History has always been explained with an example of a Hindi movie comprising of heroes and villains. I am saying this statement giving a light to the Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s important role during the pre-independent India. I must admit that I have nothing to do with any of the religious approach to politics. I am not here to give you lectures on neither Gandhiji nor on Jinnah. I am least interested in congress and Gandhiji. Durga Das, the young journalist of the pre-independent India period quoted in his book India from Curzon to Nehru and after, a statement from Jinnah that is “I part company with congress and Gandhi. I am not the follower of mob hysteria.“
It was 1st October of 1906 when at least 35 Muslims of noble birth, wealth and power went to meet Lord Minto, the then Viceroy of India who succeeded Lord Curzon. These Muslims were led by Aga Khan that time. They demanded a very small thing from Lord Minto and that was National Interest on Indian Muslims. They wanted freedom and help against an unsympathetic Hindu Majority. They went to Minto and asked very politely that was it possible for him to place separate jobs for them and separate seats in councils, universities, municipalities, etc. Minto was very happy to hear this. Thus it gave a rise to the Muslim League in the same year in December at Dhaka which was headed by Nawab Salimullah Khan. Aga Khan was its first President.
Aga Khan who was better known as The Aga Khan later wrote that, it was too ironic that their toughest and doughtiest opponent that time was Jinnah who was totally against of the Muslim League. As per Jinnah the attitude of the Aga Khan towards Hindu was itself dividing the nation into two principles. When Muslim League was formed, at that time Jinnah was in Calcutta with other 43 Muslims and around 1450 Hindus, Christians, Parsis, serving as a secretary to Dadabhai Naoroji who was the President of Indian National Congress that time.
Jinnah was a true symbol of virile patriotism. Jinnah was tall and very thin to the point of emancipation. His attitude was in the form of a deceptive sheath and a spirit of exceptional endurance. Very formal, aloof and imperious of manner, an eager humanity, a shy and splendid idealism which was a true essence of the man. He was the founder of Pakistan.
Jaswant Singh, the ex BJP leader and a former defence, foreign and finance minister of India in his publication of a biography of Jinnah has thrown light on Nehru’s role in partition and a relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and Jinnah which led to so many controversies. It was his personality which forced me to write a book on Jinnah, said Jaswant Singh in an interview with a National new channel in Delhi.
I personally believe that Jinnah was a complex personality of great character, a true symbol of determination. Jinnah joined the congress party much earlier he joined the Muslim League. He issues a statement also which stated that this is not even the shadow of disloyalty to national cause. I do not understand why people cannot consider him as a Nationalist. Yes he was a nationalist. What is so wrong in being a Nationalist? It was Jinnah’s achievement that brought the 1916 Lucknow Pact of Hindu-Muslim unity in the lime light and no doubt he was called as the Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity.
He was a Nationalist because he fought the British for an Independent India and contributed relentlessly for the interest of Muslims in India. What was wrong in this? He was just doing this as a Leader. We cannot call him as a secular nor a communal. It actually depends on the person how he takes the word secular. In the country like India, I do not believe that the word Secular actually exists. It is actually a social historic word that was born in Western Europe.
I read somewhere that Jinnah was a true hater of Hindus. He was a total Hindu basher. Why will he hate Hindus? His major disagreement was with the Congress party and not the Hindus. He has always said this in the constituent Assembly of Pakistan. He charged Mahatma Gandhi as a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular and prejudices, a leader who uses false claims to gain power. It was actually the way he emulated Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi tried becoming Jinnah but he was never successful. Jinnah was a self made man but Gandhi was the son of a Dewan, Nehru was born with great wealth.
Jinnah was a poor man, he used to walk to work because he had no money. He was staying in a Hotel called Watsons in Bombay and he told one of the biographers that time that his room was at the top most floor but the hotel had no lift at that time. I honestly admire him, not because he created success for himself, born to poverty and ended up becoming a rich successful man, but because he was a self made man, who always worked towards achieving what he had always thought of.
But thanks to India and its people who misunderstood Jinnah. The only reason behind this misunderstanding is that we needed to create a devil. We needed a demon because in the 20th century the most appealing story for everyone was the partition of India. In an interview with Jaswant Singh, he was asked by the interviewer that how is it possible that a man who is considered as the Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity in 1916 transformed himself into the Qaide-Azam of Pakistan?
I really liked the way Jaswant Singh handled this question which I would like to share with all of you. He said that there was a central contest between the minoritism and majoritarianism. As soon as Mughal empire lost in India, the Muslims of India had lost the power but majoritarianism didn’t begin to influence them until 1947. This was not accepted by the Muslims. So they decided that until and unless they had their own voice in the social , economical, political destiny of India, nobody will respect them. This was the main cause that time and it is still the main purpose. The Muslims want their own say in the society.
It was in 1937 when the congress refused to form a government with the League in UP. Everybody stated that it happened because Jinnah was scared of losing the election. But I really do not believe this was the issue. I wish I could have gone back to 1937. But why we are considering only this as an example. Lets look at other examples as well. The main issues was that they needed a certain assurances within the system which could fulfil their demands and give them a space in the society. This assurances came in the form of Reservations. I am personally against this reservation criteria which increased to 33% from 25%.
All this happened because they needed a space, they needed some kind of autonomy in decision making of their own social, economical and political destiny. So many things happened but even then Nehru was not able to understand Jinnah. This doesnt mean that Nehru was an insensitive man. The main reason was that he was deeply influenced by Western socialists thought. This means that Nehru was a Centralist and Jinnah was a decentralizer.
Nehru always wanted India to be highly centralized politically but Jinnah wanted a federal government in India. This doesnt mean that the federal government would have given Muslims a lot of space. People were against Jinnah because they always thought that he was trying to bring Muslims in the lime light which is not at all true. Even Gandhiji accepted Jinnah’s proposal of bringing the federal government in India.
Nehru himself was responsible for the partition. It was his biggest mistake. He realized this in front of his official biographers. I am not blaming him. I am just saying this because it is clearly mentioned in his biographies.
Jinnah was responsible for the partition too but he was not the sole culprit. There were many other people who were responsible for this. Today also people of India thinks that Jinnah was a sole responsible person for the partition. We need to correct this. Even Ram Manohar Lohia and Gandhiji accepted Jinnah’s proposal of Partition.