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The Shias of PakistanAn Assertive and Beleaguered Minority$

Andreas Rieck

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190240967

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190240967.001.0001

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Shias and the Pakistan Movement

Shias and the Pakistan Movement

(p.31) 2 Shias and the Pakistan Movement
The Shias of Pakistan

Andreas Rieck

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

A large number of prominent Shia individuals have made crucial contributions to what has been termed the “Muslim political awakening” in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British India, as well as later in the “Pakistan Movement.” Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the iconic founding father of Pakistan, was himself a convert to Twelver Shi’ism, as were a number of his most important collaborators. But in the decade preceding the independence and partition of India, many Shias worried for the future of their community in the projected Islamic state of Pakistan, which had a clear Sunni majority. Some zealous Shia communalists demanded written guarantees for equal rights in the future state from Jinnah and his All India Muslim League, while others supported the Congress Party which opposed partition. But by 1946 most Shias in those Indian states which would become Pakistan in 1947 were all-out supporters of the Muslim League. This was of special importance in the Punjab which became the core province of Pakistan.

Keywords:   Muslim political awakening, Pakistan Movement, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, All India Muslim League, Shia communalists, equal rights, Punjab, Shia, Pakistan

Shia contributions to Muslim political awakening until 1939

While the centuries-old conflicts with Sunnis have played an important role in the development of Shia communalism in the Indian subcontinent and continue to do so at present time, it must be kept in mind that only a small minority of Indian Shias was seriously affected by such conflicts during the era of British rule. Since the late nineteenth century most members of the Shia intellectual and political elite were much more concerned with the great movements for Indian political self-determination and/or for Muslim self-assertion in the face of the Hindu majority than with Shia-Sunni problems.1 But regardless of the attitude of prominent Indian Shias to Shia communalism, their achievements have later been “reclaimed” by all of their co-religionists. Ever since the foundation of Pakistan, Shias voicing communal grievances or demands have consistently reminded their countrymen of the great contributions of Shias to the success of the Pakistan Movement.2

The role of Shias in the development of “Muslim nationalism” in India has indeed been significant both in the framework of the All-India Muslim League, which ultimately led the struggle for Pakistan, and in those organ-isations and movements, which with hindsight can be considered as having paved the way for that goal (adopted formally only in 1940). Already some of the pioneers of Islamic modernism in India had been Shias. Tafazzul Husain Kashmiri (1727–1801), who served under several Nawabs of Awadh, wrote treatises on mathematics, physics and astronomy, apart from translating (p.32) Western philosophical and scientific works into Arabic.3 Mirza Abu Talib Khan (1752–1806) after a journey to England and other European countries from 1798 to 1803 wrote a travelogue, Masîr-i Tâlibî fî bilâd-i Afranjî, which has been lauded as “a monumental assessment of Anglo-Saxon civilisation” and “a landmark of the first phase of … intercultural contact”.4 Maulana Muhammad Baqir Dihlavi (d. 1857), a teacher at the Delhi College, in 1835 started the weekly Dihlî Urdû Akhbâr, one of the first high-standard Urdu newspapers.5 S. Karamat Ali Jaunpuri (d. 1876) who served as representative of the British Indian government in Kabul and later as mutawallî of the Muhsiniya Waqf in Hoogly (Bengal) interpreted the Koran and hadîth as “a guidance towards modern science” in his magnum opus, the Risâla fî ma’âkhidh al-‘ulûm.6

In the decades following the failed uprising of 1857–58 some Shias were closely associated with S. Ahmad Khan and his movement for Muslim educational reform. Maulvi Chiragh Ali (1844–95), who made a career in the Civil Service of the U.P. and later of the Hyderabad State (Deccan), impressed S. Ahmad Khan with his writings advocating a modernist reinterpretation of the Koran and hadîth as sources of Islamic law. His apologetic interpretation of jihâd was much in line with S. Ahmad Khan’s arguments urging Muslims to come to terms with British rule.7 In 1864, when S. Ahmad Khan founded a society for the introduction of Western sciences among Indian Muslims, the most enthusiastic response came from Maulana Siraj Husain, a son of the Shia mujtahid Muhammad Quli Kinturi.8 Most influential among the Shia modernists who cooperated with S. Ahmad Khan was S. Amir Ali (1849–1928) from Calcutta who had a distinguished career in the judiciary and in politics.9 His book The Spirit of Islam, published first in London 1891, became one of the most widely-read defences of the Prophet Muhammad against Christian criticism during his lifetime and beyond.10 In his other major book, A Short History of the Saracens (1900), he tried to bridge the main controversial point between Shias and Sunnis by differentiating between an “apostolic” caliphate of Ali and the “pontifical” caliphate of his three predecessors.11 He also showed readiness to set aside his Shia beliefs for the sake of Muslim unity during the Khilâfat Movement (see below). In 1877 he founded a National Mohammedan Association which was the first political organisation of Indian Muslims, although popular response to it remained modest.12 In 1882 the Association submitted a memorial to the Viceroy Lord Ripon which received a reply from his successor Lord Dufferin, said to have been “the most important declaration of policy emanating from the head of the Indian Government (p.33) in regard to Muslims … prior to Lord Minto’s reply to the Muhammadan deputation … 1906”.13 S. Amir Ali, like S. Ahmad Khan, was also quick to denounce the programme of the Indian National Congress (founded in 1885) as detrimental to the interests of the Muslims. In 1887 he tried to call a conference of Indian Muslims as a counterweight to the Congress, but did not succeed.14

Shias had a great part in S. Ahmad Khan’s most important legacy, the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh (founded in 1877).15 When fund-raising started for the college scheme in 1872, Shias were among those leading the campaign as well as among the subscribers.16 One of the latter was Raja Amir Hasan Khan of Mahmudabad (d. 1903), heir of a large estate near Lucknow.17 Although he withdrew his annual grant in 1888, compensation was immediately found from Shias in the Hyderabad State thanks to the efforts of S. Husain Bilgrami.18 In 1904 and again in 1910 Raja Muhammad Ali Muhammad Khan of Mahmudabad (1879–1931), the eldest son and successor of Raja Amir Hasan Khan, made donations of Rs. 100,000 to the Aligarh College.19 He also headed a committee set up for raising funds to elevate the college to university level in 1906 and toured Indian provinces for that purpose.20 From 1920 to 1923 he became vice-chancellor of the newly created university.21 The initial drive for a Muslim University in Aligarh had come from another Shia leader, the Agha Khan III (1877–1957), during a session of the All-India Muslim Educational Conference in Bombay in January 1903.22 That institution set up in 1886 by S. Ahmad Khan complemented the goals of the Aligarh College with the establishment of modern Muslim schools throughout India.23 Shias participated very actively in the efforts of the Muslim Educational Conference, often also presiding over its annual sessions in different Indian towns.24

The Aligarh College was not immune from sectarian disputes,25 but its secularist orientation made it attractive for upper-class Shias as much as Sunnis. It turned out a nucleus of Muslim political awakening for the whole Indian subcontinent, producing many leaders of the Muslim League and later the Pakistan Movement. S. Ahmad Khan’s radical modernist views on Islam had provoked much criticism from Shia as well as Sunni religious circles, but his strongest opponents belonged to Sunni revivalist schools of thought like the Deobandis and Ahl-i hadîth. Incidentally many Sunni ‘ulamâ’ of that same background would later oppose Jinnah and the demand for Pakistan.26

The Muslim political awakening was accelerated by a rise of Hindu communalism in the last decades of the nineteenth century. One important (p.34) issue that united Shias and Sunnis against Hindus was the Hindi-Urdu controversy; kindled in 1867 when Hindus agitated for the replacement of Urdu by Hindi as the second official language besides English in the North-Western Provinces.27 Having achieved only partial success, the advocates of Hindi started a new campaign in 1895, which resulted in its recognition as an official court language in 1900. That same year Nawab Muhsin ul-Mulk, the head of the Aligarh College since the death of S. Ahmad Khan, formed an Urdu Defence Association.28 Shias participated prominently in the counter-campaign, among them the jurists S. Karamat Husain (1852–1917)29 Hamid Ali Khan (d. 1923)30 and Khwaja Ghulam us-Saqlain31 in Allahabad and Lucknow.32 Muslim protests could not prevent Urdu from losing its former pre-eminent status, but initiatives for Muslim political organisation gained momentum. Again some Shias played an important role, among them the three last-mentioned,33 S. Husain Bilgrami,34 S. Amir Ali, and the Agha Khan III.

The final incentive was given by the announcement of constitutional reforms by the British Secretary of State for India, John Morley, in August 1906. On 1 October 1906 the Agha Khan led a thirty-five-member Muslim delegation to the Viceroy Lord Minto in Simla which submitted a memorandum containing two main demands, namely separate electorates for Muslims in all local and provincial elections and “weightage” for them in all elected bodies, i.e. more seats than their ratio of the population warranted.35 Having received a favourably reply from Lord Minto, the deputation was followed up with the foundation of the All-India Muslim League on 30 December 1906 in Dhaka on the sidelines of the annual session of the Muslim Educational Conference. S. Karamat Husain, Hamid Ali Khan, Khwaja Ghulam us-Saqlain, S. Husain Bilgrami and S. Ali Imam (1869–1932)36 were among the Shia members of the League’s first Provisional Committee.37 The Agha Khan, who did not attend the Dhaka meeting, was elected Honorary President and became permanent President of the Muslim League from its first regular session in 1907 (Karachi) until his resignation in 1913.38 The Muslim League started as a thoroughly elitist organisation, and the Agha Khan was selected to head it because of his political acumen and influence with highest British authorities in London and Calcutta.

Shias played an important role in the League from the start and continued to do so right until the foundation of Pakistan. In the early years, most noteworthy apart from the Agha Khan—who, as an Isma‘ili leader, belonged to a category of his own—were S. Amir Ali, S. Wazir Hasan, Raja (p.35) Muhammad Ali Muhammad of Mahmudabad and Nawab Fateh Ali Qizilbash. S. Amir Ali, who had settled in England after retirement from the Calcutta High Court bench in 1904, formed a London branch of the Muslim League in 1908.39 Together with the Agha Khan he lobbied for Muslim interests in the British capital, ensuring that the 1906 promise of separate electorates for Muslims was transformed into law with the 1909 Indian Councils Act (Morley-Minto Reforms Act).40 He presided in absentia over the third annual session of the League in Delhi (January 1910), urging loyal cooperation with the British and more efforts for solving the economic, social and educational problems of the Muslims.41 In 1913 he resigned from the Muslim League because of the latter’s growing criticism of the British Indian government.42 Nawab Qizilbash, too, distanced himself from the League after an attempt to keep it on a staunchly pro-British line had failed in 1913–14.43

If the Agha Khan, S. Amir Ali and Qizilbash had exemplified the loyalist-conservative origins of the Muslim League, the Lucknow barrister S. Wazir Hasan (1872–1947)44 did much to bring the League more in line with the nationalist aims of the Congress. He was elected Joint Secretary of the League in 1910 and Secretary-General from 1913 to 1917. In 1912 he drafted a revised constitution of the League, which now comprised the goal of “a form of self-government suitable for India”.45 Since 1911 League-British relations had cooled down because of a reversal of the 1905 partition of Bengal and Muslim feelings of solidarity with Ottoman Turkey during the Tripoli and Balkan wars.46 They became more strained after Turkey allied itself with Germany during the First World War and the British Indian government arrested some prominent pro-Turkish leaders like Muhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali.47 This brought about the closest-ever rapprochement between the Muslim League and the Congress in the form of the Lucknow Pact of December 1916 to which S. Wazir Hasan had contributed, although its principal Muslim architects were Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Raja Muhammad Ali Muhammad of Mahmudabad.48

The Raja of Mahmudabad, a personal friend and supporter of S. Wazir Hasan, headed the Muslim League from 1915 to 1918 after having been one of its Vice-Presidents since 1907.49 Since 1910, when the central office of the League was transferred from Aligarh to Lucknow, he had financed it with a fixed annual chanda of Rs. 3,000.50 Basically loyal to the British, the Raja was more committed to Indian self-rule than the Agha Khan. In 1915 he supported the brothers Muhammad and Shaukat Ali after another Shia aristocrat of the U.P., Raja Hamid Ali Khan of Rampur, had confiscated (p.36) their property.51 But perhaps his most important service to the Muslim cause in India, together with S. Wazir Hasan, was to convince Jinnah to join the Muslim League in 1913.52

Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876–1948), the later Qâ’id-i A‘zam (“great leader”) and founder of Pakistan, has, of course, been the greatest source of pride for Pakistan’s Shia community ever since the establishment of the state. Yet never in his political life did Jinnah display anything even remotely resembling Shia communalist thinking. Born a Khoja Isma‘ili, he had converted to Twelver Shi‘ism around 1904 without ever bothering much about its religious tenets.53 He started his political career as a member of the Indian National Congress in 1906, following the example of one of his most admired Bombay friends, Justice Badr ud-Din Tayyabji.54 In 1910 he was elected to the Imperial Legislative Council, winning his first laurels there with a bill, which reversed some British legislation on auqâf considered contrary to the sharî‘a.55 His achievements were lauded by leaders of the Muslim League, and Jinnah was invited to attend its sessions from December 1912. When he agreed to join the League in 1913, he did so as an “ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity”, a cause to which he remained committed against many odds until 1928.56 Jinnah’s later transformation into a stern advocate of Muslim rights in the face of a “hostile” Hindu majority was entirely political and accompanied by genuine abhorrence at inter-Muslim sectarian controversies.57 So consistently had Jinnah played down his Shia identity that after his death he was claimed by many Sunnis, too, as having been one of their own denomination.58

Muhammad Ali Muhammad Khan of Mahmudabad (conferred the title of Maharaja since 1925) was one of Jinnah’s wealthiest clients among the Indian Muslim aristocracy and a close friend, who offered hospitality to him regularly.59 He also appointed Jinnah as the first of seven trustees of his estates during the minority of his son and successor Amir Ahmad Khan (see below).60 He supported Shia communal causes like the foundation of a Shia College in Lucknow,61 but the Aligarh College, the Muslim League, and non-communal institutions like the Lucknow University and Medical College profited even more from his generosity.62

The participation of many upper-class Shias in Indian Muslim joint endeavours such as the Aligarh College, the Muslim Educational Conference and the Muslim League was perhaps natural, since they themselves stood to gain much from the results. By contrast, Shia support for the Khilâfat Movement in the years following the First World War was somewhat artificial, although understandable given the political context. Pan-Islamism (p.37) and sentimental attachment to the Ottoman Sultan and Caliph, the last Muslim ruler who was then still a power to reckon with internationally, had won influence in India since the last decades of the nineteenth century, helped by the activities of S. Jamal ud-Din al-Afghani (1839–97) in Hyderabad and Calcutta from 1879 to 1892.63 A number of Shias shared sympathies for the beleaguered Ottoman Empire, most prominent among them S. Amir Ali and Badr ud-Din Tayyabji.64 In 1919 Muslim resentment against the treatment of Turkey after its defeat in the First World War came to a head, coinciding with general indignation about how the British backtracked on their promises regarding Indian self-rule. From late 1919 to 1922 the Muslim League was eclipsed by the Khilâfat Movement led by radical nationalist and Deobandi Sunnis and by Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement launched in 1920.65 The principal demands of the Khilâfat Movement were the preservation of the caliphate as a temporal as well as a spiritual institution and the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, implying restoration of Turkish control over the holy places of Islam in the Hijaz.66 As even Gandhi and other Hindu Congress leaders had tactically proclaimed solidarity with the Khilâfat Movement, it was difficult for Shia leaders to abstain. The Raja of Mahmudabad hosted and financed the first Khilâfat Conference held in Lucknow in September 1919,67 and Jinnah—who was elected to preside over the Muslim League in Septemer 1919—denounced “the spoliation of the Ottoman Empire and the Khilâfat” as an “attack on our faith”.68 Both later distanced themselves from the Khilâfat Movement, but another Shia member of the League, S. Riza Ali (1882–1949),69 in 1922 and 1923 headed delegations of the Indian Legislature to the Viceroy to plead for the Turkish cause.70 As late as November 1923, one year after the Turkish National Assembly had abolished the temporal powers of Sultan Abd ul-Majid, the Agha Khan and S. Amir Ali wrote a letter to Prime Minister Ismet Pasha requesting the enhancement of his position. They were rebuffed with the argument that as Shias they could not be spokesmen of the Sunni Muslims of India, and their letter only hastened the Turkish decision to abolish the caliphate altogether in March 1924.71

In the 1920s the impact of Shias—including Jinnah—on Muslim politics in India was less than it had been during the first two decades of the century, owing much to the mess left behind by the Khilâfat Movement and other unsuccessful campaigns. Muslim leadership became ever more divided with the emergence of new organisations such as the Jam‘îyat al-‘Ulamâ’-i Hind (JUH),72 the Khilâfat Conference, and later the Majlis-i Ahrâr-i Islâm.73 In 1928 even the Muslim League split over the issues of separate electorates (p.38) and proper response to a British commission charged with finding a solution to the constitutional problems of India.74 At that juncture the Maharaja of Mahmudabad, who was once again elected President of the League for one year in December 1928, disagreed with Jinnah. He was ready to accept the Nehru Report (an alternative to the British proposals worked out by Motilal Nehru) which Jinnah had rejected because it did not include safeguards for Muslims.75 S. Ali Imam, who had been a member of the drafting committee, was still more in favour of the report.76 On 1 January 1929, the Agha Khan presided over an All-Parties Muslim Conference in Delhi, considered as the most representative gathering of Muslims in India so far.77 In the following four years the Agha Khan once more occupied centre stage in Indian Muslim politics, especially during three Round Table Conferences held in London between November 1930 and December 1932.78 They resulted in a reform package (Government of India Act of July 1935), which made the provinces separate legal entities and enlarged provincial franchise. Other concessions made to Muslim demands were the administrative separation of Sindh from Bombay and the granting of full provincial powers for the NWFP.79

Jinnah was left with only a faction of the Muslim League loyal to him in early 1929. He departed for London in November 1930 and stayed there for most of the following five years.80 Thus he did not attend the 21st annual session of the League in Allahabad (29–30 December 1930) where Muhammad Iqbal made his famous statement that “the Punjab, NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan, amalgamated into a single state … appears to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India”.81 Maharaja Muhammad Ali Muhammad of Mahmudabad, who had been keen to let Iqbal preside over that session, died in May 1931, depriving the moribund Muslim League of an important source of funds.82 Financial support from the Mahmudabad estate was only resumed after his elder son and heir, Amir Ahmad Khan (1914–73),83 had reached majority in November 1935.84

Amir Ahmad Khan had been very much acquainted with Jinnah since his boyhood and used to address him as his “dear uncle”.85 From 1936, when he formally joined the Muslim League, until the foundation of Pakistan he was one of Jinnah’s most loyal and trusted supporters and in spite of his youth was entrusted with important tasks.86 Brought up in utmost wealth and luxury, he acquired a reputation for personal modesty, generosity and deep religiosity from his early adulthood.87 His religious fervour would cause frictions with Jinnah in the early 1940s, when Amir Ahmad Khan advocated a theocratic state Pakistan from the platform of the Muslim League,88 but (p.39) these were later ironed out. In 1933 he was among those urging Jinnah to return from England and resume leadership of the League, pledging to provide all material help required to infuse new life into the organisation.89

Jinnah was re-elected President of the Muslim League in 1934 but did not return to India permanently until October 1935. Within two more years he was able to make the League an effective instrument for pressing Muslim political demands, receiving crucial support from some Shia individuals at that juncture. S. Wazir Hasan presided over the 24th annual session of the Muslim League in Bombay (11–12 April 1936) that “initiated the slow process of transforming that small fragmented party into a mass movement”.90 It was followed up with the first session of a Central Parliamentary Board appointed by Jinnah (Lahore, 8–11 June) of which Amir Ahmad Khan was made treasurer. Although Jinnah could not yet attract many prominent politicians from the Punjab to his fold, his rival Mian Fazl-i Husain, who had reorganised the Punjab National Unionist Party that year, was alarmed enough to complain in a letter to the Agha Khan dated 22 June 1936 (excerpts):

Jinnah has blundered into the arena very much to our prejudice … Jinnah’s interference and all sorts of silly promises as to large funds being available from Bombay millionaires and from the Maharaja of Mahmudabad has made our task rather difficult, because the press in general and the vernacular press in particular is in a pecuniarius (sic) condition and always anxious to get some help …91

Among the “Bombay millionaires” referred to in that letter were some Isma‘ilis and Twelver Shias such as Da’ud Nasir and Seth Ibrahim Pirbhai.92 A Shia lawyer and politician from Bombay, Isma‘il Ibrahim Chundrigar (1897–1960), accepted nomination into Jinnah’s Parliamentary Board at that time and later rose to head the Muslim League’s provincial branch.93 In Bengal the Shia businessman Mirza Abu’l Hasan Ispahani (1902–75) was both an important financier of the Muslim League and one of Jinnah’s closest personal friends.94

In the January–February 1937 provincial elections the Muslim League captured only 109 of 1585 Muslim seats. It fared especially bad in the Punjab with only two out of 175 seats against eighty-eight seats for the Unionist Party.95 Eight more MPAs defected to the Unionist Party shortly after, including the Shia Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan (1895–1963) who had been elected on a Muslim League ticket in the Pind Dadan Khan constituency.96 But in October that year Sikandar Hayat Khan, who had headed the Unionist Party since the death of Fazl-i Husain (July 1936), concluded an agreement with Jinnah under the terms of which his party “merged” with the Muslim League in national matters while retaining its independence in (p.40) Punjab provincial matters.97 The Sikandar-Jinnah Pact, which turned out to be a milestone on the path to Pakistan, was consecrated during the 25th annual session of the Muslim League in Lucknow (15–18 October 1937) hosted by Amir Ahmad Khan in the premises of the Mahmudabad House.98 The young Maharaja had expended much energy and resources for the preparation of that crucial session,99 besides paying all expenses for Muslim League candidates in by-elections to five U.P. Provincial Assembly seats.100 During the session he moved a resolution focussing on socio-economic problems and their proposed solution.101 On 30 December 1937, in conformity with the wishes of Jinnah, Amir Ahmad Khan was elected to head the Muslim Students’ Federation, which provided plenty of energetic volunteers for the League throughout the following decade.102 He remained its president until his resignation in 1946.103

While Amir Ahmad Khan of Mahmudabad rose to prominence within the Muslim League in 1937, S. Wazir Hasan parted ways with Jinnah and was expelled from the League that year.104 His son S. Ali Zahîr, who had been a member of the U.P. Legislative Council since 1930, and one other Shia candidate of the Muslim League lost the 1937 provincial elections due to what the AISC organ Sarfarâz termed “venomous propaganda of the Sunnis”.105 Thereafter, S. Wazir Hasan and S. Ali Zahîr rallied their followers in the AISPC behind the Congress. In April 1937 the AISPC “took the lead in supporting Nehru’s brainchild, the Muslim Mass Contact campaign”106 and later that year resolved that “since the political aim of the Congress and the AISPC are the same, the Shias should join the Congress and wholeheartedly take part in the freedom struggle”.107 Jinnah’s divorce from his long-time Shia associate had apparently resulted from the personal rivalry of S. Wazir Hasan’s son with Jinnah’s new Lucknow ally, Choudhry Khalîq uz-Zaman (1889–1973).108 The latter in 1935 had defeated S. Ali Zahîr in a “tough fight” for the chairmanship of the Lucknow Municipal Board, then helped by his Congress friends.109 In 1936 Khalîq uz-Zaman joined the Muslim League’s Parliamentary Board (see above) along with his allies from the Muslim Unity Board, which included the Deobandi ‘ulamâ’ and JUH leaders Husain Ahmad Madani and Ahmad Sa‘îd.110 At the June 1936 session of the Parliamentary Board a clause was included in the League’s election manifesto that “in all matters of purely religious character, due weight shall be given to the opinion of the JUH and the [Shia] mujtahids”.111 During the 1937 election campaign Khalîq uz-Zaman supported the JUH demand for madh-i sahâba processions,112 although he took part in mediation efforts two years later when the madh-i sahâba controversy reached its climax.113

(p.41) Since 1936, when Jinnah had considered it necessary to make some concessions to the religious groups, sectarian conflicts creeped into the Muslim League, becoming one of the numerous challenges he faced on his path to establish the League as the “sole representative organisation” of Indian Muslims. After the “defection” of S. Wazir Hasan and the AISPC a sub-committee of the League was formed to examine legitimate grievances of the Shias, but its findings were never made public.114 The more the Muslim League gained strength in the following years, the less patient Jinnah became to listen to Shia “sectarian” demands.115 Being himself a stranger to Shia communalist thinking, he nevertheless tried to maintain some balance between the appointment of Shia and Sunni individuals for important tasks within the League. Thus in March 1938 the Shia Raja S. Muhammad Mahdi of Pirpur (U.P.) was selected to head a commission to inquire into Muslim complaints about mistreatment in Indian provinces run by Congress ministries.116

In spite of some shortcomings of the Muslim League in curbing Sunni sectarians within its ranks, Jinnah’s task was made easier by the fact that the majority factions of the two largest organisations of Sunni ‘ulamâ’, the JUH and the Majlis-i Ahrâr, remained in the Congress camp even after the pro-Hindu bias of the Congress had become obvious in 1937. The Ahrâr leader Mazhar Ali Azhar (1895–1974),117 ironically himself a Shia, coined the insult Kâfir-i A‘zam (“Greatest Infidel”) for Jinnah shortly after the latter had been proclaimed Qâ’id-i A‘zam by the League,118 but later headed a faction of the Ahrâr that supported the Pakistan scheme.119 The pro-Congress group of the Ahrâr was led by the Maulanas Habib ur-Rahman Ludhianvi (1892–1956)120 and S. Da’ud Ghaznavi (1895–1963).121 The JUH turned against the Muslim League shortly after the 1937 elections and strengthened its ties with the Congress which dated back to its foundation in 1919.122 Some prominent ‘ulamâ’ split from the party in subsequent years,123 but the majority of the Deobandi and Ahl-i hadîth clergy remained opposed to Jinnah and the Pakistan Movement until 1947.124

From the Lahore Resolution to the establishment of Pakistan

The experience of the 1939 Tabarrâ Agitation had disillusioned many Shias in the U.P. and other Indian provinces who had so far supported the Congress, but it had also caused Shia resentment against what was perceived as the Muslim League’s Sunni bias. Sharp divisions within the Indian Shia community regarding their political affiliation and course of action (p.42) persisted in the remaining years of British rule, but significantly, the pro-Congress Shia leaders lost almost all their influence in the Punjab and other provinces that would become Pakistan in 1947. While Lucknow remained a stronghold of Shia allies of the Congress, most Shias in the crucial Punjab province gradually let themselves be carried away by the emerging mass support for the Muslim League. This development, natural as it may appear in retrospect, did not occur without serious strains. Strong criticism of the Muslim League because of its high-handed treatment of Shia demands and apprehensions continued until the eve of partition in mid-1947. But unlike the Shia leaders of the U.P. and other Indian provinces, whose political perspective was Hindu majority rule anyhow, those in the “Pakistan provinces” had no reason to accommodate the Congress and thus risk further alienation of the Sunni majority. They had no option but to follow the Muslim mainstream, some of them as unconditional supporters of the Muslim League, and others upholding their Shia identity and demands, trying consistently but with little success to obtain concessions from the Muslim League in return.

With the passing of the so-called “Pakistan-Resolution” at the 27th annual session of the Muslim League in Lahore on 22–23 March 1940, the League’s goal and further course of action had become clear. At that stage, the Shia community made its most serious effort so far to close ranks in order to have a proper say of its own in the emerging political structure of an independent India, whether divided or united. Preparations for an All-Parties Shia Conference, which was convened in Lucknow from 14–15 April 1940, had started already in late 1939 through combined efforts of the AISC and the AISPC. Its convenor was Maharajkumar Amir Haidar Khan of Mahmudabad (1917–91), who unlike his elder brother Amir Ahmad Khan was active mainly with affairs of the Shia community.125 At the same time, differences between the “All-India” and the Punjab Shia organisations sharpened. For example, the latter had called for support of the Muslim League on Jinnah’s proclaimed “Day of Deliverance” (22 December 1939) to celebrate the resignation of Congress provincial ministries, whereas the AISPC came out with a statement of solidarity with the Congress.126 A resolution of its 9th annual session at Chapra (Bihar) charged the Muslim League of “trampling the rights and sensitivities of the Shias”.127

The Lahore Resolution included a commitment to “adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards” for minorities in the constitution of the Muslim majority units “for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with (p.43) them”.128 Nevertheless, apprehensions among the Shias regarding their status in the projected state of Pakistan remained. They were summed up in a letter of Amir Haidar Khan of Mahmudabad to Jinnah from 29 March 1940, two weeks ahead of the Lucknow conference. In this he put forward the following demands of his community which the Muslim League should take care to provide safeguards for, so that Shias could whole-heartedly support the struggle for Pakistan: 1) Shias should have a say in elected bodies and governmental institutions, which should work according to the principles of justice (insâf aur ‘adâlat) instead of prevalence of the majority; 2) freedom for Shia beliefs and customs; 3) the governors of all provinces and the Governor General of India should have special powers to protect the Shias in case of injustice done to them by other groups; 4) all Shia auqâf must be under exclusive Shia control; 5) if any law was passed according to Hanafi fiqh, the special fiqh of the Shias must be observed in their cases.129

In his reply dated 8 April 1940 Jinnah expressed regret that Amir Haidar Khan’s mind was “still working in the direction which is not likely to benefit the Shias” and rejected the demand for special powers for the governors to be exercised in favour of the Shias. He closed his letter with the words:

I once more appeal to you that you, at any rate, should not mix yourself up with the proposed conference. The proper policy for the Shias is to join the League whole-heartedly. The League is now able to enforce justice and fair play between Mussalman and Mussalman whatever be his sect or section. The one thing alone that matters is that we are all Mussalmans.130

As for the other demands, Jinnah tried to dispel Shia apprehensions with the following statements:

I see no reason why the Shias should be debarred from having their voice in the elected bodies and governmental institutions in any matter which affect the Shias. We must so organise the Muslim League that justice is done to every sect and section inside it.

Then as regards the liberty of religious observances and beliefs for Shias, surely it is quite elementary that, if the Muslim League organisation is worth anything, it must see that no infringement of that liberty is allowed … As regards the Shia Waqfs, I do not see what objection can there be to their being exclusively under control of the Shias. … if law is passed in accordance with the Muslim Hanafi Law, the special principles of Shia Shariat must also be taken into consideration.131

The latter excerpts, which were published by Amir Haidar Khan in the press for the first time only six years later,132 have been quoted again and again by Shia organisations and journals in Pakistan in the following (p.44) decades to argue for their cause. In spite of the Qâ’id-i A‘zam’s objection, the Maharajkumar of Mahmudabad and some prominent members of the Muslim League like Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan did attend the All-Parties Shia Conference, but the bulk of participants hailed from the U.P.133 The presidential address was read by S. Sultan Ahmad (1880–1963),134 who tried his best to reconcile both camps within the Shia community and also to build bridges towards Sunni detractors of the Shias.135 The All-Parties Shia Conference proclaimed S. Sultan Ahmad “spokesman” and “leader” of all Indian Shias and passed a number of resolutions,136 but it did not leave any significant impact. S. Sultan Ahmad, who in September 1941 was expelled from the Muslim League for a breach of party discipline,137 was neither willing nor able to press for Shia demands and assume a countrywide Shia leadership role.

The lull of activities aimed at strengthening communal organisation of the Shias in the years following the Lucknow conference was striking, especially if compared with those of other Indian minorities like the Sikhs or the Hindu “Scheduled Castes”. Many articles written by Shia activists during those years deplored a lack of political awareness and a “defeatist” attitude of their co-religionists, who would fail to understand the significance of the political revolution taking place in India. With their “suicidal” passivity they would risk seeing the status of Shias reduced to that of “pariahs” in future.138 Special blame was reserved for the ‘ulamâ’ for their reluctance to be involved in politics and the preoccupation of zâkirs and other preachers with money and “cheap popularity” instead of using their majâlis as platforms for mobilising Shia communal solidarity.139 Even the numerous local anjumans that organised the annual Muharram processions and other religious ceremonies were seen as “spreading mischief” and wasting Shia wealth with their mutual rivalries and excessive begging for chanda.140 As for the Shia large landowners involved in politics, most of them would be accused of working only for their personal benefit, with little interest in creating political awareness among the Shia ‘awâm.141 In the Punjab, Nawab Qizilbash and other Shia members of the Unionist Party were perceived as being loyal to the British rulers in the first place.142 Those Shia notables who were strongly involved with the Muslim League, like Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan, did so in their individual capacity and not as representatives of their sect. As a community, the Shias had thrown their lot neither with the Muslim League nor with the Congress in the early 1940s, with the result that Shia influence was regarded as “zero” within both major contesting camps of India.143 During the mission of Sir Stafford Cripps to India in (p.45) March 1942 to discuss new British power-sharing proposals he met with representatives of all major Indian communities, but did not consider it necessary to receive any representative of the Shias.144

Stagnation was obvious with the Punjab Shia Conference (PuSC), which held its last annual session at Ferozpur in late 1940, electing Nawab Ihsan Ali Khan of Malir Kotla (Ludhiana Dist.) as its new President.145 He and the PuSC Secretary-General, Khwaja Muhammad Latif Ansari, blamed the persistent passivity of their organisation in the following years on utter lack of interest and response to their calls from the side of the Shia community. Most members of the PuSC would not even pay their annual chanda of 5 rupees.146 Razâkâr, the outspoken Shia weekly founded in October 1938 in Lahore, faced similar problems. It had to close down from late June 1940 to October 1941 because of unpaid subscription fees adding up to Rs. 2,000.147 One resolution of the PuSC’s Ferozpur session had called for the founding of a Shia daily newspaper, but since no other Shia leader helped him implement that project, Ihsan Ali Khan at last bought a printing press in Lucknow in late 1942 on its own initiative. When he brought the full amount of money required to Lucknow in March 1943, transport of the press to the Punjab was impossible because the government of British India had restricted the use of freight wagons for civilian purposes, and the scheme faltered.148

The Punjab Shia Political Conference (PuSPC), led by the ambitious Nawab Muzaffar Ali Khan Qizilbash since 1938,149 was only slightly more active from 1940 to mid-1943. By that time, however, it started preparations for an important annual session—the first since December 1938—to settle the question of political affiliation of the Punjabi Shias.150 The Lahore Convention of the PuSPC on 9–10 October 1943 was successful both regarding its representative quality—with hundreds of delegates hailing from all districts and Princely States of the Punjab attending—and through the clear line of action it adopted. Resolutions in favour of both the Congress and the Muslim League were tabled and discussed, but at last a resolution was adopted unanimously, stating:

… the Shia community is an important minority within the “Muslim qaum”, and the thirteen centuries old traditions of the Shia community make it obligatory that they act hand-in-hand with all Muslims for common national interests while safeguarding their own religious interests. As the Muslim League is the greatest representative organisation of the 100 Million Muslims in India, and as it has declared Pakistan its goal, the Shias of the Punjab will preserve the unity of the Muslims and will work for this goal.

(p.46) If the Muslim League cannot assure us of the protection of our rights and sensitivities (jadhbât), then the Shias will not spare any possible step and effort for the sake of these rights.151

The resolution of conditional support (mashrût ta‘âwun) for the Muslim League was criticised in the Sunni press, with organs of the Muslim League like Zamîndâr (Lahore) accusing the Shias of narrow-mindedness: Since the Qâ’id-i A‘zam himself was a Shia, how could he act against Shia interests?152 Such an argument was likened in Razâkâr to propaganda of the Congress that Muslim interests would be safeguarded through the Congress President Abu’l-Kalam Azad.153 The tenor of the Lahore resolution of the PuSPC was echoed by Amir Haidar Khan of Mahmudabad during his presidential address at the 31st annual session of the AISC in Faizabad (28–29 October 1943),154 and it was approved by a majority of Shias in most Indian provinces, with the exception of Congress supporters who were concentrated in Lucknow. In the Punjab, however, the mood of some Shia political leaders was already tilting in favour of unconditional support for the Muslim League. A resolution in that sense was tabled, for example, at the annual session of the Anjuman-i Ithnâ‘asharîya Sialkot in early November 1943, but modified on the advice of the ‘ulamâ’ Mufti Ja‘far Husain and Hafiz Kifayat Husain. S. Ali Naqi, a leading mujtahid of Lucknow who was invited to speak at that session, declined from taking any position regarding the Muslim League from the religious viewpoint.155

In March 1944 Qizilbash arranged for a meeting of a PuSPC delegation with Jinnah to discuss the question of safeguarding Shia rights in Pakistan. Shia leaders of other parts of India had also been invited to participate, but none of them bothered to make the journey to Lahore where the meeting took place in the house of the Nawab of Mamdot on 29 March. In the context of a comprehensive discussion, Jinnah promised that the constitution of Pakistan would be democratic and all sects would enjoy complete religious freedom. Since the same would be granted to Hindus, Sikhs and Christians, it would be inconceivable to deny it to Shias. Jinnah also stressed the need for “complete religious tolerance (rawâdârî)” to achieve the goal of Pakistan.156

Jinnah’s statements were generally well received by Shias in those provinces, which were later to become part of Pakistan, but the chairmen of both the AISPC (S. Ali Zahîr) and the Shî‘a Majlis-i ‘Ulamâ’ in Lucknow (S. Muhammad Nasîr) tried to deny any right for the PuSPC to decide whether those statements were satisfactory or not.157 Such attempts from leaders based in Lucknow to impose their “All-India” authority only helped (p.47) to increase the estrangement of Punjabi Shias from their traditional communal focus. They were particularly resented since Shias from the Punjab had displayed much solidarity with Lucknow during the 1939 Tabarrâ Agitation. But there were dissenting voices in the Punjab, too. In an article in Razâkâr in April 1944, S. Nâsir Ali Shah Gardezi, while professing to be an admirer of Jinnah, alleged that the latter would be “naive as a Shia” and out of touch with the mutual religious fanaticism and narrow-mindedness among the Muslim sects. Besides, the Shias would not need guarantees from the Qâ’id-i A‘zam individually, but rather from the Muslim League as a party. Even a collective pledge of Muslim League leaders to safeguard religious freedom in Pakistan would not be enough; rather the Muslim League would have to write guarantees of political, social and religious rights of the Shias into its party statutes.158

The principal grievances against the Muslim League concerned its indifference towards manifestations of intolerance against Shias even within its own ranks, which became more frequent the more the Muslim League developed into a mass movement. In order to mobilise the ‘awâm for the sacred goal of Pakistan, the help of religious preachers was essential, even if some of them would indulge in sectarian rhetoric.159 The least thing which could be said about those Sunni ‘ulamâ’ who supported the Pakistan Movement was that they became increasingly outspoken regarding their concept of the future Islamic state. They generally expected it to be bound by the tenets of Sunni Hanafi fiqh and the example of the first two Caliphs, and even Shia members of the Muslim League would not dare to challenge the views of such ‘ulamâ’ publicly as long as their support was needed.

The most hard-line anti-Shia ‘ulamâ’ were affiliated to parties that opposed the Muslim League, like the JUH and the Majlis-i Ahrâr.160 But the Muslim League was reluctant to come out in defence of the Shias when members of these parties attacked them as kuffâr (infidels), rawâfiz,161 bid‘atî,162 tabarrâ’î or munâfiqûn163 (hypocrites), for example during elections for municipal councils in late 1944.164 As the U.P. Governor had curtailed the freedoms of madh-i sahâba activists since the outbreak of the Second World War,165 the latter turned their attention to the Punjab, where a Markazî Tanzîm-i Ahl-i Sunnat (TAS) was founded in April 1944 in Amritsar.166 During its first annual session in Lahore in March 1945, presided over by Maulana Zafar ul-Mulk from Lucknow and Mufti Kifayatullah Dihlavi, Maulana Muhammad Ali Jullundhri and others held inflammatory speeches against Shias.167 Assaults on Shia religious ceremonies and their ban by local authorities multiplied in the Punjab during the 1940s,168 but (p.48) neither the Muslim League nor, for that matter, Shia members of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, paid much attention to continuous protests by the Shia organisations and media.

On 25 July 1944 S. Ali Zahîr wrote a letter to Jinnah in which he complained, among other things, about repeated attempts of Sunni ‘ulamâ’ to propagate the rule of the first two Caliphs as a guideline for Pakistan from the Muslim League platform. Although admitting that he had no general mandate from the Shias, Zahîr deemed it necessary to ask the Muslim League for safeguards regarding religious freedom in Pakistan, a ban on sectarian propaganda against Shias during elections and guarantees for sufficient representation of Shias in ministries, parliaments and other elected bodies, courts and all departments of the administration. Besides, he demanded that the Muslim League should pay as much attention to the freedom of the whole country as to its goal of Pakistan. Claiming that not only the AISPC, but most Shias, had kept their distance from the Muslim League so far, he invited Jinnah to give a satisfactory reply to the AISPC in order to “create harmony between both parties”.169

In his answer dated 31 August 1944 Jinnah expressed his confidence that the majority of Shias would support the Muslim League and dismissed as “unwise” those who still remained aloof “only due to misunderstandings”. He saw no reason at all for Shias to think that the Muslim League would not treat them justly, and warned of “improper” and “illogical” attempts to create divisions within the Muslim camp.170 Jinnah could allow himself such a cold reply to Zahîr’s demands because the latter was speaking in the name of an organisation that had ceased to enjoy much countrywide influence. Jinnah rightly sensed the weakness of the AISPC, which had never taken care of establishing branches in provinces and districts outside the U.P.171 The PuSPC had asserted its independent course from the AISPC since its Lahore session of October 1943, and S. Kalb-i ‘Abbas, then Honorary Secretary-General of the AISC, distanced himself from Zahîr’s step. Supporting an idea of Amir Haidar Khan of Mahmudabad, he urged to hold a meeting of Shia provincial representatives at a central place—preferable not Lucknow—to make another attempt at finding a Shia common formula.172

In 1945 efforts for Shia communal mobilisation reached a climax unseen since 1939, albeit without achieving the desired results. In April that year Husainbhai Lalji (1886–1971), a Khoja Twelver Shia leader and merchant from Bombay,173 submitted a memorandum to the Viceroy, Lord Wavell, which was also published in the press, demanding proportional representation of India’s “20 million Shias” in all elected bodies and even in the civil (p.49) service according to their demographic strength. He stressed the differences of culture, tradition and customs between Shias and Sunnis and claimed that the Shias would no longer trust the sense of justice of the Sunni majority “and their representative, the Muslim League”. Unlike the Congress, which had accepted to provide certain safeguards for the “Scheduled Castes”, the Muslim League was not ready to grant the same thing to the Shia minority.174

Since the initiative of Lalji was openly encouraged by the Congress, the Muslim League condemned it as just another attempt of “sabotaging the unity of Muslim ranks”. Lalji became more outspoken in an “open letter to all Shia leaders in India” in June 1945, in which he warned of the danger of “gradual annihilation” of Shias because of Sunni fanaticism in Pakistan, whereas there would remain some hope under the government of a united India.175 By that time his April memorandum had met with wide-spread support among Shias. At a joint press-conference with Lalji on 26 May 1945 even the PuSC president Nawab Ihsan Ali Khan, who later became an unconditional supporter of the Muslim League, expressed his fear that there would be no protection of Shia rights in Pakistan and complained about the absence of even a single Shia minister in the Punjab government although Shias had many qualified persons and accounted for “20 per cent of the population” of the province.176 The demand for separate electorates for Shias was also supported by Razâkâr, which deplored the inability of the fourteen Shia deputies in the Punjab Assembly to raise their voices for any Shia grievance out of fear to loose their seats in the coming elections.177

On 5 July 1945 the leading ‘ulamâ’ of Lucknow came out with their clearest political statement so far, urging Indian Shias to form their own separate organisation in order to safeguard their rights.178 At the same time, the Muslim League came closer to official acknowledgement of its claim to be the “sole representative” of Indian Muslims during the Simla conference of Indian leaders presided by Lord Wavell (25 June–14 July 1945).179 After the failure of that conference, the British decided to hold elections for the Central and Provincial Assemblies (December 1945 and February 1946, respectively), the outcome of which would prove decisive for the success of the Pakistan Movement.

In August 1945 the AISPC Central Council decided to hold another All-Parties Shia Conference in Lucknow on 14–15 October. Invitations were sent to 167 Shia anjumans all over India and to a number of prominent individuals, including even Jinnah.180 In his reply (dated 1 October 1945) Jinnah repeated his well-known stance:

(p.50) The organisers of the Shia Conference, I regret to say, are misguided and misled by our enemies. My advice to every Shia is to join the Muslim League unreservedly at this critical juncture. Other course is harmful generally to the Muslims of India and even more to the Shia interest. The Muslim League and I have made it clear repeatedly that we stand for justice and fair-play towards every sect of Mussalmans and non-Muslim minorities … The Muslim League will never interfere with faith or belief of any sect … Overwhelming majority of Shias are with the League and legitimate grievances, if any, are a matter of our own concern and can be dealt within our fold by the All-India Muslim League.181

Amir Haidar Khan of Mahmudabad, who did not attend the All-Parties Conference, (excusing himself with illness), had convened a consulting session of Shia representatives of its own choice on 29–30 September. During that meeting the following demands were agreed upon and conveyed to the Muslim League: 1) an unambiguous statement from the Muslim League that a government following the example of the Prophet Muhammad (minhâj-i nubuwwat) and not that of the first two Caliphs (sîrat-i shaikhain) would be established in the Pakistan regions; 2) reserved seats for Shias at elections and in the executive as well as judicial departments of state; 3) guarantees of protection against attacks on the Shia mazhab during election campaigns; 4) no obligation for Shia children to learn Sunni history and dînîyât; 5) protection of Shia rights and social life (tamaddun) in the Pakistan regions.182

The PuSPC decided to support the All-Parties Shia Conference at a session of its Working Committee on 7 October, although some of its members, who were also active in the Muslim League, tried their best to brand the Lucknow conference as an initiative of the Congress.183 Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan urged solving Shia-Sunni conflicts in certain Punjab constituencies “with sincerity and love” and described Shia-Sunni relations in the province generally as “excellent”.184 None of the invited leaders of the Muslim League attended the All-Parties Conference, yet it was reasonably representative, with Shias from all parts of India taking part in lengthy and free debates.185 No speeches in favour of the Congress were made, and the main resolution, which was tabled by S. Kalb-i ‘Abbas and later adopted almost unanimously, refrained from any explicit criticism of the Muslim League. But it stressed the need for “effective steps for protecting Shia rights” and called for the setting-up of a Working Committee with members from all provinces to be entrusted with that task. The latter should, among other things, work out new statutes of the AISPC and negotiate with other parties, especially with the Muslim League, to reach an agreement prior to the forthcoming elections.186

(p.51) However, this last and most serious attempt to create a country-wide Shia platform that would be able to exert some pressure on the Muslim League withered away like the previous ones even before the Central Legislative Assembly elections of December 1945. The mass-appeal of the Muslim League to the Indian Muslims, including those of the Punjab, had now gained momentum, and more and more Shia leaders became converted to unconditional support of the League. One example was Shaikh Karamat Ali from Sheikhupura, who had been President of the PuSC from 1938 to 1940 and Vice-President of the PuSPC since October 1943, and who had legally defended Shias arrested in the course of agitation in Qasur in 1938 and 1939 free of cost.187 During his election campaign of late 1945 on a Muslim League ticket he took pains to make his Shia identity almost unrecognisable, denying even that “any Shia could feel ill-will against the ashâb-i thalâtha” (the first three Caliphs).188 While Shia candidates, eager to please the Sunni voters, tried their best to obscure all doctrinal differences and acute conflicts between Shias and Sunnis,189 Sunni ‘ulamâ’ within the Muslim League became more outspoken. For example, Maulana Zafar Ahmad ‘Usmani published a fatwâ in the League daily al-Manshûr (Delhi), justifying the inclusion of Shias in the League with the argument that Sunnis could cooperate with khawârij heretics during their confrontation with idolaters (i.e. the Hindus), because even khawârij would fight for Islam and against kufr.190 His colleague Maulana S. Nasîr ul-Haqq was quoted in Nawâ-i Waqt on 3 November 1945 with the verdict that according to the Prophet only those who followed the path of the khulafâ’-i râshidûn were on the right path, whereas all other groups, parties or sects would be “a work of Satan”.191 Needless to say, no disciplinary action was taken by the Muslim League against such party members.

Although the Working Committee of the All-Parties Shia Conference failed to get any satisfactory commitment from the Muslim League, the overwhelming majority of Shias by now preferred to vote for the League rather than for any of its rivals, be it the Congress or its allied Muslim groups. This was true also in Bombay, where Husainbhai Lalji contested two seats of the Central Legislative Assembly: one against the Sunni Ahmad Harun Ja‘far, who had been awarded a League ticket in spite of having been banned from political offices for five years for using sectarian propaganda during the 1936 provincial elections,192 and the second against the Qâ’id-i A‘zam Jinnah himself. Jinnah won with a huge margin, having mustered a fatwâ of S. Tahir Saif ud-Din, the spiritual head of the Twelver Shia Bohra community, in his favour a few days before the polling.193

(p.52) After the triumph of the Muslim League in the 1945 Central Legislative Assembly elections—it won all thirty Muslim seats, including three Shias194—political ambitious Shia leaders became even more zealous in exhorting their community to give unconditional support to the League in the provincial elections of February 1946. One notable exception was Nawab Qizilbash who was re-elected on the ticket of the Unionist Party, although the latter’s share fell from eighty-eight to twenty-one seats, including Hindus and Sikhs.195 Shia candidates (all parties combined) won at least eight out of eighty-six Muslim seats in the 175-member Punjab Legislative Assembly and five out of thirty-four Muslim seats in the Sindh Legislative Assembly.196

Shortly before the provincial election date, Amir Haidar Khan of Mahmudabad published excerpts from the April 1940 letter of Jinnah in the press, adding that he had received similar “guarantees” from the Nawabs Liaqat Ali Khan and Isma‘il Khan, (both among the most influential leaders of the Muslim League).197 At the same time, he accused the Congress of having always fanned sectarian tensions and of using the same method in the current election campaign. Generally speaking, candidates of the Muslim League seem to have indeed mostly preached harmony and unity of all Muslims, some “black sheep” notwithstanding. This was especially true for the Shia Leaguers, who distanced themselves as far as possible from communal activities. Those supporters of Lalji who contested the elections on a Shia communal platform were routed in the “Pakistan provinces”.198

The Muslim League had passed an important test of strength with the 1945/46 elections, but the struggle for a separate Muslim state, which was fiercely rejected by the Congress, was not fully won until mid-1947. Thus some Shias continued with attempts to apply pressure on the Muslim League,199 and even those elected on the League ticket agreed on defending Shia rights during an informal meeting on the sidelines of a session of the League’s Working Committee in Delhi on 8–9 April 1946.200 After the elections, the Congress tried to play the “Shia card” again by arranging for Lalji to express his views before the British “Cabinet Mission”,201 and in August 1946 S. Ali Zahîr was nominated by the Congress as a member of an Interim Government to prepare the transfer of power from British rule.202 Both those Shia leaders from the Hindu majority provinces had already paved their way for a further political career in India and failed to make the slightest impression on the Muslim League.203 Not even the faithful stalwart of the Muslim League, Amir Ahmad Khan of Mahmudabad, could get satisfaction of his persistent demand that the League should nominate at least (p.53) one Shia ‘âlim for the Constituent Assembly of India; he therefore tendered his resignation from that body in early August 1946.204 When the League had agreed to cooperate in the Interim Government, the nomination of Zahîr was withdrawn by the Congress before 15 October 1946.205

The Shia communal organisations in the Punjab remained ineffective in the remaining time from the 1946 provincial elections until the establishment of Pakistan on 14 August 1947. The PuSC was still unable to hold even a single session of its Working Committee. While its Secretary-General offered lame excuses in the Shia press,206 the PuSC President had to defend himself against annoying questions as to why he had completely changed his political creed since late 1945.207 The President of the PuSPC, Nawab Qizilbash, who became Minister of Revenue in a Punjab coalition government that excluded the Muslim League in February 1946, advised the Prime Minister Khizr Hayat Khan Tiwana to use a strong hand against a civil disobedience movement of Muslim League supporters.208 After Tiwana had to resign in the face of massive protests, Qizilbash’s main concern seems to have become mending fences with the League, which he would later join without much difficulties. During a session of the PuSPC Working Committee on 8 September 1946 he intervened repeatedly to have most of such draft resolutions withdrawn which could be regarded as offensive by the Muslim League.209 An annual session of the PuSPC—which would have been the first since 1943—was planned in Lahore in March 1947, but had to be cancelled after severe communal riots between Muslims and Sikhs in the Punjab in that month.210

After the British Government had finally yielded to the demand of a separate Muslim state on 3 June 1947 and a Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was formed,211 the League appointed a seven-member subcommittee of specialists to advise the Assembly on matters concerning the implementation of the Islamic sharî‘a, all of whom were Sunnis.212 Likewise, three Sunni ‘ulamâ’ but no Shia ‘âlim were appointed for the Constituent Assembly.213 On the eve of the establishment of Pakistan, most of its Shia future citizens were probably as enthusiastic as their Sunni countrymen, but others continued to lament the unresolved question of safeguards for their rights in the emerging new state.214 (p.54)


(1.) One exception was the relative small Shia ‘ulamâ’ class.

(2.) See sections 3.1, pp. 58, 63; p. 71; 4.3, p. 119; 6.3, p. 227. Entirely devoted to that subject are the two volumes of M. W. Khân, Tashkîl-i Pâkistân mên shî‘ân-i ‘Alî kâ kardâr [The deeds of Shias for the establishment of Pakistan].

(4.) Aziz Ahmad, Islamic Modernism, pp. 6–12. The book was written nearly a quarter of a century before the famous travelogue Talkhîs al-ibrîz of the Egyptian scholar Rifa‘a Rafi‘ al-Tahtawi. Mirza Abu Talib Khan in 1775 served as prime minister under Nawab Asaf ud-Daula of Awadh and later for different British colonial officers in Bihar and Bengal (Rizvi, op. cit., pp. 230–32).

(5.) Ibid, pp. 97–100. The paper was closed and Maulana Muhammad Baqir was executed by the British during the 1857 “Mutiny”. On Muhammad Baqir and his son Muhammad Husain Azad (1830–1901), a teacher at the Lahore College and renowned writer, see also Naqvî, Tazkira, pp. 293–4.

(6.) See Ahmad, op. cit., pp. 21–3 (where some biographical details are confused with those of a Sunni Maulana with the same name) and Rizvi, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 366–8. The Risâla fî ma’âkhidh al-‘ulûm was translated into English by his disciple S. Amir Ali (see below) in 1868.

(7.) Ibid, pp. 407–8; Ahmad, op. cit., pp. 57–64; Jain, Muslims in India, Vol. I, pp. 141–22.

(8.) Rizvi, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 376–8.

(9.) He became the first Muslim barrister at the Calcutta High Court in 1873 and the first Muslim judge at the same court in 1890. In 1878 he was appointed member of the Bengal Legislative Council and in 1884 of the Imperial Legislative Council. On his further career see Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 85–6; W. Cantwell Smith, “Amîr ‘Alî”, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. I, pp. 441–2; K. K. Aziz, Ameer Ali. His Life and Work (Lahore: Publishers United, 1968); Shan Muhammad (ed.), The Right Hon’ble Syed Ameer Ali. Political Writings (New Delhi: Ashish Publishing House, 1989); Muhammad Yusuf Abbasi, The Political Biography of Syed Amer Ali (Lahore: Wajidalis Ltd., 1989).

(10.) Ahmad, op. cit., pp. 89–94; Rizvi, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 420–27.

(11.) Ahmad, op. cit., p. 88; Rizvi, op. cit. Vol. II, pp. 421–2.

(12.) The organisation, then renamed Central National Mohammedan Association, had fifty-three (p.353) branches in various parts of the subcontinent by 1888 but gradually ceased to function after S. Amir Ali’s departure for England in 1904. See Rizvi, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 432; Ikram, Modern Muslim India, p. 105.

(13.) Ibid. and M. W. Khân, Tashkîl-i Pâkistân, Vol. I, p. 98. On the 1906 deputation see below.

(14.) M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 98–9. He defended his plan in a letter to Badr ud-Din Tayyabji, a Bohra Twelver Shia barrister of Bombay who presided over the third annual session of the Congress that year (ibid.). See also below, Fn 54.

(15.) Preliminary classes at Aligarh started in 1875. Generally on the Aligarh College see Mumtaz Moin, The Aligarh Movement (origin and early history) (Karachi: Salman Academy, 1976); Shah Muhammad, The Aligarh Movement (Meerut 1978); David Lelyveld, Aligarh’s First Generation: Muslim Solidarity in British India (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1978).

(16.) Rizvi, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 389–90. Shia members of the founding committee of the college were Salar Jang (Prime Minister of Hyderabad), Khalifa S. Muhammad Hasan (Chief Minister of Patiala State, Punjab), Nawab Mushtaq Ali Khan of Rampur, Nawab Fateh Ali Khan Qizilbash (Lahore), the Raja of Mahmudabad, S. Husain Bilgrami, S. Amir Ali, the Agha Khan III, S. Tahir Saif ud-Din (Bombay), S. Husain Bakhsh Gardezi (Multan), Mir Turab Ali (Agra), Muhammad Husain Shauq Saharanpuri, Mumtaz Husain Jaunpuri, S. Ghulam us-Saqlain (Meerut) and S. Âl-i Nabiy (Agra); see M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 74–5.

(17.) Until 1858, when the British confiscated a major portion of the Mahmudabad estate, it had comprised over 600 villages, covering an area of more than 400 square miles in the districts of Sitapur, Barabanki, Kheri and Lucknow; see S. I. Husain, The Life and the Times of Raja Saheb of Mahmudabad, Vol. I, p. 3.

(18.) Rizvi, op. cit., pp. 389–90. S. Husain Bilgrami (1844–1926) was Director of Public Instructions at Hyderabad (Deccan) from 1887 to 1902. On his further career and his services for the Aligarh College, along with his brothers Major S. Hasan (d. 1916) and S. Ali (1851–1911), see ibid., pp. 404–6; Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 133–5; Husain, Matla‘-i anwâr, pp. 334–35.

(19.) S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 5.

(20.) Ibid, pp. 8–9, mentions his visit to Karachi in 1911, where the Shia Mir Imambakhsh Talpur of the Khairpur State also pledged a donation of Rs. 100,000 for Aligarh.

(21.) Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 77.

(22.) Ibid, p. 55. On the Agha Khan III (Sultan Muhammad Shah), who had become spiritual head of the Khoja Isma‘ilis and of Nizari Isma‘ili communities world-wide in 1885, see Daftary, Ismâ‘îlîs, pp. 518–44, and references ibid., p. 721, Fn 174.

(24.) M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 81.

(25.) See sections 1.2, p. 18; 1.3, p. 29; a non-specified sectarian dispute led to the withdrawal of Raja Amir Hasan Khan’s grant in 1888 (see above).

(26.) M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 77–81, 90; see also below, p. 41.

(27.) Qureshi, The Muslim Community, pp. 246–7, 252; Ikram, Modern Muslim India, pp. 35–6; Farman Fatehpuri, Pakistan Movement and Hindi-Urdu Conflict (Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1987), pp. 58–217; Rahman, Language and Politics in Pakistan, pp. 59–78.

(28.) Robinson, Separatism, pp. 133–9; Jain, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 67–8. Muhsin ul-Mulk had to scale down his protest campaign after pressure from the U.P. governor, but in 1903 he organised an Anjuman-i Taraqqî-i Urdû as a wing of the Muslim Educational Conference (ibid.).

(29.) S. Karamat Husain taught law at Aligarh 1891–6 and thereafter practised as a barrister in Allahabad until his appointment as a judge at the High Court of that town in 1908. Later he became a member of the U.P. Legislative Council. He is especially known for his efforts to promote female education; see Rizvi, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 412–18.

(p.354) (30.) A graduate of Aligarh from Amroha who practised law in Lucknow and had been a member of the Indian National Congress until the late 1890s; see Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 190–91; Rizvi, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 433.

(31.) See below, Fn 33, and p. 349, Fn 226 to chapter 1.

(32.) Rizvi, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 434; According to Rizvi, S. Karamat Husain had formed an Urdu Defence Association in Allahabad already in 1898.

(33.) Ibid, pp. 435–6. Ghulam us-Saqlain in 1903 started publishing the monthly ‘Asr-i Jadîd from Meerut, which pleaded for a Muslim political organisation. Selected articles have been published in Khwâja Ghulâm us-Saqlain Pânîpatî, Ta‘zîyatnâma, (Meerut: ‘Asr-i Jadîd Press, 1915).

(34.) Ibid, pp. 435–6; on S. Husain Bilgrami see above, Fn 18.

(35.) Qureshi, The Struggle for Pakistan, pp. 29–30. The initiative for the deputation came from Muhsin ul-Mulk, who drafted the memorandum together with S. Husain Bilgrami (Ikram, op. cit., pp. 89–92; he refers to Bilgrami as “Nawab Imad ul-Mulk”). Rizvi, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 435, and M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 102, mention only Bilgrami as the author of the memorandum.

(36.) He was born near Patna and became a leading lawyer of Bihar in the 1890s; in 1917 he was appointed judge at the Patna High Court. S. Ali Imam presided over the second annual session of the Muslim League in Amritsar (1908) and was elected its vice-president in 1910 and again in 1916, but later became opposed to separate electorates for Muslims (Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 73–5, Robinson, Separatism, p. 431).

(37.) Rizvi, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 436.

(38.) Ikram, op. cit., p. 195. The Karachi session was presided over by the Bombay businessman Rafi‘ ud-Din Adamji Pirbhai (1846–1910), a Bohra Isma‘ili who had been a member of the delegation to Lord Minto (Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 48).

(39.) Muhammad Yusuf Abbasi, London Muslim League (1908–1928). An Historical Study (Islamabad: National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, 1988).

(40.) Ibid, p. 106; Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 86. In January 1909 he led a Muslim deputation to Lord Morley in London in this connection.

(41.) Ikram, op. cit., p. 85; see also excerpts from his speech read by Mian Muhammad Shafi‘ in M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 105–6.

(42.) Jain, op. cit., pp. 85–6.

(43.) Robinson, op. cit., pp. 231–5.

(44.) He was born in a well-to-do family of the Jaunpur District (U.P.) and had joined the Lucknow Bar in 1903. From 1930 to 1934 he was chief judge at the Lucknow High Court and after retirement practised as a barrister at the Allahabad High Court; see Jain, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 207–8; Robinson, op. cit., pp. 371–2.

(45.) Jain, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 207; M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 107, 112, 117, 120. The amendments went into force in March 1913 (Ikram, op. cit., p. 240).

(48.) Wolpert, Jinnah of Pakistan, pp. 42–8; S. I. Husain, The Life and Times, Vol. I, p. 11. In the Lucknow Pact, which was never implemented, the Muslim League relinquished its demand for separate electorates in return for a guaranteed quota of seats in assemblies and governments in a future independent India.

(49.) S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 8. According to M. W. Khân, the Agha Khan had remained Acting President after his resignation in December 1913 until he was replaced in that function by the Raja of Mahmudabad. The latter was formally elected President of the League on 1 January 1915 (op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 120–21). He was also a member of the Imperial (p.355) Legislative Council from 1909–16 and of the U.P. Executive Council in the 1920s (Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 77–8).

(50.) M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 107; S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 11. The League head office remained in Lucknow until 1927 when it was shifted to Delhi.

(51.) Ibid, p. 10, quoting from Khaliquzzaman, op. cit., p. 38. The Raja of Rampur had also arrested the Ali brothers on behalf of the British; see Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 191.

(52.) Ibid, p. 78; Wolpert, op. cit., p. 34, gives the credit to S. Wazir Hasan and Maulana Muhammad Ali.

(53.) As Wolpert puts it, Jinnah “left the Aga Khan’s ‘Sevener’ Khoja community … opting instead to join the less hierarchically structured Isna ‘Ashari sect of ‘Twelver’ Khojas, who acknowledged no leader” (op. cit., p. 18). Some examples of Jinnah’s indifference towards Islamic tenets are given ibid, pp. 78–9, 341.

(54.) Ibid, p. 18. Badr ud-Din Tayyabji (1844–1906), a Bohra Twelver Shia, was the first Muslim to head the Indian National Congress (elected during its third annual session, Madras 1887); see Jain, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 195–7, and references ibid.

(55.) Wolpert, op. cit., pp. 33–4.

(56.) Ibid, pp. 34–102; Ikram, op. cit., pp. 240–50.

(57.) See section 2.2, pp. 43, 49–50.

(59.) Wolpert, op. cit., p. 53; S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 34.

(60.) Ibid., p. 14. Among the other trustees were S. Wazir Hasan, Choudhry Khalîq uz-Zaman and Raja S. Muhammad Mahdi of Pirpur (see below).

(61.) See section 1.3, p. 29.

(62.) Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 77; S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 9–10. The initiative for the foundation of a university in Lucknow had also come from him; see Ganju, “Muslims of Lucknow”, p. 284.

(64.) Ibid, pp. 130–31; Rizvi, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 439–44.

(65.) Prominent leaders of the movement were the Ali brothers, Abu ’l-Kalam Azad, Hasrat Mohani, Abd ul-Bari Farangi-Mahalli and Maulana Mahmud al-Hasan of Deoband; see A.C. Niemeijer, “Khilâfa”, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. V, p. 7.

(66.) Ibid.; on the Khilâfat Movement see also Ahmad, op. cit., pp. 131–40; Khaliquzzaman, op. cit., pp. 42–73; K. K. Aziz, The Indian Khilafat Movement 1915–1933. A Documentary Record (Karachi: Pak Publishers, 1972).

(67.) Khaliquzzaman, op. cit., pp. 47–9.

(68.) Wolpert, op. cit., pp. 66–7.

(69.) He was a lawyer from Moradabad District and member of the U.P. Legislative Council since 1912 who had settled down in Allahabad since 1916. In 1924 he presided over an annual meeting of the Muslim League in Bombay; see Jain, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 115–16.

(70.) Ibid.

(71.) Ahmad, op. cit., p. 138; Ikram, op. cit., pp. 195–6.

(72.) The Jam‘îyat al-‘Ulamâ’-i Hind was founded in 1919 at the height of the Khilâfat agitation by ‘ulamâ’ from Deoband and the Lucknow seminaries Farangi Mahall and Nadwat ul-‘Ulamâ’. Its majority faction remained in political alliance with the Congress throughout the following decades; see Qureshi, Ulema in Politics, pp. 348–56; Pirzada, Jamiat Ulemai-Islam, pp. 2–3; Friedmann, “The Attitude of the Jam‘iyyat-i ‘Ulamâ’-i Hind”, passim.

(73.) The Majlis-i Ahrâr was founded in 1931 by mostly Punjabi Muslims who had been active in the Khilâfat Movement. It was basically a religious group making extensive use of religious demagogy; see Aziz, Party Politics in Pakistan, pp. 159–61; Jânbâz Mîrzâ, Kârvân-i Ahrâr, (Lahaur: Maktabat-i Tabsira, 1975); Muhammad Rafiq Akhtar, The Great Orator: A (p.356) Biography of Amir-e-Shariat Syed Ataullah Shah Bokhari, (Multan: Aalmi Majlis Ahrar-e-Islam, 1988).

(74.) Wolpert, op. cit., pp. 89–102.

(75.) Ibid, pp. 99–101.

(76.) Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 74. He later distanced himself from the League and in 1931 chaired a Nationalist Muslim Conference in Lucknow which passed a resolution in favour of joint electorates.

(77.) Ikram, op. cit., p. 199.

(79.) Ibid, pp. 65–87.

(80.) Wolpert, op. cit., pp. 105–6, 119–38.

(81.) Ibid, p. 123; Ikram, op. cit., p. 181.

(82.) S. I. Husain, The Life and Times, Vol. I, p. 12.

(83.) On his biography see ibid., Vols. I+II, passim; Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 87–8. For his political career up to 1947 see below and section 2.2, pp. 52–53. He left India for Iraq shortly after partition and did not move to Pakistan until 1957. There he turned down repeated offers to head the Pakistan Muslim League as well as ministerial and other high positions and boons. In May 1968 he left for London where he directed the Islamic Centre at Regent’s Park until his death. He lies buried in Mashhad (Iran).

(84.) M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 187–8.

(85.) S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 35–7.

(86.) Even the neutral scholar Wolpert refers to him as “Jinnah’s foremost supporter in the U.P. next to Liaqat Ali Khan” (op. cit., p. 144).

(87.) S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. II, is replete with anecdotes from different contemporaries confirming these traits of his character.

(88.) See “Some Memoirs by the Raja of Mahmudabad”, in: C. H. Philips & Mary Doreen Wainwright, The Partition of India. Politics and Perspectives 1935–1947, (London: Allen and Unwin, 1970), pp. 381–90; also S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 243–49. Jinnah had admonished him already as a twelve-year-old boy that he must consider himself “an Indian first and then a Muslim” (ibid., Vol. I, p. 45; Wolpert, op. cit., p. 79).

(89.) S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 19 and 211, referring to a visit of Amir Ahmad Khan to Jinnah in London.

(90.) Wolpert, op. cit., p. 140.

(91.) Quoted from the full text of the letter in S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 231–3. In his reply dated 24 June the Agha Khan agreed to pay Rs. 20,000 to subsidise papers supporting the Unionist Party against Jinnah (ibid, p. 235.).

(92.) M. W. Khan, op. cit., pp.

(93.) Wolpert, op. cit., p. 142; Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 148. Chundrigar was nominated by the Muslim League as Minister of Commerce in the Interim Government of India in October 1946 and held different high offices in Pakistan, including that of Prime Minister from October to December 1957 (ibid.).

(94.) Wolpert, op. cit., pp. 142–3; Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 221–2. Ispahani was the scion of a Calcutta commercial and financial empire and member of the Bengal Legislative Assembly 1937–47. In Pakistan he held positions such as Ambassador to the U.S. (1947–52) and Minister of Industries and Commerce (1954–5). He is also the author of Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah As I Knew Him (2nd revised ed., Karachi 1967).

(96.) Khaliquzzaman, op. cit., p. 165. Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan had been a member of the Muslim League since the early 1920s and had been loyal to Jinnah at most occasions. For example, he had opposed the election of Mian Muhammad Shafi‘ as President of the Muslim League (p.357) at a session in Lahore on 31 December 1927–1 January 1928 (M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 172). He rejoined the League with the 1937 Lucknow Pact (see below) and thereafter remained its staunch supporter (Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 172–73). On his later role see sections 2.2, p.50; 3.1, pp. 58–59, 65.

(98.) Wolpert, op. cit. pp. 151–4; M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 205–6.

(99.) S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 49–50.

(100.) M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 202.

(101.) S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol I, pp. 55–6; Khaliquzzaman, op. cit., p. 173.

(102.) Wolpert, op. cit., p. 157; S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 94–6. The Muslim Students’ Federation had been formed in 1936 and held its first plenary session in Lucknow. On its activities 1938–47 see ibid, pp. 97–124, and Mukhtar Zaman, Students’ Role in the Pakistan Movement, (Karachi: Quaid-e-Azam Academy, 1978), passim.

(103.) S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 121.

(104.) Jain, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 207.

(105.) Hasan, Sectarianism, p. 20; Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 80.

(106.) Hasan, op. cit., pp. 20–21, according to whom the AISPC was then “under the firm control” of S. Wazir Hasan and S. Ali Zahîr. On the said campaign, which was aimed at luring Muslims away from the “reactionary” Muslim League, see Qureshi, Struggle for Pakistan, pp. 93–6.

(107.) Resolution No. 6 of the AISPC annual session in Rae Bareli 1937, quoted in Hasnain & Husain, Shias and Shia Islam in India, p. 160.

(108.) A lawyer and politician who had been a member of both the Congress and the Muslim League since 1917 and 1919, respectively, and participated prominently in various political movements; see Jain, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 6–8, and his autobiography, Pathway to Pakistan, passim.

(109.) Ibid, p. 148; M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 204.

(110.) Khaliquzzaman, op. cit., pp. 141–2. He had been secretary of the Muslim Unity Board, a U.P. electoral alliance, since 1932.

(111.) Ibid, p. 145; Wolpert, op. cit., pp. 145–6.

(112.) Hasan, op. cit., p. 39 Fn 56; Razâkâr 8/37:3 (1 October 1945).

(113.) Khaliquzzaman, op. cit., pp. 213–16; on the 1939 events see section 1.2, pp. 21–22.

(114.) Muhammad Siddiq, “Shî‘a aur Muslim Lîg”, Razâkâr 9/7:3 (16 February 1946); Ghazipuri, “Shî‘a âpnê huqûq kâ tahaffuz kyûn chahtê hain?”, Razâkâr 9/31:2 (16 August 1946). The commission was formed in 1937 or 1938.

(115.) See examples in section 2.2, pp. 43, 48–50.

(116.) Wolpert, pp. 160, 164–5; Qureshi, op. cit., pp. 99–104. The Pirpur Report was submitted in November 1938.

(117.) A lawyer born in Batala (Gurdaspur Dist.) who was member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly 1924–6 and again 1934–45. He was one of the founders of the Majlis-i Ahrâr and became its Secretary in 1931, when he led a civil disobedience movement against the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir. In 1946 he resigned from the party; see Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 109–10; Naqvî, Tazkira, pp. 321–2.

(118.) Qureshi, Ulema in Politics, p. 354; see also a quotation from Mazhar Ali Azhar’s pamphlet Mister Jinnâh kâ Islâm in Naqvi, Bibliography, Vol. I, pp. 537–8.

(119.) Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 109.

(120.) He was a graduate of Deoband and one of the founders of the JUH. In 1931 he became president of the Ahrâr; see ibid, p. 186.

(121.) S. Da’ud Ghaznavi, who belonged to the Ahl-i hadîth sect, was Secretary-General of the (p.358) Ahrâr in 1931 together with Mazhar Ali Azhar. In 1946 he left the Congress and joined the Muslim League; see Râhî, Tazkira-i ‘ulamâ’-i Panjâb, Vol. I, pp. 180–82.

(123.) Most important among them were Ashraf Ali Thanvi (1864–1943), who was expelled from the JUH and joined the Muslim League in 1939, and Shabbbir Ahmad ‘Usmani, who founded the Jam‘îyat-i ‘Ulamâ‘-i Islâm (JUI) in 1945; see Pirzada, op. cit., pp. 5, 8–10; Qureshi, op. cit., pp. 357–62, and p. 369, Fn 95 to chapter 3.

(124.) The reasons for their stance are explained in Ziya ul-Hasan Faruqi, The Deoband School and the Demand for Pakistan, (Lahore: Progressive Books, 1962), pp. 92–121, and Friedman, “The Attitude of the Jam‘iyyat-i ‘Ulamâ’-i Hind”, passim.

(125.) Razâkâr 2/36:4 (24 December 1939). Amir Haidar Khan headed the AISC from 1940 to 1946 when he was elected to the U.P. Legislative Assembly on a Muslim League ticket with the help of his elder brother (Author’s interview with his son, Muhammad Amir Sajjad; Lucknow, 28 January 2001). He remained in India after partition and headed institutions such as the Shia Central Waqf Board and the sponsoring trust of the Madrasat ul-Wâ‘izîn Lucknow; see Shâdânî, Sawânih, pp. 60–65; Illustrated Weekly of India, 20 February 1972, p. 33.

(126.) Razâkâr 2/36:4.

(128.) Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada (ed.), Foundations of Pakistan, All India Muslim League Documents 1906–1947, (Karachi: National Publishing House, 1970), Vol. II, p. 341.

(131.) Ibid., pp. 263–4.

(132.) See below, p. 53, and p. 361, Fn 197.

(133.) Razâkâr 3/13:1+14 (24 April 1940); 8/32:3 (24 August 1945).

(134.) He was born from a middle class family in the Patna District and had been a judge at the Patna High Court 1919–20. From 1923–30 he was the first Indian Vice-Chancellor of the Patna University and from 1932–40 a member of the Governor’s Executive Council of Bihar and Orissa. In 1938 he had been Indian delegate to the League of Nations; see Jain, Muslims in India, Vol. II, pp. 167–8.

(135.) Razâkâr 3/13:4–7 (24 April 1940); commentary ibid., p. 3.

(136.) During a visit to Lucknow in January 2001 I tried in vain to find copies of Shia journals or other sources containing protocols of the 1940 All-Parties Shia Conference.

(137.) Qureshi, Struggle for Pakistan, p. 174; Wolpert, Jinnah of Pakistan, p. 193. He thereafter dubbed Jinnah “the greatest enemy of Islam and Muslims in India” (Jain, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 168).

(138.) Muhammad Siddiq, “Panjâb Shî‘a Kânfarans aur shî‘ân-i Panjâb kê farz-i mansabî”, Razâkâr 4/4:3 (16 November 1941).

(139.) Karim Bakhsh Haidari, “Shî‘a aur siyâsat-i Hind”, Razâkâr 5/17:6 (8 May 1942).

(140.) Ghulam Muhammad Baltistani, “Shî‘ôn kî qaumî zindagî mên tanzîm kî zarûrat”, Razâkâr 6/18:5 (1 March 1943); Muhammad Siddiq, “Anjuman-sâzî—maraz barhtâ gayâ jôn jôn dawâ kî”, Razâkâr 6/19:3 (8 March 1943).

(141.) Karim Bakhsh Haidari, “Hamârî Pûlitikâl Kânfarans kî pâlisî aur prûgrâm”, Razâkâr 8/2:1 (8 January 1945).

(142.) Karim Bakhsh Haidari, “Shî‘a aur siyâsat-i Hind”, Razâkâr 5/17:6 (8 May 1942).

(144.) Ibid.; on the Cripps Mission see Qureshi, op. cit., pp. 176–98.

(145.) Razâkâr 4/4:3 (16 November 1941). Ihsan Ali Khan later wrote that he had never sought (p.359) to preside over the PuSC, but that the ‘ulamâ’ S. Muhammad Dihlavi and S. Zafar Mahdi had “obliged” him to do so (Razâkâr 6/7:3; 8 December 1942).

(146.) Khwaja Muhammad Latif Ansari, “Panjâb Shî‘a Kânfarans kê liyê êk lamha fikrîya”, Razâkâr 5/18:8–9 (16 May 1942); Muhammad Ihsan Ali Khan, “Panjâb Shî‘a Kânfarans kê maujûda ta‘attul kê asbâb”, Razâkâr 6/7:3 (8 December 1942).

(147.) Muhammad Siddiq, “Razâkâr kâ dô-bâra ijrâ”, Razâkâr 4/1:3 (24 October 1941).

(148.) Razâkâr 6/7:3 (8 December 1942); 7/43:1 (8 November 1944).

(149.) Muzaffar Ali Khan Qizilbash (1907–82) had studied law in Cambridge and returned to Lahore in 1936. In 1937 he was elected to the Punjab Assembly on a Unionist Party ticket. On his further political career see below and sections 3.1, 3.6 and 5.2; also an obituary in Razâkâr 46/41:1 (1 November 1982) and Anjum, Siyâsat kê fir‘aun, pp. 250–59. He was elected Secretary-General of the PuSPC in 1938 and elected PuSPC President in 1943. After the death of his brother Nawab Nisar Ali Khan in April 1944 he became head of the family and heir to its huge estates (ibid., p. 255; Razâkâr 7/20:1; 16 May 1944). For his family background see section 1.1, pp. 10–11).

(150.) Razâkâr 6/34:3 (1 July 1943) refers to a meeting of the PuSPC Council in Lahore on 27 June 1943 which opened a permanent office to deal with preparations for the convention.

(151.) Translation from Razâkâr 6/48:2 (16 October 1943). The resolution was tabled by Sardar Karim Bakhsh Haidari of Alipur (Muzaffargarh Dist.), who later shifted to unconditional loyalty to the Muslim League; see Muhammad Siddiq, “Haidarî sâhib kâ ghair-zammadâr bâyân”, Razâkâr 8/17:3 (1 May 1945); “Haidarî sâhib kî khidmat mên iltimâs”, Razâkâr 9/5:3 (1 February 1946).

(152.) Quoted in Razâkâr 6/51:3 (8 November 1943).

(153.) Ibid.; Abu’l-Kalam Azad (1888–1958) headed the Indian National Congress from late 1939 to 1946; see Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 40–46, and references ibid.

(154.) In that speech Amir Haidar Khan had said: “There is no doubt that we are a part of Islam and will remain so … in general matters we must remain united with all Muslim sects, especially if we are confronted with a national (qaumî) enemy. Yet we have doubtless a special quality (haisîyat), and we don’t like any interference with that …” (Razâkâr 6/51:3; 8 November 1943).

(155.) Razâkâr 6/51:1(8 November 1943); 6/52:6+10 (16 November 1943).

(156.) Razâkâr 7/14:3 (1 April 1944).

(157.) Razâkâr 7/16:3 (16 April 1944), quoting from Shî‘a (Lahore) of 8 April and Nazzâra (Lucknow) of 24 April 1944.

(158.) S. Nâsir Ali Shah Gardezi, “Qâ’id-i A‘zam aur shî‘a tahaffuzât”, Razâkâr 7/16:8+10 (16 April 1944).

(160.) See section 2.1, p. 41.

(161.) Literally “refusers”, a pejorative term applied on Shias since the first century of Islam for not recognising the caliphate of the first three Caliphs; see Ethan Kohlberg, “Râfida”, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. VIII, pp. 386–9.

(162.) Referring to the “unlawful innovations” (bid‘ât) in religion ascribed to Shias by a section of the Sunni ‘ulamâ’; see section. 3.5, p. 96.

(163.) The term munâfiqûn is frequently used in the Koran referring to the opponents of the Prophet Muhammad; see A. Brocket, “al-Munâfikûn”, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. VII, pp. 561–2.

(164.) Razâkâr 7/45:1 (24 November 1944); Hasan, Sectarianism in Indian Islam, p. 40, Fn 69.

(165.) Madh-i sahâba processions had been forbidden since 1940. According to Razâkâr 9/2:2 (8 January 1946) they were allowed again in late 1945, when the Congress had resumed (p.360) charge of the U.P. provincial government, in order to create sectarian tensions and weaken the Muslim League during the 1945–6 elections.

(166.) The TAS was founded by Nur ul-Hasan Bukhari (1911–79), a former school headmaster from a village near Rajanpur (then Dera Ghazi Khan Dist.) who had studied at the Dâr ul-‘Ulûm Deoband 1936–9, and his friend Dost Muhammad Quraishi (1920–74). See Bukhârî, Akâbir ‘ulamâ’-i Deoband, pp. 356–60; Râhî, Tazkira-i ‘ulamâ’-i Panjâb, Vol. I, pp. 183–5; see also p. 380, Fn 325 to chapter 3.

(167.) See a report in Razâkâr 8/13:6–7; Maulana Zafar ul-Mulk had led the madh-i sahâba in Lucknow. Another speaker was the JUH leader Husain Ahmad Madani. According to an editorial in Razâkâr 8/13:3 (1 April 1945), fatwâs declaring Shias wâjib ul-qatl (deserving death) were given at the meeting.

(168.) Among the places affected in the years 1940–47 were Ambala, Amritsar, Biguwal, Dokoha Sadat, Kamalia, Kot Radha Krishan, Malir Kotla, Mandi Chishtian, Nurpur, Qasur, Sonipat, Shujaabad, and others; see Razâkâr 6/51:3 (8 November 1943); 8/3:1 (16 January 1945); 8/17:2 (1 May 1945); 8/38:3 (8 October 1945); 10/3:8 (24 December 1946).

(170.) Ibid., pp. 234–5; Razâkâr 8/16:3 (24 April 1945).

(171.) Razâkâr 7/30:3 (1 August 1944).

(172.) Ibid.

(173.) He had been the President of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber in 1930 and Mayor of Bombay in 1931; see Jain, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 29; Hasnain & Husain, Shias and Shia Islam in India, pp. 161–3.

(174.) Razâkâr 8/16:3 (24 April 1945); for a critical examination of Lalji’s telegram by Karim Bakhsh Haidari see Razâkâr 8/19:4–5 (16 May 1945).

(175.) Razâkâr 8/25:1–2 (1 July 1945).

(176.) Razâkâr 8/22:1+10 (8 June 1945). According to the 1921 Census, Shias had made up for only 2 per cent of the Punjab’s population (see p. 343, Fn 97 and 98 to chpater 1).

(177.) Razâkâr 8/20:3 (24 May 1945).

(178.) “Qaum kô ‘ulamâ’-i shî‘a kâ ahamm mashwara”, Razâkâr 8/27:7 (16 July 1945); commentary in Razâkâr 8/28:3 (24 July 1945).

(180.) Razâkâr 8/32:3 (24 August 1945).

(181.) Quoted from S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 258–59.

(182.) Razâkâr 8/38:3 (8 October 1945); wording of the demands in Razâkâr 9/11:3 (16 March 1946).

(183.) Razâkâr 8/39:3 (16 October 1945).

(184.) Razâkâr 8/38:3; the editor of Razâkâr wrote in his comment that “the opposite was true” regarding the situation in the Punjab (ibid.).

(185.) Report in Razâkâr 8/40:1–2 (24 October 1945); speeches of Husain Bhai Lalji ibid, p. 3–8, and of S. Muhammad Nasîr in Razâkâr 8/41:4–6 (1 November 1945); commentary of Muhammad Siddiq, who had attended the conference, in Razâkâr 8/42:3 (8 November 1945).

(186.) Full text of the resolution in Razâkâr 8/40:2 (24 October 1945).

(187.) Razâkâr 8/43:3 (16 November 1945). A so-called Husaini mahâz (civil disobedience movement) had been launched by Shias of Qasur after ‘azâdârî processions had been banned there in 1938 and 1939.

(188.) Ibid.

(189.) In December 1945, Shias of Saharanpur (a town in U.P. near the provincial border of Punjab) went as far as inviting Sunnis to make recitations in praise of the first three Caliphs in imâmbârgâhs and Shia mosques if they wished so (Razâkâr 9/2:2, 8 January (p.361) 1946, quoting from al-Manshûr, Delhi). Two months later Muhammad Siddiq wrote: … “Now the workers of the Muslim League, in response to the call [of Jinnah], everywhere spread appeals that Muslims should unite and get rid off sectarianism, because it means ignorance. As a result it has become a sign of ignorance in the Muslim League even to call oneself a Shia. Our Shia brothers who have become unconditional members of the Muslim League are indulging in … a sell-out of religion” (“Shî‘a aur Muslim Lîg”; Razâkâr 9/7:3; 16 February 1946).

(190.) Razâkâr 8/41:3 (1 November 1945); on Zafar Ahmad ‘Usmani see Bukhârî, Akâbir ‘ulamâ’-i Deoband, pp. 181–88.

(191.) Razâkâr 8/43:3 (16 November 1945).

(192.) Razâkâr 8/42:1 (8 November 1945).

(193.) Hasnain & Husain, op. cit., p. 163; M. W. Khân, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 252–4. Raja Amir Ahmad Khan of Mahmudabad and the Shia ‘âlim Ibn Hasan Jarchavi had also campaigned for Jinnah in Bombay during that contest; see S. I. Husain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 87.

(194.) These were Jinnah himself, Amir Ahmad Khan of Mahmudabad and Capt. S. ‘Abid Husain (Jhang).

(196.) Razâkâr 9/17:8 (1 May 1946). The number of Shias elected in the NWFP is not mentioned in the article. There were no elections in Balochistan and the Princely States of Bahawalpur and Khairpur of the later West Pakistan. See also a list of results in Aziz, Historical Handbook, pp. 499–509.

(197.) Razâkâr 9/9:4 (1 March 1946). He conveniently omitted those words of Jinnah’s letter which were critical of the All-Parties Shia Conference and its aims (see above, p. 43), just as has been done by Shia journals in Pakistan which have quoted the letter in the following years and decades. In Razâkâr 9/11:3 (16 March 1946) Muhammad Siddiq pointedly commented: “The Shias do not want to know from the Maharajkumar of Mahmudabad what Jinnah wrote to him in 1940, but rather which reply he received from the Muslim League to the demands from September 1945”.

(198.) Karim Bakhsh Haidari, “Shî‘a jamâ‘at aur Muslim Lîg intikhâbî natâ’ij kî raushnî mên”, Razâkâr 9/17:8 (1 May 1946).

(199.) A number of Shia notables in the Punjab had still reservations against the Muslim League by mid-1946. Razâkâr 9/30:4 (8 August 1946) mentioned Qizilbash, S. Abd ul-Jalil Shah Gardezi (Multan), Mian Sultan Ali (Nangiana), Chaudhry Faqir Husain, (Amritsar Dist.), Pir S. Nasir ud-Din Shah (Lyallpur), Professor Nâsir Ali Khan (Panipat) and Mehr Talib Husain (Garh Maharaja). The journal remained a mouth-piece of criticism of the Muslim League right until partition, while at the same time remaining opposed to the Congress and its allies; see Muhammad Siddiq, “Kuch âpnê muta‘alliq”, Razâkâr 9/19:3 (16 May 1946); see also below, Fn 209.

(200.) Razâkâr 9/17:8 (1 May 1946). On the important Muslim League Working Committee session in Delhi see Wolpert, op. cit., pp. 261–2; Qureshi, op. cit., 246–7.

(201.) Razâkâr 9/17:8 (1 May 1946); Hasnain & Husain, op. cit., p. 162.

(202.) Ibid. and Razâkâr 9/35:3 (16 September 1946).

(203.) S. Ali Zahîr was later appointed member of the Constituent Assembly of India and ambassador to Iran and Iraq (1947–51). From 1951 to 1967 he was a member of subsequent provincial cabinets in the U.P., holding the Congress ticket for the Lucknow West constituency until 1969; see Jain, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 81; Hasnain & Husain, op. cit., p. 173; Wright, “The Politics of Muslim Sectarian Conflict in India”, p. 72. For Lalji’s further career see the Illustrated Weekly of India, 20 February 1972, p. 25.

(204.) Razâkâr 9/30:2 (8 August 1946); 9/32:1 (24 August 1946). Six other Shias besides the Raja (p.362) had been named by the Muslim League among the 79 Muslim members of the Constituent Assembly, i.e. Jinnah himself, S. Tajammul Husain from Bihar, Shaikh Karamat Ali and Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan from Punjab, Mirza Abu’l Hasan Ispahani and Prince Yusuf Mirza from Bengal (Razâkâr 9/27:3; 16 July 1946). On 22 November 1946 the Muslim League withdrew its representation in the Constituent Assembly altogether (Wolpert, op. cit., p. 296).

(205.) Ibid., p. 293; two of the four ministers nominated by the Muslim League for that government, which remained in office until June 1947, were Shias (I.I. Chundrigar and Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan) (ibid.).

(206.) Khwaja Muhammad Latif Ansari, “Kuch Panjâb Shî‘a Kânfarans kê muta‘alliq”, Razâkâr 10/10:1 (16 February 1947).

(207.) Muhammad Siddiq, “Sadr-i Panjâb Shî‘a Kânfarans kî khidmat mên iltimâs”, Razâkâr 9/16:2+11 (24 April 1946); answer of Ihsan Ali Khan and rejoinder by Muhammad Siddiq Razâkâr 9/23:7+3 (16 June 1946); S. Akhtar Husain Sha’iq Ambalvi, “Nawâb Hâjjî Ihsân ‘Alî Khân sâhib kê liyê lamha fikrîya”, Razâkâr 9/30:4+7 (8 August 1946).

(208.) Anjum, Siyâsat kê fir‘aun, p. 256; the author depicted Qizilbash as “the iron man of the Tiwana government”.

(209.) Report of the session in Razâkâr 9/36:5–6 (24 September 1946). Speeches against specific acts of the Muslim League were held there by S. Muzaffar Ali Shamsi, Sha’iq Ambalvi, Mir Baqir Husain Ja‘fari, Jamil Husain ‘Alavi, S. Ghazanfar Ali Ferozpuri and S. Muhammad Ali Shamsi; the latter had tabled a resolution demanding to exclude Raja Ghazanfar Khan, Shaikh Karamat Ali and Major Mubarak Ali Shah from the PuSPC for one year (ibid.).

(210.) Razâkâr 10/3:8 (24 December 1946).

(211.) The first session of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan took place in Karachi on 11 August 1947; see Qureshi, op. cit., pp. 304–6; Wolpert, op. cit., pp. 337–9; see also p. 369, Fn 103 to chapter 3.

(212.) The commission was headed by Maulana Shabbir Ahmad ‘Usmani; the other members were Professor Zafar Ahmad, Pir Balaghat Ali Shah, and the Maulanas Ibrahim Sialkoti, Azad Sajjadi, Muhammad Danapuri, Zâhir Qasimi and Khwaja Hasan Nizami (Razâkâr 10/23:3).

(213.) See p. 369, Fn 103 to chapter 3.

(214.) Muhammad Siddiq, “Kyâ ab bhî hamârê huqûq kî tahaffuz kâ waqt nahîn âyâ?”, Razâkâr 10/23:3 (24 July 1947); S. Abrar Husain Pawri, “Kyâ Lîgî shî‘a âpnê farz kî taraf mutawajjih hain?”, Razâkâr 10/25:8 (8 August 1947).