Muslim politics in the North-West Frontier Province, 1937-1947
This dissertation examines Muslim politics in the North-West Frontier Province of India between 1937 and 1947. It first investigates the nature of modern politics in the Frontier Province and its relationship with all-India politics. The N-WFP was the only Muslim majority province which supported the INC in its struggle to represent an Indian nation against the British raj, rather than of joining other Muslims in the AIML. The N-WFP had its own peculiar type of society, distinct from the rest of India. In the Frontier Province, Islam wa? iaierwoven to such an extent with Pashtoon society that it formed an essential and integral part of it; and the Pashtoons 1 sense of separate ethnic identity, within the bounds and framework of Islam, become an acknowledged fact. In this Muslim majority province, there was no fear of Hindu domination, as was prevalent among Muslims in Hindu majority provinces. This was a principal reason for the initial failure of ML to acquire support in the FP. The study also explores the rise of the Khudai Khidmatgars and the reasons for the preference of majority of the N-WFP Muslims for Congress. It argues that the coming together of the KKs and the Congress gave the former popularity, and an ally in all-India politics and the latter a significant base of support in a Muslim majority province. It elucidates the changing political contexts of the period 1937-47 and shows how loyalties were contingent on these circumstances. It is therefore not just about Frontier politics, but, at a deeper level, about the nature of evolving political identities in the sub-continent. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the All-India National Congress 'desertion' of the Frontier people on the eve of partition, the dismissal of the provincial Congress ministry by Jinnah, and the deeply ambiguous positions of the KKs in the context of the new nation of Pakistan.