Hamid Dalwai’s classic book Muslim Politics in India sheds a lot of tantalizing light on the behavior of Indian Muslims, who rallied for the creation of Pakistan and eventually got what they wanted through the third part (the fleeing, bankrupt British barely able to hold onto the Empire in the aftermath of WW2). He rightfully terms this as “hostage theory” what we generally came to be understood as the Two-Nation Theory.
“…Indian Muslims committed a worse sin. They not only relied on a third party but also participated in a movement which aimed at creating a separate nation comprising all provinces which had a Muslim majority. In short, in order to solve their own problems, Indian Muslims as a whole came to an understanding with the British as well as with the Muslim majority provinces; and they refused to make any compromise with the Hindus.
What was the nature of this understanding? To solve our problems, argued the Muslims in the sub-continent, a sovereign and independent state comprising provinces with a Muslim majority had to be created. In this new state Hindus should be in a minority. That way only, they further argued, would Muslims in India have security….”
This is what he terms as a hostage situation which he then proceeds to mock by logically arguing, for the hostage theory to work, there had to be sizable number of Hindus in Pakistan to be able to put a permanent Damocles sword over ‘Hindu India’ in case the Muslims who stayed behind in India faced hardships and discrimination or even violence. Writing in the 1970s, about Pakistan authorities and society cleansing its territory of Hindus is an insight into the brilliant mind of Hamid Dalwai, a great thinker, writer and activist with humble origins from a village in Maharashtra state in the Konkan in South India.
It is fascinating to read his account of the foolishness of Muslims leaders when they banded together to oppose the independence that Hindus demanded from the imperial powers, akin to defense attorneys arguing in a court of law in a case of dispute as if it was a matter of litigation, forgetting they still had to be neighbours when the third party (the British) had sailed for home. Dalwai outrightly calls it taking advantage of the presence of a third party. Plus, he recognizes his mode of arguing as a typical trait of Muslim leaders across the world, proof of which is the doldrums that the Muslim World has been revealed to be after the advent of social media in the new millennium.
Was Dalwai correct in writing this? Shaukatullah Ansari, the later politician and Indian diplomat from Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, in 1944, in his book Pakistan – A Problem of India, published by Pratap Krishna of the Minerva Book Shop, Anarkali, Lahore, predicted that if the subcontinent were to be partitioned, it would be partitioned in an atmosphere of bitter hostility which would last for generations and would be difficult to eliminate. We all know now that both men were right. Ansari, died a few years earlier in 1972 as an octogenarian, followed by the young Dalwai in 1977 at age 45, both men coming to the same conclusions with their first-hand experiences in a colonial India as well as a modern one.
The Hostage Theory, the correct term for the Two-Nation Theory, failed because the Indian Muslims did not rely on the conscience of the Hindus to get full justice for themselves and now are in perpetual victimhood because the Hindus have started implementing their own theory – of a Hindu territory – Bharatvarsha! The whole Muslim narrative from Kashmir to Kerala is as if the case is still in a court and if enough screaming and shouting are done, then maybe the third party will rule in their favor. The third party has already left, and the judge’s position is occupied by the Hindus, the Indian Muslim leaders have changed tactics, by positioning Pakistan as the third party.
The whole skewed narrative about the hostage theory would have continued had Bangladesh not happened. With mounting evidence of Hindus being persecuted in West Pakistan by none other than the Armed Forces, the Indian Muslim leaders were in a conundrum and chose the safest mode that every orthodox Muslim does when cornered – denial. There is a denial that there was an Operation Searchlight in 1971, there is outright resentment at Indira Gandhi’s ironclad decisions at that time, there is total disdain at the Bengali-speaking Muslims even today, when sits in conversation with eminent Muslim leaders still living in a pre-Independence era in their minds.
Also to be kept in mind are the facts, that in an Islamic State – whether it is the first one created in 1947, or the always elusive Islamic Republic of Kashmir – or the one which had its run in the Middle East and has now been routed – any injustice done to minorities is justified by the leaders. It is like the circular argument – an Islamic State is always just, hence any wrong done to Hindus is perfectly justifiable because Islam is the perfect system of justice! And so it goes…
This is the main reason why Muslim leaders especially Indian Muslims will act foolishly and never change their mentality, and contribute in keeping billions of Muslims in perpetual victimhood, without improving their lives by practical solutions in harmony with majority Hindus. To the chagrin of the Indian Muslims, the courtroom scenario of the 1940s is never coming back, 70 years later the Brits themselves are under threat of being overrun by Sharia in 2017, and the failed state of Pakistan is slowly getting isolated diplomatically – and the Hindu right has just started aping the strategy of the Islamists wanting a global Caliphate.
The Indian Muslim leaders could do well to wake up.