Jinnah's legacy

Sweet And Sour

We assume that all that could be known about him has been recorded and there is little new material to bring to light besides interpreting his role in Indian politics leading to the Partition of the country in August 1947.

Evidently that is not so. In his recently published book, the BJP leader Jaswant Singh has uncovered new material from sources hitherto untapped and come to the conclusion that Jinnah was deliberately demonised by Indian politicians and writers. That is the theme of his book ‘Jinnah: India-Partition Independence’. I do not agree with Jaswant’s reading of the events leading to the division of the country. I believe partition was inevitable as its seeds have been sown many centuries earlier and nurtured by Indian politicians of British times. My analysis is as follows:

Indians were never an integrated society. Besides caste and language divisions, the greatest was the Hindu-Muslim divide. They got along reasonably well but kept their distance from each other. The British fostered the feeling of separateness between communities. As time came near for them to leave the country, Muslims began to feel uneasy with the prospect of living in a Hindu-dominated India.

Notional divisions of India had been made before. Lala Lajpat Rai had made a rough map dividing India along communal lines. So also later had Chaudhary Rehmat Ali who coined the word Pakistan. Allama Iqbal who at one time composed patriotic verses including ‘Saarey Jahaan Say Achha Hindustan Hamaara’ spoke of a Muslim state.

Jinnah’s contribution to separateness was evolving the two-nation theory that Hindus and Muslims were two separate nations which would not live together in one State. The feeling was echoed in the minds of middle-class Muslims across the sub-continent. After that no one, neither Gandhiji, nor Nehru, nor Sardar Patel nor Jinnah could stop the process of religious cleansing of Hindus and Sikhs from Muslim-dominated areas.

It may be recalled that as early as March 1947 Hindus and Sikhs were being driven out of towns and villages in north-west Punjab. There were communal riots in many of Punjab’s cities including Lahore. By Aug 15, 1947, migration of Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan had become bloody exodus. Sikhs and Hindus of East Punjab made sure that this was not going to be one-way traffic: they drove out Muslims from East Punjab with doubled violence. It was the most catastrophic exchange of populations in the history of mankind leaving a million dead and ten million homeless. Pointing accusing fingers at Nehru or Patel or Jinnah serves no purpose. Not one of them, nor indeed all of them put together could have stopped the process of partition. They were helpless against the tidal wave of hatred generated by history. They were the real causes of the wars we have fought against Pakistan and the continuing conflict over the future of Kashmir.

Swine flu
‘Swine flu in Pune: No need to panic’ read the headlines of many papers. ‘Swine flu in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi: No need to panic’, read the headlines a few days later.
The health minister appears on TV channels, tells us it is a worldwide epidemic but India is well-prepared to face it. Anti-flu vaccines will be available soon. All hospitals are equipped to face flu cases. No need to panic. Every morning the death toll is reported. You are told hours after hour about the total number of victims of swine flu. But don’t panic. I don’t panic. I don’t run out to a crowded street and yell “bachao, bachao, a wild boar is after me.”

I stay at home minding my own business and yet the flu gets me. It is the same as I get every change of season with sore throat followed by sneezing, followed by running nose, followed by cough. Nothing very serious about it. The only thing I can think of as pigs contribution to my sickness is that the night before I ate quiche lorraine, which has pig meat in it. It was delicious. So I hogged myself on it. I am well aware that pigs are dirty animals which eat filth.

All said and done, swine flu has nothing to do with eating swine. The first Indian victim of this so-called epidemic was a young Muslim girl of Pune who almost certainly never touched the swine flesh, so what is all this hoo haa about?

No problem
A girl went to a public swimming pool wearing only her bra and panty. The man incharge of the pool told her: “Two piece costumes are not allowed here.” The girl asked innocently: “Which one do you want me to take off?”
(Contributed by Amarinder Bajaj, Delhi)

Correction
In Khushwant Singh’s weekly column, published in these columns last Saturday under the headline ‘A new parliament’, it was mentioned that “Leela bore Bikki Oberoi twin daughters”. The column made more reference to Bikki Oberoi. In fact, Leela Naidu was married to Tilak Raj Oberoi, also known as Tikki Oberoi, and not to P R S Oberoi (Biki) as mentioned in the column.

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