ‘The Two-Nation Theory, Partition and the Consequences’ on Sunday, 27 th November 6 PM (IST) 

The lecture will also be live streamed at facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Topic : 

The Two-Nation Theory, Partition and the Consequences

1.    The Two-Nation Theory as an Idea and an Argument: The talk will contextualize the origins of the Two-Nation Theory in the background of pre-colonial and British colonial rule and analyse it in relation to competing ideas of a One-Nation Theory as well as the vaguer ideas of multiple nationalities deriving from language, ethnicity and religion. This section will also deal with British policy regarding such competing ideas of group identity and nation and nationalism. This will cover the period 1857 – 1932. However, most attention will be given to the 1928 Motilal Nehru Report (which a section of Muslims including one faction of the Muslim League was willing to accept) and Jinnah’s 14 points.

 2.      The Two-Nation Theory and the demand for Partition: The Government of India Act 1935, the election speeches and manifestos, election results and the Muslim League’s deployment of communalism as political strategy to demand partition on behalf of Muslims. The stands of the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, the Communist Party of India, the Hindu Mahasabha, the Jamiat Ulema e Hind and other Islamist, regional and working-class parties of Muslims and the Sikhs of Punjab.

 3.      British policy on the future of India: from unwillingness to grant India freedom to retaining influence and control through defence treaty to finally deciding in favour of partition. The Cabinet Mission Plan, Wavell’s schemes to transfer power as an award, The British military’s transformation from opposition to support for partition; 3 June Partition Plan, the partitions of Bengal and Punjab, the 18 July 1947 Indian Independence Act.

 4.      The Partition as a flawed exercise in the transfer of power which claimed at least one million Hindu, Muslim and Sikh lives, caused the biggest migration in history (14 – 15 million) and bequeathed bitter disputes over the sharing of colonial assets, territory and claims to princely states. In this regard, the

 5.      The Partition as a referent for nation-building: while agreeing finally to the partition of India on a religious basis India held steadfastly to nation-building on a secular, liberal-democratic, inclusive and pluralist basis. The Indian constitution came to represent such a view of nation and nation-building. On the other hand, since Pakistan had been won in the name of Islam its nation-building was based on distinguishing Muslims from non-Muslims and generating different formulae of differential rights. More importantly, it brought to light the deep divisions among Muslims based on sect, sub-sect and ethno-linguistic criteria.

 6.      The Partition and settling of disputes between India and Pakistan: The two-nation theory continued to define and determine relations between India and Pakistan resulting in wars, terrorism and zero-sum games in international forums.

 7.      The Partition as a historical, political, ideological and intellectual phenomenon: An Evaluation

About the Speaker :

Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed

Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University; Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. Published several books with special focus on the politics of South Asia discussed in context of regional and international relations

Latest publications, Jinnah: His Successes, Failures and Role in History,  New Delhi: Penguin Viking, 2020 won the English Non-Fiction Book Award for 2021 at the Valley of Words Literary Festival, Dehradu, India; Jinnah: His Successes, Failures and Role in History, Vanguard Books, Lahore 2021;

Pakistan: The Garrison State, Origins, Evolution, Consequences (1947-2011), Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2013;

The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed, Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012- It won the Best Non-Fiction Book Prize at the 2013 Karachi Literature Festival and the 2013 UBL-Jang Groups Best Non-Fiction Book Prize at Lahore and the Best Book on Punjab Award from Punjabi Parchar at the Vaisakhi Mela in Lahore, 2016

He is working on a new book, The Partitions of India, Punjab and Bengal: Who What and Why

He is the Editor-in-Chief of the “Liberal Arts & Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ)” and also regularly writes columns in several Pakistani newspapers

Betrayal at Midnight – Review of ‘Muslims against Partition’ : Guest Post by Karthik Venkatesh

Guest Post by Karthik Venkatesh

Muslims Against Partition — Revisiting the legacy of Allah Bakhsh and other patriotic Muslims

Freedom at midnight put some people in a spot – those Muslims who chose to stay back in India and did not opt for Pakistan. Pakistan was always conceived as a nation that would be created in areas where Muslims were in a majority in undivided India i.e., the north-western portion and a part of the eastern portion. It was difficult to visualize how all of India’s Muslims would be accommodated there because the reality was that Muslims were and are found in every nook and corner in this country. How then was Pakistan going to fulfill its purpose? It clearly could not. Recognizing this and recognizing the danger to those Muslims who could not go to the ‘promised land’, many Muslim leaders opposed the creation of Pakistan. Muslims against Partition by Shamsul Islam (Pharos Media, 2015) is their story. It details how such leaders were in effect betrayed after having striving unreservedly for a united India. Continue reading Betrayal at Midnight – Review of ‘Muslims against Partition’ : Guest Post by Karthik Venkatesh

Kudumbashree in Chandydesham/Muneerland — In Three Parts

Part One: Prologue

In 2008, I reported the results of research on Kudumbashree women leaders at the village level, from seven districts in Kerala. Those were the days when Kudumbashree was being projected as the ultimate answer to all of women’s woes, and the chorus consisted of politicians, official feminists, researchers, bureaucrats, development experts – in other words, everyone, well, almost. What I had to say was not pleasant to their ears. However, implicit in my reporting was the essential changeability of Kudumbashree, which was after all a government programme. The discussions around the modifications of the Kudumbashree bye-law and its approval were on during our fieldwork, and even though we reported after it was finalised and approved, it was too early for us to assess its impacts.

Continue reading Kudumbashree in Chandydesham/Muneerland — In Three Parts

Reflections on Sudipta Kaviraj’s ‘Marxism in Translation’

[The following is a revised version of some comments made during a discussion with Sudipta Kaviraj at the Centre for the Study of Developing Socoeties, Delhi on 21 October 2010. Kaviraj made a presentation based on a recent essay of his ‘Marxism in Translation: Critical Reflections on Indian Political Thought’ (published in Political Judgement: Essays in Honour of John Dunn, Eds Raymond Geuss and Richard Bourke) to which some of us responded. AN]

It is interesting to revisit, with Sudipta Kaviraj, the field of ‘Indian Marxism’. It is an abandoned field, a piece of haunted land where no living beings go – at least not in their senses. What is more, it is a field that ‘Indian Marxists’ themselves are afraid of revisiting. It is their past – the land of the dead, of unfulfilled ancestral spirits, where the ghosts of yesteryears hang like betaal from every tree. The terror of this forbidden territory has redoubled, after the collapse of socialism. It is as if some deep secrets of the past lie buried there which they would rather not bring back to life, for fear of what might be revealed to them of their own selves. It is strange but true that Marxists who swear by history are perhaps as afraid of it as anybody else.

Read the full post in Critical Encounters.