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‘We needed to make a demon of Jinnah… Let’s learn from our mistakes’

Could Advani have made such a misstep ...!

Could Advani have made such a misstep ...!

How seriously has India misunderstood Jinnah?

I think we misunderstood because we needed to create a demon.

We needed a demon because in the 20th century, the most telling event in the entire subcontinent was the partition of the country.

Your book reveals how people like Gandhi, Rajagopalachari and Azad could understand the Jinnah or the Muslim fear of Congress majoritarianism but Nehru simply couldn’t understand. Was Nehru insensitive to this?

No, he wasn’t. Jawaharlal Nehru was a deeply sensitive man.

But why couldn’t he understand?

He was deeply influenced by Western and European socialist thought of those days. Nehru believed in a highly centralised polity. That’s what he wanted India to be. Jinnah wanted a federal polity.

Because that would give Muslims the space?

That even Gandhi understood.

You conclude that if Congress could have accepted a decentralised federal India, then a united India, as you put it, “was clearly ours to attain”. Do you see Nehru at least as responsible for partition as Jinnah?

He says it himself. He recognised it and his correspondence, for example with the late Nawab Sahab of Bhopal, his official biographer and others. His letters to the late Nawab Sahab of Bhopal are very moving.

(via ‘We needed to make a demon of Jinnah… Let’s learn from our mistakes’).

A ‘victorious’ Congress, ruling for most of the 60 years of post-colonial India, had three clear propaganda imperatives.

The Masters Glee - Confusion of Indian Independence

The Masters Glee - Confusion of Indian Independence

1 – TINA, There is no alternative

They needed to prove that it was only the Congress which could ‘take on’ and  ‘defeat’ the ‘glorious and the mighty’ British Empire on which the sun never set. The logic went, “what could India(ns) have done without the Congress”. This thinking went deeper and dirtier, when a certain Deb Kant Barooah, declared “India is Indira and Indira is India.”

Similarly, Congress decided to re-write history and take all credit for the departure of the British colonialists. Contributions of leaders like SC Bose was ignored or the importance of the February 1946 joint action by the Indian Armed Forces against the colonial forces, was minimized to the ‘Naval Ratings Mutiny.’ Leaders like VD Savarkar (the first to write a non-colonial history of the War of 1857), or Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (the founder of the Jana Sangh-BJP) was dismissed as fascism.

Fact is, that Britain was bankrupt and could not hold onto India. Fact is, that for a 150 years – from 1797-1947, many rebellions, wars, individual hits were made against the colonial British Government. The myth of non-violent Indian freedom movement, served both colonial and Congress interests. It showed the British as ‘civilized’ colonialists – and the Congress as ‘enlightened’ leadership. Just like most Western literature caricatures African-American characters as hard-working, humble, docile, placid, obedient, gentle!

2 – If you don’t have an enemy, create one!

The Congress needed to create an enemy. A demon, who they could blame, use, abuse – and Pakistan fitted the bill perfectly. A failed state (!), a hotbed of terrorism – and to top it all, an Islamic State. What more could the West-Congress combine ask for?

Easily slipping into colonial legacy of ‘divide et impera’, the Congress went onto a disastrous foreign policy trail of Hindi-Chini bhai bhai. A solid realtionship with Pakistan would have,  arguably, saved Tibet from the Chinese maws – which Nehru’s foreign policy predicated.

Basking in the glory of Western approval

Basking in the 'glory' of Western approval

3 – Craven desires

To gain Western approval, acceptance, favours, privileges et al.

Consider the English language policy of the post-colonial Congress Government. It has massively subsidized English education in India so that the children of the elite could ‘escape’ to the West. The demeaning ‘population control theory’, the English language education – all, a result of this need of the Congress Party.

The deliberate colonial distortion of Indian history continues unchecked and unhindered. You only have to read Congress Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s speech at Oxford, praising the Raj,  while receiving his honorary doctrate, or Chidambaram’s decision to end “abject poverty” in India that he seems to “have known for 5,000 years.”

Coming to the BJP

When Advani goes to Pakistan and praises Jinnah, it cannot be an accident, or a slip of the tongue. It had to be a deeply thought out, well considered move – one can say, after watching Advani for nearly 30 years now. The man does not go out and missteps so wrongly. The ‘Advani-Jinnah-comments-fracas’ was for media consumption – and BJP party workers. If Advani wanted to re-write history (about time too), that was one way!

And if there were any doubts, then Jaswant Singh’s book, seals the argument.

PS –

  1. Dutifully, within 48 hours, the BJP decided to ‘expel’ Jaswant Singh from the party, for his pro-Jinnah book on 19th August, 2009.
  2. Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, promptly banned the book, in Gujarat. I see good sales for Jaswant’s book – and rehabilitation of Jinnah in India, BJP willing.
  3. On 23rd August Arun Shourie, ‘tore’ into the BJP leadership on the subject of Jaswant’s Singh’s book. India Today reported that he said, “Jaswant Singh’s book is a scholarly work. It deserves to be read,”, criticising the party for pulling the Jinnah remark out of context of the entire book.
  4. One day later, on 24th August,  KS Sudarshan, the former head of RSS weighed in on Jaswant Singh’s side. It was reported that
  5. “Jinnah had many facets. If you read history then you will come to know that Jinnah was with Lok Manya Tilak and was totally dedicated to the nation. And when Gandhi started the Khilafat movement, with the idea that currently we are opposing the British and if Muslims join in then their support will help gain independence. But at that time Jinnah opposed it saying that if the Caliph in Turkey has been dethroned, what has India got to do with it. That time nobody listened to him, which saddened him. So he quit the Congress and left for England and only returned in 1927,” Sudarshan said.
  6. On August 26th, 2009, newspapers reported that in response to BJP’s Jinnah-offensive the “Cong threatens protests against attack on Nehru”. Additional reports, stated that the “Cong(ress) plans defend-Nehru movement”. Manish Tiwari, the Congress spokesman rationalized that, “approval of Jinnah could easily come from the BJP-RSS leadership because “they had no role in the freedom struggle”.
  7. On 30th August, 2009, a former general secretary and vice-president, Pyarelal Khandelwal, wrote a letter suggesting that
  8. “Jaswant Singh’s expulsion should be taken back and the matter should be discussed with him in a respectable manner to resolve the problem,” the letter states. “The case gives the impression that while acting against the senior leader some party leaders had a well-planned intent to corner him and they showed too much haste,” Khandelwal says in the letter. It would have been proper and in keeping with the party’s image if the controversial portions of the book had been seriously discussed before taking action, as was done “in the case of Arun Shourie where a lot of patience was exercised”. Khandelwal also suggests that had Jaswant Singh himself kept the party view in mind and sent in writing details of the book before its release or discussed the issue with the appropriate people in the party, this situation could have been avoided. “The discipline of the party could also have been kept intact,” Khandelwal said.
  9. On 5th September, that “though BJP has expelled Jaswant Singh from the party, its parent organisation, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has invited his son Manvendra Singh to its national meeting in Mumbai.”
  1. Galeo Rhinus
    August 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Great analysis.

    About the Congress – I will take a step further and suggest that Nehru was being “guided” towards this goal by his English “friends.” Shortly after 1946 – once the English rule was set to end.

    About the BJP – I agree Advani’s comments were no accident. The RSS’ disapproval was also no accident.

    If a “bad cop” has to become a “good cop” then he says something that only a “good cop” will say and then “pick a fight” with the bad cop.

    A few smart marxists attempted to “expose” Advani’s “fake” journey to moderation – but it didn’t stick. Advani was able to show himself as a “moderate.”

    It is sad – that the Indian intellectual has been trained to view any assertion of Indic ideas as “extremist” and then stepping away from them is considered “moderate.”

    Given this sorrowful state – this game needs to be played – until the phrase “hindu extremism” is made defunct. Advani like a good general – played his part. Jaswant might be doing the same.

  2. Anon
    March 28, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I shall only point out one thing…..TINA. I agree that english education was subsidized, and that our populations suffered as a result of Congress rule, which also claimed the credit for freedom. If it were not so, and we pagans had progressed too fast after independence, all would have come together to wipe us out, and we would have fallen. So overall I think it was beneficial for the survival of the Hindus.

    While people criticize Gandhi, one has to admit that he really created the nation. He was the only person who wielded power in the social, political and religious spheres of India, and managed to shape a decent nation out of it. In this sense his absolute power far exceeds that of Chingiz Khan and Alexander combined. It was not for nothing that the best men from all over the country, Bose, rajaji, patel, nehru, rajendra prasad, all were overwhelmed by Gandhi.

    The revolts and rebellions(except 1857) were highly local events, triggered by local causes. Gandhi was the one who realized that all these forces would have to be brought together and also that the dalits would have to be taken on board. This he accomplished with a ruthlessness and efficiency that is simply astounding. Everything he did, his commands and then backtracking, were highly thought out and totally dedicated to unifying the subcontinent, without which the Hindus would have been split up and wiped out step by step. (You might say that it is happening, but now we have some things to fight back with.Certainly it was delayed) For the very same reason he fomented the Khilafat movement, to smoke out the radical muslims and having got an idea of their true nature, sublty planned for partition I think even from the 1930’s. He made contradictory noises, but gave in when it came to the crux, which was what he had planned all along.

    As for the revolts and rebellions: It was only Gandhi’s propagation of swaraj that could make everyone revolt at the same time against the british. Otherwise we can see that earlier mutinies were crushed, many times with the help of other indians.

    As regarding bose, Gandhi was ruthless with him for a very good reason. He wanted to bring about independence when our country was still not ready, and then impose socialist-communist principles all over. In addition Bose was very soft on islamists. Mahatma had no illusions about the soviets and the chinese, and used his power(at the right time, again) to quash Bose. Now Bose realized that he could be no more than the czar of bengal, and all of his subsequent actions were directed to that end, including wholesale muslim appeasement. (His descendants today treasonously pursue that agenda through academic and political means.)Even the INA / naval revolt could spread only when the congress had taken the idea of india to all corners of the country and to all jatis. it could have been crushed had it been local to bombay. Even 4 or 5 revolts such as this could have been crushed, and only the threat of it spreading all over india could compel the british to quit.

    Gandhiji also used nehru skilfully to various ends. The promotion and endorsement of a dreamy, not too bright dandy caused many to question gandhi’s acumen. But in fact only nehru could appease the socialists within the congress, mix with the whites (the proximity to mountbatten was crucial, and to display to white journalists a man similar to them, which caused favourable reports of Nehru to appear in the foreign press—patel or others couldnt have done it) and sufficiently autocratic and remote as well, to keep everyone together. It might be possible that Gandhi made noises about the village economy precisely to prod nehru to industrialization.

    Many from the left and the right hate Gandhi and the Congress that he shaped. Leftists loathe him because he along with patel obliterated them at the national level, and prevented the formation of a group of communist states where they could have ruled like kings. (All leftists espouse the ideology that India is not one nation even today. It is nothing but treason and they should be shot.)Till today they have not worked out what
    exactly happened, but know that somehow Gandhi was responsible. They wail in the halls of academia as to how Gandhi is bad, hindus are evil (using fabricated evidence)etc. Rightists hate him for the superficial things like ahimsa, respect for all religions etc. But if they really knew what he achieved, they would worship him and reinstate him as the Mahatma.

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