Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and the Two-Nation Theory

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Sir Syed and Two Nation Theory:

Two Nation Theory played a pivotal role in the creation of Pakistan. Two nation theory means that Muslims and Hindus were two separate nations in the subcontinent. Hindus and Muslims had their distinct religions, culture, civilisation, literature, history and special values. Many prominent leaders of sub-continent used the word “two-nations” for Hindus and Muslims. However, Sir Syed was the first man to understand and recognise this. In 1867 the “Hindi-Urdu” controversy started when Hindus demanded that Urdu written in Persian script should be replaced by Hindi as official language at lower level. Muslims viewed this as attack on their culture. Sir Syed had strongly opposed it. He represented the Muslims concerns before the British in an impressive manner. He also rejected the Congress demand for a representative government based on a democratic vote as in Europe. Hindus were far greater in number than Muslims. Sir Syed realised that under a democratic system the Muslims (a minority) would always be at the mercy of Hindu majority rule. He pleaded the Muslims not to enter into practical politics but acquire sufficient political understanding and knowledge. He, therefore, advised Muslims not to join Congress.

Sir Syed was the first person who used the word “my nation” for Muslims and the words two nations for Muslims and Hindus. He was convinced that Hindus and Muslims are not just two separate communities but they are two separate nations. He compared India with a beautiful bride and said that Hindus and Muslims are like two eyes of the bride. These two eyes must shine with equal glitter. If any-one eye shine with more brightness it would not add to the beauty of bride. For his views, Sir Syed is said to be the originator and initiator of the two nation theory in the subcontinent. His main idea was the protection and safeguard of rights of Muslims in the subcontinent.

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