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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2018

Ali Usman Qasmi
Affiliation:
Assistant Professor of History at the Lahore University of Management Sciences
Megan Eaton Robb
Affiliation:
Assistant Professor at the Department of Religious Studies in University of Pennsylvania, USA
Ali Usman Qasmi
Affiliation:
Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan
Megan Eaton Robb
Affiliation:
Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies
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Summary

Speaking at a huge gathering in Delhi during the 1940s, Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, the fiery leader of Majlis-i-Ahrar, a religio-political organization known for its radical anti-colonialism and as an ally of the Indian National Congress, narrated an anecdote. A mother gave 4 annas (a quarter of a rupee) to her son, Muhammad Ali, to fetch kerosene from the shop around the corner. The lad went to the shop and asked for 4 annas worth of kerosene. The shopkeeper filled the oval shaped clay pot to the brim. ‘Won't you give me a chunga with this?’ asked the boy. The shopkeeper replied, ‘The pot is full; where should I put the chunga?’ The boy upended the pot and pointed towards its opening. The shopkeeper obliged and put the chunga there. The boy went home and handed over the pot to his mother. Surprised that there was hardly any oil in the pot, the mother asked, ‘Beta [my son] Muhammad Ali, only this much oil for 4 annas?’ Muhammad Ali boasted: ‘No mother, look there is a chunga with it as well.’ A wry smile appeared on Bukhari's face as he concluded in front of the massive audience, held spellbound by his oratory: ‘This Pakistan triumphantly presented by Muhammad Ali Jinnah as a solution for Muslims who are a quarter of India's population is also like this chunga.’

This was Bukhari's rhetorical contribution to the debate on Pakistan. More seriously, he talked about the impracticality of the two wings of the proposed Muslim state being separated by thousands of miles of an ‘enemy territory’ of Hindus. Such a solution, he said, would divide the strength of South Asia's Muslim population, deprive them of their claims to the heartland of Indo- Islamic civilization in North India, and for the first time since the age of Ashoka give ownership of a vast empire to Hindus. Bukhari was not the only leader, nor Ahrar the only religious or political organization, to raise such concerns. The Azad Muslim Conference held in April 1940, just a month after the passage of the famous March resolution demanding separate Muslim states, was a massive gathering of Muslim organizations opposed to the Muslim League's demand for a Pakistan based on its two-nation theory.

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Muslims against the Muslim League
Critiques of the Idea of Pakistan
, pp. 1 - 34
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2017

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  • Introduction
    • By Ali Usman Qasmi, Assistant Professor of History at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Megan Eaton Robb, Assistant Professor at the Department of Religious Studies in University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Edited by Ali Usman Qasmi, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan, Megan Eaton Robb
  • Book: Muslims against the Muslim League
  • Online publication: 28 February 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316711224.001
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To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Introduction
    • By Ali Usman Qasmi, Assistant Professor of History at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Megan Eaton Robb, Assistant Professor at the Department of Religious Studies in University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Edited by Ali Usman Qasmi, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan, Megan Eaton Robb
  • Book: Muslims against the Muslim League
  • Online publication: 28 February 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316711224.001
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
    • By Ali Usman Qasmi, Assistant Professor of History at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Megan Eaton Robb, Assistant Professor at the Department of Religious Studies in University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Edited by Ali Usman Qasmi, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan, Megan Eaton Robb
  • Book: Muslims against the Muslim League
  • Online publication: 28 February 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316711224.001
Available formats
×