Posted on 20 August 2011.
It is amazing that that the events of sixty years ago are so fresh in the minds of at least two generations of South Asians. The happenings of the British Raj are being discussed like Americans discuss sport events or Indians dissect the last soap or movie out of Bollywood.
Vibrant democracies project different opinions and create possibilities about the future. Fascist societies spout one “company line”that is then shoved down the throat of a docile and subjugated populace. Only one version of history exists in Bharat (aka India). All opinions contrary to the events transcribed by the Congress are rejected and sidelined. The fact that there is only one book written in Bharat in the past fifty years that provides some semblance of balance about the life and times of Mohammad Ali Jinnah is ample proof of the bigotry and racism that exists in the Brahmanic society that rules from Delhi.
“The writing of the book was not the only, but one of the several reasons, for his expulsion by the party,” …He too indicated that Jaswant Singh’s criticism of the party after the parliamentary poll debacle was also among the issues that led to his expulsion.
In June, Jaswant Singh stated at the party’s core group meeting at the residence of party veteran L.K. Advani that there should be a connect between ‘parinaamaurpuraskar’ (results and rewards) in the aftermath of the party’s disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha elections.
His reference was to Arun Jaitley who was the chief poll manager for the party and was later made the leader of the opposition in the upper house of parliament, a post which Singh held before being elected to the Lok Sabha. The BJP earlier in the day expelled Singh from the primary membership of the party. BJP president Rajnath Singh on “Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence”. IANS. August 20th, 2009 – 1:01 am ICT by IANS -
Loving Jinnah in BJP is hazardous to your career. The expulsion of Mr. Singh may be tied to the series of expulsions from the BJP.
There has been a series of expulsions of BJP leaders over the years, including of Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Babulal Marandi and Shankersinh Waghela. BJP expels Jaswant Singh Neena Vyas, Parliamentary Board’s stern message against ideological deviation, The Hindu
It is amazing that those who opposed the Quaid in the 40s are now being discarded by their own people. It is fantastic that the most ardent opponents of Jinnah are now being targeted for eulogising him. The ghost of Mohammad Ali Jinnah has already ended the political aspirations of one Bharatya Janata Party leader, Mr. L.K. Adhvani. This week the ghost of Quaid e Azam destroyed the ambitions of another leader of the BJP.
“I think we have misunderstood him because we needed to create a demon,” … “We needed a demon because, in the 20th century, the most telling event in the subcontinent was the partition of the country.”the book’s author, Jaswant Singh, a veteran politician, told the CNN-IBN
Jawant Singh’s book is not available in Pakistan and is not available in the US yet, so the response to the book from Pakistan has been muted and is based on reports in the Bharati press.
- ‘Jinnah gets approval from an unlikely Indian admirer’
- “a significant addition to material on Partition.”
- ‘Book on Jinnah likely to change discourse in India.’ “Conventional wisdom in India that holds Mohammed Ali Jinnah as a communal leader who caused the bloody partition of the subcontinent is expected to receive a body blow when a new book on the Quaid-i-Azam by former Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh is released here,” Dawn frontpaged a story
- ‘A new look at Jinnah,’ … “Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a man whose true character appears to have become lost through the chapters of history, has re-emerged in a new light in the pages of a book, Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence, by none other than BJP leader Jaswant Singh. This is particularly ironic given that Mr Singh’s own party and its ‘mother organization’ so to speak, the RSS, have for the past six or so decades painted Jinnah as India’s greatest villain.” …”Any fresh look at history and the characters who played a part in its making is always welcome. This is perhaps especially true in the case of Jinnah. Jaswant Singh’s book will, undoubtedly, create waves in India. But it may also help to create some much-needed balance. Writing a fully objective history is difficult – some argue impossible. The beliefs and biases of the writer always play a part. For this reason, having as many different points of view as possible is important. They offer an opportunity to break free of uniformity and reach conclusions after examining various possibilities. For this reason the book is a significant addition to material on Partition,” The News International said that
- ”an apt corrective by a top BJP leader to the make-believe history of Partition. Without mincing his words, Jaswant Singh has squarely put the blame for partition of India in 1947 on Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and the Congress rather than Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.” N Sattar of the Dawn
- “When the BJP is in government, it is far more Pakistan friendly. But once, in opposition, its attitude becomes totally different,” Nusrat Javed, a well known TV anchor.
- similarly, BJP was also critical of L K Advani when he visited Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore when he came to Pakistan. The reaction which BJP has shown by sacking Jaswant Singh from the party membership has proved how it thinks. Secretary General of Pakistan Muslim League, Quaid-i-Azam (PML-Q) Mushahid Hussain Syed.
- Some Pakistani historians also share Singh’s line that Nehru was responsible for the partition of India. To justify their argument, they quote Abul Kalam Azad’s book — India wins freedom, in which he argued that partition of India could have been avoided if Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel had shown some flexibility over the Cabinet mission plan.
- Political analyst Amir Mateen has a different view on the issue. Being critical of BJP’s extreme step, Mateen said, “The book endorses BJP’s viewpoint of greater India. I don’t understand why there is so much of resentment among BJP ranks over the book written by Jaswant Singh.” ‘Major saab’ and his tome are the toast of Pakistan media, TNN 20 August 2009, 03:33am IST
It is amazing that the country that bills itself “the worlds largest democracy” has been unable to have a civilized discussion on one of the greatest leaders of Muslims anytime anywhere. No Muslim leader in the history of mankind has been able to guide and affect the destiny of of more than 450 million Muslims and about 450 million Dalits and Untouchables. Those who listened to the Quaid gained independence and and liberation. Those who did not remain in bondage, slavery and Untouchability.
AHMEDABAD: On a day the BJP leadership expelled senior leader Jaswant Singh from the party, Narendra Modi’s government banned the book ‘Jinnah India, Partition, Independence’, in Gujarat. The book, released on Monday, lauds the founder of Pakistan and holds India’s first PM JawaharlalNehru and its first home minister Vallabhbhai Patel responsible for the country’s partition in 1947.
A notification issued by the Gujarat home department on Wednesday banned the book on the grounds that it tarnishes the image of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. According to the notification, the book presents incorrect historical facts regarding the partition and questions Patel’s patriotism.
“The book aims to tarnish the image of the architect of the country’s unification and son of Gujarat. The state government has decided to ban the book in public interest,” says a press release issued by the state government. Patel is held in high esteem by people across Gujarat and rest of India for his role during India’s freedom struggle against the British rulers. The move came as a surprise for many as Modi had remained completely silent when L K Advani made favourable comments about the creator of Pakistan while on a visit to the neighbouring country some years back.
Modi was in Shimla to attend BJP’s three-day brainstorming session, ‘chintan baithak’, starting Wednesday. While the party had distanced itself from Singh’s views expressed in the book soon after it was released, Modi has gone a step ahead. Modi bans Jaswant’s book over Sardar insult TNN 20 August 2009, 03:45am IST
The manner in which Mr. Jaswant Singh has been ignominiously drummed out of the BJP says a lot about how the party treats its leaders. But that is Bharat today. The new pantheon worthy of Hinduist worship is the troika of Mohandas Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and of course Jawaharlal Nehru. Like the Fascists of Italy and the Nazis of Germany, only those leaders belonging to the Indian National Congress have a right to be inducted into the Bharati Hall of fame. In today’s Bharat those who oppose them are worse than Belzebub and those who supported him are the arch angels of love and saintliness. This should not have been the only book on Mohammad Ali Jinnah. There should have been others that portray him in black, shades of grey and in white. No such spectrum exists in Bharat. There is universal condemnation of a man, his dream and his spiritual progeny.
The urbane and cultivated Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, has most often been cast as the villain, unyielding in his demand that the Muslims required a separate country.
Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of the British Indian empire, whose wife is widely believed to have had a long-running affair with Nehru, once remarked: “I tried every trick I could play to shake Jinnah’s resolve. Nothing would move him from his consuming determination to realise the dream of Pakistan.”
But the 71-year-old Singh, a former foreign minister, argues that far from being set on a separate Pakistan, Jinnah’s overwhelming concern was the well-being of his fellow Muslims. He wanted to ensure Muslims would have “space in a reassuring system”.New Zealand Herald. Hindu overhauls Jinnah’s legacy 4:00AM Thursday Aug 20, 2009
All South Asian freedom fighters like Subash Chandra Bose, Dr. Ambadekar and Jinnah are either marginalized or simply demonized by the Bharati historians, politicians and the media. It is rumored that Jaswant Singh was thrown out to the party not because he loved Jinnah, but because he criticised the spiritual leader of the BJP Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
“Kya karein, naseeb mein jab yahi likha tha (What can I do if this was destined)… I got a call from Rajnath Singh who informed me about the decision, but that’s hardly the way to treat someone who was once described as Hanuman to Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Have I suddenly become Ravan in today’s BJP?”Jaswant Singh told The Indian Express.
“Thirty years of my political life with the BJP and (being expelled) on this note… saddened me and on the ground for writing a book, that saddened me even more, immensely more… The day India starts questioning thought, it starts questioning reading, writing, publishing, we are entering a very very dark alley,” Indian Express
According to news reports emanating from the land of the Ganges the expulsion of Mr. Jaswant Singh heralds the break of the party into smaller factions that cater to the moderate and extremists elements of the party. This report from the Indian Express describes the inner workings of the BJP and how the loss in the recent elections have affected the bearings of the party.
More than praising Jinnah, it’s Jaswant Singh’s criticism of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel that’s touched many a raw —and politically strained — BJP nerve.
For, while the Congress has always tried to appropriate the legacy of the national movement, it’s through the strand in the Congress represented by India’s first Home Minister, Sardar Patel, that the BJP has tried to connect itself to the freedom movement. Sardar Patel was referred to as the Iron Man — for uniting the princely states. This was the imagery L K Advanitriedto invoke with portrayals of him being a Loh Purush as India’s Home Minister during the NDA rule.
Subsequently, in Patel’s home state, Chief Minister Narendra Modi has always cultivated the image of Chhote Sardar. JaswantSingh’s 669-page book (Jinnah — India, Partition, Independence) refers to Patel at about six places, the theme being that Jinnah’s interpretation (false, in JaswantSingh’s opinion) of India being two nations, was finally acceded to by both Nehru and Patel.
The key excerpts from Jaswant Singh’s references to Patel:
1. Page 417: Leaders like Patel accepted partition “in order to seek relief from the torments of the past many years and in the process offering many ingratuitous suggestions.” Singh quotes from a letter written by Sardar Patel to Kanti Dwarkadas on March 4, 1947: “I am not, however, taking such a gloomy view as you… before next June, the Constitution must be ready, and if the League insists on Pakistan the only alternative is the division of Punjab and Bengal.”
Patel, in the letter, goes on to say that in his view, the British would not agree to such a division and would not help the minority secure a division and a strong centre (subsuming minority demands) would ultimately prevail.
This letter, Jaswant Singh writes, “is a revealing letter for quite apart from how far off from the mark Patel was in respect of so many of his projections about the future, he was also for the first time, even if by implication, accepting partition on condition of a division of the Punjab and Bengal.”
2. Page 418: Jaswant Singh goes on to suggest that the formal adoption, accepting the partition of the country by the Congress party on March 8, 1947, was done in the absence of Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Azad who, “Nehru and Patel had known would oppose the resolution.” Singh quotes Patel explaining the resolution to Gandhi later as “that you had expressed your views against it, we learnt only from the papers.”
There is a strong suggestion here that Nehru and Patel acted as one in changing the long-held position of the Congress, one of opposing partition to agreeing to it overnight. Jaswant Singhconcludes that within a month of Mountbatten’s arrival, the Congress’s view on partition had changed.
3. Page 489: “it is in this, a false ‘minority syndrome’ that the dry rot of partition first set in, and then unstoppably it afflicted the entire structure, the magnificent strand of an united India. The answer (cure?) Jinnah asserted, lay only in parting, and Nehru and Patel and others in the Congress also finally agreed. Thus was born Pakistan…” Indian Express.Loh Purush and Chhote Sardar: Two reasons why BJP can’t take Jaswant’s criticism of Patel, Posted: Thursday , Aug 20, 2009 at 0341 hrs, New Delhi:
They call it “partition“– as if South Asia was a single monlithic country that was lost its unity in 1947. Amazingly the indpendence of Sri Lanka is not called “partition“. Neither is the sovreignity of Burma called a vivisection of the Bharatmata. The separation of Nepal is not called “partition”. For some reason the indpendence of the Muslim majority areas of the the Subcontinent is called “partition” by the Hindu Mahasaba. There was no “PARTITION”: It was Separation or independence.
Lord Meghnad Desai, emeritus professor of the London School of Economics, said Mr Singh’s -expulsion represented the deep disarray within the BJP, which has been riven by infighting since the May elections when it was reduced to 116 seats, its worst performance in years.
“It’s a battle for the soul of the BJP and it’s going the wrong way,” he said. “The BJP needs to get itself to the centre, and instead it’s shifting to the right.”
Lord Desai said the furore will “make it very difficult for the BJP to reconstruct itself as an electable party”.
He warned that it was likely to alienate young -voters, who will wonder “why are they so hung up on who said what to whom in 1946, when there are other things to discuss about India like drought and economic reform”.
Lord Desai also said the move displayed the BJP’s “ideological totalitarianism”.
India’s political elite has long demonised Mr Jinnah, a secular, pork-eating Muslim, for the partition that resulted in up to 1m deaths and created millions of refugees. However, Mr Singh found that Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, and other revered Indian independence leaders, backed partition to settle difficult debates over protecting minority rights. Financial Times. BJP expels MP for sympathetic portrayal of Pakistan’s founder By Amy Kazmin in New Delhi…Published: August 20 2009 03:00 | Last updated: August 20 2009 03:00
One has to look into the seeds of time to see why Mr. Patel garnishes such fealty from the likes of Mr. Modi. The Congress used to be a moderate party, and Jinnah was an aspiring and senior leader of the party. Millionaires like Birla brought Gandhi who introduced religious symbolism into the body politics of South Asia. Jinnah warned Gandhi not to inject religious symbols of Ashram and Satyagarh into a secular system. The Indian National Congress instituted a big tent philosophy. This big tent policy brought in the extremist elements like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. These fundamentalist were not only responsible for the partition of the Indian National Congress, they were responsible for the drumming out of Mohammad Ali Jinnah from the party. When Jinnah was booed for referring to Mohandas Gandhi as Mr. Jinnah instead of the religious appellation “Mahatma”, the die was cast for the partition of the Indian National Congress. The seeds of a powerful Muslim League had been sowed.
The Indian National Congress of Motilal Nehru was secular and could nurture the likes of Mr. Jinnah to grow and flourish. Tokenism aside, the Congress of Mr. Jawahlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had no place for Muslims, Dalits, Christians and voices of dissent. This view clearly enunciated by Jinnah when he resigned from the Congress was later endorsed by Maulana Azad who was a poor substitute for Jinnah as the figurehead of the Congress. Jinnah was a leader, Azad was minority candidate placed there as a prop. Too scared to rebuff the policies of Nehru, Patel and Gandhi, he published “India wins Freedom” without the chapters which criticised Nehru for bungling the Cabinet Mission Plan proposal. Fearing reprisals from the Congress, Mr. Azadstipulated that the offnedingparagraphs be added to the book 25 years after his death. The paragraphs lamblast Nehru for being stubborn and power hungry and criticized Gandhi for his religious symbbology.
In a sense the fate that befell Jaswant Singh — his marginalisation within the rightwing BJP followed by his ideological disengagement withtheparty— had similarities with the denouement as it evolved for Jinnah. The difference was that while Singh may have moved from the communal politics of the BJPtowardsareaffirmation of secular historiography, the insidious caste politics of the Congress behemoth had forced an agreeably liberal Jinnah to resort to patently communal agitation. Jawed Naqvi dawn.com
The Quaid e Azam after an electoral loss used the tactics laid out by Liaqat Ali Khan. The Congress claimed to represent all of South Asia. The Qauid through Separate Electorate refuted the claim and got the British to agree that the Muslim League and the Muslim League alone represented the Muslims. They did this through brilliance and fortitude. The Muslim League team went out and “franchised” the various regional parties under the banner of the All India Muslim League. Thus leaders like G.M. Syed, Suhrawardi and others all came under the umbrella of the All India Muslims League. This gave Mohammad Ali Jinnah the legitimacy to position the Muslims League as the representatives of all Mussalmans of South Asia. This is why Ayesha Jalal endows the title of the ”the sole spokesman” of the Muslims to Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
The expulsion of Mr. Singh from the BJP is part and parcel of the corrective action taken by the BJP. This is borne out by this prodigious report by Mr. Jawed Naqvi who is a regular contributor to the liberal and obsequious paper called dawn.com
After his expulsion from the BJP ahead of the party’s brainstorming session in Simla on Wednesday, Jaswant Singh told reporters that he regretted his party’s decision to remove him from the organisation’s primary membership but he was not about to vacate the political space he has nurtured. What does that mean?
To begin with, he has created a royal mess for India’s two main parties. Who would have thought that the BJP and its ideological fountainhead, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, would find themselves defending their main quarry Jawaharlal Nehru, over the arch quarry Jinnah? Jaswant Singh’s clever, almost impish, juxtaposition of the two stalwarts has all but achieved the hitherto unimaginable. In one stroke he has put the Congress and the BJPonthesameideological plane. It would require an extremely delicate surgery, which neither party appears equipped for, to separate the arguments that he has made for and against Jinnah and Nehru, Gandhi and the British. He has studded his book with references rare and familiar that disturbs the neat communal historiography, which the establishments in India and Pakistan had been used to.
Jaswant Singh feared that the book Jinnah: India — Partition — Independence would create problems in Pakistan more than in his own country. He believed the dichotomy that emerged between the Quaid’s vision and the evolution of a sectarian state in Pakistan would invite state-sponsored censure. But the first barbs came from within India. Early reactions from the BJP and the Congress to his research verged on intolerance of intellectual inquiry. This is not new. Books have been burnt and banned, artists and writers sent into exile even earlier in India.
But Jaswant Singh is not quitting politics, much less the country. In fact an endorsement of his quest will be palpable as early as this weekend when Ramazan, the month of fasting for Muslims, begins. In Lutyens’ Delhi, the hub of India’s power dynamic, the circus of feasts will see robed clerics from diverse Islamic clusters getting invited to the prime minister’s house to break bread. Government ministers, party leaders, MPs, power peddlers, middlemen, in a nutshell everyone who lives by the 13 per cent Muslim vote in India or those who need to flaunt their secularism will take turns to rustle up an appetising Ramazanmenu. Of course, only a minority of India’s 150 million Muslims are mullahs and so a few of the less pious variety would also be given a slot in the meandering queue to rub shoulders with the high and mighty.
Had Jinnah had his way, there would be no need for the pathetic lottery of Ramazan invitations. There would be no need for the Justice Sachchar Committee, set up to investigate why Indian Muslims continue to be economically and socially backward six decades after independence from colonialism.
In other words, had there been no partition there would not be a need for communally driven dinner invitations, even though they are usually claimed to strengthen secularism. Indians would be less self-consciously tolerant and eating or not eating with each other of their free will in an India that Jinnah had dreamt of. Jaswant Singh has been penalised for implicitly asserting this.
As a matter of fact, Justice Sachchar offered remedies that reminded me of the crisis once faced by the International Committee of the Red Cross when its representatives visited prisons in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. They recommended hot water baths for the inmates, which startled the jail warden who hadn’t had the luxury of one in a fortnight himself.
There are, of course, no hard and fast rules in this. Political power does not flow from the numerical superiority of a community over another. The partition of 1947 wrote this in blood. As a maverick college friend remarked, in capitalism man exploits man and in socialism it was the other way round.
In predominantly Muslim Pakistan, Muslims are exploiting, and now killing, Muslims. Hindus have fared no better in India. Seventy per cent of India — predominantly Hindu India — has been marginalised to create the illusion of a superpower for the 30 per cent, possibly less. More Hindus — if the tribespeopleinhabiting Chhattisgarhand Jharkhandorthose fighting pitched battles in West Bengal with paramilitary men are considered Hindu — are the next targets of the state’s neocon agenda.
JaswantSinghmaynothave listed these examples to make his case, but they do underscore the unacceptable failures of the founding fathers and their heirs in both countries.
If Jaswant Singh is lucky and has got the proposed Urdu translation of his controversial book on Jinnah out before the weekend, there is a good chance that the Ramazan iftars would become the battlegrounds between status quo and refreshing new ideas for India, and also possibly for Pakistan, to explore.
A Bengali edition of the book is expected to ignite debate in a region that has revelled in questioning everyone that we easily worship, be he Jinnah, or Gandhi, Nehru or Suhrawardy.
In this sense Jinnah’s inspiration may well have come from Rabindranath Tagore’s song: Jodi tor daak shuney keoo na ashey tobey ekla chalo rey. (If none heeds your cry to march together, just walk alone, no if or whether.)
JaswantSinghmaywellhave embarked on a lonely journey to begin with.Going Jinnah’s way By Jawed Naqvi Thursday, 20 Aug, 2009 | 12:46 AM PST. The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.firstname.lastname@example.org
In July 2001, when the Agra summit between Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and President Pervez Musharraf ended without an agreement because the RSS took the view that elections in Uttar Pradesh, due in February 2002, required a continued state of hostility with Pakistan, Jaswant Singh was targeted in whisper campaigns for allegedly drafting a weak agreement from India’s point of view.
The RSS, or less accurately the BJP, anyway lost the Uttar Pradesh elections. The massacre of Muslims in Gujarat happened four days later and can be seen as a panic reaction by the RSS to similar signals of looming defeat for the BJP after several preceding contests in the state. The clinically supervised pogroms turned the tide for the party.
It was stated that initially the party leadership was of the view that Mr. Jaswant Singh should be merely stripped of his membership of the Parliamentary Board. But tempers ran high among senior leaders. They viewed his praise of Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and his adverse comments on India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, as ideological heresy. They called for the sternest action.
L.K. Advani, also a member of the Parliamentary Board, was himself held guilty of ideological deviation in 2005 when he praised Jinnah during a visit to Pakistan and was forced to exit as party president. On Wednesday, however, he concurred with the decision to expel Mr. Jaswant Singh, informed party sources indicated.
BJP president Rajnath Singh conveyed the decision to mediapersons outside the Peterhoff state guest house and hotel, the venue of the brainstorming conclave.
Mr. Rajnath Singh noted that he had issued a statement in Delhi on Tuesday dissociating the party from the contents of Mr. Jaswant Singh’s new book Jinnah: India-Partition Independence that was released on Monday. The Board, he said, “decided to end his primary membership. So he has been expelled. From now onwards he will not be a member of any body of the party or be an office-bearer.” Mr. Rajnath Singh said he had conveyed the decision to Mr. Jaswant Singh.
Party sources said the BJP would inform the Lok Sabha Speaker of the expulsion. He would, under the rules, now be an unattached MP representing Darjeeling. The Speaker is expected to be told that the BJP wishes to revoke his nomination as a member and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
Seemingly responding to Mr. Jaswant Singh, who has charged the party with jumping procedures as he was not issued a show cause notice, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekarsaidhere that the Parliamentary Board had the authority to take “immediate decisions on urgent matters” without issuing show cause notices. “This is the decision of the Board, which means that the party will not compromise with ideology and discipline is paramount.” There has been a series of expulsions of BJP leaders over the years, including of Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Babulal Marandi and Shankersinh Waghela. BJP expels Jaswant Singh Neena Vyas, Parliamentary Board’s stern message against ideological deviation, The Hindu
Will Mr. Singh be sent tothe Siberia of politics, or will be rise like a phoenix with another political party that opposes the legacy of not only the Brahamanic legacy of Nehru, and Gandhi but also the racist legacy of Mr. Patel.
SHIMLA: He had gone from being the party’s Hanuman to its Ravana, a tearful Jaswant Singh said on Wednesday shortly after he got a phone call from Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh gestures during a press conference after his expulsion from the party in Shimla on Wednesday.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh that he had been expelled from the party. ( Watch Video )
Saying that he was “sad and regretful”, the 71-year-old former union minister, who has held the portfolios of defence, finance and external affairs, said he got a phone call at 1pm from Rajnath Singh informing him that he had been expelled from the “basic membership of the party”.
“It is sad and I regret it for a number of reasons, which I cannot explain in detail,” Jaswant Singh said in Shimla where the BJP began its three-day introspection meeting Wednesday.
The expulsion comes two days after the release of his controversial book praising Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, “Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence”.
He referred to a cartoon in India Today magazine that had portrayed him as Hanuman and said he had now become the Ravana of the BJP.
“I have been a member of the BJP since it was formed (in 1980),” he said.
“I had never imagined that 30 years of my service would have ended this way. It’s regretful,” the visibly emotional Jaswant Singh added.
He said he also “regretted” that the party president informed him about the decision over the phone and not personally.
“I would have stepped down had they informed me in person,” he said.
“I am worried and sad that just one book has led to my expulsion,” he added, wondering what would happen if “soch, vichar and chintan” (thinking and introspection) stopped in Indian politics.
He, however, said he didn’t regret writing the book.
“They (BJP leaders) have not even read it completely.” BJP’s Hanuman, I am now its Ravana: Jaswant IANS 19 August 2009, 02:38pm IST
India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party expelled a senior leader Wednesday for writing a book about the founder of archrival Pakistan _ an indicator of bitter infighting within the party and increasing control of its more radical ideological parent organization.
Mohammed Ali Jinnah is widely reviled in India as the man responsible for the partition of the continent that created predominantly Muslim Pakistan at the end of British colonial rule in 1947.
The book, by Jaswant Singh, says that Jinnah has been “demonized” in India, according to news reports- a reference the party apparently found too kind.
On Tuesday, the party issued a statement disassociating itself from the book, “Jinnah India, Partition, Independence,” which was released Monday.
“The important role of M.A. Jinnah in the division of India, which led to a lot of dislocation and destabilization of millions of people, is too well-known. We cannot wish away this painful part of our history,” the BJP statement had said.
Singh’s expulsion was announced after a meeting of senior party leaders in the north Indian hill town of Shimla. The 71-year-old, who has served as finance and foreign minister in previous governments, said his removal calls into question the party’s commitment to freedom of speech.
“What I have written is my account of a chapter of India’s history,” Singh told reporters. “You can dispute what I write but the day in India we start questioning thought, we start questioning reading, writing, publishing, you’re entering a very, very dark alley.”
Political analysts say the move reflects internal differences within the party, which lost the last two national elections.
“It shows a party in disarray,” said political commentator Neerja Choudhary. “It also shows that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is going to be calling the shots much more in the affairs of the party.”
The RSS, or the National Volunteers Force, which is the parent organization of the Bharatiya JanataParty, has been widely accused of stoking religious hatred with its aggressively anti-Muslim views.
This is the second time the mention of Jinnah has created ripples in the right-wing party, which forms the main opposition in India’s Parliament.
In 2006, another senior leader, Lal Krishna Advani, was forced to resign as party president for praising Jinnah, during a visit to the neighboring country. He remained a member of the party. Taiwan News. Indian party expels leader for book on Pakistan. Associated Press, 2009-08-19 08:16 PM
The reaction from Pakistan to Singh’s expulsion is as expected. Bharatis need to learn the history of Pakistan and the history of Jinnah. They need to shed their racist bigotry and move forward towards the next century. Unless Bharat understands the leadership of the Pakistan movement, it can never comprehend the inner thinking of the Pakistanis. Bharat cannot be a regional power unless it mends fences with all her neighbors, Nepal, Lanka, Bhutan, Sikkim, Maldines, Mayanmar, Bangladesh China and Paksitan.
For 5000 years South Asia has always been a conglomeration of more than 570 states even during the British Raj.
History of Pakistan on “Pakistan Historian” website Was Pakistan inevitable?
What if there was no Pakistan?
There was no “Partition”
The Geographic Two Nation Theory. Pakistan existed 5000 years ago as the “Indus Valley Civilization”
Pakistan is a child of the Indus like Egypt is a child of the Nile: The Pakistani 7000 year old Indus Valley Civilization
What if Pakistan did not exist? For answers please visitPakistan Historian
The historical basis of the sovereignty of Muslim Provinces
The Pakistan Ideology
Pakistan Day: A reminder “Pakistan manzil nahin–nishan e manzil hai”
Not comfortable with sectarian party rivals dominating politics in his native state of Rajasthan, Jaswant Singh fought the April-May Lok Sabha polls in the communist bastion of West Bengal, which he breached to become the only BJP MP to do so in decades. I still remember his reassuring voice at the post-summit news conference in Agra, when rightwing hawks were having a field day. ‘The caravan of peace has stalled, but not overturned,’ he cautioned famously as Gen Musharraf’s plane headed for Islamabad.
Having held the portfolios of defence, foreign affairs and finance as federal minister Jaswant Singh wouldn’t want to be seen as anything but an Indian patriot. It is thus that he makes for an unlikely admirer of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the creator of Pakistan. His book Jinnah: India – Partition – Independence The following excerpts from an interview he gave to a private TV channel reveal as much about the author as about his least likely muse.
Did he subscribe to the popular demonisation of Jinnah in India?
‘Of course I don’t. To that I don’t subscribe. I was attracted by the personality, which has resulted in a book. If I was not drawn to the personality I wouldn’t have written the book. It’s an intricate, complex personality, of great character, determination.’
Did he see Jinnah as a great man?
‘Oh yes, because he created something out of nothing and single-handedly he stood against the might of the Congress Party and against the British who didn’t really like him … Gandhi himself called Jinnah a great Indian. Why don’t we recognise that? Why don’t we see (and try to understand) why he called him that?’
Did he see Jinnah as a nationalist?
‘Oh yes. He fought the British for an independent India but also fought resolutely and relentlessly for the interest of the Muslims of India … the acme of his nationalistic achievement was the 1916 Lucknow Pact of Hindu-Muslim unity.’
What did he admire about Jinnah most?
‘I admire certain aspects of his personality. His determination and the will to rise. He was a self-made man. Mahatma Gandhi was the son of a Diwan. All these (people) – Nehru and others – were born to wealth and position. Jinnah created for himself a position. He carved in Bombay, a metropolitan city, a position for himself. He was so poor he had to walk to work … he told one of his biographers there was always room at the top but there’s no lift. And he never sought a lift.’
Did he believe the common Indian lore that Jinnah hated Hindus?
‘Wrong. Totally wrong. That certainly he was not … his principal disagreement was with the Congress Party. He had no problems whatsoever with Hindus. I think we have misunderstood him because we needed to create a demon … we needed a demon because in the 20th century the most telling event in the subcontinent was the partition of the country.’
Jaswant Singh said had Congress accepted a decentralised federal country then, in that event, a united India ‘was ours to attain.’ The problem, he added, was Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘highly centralised polity.’
He said: ‘Nehru believed in a high centralised policy. That’s what he wanted India to be. Jinnah wanted a federal polity. That even Gandhi accepted. Nehru didn’t. Consistently he stood in the way of a federal India until 1947 when it became a partitioned India.’
Was it wrong to see Jinnah as the villain of partition as Indians are taught?
‘It is. It is not borne out of the facts … we need to correct it…Muslims saw that unless they had a voice in their own economic, political and social destiny they will be obliterated. That was the beginning (of their political demands) …For example, see the 1946 election. Jinnah’s Muslim League wins all the Muslim seats and yet they don’t have sufficient numbers to be in office because the Congress Party has, without even a single Muslim, enough to form a government and they are outside of the government. So it was realised that simply contesting elections was not enough… All of this was a search for some kind of autonomy of decision making in their own social and economy destiny.’
Speaking about Jinnah’s call for Pakistan, Jaswant Singhsaid: ‘From what I have written, I have found it was a negotiating tactic because he (Jinnah) wanted certain provinces to be with the Muslim League, he wanted a certain per centage of (seats) in the central legislature. If he had that there would not have been partition.’
Nehru’s heirs and the Congress party could find his claims unacceptable, he was told.
Jaswant Singh said: ‘I am not blaming anybody. I am not assigning blame. I am simply recalling what I have found as the development of issues and events of that period.’
Had Mahatma Gandhi, Rajaji or Azad –rather than Nehru – taken the final decisions a united India would have been attained?
‘Yes, I believe so. We could have (attained a united India).’
On Jinnah’s relationship with Mahatma Gandhi, he said: ‘Jinnah was essentially a logician. He believed in the strength of logic. He was a parliamentarian. He believed in the efficacy of parliamentary politics. Gandhi, after testing the water, took to the trails of India and he took politics into the dusty villages of India.’
Jaswant Singh explained that Jinnah had two fears of Gandhi’s style of mass politics. First, ‘if mass movement was introduced into India than the minorities in India could be threatened and we could have Hindu-Muslim riots as a consequence.’ Second, ‘this would result in bringing religion into Indian politics and he (Jinnah) didn’t want that.’
Jaswant Singhpointedout that Jinnah’s fears were shared by Annie Besantandadded that events had shown that both were correct.
At the end of their lives both Jinnah and Gandhi died failed men?
‘Yes, I am afraid I have to say that … I cannot treat this (the outcome of their lives) as a success either by Gandhi or Jinnah … the partition of India and the Hindu-Muslim divide cannot really be called Gandhiji’s great success … Jinnah got a moth-eaten Pakistan but the philosophy that Muslims are a separate nation was completely rejected within years of Pakistan coming into being.’
Not too long ago when BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani visited Jinnah’s mausoleum in Karachi and scribbled something about his secularism, the RSS tore him apart.
Jaswant Singh rang me up the other day to invite me to the book launch. ‘I have said objectively what I had to say in the book about Jinnah, now I am ready for the noose.’
The verse about the pitfalls of war seems equally apt for the seekers of just peace. I can’t wait to read the book.
An unlikely Indian admirer By Jawed Naqvi Monday, 17 Aug, 2009 | 07:06 AM PST, email@example.com