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Speech by Jinnah in March 1941
Session of Punjab Muslim Students Federation, Lahore.
DATE: March 2, 1941
“But it is as clear as daylight that we are not a minority. We are a nation. And a nation must have territory. What is the use of merely saying that we are a nation? Nation does not live in the air. It lives on the land, it must govern land, and it must have territorial state and that is what you want to get.
Remember! it is not a small job. It is the biggest job that you have ever undertaken in your life since the fall of the Moghal Empire. You realise that it requires all the necessary ingredients and preparation in order to achieve and realise that goal. You will allow me to say, do not be carried away by sentiments, do not be carried away by slogans. How is a nation made? When it has fallen, how is a nation revived? These are the questions.
We come under the category of the fallen. We have seen the worst days, although I am glad that there is a distinct and definite revival and renaissance of the Muslim nation in this country. We, therefore, are now in this position. We are just awake. We are just opening our eyes. We have just got that consciousness when we are looking around. You are yet a sick man; you are still an invalid; you have got to go through the convalescent period before you can become perfectly healthy, strong and go-about. How are you going to make your people to come up to that state and preparedness when you will be able to achieve your goal? There is no royal road. You must, my young friends in the first instance, apply your minds to the nation-building departments. You will say, what is it? What are the nation-building departments? Let me tell you what they are. You see that there are at least three main pillars which go to make a nation worthy of possessing a territory and running the government.
One is education. Without education you are in the same position as we were in this pandal last night in darkness! With education you will be in the same position as you are the broad daylight.
Next, no nation and no people can ever do anything very much without making themselves economically powerful in commerce, trade and industry.
And lastly, when you have got that light of knowledge by means of education and when you have made yourselves strong economically, commerically and industrially, then you have got to prepare yourselves for your defence- defence against external aggress and to maintain internal security.
Therefore, these are the three main pillars upon which a nation rests and the strength of the nation remains in proportion to your readiness and your preparedness with these three main pillars.
Today in these three main pillars you are at the bottom of the class. Educationally there is a great deal of leeway to be made up. Economically and financially the Muslim is poverty-striken and on the verge of bankruptcy all over India. As to the defence even the little opportunities that are available under the present system of government the Muslims are very poor in number. Therefore, my young friends, I see you have got some resolutions which are very good resolutions indeed. You want to take up some of these matters along with your people.
Here is the programme for you. Do not talk merely in a language, what shall I say, of bravado and arrogance, because I am convinced that we have no need to talk in that language, and we have no need to talk in a language of threats. Why? Because, to begin with, our cause is honest, just and a right one. That is the first reason. The second reason is that those who are strong and those who have acquired self-confidence and self-reliance they do not need to indulge in unnecessary threats and arrogant language.
Let us, therefore, try as far as possible to reason and to persuade our opponents. Of course, I know that our reasoning and all our persuasion does not always succeed, but we must make every possible effort. Let us not create unnecessary bitterness against those who are at present the opponents of this Pakistan Lahore resolution. Why should we? I am confident that those very opponents of ours will realise that this is the only solution and the best solution of India’s most complex problem for which there is no parallel in the world. Our opponents, wherever they may be, and the three forces and parties in this country other than Muslims, we are concerned with our Lahore resolution- the British Government, the Indian Princes and the Hindus- let me tell you that it is in the interests of these three very important and vital elements of the sub-continent of India, and they will themselves realise that what we are saying is the only solution.
As regards future, ladies and gentlemen, I have tried my very best to give every possible attention, and as far as possible, bereft of any bias or prejudice and as far as it is humanly possible I have tried to examine the arguments against the Lahore resolution. So far as we are concerned: we stand by the Lahore resolution and we want it as soon as circumstances permit or immediately after the war. That is what we want. Our demand is not from Hindus because the Hindus never took the whole of India. It was the Muslims who took India and ruled for 700 years. It was the British who took India from the Mussalmans. So, we are not asking the Hindus to give us anything. Our demand is made to the British, who are in possession. It is an utter nonsense to say that Hindustan belongs to the Hindus.
They also say that Muslims were Hindus at one time. These nonsensical arguments are advanced by their leaders. They say, supposing an Englishman becomes a Muslim in England, he does not ask for Pakistan. Have you got not eyes to see and don’t you have brains to understand that an Englishman, if he changes his religion in England, he, by changing his religion, still remains a member of the same society, with the same culture, same social life and everything remains exactly the same when an Englishman changes his faith? But can’t you see that a Muslim, when he was converted, granted that he was converted more than a thousand years ago, bulk of the, then according to your Hindu religion and philosophy, he becomes an outcaste and he becomes a malecha (untouchable) and the Hindus cease to have anything to do with him socially, religiously and culturally or in any other way? He, therefore, belongs to a different order, not only religious but social, and he has lived in that distinctly separate and antagonistic social order, religiously, socially, and culturally.
It is now more than a thousand years that the bulk of the Muslims have lived in a different world, in a different society, in a different philosophy and a different faith. Can you possibly compare this with that nonsensical talk that mere change of faith is no ground for a demand for Pakistan? Can’t you see the fundamental difference? Now, therefore, I do not think really that any honest man can possibly dispute the fact that the Muslims are a nation by themselves, distinctly separate from the Hindus. Suppose they are, and I have no doubt in my mind. There are hundreds of Hindus who honestly think so and there are hundreds of Hindus who believe in this and who have come to me and who have often said that this is the only solution, viz., the Lahore resolution. Therefore, it is no use arguing this point any further. But how is the propaganda carried on against it? The propaganda is carried on and, as I have told you, I have tried to understand the arguments against it, without any prejudice as far as possible for a human being to do so. What is the argument?
I will start with Mr. Gandhi. He says that it is a vivisection of India. It gives you at once a feeling of horror. Is it really to frighten the Muslims not to commit the vivisection of India? Is it really to frighten the Hindus that their motherland is vivisected by these wretched Muslims? Here is a question that may arise. May I know when was India one? Was it ever one? Why use this word ‘vivisection’? Then his disciple Mr. Rajagopalacharya goes one step further and says – and he started by saying that it was cutting the baby into two! I say to him, my dear fellow, where is the baby who is going to be cut into two? He was not satisfied with that and he thought that it was not enough and then he went further and said that it is when two Hindu brothers are quarrelling, one wants to cut the mother cow into two halves! Now, ladies and gentlemen, I have always very great respect for the religious feelings and sentiments of any community. But if the foremost politician of the type of Rajagopalacharya should rouse the feelings, the religious feelings of Hindus, by giving this analogy what I was proposing to cut the mother cow into two, it can only be described as a forlorn hope on their part when they have no other cogent argument to advance. Then we are told that it is against Islam!
Ladies and gentlemen, I am not a learned Maulana or Maulvi. Nor do I claim to be learned in theology. But I also know a little of my faith and I am a humble and proud follower of my faith. May I know in the name of Heavens, how is this Lahore resolution against Islam? Why is it against Islam? But that is an argument that has been advanced again by a man of no less a position than Mr. Rajagopalacharya.
Next we are told that it is not in the interests of Muslims themselves. I say to my Hindu friends, please do not bother about us. We thank you most profusely by pointing out to us our interests. We are prepared to take the consequences of our considered resolution. Please look after yourselves.
The next argument is that it is economically not a practical scheme. I have been watching, and believe me, I tried to read anything that has been said by Hindu leaders anywhere – I may have missed to somewhere – I have not yet heard barring the slogan that economically it is not a practical proposition because Punjab is a bankrupt province, Sind is a bankrupt province, Baluchistan is zero, North West Frontier Province is a bankrupt province and therefore economically it is not a practicable scheme. Why not? Can’t you see that at present the main source of revenue, the bulk of revenue of this continent, is in the hands of the centre? If there is a partition, if there are independent zones, as we are defining, then those zones will get for themselves the revenue direct and it will not go to the centre, because there will be no centre for India. Why do you bother about this? If the worse comes to the worse, like a sensible man we will cut our coat according to our cloth.
Next, what about the Hindu minorities in the Muslim zones? What about it? What do you suggest? They do not suggest anything. What about the Muslim minority in the Hindu zones? But I have suggested something. I say that my proposal is that the Hindu minority in the Muslim zone must be safeguarded fully as a minority and I say that the Muslim minority in the Hindu zone must be safeguarded fully as a minority.
Do you suggest as an argument that because the Hindu minority or minorities in the Muslim zones will be minorities, therefore the 90 million Muslims of India should remain as a minority in an artificial “one India” with unitary form of central government, so that you can dominate over them all including those zones where they are in a solid majority? That is an absurd and very misleading argument, which is advanced in some quarters.
Then we are told- and this is of course not often that it is brought out- we are told lastly that if India is divided then the Muslims will run over the whole country and the Hindus will not be safe! My dear friends, you will be at least 200 million Hindus in India, if not more, and the poor Muslims in the North-West zone and the Eastern zone will not be more than 70 millions.
Are you afraid that if these 70 millions of Muslims are allowed in their own homelands to fully and freely function and develop according to their own genius, according to their own laws and according to their own culture, social life and religion; and if they become independent states, do you say that you are afraid that these 70 millions will run over the whole of the country?
Then, may I ask the question, how will you then avoid the danger of these 90 millions running over the whole country by having a paper constitution of united India? Do you want a paper constitution of United India when 90 millions of – what shall I say – dangerous people will be there? Then do you want that the British Government should police the Hindu raj in this country so that you can gradually, slowly but surely strangulate the Muslims with the help of the British bayonet? Is that what you want?
I ask my Hindu friends and those leaders, can you conceive that the British people and the British nation will degrade themselves and dishonour themselves to remain here and police your raj and with their bayonet allow you to strangle the Muslims in this country? Then what do you want? That is the question. Now I say, if the Hindus want peace, please examine our proposals impartially and honestly. Give up all these slogans, these catchwords, these stunts: you will never succeed. Let us, therefore, examine it dispassionately and as practical men in the light of history and various constitutions prevailing in various countries, and I feel that partition will be really in the best interests of all of us-not only the Muslims but also the Hindus and the ruling Princes and the British.
Now I have examined almost every argument that has been advanced so far. If we are agreed on the partition of India, let me tell you, and I firmly believe and it is supported by reason, the Muslims and Hindus will live peacefully and as friendly neighbours. I assure you and it seems to me obvious that Muslim India will constitute the postguard of the frontiers of India. Do you think for a single moment that Afghanistan will allow Iran to govern Afghanistan? Do you for a moment think that Afghanistan or Iran will allow Turkey to rule over them? Do you for a single moment think that even in a small continent like Arabia- where you have different sovereign states of Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and so on- any one of them will given up their sovereign territorial government in favour of any body else? Why must you assume that when the Muslims have established their own independent sovereign state in the North-West zone, somebody else will be allowed to come over and rule over us, because he must rule over me before he rules over Hindu India? Therefore Muslim India will guard so far as the frontier is concerned and I hope the Hindus will guard so far as the South and Western India is concerned. We join together as good friends and neighbours and say to the world “Hands off India.”
I say there is an opportunity which is presented to India at this juncture in the history of our people which if lost may not come again for a long time. Let us be practical and face facts and put our heads together and find a solution of this problem on the lines of Pakistan. It is no use threatening people; it is not use saying this word Pakistan is “misused by some people.”. Every intelligent man in this country knows and understands what we mean by Pakistan. If there is any mischief-maker, who wants to create mischief, God alone can stop him: I cannot stop him. Everybody who has got any intelligence, who is honest, understands perfectly well what we mean when we say Pakistan: we mean the Lahore resolution.
There is one other matter to which I would like to refer, and that is with regard to the great Sikh community. Ladies and gentlemen, it is somewhat difficult to understand why some of our Sikh friends entertain fears and apprehensions. I do ask them to examine this proposal carefully and calmly. The position of the Sikh community will be far, far better in the scheme that we are suggesting- in the Lahore resolution-than their position in the united India federal constituton. It is not obvious, in the first instance, that the Sikhs will form an important community in the Punjab, and as an important community in the Punjab will they not play a very big part in the affairs of the province of the Punjab in any legislature that may be constituted for the Punjab as one of the units of Pakistan? Will they not play an equally big part in the Pakistan federation being an important community in this province? What will be their position in the united India federal constitution? It will be a drop in the ocean! It is so even to-day. Let me tell my Sikh friends, if they can hear my voice, that even today in the present Legislature the Sikhs do not count for anything. What can one man do out of a hundred? What will any member do when there are 350 members and you have got two or three members? Not only you will be nowhere but you will be a drop in the ocean under the scheme of united India.
My Sikh friends cannot escape the inexorable rule that they are a minority in the Punjab and you cannot be quarrelling, you cannot by threats and intimidation reverse the fundamental order that the Muslims are a majority in this zone. I want to tell my Sikh friends that my position in my Presidency(of Bombay) will be according to their fears, if I believe in them, hundred times worse, because in my presidency we are only 8 per cent Muslims and the remaining nearly 90 per cent are Hindus, whereas, in this province Sikhs are 13 per cent, while there is another community, Hindus, who are 28 per cent. Therefore you will be better off than I am in the Bombay presidency, yet I am not afraid! Therefore I do want people really to examine these facts and their pros and cons.
There is only one thing more which I want to say and it is this. It is quite obvious that no federal constitution was ever framed or enacted without the agreement and consent of the units entering into the federal scheme of their own free will and accord. The only solution for the Muslims of India, which will stand the test of trial and time, is that India should be partitioned so that both the communities can develop freely and fully according to their own genius economically, socially, culturally and politically. The struggle is for the fullest opportunities and for expression of the Muslim national will. The vital contest in which we are engaged is not only for the material gain but also for the very existence of the soul of the Muslim nation.
Hence I have said often that it is a matter of life and death to the Mussalmans and is not a counter for bargaining. Muslims have become fully conscious of this. If we lose in this struggle all is lost. Let our motto be, as the Dutch proverb says,-
‘Money is lost nothing is lost:
Courage is lost much is lost:
Honour is lost most is lost:
Soul is lost all is lost.’