Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Saeed Naqvi on “Grappling with Jaswant’s Jinnah”

Some interesting paragraphs from Naqvi's piece:

  • “The Parivar has rushed to protect Sardar Patel. Does the Congress watch this appropriation of one of their icons by the RSS-BJP combine in silence? Or do they go out beating their breasts (as they appear to be doing in Gujarat) to the accompaniment of a chant: “Sardar Patel is ours! Sardar Patel is ours!”
  • In this public reacquisition of Sardar Patel, do they completely ignore Nehru? But if they bring Nehru into the discourse, what do they say?
  • That it was he who moved the partition resolution at the crucial CWC?
  • In his book, India Wins Freedom, Maulana Azad, Congress President from 1939 to 1946, blames Nehru and Patel squarely for partition. Jaswant quotes him.
  • In brief, Maulana Azad and Badshah Khan, two Muslim members of the CWC are fiercely opposed to partition. Now Jaswant reinforces the uncomfortable reality that Jinnah, another Muslim, was pushed into a corner only by the Congress leaders.
  • Why is this reality so disturbing for most of us? It is disturbing because the basic perception that has sunk into the Hindu psyche over the past 62 years is that Muslims divided the country and also stayed on. It is just the sort of turf on which communalists pitch their tent.
  • Jaswant’s is a laudable effort. A pity he has not had access to Mushtaq Naqvi’s remarkable and much neglected book Partition: The Real Story. The following data from Mushtaq’s book would have strengthened his argument:
  • During the 1945-46 elections in UP, the total electorate was only 10.2% of the Province’s Muslims. Of these only 52% of the electorate voted. In other words, nearly 5% of the total electorate. The Muslim League won only 37.3% of the total electorate.
  • UP was the epicenter of the Muslim League activity. If the returns of UP are superimposed on the rest of the country we end up with the startling truth that only three out of hundred Muslims wanted Pakistan.
  • How then did partition happen?
  • Well done, Jaswant, for having opened up this debate. But who has the stamina or even the minimal interest to sustain the debate?
  • And now that Jaswant is all set to visit Pakistan with his book after Ramadan, let us await reactions there. Some will find Jaswant’s book heartwarming. But there are also those in the post Zia ul Haq establishment who will find Jinnah’s lukewarm approach to Islamism an affront.”

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