Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jinnah, Jawaharlal, Patel and others

Revisionist history is now a flourishing industry and any book or article that attempts either to re-interpret past events (usually in the light of 'fresh evidence') or knock down idols from the past is bound to see a print run of tens of thousands if not more. In this category falls Jaswant Singh's recent book on Partition and Jinnah, Nehru and Patel's respective roles in that traumatic event. He may have lost his BJP membership but he is sure to turn a neat profit, if not from India, at least from Pakistan.

One of the issues that Jaswant Singh implicitly refers to but doesn't quite address is whether Jinnah really wanted partition or would have been happy with 'parity'. In a stroke of genius and repeating the allegation of Seervai before him, Jaswant Singh, while not revealing his position on the 'parity' viewpoint, has managed to antagonise both the Congress and the BJP by trying to knock down both Nehru and Patel from their pedestals without really addressing the above issue! For those of us quite confounded by the issue, I would recommend a meticulous and detailed analysis by Anil Nauriya, (a Supreme Court lawyer who has written earlier on this issue) in The Statesman.

And while we are on the subject of Jinnah, it might be interesting to see his views on the Khilafat cause, an issue where Gandhiji came under attack for taking a position on what was considered completely irrelevant to the Indian independence struggle. These accusations have most recently come from the RSS and in a classic case of the Devil quoting the scriptures (or perhaps here the other way around!) they quote Jinnah to prove the irrelevance of the Khilafat cause. These accusations are addressed in an article by Anil Nauriya in The Tribune.

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