Independence or Demise of Nation States?

History
Partition Plan – Illustration Courtesy ThePrint
  • The Britain had hatched a heinous conspiracy in the name of ‘Independence Plan’, the consequences of which continue to haunt the nation states of subcontinent.

  • According to Commander of Bihar Region Gen. Francis Tuker, the Britain had planned that ‘Pakistan would be sown with discard in itself from the Sikh minority and Hindustan from the Muslim minority and perhaps from the depressed classes. So we could not believe that Hindustan and Pakistan could straightway live at peace with each other, neither could we assume that within their own territory all would remain quiet. 

Nasir Aijaz

First, let me introduce myself. I am Sindhi, from the land of Sindhu – the cradle of great Indus Civilization – Sindh, one of the provinces of Pakistan since 73-years; a British colony from 1843 to 1947; Commissionarate of Bombay Presidency for 88-years under British Raj from 1847 to 1935.

Yes, I am son of Sindh, which till Arab invasion in 711 AD was a powerful Empire having its frontiers stretching upto Kashmir, and had defeated Arab invasions for 17 times, but shrank to its existing size over the centuries of invasions and subjugation by the invaders and the conquerors from North and West – who not only ravaged Sindh and plundered its wealth but created artificial borders, and also imposed their own religion and languages – Arabic and the Persian.

This is not just my introduction or introduction to my motherland but a preamble to what I am going to discuss here. I would briefly trace the history, as our past is very much linked to our present, and perhaps it will continue to haunt us for indefinite period in the future. Pondering into our pre-partition past will help us understand what we have experienced being the slave nations over the centuries and how it impacted during the seven decades of post-colonial or post-partition period and are still going through it.

Let me say, almost all of us, having joined this international event, inherit similar history of invasions, subjugation, colonization, plunder of resources and cultural and economic genocide.

Take an example of Bengal – the Sonar Bengal – ruled from early 13th to 18 century as ‘Sultanate of Bengal’ by Khiljis, Mamluks, Balbans, Tughlaqs and Mughals – all invaders. The area falling in the limits of former Bengal Sultanate is now divided in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Nepal. The foreign rulers imposed their own languages in Bengal, as Arabic and Persian were introduced there – Arabic as religious language and Persian as official one beside Bengali.

Same invaders ruled the entire Hindustan – even the Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan was not the local, as his ancestors were aliens and according historic accounts they were Afghans/Arabs who first settled in Punjab and then came to Mysore.

The same invaders – Khiljis, Mamluks, Balbans, Tughlaqs, Turkhans and Mughals etc. directly or through their Governors ruled all the nations of subcontinent and later were taken over by the gangs of European bandits – Dutch, Danish, French, Portuguese and the British, who disguised as the traders – they came as traders, conquered the nations of subcontinent and ruled for centuries – from 1605 to 1947.

Long Struggle for Independence      

The history of wars for independence fought by the nation states of subcontinent is as long as the history of invasions and subjugation. These nation states continued fighting whenever defeated, as they never accepted the defeat. They wanted to get liberated their motherland and regain sovereignty. But the history took a brutal turn when the British Empire, enfeebled by the World War, decided under the Atlantic Charter of August 14, 1941, a joint declaration of US President Roosevelt and British Prime Churchill, to liberate its colonies. It was this Charter that paved the way for so-called ‘independence’ of undivided Hindustan, which in fact was ‘demise of nation states’ of Hindustan, as the British Empire partitioned it by creating two State Nations – India and Pakistan.

Meeting between US President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill in August 1941 when a Joint Declaration, known as Atlantic Charter was issued.

Lt. Gen. Sir Francis Tuker, who was Commander of British Army in Bihar, in his book ‘While Memory Serves’, published in 1950, writes “If I were asked to reply briefly ‘Why did we quit?’ I would answer ‘Because the United States and Russia made it impossible for us to stay’” (Page 505). But in fact its economy, crippled by WW II was also a major factor that tumbled down British Empire. They were not happy to quit Hindustan but had no other way, as their people were starving since years. I will quote ‘Freedom at Midnight’, a book by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, published in 1976, which says: “For Londoners, the New Year beginning would be the eighth consecutive year they had lived under severe rationing of almost every product they consumed – food, fuel, drinks, energy, shoes, clothing. Starve and Shiver had become the byword of the people. The treasury had placed a 100 percent sales tax even on toys, and the word most frequently scrawled on the  windows of London’s shops was ‘No’ – ‘No Potatoes’, ‘No logs’, No coal’, ‘No cigarettes’, ‘No meat’. They didn’t have even the enough hot water to make a cup of coffee in the morning.” (Page 4)

Queues for Food Rationing due to Food Shortages in wartime in London England – Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia

The British Empire, which ruled us through a few thousand whites by raising the army of our own mercenaries, recruited from different parts of subcontinent, had a mischievous plan, which it worked out while felt inevitable to leave this region. ‘Divide and Rule’ was their motto throughout the period of British Raj, however when they finally decided to leave, they conceived a new policy – ‘Divide and Quit’ – as described by Lt. Gen. Francis Tukker, in his book mentioned above. The book contains a complete chapter titled ‘Divide and Quit’ (Page 277 to 294) which describes the situation prevailing at that time however the author divulges the sinister designs and the motive the falling British Empire had behind partitioning the subcontinent. It emerged from the book that British Empire feared Russian penetration in Muslim world and wanted to create a Buffer State to halt the Russian advancement. I will quote author’s own words. Here are some excerpts from page 26 onward: “Division of India had indeed, as we saw, certain purely strategical advantages. Since Germany’s downfall was imminent we had all looked to Russia as the next country which might be dangerous to the Commonwealth.”

“Turkey for some centuries was the center of Islamic power but lost her leadership of Islam and Islam now might look for leadership to the Muslims of Russia. This would be most dangerous attraction,” he writes.

Sir Francis Tuker unambiguously states, “There was much therefore to be said for the introduction of a new Muslim power supported by the science of Britain.” According to him, if the Britain could produce such a power and orient the Muslim strip from North Africa through Islamia Deserta, Persia and Afghanistan to the Himalayas, upon such a Muslim power in Northern India, then it had some chances of halting the filtration of Russia towards Persian Gulf.”

“Thus, it was possible and advantageous to place this Islamic strip between Russia and a virile northern Islamic State of India to induce the states in the strip, including Turkey, to look eastwards to Muslim India instead of northwards to Islamic Russia,” he said adding, “It seemed to some of us very necessary to place Islam between Russian Communism and Hindustan.” (Page 27)

Heinous Part of Plan 

And now, I am going to share with you the heinous part of the conspiracy, the Britain had hatched, the consequences of which continue to haunt the nation states of subcontinent, carving out two State Nations based on concocted Two- Nation theory and created artificial borders in the name of so-called Independence. According to Gen. Francis Tuker, it had been necessary to divide India into Pakistan and Hindustan, as it would be more advantageous for Britain than to keep it united. It was in fact a ‘Hate Plan’ under which they wanted their own created State Nations to be in a state of war against each other but also plunge into never-ending internal crisis. This is what we have been experiencing since over seven decades.

He writes, “Pakistan would be sown with discard in itself from the Sikh minority and Hindustan from the Muslim minority and perhaps from the depressed classes. So we could not believe that Hindustan and Pakistan could straightway live at peace with each other, neither could we assume that within their own territory all would remain quiet. So long as there was one-party government of the Muslim League in one State and the Hindu Congress in the other, internal uprising would be quelled with a stern hand. But there were many signs that both States before long would find themselves with political and social factions within these big parties which would weaken their ability to repress violent attempts to alter the nature of the government or to break away some portion of the State from central control.” (Page 28)

As per the British designs, they were sure of eruption of war between Pakistan and Hindustan. According to Gen. Tuker ‘No obstacle would exist between Hindustan and Pakistan, as the boundaries facing each other are strategically artificial. Therefore, should they come to blows there would be no geographical hindrances to delay delivery of heavy attack by one or the other.” (Page 28-29)

At last, the Britain granted us so-called ‘independence’, which we accepted ‘gratefully’ in August 1947, which in fact was an ‘august moment’ for the Britain, as we also had agreed wholeheartedly to be chained as ‘the member of Commonwealth’ – the group of former colonies of British Empire. They quit the India but never gave up, and continued to control two newly created ‘State Nations’, sitting 8000 kilometres away from here.

Another sinful act of Britain was partitioning of Bengal and Punjab, the historic nation states of this region. Muhammad Ali Jinnah had opposed the partition of Bengal and Punjab, as he wanted the two ‘Nation States’ entirely to be the part of new ‘Muslim Country’. During meetings with Lord Mountbatten, Jinnah had described the new country without entire Bengal and Punjab as ‘Moth-eaten Pakistan’. And very interestingly, Jinnah spoke truth while arguing in support of his demand. He told Mountbatten, “Your Excellency, a man is a Punjabi or a Bengali before he is a Hindu or Muslim. They share a common history, language, culture and economy. You must not divide them. You will cause endless bloodshed and trouble.”

Muhammad Ali Jinnah with Mr. and Mrs. Lord Mountbatten

But, Lord Mountbatten relied, “A man is not only a Punjabi or Bengali before he is a Hindu or a Muslim, but he is an Indian before all else.” As the Britain had their own designs, Mountbatten threatened Jinnah that he will abandon ‘independence plan’ if he (Jinnah) thinks that Pakistan will be ‘moth-eaten’ without undivided Bengal and Punjab. (Freedom at Midnight – page 124) And they partitioned Punjab and Bengal, as had divided Bengal earlier at the beginning of 20th century.

Mr. Jinnah had to accept the ‘independence plan’ quietly.

The Britain was not sincere to the State Nations created by it. The history is witness to what had been happening in ‘independent’ Hindustan and Pakistan, therefore I am going to further analyze a specific part of British plan. It had designs of breaking up one of these State Nations at certain time in future, as a result of political, economic and cultural turmoil. It had planned breaking up of Pakistan in two phases – in first phase its eastern wing (former East Pakistan) was to be cut on completion of 25 years of its age – and the rest in next 25 years. That means Pakistan’s age was predetermined. British designs of “the breaking away of some portion from central control”, was indicated by Gen. Tuker, as mentioned above, and again verified by the authors in their book ‘Freedom at Midnight’.

It all happened in 1971 when Pakistan was halved and Bangladesh emerged as an independent nation on world map within 23 years – two years earlier than the period specified by Britain.

The rest of Pakistan still exists even after completing its life as determined by the creators, although in a shabby condition, due to the interests of world powers. Late historian of Sindh Dr. Hameeda Khuhrro had once described it this way, “Pakistan is like a broken or cracked bowl, held by the hands of world powers.”

The history of events and incidents taking place from 1947 to 1971 that led to creation of Bangladesh is known to all of us. The situation has not changed in rest of Pakistan, where, since its inception, the existence of historic nations has been denied. They are controlled by strong center under the ‘Neo-colonialism’ and its slogan of ‘one nation, one language’. The oppressed nations – Sindhi, Siraiki, Balochi – are struggling for their political, cultural and economic rights, and as a result they are dubbed as the ‘traitors’.

The Britain contrived the ‘Two-Nation Theory’ with a deliberate denial of the existence of historic nations of subcontinent, for their own interests and our leaders played in their hands, despite knowing that the nations are not made by common religion.

They should have liberated all the nation states of subcontinent but instead yoked them anew under the ‘independence plan’.

__________________

Speech of Nasir Aijaz, Chief Editor, Sindh Courier, on July 31, 2020 as Special Guest at the inaugural session of 3-day web-conference on “The Agonies of Nationhood: Cultural Reflections from the Indian Subcontinent” organized by the department of English, School of humanities, Netaji Subhash Open University and Center for language, Translation and Cultural Studies, Kolkata, India.   

 

 

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