Pakistani nationalism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
National Monument of Pakistan in Islamabad.
Founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, known in Pakistan as "Quaid-e-Azam" (The Great Leader), was the leader of the Pakistani nationalist movement that led to the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
Muhammad Iqbal is the national poet of Pakistan and laid the seeds of Pakistani nationalism by envisioning a separate homeland for Muslims in South Asia.

Pakistani nationalism refers to the political, cultural, linguistic, historical, religious and geographical expression of patriotism by the people of Pakistan, of pride in the history, culture, identity, heritage and religious identity of Pakistan, and visions for its future.

Unlike the secular nationalism of other countries, Pakistani nationalism and the religion of Islam are not mutually exclusive and religion is a part of the Pakistani nationalist narrative.

From a political point of view and in the years leading up to the independence of Pakistan, the particular political and ideological foundations for the actions of the Muslim League can be called a Pakistani nationalist ideology. It is a unique and singular combination of philosophical, nationalistic, cultural and religious elements.

Most of modern-day Pakistani nationalism is centered around the common Indo-Iranian identity and heritage of 99% of the population. Baloch, Kashmiris, Mohajirs, Punjabis, Pakhtuns and Sindhis and minorities are mainly of Indo-Iranian stock. It also refers to the consciousness and expression of religious influences that help mould the national consciousness. Nationalism describes the many underlying forces that moulded the Pakistan movement, and strongly continue to influence the politics of Pakistan.

National consciousness in Pakistan[edit]

Muslim conquest of South Asia[edit]

According to Pakistan Studies curriculum, Muhammad bin Qasim is often referred to as the first Pakistani.[1] Muhammad Ali Jinnah also acclaimed the Pakistan movement to have started when the first Muslim put a foot in the Gateway of Islam.[2]

Pakistani nationalists state that Pakistan is the successor state of Islamic empires and kingdoms that ruled the region for almost a combined period of one millennium, the empires and kingdoms in order are Abbasid, Ghaznavid Empire, Ghorid Kingdom, Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire. Pakistan's imperial past composes possibly the largest segment of Pakistani nationalism.

Pakistan today celebrates numerous Muslim kings and emperors for wars of liberation and emancipation such as Muhammad bin Qasim (not a king or emperor, but the commander of the first Muslim force sent to what was then known as Sindh), Muhammad of Ghaur, Mahmud of Ghazni (who defeated the Hindu king Prithviraj Chauhan), Aurangzeb Alamgir[citation needed] and Tipu Sultan who fought the British. However, few, if any, of the Kings mentioned above belonged to the region comprising modern day Pakistan and are related in respect to the independence nationalism. The region that is today known as Pakistan has historically been tribal in nature. The Pashtuns have always considered Islam to be their primary source of identity and have thus supported many Islamic rulers. The Baloch were a Tribal Confederacy, who at times paid tribute to Afghanistan and Persia. Sindh was ruled by the Kalhora and Baloch Talpur dynasties (both tributaries of Persia and Afghanistan at various times) in the period between the fall of the Mughal Empire and the beginning of the British Raj. Punjab and Kashmir were captured by the Durranis of Afghanistan, but later formed the Sikh Empire which captured integral Afghan territory including its former winter capital, Peshawar.

However liberal Muslim kings to an extent are also part of Pakistani pride. Akbar was a powerful Mughal emperor who started new religiont Din-i-Ilahi (for which he was condemned by orthodox clerics as a "heretic"), forged familial and political bonds with Hindu Rajput kings, and developed for the first time an environment of religious freedom. Akbar undid most forms of religious discrimination, and invited the participation of wise Hindu ministers and kings, and even religious scholars in his court. In his reign, the Mughal Empire was politically powerful, prosperous and its common people secure.

The main Mughal contribution to South Asia was their unique architecture. Many monuments were built during the mughal era including the Taj Mahal.

Renaissance vision[edit]

See Also: Syed Ahmed Khan, Indian rebellion of 1857

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1817 - 1898)

Syed Ahmed Khan promoted Western-style education in Muslim society, seeking to uplift Muslims in the economic and political life of British India. He founded the Aligarh Muslim University, then called the Anglo-Oriental College.

In 1835 Lord Macaulay's minute recommending that Western rather than Oriental learning predominate in the East India Company's education policy had led to numerous changes. In place of Arabic and Persian the Western languages, history and philosophy were taught at state-funded schools and universities whilst religious education was barred. English became not only the medium of instruction but also the official language in 1835 in place of Persian, disadvantaging those who had built their careers around the latter language. Traditional Islamic studies were no longer supported by the state, and some madrasahs lost their waqf or endowment. The War of Independence 1857 is held by nationalists to have ended in disaster for the Muslims, as Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal, was deposed. Power over the South Asia was passed from the East India Company to the British Crown. The removal of the last symbol of continuity with the Mughal period spawned a negative attitude amongst some Muslims towards everything modern and western, and a disinclination to make use of the opportunities available under the new regime. This tendency, had it continued for long, would have proven disastrous for the Muslim community.

Seeing this atmosphere of despair and despondency, Sir Syed launched his attempts to revive the spirit of progress within the Muslim community of India. He was convinced that the Muslims in their attempt to regenerate themselves, had failed to realize the fact that mankind had entered a very important phase of its existence, i.e., an era of science and learning. He knew that the realization of the very fact was the source of progress and prosperity for the British. Therefore, modern education became the pivot of his movement for regeneration of the Indian Muslims. He tried to transform the Muslim outlook from a medieval one to a modern one.

Sir Syed's first and foremost objective was to acquaint the British with the Indian mind; his next goal was to open the minds of his countrymen to European literature, science and technology.

Therefore, in order to attain these goals, Sir Syed launched the Aligarh Movement of which Aligarh was the center. He had two immediate objectives in mind: to remove the state of misunderstanding and tension between the Muslims and the new British government, and to induce them to go after the opportunities available under the new regime without deviating in any way from the fundamentals of their faith.

At the same time, Muslim nationalist leaders like Sir Muhammad Iqbal emphasized the spiritual richness of Islam and Islamic philosophy. Sir Muhammad Iqbal the conceptual founder of Pakistan, Is venerated by Pakistani and Muslim nationalists for implicitly endorsing the independence of a Muslim state in South Asia. Initially, Iqbal did not voice any such views. It was only in the late 1920s and early 1930s that he started proposing for autonomy for Muslim provinces within India. At this time, the Muslim League was not demanding independence from the British unlike the Indian National Congress. Iqbal demanded a Muslim state, regardless of the fact whether it will have self-government, or whether it will be within the British Empire.[3]

Iqbal is widely credited for his work in encouraging the political rejuvenation and empowerment of Muslims, and as a great poet not only in India and Pakistan, but also in Iran and Muslim nations in the Middle East.

Independence of Pakistan[edit]

In the Indian rebellion of 1857, Muslim soldiers and regional kings fought the forces allied with the British Empire in different parts of British Indian Empire. The war arose from a racialist viewpoint on the part of the British who attacked the "Beastly customs of Indians" by forcing the South Asian soldiers to handle Enfield P-53 gun cartridges greased with lard taken from slaughtered pigs and tallow taken from slaughtered cows. The cartridges had to bitten open to use the gunpowder, effectively meaning that sepoys would have to bite the lard and tallow. This was a manifestation of the disregard that the British exhibited to Muslim and Hindu religious traditions, such as the rejection of Pork in Islam, the rejection of slaughter of cow in Hinduism and the mandate of vegetarianism in Hinduism. There were also some kingdoms and peoples who supported the British. This event laid the foundation not only for a nationwide expression, but also future nationalism and conflict on religious and ethnic terms.

The Muslim desire for complete freedom and a new state for the Indian Muslims, or Azadi was born with Kernal Sher Khan, who looked to the glories of Muslim history and heritage, and condemned the fall of Muslims from the ruling elite to subservient citizens of the British Empire. The idea of complete independence did not catch on until after World War I, when the British attempted to exert totalitarian power with the Rowlatt Acts of 1919. When the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Amritsar, Punjab (India) of hundreds of unarmed and innocent civilians by British forces took place in the same year, the Muslim public was outraged and most of the Muslim political leaders turned against the British. Pakistan was finally gained independence in 1947 on the basis of Two Nation Theory.

Pakistani nationalist symbols[edit]

Mausoleum of M.A Jinnah is frequently visited by Pakistani nationalists, It is a national symbol of Pakistan.
The Mausoleum of Iqbal, next to Badshahi Masjid, Lahore, Pakistan

Pakistan has many shrines, sights, sounds and symbols that have significance to Pakistani nationalists. These include the Shrines of Political leaders of pre-independence and post-independence Pakistan, Shrines of Religious leaders and Saints, The Shrines of Imperial leaders of various Islamic Empires and Dynasties, as well as national symbols and sounds of Pakistan. Some of these shrines, sights and symbols have become a places of Pilgrimage for Pakistani ultra-nationalism and militarism, as well as for obviously religious purposes.

Nationalism and politics[edit]

The political identity of the Pakistani Armed Forces, Pakistan's largest institution and one which controlled the government for over half the history of modern day Pakistan (see History of Pakistan for events in the region that is now Pakistan before the Pakistani nation-state emerged) and still does, is reliant on the connection to Pakistan's Imperial past. The Pakistan Muslim League's fortunes up till the 1970s were single-handedly propelled by its legacy as the flagship of Pakistan's Independence Movement, and the core platform of the party today evokes that past strongly, considering itself to be the guardian of Pakistan's freedom, democracy and unity as well as religion. Muslims have remained loyal voters of the Pakistan Muslim League, seen as defender of Religious rights. Smaller parties have arisen, such as Pakistan Peoples Party, a party based on Liberal conservatism have also arisen. In contrast, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal employs a more aggressively theocratic nationalistic expression. The MMA seeks to defend the culture and heritage of Pakistan and the majority of its people, the Muslim population. It ties theocratic nationalism with the aggressive defence of Pakistan's borders and interests against archrival India, with the defence of the majority's right to be a majority. The party's fortunes arose primarily in the 1990s, with the frustration of the people with over 40 years of military domination as well as PPP corruption, sycophant leaders and lack of direction.

Ethnic nationalist parties include the Awami National Party, which is closely identified with the creation of a Pashtun-majority state in North-West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas includes many Pashtun leaders in its organization. However, the Awami National Party, At the last legislative elections, 20 October 2002, won a meagre 1.0% of the popular vote and no seats in the lower house of Parliament. In Balochistan, the Balochistan National Party uses the legacy of the independent Balochistan to stir up support, However at the last legislative elections, 20 October 2002, the party won only 0.2% of the popular vote and 1 out of 272 elected members.

Almost every Pakistani state has a regional party devoted solely to the culture of the native people. Unlike the Awami National party and the Balochistan national party, these mostly cannot be called nationalist, as they use regionalism as a strategy to garner votes, building on the frustration of common people with official status and the centralization of government institutions in Pakistan. However, the recent elections as well as history have shown that such ethnic nationalist parties barely ever win more than 1% of the popular vote, the overwhelming majority of votes go to large and established political parties that pursue a national agenda as opposed to regionalism.

Internal factions[edit]

During the late years of British rule and leading up to independence, Muslim nationalism in South Asia had three groups of supporters:

1) Idealists, such as majority of Muslim students and intellectuals, inspired by Aligarh movement and Allama Iqbal, driven by a fear of being engulfed in "false secularism" that would assimilate their beliefs, culture and heritage and Islamic ideology into a common system that defied Islamic civic tenets and ideals while hoping to create a state where their higher education, reformist Islamist ideology and wealth would keep them in power over the other Muslims of India.

2) Realists, driven by political inflexibility demonstrated by the Indian National Congress, feared a systematic disenfranchisement of Muslims. This also included many members of the Parsi, and Nizari Ismaili communities.

3) Traditionalists, primarily lower Orthodoxy (Barelvi), that feared the dominative power of the upper Orthodoxy (Deoband) and saw Pakistan as a safe haven to prevent their domination by State-controlled propaganda. Although many leaders of upper Orthodoxy (such as Shabbir Ahmad Usmani and Ashraf Ali Thanwi) also supported the state of Pakistan in the interest of an Islamic Republic.

Nuclear power[edit]

Monument of a nuclear test site placed in Islamabad.

The intense guerrilla war in far Eastern Pakistan, followed by India's successful intervention led to the succession of Eastern contingent as Bangladesh. The outcomes of the war played a crucial role in the civil society. In January 1972, a clandestine crash programme and a spin-off to literary and the scientific revolution as response to that crash programme led Pakistan becoming the nuclear power.

First public tests were experimented out in 1998 (code names:Chagai-I and Chagai-II) in a direct response to India's nuclear explosions in the same year; thus Pakistan became the 7th nation in the world to have successfully developed the programme. It is postulated that Pakistan's crash programme arose in 1970 and mass acceleration took place following the India's nuclear test in 1974. It also resulted in Pakistan pursuing similar ambitions, resulting in the May 1998 testings of five nuclear devices by India and six as a response by Pakistan, opening a new era in their rivalry. Pakistan, along with Israel and India, is three of the original states that have restrained itself from being party of the NPT and CTBT which it considers an encroachment on its right to defend itself. To date, Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear state.

Pakistani nationalist songs[edit]

Pakistani singers such as Masood Rana, Mehdi Hassan, Asad Amanat Ali Khan, Alamgir, Benjamin Sisters and Pakistani bands such as Vital Signs and Junoon popularized Pakistani nationalism with songs such as Millat Ka Paasbaan (Masood Rana), Ye Watan Tumhara Hai (Mehdi Hassan), Ai Watan Pyare Watan (Asad Amanat Ali Khan), Khayal Rakhna (Alamgir and Benjamin Sisters), Dil Dil Pakistan (Vital Signs) and Jazba-e-Junoon (Junoon).

Pakistani nationalist blogs[edit]

A recent trend in Pakistani nationalism are Pakistani nationalist blogs such as The Pakistani Nationalist,[4] PakNationalists[5] and PKKH.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Sanjay Chaturvedi (May 2002). "Process of Othering in the case of India and Pakistan". Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie 93 (2): 149. doi:10.1111/1467-9663.00191. 
  • Selig S. Harrison (December 1997). "The United States and South Asia: Trapped by the Past?". Current History. Current History, Inc. 
  • Iftikhar H. Malik (July 1996). "The State and Civil Society in Pakistan: From Crisis to Crisis". Asian Survey 36 (7): 673–690. doi:10.1525/as.1996.36.7.01p0149s. 
  • Moonis Ahmar (October 1996). "Ethnicity and State Power in Pakistan: The Karachi Crisis". Asian Survey 36 (10): 1031–1048. doi:10.1525/as.1996.36.10.01p0176y. 
  • Malik, Hafeez (1961). The Growth of Pakistani Nationalism, 800 AD – 1947 AD. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University. 
  • MH Khatana. "Foundations of Pakistani Nationalism: The Life and Times of Allama Iqbal". Prof. Dr. S. Razi Wasti's Collection, GC University Libraries, Lahore. 
  • Feroz Ahmed (December 1971). "Why Pakistan's Unity Was Jeopardized?". Pakistan Forum 2 (3): 4–6. doi:10.2307/2569081. JSTOR 2569081. 
  • Anwar H. Syed (Summer 1980). "The Idea of a Pakistani Nationhood". Polity 12 (4): 575–597. doi:10.2307/3234301. JSTOR 3234301. 
  • Saadia Toor (September 2005). "A national culture for Pakistan: the political economy of a debate". Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (Routledge) 6 (3): 318–340. doi:10.1080/14649370500169946.