chapter  9
30 Pages

Illiberal Islam

WithFaisal Devji

On 19 July 1927, some 20 years before Britain departed her Indian empire, a celebrated poet, philosopher, and sometime politician rose to speak on the floor of the Punjab Legislative Council. Muhammad Iqbal, who would in future be acclaimed as the spiritual founder of Pakistan, though he died nearly a decade before its creation, addressed the following words to his fellow councillors in Lahore:

Well, it may be so, yet the talk of a united nationalism is futile and will perhaps remain so for a long time to come. The word has existed on the lips of the people of this country for the last fifty years and like a hen it has cackled a great deal without laying a single egg (Iqbal 1992: 321).