Recalling The Pakistan Resolution
March 23, 2010 5 Comments
Few individuals significantly alter the course of the history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Muhammad Ali Jinnah did all three.
Hailed as a “Great Leader” (Quaid-e-Azam) of Pakistan, Jinnah virtually conjured that country into statehood by the force of his indomitable will.
23rd March is celebrated in Pakistan as a day when Pakistan Resolution was passed by hundreds of thousands of Muslims of British India. The name of “Pakistan” wasn’t used by Jinnah during the Lahore Resolution. It was only declared that a new nation for Muslims is the only solution and everyone there concurred. The Lahore Resolution became the “Pakistan Resolution” at the later stage.
Prior to the passing of Lahore Resolution, this is to be noted that Jinnah was advised by his doctors to have a bed-rest for at least fortnight. He was suffering from extreme pleurisy, as diagnosed by the doctor. In the words of Jinnah: “What bad luck, it’s an important session and my presence is essential. And here I’m, confined to bed.” After two restless days, Jinnah was up and back to his usual work.
On 19th of March, 1940, Punjab saw another worst day after the Jallainwala Bagh catastrophe. It was that, the activists of Khaksaar Tehreek were peacefully protesting, asking the Viceroy to lift the ban on their Tehreek. The march was intercepted by the police, but the activists kept marching on. Police started the baton charge (lathi charge), and then there was the act of indiscriminate firing on the marching activists. 10’s of Muslims were mercilessly butchered by the Punjab Police. Mian Muhammad Shafi, the prominent leader of Muslim League, recalls this catastrophe saying the event temporarily converted the gay city of Lahore into a political graveyard.
On the morning of 22nd March 1940, Jinnah silently arrived in Lahore — despite that he was advised by his doctor to have a relentless bed-rest for two weeks — and visited the hospital where he visited the wounded activists of Khaksaar Tehreek. Mian Muhammad Shafi recalls this event, insisting that “this had a soothing effect on the lacerated hearts of the people of Lahore.” As a whole, however, the Khaksaars were anti-Jinnah, anti-Muslim League, anti-Congress, anti-Sikhs, and in the latter years they did try to assassinate Jinnah a number of times.
On the eve of Lahore Resolution (23rd March) in 1940, closed to 100,000 Punjabis, Sindhis, Bengalis, Pathans, and Baluchis gathered inside the gigantic tent erected in Minto (now Allama Iqbal) Park, within view of lofty marble minarets of the beautiful Badshahi Masjid and Shah Jehan’s Great Fort. Lahore, a teeming center of Muslim power in South Asia since the eleventh century, capital of the Punjab and cultural heartland of Mughal India, was about to give birth to the League’s “Pakistan Resolution”. A horde of people, said to be 100,000, were present to hear the voice of their Quaid-e-Azam. Quaid-e-Azam wore an ackham and chooridar pyjamas.
Deafening shouts of “Zindabad” welcomed Jinnah as he rose to walk to the microphone. He spoke in Urdu as the reception committee who introduced him had done, but shifted to English, apologizing to the mass audience as he gestured toward the press corps: “The world is watching us, so let me have your permission to have my say in English.” Jinnah spoke for nearly 2 hours, his voice was deep and trenchant. Such was the domination of his personality, that despite the improbability of more than a fraction of his audience understanding English, he held his hearers and played with palpable effect on their emotions. On that day, it was his highest audience to listen to him, and it was his greatest performance ever. He must have seemed no less than a Mughal emperor resurrected. Thanks to Associated Press International, Reuters, and UPI, Jinnah’s message at Lahore was cabled that evening all over the world. The Pakistan Resolution was especially perused with tea that same day in London’s Atheneum, studied and underlined at Whitehall and Downing Street, discussed in the City, and debated in Westminister. This day on the 23rd March 1940, the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity, the Jinnah, had totally transformed himself into Pakistan’s great leader.
The prominent Muslim from every Muslim majority state were there, including Liaquat Ali Khan, Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman, Sir Shah Nawaz, Sikandar Hayat Khan (CM of Punjab), A.K. Fazlul Huq (CM of Bengal), Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Qazi Esa from Baluchistan, Sir Abdullah Haroon from Sindh etc.
After nearly 7 years since the Lahore Resolution was passed, Pakistan came into being. And today, perfectly after the 7 decades of Lahore Resolution and nearly after 6 decades of the independence of Pakistan, the country is still contemplating — baffled and feeble. The great leader like Jinnah is lost in the shadow of past. His words, advices, actions, principles — all are now restricted to only literary work, media projections and academics. The implementation of his dreams is yet to be fulfilled — to make Pakistan one of the greatest nation in the world.
Some of the excerpts are taken from “Jinnah Of Pakistan” by Stanley Wolpert.