Independence Day

Independence Day (Urdu: یوم آزادی‎; Yaum-e Āzādī) is observed on the 14th of August following its first observance on that day in 1947 to commemorate Muslims receiving independence from British rule. In 1947, the day coincided with the 27th night of Ramadan, Laylat al-Qadr. The Pakistan Movement, led by the All-India Muslim League under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, paved the way for creation of Pakistan. At its birth, Pakistan was split in to two parts commonly referred to as East and West Pakistan. The word Pakistan is a conjunction of two words, Pak meaning Pure and Stan meaning Land, a name coined by Choudhary Rahmat Ali.

The Indo-Pak subcontinent remained a British colony from 1849–1947. The people of subcontinent did not approve of the British rule in a united India and wanted to be free from the oppression and unjust ruling of the British who arrived as the British East India Company under the guise of trade yet ended up confiscating the land and its resources from its inhabitants. Muslims had ruled the subcontinent before the British incursion and suffered due to the 1857 uprise against the British East India Company. Leaders such as Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Syed Ameer Ali worked diligently for the Muslim peoples’ political advancement.

At the turn of the 19th century, most Indians had accepted British rule. However, a small population who had learned English and absorbed the English ideas of freedom and representative government did not approve of a government run by the colonists. The Europeans’ racist attitude towards local population became increasingly offensive. In 1885, a small group of English-speaking Hindu professionals founded a political organization called the Indian National Congress in an attempt to influence the government for gaining access to higher positions and to get participation in official decision making. This struggle gained acceptance only in a limited circle of intellectuals.

During the British rule in India, Hindus were much closer to the British government than the Muslims. This resulted in the patronage of the Hindus by the British along with suspicion and distrust against the Muslims of the sub-continent. From 1857 onwards, when the British had taken complete control of the Indian Administration, they elevated the Hindu community to the status of landlords, gave the Hindus proprietary rights, and provided them the opportunity to accumulate the wealth which should have otherwise gone to the Muslims who were at the helm of affairs.

Muslims, unhappy with the colonists and fearful of Hindu dominance, founded the All-India Muslim League in 1906 to have a platform for their political struggle for their rights. The break between the two communities increased in 1937, when the Indian National Congress won provincial elections and refused to share power with the Muslim league.

In 1930, Allama Muhammad Iqbal presented the idea of a separate Muslim state that would geographically consist of the Muslim majority areas in the subcontinent. Strong Hindu nationalists gave birth to the Two Nation Theory, an ideology that is accredited as the basis for Pakistan’s creation. In 1940, the Pakistan Resolution was passed in Lahore which demanded greater Muslim autonomy in British India. Quid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, demanded what Muslims had long dreamt of: a country of their own, to be called Pakistan. In June 1947, the British Government decided to give independence to India therefore forming two distinct states: India and Pakistan. On August 14th 1947, a new country, Pakistan, was born.

Pakistan, Zindabaad.