Two Nation Theory Of Pakistan By Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Essay

For the same phrase applied to Irish politics, see Two Nations Theory (Ireland). For the proposed resolution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, see Two-state solution.

The two-nation theory is the ideology that the primary identity and unifying denominator of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent is their religion, rather than their language or ethnicity, and therefore Indian Hindus and Muslims are two distinct nations, regardless of ethnic or other commonalities.[1][2] The two-nation theory was a founding principle of the Pakistan Movement (i.e. the ideology of Pakistan as a Muslim nation-state in South Asia), and the partition of India in 1947.[3]

The ideology that religion is the determining factor in defining the nationality of Indian Muslims was undertaken by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who termed it as the awakening of Muslims for the creation of Pakistan.[4] It is also a source of inspiration to several Hindu nationalist organisations, with causes as varied as the redefinition of Indian Muslims as non-Indian foreigners and second-class citizens in India, the expulsion of all Muslims from India, establishment of a legally Hindu state in India, prohibition of conversions to Islam, and the promotion of conversions or reconversions of Indian Muslims to Hinduism.[5][6][7][8]

There are varying interpretations of the two-nation theory, based on whether the two postulated nationalities can coexist in one territory or not, with radically different implications. One interpretation argued for sovereign autonomy, including the right to secede, for Muslim-majority areas of the Indian subcontinent, but without any transfer of populations (i.e. Hindus and Muslims would continue to live together). A different interpretation contends that Hindus and Muslims constitute "two distinct, and frequently antagonistic ways of life, and that therefore they cannot coexist in one nation."[9] In this version, a transfer of populations (i.e. the total removal of Hindus from Muslim-majority areas and the total removal of Muslims from Hindu-majority areas) is a desirable step towards a complete separation of two incompatible nations that "cannot coexist in a harmonious relationship".[10][11]

Opposition to the theory has come from two sources. The first is the concept of a single Indian nation, of which Hindus and Muslims are two intertwined communities.[12] This is a founding principle of the modern, officially secular, Republic of India. Even after the formation of Pakistan, debates on whether Muslims and Hindus are distinct nationalities or not continued in that country as well.[13] The second source of opposition is the concept that while Indians are not one nation, neither are the Muslims or Hindus of the subcontinent, and it is instead the relatively homogeneous provincial units of the subcontinent which are true nations and deserving of sovereignty; this view has been presented by the Baloch,[14] Sindhi,[15] and Pashtun[16] sub-nationalities of Pakistan and the Assamese[17] and Punjabi[18] sub-nationalities of India.


In general, the British-run government and British commentators made "it a point of speaking of Indians as the people of India and avoid speaking of an Indian nation."[2] This was cited as a key reason for British control of the country: since Indians were not a nation, they were not capable of national self-government.[19] While some Indian leaders insisted that Indians were one nation, others agreed that Indians were not yet a nation but there was "no reason why in the course of time they should not grow into a nation."[2]

Similar debates on national identity existed within India at the linguistic, provincial and religious levels. While some argued that Indian Muslims were one nation, others argued they were not. Some, such as Liaquat Ali Khan (later prime minister of Pakistan) argued that Indian Muslims were not yet a nation, but could be forged into one.[2]

According to the Pakistan studies curriculum[which?], Muhammad bin Qasim is often referred to as the first Pakistani.[20] While Prakash K. Singh attributes the arrival of Muhammad bin Qasim as the first step towards the creation of Pakistan.[21]Muhammad Ali Jinnah considered the Pakistan movement to have started when the first Muslim put a foot in the Gateway of Islam.[22][unreliable source?]

Start of Muslim self-awakening and identity movement (19th century–1940s)[edit]

Further information: Muslim nationalism in South Asia and Pakistan Movement

The movement for Muslim self-awakening and identity was started by the Muslim modernist and reformer Syed Ahmad Khan (1817–1898). Many Pakistanis describe him as the architect of the two-nation theory.

The poet philosopher Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938) provided the philosophical exposition and BarristerMuhammad Ali Jinnah (1871–1948) translated it into the political reality of a nation-state.[23][page needed] Allama Iqbal's presidential address to the Muslim League on 29 December 1930 is seen by some as the first exposition of the two-nation theory in support of what would ultimately become Pakistan.[23][page needed]

The scholar Al-Biruni (973–1048) had observed, at the beginning of the eleventh century, that Hindus and Muslims differed in all matters and habits.[23][page needed] On 23 March 1940, Jinnah made a speech in Lahore which was very similar to Al-Biruni's thesis in theme and tone. Jinnah stated that Hindus and Muslims belonged to two different religious philosophies, with different social customs and literature, with no intermarriage and based on conflicting ideas and concepts. Their outlook on life and of life was different and despite 1000 years of history, the relations between the Hindus and Muslims could not attain the level of cordiality.[23][page needed]

In 1948, Jinnah said:

Islam has taught us this and I think you will agree with me, for whatever you may be and wherever you are, you are a Muslim. You belong to a nation now. You have carved out a territory, a vast territory, it is all yours; it does not belong to a Punjabi or a Sindhi or a Pathan or a Bengali, it is yours.

The All-India Muslim League, in attempting to represent Indian Muslims, felt that the Muslims of the subcontinent were a distinct and separate nation from the Hindus. At first they demanded separate electorates, but when they came to the conclusion that Muslims would not be safe in a Hindu-dominated India, they began to demand a separate state. The League demanded self-determination for Muslim-majority areas in the form of a sovereign state promising minorities equal rights and safeguards in these Muslim majority areas.[23][page needed]

Aspects of the theory[edit]

The theory asserted that India was not a nation. It also asserted that Hindus and Muslims of the Indian subcontinent were each a nation, despite great variations in language, culture and ethnicity within each of those groups.[24] To counter critics who said that a community of radically varying ethnicities and languages who were territorially intertwined with other communities could not be a nation, the theory said that the concept of nation in the East was different from that in the West. In the East, religion was "a complete social order which affects all the activities in life" and "where the allegiance of people is divided on the basis of religion, the idea of territorial nationalism has never succeeded."[25][26]

It asserted that "a Muslim of one country has far more sympathies with a Muslim living in another country than with a non-Muslim living in the same country."[25] Therefore, "the conception of Indian Muslims as a nation may not be ethnically correct, but socially it is correct."[26]

Muhammad Iqbal had also championed the notion of pan-Islamic nationhood (see: Ummah) and strongly condemned the concept of a territory-based nation as anti-Islamic: "In tāzah xudā'ōⁿ mēⁿ, baṙā sab sē; waṭan hai: Jō pairahan is kā hai; woh maẕhab kā, kafan hai... (Of all these new [false] gods, the biggest; is the motherland (waṭan): Its garment; is [actually] the death-shroud, of religion...)"[27] He had stated the dissolution of ethnic nationalities into a unified Muslim society (or millat) as the ultimate goal: "Butān-e raⁿŋg ō-xūⁿ kō tōṙ kar millat mēⁿ gum hō jā; Nah Tūrānī rahē bāqī, nah Īrānī, nah Afġānī (Destroy the idols of color and blood ties, and merge into the Muslim society; Let no Turanians remain, neither Iranians, nor Afghans)".[28]

Pakistan, or The Partition of India (1945)[edit]

In his 1945 book Pakistan, or The Partition of India, Indian statesman and Buddhist Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar wrote a sub-chapter titled "If Muslims truly and deeply desire Pakistan, their choice ought to be accepted". He asserted that, if the Muslims were bent on the creation of Pakistan, the demand should be conceded in the interest of the safety of India. He asks whether Muslims in the army could be trusted to defend India in the event of Muslims invading India or in the case of a Muslim rebellion. "[W]hom would the Indian Muslims in the army side with?" he questioned. According to him, the assumption that Hindus and Muslims could live under one state if they were distinct nations was but "an empty sermon, a mad project, to which no sane man would agree".[29]

Justifications by Muslim leaders[edit]

Muhammad Iqbal's statement explaining the attitude of Muslim delegates to the London round-table conference issued in December 1933 was a rejoinder to Jawaharlal Nehru's statement. Nehru had said that the attitude of the Muslim delegation was based on "reactionarism". Iqbal concluded his rejoinder with:

In conclusion, I must put a straight question to Pandit Jawaharlal, how is India's problem to be solved if the majority community will neither concede the minimum safeguards necessary for the protection of a minority of 80 million people, nor accept the award of a third party; but continue to talk of a kind of nationalism which works out only to its own benefit? This position can admit of only two alternatives. Either the Indian majority community will have to accept for itself the permanent position of an agent of British imperialism in the East, or the country will have to be redistributed on a basis of religious, historical and cultural affinities so as to do away with the question of electorates and the communal problem in its present form.

— [30]

In Muhammad Ali Jinnah's All India Muslim League presidential address delivered in Lahore, on 22 March 1940, he explained:

It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders, and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality, and this misconception of one Indian nation has troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, litterateurs. They neither intermarry nor interdine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspect on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes, and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built for the government of such a state.

— [31]

In 1944, Jinnah said:

We maintain and hold that Muslims and Hindus are two major nations by any definition or test of a nation. We are a nation of 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 values and proportions, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and tradition, and aptitude and ambitions. In short, we have our own outlook on life and of life.

In an interview with the British journalist Beverley Nichols, he said in 1943:

Islam is not only a religious doctrine but also a realistic code of conduct in terms of every day and everything important in life: our history, our laws and our jurisprudence. In all these things, our outlook is not only fundamentally different but also opposed to Hindus. There is nothing in life that links us together. Our names, clothes, food, festivals, and rituals, all are different. Our economic life, our educational ideas, treatment of women, attitude towards animals, and humanitarian considerations, all are very different.

In May 1947, he had an entirely different emphasis when he told Mountbatten, who was in charge of British India's transition to independence:

Your Excellency doesn't understand that the Punjab is a nation. Bengal is a nation. A man is a Punjabi or a Bengali first before he is a Hindu or a Muslim. If you give us those provinces you must, under no condition, partition them. You will destroy their viability and cause endless bloodshed and trouble.

Mountbatten replied:

Yes, of course. A man is not only a Punjabi or a Bengali before he is a Muslim or Hindu, but he is an Indian before all else. What you're saying is the perfect, absolute answer I've been looking for. You've presented me the arguments to keep India united.

Savarkar's support to "Two Nation Theory"[edit]

The Hindu Maha Sabha under the presidency of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, came up with the two-nation theory a full 16 years before Jinnah did.[32][33][34]

However, Savarkar's idea of "two nations" did not translate into two separate countries. B. R. Ambedkar summarised Savarkar's position thus:

Mr. Savarkar... insists that, although there are two nations in India, India shall not be divided into two parts, one for Muslims and the other for the Hindus; that the two nations shall dwell in one country and shall live under the mantle of one single constitution;... In the struggle for political power between the two nations the rule of the game which Mr. Savarkar prescribes is to be one man one vote, be the man Hindu or Muslim. In his scheme a Muslim is to have no advantage which a Hindu does not have. Minority is to be no justification for privilege and majority is to be no ground for penalty. The State will guarantee the Muslims any defined measure of political power in the form of Muslim religion and Muslim culture. But the State will not guarantee secured seats in the Legislature or in the Administration and, if such guarantee is insisted upon by the Muslims, such guaranteed quota is not to exceed their proportion to the general population.[29]

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan's opposition to the partition of India[edit]

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as "Frontier Gandhi" or "Sarhadi Gandhi", was not convinced by the two-nation theory and wanted a single united India as home for both Hindus and Muslims. He was from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in present-day Pakistan. He believed that the partition would be harmful to the Muslims of the subcontinent. Post partition, Ghaffar Khan was a strong advocate of the Pashtunistan movement.

Gandhi's View[edit]

Gandhi was against the division of India on the basis of religion. He once wrote:

I find no parallel in history for a body of converts and their descendants claiming to be a nation apart from the parent stock.[35][36][37][38][39]

View of the Ulama[edit]

The two nation theory was opposed by the Deobandi scholars, a departure from the position of their predecessors Shah Waliullah, Syed Ahmed and Muhammad Ismail. The principal of Darul Ulum Deoband, Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madni, not only opposed the two nation theory but sought to redefine Indian Muslim nationhood. He advocated Indian nationalism, believing that nations in modern times were formed on the basis of land, culture, and history.[40] He and other leading Deobandi ulama endorsed territorial nationalism, arguing that Islam permitted it.[41] Despite opposition from most Deobandi scholars, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi and Mufti Muhammad Shafi instead opted to justify the two nation theory and concept of Pakistan.[42] Likewise, the Barelwi ulama supporting the Muslim League and its Pakistan demand, argued that befriending 'unbelievers' was forbidden in Islam.[41]

Post-partition debate[edit]

Since the partition, the theory has been subjected to animated debates and different interpretations on several grounds. In his memoirs entitled Pathway to Pakistan (1961), Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman, the first president of the Pakistan Muslim League, has written: "The two-nation theory, which we had used in the fight for Pakistan, had created not only bad blood against the Muslims of the minority provinces, but also an ideological wedge, between them and the Hindus of India.". He further wrote: "He (Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy) doubted the utility of the two-nation theory, which to my mind also had never paid any dividends to us, but after the partition, it proved positively injurious to the Muslims of India, and on a long-view basis for Muslims everywhere."

According to Khaliquzzaman, on 1 August 1947, Jinnah invited the Muslim League members of India's constituent assembly to a farewell meeting at his Delhi house.

Mr. Rizwanullah put some awkward questions concerning the position of Muslims, who would be left over in India, their status and their future. I had never before found Mr. Jinnah so disconcerted as on that occasion, probably because he was realizing then quite vividly what was immediately in store for the Muslims. Finding the situation awkward, I asked my friends and colleagues to the end the discussion. I believe as a result of our farewell meeting, Mr. Jinnah took the earliest opportunity to bid goodbye to his two-nation theory in his speech on 11 August 1947 as the governor general-designate and President of the constituent assembly of Pakistan.

In his 11 August 1947 speech, Jinnah had spoken of composite Pakistani nationalism, effectively negating the faith-based nationalism that he had advocated in his speech of 22 March 1940. In his 11 August speech, he said that non-Muslims would be equal citizens of Pakistan and that there would be no discrimination against them. "You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state."

The theory has faced scepticism because Muslims did not entirely separate from Hindus and about one-third of all Muslims continued to live in post-partition India as Indian citizens alongside a much larger Hindu majority.[46][47] The subsequent partition of Pakistan itself into the present-day nations of Pakistan and Bangladesh was cited as proof both that Muslims did not constitute one nation and that religion alone was not a defining factor for nationhood.[46][47][48][49][50]

Some historians have claimed that the theory was a creation of a few Muslim intellectuals.[51] Prominent Pakistani politician Altaf Hussain of Muttahida Qaumi Movement believes history has proved the two-nation theory wrong.[52] He contended, "The idea of Pakistan was dead at its inception, when the majority of Muslims (in Muslim-minority areas of India) chose to stay back after partition, a truism reiterated in the creation of Bangladesh in 1971".[53] Canadian writer Tarek Fatah termed the two-nation theory as "absurd".[54]

Ethnic and provincial groups in Pakistan[edit]

Several ethnic and provincial leaders in Pakistan also began to use the term "nation" to describe their provinces and argued that their very existence was threatened by the concept of amalgamation into a Pakistani nation on the basis that Muslims were one nation.[55][56] It has also been alleged that the idea that Islam is the basis of nationhood embroils Pakistan too deeply in the affairs of other predominantly Muslim states and regions, prevents the emergence of a unique sense of Pakistani nationhood that is independent of reference to India, and encourages the growth of a fundamentalist culture in the country.[57][58][59]

Also, because partition divided Indian Muslims into three groups (of roughly 150 million people each in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) instead of forming a single community inside a united India that would have numbered about 450 million people in 2010 and potentially exercised great influence over the entire subcontinent, the two-nation theory is sometimes alleged to have ultimately weakened the position of Muslims on the subcontinent and resulted in large-scale territorial shrinkage or skewing for cultural aspects that became associated with Muslims (e.g., the decline of Urdu language in India).[60][61]

This criticism has received a mixed response in Pakistan. A poll conducted by Gallup Pakistan in 2011 shows that an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis held the view that separation from India was justified in 1947.[62] Pakistani commentators have contended that two nations did not necessarily imply two states, and the fact that Bangladesh did not merge into India after separating from Pakistan supports the two nation theory.[63][64]

Others have stated that the theory is still valid despite the still-extant Muslim minority in India, and asserted variously that Indian Muslims have been "Hinduized" (i.e., lost much of their Muslim identity due to assimilation into Hindu culture), or that they are treated as an excluded or alien group by an allegedly Hindu-dominated India.[65] Factors such as lower literacy and education levels among Indian Muslims as compared to Indian Hindus, longstanding cultural differences, and outbreaks of religious violence such as those occurring during the 2002 Gujarat riots in India are cited.[3]

Pan-Islamic identity[edit]

See also: Pan-Islamism

The emergence of a sense of identity that is pan-Islamic rather than Pakistani has been defended as consistent with the founding ideology of Pakistan and the concept that "Islam itself is a nationality," despite the commonly held notion of "nationality, to Muslims, is like idol worship."[66][67] While some have emphasised that promoting the primacy of a pan-Islamic identity (over all other identities) is essential to maintaining a distinctiveness from India and preventing national "collapse", others have argued that the Two Nation Theory has served its purpose in "midwifing" Pakistan into existence and should now be discarded to allow Pakistan to emerge as a normal nation-state.[58][68]

Prominent political commentator Irfan Husain, in his column in Dawn, observed that it has now become an "impossible and exceedingly boring task of defending a defunct theory".[69] However some Pakistanis, including a retired Pakistani brigadier, Shaukat Qadir, believe that the theory could only be disproved with the reunification of independent Bangladesh, and Republic of India.[64]

According to Sharif al Mujahid, arguably the preeminent authority on Jinnah in Pakistan, the two-nation theory was relevant only in the pre-1947 subcontinental context.[70][full citation needed] He is of the opinion that the creation of Pakistan rendered it obsolete because the two nations had transformed themselves into Indian and Pakistani nations.[71][full citation needed] The columnist Muqtida Mansoor has quoted Farooq Sattar, a prominent leader of the MQM, as saying that his party did not accept the two-nation theory. "Even if there was such a theory, it has sunk in the Bay of Bengal."[72][full citation needed]

Post-partition perspectives in India[edit]

In post-independence India, the two-nation theory has helped advance the cause of groups seeking to identify a "Hindu national culture" as the core identification of an Indian.[citation needed] This allows the acknowledgement of the common ethnicity of Hindus and Muslims while requiring that all adopt a Hindu identity to be truly Indian. From the Hindu nationalist perspective, this concedes the ethnic reality that Indian Muslims are "flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood" but still presses for an officially recognized equation of national and religious identity, i.e., that "an Indian is a Hindu."[73]

The theory and the very existence of Pakistan has caused Indian far-right extremist groups to allege that Indian Muslims "cannot be loyal citizens of India" or any other non-Muslim nation, and are "always capable and ready to perform traitorous acts".[74][75] Constitutionally, India rejects the two-nation theory and regards Indian Muslims as equal citizens.[76] From the official Indian perspective, the partition is regarded as a tactical necessity to rid the subcontinent of British rule rather than denoting acceptance of the theory.[76][77]

See also[edit]


  1. ^Robin W. Winks; Alaine M. Low (2001), The Oxford history of the British Empire: Historiography, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-924680-9,  
  2. ^ abcdLiaquat Ali Khan (1940), Pakistan: The Heart of Asia, Thacker & Co. Ltd.,  
  3. ^ abMallah, Samina (2007). "Two-Nation Theory Exists". Pakistan Times. Archived from the original on 11 November 2007. 
  4. ^O'Brien, Conor Cruise (August 1988), "Holy War Against India", The Atlantic Monthly  Quoting Jinnah: "Islam and Hinduism are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but in fact different and distinct social orders, and it is only a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality.... To yoke together two such nations under a single state ... must lead to a growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state."
  5. ^Shakir, Moin (18 August 1979), "Always in the Mainstream (Review of Freedom Movement and Indian Muslims by Santimay Ray)", Economic and Political Weekly, 14 (33): 1424, JSTOR 4367847,  
  6. ^M. M. Sankhdher; K. K. Wadhwa (1991), National unity and religious minorities, Gitanjali Publishing House, ISBN 978-81-85060-36-1,  
  7. ^Vinayak Damodar Savarkar; Sudhakar Raje (1989), Savarkar commemoration volume, Savarkar Darshan Pratishthan,  
  8. ^N. Chakravarty (1990), "Mainstream", Mainstream, 28 (32–52),  
  9. ^Carlo Caldarola (1982), Religions and societies, Asia and the Middle East, Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 978-90-279-3259-4,  
  10. ^S. Harman (1977), Plight of Muslims in India, DL Publications, ISBN 978-0-9502818-2-7,  
  11. ^M. M. Sankhdher (1992), Secularism in India, dilemmas and challenges, Deep & Deep Publication,  
  12. ^Rafiq Zakaria (2004), Indian Muslims: where have they gone wrong?, Popular Prakashan, ISBN 978-81-7991-201-0,  
  13. ^Pakistan Constituent Assembly (1953), Debates: Official report, Volume 1; Volume 16, Government of Pakistan Press,  
  14. ^Janmahmad (1989), Essays on Baloch national struggle in Pakistan: emergence, dimensions, repercussions, Gosha-e-Adab,  
  15. ^Stephen P. Cohen (2004), The idea of Pakistan, Brookings Institution Press, ISBN 978-0-8157-1502-3,  
  16. ^Ahmad Salim (1991), Pashtun and Baloch history: Punjabi view, Fiction House,  
  17. ^Principal Lecturer in Economics Pritam Singh; Pritam Singh (19 February 2008). Federalism, Nationalism and Development: India and the Punjab Economy. Routledge. pp. 137–. ISBN 978-1-134-04946-2. 
  18. ^Pritam Singh (19 February 2008). Federalism, Nationalism and Development: India and the Punjab Economy. Routledge. pp. 173–. ISBN 978-1-134-04945-5. 
  19. ^Abbott Lawrence Lowell (1918), Greater European governments, Harvard University Press,  
  20. ^Gilani, Waqar (30 March 2004). "History books contain major distortions". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. 
  21. ^Prakash K. Singh (2008). Encyclopaedia on Jinnah. 5. Anmol Publications. p. 331. ISBN 978-8126137794. 
  22. ^Zabeeh, Zia-ur-Rahman. "Pakistan Movement". Pioneers of Freedom, "Long Lie Pakistan" website hosted by FINDPK Yellow Pages of Pakistan. 
  23. ^ abcdeWolpert, Stanley A. (12 July 2005), Jinnah of Pakistan, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-567859-8 
  24. ^Rubina Saigol (1995), Knowledge and identity: articulation of gender in educational discourse in Pakistan, ASR Publications, ISBN 978-969-8217-30-3,  
  25. ^ abMahomed Ali Jinnah (1992) [1st pub. 1940], Problem of India's future constitution, and allied articles, Minerva Book Shop, Anarkali, Lahore, ISBN 978-969-0-10122-8,  
  26. ^ abShaukatullah Ansari (1944), Pakistan – The Problem of India, Minerva Book Shop, Anarkali, Lahore,  
  27. ^Nasim A. Jawed (1999), Islam's political culture: religion and politics in predivided Pakistan, University of Texas Press, ISBN 978-0-292-74080-8,  
  28. ^Sajid Khakwani (29 May 2010), امہ یا ریاست؟ (Ummah or Statehood?), News Urdu, archived from the original on 12 June 2010, retrieved 9 July 2010,  
  29. ^ abAmbedkar, Bhimrao Ramji (1945). Pakistan or the Partition of India. Mumbai: Thackers. 
  30. ^"Iqbal and the Pakistan Movement". Lahore: Iqbal Academy. Retrieved 22 April 2006. 
  31. ^Official website, Nazaria-e-Pakistan Foundation. "Excerpt from the presidential address delivered Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Lahore on March 22, 1940". Archived from the original on 28 June 2006. Retrieved 22 April 2006. 
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^Prof. Prasoon (1 January 2010). My Letters.... M.K.Gandhi. Pustak Mahal. p. 120. ISBN 978-81-223-1109-9. 
  36. ^David Arnold (17 June 2014). Gandhi. Taylor & Francis. p. 170. ISBN 978-1-317-88234-3. 
A map of the British Indian Empire, 1909, showing the prevailing majority religions of the population for different districts
A map of the British Indian Empire, 1909, showing the percentage of Hindus in different districts
The changing Indian political scenario in the second half of the 18th century.


2 Meaning of Two Nation Theory
4 1.Religious Differences
5 2.Hindu Nationalism
6 3.Cultural Differences
7 4.Social Differences
8 5.Economics Differences
9 6.Educational Differences
10 7.Political Differences
11 (i) Hindi Urdu Controversy
12 (ii) Congress Attitude
13 (iii) Partition of Bengal
14 8.Language
15 Sir syed Ahmed Khan-The Pioneer of Two Nation Theory



Meaning of Two Nation Theory
The Two Nation Theory in its simplest way means the cultural,political,religious,economic and social dissimilarities between the two major communities.Hindus and Muslims of the Sub Continent.These difference of out look ,in fact,were greatly instrumental in giving rise to two distinct political ideologies which were responsible for the partition of India into two independent states.

The Two Nation Theory was the basis of the struggle for creation of Pakistan which held that Hindus and Muslims are two separate Nations.They in spite of living together for centuries could not forget their individual cultures and civilization.Al-Beruni recorded his ideas in 1001 A.D in his famous book "Kitab-ul-Hind" as:
"The Hindus society maintained this peculiar character over the centuries.The two socities,Hindus and Muslims,like two streams have sometimes touched but never merged,each following its separate course."
There are a few factors which split the inhabitants of the Sub Continent into two Nations.Let us examine each of them separately.

1.Religious Differences
The Hindus and Muslims belong to different religions.Islam preaches Tawheed (oneness of Allah) and believes in equality of man before law.Muslims are the believers of God,The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) the Holy Book Quran and hold a cohesive approach towards life.
Hinduism,on the other hand is based on the concept of multiple Gods.Their society follows a caste system and is divided into four classes and have a very narrow approach towards life.

2.Hindu Nationalism
A number of Hindu nationalist movements,which emerged from time to time in the Indian history ,added fuel to the fire by playing up the tension and antagonism which already existed between the two communities.
The Hindu nationalist leaders totally ignored the great contribution made by the Muslims in the indian society by way of promoting education and other social activities.Their writings and ideas flared up the communal discord between Hindus and Muslims to further pollute the political condition.

3.Cultural Differences
Muslim followed the Islamic culture while Hindus inherited a self build culture.The Hindus burnt their dead bodies while Muslims burred them.Hindus considered the 'Mother cow' as a sacred animal and worshiped it while Muslims slaughtered it.they performed 'sati' while Muslims abhorred this tradition .The Hindus and Muslims did not intermarry nor they inter-dine.

4.Social Differences
The two communities of the Sub Continent differ in their social life as well.The clothes,the foods,the household utensils,the layout of homes,the words of salutation,the gestures and every thing about them was different and immediately pointed to their distinctive origin.

5.Economics Differences
After 1857,the Muslim economic was crushed and all trade policies were framed in such a way so as to determent the Muslim condition .They were thrown out of Government services and the their estates and properties were confiscated,while the Hindus were provided with ample opportunities to progress economically.

6.Educational Differences
The Hindus had advanced in the educational field because they quickly and readily took the english education.While Muslims did not receive modern education which heavily affected their economic conditions.

7.Political Differences
The political differences between the Hindus and Muslims have played an important role in the developement and evolution of Two Nation Theory.
(i) Hindi Urdu Controversy
In 1867,Hindus demande that Urdu should be written in Hindi Script instead of Persian script.This created another gap between Hindus and Muslims.
(ii) Congress Attitude
The Indian national Congress was founded in 1885.It claimed to represent all communities of India but oppressed all Muslim ideas and supported the Hindus.
(iii) Partition of Bengal
In 1905,the partition of Bengal ensured a number of political benefits for the Muslims,but the Hindus launched an agitation against the partition and partition was annulled in 1911.

The Muslimsand Hindus wrote and spoke two different languages .The language of the former was Urdu and it was written in Arabic Script.On the other hand ,the Hindi language was spoken by Hindus and it was written in Sanskrit.Urdu and Hindi language had the difference in writing,thoughts of poetry,arts,painting and words of music.Even this small difference lead to a stirring conflict between the two nations.
Sir syed Ahmed Khan-The Pioneer of Two Nation Theory
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan,the pioneer of two nation theory,used the word 'two nation' for Hindus and Muslims after being concinced of the Hindus and Congress hatred,hostility and prejudice for the Muslims.
The entire freedom movement revolved around the two nation theory which was introduced by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.He considered all those lived in India as one nation and was a great advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity.Speaking at the meeting of Indian Association he said:
"I look to both Hindus and Muslims with the same eyes and consider them as my own eyes.By the word 'Nation' I mean only Hindus and Muslims and nothing else,We,Hindus and Muslims live together on the same soil under the same government.Our intrests and problems are common,and therfore,I consider the two factions as one nation."
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan did his best to make the Muslims realize their differences ewith the Hindus with regard to religions,social and language national and international identity and for this purpose he diverted attention of the Indian Muslims towards a new idea of "Two Nation" or "Two entities."
After Hindi-Urdu controversy Sir Syed felt that it was not possible for Hindus and Muslims to progress as a single nation.He said:
" I am convinced now that Hindus and Muslims could never become one nation as their religion and way of life was quite distinct from each other."

Allama Iqbal was the first important figure who propounded the idea of separate homeland on the basis of two nation theory.He firmly believed in the separate identity of the Muslims as a nation and suggested that there would be no possibility of peace in the country unless and untill they were recognized as a nation.In the annual session of Muslim League at Allahabad in 1930,he said:
"India is a continent of human beings belonging to different languages and professing different religions...I,therefore,demand the formation of a consolidated Muslim state in the best interests of the Muslims of India and Islam."

The most clear and emphatic exposition is found in Jinnah's statement and speeches.He expounded the two nation theory in such detail that most Muslims and even some Hindus came to believe in its truth.He declared:
" Muslims are not a minority,They are one nation by every definition of the word nation.By all canons of international law we are a nation."
Quaid-e-Azam reiterated that Hindus and Muslims could ever evolve a common nationality was on idle dream.They are a totally different nation .They have an unbridgeable gulf between them and they stand miles apart in regards to their ideals,culture and religion.In 1973,he said:
"Hindustan is neither one country,nor its inhabitants one nation.This is Sub Continent which consist of many nations of which the Hindus and Muslims are two major nations."

The Muslims apprehended that they would lose their identity if they remained a part of Hindu society.They also came to realize the above mentioned differences between them and the Hindus and hence demanded separate electorate on the ground that they were different nation from Hindus.
Hence it is right to say that this theory i.e two nation theory is the basis of the creation of Pakistan because without this as a base,Pakistan would not come into being on 14th August ,1947,and we would not be breathing freely in this open air of Pakistan.

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