Monday, August 17, 2009
Can Jinnah save a desperate BJP?
The Congress win and BJP led NDA's humiliating defeat in the last Lok Sabha elections, has created such a turmoil in the party ranks, that all the chintan baithaks around the country, is yet to give any semblance of internal order in Hindutva's leadership ranks. The diehard ideological bosses at RSS are loath to show any compromise or weakness in diluting its exclusion of Muslim plank, for any electoral breakthrough. Those BJP leaders voicing their opinion in public to garner support for their opposition to inbuilt flaws that ensures BJP failures to concoct a majority that rule the country, are visibly sidelined.
Now Jaswant Singh, the newly elected BJP MP from Assam, has thrown his hat in the ring, by coming out, once again, with public secularization of Pakistan's founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, so that a broader section of the voters, mainly gullible Muslims may be worked on, to ensure renewal of electoral fortunes for the BJP with that crucial Muslim marginal voting that incidentally catapulted Congress to the second term at the helm of affairs at the Center.
Global strategic developments are forcing India's hand over its relations with Pakistan. Jaswant Singh's initiative on Jinnah is shrewdly timed to court Muslim both here as well as in Pakistan. However, it is difficult for Muslim both here as well as abroad, to treat BJP/RSS combine as something other than the destroyer of Babri Masjid. The wound on Muslim psyche here as well as in the neighbourhood, is so deep, that any mention of BJP, RSS, and Hindutva instantly opens raw wounds. The Muslim hurt and Hindutva's narrow fascist agenda for their Idea of India, is no longer only a private local affair, but has been on the agenda of various global strategists as to how, this weakness of India should be exploited. The Chinese Think Tank analyst that last week laid out China's options in balkanization of India, into 20, 30 states, has gleefully welcomed Hindutva's Idea of India, as contracting India to a very small territory and leaving the rest for others to seek freedom from the Brahminical stranglehold.
Under such circumstance, Jaswant Singh's attempt to secularize Jinnah and sell him to Indians, both Hindus and Muslims, as the prodigal son fit to be welcomed back in to the fold, will be an exercise ending in futility, as the old divide had taken different dimensions and more powerful interlocutors have already staked their claims.
Another dimension that Jaswant may or may not have tackled in his book, is how Churchill, Lord Wavell and Jinnah operated a secret line of communication after Wavell apparently agreed to Churchill's suggestion that some part of the subcontinent has to be kept for the West, to counter Russian advances towards its south and to ensure safety and security of Gulf oil badly required for European reconstruction, after the Second World War. The turn of fortune for Jinnah has not come about like some magic. It was at the initiative of the British and USA, working in tandem that sealed the future of India as a divided nation. Jinnah's role was merely as facilitator for the British game plan, in the Great Game. It is ironical that Jaswant Singh, himself released the book: The Untold Story of India's partition researched, written and published by Narendra Singh Sarila, one of Jaswant Singh's own clan. All the material exposing the roles of the major part players was available to Jaswant Singh. Still that he has chosen to court the ghost of Jinnah amply exposes his and Sangh Parivar's utter desperation.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
Jinnah 'demonised' by India, says Jaswant
NEW DELHI: Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh has said Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah was "demonised" by India, though it was Jawaharlal Nehru whose belief in a centralised system that led to the Partition.
Mr. Singh, whose book 'Jinnah-India, Partition, Independence' will be released tomorrow, said Indian Muslims were treated as aliens. "Oh yes, because he created something out of nothing and single-handedly he stood up against the might of the Congress and the British who didn't really like him... Gandhi 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," he said, when asked by Karan Thapar in an interview whether he viewed Jinnah as a great man.
The former External Affairs Minister said India had misunderstood Jinnah and made a demon out of him. Contrary to popular perception, Mr. Singh said, it was not Jinnah, but Jawaharlal Nehru's "highly centralised polity" led to the Partition.
Mr. Singh contested the popular Indian view that Jinnah was the villain of Partition or the man principally responsible for it.
Maintaining that this view was wrong, he said: "It is not borne out by facts...We need to correct it." He reckoned that Jinnah's call for Pakistan was "a negotiating tactic" to obtain "space" for Muslims "in a reassuring system," in which they would not be dominated by the Hindu majority.
If the final decisions had been taken by Mahatma Gandhi, Rajaji or Maulana Azad, rather than Nehru, a united India would have been attained, he said.
Mr. Singh said the widespread opinion that Jinnah was against Hindus was mistaken.
When told that his views might not be to his party's liking, he replied: "I did not write this book as a BJP parliamentarian. I wrote this book as an Indian... this is not a party document. My party knows I have been working on this."
Mr. Singh also spoke about Indian Muslims who, he said, "have paid the price of Partition." In a particularly outspoken answer, he said India treated them as "aliens." "Look at the eyes of the Muslims who live in India, and if you truly see the pain with which they live, to which land do they belong? We treat them as aliens... without doubt, Muslims have paid the price of Partition. They could have been significantly stronger in a united India... Of course, Pakistan and Bangladesh won't like what I am saying."
Mr. Singh says in his book that Pakistan's "induced" sense of hostility to New Delhi was now somewhat "mellowed," and it was ready to accept a greater understanding of the many oneness that bound it with India. However, he admits that Pakistan had chosen terror as an instrument of state policy to be used as a tool of oppression.
"...nemesis had to visit upon such policy planks; that malevolent energy of terror, by whatever name you choose to call it, once unleashed had to turn back upon its creator and begin devouring it," he writes. "This has now converted Pakistan into the an epicentre of global terrorism, sadly, therefore, Talibanisation now eats into the very vitals of Pakistan."
"...after emerging as a new country, Pakistan now has a much greater and sharpened sense of its 'Pakistanness,' a more enhanced consciousness of it being a distinctly separate country from India, and not just in contra-distinction to India," Mr.Singh writes.
The "turbid sediment of our recent past, the agony of our blood encrusted Partition" continues to sour the present India-Pakistan ties. — PTI