Lahore Resolution and Pakistani minorities

During the closing stages of the independence movement, the ulema were used by Congress to bring down the Muslim League and its leadership.
There are a few points that are never considered when the Lahore Resolution is discussed. Foremost is the fact that there is no reference to Islam or a state for Islam. It speaks of Muslim India and a settlement between the major communities of British India. Second and more importantly, the Resolution states, “That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards should be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in these units and in these regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them,” the adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards to be decided in consultation with the minorities in the units. Consultation here constitutes a binding effect, i.e. whatever decision is to be taken affecting the rights of minorities in the units cannot be against the advice given by the minorities. The principle behind the Lahore Resolution was that a permanent majority by numbers cannot and should not be allowed to impose its ideas on a permanent minority. This required therefore a constitution that extends the principle of equal citizenship as well as rights above and beyond that citizenship to minorities. If we own the Lahore Resolution as the founding document of this country, we must endeavour to fulfil the promise that this Resolution makes explicitly to the minorities. What stands in the way of faithful execution of the Resolution in letter and spirit? It is the utter and total confusion that vested interests have managed to create about Pakistan and its founding principles. This distortion is carried on by both sides of the spectrum, ironically agreeing with each other unwittingly. It is quite disingenuously held that Pakistan was the consequence of a movement to create an exclusivist Islamic state. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The most bigoted and sectarian of the ulema (clerics) actually opposed the Pakistan Movement. It needs no repeating that the religious factor in politics was introduced by Gandhi who used the Muslim religious cause of the Khilafat to attempt to sideline the liberal Muslim elites and professionals. It was on Gandhi’s advice that Jamiat-e-Ulema-i-Hind was formed in 1924 and Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam was formed in 1929. Achyut Patwardhan of the Congress Party hit the nail on the head when he wrote the following:

Categories: Asia

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