The Punjabi-Muhajir Bureaucracy & Case of Urdu As National Language

Immediately after the death of Jinnah, all the executive powers that the government had were assumed by Liaquat Ali Khan. Liaquat Ali Khan cultivated his relationship with the bureaucracy and strengthened it during the four years of his rule. Interestingly, the better the Pakistani government was in the outset with regards to democracy and little or no influence of army over the government and the non-existence of the military-bureaucracy nexus, the bureaucracy and government accommodated abundant Urdu-speaking/Muhajirs apart from Punjabis.

The appointment of CSP Aziz Ahmed as the Chief Secretary of East Pakistan proved a turning point between the relation of East and West Pakistan. Aziz Ahmed, interestingly, was the same bureaucrat who is said to have influenced Ayub Khan to purge the Muhajirs from the bureaucracy during the late 1950’s so he could maintain a control of power over the entire bureaucratic setup. Aminullah Chaudhry in his book “Political Administrators: The Story of the Civil Service of Pakistan” writes that Aziz Ahmed may have been a competent bureaucrat but he was no where near worthy of becoming a Chief Secretary of sensitive region like East Pakistan where the general feeling was already in the air that Bengalis have been deprived of the representation in government jobs, including the civil services. A.J. Dash, a civil servant and chairman of East Pakistan Public Service Commission, delineated Aziz Ahmed as “sour, taciturn and dyspeptic; and that he seemed to suffer from some inferiority complex, perhaps he came from plebeian stock in the Punjab ….”

On the other hand, the primary polemical issue between East and West Pakistan was that of the “language”. The towering issue remained on the horizon, always and ever active and conspicuous, throughout the time leading to the independence of East Pakistan. When the central government of Pakistan opted for Urdu as a national language, the turmoil broke out in the East Pakistan which then had representation of 50% of the total population of Pakistan whereas Urdu was believed to be a language spoken by even less than the 10% of the total population of Pakistan. Inversely, the central government’s decision to set Urdu as a national language came out of the notion to promote national integrity  and truncate the gaps that existed between people belonging to different ethnicity and religion.

In March of 1948 when Jinnah visited East Pakistan in an effort to resolve the cry over the pugnacious issue of language, he addressed fervently in favor of Urdu at a massive rally at Dacca’s Paltan Maidan. He advised the youth, the students, who were in a bridgehead against the imposition of Urdu as a national language, to not get flim-flammed by the hidden forces antithetic to the ideology of Pakistan. For the time being, in a deference to Jinnah, the language movement assumed a low profile, but it never died. However, as soon as the news of the death of Jinnah came down to East Pakistan, the language movement rose its head again and not just naturally alone but on provocation of the civil bureaucracy. As Aminullah argues “the language problem was mishandled from the word go and the issues could have been assuaged by taking prudent administrative measures” where bureaucracy was part and parcel of the administrative setup. Some bureaucrats even turned up with the stand fast idea of  changing the script of Bengali from Devanagri to Persian or Arabic to grapple with the language issue in an evolutionary way. Another absolute piece of virtu that sprouted from a non-Bengali Education Secretary of East Pakistan, a CSP, F.A.Karim, was to make Arabic or Persian the national language of Pakistan instead of Urdu. Howeverm, during the 1950’s, the Basic Principles Committee Report plainly advocated the admission of Urdu as a state language. Thus the language riots became more conspicuous and bloody.

The major problem with the initial setup of Pakistan after its independence was the unbridled influence of bureaucracy over the central government in Karachi that had often led to grievous maladministration at the later stage. Both the Muhajir and Punjabi dominated bureaucracy pioneered the  most controversial decisions in nascent Pakistan at the expense of East Pakistan. The imposition of Urdu as a state language, as recommended in the Basic Principles Committee Report, was open-and-shut of the fact that the bureaucracy was sturdy enough in public policy-making and administration to predominate the entire politics of East and West Pakistan with or without the support of central government.

Recalling The Pakistan Resolution

Working Committee Of Pakistan Resolution

Working Committee Of Pakistan Resolution

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.

Dignity On Sine Die Sale

Throughout history human have confronted similar obstacles, have endeavored to achieve similar goals, and sequentially have strived to better themselves and the world around them. Still there are many parts of the world where human race is abominably engrossed in exercising antithetically to the professed beliefs. The traditional battle of good vs evil continues.

All the countries across the globe have different priorities at different modes of time — to improve and strengthen their nation more and as per the wants of its citizens (though sometimes the sentiments of citizens are ruled out). These priorities often come with a whim of greed to bolster the nation amain. This hastiness at numerous occasions becomes onerous which results in reversion of all the efforts put forward in the past. Not too far to go to seek any such example since our own country, Pakistan, is a fine example of this unpalatableness.

Soon after the creation of Pakistan, Pakistan protested over the issue of India’s existence in commonwealth countries because of its Republican status, but due to the preferential treatment of Western powers for India, Pakistan remained unheard. Yet, it was a time when Pakistan was in a state of an utter bewilderment. Being a newly independent nation it was confused whether to adapt itself with Western democracy or communism. The then finance minister of Pakistan, Ghulam Muhammad, also iterated that we’ve no implicit faith on Western democracy nor we can make ourself commit to communism at this point in time. In the meanwhile, Kashmir Issue remained unsolved. Pakistan sought help from Commonwealth Countries specially Britain but failed to receive any satisfactory response. A last-ditch attempt Pakistan made was to seek help from the Muslim world, but interestingly and surprisingly the Muslim countries privileged India to a good extent rather than Pakistan. Pakistan was disappointed with the happenings. At this desperate phase, Liaquat Ali Khan received an invitation from USSR to visit Moscow for the talks. It was a pollyannaish hope for Pakistan and Liaquat Ali Khan was satisfied that a way out of a thick mist is getting clear. After receiving the invitation to visit Moscow, Liaquat Ali Khan delayed his visit and later postponed it to an indefinite period. In sometime, Pakistan received an invitation from United States — offering economic and political help to Pakistan along with the positive solution of Kashmir — Pakistan accepted it and abrogated the invitation of USSR.

62 years have passed now since United States gave Pakistan a hope of solving Kashmir Issue positively under a pack of negotiations, but without any movement of change the status quo persists.

Economic aid was promised to Pakistan which was fulfilled by United States, but at a cost of modern-slavery. The modern-slavery is hooked with a nomenclature which today has more to do with the sovereignty of Pakistan.

The United States started a war in Afghanistan — a war which has no end — and a war to dispatch the Talibans who were mutually created by Pakistan and United States. An event to remember that the band of these monsters was once privileged by the same United States.

In the meanwhile, Pakistan always have had the chances to witness the dual-turns of United States foreign policies and imperialism — but the leaders of Pakistan yet kept on continuing to hold the relations with United States in a firm way as it was started initially. The priorities of Pakistan remained im-permute. At different modes of time since 1947, Pakistan remained cling to United States; however, in other parts of the world the priorities of different nations keep on varying time to time. The European Union is a good example though. The clock of progress of Pakistan remains standstill except that of the economy which was and is heavily bankrolled by United States at a huge expense — sovereignty.

When 9/11 catastrophe happened and Musharraf was railroaded by the United States about pushing Pakistan to a stone age if Pakistan wouldn’t help United States in fighting the war in Afghanistan — which they say is a war against terrorism. Veteran President General Pervez Musharraf — without giving it a thought that he’s living in a 21st century and his country holds the nuclear arms — came under the influence of this gunboat diplomacy and rapidly offered full services of Pakistan to United States, hence tossing out Pakistan into extreme problems. The leaders of Pakistan have remained frail at such phases.

In a hasty manner, Musharraf accepted United States demands — as fully as it shouldn’t be — in a hope that collaboration with US would give Pakistan the chances to quickly improve itself — economically, poltically and advancement in defence — yet he again forgot the huge price Pakistan has to pay for it and will keep paying till the ties of unilateral selfish-friendship continues between both the nation.

Musharraf transacted with the United States — following the footprints of his predecessors — and rendering Pakistanis to United States for the exchange of dollars which surged the economy of Pakistan temporarily, but its moral and principled justification can’t be legalized no where in the world where the rule of law is superior.

These are the things we keep on talking and discussing often and so much. And these are always serious matters concerning every Pakistani. It’s a Pakistani who would decide and build its nation not a Yankee or a Brit. The priorities of Pakistanis should be with a whim to bolster the nation — but not hastily as it always has happened, not even under a dismantled sovereignty in exchange of dollars — but only and solely as a staunch supporter of its country under legal principles. The battle of good vs evil continues — and the good wins ultimately. But no sucess without an obsess — obsess with duty, honor and country — and as General Douglas McArthur said: These three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points, to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.

Today, the political leaders and Army can use and will always use ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ to embroil Pakistan to troubles, dilemma and desperate straits — but unfortunately this ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ was and is never used to emerge Pakistan from the obnoxious situations we’re facing today. Or rather this substantiates with evidence the dignity of Pakistan is really on sine die sale.

Jinnah – The movie

I downloaded the movie “Jinnah” yesterday and planned to watch it as soon as I’ll get time. Today, after coming from uni – I had nothing much to do. So, I thought to watch the movie like a shot – in spite of the fact that I’ve already watched that movie once long back when it was released.

I turned on the movie and started watching. The beginning was good – the movie was quite enough to make one overenthusiastic. As being a patriotic and nationalist – I was stirred and evoked with emotions. Overall, the movie was great. Some of the dialogues and talkses were great which we commonly encounter while reading the history of Pakistan.

There was an argument amongst Quaid-e-Azam and Lord Mountbatten about the creation of Pakistan – where Mountbatten enounced that I’m a representative of King Emperor. Reciprocally, Quaid-e-Azam responded, “Whom we respect (aiming towards the ‘King Emperor’) And I’m here as a representative of Muslim Nation whom you must learn to respect!!” That was a top-drawer reply by Quaid-e-Azam.

At some occasion – a lunch Quaid-e-Azam and Fatima Jinnah with Lord Mountbatten and Lady Mountbatten, Mountbatten says, “King called me and said, “Go to India and give a way” And after that, Fatima Jinnah replies, “Can’t you give a way what really never belonged to you.” — Again a brilliant response!!

At another event – Liaquat Ali Khan brings some scandalous letters between Lady Mountbatten and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru to Quaid-e-Azam. Quaid-e-Azam, the man of principles and dignity articulates in a wonderful way. He says, “History is made by the wills and wounds of millions of people – not by the letters for blackmailing purpose.” That was an howling reaction by Quaid-e-Azam. Excellent!!

In today’s politics – we see this trend is a lot more usual. The opponents of other political parties are always in hunt of pulling the legs of their opponents. The use crummy negative techniques to slander their opponents by embroiling opponent’s families, personal lives etc. That’s way too bad. The founder of our Nation – Pakistan – never ever followed this. He reacted harshly yet with Liaquat Ali Khan when Liaquat Ali Khan tried to tell to Quaid-e-Azam to use those scandalous letters for the sake of Pakistan. *Salute* to the man of principles who never used it. Quaid-e-Azam could have used those letters which would have solved a few issues in a trice. In any event, he never did!!

Now where are we heading towards?? What are we doing?? What are we – ourselves up to? We’ve stooped to such a level of ignominy that even the thing which is called ‘a basic sense’ has stopped working. Sad – but yet true!!

In another event – when someone brought with a news to Quaid-e-Azam that Maha-Raja of Kashmir has made up his mind to join India – Liaquat Ali Khan who was sitting along with Quaid-e-Azam exclaimed, “Mountbatten is coming today at Lunch and I must slap him.” For that, Quaid-e-Azam responded superbly and said, “We must learn to rise above these differences, Liaquat.” — Merely a wonderful response!!

During the last hours of movie, Quaid-e-Azam proclaimed:

“If we want to make this great state of Pakistan happy and prosperous – we must concentrate only and solely on the well-being of the people. You’re free .. free to go the Mosques, free to go to your Temples, and to any other place of worship in the state of Pakistan.”

I wish we all open open our eyes and see what history says – what those great leaders did – what those great leaders followed – and what made them great?? Principles – and honest dedications!!

We must subdue the things and thoughts – the awry thoughts – we’re poured into. Rise .. Rise .. Rise Pakistanis and make nation proud of you – the nation for which your forefathers fought down to see it as a greatest nation in the world!!

Pakistan Zindabad – Pakistan Paendabad. Long live Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

May Allah bless Pakistan. Aameen!!!