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Speech at the Dhaka University Convocation on 24th March, 1948 (Recorded by Radio Pakistan, Dhaka)

Mr. Chancellor, Ladies and Gentlemen,

When I was approached by the vice-chancellor with a request to deliver the Convocation Address, I made it clear to him that there were so many calls on me that I could not possible prepare a formal convocation address on an academic level with regard to the great subjects with which University deals, such as arts, history, philosophy, science, law and so on. I did, however, promise to say a few words to the students on this occasion, and it is in fulfillment of that promise that I will address you now.

First of all, let me thank the vice-chancellor for the flattering terms in which he referred to me. Mr. vice-chancellor, whatever I am, and whatever I have been able to do, I have done it merely as a measure of duty which is incumbent upon every Mussalman to serve his people honestly and selflessly.

In addressing you I am not here speaking to you as Head of the State, but as a friend, and as one who has always held you in affection. Many of you have today got your diplomas and degrees and I congratulate you. Just as you have won the laurels in your University and qualified yourselves, so I wish you all success in the wider and larger world that you will enter. Many of you have come to the end of your scholastic career and stand at the threshold of life. Unlike your predecessors, you fortunately leave this University to enter life under a sovereign, Independent State of your own. It is necessary that you and your other fellow students fully understand the implications of the revolutionary change that took place on the birth of Pakistan. We have broken the shackles of slavery; we are now a free people. Our State is our own State. Our Government is our own Government, of the people, responsible to the people of the State and working for the good of the State. Freedom, however, does not mean license. It does not mean that you can now behave just as you please and do what you like, irrespective of the interests of other people or of the State. A great responsibility rests on you and, on the contrary, now more than ever, it is necessary for us to work as a united and disciplined nation. What are now required of us all is constructive spirit and not the militant spirit of the days when we were fighting for our freedom. It is far more difficult to construct than to have a militant spirit for the attainment of freedom. It is easier to go to jail or fight for freedom than to run a Government. Let me tell you something of the difficulties that we have overcome and of the dangers that still lie ahead. Thwarted in their desire to prevent the establishment of Pakistan, our enemies turned their attention to finding ways and means to weaken and destroy us. Thus, hardly had the new State come into being when came the Punjab and Delhi holocaust. Thousand of men, women and children were mercilessly butchered and millions were uprooted from their homes. Over fifty lakhs of these arrived in the Punjab within a matter of weeks. The care and rehabilitation of these unfortunate refugees, stricken in body and in soul, presented problems, which might well have destroyed many a well-established State. But those of our enemies who had hoped to kill Pakistan at its very inception by these means were disappointed. Not only has Pakistan survived the shock of that upheaval, but also it has emerged stronger, more chastened and better equipped than ever.

There followed in rapid succession other difficulties, such as withholding by India of our cash balances, of our share of military equipment and lately, the institution of an almost complete economic blockade of your Province. I have no doubt that all right-thinking men in the Indian Dominion deplore these happenings and I am sure the attitude of the mind that has been responsible for them will change, but it is essential that you should take note of these developments. They stress the importance of continued vigilance on our part. Of late, they attack on your province, particularly, has taken a subtler form. Our enemies, among whom I regret to say, there are some Muslims, have set about actively encouraging provincialism in the hope of weakening Pakistan and thereby facilitating the re-absorption of this province into the Indian Dominion. Those who are playing this game are living in a Fool’s Paradise, but this does not prevent them from trying. A flood of a false propaganda is being daily put forth with the object of undermining the solidarity of the Musslamans of this State and inciting the people to commit acts of lawlessness. The recent language controversy, in which I am sorry to make note, some of you allowed yourselves to get involved even after your Prime Minister had clarified the position, is only one of the many subtle ways whereby the poison of provincialism is being sedulously injected into this province. Does it not strike you rather odd that certain sections of the Indian press to whom the very name of Pakistan is anathema, should in the matter of language controversy set themselves up as the champion of what they call your just rights? Is it not significant that the very persons who in the past have betrayed the Mussalmans or fought against Pakistan, which is after all merely the embodiment of your fundamental right of self-determination, should now suddenly pose as the saviors of your just right and incite you to defy the Government on the question of language? I must warn you to beware of these fifth columnists. Let me restate my views on the question of a State language for Pakistan. For official use in this province, the people of the province can choose any language they wish. This question will be decided solely in accordance with the wishes of the people of this province alone, as freely expressed through their accredited representatives at the appropriate time and after full and dispassionate consideration. There can, however, be only one lingua franca, that is, the language for intercommunication between the various provinces of the State, and that language, should be Urdu and cannot be any other. The State language therefore, must obviously be Urdu, a language that has been nurtured by a hundred million Muslims of this sub-continent, a language understood throughout the length and breadth of Pakistan and above all a language which, more than any other provincial language, embodies the best that is in Islamic culture and Muslim tradition and is nearest to the language used in other Islamic countries. It is not without significance that Urdu has been driven out of the Indian Union and that even the official use of the Urdu script has been disallowed. These facts are fully known to the people who are trying to exploit the language controversy in order to stir up trouble. There was no justification for agitation but it did not suit their purpose to admit this. Their sole object in exploiting this controversy is to create a split among the Muslims of this State, as indeed they have made no secret of their efforts to incite hatred against non-Bengali Mussalmans. Realizing, however, that the statement that your Prime Minister made on the language controversy, on return from Karachi, left no room for agitation, in so far as it conceded the right of the people of this province to choose Bengali as their official language if they so wished, these persons changed their tactics. They started demanding that Bengali should be the State language of the Pakistan Center and since they could not overlook the obvious claims of Urdu as the official language of a Muslim State, they proceeded to demand that both Bengali and Urdu should be State languages of Pakistan. Make no mistake about it. There can be only one State language, if the component parts of this State are to march forward in unison, and that language in my opinion can only be Urdu. I have spoken at some length on this subject so as to warn you of the kind of tactics adopted by the enemies of Pakistan and certain opportunist politicians to try to disrupt this State or to discredit the Government. Those of you, who are about to enter life, be on your guard against these people. Those of you who have still to continue your studies for sometime, do not allow yourselves to be exploited by any political party or self-seeking politician. As I said the other day, your main occupation should be in fairness to yourselves, in fairness to your parents and indeed in fairness to the State, to devote your attention solely to your studies. It is only thus that you can equip yourselves for the battle of life that lies ahead of you. Only thus will you be an asset and a source of strength and of pride to your State. Only thus, can you assist it in solving the great social and economic problems that confront it and enable it to reach its destined goal among the most progressive and strongest nations of the world.

My young friends, I would, therefore, like to tell you a few points about which you should be vigilant and beware. Firstly, beware of the fifth columnists among ourselves. Secondly, guard against and weed out selfish people who only wish to exploit you so that they may swim. Thirdly, learn to judge who are really true and really honest and UN-selfish servants of the State who wish to serve the people with heart and soul and support them. Fourthly, consolidate the Muslim League Party, which will serve and build up a really and truly great and glorious Pakistan. Fifthly, the Muslim League has won and established Pakistan and it is the Muslim League whose duty it is now, as custodian of the sacred trust, to construct Pakistan. Sixthly, there may be many who did not lift their fingers to help us in our struggle, nay even opposed us and put obstacle in our great struggle openly and not a few worked in our enemy’s camp against us, who may now come forward and put their own attractive slogans, catch-words, ideals and programs before you. But they have yet to prove their bonafides or that there has really been an honest change of heart in them, by supporting and joining the League and working and pressing their views within the League Party organization and not by starting mushroom parties, at this juncture of very great and grave emergency when you know that we are facing external dangers and are called upon to deal with internal complex problems of a far-reaching character affecting the future of seventy millions of people. All this demands complete solidarity, unity and discipline. I assure you, “Divided you fall. United you stand”.

There is another matter that I would like to refer to. My young friends, hitherto, you have been following the rut. You get your degrees and when you are thrown out of this University in thousands, all that you think and hanker for is Government service. As your vice-chancellor has rightly stated the main object of the old system of education and the system of Government existing, hitherto, was really to have well-trained, well-equipped clerks. Of course, some of them went higher and found their level, but the whole idea was to get well-qualified clerks. Civil Service was mainly staffed by the Britons and the Indian element was introduced later on and it went up progressively. Well, the whole principle was to create a mentality, a psychology, and a state of mind that an average man, when he passed his B.A. or M.A. was to look for some job in Government. If he had it he thought he had reached his height. I know and you all know what has been really the result of this. Our experience has shown that an M.A. earns less than a taxi driver, and most of the so-called Government servants are living in a more miserable manner than many menial servants who are employed by well to do people. Now I want you to get out of that rut and that mentality and specially now that we are in free Pakistan. Government cannot absorb thousand impossible. But in the competition to get Government service most of you demoralized. Government can take only a certain number and the rest cannot settle down to anything else and being disgruntled are always ready to be exploited by persons who have their own axes to grind. Now I want that you must divert your mind, your attention, your aims and ambition to other channels and other avenues and fields that are open to you and will increasingly become so. There is no shame in doing manual work and labor. There is an immense scope in technical education for we want technically qualified people very badly. You can learn banking, commerce, trade, law, etc., which provide so many opportunities now. Already you find that new industries are being started, new banks, new insurance companies, new commercial firms are opening and they will grow as you go on. Now these are avenues and fields open to you. Think of them and divert your attention to them, and believe me, you will there benefit yourselves more than by merely going in for Government service and remaining there, in what I should say, a circle of clerkship, working there from morning till evening, in most dingy and uncomfortable conditions. You will be far more happy and far more prosperous with far more opportunities to rise if you take to commerce and industry and will thus be helping not only yourselves but also your State. I can give you one instance. I know a young man who was in Government service. Four years ago he went into a banking corporation on two hundred rupees, because he had studied the subject of banking and today he is Manager in one of their firms and drawing fifteen hundred rupees a month –in just four years. These are the opportunities to have and I do impress upon you now to think in these terms.

Finally, I thank you again Mr. Chancellor and particularly you Mr. vice-chancellor for the warm welcome you have given me and the very flattering personal references made by you. I hope, nay I am confident that the East Bengal youth will not fail us.

Pakistan Zindabad

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