Jaswant Singh`s book on Jinnah

19 Aug 2009

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Jaswant Singh's Book titled “Jinnah, India, Independence and Partition”, released on August 17, sixty years after the partition of Indo-Pak subcontinent is an apt corrective by a top BJP leader to the make-believe history of partition.

Without mincing his words, Jaswant Singh has squarely put the blame for partition of India in 1947 on Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhai 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 sub-continent.

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”. 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.” Earlier Mr. Vajpayee and L.K Advani had also made similar remarks during their visits to Pakistan.

Comparing the leadership of Gandhi and Jinnah, the book says, “[Gandhi's] had almost an entirely religious provincial flavour while [Jinnah's] was doubtless imbued by a non-sectarian nationalistic zeal”.

In reality, Indo-Pak 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.

India-Pakistan 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 realisation 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.

EHSAN MEHMOOD KHAN

United States

(II)

The news in Dawn (Aug 17) and the recent article by Jawed Naqvi is probably a first attempt and a much needed one, to peel off the years and years of falsification of the truth behind Partition; and the fact that it comes from none other than a well known Indian political figure is heartening too. That it was not Jinnah, but Nehru whose adamant opposition to giving the Muslims in India a voice in national policies sealed the break of the country is a fact well hidden, mentioned only in a few books by English authors.

While in India, Jinnah is demonised, as Mr. Singh points out, in Pakistan, he is glorified for fighting for a separate homeland for Muslims. No one, it seems, has grasped the fact that Jinnah stood for a real federation and that he wanted rights for the largest minority in India, not to break it up. He wanted joint rule by the Congress and the Muslim League.

While the book should cause (and I am sure it will) a meaningful debate in India, and a rethinking of Jinnah and Nehru's respective roles, I hope that in Pakistan too, people will wake up to the reality and see both Jinnah and what he stood for.

And while they cannot undo partition, they can surely try and rebuild the nation through the lens that Jinnah saw it as - a free, educated and perfectly safe country for people of all religions, castes and creeds. Incidentally, the RSS has already refuted Mr. Singh's portrayal of Jinnah. Let us see what our own brand of the RSS will do.

The least that we should do is to correct all the history books which are nothing but distortions of what happened. In Pakistan we have not only falisfied 1947, but also 1971. Will we continue teaching our children made up stories?

N. SATTAR

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