Who were these Muslims, from across the length and breadth of India, from Sind in the north west of the country down south to Kerala who stood clearly against the demand for a division of the country espoused through the Partition resolution of the Muslim League (1940) and voiced a clear vote for an undivided India?
Shamsul Islam and Syed Naseer Ahamed in their path breaking works bring us these narratives that challenge the imbalance in the public discourse. Muslims Against Partition (2015) by Shamsul Islam has only just been released. An earlier work The Immortals (2014) by Syed Naseer Ahamed painstakingly document these narratives; of Muslim women and men who participated in the freedom struggle and who opposed the politics of division.
The writer of the most recent book Muslims Against Partition, Shamsul Islam told CC that this was, arguably, the most important work of his life which will hopefully go a long way in dousing the hate-filled suspicions carefully fuelled by the Hindutva brigade. CC pays tribute to him and Syed Naseer Ahamed and their contribution by excerpting some sections of this important work.
Twenty-three years after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, a movement built on the vilification of Muslims in general and Indian Muslims in particular, the patriotism of Indian Muslims is continually questioned. Not any more by the fringe but by dominant political forces currently in positions of constitutional authority. Over the past 18 months, hate-filled comments by elected representatives and even ministers of the central government have poisoned the air, with consistent use of such hate speech. The only weapon against such systematic, Goebellian propaganda is fact, reason and perspective. This is what these excerpts add to the public discourse.
Who was Allah Baksh ?
Allah Bakhsh (Allah Bux Muhammad Umar Soomro) who rose from the grassroots among the Muslims of undivided India organised an effective and massive opposition to the nefarious designs of Muslim League in pre-Partition days. Allah Bakhsh was the Premier (those days chief minister was known by this designation) of Sind during the eventful days of ‘Quit India’ Movement of 1942 as head of the ‘Ittehad Party’ (Unity Party) which did not allow Muslim League to gain any foothold in the Muslim majority province of Sind.
Allah Baksh and his party were not part of the Indian National Congress but when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a derogatory reference to the Indian freedom struggle and the ‘Quit India’ Movement in a speech in the British Parliament, Allah Bakhsh renounced in protest all titles conferred by the British Government.
While announcing this renouncement he stated: "It is the cumulative result of the feeling that the British Government does not want to part with power. Mr. Churchill’s speech shattered all hopes.” The British administration could not digest this dissent of Allah Bakhsh and he was removed from office by the Governor, Sir Hugh Dow, on October 10, 1942. This great sacrifice of a Muslim leader for the freedom of the country remains unknown even today.
The fact is that Nathu Ram Godse, closely associated with Hindu Mahasabha, Savarkar and the RSS killed Gandhiji on January 30, 1948 is known by all.
But how many of us know that Allah Bakhsh a great fighter for the independence of a united India and prolific opponent of the idea of Pakistan who was murdered on May 14, 1943, in Sind by professional killers hired by Muslim League ? Allah Bakhsh needed to be liquidated because he was able to muster massive support of common Muslims throughout India against Pakistan. Moreover, Allah Bakhsh as a great secularist with massive support in Sind and opposed to the formation of Pakistan could prove to be the greatest stumbling block in the physical formation of Pakistan as without Sind, the ‘Islamic State’ in the west of the country just could not have materialized.
It is a well-known fact that dismissal of Allah Bakhsh government in 1942 and his murder in 1943 paved the way for entry of