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
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