MORLEY MINTO REFORMS (1909)
Officially known as the Government of India Act, 1909, the Minto-Morley Reforms take their name after their official sponsor, Minto, then Governor-General and John Morley (1838-1923), Secretary of State for India. When Lord Minto came as viceroy to India, the whole country was in a state of political unrest. In collaboration with Lord Morley, secretary of state for India, Minto appointed a committee to go into details and prepare a despatch regarding constitutional reforms. This despatch was ready in 1907 and was sent to London on March 19. It served as the basis of the reforms which were enacted into law by the Indian Councils Act of 1909.
The important constitutional changes introduced by these reforms were several. Provincial legislative councils were enlarged up to a maximum of 50 members in the larger provinces and 30 in the smaller ones. The number of the unofficial members was raised equal to that of the official members. The method of election was partly indirect and partly direct. Second, Muslims were given separate representation in most provinces. In addition, the power of legislative councils was increased. The Imperial Legislative Council was also enlarged, but the officials would remain in majority. Finally, an Indian member was taken into the executive council of the viceroy and in each of the provincial executive councils.
Despite many defects in this scheme, the Morley-Minto reforms were important in several aspects. For Muslims, the most important change brought about by the reforms was the establishment of separate electorates. The Simla deputation demand was met, and a system of separate Muslim representation was introduced.
All Hindu and several British observers of the Indian scene criticised the creation of communal electorates as a breach of democratic principle. But Morley saw the force of the Muslim argument that to make Muslim seats dependent on Hindu votes would embitter communal relations. Mere reservation of seats would not have gone to a Muslim candidate who identified himself wholeheartedly with the interests of his own community. Another argument in support of this was that it was the unanimous demand of a large community. But Hindu politicians and the Congress immediately began a campaign of criticism and opposition. At the
1910 Congress session, it condemned the provision of separate representation for Muslims and demanded withdrawal of the resolution. From then on up to the passing of the 1935 Act, the Congress made a habit of it to condemn separate electorates and to advocate their removal.
The sober, well-reasoned and constitutional advocacy of the Muslim League thus did not fail to achieve its objective. Within two years of its inception, the Muslim League scored a major political victory against a more powerful political organisation. The day the demand for separate electorate was conceded, the course for the Muslim freedom movement changed. It laid down the foundation for the growth of the Muslim national consciousness which, after a forty year struggle, was to achieve for the Muslims the culmination of their aspirations as a distinct nation.
IMPACT OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR ON INDIA
The impact of would war I created a minor revolution in India’s political and constitutional position. Unlike world war II, India remained loyal to the British Government during the war. No large scale effort was mode to embarrass Britain in her hour of travail or to exploit her weakness in order to gain political concessions. Thousands of Indians volunteered to fight for Britain. Legislative councils readily voted for all emergency powers to the executive as well as full financial backing to war expenditure.
The most profound effects of the war were, that it brought the Congress and the muslim league closer. The basic differences between the two were momentarily forgotten due to a strong foreign stimulus.It seemed that the political exigency had overcome deep rooted and suspicions. For the first time a desire developed to arrive at some understanding between the two otherwise apart communities.
On the other hand the British projected that they were fighting the war to further the cause of freedom and self determination. It was expected that due to the Indian complacence during the war, a set of reforms will be despatched once the war ended. These reforms were expected to make India a self governing member of the British common wealth. This notion in the Indian populace produced a vigour in the populace unseen and unheard of before. However the end of the war did not bring any such measures and the local Indian were further disillusioned with false British promises and vows.
LUCKNOW PACT 1916
In 1913, the Muslim League adopted the principle of self-rule. This brought Congress and Muslim League closer to each other. The leaders of both parties decided that they should cooperate with each other to bring the government around to accept their demands. Therefore in 1916 Muslim League and Congress held sessions in Lucknow. The Muslim League session was presided over by Quaid-e-Azam, while Ambeka Choian Maujamdar presided over the Congress session. There, Congress and the Muslim League reached an agreement on a scheme of constitutional reforms known as the Lucknow Pact. The agreement inncluded separate electorates for Muslims and provided for elections of central and provincial councils and responsibility of the executive to the legislature. They agreed to the principle of a separate electorate and reservation of one-third of the seats in the central legislature for Muslims. The Muslim representation was fixed at: 33% of the elected members of the central government, 50% for Punjab, 40% for Bengal, 33% for Bombay, 30% for U.P, 25% for Bihar, 15% for C.P and 15% for Madras
It was also decided that the members of assemblies should have the right to present adjournment motions. In addition, provincial autonomy should be given to the provinces and the communal problems should be solved. The pact stated that seats should be reserved for Muslims in those provinces in which they were a minority, and that Hindus should be protected in Muslim majority provinces. Finally, no resolution or motion could be presented in the assembly which would affect the interests of any of the two communities without the approval of the concerned group. The Lucknow Pact was considered a great achievement. For the first time, Hindus acknowledged Muslims as a separate nation and accepted their right to a separate electorate.
MONTAGUE CHELMSFORD REFORMS 1919
The reforms introduced by the act of 1909 failed to satisfy the people of India because they did not give enough power to the Indians. The parliamentary form of government was introduced, but the executive was not made responsible to the legislature. The Muslims were at first friendly to the government because they had been given a separate electorate, but with time they were dissatisfied. The annulment of the partition of Bengal came as a shock, and they began to lose faith in the British government. Also, Britain did not help Turkey against Italy during the Turco-Italian war, which Indian Muslims resented. During World War I, in spite of their grievances, Indians helped the British by providing both men and money. In return for their services Indians expected that they would be given self-rule. As the war went on, Indians began to suspect that the British were not planning to grant them self-government. At this time Mrs. Annie Besant started the Home Rule Movement, which declared that self-government was the birthright of Indians.
In order to pacify the Indian youth who were getting restless, the British government decided that something must be done. Therefore, on August 20, 1917, Lord Montague, Secretary of State for India, made a declaration in the British Parliament, that Indians should slowly be admitted to every branch of administration in order to introduce self-government gradually. It was further stated that his majesty’s government and the government of India would be the judges of the time and measure for each advance.
Lord Montague visited India and in collaboration with the governor-general, Lord Chelmsford, drafted a scheme of reforms. It was submitted to the British Parliament, which then passed the act in 1919 known as the Montague-Chelmsford reforms. This act established legislative councils in the provinces with a system of dyarchy. Under this system anything relating to law and order was to be administered by executive councilors responsible to the governors.
The act made numerous recommendations. India was to remain an integral part of the British empire and responsible government was to be given by stages. The British government was to be the judge of the measure of each province. It also aimed at introducing partial responsible government in the provinces, which necessitated the division of subjects. The central subjects included defence, foreign and political relations, customs, posts and telegraphs, currency, and communications. The provincial subjects included local self-government, public health, sanitation, education, public works, irrigation and agriculture.
In addition, the position of secretary of state for India and the Indian council was changed. Some of the powers of the secretary of state were transferred to the governor-general in the council. The office of the high commission for India was created. A bicameral legislature was established in the centre; the upper house consisted of 60 members with a tenure of 5 years. The lower house consisted of 145 members for the period of 3 years. Moreover, separate electorates were reserved for Muslims and Sikhs. In addition, out of the 103 seats of the imperial legislative council 30 sets were reserved for Muslims.
A system of dyarchy was introduced in the provinces by which the law enforcing departments and a few other departments were put under the direct control of the governor and the remaining came under the executive council. Under the system of dyarchy, the governor-general could interfere in provincial matters. Finally, the act stated that more constitutional reforms would be introduced after 10 years.
The various political circles in the country were not happy with these reforms. Congress was divided over the reforms, nor was the Muslim League very optimistic about them. However, Congress and the Muslim League ultimately approved the proposals.
After the end of the First World War, the victorious allied countries planned to demolish the Ottoman Caliphate of Turkey because Turkey had chosen to fight on the side of Germany against the allied powers. The Indian Muslims, because of their sentimental attachment to the caliph, had always held the institution of the caliphate in the highest esteem. Since they did not wish for the end of the caliphate, they presented the British colonial government with the threat of an internal law and order situation. They asked the government to assure that the caliphate would not be demolished and that due respect would be shown for the sacred places of the Muslims. The British promised to respect the institution of the caliph and the right of the Turks to their homeland. But when the war came to an end the Indian Muslims found, to their disappointment, that Turkey had been divided among the allies. Thus Muslims decided to launch a movement for the protection of the caliphate. A Khilafat Committee was set up to organize the movement with Maulana Shaukat Ali as its secretary. Under the presidency of Maulana Fazlul Haq the first meeting of the committee was held on 23 November, 1919.
Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the Hindus came forward with their full support for the movement. Gandhi had planned to use the Khilafat agitation in order to pressurize the government to come to terms with Indian independence. He therefore advocated full support and outlined a programme of non-cooperation. The plan was to paralyse the administration by a complete boycott of British institutions and goods. Indians were asked to give up government service, renounce titles, boycott courts of law, walk out of schools and colleges and take no part in elections.
The Khilafat Committee decided to send a delegation under the leadership of Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar to England to put their views before the British government. The Khilafat Delegation left for England in March, 1919 and met Prime Minister Lloyd George. But they returned without achieving their objectives.
The cooperation between Muslims and Hindus could not last long. In February of 1922 at the village of Chauri Chaura, a fight erupted between the police and a demonstrating procession. The hostile mob set fire to the police station where twenty-two policemen were burnt alive. Gandhi immediately and unilaterally called off the non-cooperation movement, doing damage to the entire Khilafat movement. This sudden action dismayed the Muslim masses and leaders. In the meantime in Turkey, the Turks under the leadership of Mustafa Kamal launched effective measures to protect their independence. In 1924 the Turkish government under Kamal abolished the institution of the khilafat and established a nationalist government. With this the Indian Khilafat movement also lost ground. Though it was not fully successful, the Khilafat movement helped to create political consciousness in the Muslim masses in India.
In 1924 Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar was released from jail after his arrest during the Khilafat movement. He was deeply troubled to see the awful state of Indian society and declared India the Dar-ul-Harb, (House of War) and urged Muslims to migrate to a place where their religion and national image would not be endangered. This declaration was duly endorsed by the majority of ulema At his call, nearly 18,000 Muslims migrated to Afghanistan in protest against the British policy on the caliphate. The Afghan government welcomed the migrants in the beginning but refused to accept them when their numbers increased later. These immigrants faced many difficulties; many of them died on the way. Those who were not allowed to enter Afghanistan had to go back to India to find themselves homeless. The migration to Afghanistan is known as the Hijrat Movement. Those who had blindly responded to the call by their religious leaders disposed their belongings with the hope of a better future, but when they came back they found themselves homeless and helpless.
By 1926, the Hindu Mahasbha (a Hindu organization) managed to become part of the Congress. The new leadership of Congress initiated a violent propaganda campaign against the Muslims’ demand for a separate electorate. Pandit Nehru in 1927 told Quaid-e-Azam that if Muslim League surrendered its demand for a separate electorate, then Congress would accept any other demand in its place. In reply to this, Quaid-e-Azam convened a meeting of Muslim leaders on March 20, 1927 in Delhi. The meeting discussed in detail the offer made by the Congress and finally decided to surrender the demand for a separate electorate. The meeting presented a set of proposals in place of the separate electorate, which are known as the Delhi Proposals.
These stated that Sindh should be separated from Bombay and that both Balochistan and NWFP should be given provincial status and reforms should be introduced. They further demanded that Muslims should have one-third of the seats in the central legislature and should be given representation in Bengal and Punjab in accordance with their strength. Congress and Hindu leaders in the beginning welcomed the Delhi proposals but afterwards began opposing them.
When the Montague Chemlsford Reforms were introduced in 1919, the British government announced that a commission would be sent to India to examine their effects and introduce more reforms. Therefore, the British in 1927 appointed a commission under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon to report on India’s constitutional progress and to make recommendations for a new constitution. Since the commission had no Indian member, the Congress and a section of the Muslim League, who were working under the leadership of the Quaid-e-Azam, boycotted the commission. The other section of Muslim League was in favour of cooperating with the commission.
There was large scale agitation against the commission. Wherever it went, large demonstrations occurred, with slogans like “Simon go back, Simon go back”. In spite of the agitation and hostile demonstrations, the commission prepared a detailed report for constitutional reforms in India and sent it to the government for approval, who in turn made a plan for constitutional reforms, but Congress and the Muslim League refused to accept the commission’s recommendations.
FOURTEEN POINTS OF QUAID-E-AZAM
The Nehru Report submitted by Pandit Moti Lal Nehru turned down the Delhi Proposals and the Muslims’ demand for separate representation. Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah refused to accept the Nehru Report. He convened a meeting of the Muslim League in 1929 in Delhi and put forward the Muslim point of view in a document known as the Fourteen Points. The meeting declared that the Muslims would reject any constitution which did not include the Fourteen Points.
These demands were rejected by the Hindu leadership, creating a rift between the two communities. Meanwhile, Congress demanded that a new constitution be presented by 31 December 1929. The government turned down this demand and issued a two-fold declaration. The first part related to the constitution. The second announced that a Round Table Conference would be convened at which the British Government would meet the representatives of British India and the princely states for the purpose of agreeing on constitutional proposals.
Rejection of the Fourteen Points cost the Nehru Report its credibility among the Muslim population.
to be continued
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ALLAMA IQBAL’S PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS, ALLAHABAD, 1930
The Fourteen Points of the Quaid-e-Azam created a new political consciousness among the Indian Muslims. The Nehru Report left no doubt in their minds that the Hindus intended to dominate them, with the ultimate goal of eliminating the Muslims as a separate entity.
The annual session of the All-India Muslim League, held in Allahabad in 1930, was presided over by Allama Iqbal. By that time Iqbal had emerged as a great poet, philosopher, and thinker. He believed that Hindus and Muslims were two distinct nations which could never become one. Expressing these thoughts and views while delivering a speech in Allahabad, he was the first to give voice to the demand for a Muslim homeland.
“It is my wish that the Punjab, the Frontier Province, Sindh, and Balochistan be combined so as to make one state. . . . The setting up of a North Western Muslim state [of the entire subcontinent] is the destiny of at least the Muslims of the North West regions. . . . India is a continent of human being belonging to different languages and professing different religions. To base a constitution on the conception of a homogeneous India is to prepare her for civil war. I, therefore, demand the formation of a consolidated Muslim state in the best interests of the Muslims of India and Pakistan”.
Round table conferences
First Round Table Conference
The 1930s were years of difficulty and tension. The Simon Commission Report was harshly criticized, and Congress launched a civil disobedience movement in April 1930. This movement was declared illegal, and both Gandhi and Nehru were arrested.
In an effort to avoid confrontation with the Indian political parties, the British Government invited all parties to present their point of view at a Round Table Conference.
The first session of the First Round Table Conference began in London on 12 November 1930. All parties sent representatives except for Congress, which issued an ultimatum saying that it would have nothing to do with any future constitutional discussions unless the Nehru Report was enforced completely.
The delegates included 16 from the United Kingdom, 16 from the Indian states and 57 from British India. The Muslim representatives attended the conference, as the Muslims were not part of the civil disobedience movement. Representing the Muslims were Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Sir Agha Khan, Maulvi Fazal-ul-Haq, Sir Muhammad Shafi, Sir Shah Nawaz, Chaudri Zafarullah, and Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah. The conference unanimously decided to create a federal system for India. Even the princely states agreed to join an All India Federation.
Eight subcommittees were established to work out agreement on major points of concern: the federal structure, the provincial constitution, franchise, the provinces of Sindh and NWFP, defence services, and minorities. Among the important decisions taken were the following:
A federation would be established comprising the provinces of British India; dyarchy would be abolished in the provinces and responsible government under Indian ministers would be introduced; the separation of Sindh from Bombay was agreed in principle and a committee was to be appointed to deal with the ensuing financial problems; North West Frontier Province was to receive the status of a Governor’s province.
Differences arose concerning the distribution of subjects in the federal system, and the subcommittee on minorities failed to reach agreement about their rights. At the end of the conference, the Muslims declared that no advance would be possible without sufficient safeguards for the Muslims of India.
The First Round Table Conference ended on 19 January 1931. The British Prime Minister explained Government policy toward resolving the Indian constitutional problem and accepted the proposal for responsible governments in the provinces and a federal government at the centre. After the conclusion of the first session, it was generally felt that a second session would be of little use if Congress refused to participate again.
After the First Round Table Conference concluded, Congress felt very isolated. When the civil disobedience movement failed, Congress began looking for ways to come to terms with the government. For its part, the British government wanted Congress to attend the Second Round Table Conference, because it would be difficult to implement any constitutional reforms without the largest party in India.
When Lord Irwin invited Gandhi for talks, Gandhi agreed to end the civil disobedience movement with no preconditions. Talks between Gandhi and Irwin continued from 17-19 February 1931, culminating in the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, signed on 5 March 1931.
Under the Pact, Congress agreed to end the civil disobedience movement and to attend the Second Round Table Conference. The government agreed to withdraw all ordinances curbing Congress, to withdraw all notifications and enactments relating to offenses not involving violence, and to release all persons detained during the civil disobedience movement.
Second Round Table Conference
The Second Round Table Conference opened on 7 September 1931 in London and lasted until 1 December 1931. Gandhi was there as the representative of Congress. Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar died before the Second Round Table Conference. In his place, Allama Muhammad Iqbal came as the Muslims’ representative.
Two committees were set up under the conference, one on federal structure and the other on minorities. Gandhi was a member of both. The most important and sensitive issue before the conference was the Hindu-Muslim relationship. From the Muslim point of view, this was bound to affect the shape of the proposed federation.
The minorities subcommittee faced many difficulties, as Gandhi refused to accept minority demands and declared that it was difficult to reach agreement. He attributed this difficulty to the composition of the Indian delegation and demanded that the minority committee be disbanded so that it should not block the progress of constitution making. Gandhi demanded that the work of constitution making be started by putting aside the minorities issue.
Sir Muhammad Shafi, a Muslim representative, did not agree to Gandhi’s proposal and insisted that minorities issue must be resolved before taking up constitution making. Sir Shafi also demanded that Jinnah’s Fourteen Points be incorporated in the future constitution of India. No settlement of the minorities issue was reached due to Gandhi’s refusal to accept the existence of the communal problem. Gandhi put forward his own scheme to solve this problem. His solution was based on proposals made in the Nehru Report.
Independently, the minority groups; Muslims, Anglo-Indians, a section of the Indian Christians, and members of the European business community — reached an agreement among themselves and endorsed the principle of separate electorates. This agreement was presented by the Agha Khan to the tenth meeting of the minorities committee on 13 November 1931, but it was rejected by Gandhi, who insisted that as Congress represented 85 to 95 percent of the entire Indian population, only Congress could speak for the minorities. Under these circumstances, further progress was impossible.
The communal problem also hampered the work of the federal structure committee. The Second Round Table Conference thus ended without reaching any concrete conclusion. The British Government placed responsibility for reaching a solution upon the Indian delegates and warned them that if the Indians were unable to solve the communal problem, then the British government would have to decide the problem of representation.
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT 1935
The three Round Table Conferences which wore held in 1930, 1931, 1932 were unable to achieve anything despite efforts to solve the constitutional problem of India. In March 1933, the British government issued a White Paper containing their recommendations for constitutional reforms in India. A joint parliamentary committee was set up under the chairmanship of Lord Linlithgow to consider the White Paper and make recommendations for a new governmental structure in India. This committee worked for eighteen months and submitted its report in November 1934. In January 1935 the British Government introduced the Government of India Bill in the House of Commons. This bill was based on the report presented by the committee. After passing through the preliminary stages in the parliament, the bill received the royal assent on 4 August 1935 and was declared the Government of India Act of 1935.
The Act contained 14 parts and 10 schedules and consisted of two parts. First, it set up a federation in India, in which the British Indian provinces and the princely states would participate in a common central government. The viceroy was appointed as its head, assisted by a council of ministers, except for foreign affairs and defence, which were responsible to the legislature. Second it established in eleven provinces autonomous governments under ministers responsible to elected legislatures. The Act came into operation on 1 April, 1937, except the portion which dealt with the All-India Federation, which could not be enforced until a specific number of princely states acceded to the Indian Federation. As no state acceded to the federation until the outbreak of World War II, the federal part of the constitution could not be activated.
The Act had several important features. It provided for the creation of two new provinces of Sindh and Orissa and divided the country into 11 provinces. The most important distinctive feature of the Act of 1935 was that for the first time provinces were considered as separate legal entities. The system of dyarchy was abolished in provinces. In addition, three lists of subjects were drawn up, the federal list, the provincial list and the concurrent list. The act also introduced dyarchy at the center. Every province was given a council of ministers whose advice was binding on the governor, who in turn was to act under the general control of the governor general. Special powers were given to governors for the protection of the rights of minorities. The Act enlarged the size of the legislature; the Upper House had 260 members and the Federal Assembly or the Lower House had 375 members. Also 6 out of 11 provinces were given a bicameral legislature. The Act extended the franchise to about 10% of the population by lowering property qualifications. The Act also established a federal court for inter-state disputes and interpretation of the constitution. The Act of 1935 abolished the Indian Council of the Secretary of State for India which was created in 1858. In its place advisors were appointed for the secretary of the state, but their advice was not biding on the secretary of the state. The Act extended communal electorates, and Anglo-Indians and Christians were given separate electorates. The Act maintained the supremacy of the British parliament. No Indian legislature, whether federal or provincial, was authorized to amend the constitution; only the British parliament had the authority to do so. The Act separated Burma and Aden from India with effect from April 1937.
Muslims were satisfied to find in the act the principle of the separate electorate, weightage and one-third Muslim representation at the center. They were also pleased with the introduction of provincial autonomy and the assigning of residuary powers to the governor general. But they were dissatisfied by the working of the proposed federal government. Quaid-i-Azam called the Act a “defective document.” It was said that the Act did not guarantee individual liberties, and that all authority was vested in the British parliament.
The central part of the Act was suspended for some time and was not enforced, but the provincial part of the Act was enforced, under which the elections were held in the country in 1937.
Government of India Act 1935 came into operation, and elections were held in the winter of 1936-37. On 11th June 1936, the Election Manifesto of the Muslim League was announced. The League laid down two main principles for its elected representatives: first, the present provincial constitution and proposed central constitution should be replaced immediately by a system of self government. Second, in the meantime, the representatives of the Muslim League would work to get the maximum benefits out of the present constitution. Congress also came forward with a similar manifesto about public welfare, freedom, liberty and release of political prisoners.
The Indian National Congress obtained a majority in five provinces and was able to form governments in seven out of eleven provinces. The Muslim League did not do so well. The reason was that for a number of years the League had been divided into factions. In Punjab, Sir Fazl-i-Hussain had organized the Unionist Party, which included Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. In Bengal, Fazlul Haq had formed the Krishak Praja Party, which included the Muslim League and the Independent Scheduled Caste group. In Sindh 35 Muslim members of the provincial assembly had been divided into four groups. In the NWFP, the Red Shirts led by Abdul Ghaffar Khan had aligned with the Congress . Only in the provinces where the Muslims were in the minority was the Muslim League in a better position. That is why Congress was in a position to form its own ministries in seven provinces.
The Congress’ electoral success was confined mainly to Hindu constituencies. Out of 491 Muslim constituencies, the Congress captured only 26.
Though Congress did well overall, it failed to secure 50% of the total seats, and its assertion at the Round Table conference that it was the spokesman of 95% of the population lost credibility. After the election, Quaid-e-Azam tried to collaborate with the Congress. The Muslim League expected its own representatives to be included in the provincial cabinets, but Congress refused coalition with the League on the grounds that British parliamentary practice does not allow coalition.
Therefore Congress formed single-party ministries in five provinces. With the help of small minority groups, Congress was able to form ministries in Bombay and NWFP. Thus there were Congress ministries in 7 out of 11 provinces.
Although Congress presented some terms under which it was prepared to let Muslim League join the coalition and enter provincial government, the League rejected these terms because they considered them rigid and detrimental to the self-respect of the Muslims. Therefore a pure Congress ministry was formed.
The congress after winning elections in 1937 formed its ministries in the eight provinces. They remained in power from July 1937 to November 1939. It was seen that Muslims living in those provinces underwent the oppressive and tyrannical rule of Congress for 2? years. The Congress regime was considered as an absolutist rule and oligarchy was created.
As Congress ministries became powerful, Hindu Nationalism started gaining strength, and Muslim minorities were oppressed. Muslims were forbidden to cat beef. Hindi was enforced as the official language in all the provinces. Azan was also forbidden. many attacks were arranged on Muslims praying in the Mosques. Many other atrocities also took place during the era of congressional power. The Government agencies offered no protection to the Muslims. There were many schemes enforced on the Muslims they were:-
It was a song written by a Bengali novelist Bankim Chatterjee in his novel Anand Mat’. It presented Muslim as unclean and considered them as aliens. In order to strengthen their hold Congress High command insisted on starting the day’s beginnings by the recitation of this song. This song was also adopted permanently as the National Anthem.
Widdia Mander Schemes
It was a new educational system. Its main function was to convert Muslims into Hindus. It was enforced in all the Schools and the students were asked to bow before Gandhi’s picture.
Hoisting Of Three Coloured Flag
Congress ordered that only two powers exist in India, one Hindus and the other the British union. Therefore it was ordered to hoist three coloured flag (Taranga) on every building.
Aimed at creating a high respect among the younger people about the Hindu heroes and religious leaders.
In addition to these schemes it was observed that Congress started a Muslim mass contact campaign. Its main aim was to destroy the image of the Muslim league amongst the Muslims. Also Hindu muslim riots started which further aggravated the situation. The second world war started in september 1939. The British Government appealed to all political parties for help and assistance in this hour of need. But the Congress High Command refused to help the war effort and quit office. They refused on the basis that British Government declared war without consulting Congress. Thus in this way Congress rule came to an end. The Muslims celebrated this day 22 December 1939 as Deliverance Day throughout the country.
THE PAKISTAN RESOLUTION
When the Second World War started, the British-appointed Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow, proclaimed India’s entry into the war without consulting the main political parties or the Central Assembly. To secure India’s cooperation in the war effort, the British promised that at the end of the war, the Government of India Act 1935 would be modified in consultation with the main communities and parties. Congress, considering this, asked for a declaration of Indian independence, an immediate transfer of as much power as possible, and an agreement that the future constitution of India would be made by a Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of adult suffrage.
The Muslim League, also working for independence, declared its willingness to help the war effort provided that in the future constitution making process, the approval and consent of both Muslims and Hindus would be sought. On 23 March 1940, the Muslim league held its annual session in Lahore under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam. This session passed the famous Pakistan Resolution demanding a separate homeland for the Muslims, to be comprised of the northwestern and eastern zones of India. The Pakistan Resolution was moved by A. K. Fazlul Haq, the chief minister of Bengal, on 23 March 1940. The motion was seconded by Choudhry Khiliquzzaman, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Dr. Muhammad Aslam, Begum Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Abdul Hamid Badayuni, Syed Zakir Ali (UP), Sir Abdullah Haroon (Sindh), Sardar Aurangzeb Khan (NWFP), Qazi Muhammad Issa (Balochistan), Nawab Muhammad Ismail (Bihar), Syed Abdur Rauf Shah (CP), Abdul Hamid Khan (Madras), and I. I. Chundrigar (Bombay). The Resolution stated that no constitutional plan would be acceptable to the Muslims unless it was designed in such a way that areas in which Muslims formed a majority would be separated to form parts of Pakistan. This Resolution called for the creation of independent Muslim States consisting of Punjab, NWFP, Sindh, and Balochistan in the northwest, and Bengal and Assam in the northeast. The Resolution first called for the formation of separate states but later described a single state under a central government.
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THE CRIPPS MISSION
The Second World War started in 1939. Japan’s entry in December 1941 totally changed the war. The British Army began facing defeat all over the world. Singapore fell in February 1942, then Rangoon in March of the same year. Fearing that the Indian subcontinent would be next, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in an effort to secure Indian support for the war effort, in 1942 announced a plan for the welfare of the people of India. Under the plan, a delegation was to be sent to India for talks with Indian leaders about future constitutional reforms.
On 11 March 1942 the Prime Minister announced in the House of Commons a decision to send the Cripps Mission of conciliation to India. Sir Stafford Cripps, leader of the mission, arrived in Delhi on 22 March 1942 and began a series of talks with the leaders of India’s political parties.
On 29 March 1942, Sir Stafford held a press conference to release the draft of a proposal which he had brought from London. The following declaration was made:
1. After the war, steps shall be taken to set up an elected body charged with the task of framing a new constitution for India.
2. Provision shall be made for the participation of Indian states in the constitution making body.
3. The constitution framed by the Constituent Assembly shall have to be accepted on the following grounds:
i). Any province or state would be free either to adhere or not to adhere to the new constitution.
ii). The British Government would retain control of the defence of India.
iii). A fresh agreement would have to be concluded between the Constituent Assembly and the British Government to settle issues pertaining to the transfer of power.
iv). The Government of India Act 1935 shall remain in force until the end of war.
v). The Commander-in-Chief and the Finance Minister shall be British nationals.
4. His Majesty’s Government will be prepared to agree upon a new constitution, giving them the same full status as the Indian Union.
Congress and the Muslim League rejected this declaration outright. Congress demanded the establishment of a Congress government. This was not allowed in the declaration. Congress was also unhappy about the provinces being authorised to stay out of the union. The Muslim League rejected the declaration on the grounds that it gave no guarantee that the new state of Pakistan would be created.
On 2 April 1942, Congress and the Muslim League both passed resolutions rejecting the proposals put forward by the Cripps Mission.
QUIT INDIA MOVEMENT
Just after the departure of Sir Stafford Cripps, who failed in his mission, Congress launched the “Quit India Movement” in order to put pressure on the British government. On 10 May 1942, Gandhi in Bombay called on Britain to “leave India.” On 11 May he wrote an appeal to everyone in Britain to retire from India. From 11-14 July 1942, the Congress Working Committee met in Wardha and passed a resolution demanding the end of British rule in India and threatening to launch a mass civil disobedience campaign under Gandhi’s leadership if this demand was not fulfilled.
The Muslims boycotted this movement. The Quaid-i-Azam alleged that the movement was a Congress ploy to force the Muslims to surrender to Congress terms and conditions. In reponse to “Quit India,” the Muslims launched a counter-demand: “Divide India and Go.”
Before the Quit India movement could make any headway, the British ordered the arrest of the main Congress leaders. When its leaders were jailed, the movement lost momentum and failed.
THE CABINET MISSION PLAN, 1946
On 19 February, 1946, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, the Secretary of State for India, in the House of Lords, and C.R. Attlee, the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, announced that a special mission consisting of three cabinet ministers would be sent to India. The mission included the secretary of state for India, Lord Pethick - Lawrence, the president of the board of trade, Sir Stafford Cripps, and the first lord of the admiralty, A.V. Alexander.
The mission prepared the following plan: first preparatory discussions with elected representatives of British India and with the Indian states in order to secure the widest measure of agreement on the method of framing a constitution; second, the setting up of a constitution making body; and third the creation of an executive council having the support of the main Indian parties. The mission reached New Delhi on 24 March 1946.
The talks started with Indian leaders on 26 March 1946, which continued until 11 September 1946. The commission gave the Quaid-e-Azam the choice to accept a truncated but sovereign Pakistan or to have Pakistan with undivided but not completely sovereign provinces.
The league, in a resolution, asked for the establishment of a constituent assembly for the six Muslim majority provinces, which would constitute one group. This group was to enjoy complete autonomy in internal affairs. Other subjects, like foreign affairs, defense and communications were to be entrusted to the union government.
On the other hand, the scheme presented by the Congress placed more subjects under the union government. It also proposed that the constituent assembly should be elected and its meeting should be held before the formation of this group of provinces. The scheme was not acceptable to the League, so the negotiations failed.
On 16 May, 1946 the cabinet mission announced its own scheme which suggested several measures. First, it recommended the establishment of an interim central government. It also asked for the formation of three groups of provinces and the establishment of constituent assemblies. It also stipulated that the union government should deal only with foreign affairs, defence, communications and raising of finance and that all residual powers should be vested in the provinces.
The Muslim league and Congress both accepted the plan. In pursuance of the cabinet mission proposals, the viceroy named six Congressmen and five Leaguers for the new executive council, which the League accepted, but the Congress rejected.
An interim government was formed by the Congress and the League, but it also failed. In March 1947, Mountbatten was appointed as the new viceroy of India. The plan for the division of India was announced, which led to the creation of two dominions, India and Pakistan in August 1947.
JUNE 3 PLAN (1947)
Mountbatten worked out a partition plan by the middle of April 1947. The working committee of Congress met on May 1, 1947 and also gave its approval of the final draft of the partition plan. Mountbatten then went to England to seek the approval of the British government. The plan was issued on June 3, 1947. The main characteristics of the plan were as follows:
The legislatures of the Punjab and Bengal should decide whether the provinces should be divided or not. The Indians should make the constitution of India, which would not be applicable to those who reject it. A referendum should be held in NWFP. The province of Baluchistan would decide its future on its own. The princely states would be free to joiun whichever country they wished keeping in view the geographical contiguity and the wishes of their people. A boundary commission would be set up for the demarcation of the boundaries of the two countries. Both countries would have their own governor generals as their executive heads. Military assets would be equally divided between the two countries.
INDIAN INDEPENDENCE ACT 1947
The Indian Independence Bill was drafted and shown to Indian party leaders and introduced in the House of Commons by Prime Minister Attle on 4 July, 1947. It was passed on 15th July by the House of Commons and on 16 July by the House of Lords. There were no amendments, and the bill received the Royal assent on 18 July 1947.
According to this bill, India would be divided into the two sovereign states of Pakistan and India, and British control over India would end on 15th August, 1947.
The princely states were given the option to join one or the other country subject to territorial contiguity and wishes of their people. They were authorized to have their independent legislators, constitutions and other administrative departments.
The Act of 1935 was to remain in force until both countries drafted their own constitutions. Both countries would have right to remain in the British Commonwealth, if they wished. The agreements between the princely states and the British government would end with the end of British control over India.
Separate provincial governments were set up for India and Pakistan on 20 July, 1947. The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan met on 11 August 1947, and elected the Quaid-e-Azam as its president. Pakistan officially became free on 15 August 1947, when the Quaid-e-Azam was sworn in as governor-general and the new Pakistani cabinet took office.
It was provided in the June 3 plan that as soon as the legislatures of Punjab and Bengal decided in favour of partition, a boundary commission should be set up to demarcate the boundaries. The legislatures of Bengal and Punjab voted in favour of partition. Boundary commissions were set up for Punjab and Bengal under the chairmanship of Sir Cyril Radcliffe. Each commission was to consist of an equal number of representatives of India and Pakistan and one or more impartial members. The members of the Punjab boundary commission were Justice Din Muhammad and Justice Muhammad Munir on behalf of Pakistan and Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan and Justice Tej Singh on behalf of India.
The members of the Bengal boundary commission were Justice Abu Saleh Muhammad and Justice M. Akram on behalf of Pakistan and Justice C.C. Biswas and Justice B.K. Mukerjee on behalf of India. The commissions were set up by the end of June 1947. Radcliffe arrived in India on July 8, 1947.
The final award was announced on 17 August, 1947 and published the next day, though the deliberations were completed on 8 August 1947. The Radcliffe Award was unfair to Pakistan because it awarded many Muslim majority areas in Punjab and Bengal to India. Calcutta was given to India, although the entire development of Calcutta was based on the toil of Muslim peasantry of Bengal.
In Punjab, the two Muslim majority tehsils of Gurdaspur and Batala were given to India along with Pathankot tehsil. The Muslim majority tehsil Ajnalain in Amritsar district was also handed over to India. In Jullundur district the Muslim majority areas of Zira and Ferozpur in Ferozpur district were also given to India. All of these areas were contiguous to western Punjab. This unfair award resulted in India’s occupation of Kashmir and snatching from Pakistan important head works and giving them to India.
to be continued
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Last edited by Sureshlasi; Friday, September 12, 2008 at 02:07 PM.
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ksm1 (Thursday, September 03, 2009)
Post Partition chronology of key events
1906 - Muslim League founded as forum for Indian Muslim separatism.
1940 - Muslim League endorses idea of separate nation for India's Muslims.
1947 - Muslim state of East and West Pakistan created out of partition of India at the end of British rule. Hundreds of thousands die in widespread communal violence and millions are made homeless.
1948 - Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the first governor general of Pakistan, dies.
1948 - First war with India over disputed territory of Kashmir.
1951 - Jinnah's successor Liaquat Ali Khan is assassinated.
1956 - Constitution proclaims Pakistan an Islamic republic.
1958 - Martial law declared and General Ayyub Khan takes over.
1960 - General Ayyub Khan becomes president.
War and secession
1965 - Second war with India over Kashmir.
1969 - General Ayyub Khan resigns and General Yahya Khan takes over.
1970 - Victory in general elections in East Pakistan for breakaway Awami League, leading to rising tension with West Pakistan.
1971 - East Pakistan attempts to secede, leading to civil war. India intervenes in support of East Pakistan which eventually breaks away to become Bangladesh.
1972 - Simla peace agreement with India sets new frontline in Kashmir.
1973 - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto becomes prime minister.
Zia takes charge
1977 - Riots erupt over allegations of vote-rigging by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP). General Zia ul-Haq stages military coup.
1978 - General Zia becomes president.
1979 - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto hanged.
1980 - US pledges military assistance to Pakistan following Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.
1985 - Martial law and political parties ban lifted.
1986 - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's daughter Benazir returns from exile to lead PPP in campaign for fresh elections.
1988 August - General Zia, the US ambassador and top Pakistan army officials die in mysterious air crash.
Ghulam Ishaq Khan takes over as acting president, and is later elected to the post.
1988 November - Benazir Bhutto's PPP wins general election.
1990 - Benazir Bhutto dismissed as prime minister on charges of incompetence and corruption.
1991 - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif begins economic liberalisation programme. Islamic Shariah law formally incorporated into legal code.
1992 - Government launches campaign to stamp out violence by Urdu-speaking supporters of the Mohajir Quami Movement.
1993 - President Khan and Prime Minister Sharif both resign under pressure from military. General election brings Benazir Bhutto back to power.
Politics and corruption
1996 - President Leghari dismisses Bhutto government amid corruption allegations.
1997 - Nawaz Sharif returns as prime minister after his Pakistan Muslim League party wins elections.
1998 - Pakistan conducts its own nuclear tests after India explodes several devices.
1999 April - Benazir Bhutto and her husband convicted of corruption and given jail sentences. Benazir stays out of the country.
1999 May - Kargil conflict: Pakistan-backed forces clash with the Indian military in the icy heights around Kargil in Indian-held Kashmir. More than 1,000 people are killed on both sides.
1999 October - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif overthrown in military coup led by General Pervez Musharraf. Coup is widely condemned, Pakistan is suspended from Commonwealth.
2000 April - Nawaz Sharif sentenced to life imprisonment on hijacking and terrorism charges.
2000 December - Nawaz Sharif goes into exile in Saudi Arabia after being pardoned by military authorities.
2001 20 June - Gen Pervez Musharraf names himself president while remaining head of the army. He replaced the figurehead president, Rafiq Tarar, who vacated his position earlier in the day after the parliament that elected him was dissolved.
2001 July - Musharraf meets Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in the first summit between the two neighbours in more than two years. The meeting ends without a breakthrough or even a joint statement because of differences over Kashmir.
2001 September - Musharraf swings in behind the US in its fight against terrorism and supports attacks on Afghanistan. US lifts some sanctions imposed after Pakistan's nuclear tests in 1998, but retains others put in place after Musharraf's coup.
2001 October - India fires on Pakistani military posts in the heaviest firing along the dividing line of control in Kashmir for almost a year.
2001 December - India imposes sanctions against Pakistan, to force it to take action against two Kashmir militant groups blamed for a suicide attack on parliament in New Dehli. Pakistan retaliates with similar sanctions.
2001 December - India, Pakistan mass troops along common border amid mounting fears of a looming war.
2002 January - President Musharraf bans two militant groups - Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad - and takes steps to curb religious extremism.
2002 January - Musharraf announces that elections will be held in October 2002 to end three years of military rule.
2002 April - Musharraf wins another five years in office in a referendum criticised as unconstitutional and fraught with irregularities.
2002 May - 14 people, including 11 French technicians, are killed in a suicide attack on a bus in Karachi. The following month 12 people are killed in a suicide attack outside the US consulate in the city.
2002 May - Pakistan test fires three medium-range surface-to-surface Ghauri missiles, which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Musharraf tells nation that Pakistan doesn't want war but is ready to respond with full force if attacked.
2002 June - Britain and US maintain diplomatic offensive to avert war, urge their citizens to leave India and Pakistan.
2002 August - President Musharraf grants himself sweeping new powers, including the right to dismiss an elected parliament. Opposition forces accuse Musharraf of perpetuating dictatorship.
2002 October - First general election since the 1999 military coup results in a hung parliament. Parties haggle over the make-up of a coalition. Religious parties fare better than expected.
2002 November - Mir Zafarullah Jamali selected as prime minister by the National Assembly. He is the first civilian premier since the 1999 military coup and a member of a party close to General Musharraf.
2003 February - Senate elections: Ruling party wins most seats in voting to the upper house. Elections said to be final stage of what President Musharraf calls transition to democracy.
2003 June - North-West Frontier Province votes to introduce Sharia law.
2003 November - Pakistan declares a Kashmir ceasefire, which is swiftly matched by India.
2003 December - Pakistan and India agree to resume direct air links and to allow overflights of each other's planes from beginning of 2004 after two-year ban.
President Musharraf survives an attempt on his life; bombs explode under a bridge seconds after his car passes over it.
2004 February - Leading nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan admits to having leaked nuclear weapons secrets. Technology is said to have been transferred to Libya, North Korea and Iran.
2004 April - Parliament approves creation of military-led National Security Council. Move institutionalises role of armed forces in civilian affairs.
2004 May - Pakistan readmitted to Commonwealth.
Factional violence in Karachi: Senior Sunni cleric shot dead; bomb attack on Shia mosque kills 16, injures 40.
2004 June - Military offensive near Afghan border against suspected al-Qaeda militants and their supporters after attacks on checkpoints. Earlier offensive, in March, left more than 120 dead.
2004 August - Shaukat Aziz is sworn in as prime minister. In July he escaped unhurt from an apparent assassination attempt.
2004 December - President Musharraf says he will stay on as head of the army having previously promised to relinquish the role.
2005 January - Tribal militants in Balochistan attack facilities at Pakistan's largest natural gas field, forcing closure of main plant.
2005 7 April - Bus services, the first in 60 years, operate between Muzaffarabad in Pakistani-administered Kashmir and Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
More than 200 suspected Islamic extremists are detained at premises which include religious schools and mosques. The move comes after deadly attacks in the British capital; three of the bombers visited Pakistan in 2004.
2005 August - Pakistan tests its first, nuclear-capable cruise missile.
2005 8 October - An earthquake, with its epicentre in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, kills tens of thousands of people. The city of Muzaffarabad is among the worst-hit areas.
2006 January - Up to 18 people are killed in a US missile strike, apparently targeting senior al-Qaeda figures, on a border village in the north.
2006 February - More than 30 people are killed in a suspected suicide bomb attack and ensuing violence at a Shia Muslim procession in the north-west.
2006 April - A suspected double suicide bombing kills at least 57 people at a Sunni Muslim ceremony in Karachi.
2006 August - Security forces kill prominent Balochistan tribal leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti. Protests over his death turn violent.
2006 October - Raid on an Islamic seminary in the tribal area of Bajaur bordering Afghanistan kills up to 80 people, sparking anti-government protests. The army says the madrassa was a training camp for militants.
2006 December - Pakistan says it has successfully test-fired a short-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
2007 January - Islamabad rejects an assertion by the head of US National Intelligence that al-Qaeda leaders are hiding out in Pakistan.
2007 January-June - Tension mounts between the government and the radical Red Mosque in Islamabad.
2007 February - Bombings in different parts of the country, including at Islamabad's Marriott Hotel and the international airport, kill a number of people.
68 passengers, most of them Pakistanis, are killed by bomb blasts and a blaze on a train travelling between the Indian capital New Delhi and the Pakistani city of Lahore.
Pakistan and India sign an agreement aimed at reducing the risk of accidental nuclear war.
2007 March - President Musharraf suspends the Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, triggering a wave of anger across the country.
First joint protests held by the parties of exiled former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.
2007 March-April - Officials say around 250 people have been killed in fighting between South Waziristan tribesmen and foreign militants said to be linked to al-Qaeda.
2007 May - Several killed in Karachi during rival demonstrations over dismissal of Chief Justice Chaudhry. Subsequent strikes paralyse much of the country.
2007 May - A bomb blast in a hotel in Peshawar kills 24.
2007 June - President Musharraf extends media controls to include the internet and mobile phones amid a growing challenge to his rule.
2007 July - Security forces storm the Red Mosque complex in Islamabad following a week-long siege.
Supreme Court reinstates Chief Justice Chaudhry.
2007 July - Ms Bhutto, President Musharraf hold a secret meeting in Abu Dhabi on a possible power-sharing deal.
2007 August - Supreme Court rules Nawaz Sharif can return from exile.
2007 September - Mr Sharif returns but is sent back to exile within hours.
2007 October - Musharraf wins most votes in presidential election. The Supreme Court says no winner can be formally announced until it rules if the general was eligible to stand for election while still army chief.
Nearly 200 people die in fighting with Islamic militants in North Waziristan, stronghold of pro-Taleban and al-Qaida groups.
Ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto returns from exile. Dozens of people die in a suicide bomb targetting her homecoming parade in Karachi.
2007 November - Gen Musharraf declares emergency rule while still awaiting Supreme Court ruling on whether he was eligible to run for re-election. Chief Justice Chaudhry is dismissed. Ms Bhutto is briefly placed under house arrest.
Caretaker government sworn in.
New Supreme Court - now staffed with compliant judges - dismisses challenges to Musharraf's re-election.
Pakistan's Chief Election Commissioner announces that general elections to be held on 8 January 2008.
Nawaz Sharif returns from exile again.
Musharraf resigns from army post and is sworn in for second term as president.
2007 15 December - State of emergency lifted.
27 December - Benazir Bhutto assassinated at election campaign rally in Rawalpindi.
2008 January - Elections postponed to 18 February.
Suicide bomber kills more than 20 policemen gathered outside the High Court in Lahore ahead of an anti-government rally.
Up to 90 fighters killed in clashes in the tribal region of South Waziristan, near the Afghan border, where militants have been openly challenging the army.
2008 February - Parliamentary elections. The two main opposition parties gain a clear majority. They later agree agree to form a coalition government.
2008 March - People's Party nominee Yusuf Raza Gillani becomes prime minister.
2008 May - The disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, says allegations he passed on nuclear secrets are false and that he was made a scapegoat.
2008 7 August - The two main governing parties agree to launch impeachment proceedings against President Musharraf.
2008 18 August - Mr Musharraf says he has decided to resign.
(`'•.¸(`'•.¸ ¸.•'´) ¸.•'´)
(¸.•'´(¸.•'´ `'•.¸)`' •.¸)
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2008 August - The two main governing parties agree to launch impeachment proceedings against President Musharraf, who resigns soon after. Senate Speaker Muhammad Sumroo becomes acting president.
PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari - Benazir Bhutto's widower - says he will be the party's candidate in the presidential election set for 6 September.
Former PM Nawaz Sharif pulls his PML-N out of the coalition government, accusing the PPP of breaking its promise to approve the reinstatement of all judges sacked by former President Pervez Musharraf.
2008 September - Asif Ali Zardari elected by legislators as Pakistan's new president.
Marriott Hotel in Islamabad devastated in a suicide truck bombing which leaves at least 50 dead. An Islamist militant group claims responsibility.
2008 November - The government borrows billions of dollars from the International Monetary Fund to overcome its spiralling debt crisis.
2008 December - India says militants who carried out the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November had Pakistani links, and demands Pakistani action. Islamabad denies any involvement but promises to co-operate with the Indian investigation.
2009 February - Government agrees to implement Sharia law in north-western Swat valley in effort to persuade Islamist militants there to agree to permanent ceasefire.
2009 March - Gunmen in Lahore attack a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team. Five policemen are killed and seven players injured.
After days of protests, government gives in to opposition demands for reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other judges dismissed by former President Pervez Musharraf.
Baitullah Mehsud giving a TV interview in Kotkai, Pakistan tribal areas
Pakistan's most wanted militant was killed by a US drone strike in 2009
At least 40 people are killed when gunmen storm a police academy in Lahore.
2009 April - Swat agreement breaks down after Taleban-linked militants seek to extend their power-base. Government launches offensive lasting months to wrest control of north-western districts from militants.
2009 July - The Pakistani and Indian prime ministers pledge to work together to fight terrorism at a meeting in Egypt irrespective of progress on improving broader relations.
The Supreme Court acquits opposition leader Nawaz Sharif of hijacking charges, removing the final ban on his running for public office.
2009 August - Pakistan issues a global alert for 13 suspects over November's attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai.
President Zardari orders the suspension of judges appointed under emergency rule in 2007, after the Supreme Court ruled the emergency declared by former President Musharraf to have been unconstitutional.
2009 August - The leader of Pakistan's Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, is killed in US drone attack in South Waziristan.
2009 October - New Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud pledges revenge for the drone attack that killed Baitullah Mehsud.
Suicide bombing in northwestern city of Peshawar kills 120 people.
2009 November - President Asif Ali Zardari hands control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal to PM Yousuf Raza Gilani, in apparent attempt to ease political pressure.
2009 December - Supreme Court rules that amnesty decree protecting President Zardari and several of his allies against corruption charges was illegal.
Verily, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says "Be!" - and it is! (Al-Quran)
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sunny volcano (Wednesday, April 16, 2014)
2010 January - Suicide attack on a volleyball match in north-west kills more than 100 people.
2010 April - Parliament approves package of wide-ranging constitutional reforms. Measures include transferring key powers from office of president to prime minister.
2010 August - Worst floods in 80 years kill at least 1,600 people and affect more than 20 million. Government response widely criticised.
2010 September - Pakistan temporarily suspends NATO supply route into Afghanistan after series of US drone strikes in northwest.
2010 October - Ex-military ruler Musharraf apologises for "negative actions" while in power, launches political party from exile in UK.
Rise in targetted political killings, bombings in commercial hub of Karachi.
2010 December - 50 killed in a double suicide attack in Mohmand, near the Afghan border, during a gathering of tribal elders.
* 1 January – A suicide bombing occurs at a volleyball game in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 95, and injuring over 100.
* 13 January - A train hit a school bus at an ungated railway crossing in Pakistan's Punjab Province near to the town of Mian Channu, killing 8 children and injuring several others.
* 30 January - A suicide bombing occurs at a military checkpoint within the town of Khar, in the Bajaur Agency, killing at least 16 people and injuring around 25 others.
* 3 February - A suicide bombing occurs within the Lower Dir District area of the country, killing at least 8 people, including 3 American soldiers and injuring around 70 other people.
* 5 February - Twin bombings, one of which includes a suicide attack occurred within the Pakistani city of Karachi, killing at least 25 people and injuring more than 50 others.
* 10 February - A suicide bombing targeting a police patrol in the Khyber Agency killed at least 19 people, including 13 local policemen.
* 17 February - Avalanche in the Kohistan District, killing over 100 people.
* 18 February - A bombing at a local mosque in the Tirah Valley of the Khyber Agency, killed at least 30 people and injured more than 70 others.
* 12 March - Three separate suicide bombings targeting Pakistani security forces occurred from the 8th of March till the 12th of March. It is known that more than 72 people were killed in these three-related suicide attacks and more than 190 others were injured.
* 5 April - A series of coordinated bombings at the U.S. consulate in Peshawar and at a ruling party rally in the North-West Frontier Province kills 50 people and injured 100 others.
* 8 April - Pakistan adopts the 18th amendment to the Constitution, stripping President Asif Ali Zardari of key powers.
* 10 April - The military kills 100 people in an air raid on a Taliban area in the north-west.
* 17 April -April 18 - Three suicide bomb attacks occurred within the town of Kohat within the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. At least 58 people were killed in these three suicide attacks and around 86 others were injured.
* 19 April - A suicide bombing struck a marketplace within the centre of Peshawar, killing at least 25 people.
* 28 May - A series of co-ordinated attacks were launched on two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. At least 86 people are killed in these terrorist attacks and more than 120 others are injured.
* 28 June - An accidental truck blast caused by an exploding gas cylinder, kills at least 18 people and injured around 42 others within the southern Pakistani city of Hyderabad.
* Extensive flooding after monsoon rains. At least 1,600 people were killed.
* 1 July - Twin suicide bombings targeted a Sufi shrine at the Data Durbar Complex, in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore. At least 50 people are killed in these twin suicide attacks and more than 200 are injured.
* 9 July - A suicide bomb attack occurs at a market within the Mohmand Agency of north-western Pakistan. At least 104 people are killed in this suicide attack and more than 120 others are injured.
* 28 July - Crash of Airblue Flight 202, killing all 152 people aboard.
* 3–6 August - Riots in Karachi after the assassination of MP Raza Haider.
* 13 August - President Asif Ali Zardari a curb on the traditional Independence Day in favour a more sombre response to the floods. Zardari will instead spend the day visiting the regions worst affected by flooding.
* 14 August - 12 suspected militants in North Waziristan are killed by a suspected American drone attack.
* 14 August - At least 16 people are killed following an outbreak of violence in Balochistan.
* 14 August - Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani announces that as many as 20 million Pakistanis have been hit by the floods, contradicting earlier United Nations estimates of 14 million.
* 15 August - Condemnations and the promise of a government inquiry follow the lynching of two teenaged brothers, Mughees and Muneeb Butt, by a mob in Sialkot. The killings, believed to have been sparked by a mistaken belief that the brothers were robbers, was caught on film by a Dunya TV reporter and aired on all private media channels.
* 24 August - Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani raises fears of disease epidemic in flood-hit areas of the country, following reports from doctors in the areas that diarrhoea and cholera were spreading.
* 1 September - At least 35 people are killed and more than 250 others injured, following a series of bomb attacks on a Shia Islamic procession in Lahore. The attacks, two of which were said to be from suicide bombers took place at a commemoration of the death of Ali bin Abi Talib.
* 3 September - In a similar attack on Shia Muslims at least 50 people are killed in Quetta by a suicide bomber at a Shia rally. Responsibility is claimed by the Taliban who state that the killings were a revenge attack for the killing of a Sunni leader in 2009.
* 7 September - American actress Angelina Jolie visits flood-hit areas of the country as the UN launches a renewed appeal for aid.
* 10 September - Former leader General Pervez Musharraf announces his intention to return to Pakistan from self-imposed exile in London. He claims that he plans to establish a new political party in order to contest the 2013 elections.
* 16 September - Exiled politician Imran Farooq is found murdered near his home in exile in north London having been stabbed several times. Violence erupted in his hometown Karachi following his murder. Several shops and vehicles were set on fire however no casualties were reported. MQM called for a 10 day strike to mourn Farooq's death.
* 25 September - Four people are killed in Miranshah in a suspected American drone attack. Seven more die in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan in a similar attack the following day.
* 25 September - The three men accused of the 2008 Danish embassy bombing in Islamabad are acquitted by a Pakistani court because of insufficient evidence. The decision is to be challenged by the prosecution in the high courts.
* 26 September - Abdul Qayum Jatoi quits as Minister of Defence Production after claiming that the Pakistan Army was involved in political assassinations, including that of Benazir Bhutto.
* 27 September - Geo TV reveals that more than one third of cabinet ministers pay no taxes whatsoever and that Prime Minister Gillani had not paid taxes for any of the three years covered by the disclosure.
* 1 October - Pervez Musharraf launches his new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, at a club in London. At the launch Musharraf apologises for the "negative actions" he took whilst in power.
* 2 October - Nine more people are killed in the North-West in the latest in a series of American drone attacks on the bases of suspected militants.
* 20 October - Political and ethnic violence erupts in Karachi resulting in 35 deaths.
* 22 October - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces that the American government is to give US$2 billion in military aid.
* 1 November - An American drone attack kills six people in the northwest.
* 1 November - A suicide bomber kills two policemen and wounds 10 others as security forces tried to stop him from walking into their local headquarters in Swabi, 100 kilometres northwest of Islamabad.
* 3 November - Two government schools are destroyed by Taliban militants in an attack in the Mohmand area.
* 5 November - A bomb explodes in a mosque in Darra Adam Khel in North-West Pakistan, killing at least 55 people and injuring over 100. Later that same day a grenade attack on another mosque in the village of Sulemankhel near Peshawar claimed at least two lives. Both attacks occurred during daily prayer sessions.
* 5 November - 2010 Karachi Beechcraft 1900 crash
* 9 November - The headquarters of the Pakistan police's Criminal Investigation Department in Karachi is attacked by militants. After the attack in replused in a gun battle a lorry load of explosives are detonated, destroying a perimiter wall. 200 deaths and over 100 injuries are reported.
* 28 November - Sun Way Flight 4412 crashes.
* Car bombing of the Al-Zuhra mosque and maternity center.
* 24 December - Taliban militants clash with troops in the north-west. 11 soldiers and 24 militants are estimated dead.
* 25 December - A female suicide bomber kills at least 43 people in Khar near the border with Afghanistan.
* 29 December - President Asif Zardari requests crisis talks after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement opts to withdraw two of its members from the cabinet in protest at government corruption. However the MQM insists that it does not intend to bring down the government by going into oppostion.
[Courtesy: BBC, Wikipedia, & Other Websites]
Verily, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says "Be!" - and it is! (Al-Quran)
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The sufic tradition
The first account of Sufi activities in the subcontinent was the visit which Mansur Hallaj paid to Gujrat, Sindh and Multan in 905. More than one and a half centuries later, a disciple of the mystical masters of Eastern Iran came to settle in Lahore. He was Syed Ali Hajveri, called Data Ganj Bakhsh whose tomb is as much venerated by the pious as his book Kashf-ul-mahjub, "The unveiling of the hidden", which is admired by scholars as the first comprehensive survey of mystical doctrine written in the Persian language.
The peak of mysticism in the subcontinent, however, was the thirteenth century, the age of the greatest masters of sufism from Spain to Bengal. Mueenuddin Chishti (d. 1236) came from his native Sistan to Ajmer, which had become part of Bengal and ruled by Delhi, where his friend Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki (d. 1235) lived. Mueenuddin's preaching of the love of God for man attracted the masses, and soon the Chishti order spread over the whole of India. Other outstanding representatives of this movement were the Fariduddin Ganj Shakar of Pakpattan, and Nizamuddin Aulia of Delhi.
The Chishtiya avoided contact with the ruling classes, but their influence permeated the lives of Indian Muslims. Their love of poetry and music (given lasting expression by Amir Khusrau and Hasan Dehlvi) added a new dimension to Muslim culture in the subcontinent. The sayings of the early Chishti saints yielded an insight into the social and cultural life of mediaeval India. An outstanding member of the early Chishtiya is Muhammad Gaisudaraz (d. 1422 in Gulbarga in the Deccan), famous as a prolific writer in Arabic, in Persian for his intense devotional poems and letters, and one of the first authors of a mystical work in Dakhni Urdu, rnaarif al-ashiqui. He wrote an appreciation of the teachings of the "greatest master" Ibn Arabi, who later deeply influenced Indian sufism and led it towards existentialism.
The Chishtiya became connected with the Mughal court - when Akbar's son Salim was born, the birth was ascribed to the prayer of a Chishti saint, in whose honour Fatehpur Sikri was erected.
Other saints reached the subcontinent at the same time. The fame of Bahauddin Suhrawardi (d. 1262) was such that Multan became a centre of spiritual life, and the Persian poet Iraqi spent 25 years there. From Multan and Uch, the Suhrawardiya, more closely in touch with the aristocracy than the Chishtiya, spread soon to Bengal where its cultural influence has never ceased. A unique figure in thirteenth century sufism was Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, whose tomb in Sehwan is still a much frequented shrine.
In 1371 Syed Ali Hamadhani introduced that Kubrawiva in Kashmir. This order with its fine psychological insights seems to have influenced northern India more than can be proved at present. The Qadiriya, probably the most influential order in the Islamic world, reached India in the fifteenth century. Its most prominent representative was Mian Mir of Lahore, who inspired Prince Dara Shikoh in his vision of uniting "the two oceans" of Islam and Hinduism, and whose lovely tomb is in Lahore.
The influence of the Qadiriya can be measured best by the innumerable songs in regional languages that are dedicated to Abdul Qadir Jilani. An order whose influence extended over the borders of India is the Shattariva. Its best known master was Muhammad Ghaus Gwaliari (d 15621), the author of a complex mystical work, AI-Jawahir al-Khantsa, "The five jewels". His tomb in Gavalior, built by- Akhar, is a superb example of Muslim architecture. The Naqshbandiya order, originating from Bukhara and later politically influential at the Timurid court of' Herat and in Turkestan was introduced to India in about 1600. Its foremost representative, Ahmad Sirhindi (1624) relentlessly fought against the strong tendency towards existentialism, mainly expressed in mystical poetry, which blurred the differences between Islam and Hinduism.
The claim of Ahmed Sirhindi to be the gavvum, the spiritual ruler of this world, and the title given him by his followers Mu.jaddi-i-al i-Sani, the leader of revival of Islam in the second millennium, is interesting for psychological and political reasons. The Naqshbandiya were largely responsible for the restoration of truly spiritual life in eighteenth century Delhi; Shah Waliullah (1762), Flazhar Aanjanan (1781) and Khwaja Mir Dard, represent the attempt of Naqshbandi-oriented mystics to respond to the challenge posed by the decay of Muslim power in the subcontinent. The favour of their commitment was an example to the freedom fighters of Sayed Ahmad Barelvi, to the Deoband school, and to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan of Aligarh. The Naqshbandis in Sindh were the first to introduce religious educational literature in the Sindhi language.
The mystical orders, using the regional languages and infusing them with the literary idiom, have done much to acquaint the masses with a love of God and of the Prophet (PBUH)
The mystics travelled widely and thus spread the message of Islam as far east as the Malayan Archipelago. The veneration shown to living and dead saints by the masses tended to dilute the purity of lslam. Likewise, the activities of the mystical leaders, the pirs, were not always restricted to the spiritual sphere and their power over their followers grew disproportionately. This caused the reformers' aversion to "pirism", which is a recurrent theme in Iqbal's philosophy. Iqbal himself went back to the classical, pure sufism, drawing largely on the dynamic concept of' love as preached in the middle ages by Jalaluddin Rumi (d 1273), whose Persian poetry was widely read and commented upon in all Muslim languages of the subcontinent. Iqbal also resuscitated the essence of Sufism.
In the early centuries of Islam, the Sufis were not organised into particular circles or Orders. However, as time went by, the teaching and personal example of Sufis living the spiritually decreed code of life began to attract many groups of people. Between the ninth and eleventh centuries, we find that various Sufi Orders, which included adepts from all strata of society, began to emerge. As these Sufi Orders, or brotherhoods, came into existence, the centre of Sufi activities was no longer the private house, school or work place of the spiritual master. A more institutional structure was given to their gatherings, and the Sufi Order began to use centres which existed specifically for these gatherings. A Sufi centre was usually called a Khaneqah or Zawiyya. The trucks called their Sufi sanctuary a tekke. In North Africa such a centre was called a ribat, the name which was also used to describe the frontier fortresses of the Sufi soldiers who defended the way of Islam and fought against those who tried to destroy it. In the Indian sub-continent a Sufi culture was called a jama’at Khana or khanegah.
In the same way that the various schools of Islamic Law which emerged in the early centuries after the Prophet Muhammad’s death were meant to define a clear path for the application of that law, so the Sufi Orders which emerged during the same period also intended to define a simple path for the practice of inner purification. In the same way that many great schools of Islamic Law ceased to be propagated and accordingly ended, likewise many great Sufi Orders faced a similar situation. During the ninth century, more than thirty schools of Islamic Law existed, but later on this number was reduced to five or six. During the twelfth century, you could not count the number of Sufi Orders, partly because there were so many, and partly because they were not yet defined as such. Most of the great spiritual masters and teachers of the Sufi Orders and schools of law did not expect that their teachings would be given a defined and often a rigid interpretation at a later stage after their deaths, or that the Sufi Orders and schools of law would be named after them. However, the preservation of the Sufi Orders was often partly a result of their physical isolation as well as the direction that mainstream Islam took.
A noticeable trend within these Sufi Orders is that many of them intermingled, often strengthening each other and at times weakening each other. Most of the Sufi Orders kept a record of their lineage, that is their chain of transmission of knowledge from master to master, which was often traced back to one of the Shi’ite spiritual leaders and accordingly back through Imam Ail to the Prophet Muhammad, as a proof of their authenticity and authority. The only exception to this is the Naqshabndi Sufi Order whose lineage of transmission of knowledge traces back through Abu Bakar, the first leader of the Muslim community in Medina, to Muhammad.
The following are a few of the Sufi Orders which are still established today, each with its own predominating characteristics. Seekers of knowledge can be members of one or more of the Sufi Orders, as indeed they often follow more than one spiritual master. The following are only a sample of those Sufi Orders with which the author has personal familiarity.
The Naqshbandi Order
The Naqshbandi Order takes its name from Shaykh Baha ud-Din Naqshbandi of Bukhara (d. 1390). It is widely spread in central Asia, the Volga, the Caucasus, the north-west and south-west of China, Indonesia, the Indian sub-Continent, Turkey, Europe and North America. This is the only known Sufi Order which traces the genealogy of its lineage of transmission of knowledge back through the first Muslim ruler, Abu Bakar, unlike the rest of the known Sufi Order which trace their origins back to one of the Shi’ite spiritual leaders, and therefore through Imam Ali, and so to the Prophet Muhammad.
The Qadri Order
The Qadri Order was founded by Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani (d. 1166) from Gilan in Persia, who eventually settled in Baghdad in Iraq. After his death, his Sufi Order was propagated by his sons. The Qadri Order has spread to many places, including Syria, Turkey, some parts of Africa such as Cameron, the Congo, Mauritania and Tanzania, and in the Caucasus, Chechen and Ferghana in the Soviet Union, as well as elsewhere.
The Chisti Order
The most influential Sufi Order in the sub-continent of India and Pakistan has been the Chisti Order, which takes its name from Khwaja Abu Ishaq Shami Chisti (d. 966). Its spread has been primarily within south-east Asia.
Sufi Orders, like other movements, have tended to be cyclical in nature. A Sufi Order has generally had a cycle of two to three hundred years before weakening and decaying. Whenever there has been a need for it, a Sufi Order begins to rise, then reaches its, climax, and then gradually declines and disintegrates.
One observable trend in the history of Sufism has been that whenever there has been a lack of Islamic source material, such as the Qur’an or the original way of Muhammad, within a Sufi Order then it has tended to be dominated by the stronger and older culture of its environment. This adulteration is noticeable in the Chisti Order of south-east Asia and in the Sufi Orders of Indonesia which have integrated many elements of Hindu and Buddhist customs into their practices. Similarly the Sufi Orders of Africa below the region of Sudan have integrated some of the African tribal religious customs into their practices. All these Sufi Orders seem to have taken on some of the colour of cultishness in these remote regions.
The Rifa's Order
Founded by Shaykh Ahmad ar-Rifa’I (d. 1182) in Basra, the Rifa’I Order has spread to Egypt, Syria, Anatolia in Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, and more recently to North America.
The Shadhili Order
The Shahdhili Order crystallised around Shaykh Abdu’l-Hasan as-Shadhili of Morocco (d. 1258) and eventually became one of the greatest Sufi Orders, having an extraordinarily large following. Today it is found in North Africa, Egypt, Kenya and Tanzania, the Middle East Sri Lanka and elsewhere, including the West and North America.
The Mevlavi Order
The Mevlavi or Mawlawi Order centres around Mawlana Jalal ud_din Rumi of Qonya in Turkey (d. 1273). Today it is mostly found in Anatolia in Turkey and more recently in North America. The followers of this Order are also known as whirling dervishes.
The Bektashi Order
The Bektashi Order was founded by Hajji Bektash of Khurasan (d. 1338). Shi’ite ideas strongly permeate this Sufi Order. It is limited to Anatolia in Turkey and was most powerful up until the early twentieth Century. The Order is regarded as a follower of Shi’as Islamic Law.
The Ni'amatullah Order
The Ni’amatullah Order was founded by Shaykh Nur ud_din Muhammad Ni’amatullah (d. 1431) in Mahan near Kirman in South-west Iran. . its followers are found mostly in Iran and India.
The Tijani Order
The Tijani Order was founded by Shaykh Abbas Ahmad ibn at-Tijani, an Algerian Berber (d. 1815). It has spread from Algeria to the South of the Sahara and into western and central Sudan, Egypt, Senegal, West Africa and northern Nigeria, as well as being represented in the West and in North America.
The Jarrahi Order
The Jarrahi Order was founded by Shaykh Nur ud-Din Muhammad al_jarrah of Istanbul (d. 1720). It is limited mostly to Turkey, with some representation in the West and in North America.
Sufism in Modern Times
During the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the major Sufi movements in Africa and Asia were often connected to mainstream Islamic movements. The Sufis were the elite of their societies, and often led the reform movements or opposition to oppression and foreign or colonial domination. Thus, for example, they were deeply involved in political movements such as the uprisings in Morocco and Algeria against the French, and the rebuilding of society and Islamic governance in Libya, which was carried out largely by members of the Sanusi Order. In northern Nigeria, Shaykh Uthman dan Fodio (d. 1817), a member of the Qadiri Order, led the religious war against the Habe rulers who had failed to govern according to the Islamic Law, which had led to the imposition of arbitrary taxes, general corruption, oppression and the dwindling of Islamic morality both at the popular and at the courtly levels. Further eastward, Shaykh Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi (d. 1885), a member of the Tsemani Order, successfully opposed attempts at British colonial rule in Sudan. Similar phenomena occurred in the East as well. For Example, the Naqshbandi Sufis and Shah Wali’ullah challenged the British colonial power in India.
Thus the Sufis were in action in many countries during the colonial era, opposing the colonial dismantling of Islamic governance and attempting to revive and sustain original Islam. They often formed or were at the heart of strong social groupings, and had great followings in many parts of the world. What kept many of these movements coherent and strong was the fact that during the nineteenth century people were not mobile, and the control or ownership of land, together with the influence of long-established cultural traditions, played an important role in the stability of society. However during the twentieth century, the situation began to change radically and rapidly.
The Western colonization of most of the Muslim land was almost complete by the end of the First World War. After that, the advent of secular and often Western appointed or approved "client" rulers set the scene. Religious and Sufi interests and influences became of secondary importance, due to the rapid erosion of past and traditional values and lifestyles, and it became increasingly difficult and dangerous to follow the original way of Islam in its entirety in the Muslim lands. In contrast to what was happening in the East, we find many spiritual organisations and societies springing up in the West, often started by Western seekers of knowledge. The fact that many people from the Western societies embraced pseudo-religious movements, such as those of the Baha’i and Subud, as well as various branches of Buddhism, Hinduism and other minor new religions or revived versions of old ones, shows the growing thirst and interest in spiritual knowledge in the West, where the various versions of Christianity which were mind-or emotion-based, rather than ‘heart’ "based, had failed to provide any real spiritual nourishment for several centuries. More influential than these various movements were the Theosophist and Masonic movements. By the early twentieth century, we find that there was a great deal of interest in spiritualism in both Europe and North America.
The work of the orientalists who attempted to explore the spiritual dimension of the Eastern religions " albiet from within their own peculiar conceptual framework " including Islam, contributed to the increasing interest in spiritualism and the search for mystical experience in the West, by means of their writings and translations of original works on Eastern traditions, art, culture, philosophies and religions. Sufism began to arrive in the West alongside many other real or pseudo-spiritual movements. The arrival of so many Indian gurus and Buddhist masters coincided with the advent of interest in Sufism. By the middle of the twentieth century, we find quite a number of Sufi societies and movements springing up in Europe and North America, some of them founded by genuine Sufis and some by pseudo-sufis. As time went by, more information about Sufism and Islam on the whole became available in the West. The oil crisis in the West and the petrol boom in a number of Middle Eastern countries also helped in increasing contact with the Middle East and the Arabic language and information about Islam. Then came the revolution of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 which has, ever since then, generated a global awakening of interest in the Islamic tradition. It will not be out of context to mention here that Imam Khomeni’s former residence and the place where he gave audience to his people in the north of Tehran is itself a Sufi mosque and sanctuary. In fact Imam Khomeni concentrated on the science of Sufism and gnosis during his early years at the religious school in Qum, and his early writings were mainly concerned with the inner meaning of night vigils, night prayers and self-awakening.
It is important that we do not confuse the spiritual qualities of an individual with outer events. Imam Ali, the master of all Sufis, had only war on his hands during his years as the leader of Muslim community. Outer events can sometimes confuse the onlooker and conceal the light of such beings.
As for the state of Sufism in the West in the more recent past, we observe in conclusion that many of the groups that had accepted Sufism in order to benefit from some of its disciplines, doctrines, practices or experiences have begun to disintegrate. These groups of the "new age" movement which embraced a number of ideas derived from Sufism are breaking apart because their way of life is not in harmony with the mainstream of original Islam, and accordingly they do not have the outer protection which is necessary to protect and ensure the safety of the inner movement. Thus during the last few decades of this century, we observe that most Sufi movements in the West have either been strengthened by holding on to the outer practices of Islam, or weakened and degenerated by not doing so.
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