Wonder if many young people, who keep calling me traitor just because I wear Bindi and speak for minorities’ rights, would know about Shri Joginder Nath Mandal? For starters, he was Quaid’s (Mohammad Ali Jinnah) choice as first Chairman of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and then first Law Minister. Shri Mandal belonged to Scheduled Caste of Hindus and got green signal from revered Dr Ambedkar (the Dalit leader who later framed India’s Constitution) to opt for Pakistan. Prior to that, he accepted League’s ministries in Bengal and then in federation as well. He was strongly criticized by the Hindu community of Bengal for supporting Muslim League after the holocaust that followed League’s ‘Direct Action Day’ in Calcutta on August 16, 1946. But Shri Mandal’s support for Muslim League’s movement did not flinch.
Little do we know why Shri Mandal resigned from his office two years after the death of the Quaid. Here I present his resignation letter, which might throw some light what we had started becoming immediately after Quaid’s death. You would also realize that forced conversions and attempts to squeeze Hindus out of Pakistan are not a new phenomenon. It is neither an outcome of Bhutto’s alleged ‘mulla appeasement’ nor it started with Zia’s Islamization. Actions of both of them might be attributed to have accelerated it, but early leadership of Muslim League was responsible for this madness. One is not sure if Quaid really dreamed about a country that we live in today? Or his dream has gone terribly sour? In any case, do we understand that we have to disentangle ourselves from this bitter past and try to make things better for Pakistan?
Whatever early leaders of Muslim League have done with our country, this is probably high time for all of us to start thinking about our present and future. Can we afford to keep persecuting our minorities and still living in the paradise of denial? For how long should we keep regurgitating about what Quaid wanted or what Iqbal wanted? Aren’t we ready even now to make sure what we want Pakistan to be? Think!
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