Discuss how the Muslim League foreshadowed the future course of relations between India and Pakistan.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The establishment of the Muslim League represented the first clear instance where Muslim interests and the interests of India were seen as two opposite entities.  Prior to this, the interests of Hindustan encompassed both Muslims and Hindus.  Yet, as the tension surrounding the call for England to leave India intensified, Muslim leaders felt persuaded to establish the issue of independence as one that called for a separate state for Muslims.  Consider the most basic definition of the political party:

[The Muslim League was a] Political party founded in 1905 to represent the separate interests of the Indian Muslims, who felt threatened by the prospects of a Hindu majority in any future democratic system.

There is much there that foreshadows the relationship between both nations today.  Consider the idea of "feeling threatened."  Certainly, this tension exists in the relationship between India and Pakistan, with both sides claiming that the other seeks to subvert both their nation and their way of life.  Another example of how the Muslim League foreshadows the current state of diplomatic relations between both nations is that the League made the assumption that Muslim interests were vastly different than Hindu interests, a belief that underscores both countries' foreign policies today.  I would finally suggest that another element of foreshadowing was that the Muslim League helped to initiate the new nation under Partition, but failed to gain any traction in assuming political leadership in guiding the future of the new nation.  This reflects the current state of affairs between both nations, whereby the desire for separation was demanded, but little focus in way of how the future would exist for both nations was seen.  Today, India and Pakistan still cannot agree on a common vision that will guide both nations in the 21st Century.  Essentially, both nations are "on the move, but going in nowhere" in terms of how each will work with one another in the future.  Negotiations between both nations are thus always challenged because there is little idea as to how to proceed with the future as both nations refuse to acknowledge the others' future as one they wish to share.

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