Two-nation theory (Pakistan)

political ideology that, in the Indian subcontinent, Hindus and Muslims comprise separate nations

The two-nation theory (Urdu: دو قومی نظریہ‎ do qaumī nazariya) is the basis of the creation of Pakistan. According to this theory Muslims and Hindus are two separate nations by definition; Muslims have their own customs, religion, and tradition, and from social and moral points of view, Muslims are different from Hindus; and therefore, Muslims should be able to have their own separate homeland in which Islam is the dominant religion, being segregated from Hindus. The two-nation theory advocated by the All India Muslim League is the founding principle of the Pakistan Movement (i.e. the ideology of Pakistan as a Muslim nation-state in the northwestern and eastern regions of India) through the partition of India in 1947.


  • The Muslim League, therefore, had this two-pronged thrust to make in its assault on the non-Muslims of the Muslim majority areas. In the first place it was preaching its two-nation theory and its uncompromising opposition to the Hindus, and in the Punjab, to the Sikhs as well. It tried to write off all such things as a common Indian Culture and an Indian Nationhood. In the name of self-determination for the Muslims of India, it inculcated in them the creed of intolerance, arrogance and hate. All this made any compromise with Hindu India an impossibility for the Muslims; they must fight against the Hindus to enforce their extreme demands.
  • “In the North-West and North-East zones of India which are our homeland and where we are in a majority of 70% we say we want a separate State of our own. There we can live according to our own notions of life. The differences between Hindus and Muslims are so fundamental that there is nothing that matters in life upon which we agree. “It is well known to any student of History that our heroes, our culture, our language, our music, our architecture, our jurisprudence, our social life are absolutely different and distinct. We are told that the so-called one India is British-made. It was by the sword. It can only be held as it has been held. Do not be misled by anyone saying that India is one and why, therefore, should it not continue to be one. What do we want? I tell you, Pakistan. Pakistan presupposes that Hindustan should also be a free State. “What would Hindus lose? Look at the map. They would have three-quarters of India. They would have the best parts. They have a population of nearly 200,000,000. Pakistan “is certainly not the best part of India. We should have a population of 100,000,000, all Muslims. “On July the 27th, we decided to change our policy and to resort to “Direct Action”-a big change of policy-and we decided to tell our people this on August the 16th. “Reviewing the whole position, there is no other way but to divide India. Give Muslims their homeland and give Hindus Hindustan.”
  • I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim State appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India.
  • It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religious in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders, and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality, and this misconception of one Indian nation has troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literature. They neither intermarry nor interdine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspect on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Muslims derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different ethics, different heroes, and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built for the government of such a state."
    • Muhammad Ali Jinnah [9] Presidential address by Muhammad Ali Jinnah to the Muslim League Lahore, 1940 Columbia University

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