Saturday, August 22, 2009

Jinnah, Nehru, Singh, BJP and the Congress

Jaswant Singh's comments on Jinnah and Nehru on partition of India created a furor in the political circles especially in BJP and a wide coverage by media to it as if we do not have any other major issues to report or discuss. Is it necessary or important to debate whether it is Jinnah or Nehru and congress leaders’ attitude towards Indian Muslim League that divided India or whether Jinnah is a secular Muslim leader?

Until recently, I viewed BJP as an alternative national party to congress with good political leaders in its cadre but not anymore. The party now has only aging leaders and does not have any young blood or leaders with a mass appeal. Narendranath Modi is an exception. This incidence of expulsion of Jaswant Singh because he has written a book that is not in the line of party’s view indicates that the party does not have any internal democracy. This expulsion reflects its leaders lost wisdom. Why because Jaswant Singh in his book said it is because of Nehru and his congress India was partitioned. This line of thought appears to be more anti congress than pro Jinnah secular credentials. Instead of buying this argument to bash congress on this point, it expelled the author.

Congress leaders too failed on their part. Had political leaders of India had some wisdom they could have used this book as an opportunity in improving Indo-Pak relationship which shadowed by suspicion. There is a chance to win some hearts in Pakistan. Now it is required for our own benefit. Like in India, the media across the border given much publicity to this book and showered praises on Jaswant. An opportunity lost.

So joining the bandwagon, let us take a look at Jinnah’s life to know whether he is secular or not. Our generation does not know whether Jinnah is a secularist or its congress leader’s attitude under Nehru’s influence is the root cause of partition. However, from the history records it is known that Jinnahbhai is a grandson of a Hindu Rajput who later on converted to Islam and shifted to Sindh province. He later on went to London studied and practiced Law there. Jinnah came under considerable pressure to return home when his father's business was ruined. Settling in Bombay, he became a successful lawyer. He joined Indian national congress in 1896. Eventually, he joined the Indian Muslim league in 1913 and became the president in 1916. In 1918, Jinnah married his second wife Rattanbai Petit Parsi woman in Mumbai against the will of both the families and orthodox Muslim leaders. She bore Jinnah his only child, daughter Dina Jinnah. Jinnah later became estranged from his daughter after she decided to marry a Parsi-born Christian businessperson, Neville Wadia.

Jinnah created Pakistan to secure his position in politics. He, himself told, "I alone with the help of my secretary and my typewriter won Pakistan for the Muslims". This makes it clear that he created a space for Muslim in which he will have a firm position, which may not have been possible in a united India as Jinnah only had support of Muslims.

We do not know the intention of Jinnah but his actions shows that he was not secular but he understood the importance of secularism. He comes across as an opportunist political leader put his own personal interests ahead of Nation or his people.

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