The Pakistan Day, 23 March

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The Pakistan Day, 23 March is open for . The scholarship allows level programm(s) in the field of taught at . The deadline of the scholarship is .

THE Lahore Resolution of March 23-24, known as the Pakistan Resolution, represented a watershed in modern Indian history. It proclaimed self-perceived nationhood for the 80 million Indian Muslims who had been contented with being a minority for almost 80 years since the 1860s.

March 23 proclaimed the birth of a nation, at least in the ideational realm, and the launch of a struggle to carve out a territorial base in India`s body politic. This, in short, is the prime significance of Pakistan Day, which commemorates that landmark resolution.

It was moved in the second open session on the afternoon of March 23. The first session on March 22 had been taken up by, among others matters, Jinnah`s extempore two-hour presidential address in which he argued for the most part the Muslim case for separate nationhood in sociological and political terms and called for “their homelands, their territories and their state” so that they could “develop to the fullest our spiritual, cultural, economic, social and political life in a way we think best, and in consonance with our own ideals and according to the genius of our people”.

Moved by Premier Fazlul Haq of Bengal and seconded by Choudhry Khaliquzzaman (UP), this lengthy resolution comprising some 450 words was supported by Maulana Zafar Ali Khan (Punjab), Sardar Aurangzeb Khan (NWFP), and Sir Abdullah Haroon (Sindh) before the session was adjourned till the next day. On March 24, when discussion on the resolution was resumed, it was supported by Mohammad Ismail Khan (Bihar), Qazi Mohammad Isa Khan (Balochistan), Abdul Hamid Khan (Madras), Ismail Chundrigar (Bombay), Syed Abdur Rauf Shah (CP), and Dr. Mohammad Alam (Punjab).

The discussion on the resolution was then suspended to accommodate two other resolutions on Palestine and the Khaksar-police clash. Later, Syed Zakir Ali (UP), Begum Mohammad Ali (Delhi), and Maulana Abdul Hamid [Bhashani] (Assam) spoke before the resolution was adopted unanimously amid great applause. Thus it was supported by the accredited leaders of all the majority and minority Muslim provinces, while the Associated Press of India put the audience at the impressive figure of 100,000.

It is true that the resolution was adopted on March 24, but the first critical step towards its adoption was taken on March 23. The date came to be ingrained in Muslim consciousness over the years as the one on which they had proclaimed their separate nationhood status in India`s body politic which was till then generally considered a uni-national polity. Thirdly, throughout the period of struggle (1940-47), Jinnah issued Pakistan Day messages, and public rallies were held on March 23, not March 24. And it is only because of this critical entwinement of March 23 with the proclamation of Muslim nationhood that the promulgation of the 1956 constitution, though adopted by the Constituent Assembly early in March, was fixed for March 23.

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. Sixty years down the road, one simply can`t imagine how the midnight twins tried to get even with each other in the early years. Yaum-i-Jamhuriya Dawn

In India, Jan 26 has continued to be celebrated as Republic Day for the past 60 years, but in Pakistan the first republic lasted a little over 30 months. On Oct 7, 1958, there was a military coup, and it would have been anomalous and ironic for a military dictatorship to celebrate Republic Day. The Ayub regime decided to turn Republic Day () into Pakistan Day, and that is how March 23 has come to be celebrated as such, if only in order to keep our tryst with history. The writer of a letter to (Nov 7) is therefore right when he says that between 1947 and 1956 March 23 was not a holiday and was not celebrated in any form. However, celebrating March 23 as Pakistan Day for the simple reason that the resolution was only initiated on that day but was passed the next day is not tantamount to a distortion of history, as has been contended in the letter.

Pakistans Independence Day celebrations present an anomaly. It is true that Mountbatten, the last viceroy, formally transferred sovereignty to the Pakistan dominion in his August 14 address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, if only because he couldnt be physically present in both Karachi and New Delhi at the time fixed for the emergence 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 formally taken down and the Pakistan flag hoisted at a ceremony on the lawns of the Governor General House on the morning of Aug 15. Subsequently, Jinnah was sworn in as governor general and later the first cabinet under Liaquat Ali Khan was sworn in by Jinnah.

Equally interestingly, Pakistan celebrated its Independence 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 presumably 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 tantamount to a distortion of history?

Nevertheless, Pakistan is not alone in shifting its date of birth for other countries including the Philippines, have also done so for similar and other reasons.

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The Pakistan Day, 23 March is available to undertake level programs at .

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