Monday, August 24, 2009

Freedom of Expression, anyone?

                 advani on jinnah


  So, Jaswant Singh was expelled from the BJP. Well, the ‘Party with a difference’ did not seem to appreciate the fact that Jaswant’s book claimed that Nehru and Patel were also responsible for the Partition of India. Quite contrary to the dominant Indian historical narrative that Jinnah, the conspiratorial figure, in cahoots with the British brought about the Partition of India. In most historical accounts of the Freedom Struggle, he is shown as the obstinate villain who is coldly bent on partitioning India while Gandhi and Nehru as portrayed as the true leaders. In the rest, he is completely ignored.

                     The truth, however, is more complex. For the first two decades of his political career, Jinnah was a secular politician. He was a natty westerner with Victorian manners who showed himself as a true liberal who believed in education, rationality and democracy. In 1916, he was called as the ‘Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity’ by Gopal Krishna Gokhale. He moved away from the Congress around 1925 after differences in strategies with Gandhi over the ways to attain freedom. It was only in the 1940s that Jinnah demanded a separate homeland for Muslims after all his attempts for a loose federation failed.

                What many are unaware of is the fact that it was not only religion that led to the division of India. Religion was merely a front, it was mostly politics. Or the lure of power, perhaps. We squabbled like cats over a piece of cake. Moreover, the British tactics of ‘Divide and Rule’ and of exploiting the communal divide in India was the perfect catalyst. All these are forgotten in order to lynch Jinnah. India was always the land of a thousand warring kings and as Indians, we always were the quarrelling lot, be it on basis of religion, caste, language or region. As Maulana Mohammad Ali rightly said to the British once, “We divide, and you rule.”


                 I was never a great admirer of Jinnah nor is this post to be considered as my justification of the Partition. Jinnah, for all his secular nature, had a communal streak as well. His claim that the Muslim League was the only voice of the Muslims was plainly communal. While Pakistani historians blame the Congress for being too rigid to make compromises in a diverse democracy, Indian historians blame Jinnah and Liaquat Ali for sabotaging any chance of a unified India. Still, we need to do away with the myth that the British partitioned India and accept the fact that it was always the ‘We divide, you rule.’ syndrome.

         As for Jaswant Singh being booted out of the BJP for writing the book, it is the price he paid for telling the truth. What’s worse is that the Book was banned in Gujarat and soon other states will follow suit. Freedom of expression, anyone?

19 Grumblings:

Nics said...

You stole my Topic!

ayyo.... said...

I'll call it co-incidence..! :D

Anchal said...

I think you're very right wid v divide u rule, this thing made us struggle for freedom for more than 90 years from 1857 to 1947.
Things have not changed yet, Bhagat singh said right Gore sahab chale gaye aur bhole sahab aa gaye.
Today v r ruled by Politicians. I wonder when will india be united in real sense.

nishank said...

awesome blog....d "we divide ,you rule" is brilliant...sad story cont...dat der is still fighting 4 power...God Save India!!!

ketki said...

i nvr thot u'll come up wid a post on dis!

The Ancient Mariner said...

I hope not every state follows suit! u r absolutely right that Jinnah was a secular man in his youth...but when he saw the balance of power sliding towards Gandhi ji, I do not think he remained secular. He committed grave sin by ordering the direct action day! and he will remain a culprit till time immemorial...he got what he wanted, a free state for muslims... but he 's responsible for the endless mistrust between india and pakistan too.

Though I must say, Nehru was equally responsible for the partition. Gandhi Ji on the other hand, were for giving away the power to Muslim League to keep the unity of India...No nation which keeps unity by begging can ever keep it for long!! Gandhi's whole life was a long string of experiments...he performed them one after another...many great leaders including Jinnah & Netaji, left congress because of him. Gandhi after ousting Netaji, gave Congress its new head - Nehru!!! what an irony!!

Siddhesh said...

First of all, very nicely written. As of the History part is concerned, Whatever happend, happend for everyone's good.By the way, you seemed to underestimate the part played by Britishers in Partition of Indian Subcontinent. Remember, History was written by the English and so they had the liberty to manipulate it. And if you analyse the contemporary conditions, then you will soon realise that if India would have been What it was during the British Raj, then there would have been several countries today within India. Good to see you touch such topics. Kepp blogging

jasmine said...

Is this ur original one?
I never expected u to write on such a topic...
I am astonished...

AZ said...

Very nice!!

Keep up the good work Ayyo!!

meerasworld said...

Good post.I agree fully with what 'The Ancient Mariner' says.

Andrews Chinnamallela said...

what a co-incidence...yesterday i was speaking to a chinese doctor who is my housemate over the drinks...he asked me about the partition...and even he had the similar point of view..If a chinese person can have this understanding, then why can't pea sized brain political they want to cover up their loss in such a cheap way?? They are really heading the nation's reputation and historical truths to a dangerous mark.

Cherry said...

Freedom of Expression!! Phew!! Who needs to know this truth??? What good did it do to anyone??
Is Jinnah around to know or Nehru to defend it?
We need to learn to bury all the ugly truths and think about the future....
And some more.... go and write a book on it!!! Outrageous!!! And BJP, they go and burn the books.
My God!! It happens only in India....

ayyo.... said...

It was Maulana Mohammed Ali (Of the Mohammad Ali Road fame) who said to the British, 'You divide and we rule!'
We will always be 'Ruled' by politicians, not served by them..!:D

Thanks, dude..! It wasn't my qoute though..!! And we can save India, God cannot..!

What else then? :D :P

Sikander Fayyaz Khan said...

A couple of facts;

# Veer Savarkar was the first person to present a Two Nation theory, not Jinnah.

# Jinnah, until 1937, never demanded a separate country despite the fact that 'Pakistan' had become a demand of sorts since 1930.

# Even in 1946, Jinnah agreed on 'Federation' in the Cabinet Mission plan with Maulana Azad, while Nehru backtracked later.

# Jinnah was more concerned with 'rights' of Muslims than creating a new country, even till the last days of joint India, and was using Pakistan's name a leverage - refer to Jinnah's 14 points.

Having said all that, yes, he was a politician, and very egoistic one. He did, like all of us, wanted to be at the center of everything. He was ambitious. But he fought for united India long enough, which seems to be ignored by most, but certainly not Jaswant Singh. He had put forward many proposals which could have ensured a united 'Federal' India, the way it has always been, a Union of sorts.

Jaswant Singh tried to show his country the face of real Jinnah, but majority of Indians and BJP responded with, "I've made up my mind, why confuse me with facts?"

Secondly, about the mistrust between India and Pakistan that somebody talked about; how would you feel if I constantly questioned existence of your identity for decades? Almost every time an Indian talking about Pakistan would talk on the lines of 'partition was a blunder, Jinnah was a traitor for asking for Pakistan, it was the British who created Pakistan as a conspiracy, we will get back back Pakistan (if you are a Praveen Togadia) etc,' how do you expect me to trust? Leave Kashmir or other idiotic issues aside, but a constant doubt over my identity is something I cannot accept open heartedly.

There were a couple of Indians who visited Pakistan last year, and I hosted them. For three days they talked about how we are all 'Indians' and border was a mere line. Of course they spoke in good faith, but dude, my Grandfather was an Indian, not me. I am a born Pakistani. Why can't you respect that. Do I have to put on an 'Indian' tag to be trustworthy or a friend?

Excuse me for the incoherent rants Ayyo. It's probably the time of day.. :p Just had my sehri. ;)

Sikander Fayyaz Khan said...

Ankan, or The Ancient Mariner, could it be that Gandhi himself was insecure of being overshadowed by people like Jinnah and Subhash Chandra? I mean if we read about the first encounter between Gandhi and Jinnah, where Jinnah as a president of some Gujrati organization facilitated Gandhi, Gandhi in his speech made a special mention of Jinnah's religion. Historians right that this was when people (read Hindu) actually thinking that Jinnah was a Muslim. The also write that the mentioning of Jinnah's religion was somewhat unnecessary. This, they say, was the start of Jinnah's bitterness towards Gandhi. And I'm not talking about Pakistani writers.

What's your view on this?

ayyo.... said...

I too, believe that the Direct Action day could have been averted. To this day, victims harbour hatred towards the 'other' community for the riots..! Though, to be fair, he did not have many options left for a 'Pakistan'
Hindus and Muslims are traditional rivals. Partition only augmented it!
Nehru was responsible as well but by asking the Muslim League to lead, Gandhiji was not begging for unity, it was an assurance for the Muslims and was a grand gesture on his part!
Though, I would also agree to the fact that Gandhi experimented a trifle too much!!

ayyo.... said...

Indian History was written by the Indians, not the British! Yeah, had India not been partitioned, we might have had more land and might've pipped China in the population race too, but since we are not, let's accept it and move on! I have come across many Indians who still are hopeful of a reunion..!!

Aah! That is so true..! Neither is Jinnah around nor is Nehru alive!!

ayyo.... said...

// For three days they talked about how we are all 'Indians' and border was a mere line. //

Aah, Siku you never mentioned that..!! I guess this trend will die with time. This sentiment might have been stronger a couple of decades ago.

For the facts, I did not know about Veer Sawarkar though I did know about Jinnah rubbishing two students the first time they suggested 'Pakistan'..!
I think you should shed some more light on Savarkar and subsequent politics..!!

The Ancient Mariner said...


may be you are right. gandhi ji may have been insecure. I haven't yet graasped what all he was upto till date. all his experiments with truth and all that, sometimes seem very fishy to me. while sometimes i am at awe!!