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Kashmir and Indian Muslims
By Anwar Ali

A seminar was organized in Saharanpur recently by the local branch of ‘Milli Talimi Trust’. The topic of the seminar was ‘Role of Ulama in the War of Independence’. Many good speeches were delivered and crusading spirit and high moral characters of ulama of the past were emphasized.

But an important question that arises is ‘Will the ulama of the present day, specially those invited for this seminar and other prominent ulama whose names were included in the invitation follow the examples of previous ulama?’

Among the ulama of the past, two are great generals of the war of independence viz Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani. For the present and under the existing circumstances the two most important problems for the future of Muslims are Hindu-Muslim problem and Kashmir problem and for both these problems the thoughts and activities of these great ulama are very important.

Maulana Azad wrote in his paper Al-Hilal in 1912 and subsequently said in his presidential address in the Khilafat conference at Agra in 1921 about Hindu Muslim problem and ‘the problem of nationality.

‘Hindu-Muslim unity is essential for India’s deliverance or freedom and also for Muslims to give their best performance in India. This is my belief which I have already declared in 1912 in the first issue of Al-Hilal. It is the religious duty of Indian Muslims to forge the bond of love in all sincerity with Hindus of India and become one nation along with them. They should mix up with twenty-two crore Hindus of India in such a way as to become one nation of India. Muslims of India will give their best performance when they will become one with Hindus’. (Ref. Khutbat-e Khilafat, pp. 87-88 ‘Marsia’ Prof. Mahmood Ilahi, Publisher: Urdu Academy, Lucknow).

In this way the late Maulana Azad induced Muslims in order to adopt the political principle of ‘Indian United Nationality’. This political belief of his is as important even now as it was during the days of Khilafat movement.

Sheikhul Islam Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani has described in detail this principle of ‘United Nationality of India’ in his famous work ‘United Nationality and Islam’. The political theory presented by him in this book in brief is: ‘Nations are built with motherland not with religion. This is to say, the basis of nationality is motherland. The Indian peninsula, with the Himalayas in the north, Indian Ocean in the South, Bay of Bengal and Arakan hills in the east and surrounded by Arabian Sea in the west is a geographical national unit, and its inhabitants, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians form one ‘United Indian nation’. This principle of united nationality or nationhood is the basis of Constitution of India and the soul of the principle of secularism.

Qaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was formerly, during a major part of his political career, was a believer in this principle and took pride in calling himself a disciple of Gokhle. Later on (after 1934) he became a standard bearer and champion of separate nationality and two-nation theory. The hero of Sarojini Naidu and the ‘ambassador of Hindi-Muslim unity’ got the country partitioned. But in his first speech of 14 August 1947, which he delivered in the inaugural session of Pakistan’s Legislative Assembly. He abandoned the two-nation theory and openly presented the theory of United Pakistan Nationhood’. He presented a blueprint of a secular, democratic and progressive Pakistan where in all Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians will be free and independent Pakistani citizens.

In short, the basis of a bright future of India (including Pakistan and Bangladesh as well) is the theory of united nationhood. Same was the theory or concept of the crusading ulama of freedom as well.

The Muslim mind projected by Maulana Azad and Rafi Ahmad Qidwai about the Kashmir problem was the same concept of united nationhood. Having faith in the same concept Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was a strong champion of Kashmir’s accession to India and he described the accession as final.

And now, voices are being raised that the Kashmir Valley should be declared an independent territory and the Kashmir problem should be solved in this way. The Sangh ‘Parivar’, which believes and is working for a ‘separate nation of Hindus’ in accordance with the political ideology of Hindu Mahasabha and Jan Sangh calls Muslims as ‘they’ and Hindus as ‘we’. If Kashmir is divided and this problem is proposed to be solved by declaring Jammu (Hindu), Laddakh (Buddhist) and Kashmir Valley (Muslim) as regional units, this solution will have an adverse effect on the future of Muslims of India. Ismat Jahangir, head of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission, in an interview to The Times of India correspondent expressed the fear that such a solution may result in Hindu backlash and even the security forces will not be able to control their feelings of ‘Hindutva’.

It is now the need of the hour that the ulama associated with Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind following in the footsteps of their predecessors and other ulama associated with Milli Council, Muslim Personal Law Board, Imam Bokhari, Sayed Shahabuddin and other intellectuals and important personalities should come forward to lead the Muslims. They should take practical steps following those of Maulana Azad and Rafi Ahmad Qidwai and in support of Sheikh Abdullah’s stand. They should also declare in loud and clear words that Muslims should also be included in any talks regarding Kashmir problem and that no solution of Kashmir problems will be acceptable without inclusion of Indian Muslims and that the problem of Kashmir should be solved on the basis of united Indian nationhood.

Let us hope that the organizers, ulama and others participating in the Saharanpur seminar will issue statements in detail and impress upon their central leaders to leave aside their political and other differences and unanimously declare that Indian Muslims believe in ‘united Indian nationhood’ of their founding predecessors and that solution of Kashmir problem will not be acceptable at the cost of ‘United Indian nationhood’. (Translated from Urdu)

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