Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, the founding fathers of Pakistan and their political party, the All India Muslim League, had demanded that the British, who then ruled the Indian subcontinent, create a separate homeland for Muslims in India before they left India for good. Muslims living in India’s Hindu-majority provinces (UP, CP, MP, Bihar, etc.) wholeheartedly heeded this demand and made enormous sacrifices for a place in India that they could call their homeland.
In 1947, the British Raj in India came to an end, but before the British left they carved a united India into two separate states: Pakistan and India. Pakistan was supposed to be the homeland for all Muslimsliving in India. Subsequently, millions of Muslims living in what had become India started to migrate to Pakistan. While less than half of them had managed to migrate, the rulers of Pakistan closed the borders and advised Muslims still remaining in India to stay in India.
As a result of this treachery, hundreds of millions of Muslims living in India were divided into two countries, families were separated, and well over 200 million Muslims still live in India, more than Pakistan’s current population. Yes, more Muslims are still living in India than in Pakistan.
In 1857, the year when India’s Muslims and Hindus rose up against the British Empire in India, tens of thousands of Muslim Punjabis joined the British Army and played a key role in suppressing the War of Independence, widely referred to as “Mutiny” by British historians. The British Raj generously rewarded these Punjabis for their “loyalty” and granted them huge tracts of agricultural land in Punjab. In the following years, Punjabi soldiers played a vital role in sustaining British control of India.
In August 1947, when the British finally granted freedom to India, the state of Pakistan inherited from its former colonial masters a huge standing army dominated by Punjabi-speaking officers and soldiers. This Punjabi-dominated military, which had remained absolutely loyal to the British until the last day of the British Raj, wasted no time projecting itself as the “sole guardian” of Pakistan, the very state to whose creation they were opposed. Ironically, it found the audacity to question the patriotism of Mohajirs (immigrants) whose forefathers had sacrificed everything during the Pakistan Movement and to migrate to Pakistan.
The question is if the majority of Muslims in India had to remain Indian citizens, then why had Pakistan been created? Why were Muslims in Hindu-majority provinces asked to make huge sacrifices for Pakistan’s creation when Muslims living in areas where Pakistan was actually created remained silent spectators? Wouldn’t it be fair to say that the whole idea of Pakistan’s demand was based on lies?