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“Jinnah, India, Independence and Partition” : Jinnah of Jaswant Singh

This is a discussion on “Jinnah, India, Independence and Partition” : Jinnah of Jaswant Singh within the Articles forums, part of the Behas-o-Mubahisa category; Jaswant Singh’s book titled “Jinnah, India, Independence and Partition” released on August 17, 2009, sixty-two years after the partition of ...

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    Arrow “Jinnah, India, Independence and Partition” : Jinnah of Jaswant Singh

    Jaswant Singh’s book titled “Jinnah, India, Independence and Partition” released on August 17, 2009, sixty-two years after the partition of Pak-India subcontinent is an apt corrective by a top leader of an otherwise hard-line BJP to the make-believe history of partition. It speaks aloud and somewhat truly about the Indian mindset in defining moments of the mid-20th century. Without mincing his words, Jaswant Singh has squarely put the blame for partition of India in 1947 on Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and the Congress rather than Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In his book, he evokes momentous episodes that set in motion the movement for partition of India besides the “epic journey of Jinnah from being the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, the liberal constitutionalist and Indian nationalist to the Quaid-i-Azam of Pakistan”. The thesis followed by him, indeed, proves Jinnah not only the Quaid-i-Azam of Pakistan but also of the entire subcontinent. Jaswant Singh came across questions from various segments of Indian society including media and polity even before his book was released. During an interview with Karan Thapar in a CNN-IBN exclusive, Jaswant Singh was expressive in upholding his viewpoint saying, “I was attracted by his (Jinnah’s) personality, which has resulted in a book. If I was not drawn to his personality, I would not have written the book… He [not only] fought the British for an independent India but also fought resolutely and relentlessly for the interest of the Muslims of India”. On a question to whether Jinnah was a great man, he said, “Oh yes, self made man who resolutely worked towards achieving what he had set for himself.” While referring to the plight of the Indian Muslims today, he said, “Look into the eyes of the Muslims that live in India and if you truly see through the pain in which they live in to [the] land which they belong; we treat them as aliens”. Jaswant Singh maintains, “…He (Jinnah) created something out of nothing and single-handedly stood against the might of the Congress and the British who didn’t really like him...Ghandhi himself called Jinnah a great Indian. Why don’t we recognise that? Why don’t we see (and try to understand) why he called him that?...I admire certain aspects of his personality; his determination and the will to rise. He was a self-made man. Mahatma Ghandhi was the son of a Diwan. All these (people) –-- Nehru and others –-- were born to wealth and position. Jinnah created for himself a position. He carved in Bombay a position for himself. He was so poor that he had to walk to work. He told one of his biographers that there was always room at the top but no lift…and he never sought a lift”. Jaswant Singh goes on to say that the Indian leaders had not only misunderstood Jinnah but made a demon out of him. According to him the demonisation of Jinnah was a direct result of the trauma of partition. Singh also said that the view held by many in India that Jinnah hated Hindus was a mistake. Comparing the leadership of Ghandhi and Jinnah, the book says, “[Ghandhi’s] had almost an entirely religious provincial flavour while [Jinnah’s] was doubtless imbued by a non-sectarian nationalistic zeal”. Jaswant Singh is certainly right to assert this difference between Ghandhi and Jinnah on religious grounds. That’s why Ghandhi is both hailed and hated in India –-- hailed by some for being a great Hindu leader and hated by the others, especially the Dalits, for being proponent of Hindu caste system. By yet others, he is abhorred for aiding the making of Pakistan, as they believe so. This third view is even stronger about Nehru amongst the educated Indians. Jaswant Singh somewhat maintains the same tinge. Jinnah too has two opinions about his personality in Pakistan. Some think him to be a liberal who wanted Pakistan to be a secular state and often refer to his August 11, 1947, speech to the Constituent Assembly to support their conjecture. The others believe that he was a religious person who wanted Pakistan to be a purely Islamic state. They too have a lot to quote from his speeches and communiqués. At any rate, he is adored and not abhorred by any segment of Pakistani society. Anyway, Jaswant Singh’s book would certainly occupy a principal place in the recorded history of partition of the subcontinent. To note, he is not the only one from the BJP to have endorsed the Quaid and his feasts. Earlier while on a visit to the Quaid’s Mausoleum at Karachi in June 2005, L. K. Advani had inscribed following words in the Visitors’ Book, “There are many people who leave an inerasable stamp on history. But there are very few who actually create history. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was one such rare individual. In his early years, Sarojini Naidu, a leading luminary of India’s freedom struggle, described Mr. Jinnah as an “Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity. My respectful homage to this great man”. When he received criticism back home, he said, “I have no regrets”. Likewise, on his visit to Minar-i-Pakistan on Feb. 22, 1999, the then Prime Minister of India, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had recorded these remarks in the Visitors’ Book, “From the historic Minar-i-Pakistan, I wish to assure the people of Pakistan of my country’s deep desire for a lasting peace and friendship. I have said this before, and I say it again, that a stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan is in India’s interest....India sincerely wishes the people of Pakistan well”. He too received a lot of criticism back in India but this did not budge him from his stance even by an inch. In reality, Pakistan-India relations suffer from the pitfall of historical memories of the partition and more so by the conjured description of the events by pseudo historian, intellectuals and self-seeking politicians with run of the mill approach towards the issues affecting the common populace. Pakistan-India affairs have been especially hostage to the cold-blooded communal leaders and a better part of Indian media, who keep the case of communal divide alive even at the cost of misery of hundreds of millions. If a realization like Jaswant, Advani and Vajpayee takes root in India and people take lesson from whatever they expressed, albeit at the twilight of their political career, I am certain that India and Pakistan can soon take the road to reconciliation and thus resolution of everything that remains up in the air for last over six decades.

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    Re: “Jinnah, India, Independence and Partition” : Jinnah of Jaswant Singh

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    Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious [16:125]

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    Re: “Jinnah, India, Independence and Partition” : Jinnah of Jaswant Singh

    NICE ARTICLE.
    Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah ZINDA BAD,PAKISTAN ZINDABAD

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