Tuesday, 4 June 2013

With western politicians falling over themselves to distinguish political Islam - which they call Islamism - from the supposedly secular and enlightened Islam subscribed to, they tell us, by the "vast majority of decent, hard-working" Muslims, it's good to hear the plain truth from the lips of a Muslim. Step forward Mohammed Iqbal, a man whose name deserves to live in infamy forever as a result of the monstrosity he inflicted on it: Pakistan.
The idea of a separate Indian Muslim state, once it had been formulated, couldn’t have been resisted. The idea was put forward in 1930 by a revered poet, Sir Mohammed Iqbal (1876–1938), in a speech to the All-Indian Muslim League, the main Muslim political organization in undivided India.

Iqbal’s argument was like this. Islam is not only an ethical ideal; it is also ‘a certain kind of polity’. Religion for a Muslim is not a matter of private conscience or private practice, as Christianity can be for the man in Europe. There never was, Iqbal says, a specifically Christian polity; and in Europe after Luther the ‘universal ethics of Jesus’ was ‘displaced by national systems of ethics and polity’. There cannot be a Luther in Islam because there is no Islamic church-order for a Muslim to revolt against. And there is also to be considered ‘the nature of the Holy Prophet’s religious experience, as disclosed in the Koran . . . It is individual experience creative of a social order.’

To accept Islam is to accept certain ‘legal concepts’. These concepts – revelatory, but not to be belittled for that reason – have ‘civic significance’. ‘The religious ideal of Islam, therefore, is organically related to the social order which it has created. The rejection of the one will eventually involve the rejection of the other. Therefore, the construction of a polity on national lines, if it means a displacement of the Islamic principle of solidarity, is simply unthinkable to a Muslim.’

Iqbal, in fact, is saying in a philosophical way that in an undivided India Islam will be in danger, will go the way of Christianity in Europe and cease to be itself. Muslims, to be true to Islam, need a Muslim polity, a Muslim state. The Muslims of India especially need such a state, Iqbal suggests; because ‘India is perhaps the only country in the world where Islam, as a people-building force, has worked at its best’. And Iqbal’s solution was simple: the Muslim-majority areas of north-west India should be detached and consolidated into a single Muslim state.

Seventeen years later (and nine years after Iqbal’s death) it happened – and to the Muslim-majority north-west was added the Muslim-majority eastern half of Bengal, a thousand miles away. But that Muslim state came with a communal holocaust on both sides of the new borders. Millions were killed and many millions more uprooted.
Source: Among the Believers by V. S. Naipaul


Anonymous said...

In retrospect, Hindu Indians are content with the present situation. If Partition had not taken place, there would be 350 to 400 million more Muslims in India. That means India would be a Islamic state. The only regret is that Nehru and Gandhi insisted that Muslims were not sent to Pakistan even as Hindus were booted out of Pakistan.


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