Pakistan is not the sole state in altering some of its history dates. Philippines, India and some others have also done it for analogous motives. Either it is Lahore Resolution, Pakistan Resolution, Independence Day or any other historical twist; it has been shifted due to certain national reasons.
We celebrate the 23rd of March enthusiastically by neglecting the core objectives of this resolution or Day. We are “Hollow Men” of T.S.Eliot. Our feelings and emotions are not skin deep, we cling to the celebrations forgetting their soul.
Lahore Resolution, later on, Pakistan Resolution was launched on 23rd March 1940 but was passed and adopted on 24th of March. The name of Pakistan was not included in the resolution. Hindu media including sarcastically coined it “Pakistan Resolution” just like “Quaid-e-Azam.”
The idea was hailed by the Muslims and Lahore Resolution is more known as Pakistan Resolution.
“State” or “States”?
There are certainly other aspects of the resolution as well. The word “States” or “State” is also debatable. The actual draft of the resolution carries “states” instead of “state”, however, a resolution passed at the 1941 Madras session vividly mentions the word “state” instead of its plural form.
Another reason for the singularity of the words “state” is that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah never used it in plural form. All of his addresses carry the word “an independent homeland” or “an independent Muslim state.”
The Lahore Resolution is referred to as the “Father Document” of Pakistan because it was the sole idea that was thrashed out and consented to by all leaders. Minar-e- Pakistan is erected in commemoration of this resolution which took 8 years in its completion.
The Lahore Resolution is clearly whittled on it. Interestingly, the 450 words long resolution neither contain the word Pakistan nor Islam. The resolution was drafted by Muhammad Zafraullah Khan and was translated into Urdu by Maulana Zaffar Ali Khan. It was read aloud resonantly by Moulvi Abul Kashim Fazlul Haq to a 100,000 audience as figured out by the Associated Press of India without any public address system.
When was the resolution adopted?
It was the first Constitution of Pakistan that declared it “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan” which was also passed on 23rd March 1956. The Day was marked as “Republic Day” instead. After the abrogation of the 1956 constitution and imposition of martial law by Iskander Mirza, the day is known as Pakistan Day.
Read more: 23rd March: A walk down memory lane
It is also interesting to note that the resolution was not adopted in a single session. It was moved on 23rd March by F.Haq of Bengal, second by Ch. Khliqurzzaman, supported by M. Zaffar Ali Khan, Sardar Aurangzeb Khan and Sir Abdullah Haroon before the session was adjourned till 24th March.
On the next day’s resumed session, it was supported by the rest of the leaders. It is also appealing to know that Bengali Leaders were the forerunners of this resolution. After two more resolutions, one on Palestine and another on the Khaksar incident, the resolution was unanimously adopted.
Another reason for this historical twist is that from 1940-47 Quaid-e-Azam conveyed Pakistan Day messages and public rallies were organized on March 23rd, not on March 24th. It was presumably for the same reason that promulgation of the 1956 constitution, though had been adopted in early March, was fixed for March 23rd.
The deliberate historical twists
In deciding so, the government was in fact taking a leaf out of the Indian book. The Indian constitution was not passed but promulgated on Jan 26, 1950, because that was the date on which the Independence Resolution was unfurled at Lahore by the Congress in 1930, and which they had been celebrating as Independence Day year after year.
If the Indians wished to sanctify Jan 26 for that reason, Pakistanis would like to do the same with March 23. It might be hard to make young minds understand the complexities of historical dates.
For this reason, several historical twists have been made in the best interest of the nation. In India, Jan 26 has continued to be celebrated as Republic Day, but in Pakistan, the first Republic Day lasted a little over 30 months.
The Ayub administration resolved to turn Republic Day into Pakistan Day, and that is how March 23rd has come to keep up our rendezvous history. From 1947-1956 March 23rd was neither a holiday nor celebrated in any form.
Read more: Excerpts from Jinnah-Gandhi letters
The glitch in dates
Pakistan’s Independence Day merriments present a glitch. It is true that Mountbatten, the last viceroy, officially transferred autonomy to the Pakistan control in his August 14 speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, if only because he couldn’t be actually present in both Karachi and New Delhi at the time set for the materialization of the two successor states.
According to the Indian Independence Act, they were to become independent at midnight on Aug 14-15. That’s why the Union Jack was officially taken down and the Pakistan flag winched at an observance on the lawns of the Governor-General House on the morning of Aug 15.
Consequently, Jinnah took the oath as governor-general and later the first cabinet. Uniformly fascinatingly, Pakistan commemorated its Freedom Day on Aug 15 for the next six years, and it was only in 1954 that it decided, for good reasons, to shift it to Aug 14.
This was most probably because Pakistan felt overshadowed by the neighbouring giant with whom it shared its day of birth. This shift to Aug 14 was done in the national interest, but then is celebrating Aug 14 as Pakistan’s Independence Day.
The writer is an English Professor and freelance columnist, based in Lahore, Pakistan. He can be reached at Prof.abdulshakoorsyed@gmail.