Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bangladesh, Two-Nation Theory (contd-6)

Was religion the source for two -nation theory :
First, let us examine the proposition that reliigious commonality was the primary motive force behind the nationhood of the then century. If religious commonality were the essential engine for nation building, then the Europe's christian followers were divided into so many different nations.Even if we accept that it was denominational differences that divided them, we might still ask -why were not all the followers of the Roman Catholic faith in Europe nationally unified? Why were not they united in Central and South America ? Why didn't all protestants get together in one nation?
If religion alone could serve as the basis for national unity- how was it that inspite of several attempts at unity , Islam failed to unify the Arabic speaking people of north Africaand the middle east?
If Islam could not be developed as the primary basis of national identity in the Arab world where Islam originated and had virtually universal following - wasn't it peculiar that Islam should be viewed as the pre-eminent basis for defining national identity in the sub-continent?
If we were to go by the experiences of the European or other Asian nations, we would find that cultural and linguistic factors, and shared historical experiences had often been more decisive in forging the idea of nationhood.
The claim that the sub-continent comprised two-nation , Hindus and Muslims, in a stark exception to the general pattern of nation building elsewhere in the world, many western intellectuals had promoted the claim as if it were within the ambit of a generally accepted or universally valid model.
Perhaps, the legitimacy of the 2-nation claim arised from within the unique and specific experiences of the sub-continent as some Western analysts had attempted to suggest . They had argued that religion had played such a pre-eminent and overpowering role in the sub-continent, that unlike anywhere else in the world, religion was the only reasonable basis for defining nationhood in the sub-continent.