Advani back

In view of the fact that the BJP unequivocally rejected his fulsome praise of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, L.K. Advani should have insisted on resigning as BJP president. Henceforth, when the loh purush waxes eloquent, even his own partymen cannot be blamed for viewing him with scepticism.

M.V. Ravindran, Ahmedabad

The crisis in the BJP has blown over but the manner in which the Sangh Parivar handled it has left a bitter taste. An astute politician is a wounded lion today, thanks to arm-twisting by the RSS. It would have been in the best interests of the BJP if a debate had taken place on Mr. Advani's statements in Pakistan.

K.D. Viswanaathan, Coimbatore

Though perceived as a Hindutva hawk, Mr. Advani was held in high esteem by both his detractors and followers. Today he looks no different from any other politician. Had he refused to take back his resignation, he would have won many a heart (a la Sonia Gandhi who stole the Opposition's thunder by declining the Prime Minister's post).

Kala Kalyanram, Chennai

Just as fish cannot live without water, politicians cannot live without politics. It has been proved in Mr. Advani's case. If he really meant what he said in Pakistan, he could have refused to relent and taken political sanyas.

S. Mahaboob Basha, Kurnool, A.P.

That the Sangh Parivar prevailed upon the BJP to adopt a resolution rejecting Mr. Advani's views on Jinnah is evident. Mr. Advani's utterances have caused a deep division in the party. It is obvious that Mr. Advani's prospects in the BJP have hit an all-time low and that he has been retained as president only to keep the NDA intact.

V.P. Ramesan, Kochi, Kerala

The resignation drama has had its uses. Mr. Advani's remarks will endear him to the NDA allies. He will thus be the favourite to lead the NDA if it gets close to forming a government at the Centre in future. It has also resulted in democracy within the party. If the BJP can exploit this aspect vis-�-vis the Congress, it can redeem its image as a party with a difference after all.

V. Shankar, Fremont, California

Mr. Advani, one of the shrewdest politicians around, could not have uttered anything without thought. Whatever prompted him to say what he did in Pakistan, he has demonstrated that he is a cut above the rest in the BJP and the Sangh Parivar.

Abdul Monim, Mumbai

The BJP leader's decision to withdraw his `irrevocable' resignation reminds me of what Acharya J. B. Kripalani once said: "Difficult is the language of politicians; the terms they use will have no definite connotations." It is an irony that Mr. Advani, the self-styled number two iron-man of India, surrendered so meekly. Just one more thing needs to be clarified. Will Mr. Advani express regret for the post-Godhra riots too after some years?

P.V.N. Nambiar, Kannur, Kerala

Ever since the BJP lost the general election in 2004, it has been acting in a manner that has eroded its credibility. The week-long drama has only reinforced the image. Looks like the BJP, in search of issues to project itself in a new avatar, is struggling to break free of its hardline image out of compulsions, if not by choice.

Paduru S. Reddy, Hyderabad

This refers to the RSS statement that Mr. Advani's praise of Jinnah is like saying Ravana was the symbol of goodness (June 12). Those who have read the Ramayana know Ravana was a generous, large-hearted and noble emperor. But for his one mistake of coveting Sita, he could be considered as great as Rama himself. If Mr. Advani has looked at Jinnah in such a perspective, it only speaks to his objectivity.

P.S. Desikan, Chennai

If Jinnah who played a pivotal role in dividing our nation on the basis of religion is secular, who, according to Mr. Advani, is communal? The Muslim League under Jinnah was so intolerant that it eliminated even liberal Muslims — who rejected the two-nation theory — of pre-independent India.

Pritimaya Patro, Rayagada, Orissa

Was Jinnah secular or communal? Anyone who is familiar with the Indian national movement knows he wore the two masks on different occasions. While arguing for Partition, he said Muslims in India were a nation with a distinct culture and hence India must be divided. But when he argued with Mountbatten over including the whole of Punjab and Bengal in Pakistan, which had a sizeable Hindu population, he said: "A man is a Punjabi or a Bengali before he is Hindu or Muslim. They share a common history, language, culture and economy. You must not divide them. You will cause endless bloodshed and trouble." To which Mountbatten replied: " ... You have presented the unanswerable argument for Indian unity." (Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre & Larry Collins). Jinnah was neither communal nor secular; he was an opportunist.

Syed Ahmer Zia, Meerut, U.P.

It is rather paradoxical that a leader like Mr. Advani should quote a piece from Jinnah's August 11, 1947 speech to reinforce his secular character. History is witness to the fact that Jinnah fanned Muslim separatism to further his political ambitions. He thundered: "We will either have a divided India or a destroyed India," in July 1946. If Brutus was an honourable man, Jinnah was certainly secular.

Srimathi Venkatachari, Chennai

The entire debate is now centred around Jinnah — with some hailing his secular credentials and some holding him responsible for the innumerable killings during the riots accompanying the Partition. If Jinnah was responsible for communal riots and loss of lives, so was Mr. Advani. Why is no one talking about the loss of lives caused by the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and the slogan mandir vahin banayenge (we will build the temple only at the Babri Masjid site)? Does a word of regret on foreign soil absolve him of his past? Does he have the locus standi to certify another's secular character?

Jai Prakash Narayan, Varanasi, U.P.

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