President Dr Arif Alvi on Saturday shared a letter of Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah which he sent to Indian independence activist Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi during their negotiations before partition.
In the 1944 letter, Jinnah defines the Muslim nation by saying that “We are a nation with We are a nation of a hundred million, and, what is more, we are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of value and proportion, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and traditions, aptitudes and ambitions. In short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life.”
Praising the language of Quaid-e-Azam, President Alvi tweeted, “How beautifully and with an elegant mastery of language does M A Jinnah articulate his view about the Muslim nation. (Letter to Gandhi in 1944).”
How beautifully and with an elegant mastery of language does M A Jinnah articulate his view about the Muslim nation. (Letter to Gandhi in 1944) pic.twitter.com/x7n2POCWNc
— Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) October 6, 2018
Jinnah had, in the same letter, defended the two-nation theory by stressing that “we maintain and hold that Muslims and Hindus are two major nations by any definition or test of a nation … By all canons of international law we are a nation.”
The first letter in this series was written by Jinnah to Gandhi on 10 September, 1944, and it is learnt from it that during their meeting on the previous day, Jinnah had tried to persuade Gandhi to accept the Pakistan Resolution of March 1940, while Gandhi had put forward the Rajaji Formula. The main points that emerged during the debate were as follows:
Jinnah complained the Gandhi’s claim that he had come to discuss Hindu-Muslim settlement in his individual capacity raised “great difficulty” in his way because he himself could speak only in his capacity as the president of the Muslim League. Gandhi characteristically claimed, “though I represent nobody but myself, I aspire to represent all the inhabitants of India”, to which Jinnah replied, “I cannot accept that statement of yours. It is quite clear that you represent nobody else but Hindus, and as long as you do not realize your true position and the realities, it is very difficult for me to argue with you.”
For his part, Gandhi questioned the right of the Indian Muslims to call themselves a nation, “I find no parallel in history”, he wrote in one of his letters, “for a body of converts and their descendants claiming to be a nation apart from the parent stock”, to which Jinnah gave the famous reply.
Although the Gandhi-Jinnah negotiations failed to achieve the avowed goal of the Hindu-Muslim unity, they brought to Jinnah and the Muslim League two important political gains. Firstly, the leadership of the Congress had now offered to discuss the question of Pakistan seriously — before that, the Congress and Gandhi had kept the door to that subject uncompromisingly shut. Secondly, the Congress could no longer justifiably claim that it stood for all the communities in India including the Muslims.