Congress’ use of the ulema

Daily Times: This is in response to Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed’s article ‘The role of ulema in pre-partition politics’ (Daily Times, April 21, 2015) where he has responded to my article ‘Use of religion in politics’ (Daily Times, April 13, 2015). At the outset, he suggests that I am in error as to his contradiction. I am very clear on the issue that you cannot simultaneously claim a pre-existing demand for Pakistan (and it is quite clear that the demand had existed pre-1939) and then claim that it originated in the viceroy’s office in late 1939 or early 1940. I may not understand the “nature of political alliances” but I can see two mutually contradictory claims when the same are made. I leave it to the readers to determine who is right on the issue.
I will, however, address some of the other historical fallacies that Dr Ahmed forwards in his article. He claims: “Nehru’s leftist orientation predisposed him to believe that class interests determined the political choices of people, including voters. For him, the 1937 elections, in which the Muslim League was routed on the all-India level, was an indictment of its elite politics because, as a party of landlords and pro-British rajas and nawabs, it represented their narrow interests, which included loyalty to the British. Therefore, he announced a Muslim mass contact to be launched to bring the poverty-stricken Muslim masses into the Congress fold and thus build a broad united front against British colonialism.”

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