The time Iqbal was prepared to address the complicated Indian communal problem, the peculiar European term nationalism was in vogue and it coincided a nation with one state based on race, instinct, language, religion, geography, administration, tradition, etc.

In Iqbal’s view, nationality appeared to be a feeling of the consciousness of the kind, which on one hand binds together those who have it so strongly that it over-rides all differences arising out of economic conflicts or social gradations, while on the other hand, severs them from those who are not of their kind. It can also be expressed as a longing not to belong to another group. Iqbal realized that the sentiment of nationality becomes self-conscious, only when people suffer, from economic or political expression and exploitation, under a foreign rule (rule by those who are not of the kind being ruled). He had observed the case of Muslims of the sub-continent. They had suffered together, and, indeed, suffering in common proved to be a greater bond of union than joy.

Under such a philosophical metamorphosis, Iqbal at Allahabad, in 1930, surveyed the political scenario and redefined the term nationalism, and his reinterpretation of two-nation-theory was a land mark in the history of Muslims of India. He for the first time very systematically, and logically, demanded a separate state for the Muslims of India. Iqbal was, in fact, the product of an age which gave birth to a new socio-political consciousness to the people of this sub-continent. John Plamenatz has aptly related the term nationalism under such circumstances and a phase of philosophical genesis of a community. He defines nationalism as the desire to preserve or enhance people’s national or cultural identity, when that identity is threatened or the desire to transform or even create it when it is felt to be inadequate or lacking.

Being deeply religious and highly philosophical in his outlook on life, Iqbal had studied the Indian political problems from many angles. Iqbal had studied the idea of a common nationality as preached by All-India-National-Congress in its implication; he was a witness to the revolutionary activities of the Hindus during various political developments under the British. He had supported and co-operated with the Simon Commission but was utterly disappointed by its report and recommendations contained therein. The outcome of the Nehru Report was also before him that had shocked the Muslims of India into unity. Iqbal had gradually realized that the European idea of democracy in a diverse society was not workable.

Carrying fear of being dominated, the Muslim Community in the sub-continent was in search of identity. In the wake of gradual introduction of democratic institutions in the sub-continent by the British, Muslims had developed, till then, a sense of being counted while getting share in political power. This realization gave considerable worth to separate identity factor. Iqbal further highlighted that European democracy in a diverse society was not workable. It was at this stage, however, that the Muslim community in the sub-continent was reluctant to believe that the idea could ever be translated into reality. Iqbal urged the point that a political leader of high stature and potential like Jinnah was highly needed to lead the Muslim community with determination, will and fullest vigor.

Jinnah, at this stage was fully convinced, more than ever, that a ‘common nationality’ could never be evolved for the simple reason that the Hindus and Muslims belonged to two different religious philosophies, social customs, and literatures.  Now he had finally decided to address the vexed question of Hindu-Muslim problem on scientific lines, rejecting the gimcrack traditional nationalism. Jinnah made the most important decision of his political career to lead the idea towards its political limits, and abandoned for ever his life-long passion and search for Hindu-Muslim unity in the common cause of self-government in India.

Jaswant’s thesis defines that Jinnah shifted his political strategy due to Congress attitude cannot be taken as the major cause of emergence of separatist Jinnah, though it added to a series of factors of Muslim realization linked with identity factor. If Muslims were being targeted even this was due to their identity, i.e., Islam.

In the 1930s, Muslim Community responded to Jinnah’s voice because, it was a promise of Islam as political power and in consonance with their philosophy and Iqbal’s re-interpretation of nationalism having strong possibilities of attaining political power. It was here at this stage of history, that Indian Muslims had found an identity factor and a political leadership in the form of Jinnah with a potential of becoming a political reality. This whole situation led to the rise of charisma both in discussing the point of a separate state and the tone of Jinnah, the latter because what Jinnah was talking about, was a dream of centuries.

The idea of Iqbal gave rise to a new and transformed Jinnah who had now decided to fight for Muslim cause with a different tone. He re-organized All-India-Muslim-League and united all its fragments under one flag and at a single platform. At the culmination of this critical phase (1940), he proved that All-India-Muslim-League was the only political party that had the mandate of Muslim representation. After Jinnah had proved his leadership and the momentum in Muslim demand, his tone and spirits were high. He met the viceroy in connection with August Offer (1940) with a different posture. In fact, Jinnah, by adopting his political strategy, not only carved out a new state for Indian Muslims, but also gave a workable and peaceful solution for both the communities. Had Jinnah’s vision been fully adopted during the phase of Indian partition, and after it, both the communities would have benefitted from the inter-state equation of relations under the aegis of international law.

The idea of two-nation-theory elaborated at Allahabad (1930), had met its political limits under the leadership of Jinnah. He was the only Indian Political Leader whose proposed solution of Indian problem proved to be the only workable solution and the right one. No one else could give a workable or pragmatic solution. Hence the argument carries worth that even the Hindus should profess Jinnah and they must remain indebted to him for being dragged out of a quagmire and a constant antagonism.

Despite such a scientific response from Jinnah, Congress leadership was not ready to recognize the status of the Muslim community and the Muslim league. However, it was Jinnah’s intransigent and unbending posture because of which 1946 elections proved incontestable as the Muslim League alone represented the Muslims of India. However, the Congress continued to persist in its policy of dividing the Muslims and denying political power to the trusted representatives of the Muslim community. In this way the Congress deepened Muslim suspicion, intensified communal discord, and made an amicable settlement impossible.

Jinnah ultimately created Pakistan as envisaged by Iqbal at Allahabad. This was not an ordinary achievement for a man who had made a cause his own. He did not feel weakened by odds at any stage during the pursuit of his ideal. He realized his formula for addressing the Hindu-Muslim question, and interestingly, among all the contemporary charismatic leaders of India, including Gandhi and Nehru, he was the only leader who had successfully accomplished his mission. His political life and career was capped by an ever-lasting achievement, that is, the creation of Pakistan.n

(The writer is currently working on a book,

‘Jinnah’s political career and Muslim nationalism’.)