In the 1940s, as a colonial India inched closer to her independent future, a part of her was weakened by politics of religion.
Fuelled by the insecurity of Muslims not surviving in a Hindu majority country, the demand of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the All-India Muslim League was finally served when India split into two countries giving way to the formation of Pakistan.
What followed was a blood-soaked partition, an unwanted companion to the road to freedom.
However, there were many Muslims who were against the idea of partition. A partition they believed was unfavourable to the development of people.
As Jinnah stood firm on his demand for Pakistan, hatred against him intensified. Attempts to assassinate Jinnah were carried out several times with no success. Given below is the list of Muslims who never believed in the idea of an all-Muslim nation.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was born in Mecca in 1888 to an Indian Muslim father and an Arabic-speaking mother. Azad was a young journalist when he founded Al-Hilal, a Muslim newspaper that spoke against the colonial rulers as well as Indian Muslims who were loyal to the British.
In 1920, he joined the Indian National Congress party and was instrumental in awakening the Indian Muslim community. Azad was vehemently against the idea of partition and blatantly blamed Jinnah as well as Congress party leaders for the decision.
He was the first minister of education under Pandit Nehru’s government. He served until his death in 1958.
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
A devoted Muslim, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, led a nonviolent movement throughout the country against the British and was an advocate for Hindu-Muslim reconciliation in the Indian subcontinent.
He was a political and spiritual leader who was recognised for his peaceful opposition with an oath for non-violence, on the path of Prophet Muhammed.
In 1910, at the age of 20, Khan opened a school in his hometown Utmanzai which provided education to women and children, rebelling against the British Raj. He also founded the ‘Pashtun’ a monthly political journal to ensure that people were well-read and informed.
He felt deeply deceived when the Indian National Congress reluctantly accepted the partition proposal without consulting Khan, who had outrightly opposed the partition. Khan who was upset after his people were pushed into Pakistan, slammed the Congress saying “you have thrown us to the wolves”.
Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana
Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana was the Premier of pre-Partition Punjab. He belonged to an affluent family who owned 1,200-strong cavalry named Tiwana Lancers.
He was popular among the Congress and the Akali Dal in the pre-Partition Punjab Assembly. Known for his secular, honest, humble and courteous nature, Tiwana was polished in his social interaction and never lost his temper in public.
Citing the dangerous outcomes of extremist groups such as the Muslim League Guards and RSS, Tiwana banned the organisation permanently in January 1947 from Punjab. He remained anti-partition until his death.
A turning point came in his life when he suddenly resigned as the premier on March 2, 1947. It is said that he was introduced to the then education minister, Punjab, Ibrahim Khan Barq’s eight-year-old son who refused to shake hands with him.
The boy said, “Are you the same Khizar Tiwana uncle who is an obstacle in the creation of the Muslim State of Pakistan? I will not shake hands with you.” The words of the child felt like a dagger.
Tiwana later told Sardar Swaran Singh the then development minister said, “I could go on fighting with the Muslim League, but if our children feel that we are the villains of the piece, then let us disappear and let whatever happens, happen.”
K A Hamied
Born in 1898, Hamied was a freedom fighter who followed Mahatma Gandhi’s nationalism. He was against Jinnah and rejected his offer to move to Pakistan.
He despised Jinnah’s partition idea so much that he urged Gandhi and Vallabhbhai Patel to declare a civil war against the All Muslim League. He founded CIPLA, India’s oldest pharmaceutical company in 1935.
Allah Bux Somroo of Sindh
A zamindar, government contractor and politician from the province of Sindh in British India, he was a mass leader who organized the Azad Muslim Conference. He posed a major threat to the divisive Muslim League and its demand for a separate country.
However, as the two-nation demand spread like cancer, Soomro ensured that Sindh will remain away from its influence until his assassination on May 14, 1943.
Born in an affluent family, he served as the chief minister of Sindh from March 23, 1938, to April 18, 1940, and from March 7, 1941, to 14 October 1942.
Mirza Ali Khan
Popularly known as the Faqir of Ipi, Mirza was a Pashtun tribal chief and freedom fighter from North Waziristan in modern-day Pakistan.
He started a campaign of guerrilla warfare against the British Empire. He joined arms with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and asked Pandit Nehru to provide arms to his militia so that Kashmir could be freed from Pakistani invaders.
Inayatullah Khan was an Islamic scholar who loved mathematics. Having spent most of his adult life in serving as an educationist and civil servant in British colonial service, he raised a paramilitary Khaksar movement (‘the humble ones’; lit. ‘those with ashes on their head’).
His revolutionary politics that served irrespective of class, sect or religion attracted many south Asian Muslims. His ideology was against the idea of partition. In fact, Jinnah survived many attempts of assassination from him.
Pir Sabghatullah Shah Rashdi
Pir Sabghatullah Shah Rashdi known as Soreh Badshah fought against the British from the age of 21. He launched the Hur movement. Hur is a Sunni Sufi Muslim community in the province of Sindh, Pakistan.
They fought the colonial powers valiantly. Soreh Badshah coined the famous slogan “Watan ya Kafan, Azadi ya Mout,” meaning “Land or a coffin, freedom or death”. He opposed Jinnah’s demand for a separate nation and also saved many Hindus from Jinnah’s fanatic followers.
Soreh Badshah was finally hung to death in 1943, four years before the British left his land for good.
Maghfoor Ajazi was born in the 1900s in Muzaffarpur district, Bihar. An ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi and completely against Jinnah’s two-nation idea, he believed the only way forward was working together of both communities towards a common good.
He served as the first General Secretary of the All India Jamhur Muslim League, which was established to counter the All India Muslim League.
Unfortunately, these patriotic Muslim names have hardly found a mention in history books. They favoured the Hindu-Muslim brotherhood. For them, nation-building was above petty politics, religion and greed for power as in today’s day in age.