I would like to congratulate The Hindu on reproducing the brilliant editorial on Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Aug. 21) published on September 13, 1948. It puts the Jinnah ideology in proper perspective in the backdrop of the controversy generated by Jaswant Singh’s expulsion from the BJP following the release of his book Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence, and L.K. Advani’s praise for Jinnah as a secular leader during his visit to Karachi.
It is particularly useful to present-day readers, especially those who have grown up in the post-Independence era and may not know the true character and personality of Jinnah. Had Jinnah lived for some more years, Pakistan might have evolved into a democratic state.
True to its tradition The Hindu, in its editorial titled “Mr. Jinnah,” gives an objective assessment of Pakistan’s founder, the metamorphosis of his ideals and ideas over a period of time — from secularism to aggressive communalism. Fortunately for him, his end came at the height of his career. He did not live long to see the scant respect Pakistan’s leaders have shown for the democratic values he espoused.
The views expressed in the editorial “Mr. Jinnah” have astounding clarity and relevance. How prophetically true is the observation that “Mr. Jinnah at his bitterest never forgot that firm friendship between the two States was not only feasible but indispensable...” Jinnah was a brilliant leader, committed to Hindu-Muslim unity, and the protection of the minorities in India and Pakistan. Unfortunately, he died at the peak of his career. The re-emergence of Jinnah, thanks to Jaswant Singh’s book, should help clear the fog of intolerance in the sub-continent.
One may disagree with Mr. Singh’s opinions but there are some facts with which we would have to agree. Nehru was as much responsible for Partition as was Jinnah. As a last resort, Gandhiji suggested to Nehru that Jinnah be made Prime Minister. But Nehru wanted to be Independent India’s first Prime Minister. This was also a cause for Partition.
Mr. Singh’s contention that it is uncharitable to demonise Jinnah with regard to Partition is partly true. But Jinnah did represent the ambitions and expectations of the Muslims of undivided India; he was the only one who could do it. His bargain with the British for his pound of flesh in the midst of the birth pangs of free India was an afterthought, but it unleashed the dormant dream of a majority of Muslims.
The so-called secular Jinnah rejected the Congress’ secularism, recognised the two-nation theory of the then Hindu right wing forces and finally came under the spell of Choudhry Rahmat Ali to carve out Pakistan. The anti-Congress attitude of the then Hindutva forces helped Jinnah’s agenda of Partition. The Congress leaders, including Sardar Patel, were cornered by the Muslim League and Hindutva elements. This led to Jinnah’s success and the failure of Congress nationalism.
As a genuine Hindutva leader, Jaswant Singh has glorified Jinnah whose secularism was akin to the BJP’s hardline Hindutva.
Syed Moosa Miah,