As Secretary of the U.P. Muslim League Parliamentary Board, my father wrote to the Quaid on 5th July 1946 that the Muslim League should choose professionals and commoners with progressive views, instead of feudals and reactionaries who had no knowledge of constitutional law, to the Constituent Assemblies of India and Pakistan, which had been given the task of preparing the constitution of the two countries. The U.P. Muslim League endorsed my father’s views and submitted the names to represent the U.P. (Dawn 6th July 1946, page 6, column 4), but the Quaid-i-Azam selected feudal and a maulvi who had no legal background to represent the U.P. province, ignoring the fact that legal experts were required to help draft the constitution of the two new states.
On Sunday 18th October 1947, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, addressing a public meeting said, ‘Pakistan will disappear within the next five years, Muslims must no longer let the Muslim League be active within the Indian Union and if there were still some Muslims who spoke on behalf of the Muslim League, their activities must be banned.’
On 22nd October 1947, resigning from the Muslim League, Maharaj Kumar Mohammad Amir Ali Khan of Mahmudabad, said, ‘The Muslim League has outlived itself. Let it die its own death. To me it seems that to allow the League to run, as an organisation is a huge joke now. It should be wound up as a body. After the creation of Pakistan what I find is that the well to do League leaders have gone to their new homeland leaving the Muslim masses to meet their own fate. The Muslims look for inspiration and guidance, but the League leaders do not find courage to face them.’
Mr. ZH Lari, said, ‘A clear lead to the Muslim citizens of India has long been overdue. Owing to present circumstances it is not possible to convene a meeting of the council of Muslim League to take a decision in this connection … It is advisable that Muslims of the Indian dominion should meet and consider the set-up of the Muslim League and the policy to be pursued by it under the changed circumstances … I appeal to the leading lights of the Muslim League, particularly Mr. Suhrawardy, Nawab Muhammad Ismail and Chowdhry Khaliquzzaman. To summon a Convention of representatives of Muslims of the Indian Dominion.’
However, Mr. Suhrawardy and Chaudhry Khalquzzaman, arrived in Karachi on what was described as a peace mission.
Mr. Lari went to see Mahatma Gandhi, who espoused the cause of a common language of Hindus and Muslims called Hindustani by publishing in both Urdu (Arabic) and Hindi (Devanagri) scripts. The Mahatma was under maunvrat (a vow of silence) and could communicate only by writing. Therefore he wrote down his answers on the back of telegrams that he had been receiving from desperate people threatened by riots which I have kept. He wrote, ‘I am quite clear that Muslims as a mass cannot and should not join the congress unless they are invited and welcomed with a whole heart. I fear that this feeling is lacking at present’.
The Kashmir fighting also troubled Gandhi. He declared, “For so long we fought through Charkha and the moment we have power in our hands we forget it. Today we look up to the army.” Gandhi abhorred the view that the Kashmir war would bankcrupt Pakistan. Pakistan was supposed to receive one-sixth of the pre-independence government's assets, carefully divided by agreement, even specifying how many sheets of paper each side would receive. The new Indian state, however, was slow to deliver, hoping for the collapse of the Pakistan government, and reunion. Mahatma observed fast to secure the release of 550 million rupees which was promised share of Pakistan in the assets left by the British. The Indian cabinet agreed to transfer the funds but it provoked the extremists who killed Mahatma for fasting in favour of Pakistan on 30th January 1948. The poet Israrul Huq Majaz wrote:
‘Hindu chala gaya, na musulman chala gaya
‘Insan ki justju main aik insan chala gaya’
Mr. Shah Ahmed Kidwai (50) administrator, Mussouri Municipality, and younger brother of Congress stalwart, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Minister for Communications, Government of India, who was a friend of my father, was stabbed to death at the hill resort of Mussouri.
Muslim League in UP Legislature decided to dissolve itself and formed a new party and named it Janta party and unanimously elected Mr. Lari as its President. However, others decided to continue with Muslim League as a non-political party outside the legislature with Mr. Lari as its head.
Mr. Lari not only took over as leader of the opposition in the U.P. Assembly as a leader of Janta party as a coalition of opposition parties. He took the lead in the abolition of feudalism and land reform in India as member of the Abolition of Zamindari Committee of the assembly. And as a member of the Indian Constituent Assembly he took part in drafting the Indian constitution, demanding that Urdu should be made one of the official language, but the ruling Congress Party would not listen.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who was one of the longest lasting presidents (1940-1946) of the Congress during the second world war, and education minister of India at that time, convened a conference of Muslim organisations including the Muslim League and asked them to join the Congress. Some members of the Muslim League attended the meeting and a few also crossed over to the Congress.
Mr. Z. H. Lari called a meeting of all the Muslim political, religious, social and cultural organisations and asked them to unite to create an effective organisation of Muslims to look after its interests. This led to a virulent attack on him from Hindu leaders and newspapers. Even a moderate paper like the National Herald wrote that It was the Muslims of U.P. who had won Pakistan for Jinnah … Therefore to ignore a well planned move in this State for resurrection of the Muslim League under whatever deceptive label would be to connive at the growth of an open 5th column. The Amrit Bazar Patrika editorial said that Mr. Lari and other Leaguers who have not migrated to Pakistan, are sabotaging the unity of Indian Republic from within. A Leader editorial called Lari’s programme as mischievous as that of the old Muslim League, and advised that the government should keep a strict watch over them.
Mr. Charan Singh, Parliamentary Secretary, U.P. Government, in a statement to press said, ‘let Muslim Leaguers of Indian Union and Pakistan understand once for all that no maneuverings will work. The iron has gone too deep in our souls. The inexorable logic partition of mother India on a religious basis can admit of only two peaceful solutions – exchange of population or an unqualified denunciation of the two-nation theory by Muslim leaguers and the launching of an active and enthusiastic campaign by them for unification of our two Dominions.
We do not demand greater political rights for Hindus in comparison to non-Hindus nor do we demand the expulsion of Christians, Parsis, Anglo-Indians or even Muslims who voted for United India but the instinct of self-preservation tells us unmistakably that the continued presence among us of those who day in day out for full ten years declaimed against the Hindu as community is a danger to the safety and existence of whatever is left to us of our beloved country.’
Sardar Ishar Singh, Minister of Refugees, East Punjab, in a speech said that Pakistan would have to take all the Muslims of India irrespective of their political leanings.
My father resigned from the Indian Constituent Assembly on the language issue. In his letter of resignation to the president of the Constituent Assembly, Mr. Lari wrote I beg to resign with heavy heart my membership of the Constituent Assembly to express resentment felt by substantial section of my countryman in general, and among my co-religious in particular, at the decision taken by the constituent Assembly to replace Hindustani by Hindi as the langua franca of India and to adapt the Devanagari script to the ethnic exclusion of the Urdu script against the oft-repeated declarations of the Congress at the behest of Mahatma Gandhi, and to emphasize indignation at the indifference shown to the Urdu-speaking population in U.P., Bihar, C.P, Delhi and other areas and to what Maulana Azad described as the “intolerant, communal and narrow outlook” with which the language question was approached and decided. Mr. Lari further said that the discussion in the house revealed that “most of the members were oblivious of or indifferent to the needs and feelings of the Muslim minority and Urdu-speaking section of the people. The one idea uppermost in their mind were to exclude anything that did appear to partake of Muslim influence or origin”
The Government of India declared him to be an intending evacuee and froze his property on 16 May 1950. He wrote to the Indian government, saying that unless they cancelled their order he would be forced to leave the country. In a speech the Indian Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, referring to the activities of my father in a public meeting in Lucknow, said that those who made Pakistan should go to Pakistan. We left for Pakistan that year on 27 May 1950.
Shamsul Ulema Khawaja Altaf Husain Hali, had described the parting in the following verses;:
‘Rukhsat aiy Hindustan, Aiy bostan bay khizan
Rah chukay teray bahut din hum bidesi mehman
Naqsh hayn dil par hamaray sab madarten tery
Hum na bhulen gay kabhi din teray aur ratain teri
Tu nay sarwat di hukumat di riyasat di hamain
Shukr kis kis meherbani ka karain teri ada
Par gila yeh hai kay jo kuch apna ham laiy thay sath
Wo bhi tu nay hum say lay kar kardiya belkul gada
Torr dalay jald tu nay ahed aur paiman sab
Bay wafa suntay thay sach, aiy hind tera nam hum
Dair tak rahta hay jo insan nahin rahta aziz
Suntay hayn diwar wa dar say teray yeh paigham ham’