By Sharif Shahabuddin
The people of Indian Sub-continent are, by nature, hospitable, and they have a long tradition of cultural heritage in keeping religious harmony along with unique example of peaceful coexistence among the people irrespective of caste, creed and ethnicity.
These great people of Indian Sub-continent, including Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Christian, fought a tremendous battle against the British colonial rule in India. Breaking down the religious shackles they became the sons of this soil and at the cost of their lives they freed their ‘Mother India’ — which in Bangla is called ‘Bharat Mata’ — by driving out the British from India.
Hundreds of thousands of our heroes had laid down their lives for India’s independence. After a long battle, India won freedom. But India was still divided under the British ‘Divide and Rule’ policy and that British policy was materialized under the ‘Two Nation Theory’ initiated by Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
India got its independence, but the ‘Bharat Mata’ was divided into two pieces. Indian unity was destroyed with implementation of the Two Nation theory. Uncountable people, including men, women and children, had to lay down their lives under the impacts of the contentious theory.
The ‘Two Nation Theory’ took lives and blood. Overnight, Indians became the enemy of Indians who fought for the independence shoulder to shoulder. The religious harmony was replaced with riots, killing and wide-ranging vandalism.
Jinnah, the then leader of Muslim League, declared 16 August 1946 as ‘Direct Action Day’. Thousands of Muslim League activists took to the streets. The people of West Bengal had experienced a devastating horror, and violence, looting and mayhem. The roads of Kolkata were painted red with the blood of the innocent people on both sides.
The British army and police stood idly. Overnight friends became foes. With a view to bringing peace among the political parties, Gandhi started touring the riot-ravaged areas. At the same time on November 14, 1946 Jinnah declared that the killing would not stop unless Pakistan would be created. Because of the Two Nation Theory, a new country named Pakistan based on Islamic Religion was born in the Indian soil.
In the Middle East, religion-based Israel has been practising democracy since its inception, and elections were a regular practice there. If Pakistan would practise democracy and pursue the politics of tolerance and be respectful to others’ opinion, there might have been a healthy competition of making this region a place of peaceful coexistence of people of all religions.
After independence, India did not make any delay to practise democracy with a view to establishing the country on secular and democratic ideals. And accordingly, Nehru became India’s Prime Minister; on the contrary, Jinnah followed the British style of autocratic rule and became the governor general of Pakistan. Not only that, Jinnah started disparity among his own people. In 1948, Jinnah went to East Pakistan and declared “Urdu shall be the state language of Pakistan” despite the fact that Bangla was spoken by the majority people of Pakistan. And that was the seed sowed by Jinnah himself to break Pakistan into two separate countries. Jinnah was solely responsible for both the breakups of India and Pakistan declaring the Two Nation Theory and by pronouncing “Urdu shall be the State Language of Pakistan” respectively.