Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Jinnah: Bengalis Muslims are all from outside

Mr. YLH keeps making points about Jinnah that cause me to look it up and find more interesting things about this man.  YLH writes:
Jinnah overturned the martial race theory, declaring that the martial qualities of the Bengalis had been suppressed by the colonial rulers and that the Bengalis were second to none. He thus became the first ruler in 200 years to undo the officially sanctioned racism against the Bengalis.

Even this is funny - prior to the revolt of 1857,  as you can check in Wiki or elsewhere - the British did not discriminate against the Bengalis in recruitment.
Each of the three "Presidencies" into which the East India Company divided India for administrative purposes maintained their own armies. Of these, the Army of the Bengal Presidency was the largest.
Since Jinnah gave a speech in 1948 reminding the Bengalis of their martial tradition, (and it is not clear he did anything to improve Pakistani army recruitment of Bengalis), it was only 91, not 200 years.  But Pakistan is known for its madrassa math.

But I digress.  Let me get to the point made in the headline.  In Dhaka (Dacca), addressing a public meeting, March 21, 1948, Jinnah tried to calm the apprehensions of the East Pakistanis about the official language, Urdu.  He blamed the "certain amount of excitement over the question of whether Bengali or Urdu shall be the State language of this Province and of Pakistan" on the enemies of Pakistan, who were seeking to foment provincialism.
As long as you do not throw off this poison [of provincialism] in our body politic, you will never be able to weld yourself, mould yourself, galvanize yourself into a real true nation.   What we want is not to talk about Bengali, Punjabi, Sindhi, Baluchi, Pathan and so on.  They are of course units.  But I ask you: have you forgotten the lesson that was taught to us thirteen hundred years ago? [i.e., Islam]  If I may point out, you are all outsiders here.  Who were the original inhabitants of Bengal—not those who are now living.  So what is the use of saying "we are Bengalis, or Sindhis, or Pathans, or Punjabis". No we are Muslims.
[emphasis added.  Quote from Speeches, Statements & Messages of the Quaid-e-Azam, Volume IV, collected and edited by Khurshid Ahmad Khan Yusufi.]

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