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Published in the 1-15 July 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Advani, Jinnah and Partition

The Milli Gazette Online

The Jinnah comments of LK Advani has triggered a churning within the Sangh Parivar. The Lucknow comments of the RSS chief suggests a mellowing of the line against Muslims. For an RSS leader to tell Muslims that India is your Darul Islam, is music to my ears. It would certainly have horrified Hegdewar and Golwarkar. Whatever spin the RSS spokeman may place on these comments, they only reveal how far the RSS itself has come from the days of its founding in 1925.

It is essential that Muslim leadership recognise these vital changes. No doubt the shadow of Gujarat 2002 still looms dark and ugly over Hindu- Muslim relations in the country. Yet a wise and visionary Muslim leadership would see the positive consequences of the Darul Islam comment. After all we have lived with the RSS hatred for over eighty years. The price paid by Muslims, Hindus and above all the country has been horrendous. Further Indian democracy can never bloom with Muslims and Hindutva forces at each others throats on a permanent basis. The same is true of India emerging as a world power. A wise appreciative comment by Muslims may encourage a greater liberal approach within the RSS. The benefits for all Indians would be tremendous.
JS Bandukwala, Baroda

What a brazen hypocrisy it is that the RSS chief paints in black MA Jinnah as the sole person responsible for Partition but at the same time eulogises Indira Gandhi for carving out Bangladesh from Pakistan. If one event is wrong in the eyes of some Indians, the other has to be so with the Pakistanis as well. If Jinnah is a baddie in the eyes of men like Sudarshan, so would be Indira Gandhi to the hardliners in Pakistan! Is it not high time we forgive and forget the past and take giant strides to make peace with our neighbour in the west? In this era of global economic market, how long should the two nations regress by spending a quarter of their budget on defence build-up even as one third of their population is reeling under poverty? Turn the pages of Europe’s history and see how nations drove daggers against each other during World War II and how they are trying to evolve a single entity now. Learn a lesson from Japan which has become a key ally to USA despite the catastrophe meted out to it by the latter, by dropping atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The adage ‘time is the best healer of wounds’ has proved wrong atleast to the Hindutva ideologues. How I wish good Samaritan prevailed upon the so called “desh bhakts” and how I yearn, they eschewed spiteful statements in the interest of amity between India and Pakistan.
Syed Sultan Mohiddin, Cuddapah (A.P)

Muslims were against Partition 
A large number of Muslims had opposed the idea of Partition tooth and nail. In the Frontier Province, the Pathans under the leadership of Abdul Ghaffar Khan, in undivided Punjab the Unionist Party of Khizr Hayat Khan, in Jammu and Kashmir Shaikh Abdullah and his Muslim Conference, and in Sindh GM Sayyed and his followers, as well as others like the Khaksar Movement, Majlis-e Ahrar and Jamiatul Ulama-e Hind were against Partition.

Supporters of Partition were Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad and Nehru. Mahatma Gandhi also surrendered before them while Muslims leaders like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Abdul Ghaffar Khan opposed Partition fervently and did not surrender before the top Congress leadership to the last. 
G.Hasnain Kaif,
Bhandra, Maharashtra

Advani’s utterances in Pakistan, particularly with regard to Ayodhya, have created right atmosphere for communal harmony in India. His remarks about Jinnah have also created a healthy controversy amongst secularists and a dirty one amongst communalists. There are many similarities between Advani and Jinnah. 

Mr. Jinnah was an able and educated person with modern outlook. The same is true about Advani. Unfortunately both preferred to be secular fundamentalists. None of them have ever been overtly religious but followed the path of political opportunitism, projecting themselves as protectors of Islam and Hinduism respectively. Jinnah advocated the idea of two-nation theory and gave the impression that Islam was in danger. Advani led the cause of Hindutva and gave the impression that Hindus have been suppressed in India even after Independence. Jinnah succeeded in the creation of Pakistan causing immense harm to Muslims of the Sub-continent. Advani succeeded to become the icon of Hindu revivalism by riding a motorized rath and caused great harm to the age-old reputation of Hindus as tolerant people. Without the call of Pakistan, Jinnah could never be a match of Maulanas Azad or Madni. Without the rath and Ayodhya, Advani could never be a tall political figure in independent India. Both Jinnah and Advani, personally secular by heart, have been responsible for creating a wedge between Hindus and Muslims of the Subcontinent. After the creation of Pakistan, Jinnah, honestly advocated equality and fraternity among people of different faiths. Advani was also sad after Ayodhya and Gujarat holocaust and wanted to get rid of his image as a hawk.

Jinnah is no more. But the present leadership of Pakistan (and also the public) wishes to bury the past and live in peace with its neighbour. Advani also wishes to forget the saddest day of his life and is in search of Happy Days as a secularist: der aayed durust aayed (though late, still better). 

Muslims should take notice of these developments. It is high time that Mr Advani and Muslim leadership jointly declare Ayodhya chapter as closed and propose to build a symbolic Hindu-Muslim-Sikh-Christian prayer hall (Mandir-Masjid-Gurdwara-Church) at the demolished site. Still better, if Muslims forego (sacrifice) their claim of building a Masjid at the site and instead request Mr. Advani to lay a foundation stone of a grand memorial in the memory of those killed during all these years of Masjid-Mandir conflict.
Dr MIH Farooqi, Lucknow

A non-Muslim on Jinnah
Jamshed Nusserwanji was a Parsi, a builder and Mayor of the post-Partition Karachi. Asked about Mr. Jinnah, this fine old gentleman said: “Yes, his memory is very beautiful to me. He was never a demostrative person; he was always reserved, dignified and lonely. But I wish to tell you about the day in 1928. He stood up and pleaded for his people. I knew the greatness of his heart. He believed that Hindus and Muslims could be brought together. This was no hate in him. I beg of you to believe that Mr. Jinnah was a humanitarian. He was never generous with his tears. Take it from me, he wept only twice in his entire life. Once in 1935, when disgusted with the rigid and irresponsible attitude of Indian Muslims, he decided to bid goodbye to Muslim politics in India and settle down in England. He wept as he packed up his clothes. The second occasion when he wept was when I went with him to see the encampment of Hindus, who had stayed on in Pakistan. When he saw their miseries, he wept. I saw tears rolling down his noble cheeks.” (Hector Bolitho, Jinnah-creator of Pakistan).
Seyed Pasha, Chennai

The Djin Of Advani
Everybody has a right to better himself and mend his ways. Advani cannot be denied that basic privilege. 

For the discerning observer, however, Advani’s moves are aimed at occupying the centrist space in Indian polity following the realisation that ultra right doesn’t gel with the nation’s ethos. The proponents of soft Hindutva and narrow nationalism with pretension of secularism will most certainly welcome this. 

The genuinely secular Hindus and Muslims will, however, judge him by what he says and does about Gujarat genocide and whether he at least now reaches out to the victims. 

It is ironical that the muscle flexers and politico-religious hooligans empowered by Advani are now asking for his blood. But without his political acumen this lunatic fringe will become ineffective. It will be interesting to watch how Modi responds to Advani’s overtures to Miyan Musharraf!

It is disgusting, though, that the Congress is fishing in troubled waters, purely out of political expediency. Can it honestly say that, regardless of what Pakistan actually became, Jinnah had envisioned a theocratic state? Should political parties necessarily oppose each other? 
M Hasan Jowher, SPRAT, Ahmedabad

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