Choudhry Rehmat Ali is a famous name in Pakistan. In the pages of Pakistan’s history, he is known for two main reasons. Firstly, he coined the name of Pakistan and secondly, for writing an eight-page pamphlet known as “Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever”. There are several facts about his life which are not well-known and are often lost in the pages of our history.
He was born on 16 November 1895 and died on 3rd February 1951 in a Punjabi Gujjar family in Hoshiarpur District of Punjab. He graduated from Islamia Madrassa, Lahore in 1918. After teaching at Aitchison College, Lahore, he joined Punjab University to study Law. In 1930, he moved to England and joined Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Choudhry Rehmat Ali published the pamphlet ”Now or Never” in 1933. In this pamphlet, the word Pakistan was first used. He also published a book ‘Pakistan, The Fatherland ok Pakistani Nation’ in which he gave the detailed explanation of how he came up with the term Pakistan.
The letter ‘P’ in Pakistan was taken from Punjab. He asked for the territory proportionate to the population of Muslims.
‘A’ was taken to represent Afghania. It was the real name of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
‘K’ is for Kashmir.
‘I’ represented Iran. In the past when the Persian Empire was attacked by Alexander of Macedonia, he invaded the area which forms Pakistan today. Pakistan was a part of ancient Persia and Persian was the language of the educated.
‘S’ was for Sindh.
‘T’ for Tukharistan. This name is no longer used but the area is now known as Turkmenistan and some other parts of Central Asian states.
‘A’ is for Afghanistan.
‘N’ is for BalochistaN, which makes 44% of the landmass of Pakistan.
In 1933, he also started Pakistan National Movement in England. He continued publishing literary pieces based on his vision for South Asia. Choudhry Rehmat Ali believed that in order to become an independent nation the Muslims will have to reform politically. The Islamic history inspired him and he believed that the Muslims of India needed to be united like they were in the past in order to survive in India which was not a very friendly place for them.
His literary work, along with the writings of Allama Iqbal, acted as a catalyst in the formation of Pakistan. For the Muslims living in Bengal, he gave the name “Bangistan” for a Muslim homeland. He also proposed a name “Osmanistan” for a Muslim homeland in Deccan. Dinia is a name which was suggested for South Asia because of the presence of various religions in the region. He is also known for his dedication to the idea of Pakistan. He also argued over the issue of Kashmir and the rights of Muslims in the United Nations on Pakistan’s behalf.
Choudhry Rehmat Ali was disillusioned after the independence of Pakistan. He was highly dissatisfied with the partition because of the massive killings and mass migrations which had occurred because of it. He was also not satisfied with the distribution of areas. He was a very impulsive and restless person. He was against any negotiations with Hindus and that is why he developed the difference of opinion with Muhammad Ali Jinnah. During the Pakistan Movement, he remained in England and came to the newly founded country after a year. He strongly criticized Jinnah and the Muslim League for compromising the ‘full idea of Pakistan’ which he gave in his pamphlet.
After Jinnah’s death in 1948, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan ordered him to leave the country. He died in England and was buried there.
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