The Man Who Invented Pakistan : Choudhry Rahmat Ali

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PAKISTAN has ceased to be a dream and has become reality, but it is still undecided what the word really means. There are two main schools of thought. One derives it from the Persian and Hindustani word “pak” meaning pure, which makes “Pakistan”-The Land of the Pure. The other, and more popular, school makes it come from P (for Punjab), A (from Afghanistan or North-West Frontier Province), K (for Kashmir) and Istan (for Balochistan).

The one person who has not been consulted is the man who invented the whole thing. For there walks today in Cambridge, a man in his early forties, with a flowing white beard, wear-ing a green turban. His name is Choudhry Rahmat Ali, and he has a grudge against this world. For he has invented Pakistan and the world has forgotten him and his claim.

He was born the son of a rich merchant in the Punjab and as usual in such cases, his birth was marked by many portents. At the age of five, a Muslim Holy Man singled him out from a crowd of children and told him to prepare himself for the career of a teacher of Islam. After studying in Paris he went to Cambridge for post-graduate work at Emmanuel College, and it was here that illumination came upon him.

In 1932, he published a book “Pakistan: My Faith and Fatherland,” and a year later he founded the Pakistan National Movement. It was greeted by screams of abuse, not the least of which came from the late Mr. Jinnah who at that time claimed to be “an Indian first and everything else afterwards.”

Rahmat Ali’s pious biographer (who is his right-hand man in the Pakistan National Movement) proudly asserts in a pamphlet published only last year: “I can reveal that, throughout these years, Rahmat Ali has been Pakistan, and Pakistan has been Rahmat Ali.”

Bearded the Lion


In 1935, Jinnah described Rahmat Ali’s plan for Pakistan as a crazy scheme and its author as a totally impossible person. Rahmat Ali retorted by calling the future Quaid-e-Azam “The Baboon of Bombay” who was incapable of creating anything himself and so spent his life aping every new idea that made its appearance in India. Five years later, Rahmat Ali bearded the lion in his own den. He went to India and on March 8, 1940, outlined his plan of Pakistan in a speech to the Supreme Council of Pakistan – the “National Movement at Karachi.” Less than three weeks later, the Muslim League, at a meeting in Lahore, presided over by Mr. Jinnah, accepted Pakistan as its goal. Rahmat Ali’s biographer could only comment, his pride not unmixed with sadness: “What he said today – Jinnah echoed tomorrow.”

Since that fateful day Mr. Jinnah completely ignored Rahmat Ali. The official paternity of Pakistan was conferred on the great poet Muhammad Iqbal who, being dead, is not likely to ask awkward questions or make embarrassing claims.

Rahmat Ali, a very embittered man, continues to pour out a stream of pamphlets in attractive green covers. Not content with inventing Pakistan, he added Usmanistan (for Hyderabad), Bang-i-Islam (for Bengal), Dravidistan (for the Dravidas), Sikhistan (for the Sikhs), Harijanistan (for the Untouchables) and a lot of other-stans – Sidiqistan, Faruqistan, Muinistan, Maplastan, whose meanings he alone knows. On his maps, the Arabian Sea appears as the Pakistanian Ocean.

But all these new names which he has fathered are no compensation for the loss of his first-born, lt is a poor consolation to him that no-one is a prophet in his own country. . . .

(This text is a reproduction of an article published by Western Mail (Perth) on 18th August, 1949)

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Saquib Salim

Saquib Salim is a well known historian under whose supervision various museums (Red Fort, National Library, IFFI, Jallianwala Bagh etc.) were researched. To his credit Mr. Salim has more than 400 published articles on history, politics, culture and literature in English and Hindi. Before pursuing his research and masters in modern Indian History from JNU, he was an electrical engineering student at AMU. Presently, he works as a freelance/ independent history researcher, writer and works at