NEED TO DE-DEMONISE JINNAH
The ongoing controversy about the portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the Aligarh Muslim University is nothing but unfortunate, very unfortunate indeed.
Some of my friends see a trend behind such disgusting controversies, saying that they invariably have been coming up around the ‘election time’. I do not know if such an allegation is correct or not. But I definitely see a sinister trend behind these mindless acts, an attempt, a deliberate attempt to destabilise India, which already has an ugly scar on its face, the horrendous allegation of having become an ‘intolerant’ nation, and this tag has been reverberating both within the country as also abroad.
Coming to the moot point, I fail to see the reasons why Jinnah has been demonised in the country. Let us travel back in the time machine. I vividly remember some haunting lines from a beautiful article written by one Yasmin Khan in the August 6, 2017 edition of The Guardian. I reproduce that below...
“On 3 June 1947, only six weeks before British India was carved up, a group of eight men sat around a table in New Delhi and agreed to partition the south Asian subcontinent.
Photographs taken at that moment reveal the haunted and nervous faces of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian National Congress leader soon to become independent India’s first prime minister, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, head of the Muslim League and Pakistan’s first governor-general and Louis Mountbatten, the last British viceroy” besides five others.
These seemingly innocent lines are enough to rattle the nerves of any conscientious individual.
It was a group decision to ‘carve’ the united India. A rough mutilation plan had already been drawn up by Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India prior to his replacement as Viceroy, in February 1947, by Lord Louis Mountbatten. The plan to ‘dress-up’ the Indian turkey had the concurrence of the British sovereign and of the cabinet. There were many reasons including an economically week Britain which could not afford to continue handling an ‘instable India’ where the songs of freedom were at their highest pitch. Yes the political ambitions both of Jawahar Lal and Muhammad Ali had an important inglorious role to play. But this aforementioned Group of Eight ‘wise men’ concurred, contributing their offerings of fat into the fire.
The cumulative decision of all these divergent white and brown skins handed over a damned pen in the hands of Sir Cyril Radcliffe, Chairman of the Boundary Commissions (one for Bengal and one for Punjab), to divide 175,000 square miles (450,000 km2) of territory with 88 million people into sovereign and independent nations of India and Pakistan. Radcliffe, a lawyer by profession, arrived on his first ever visit to India on 8 July 1947. He was given unverified and rough maps and a ‘life span’ of just five weeks to decide on a border. Of course, he had four each of prominent individuals as his colleagues, in each of the commissions, but it was to be his final decision. Radcliffe, unable to tolerate the Indian climate, rushed up with his work and left India after burning all documents in his custody. He departed even before the boundary award was proclaimed. He was never to came back. The justification behind choosing his ‘drawing’ perished with him.
On 15 July 1947, the Indian Independence Act 1947 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom stipulated that British rule in India would come to an end just one month later, on 15 August 1947.
Indian independence act 1947
|Long title||An Act to make provision for the setting up in India of two independent Dominion states, to substitute other provisions for certain provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, which apply outside those Dominions, and to provide for other matters consequential on or connected with the setting up of those Dominions.|
|Citation||1947 c. 30|
(10 & 11. Geo. 6.)
|Royal assent||18 July 1947|
To make the matter worse, the implementation of the ‘award’ was no less hasty than the process of drawing the border. On 16 August 1947 at 5:00 pm, the Indian and Pakistani representatives were given two hours to study copies, before the Radcliffe award was published on August 17th.
And what ensued was, sheer misfortune. Demons danced and shed rivers of blood.
Given this background, one wonders which singular hand was exactly responsible for whatever happened.
Why exactly is Jinnah despised by a section of Indians?
And why exactly Nehru and some others are despised by a section of Pakistanis?