India’s prejudice against Quaid-e-Azam
In order to hide their crimes and to distort historical facts, Indian historians and political leaders have chosen to paint Quaid-e-Azam as the ‘villain of the piece’. The Indians propagate the theme that ‘Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a communalist responsible for the bloody break up of Pakistan. He founded a theocratic and non-secular State’. The BJP and other Hindu hardliners even now accuse him of leading a communal agitation to achieve the goal of Pakistan. This is travesty of history and negation of facts that prove beyond doubt that Partition was a legitimate and democratic outcome of the collective choice made by all Muslims and Hindus of the subcontinent. They conveniently and deliberately close their eyes to the hard fact that politics, not religion led to creation of Pakistan. Acceptance of Cabinet Mission Plan by Jinnah in 1946 demonstrated his earnestness for amicably resolving the communal problem. It was Nehru and his Congress colleagues who wasted that opportunity and dug the last nail in the coffin of united India. Nehru’s and other Indian leaders’ acts of commission and omission are far too many and have already been narrated by historians.
Indian passions flowing from distorted historiography notwithstanding, the Quaid was as tall a man as history has ever carried. His penetrating vision had room for a united India but he simultaneously foresaw the dangers of unrelenting Congress led Hindu domination. Congress confirmed his fears. He knew parting was inevitable. After the Congress had rejected the Cabinet Mission Plan, the Congress was the first to sign the Act of Partition. The Muslim League signed it subsequently. In the backdrop of these crystal clear historical facts, how come Quaid is being blamed by certain segments of Indian society? The blame rests squarely on the shoulders of Gandhi, Nehru and Patel who deliberately turned the course of history. It is naïve to dub Pakistan as a theocratic State if it came into existence as a result of the intransigence of a ‘majority’ that preferred partition over granting the ‘minority’ it’s due rights and proportionate share.
Nirad Chaudhri, in the second volume of his autobiography “Thy Hand, Great an Arch” observed, “I must set down at this point that Jinnah is the only man who came out with success and honor from the ignoble end of the British Empire in India. He never made a secret of what he wanted, never prevaricated, never compromised, and yet succeeded in inflicting unmitigated defeat on the British Government and the Indian National Congress. He achieved something, which not even he could have believed to be within reach in 1946”. Former Advocate General of Maharashtra H.M. Seervai exonerates Jinnah and holds mainly the Indian National Congress responsible for Partition. In his book “Partition of India: Legend and Reality”, Seervai maintains, “It is a little unfortunate that those who assail Jinnah for destroying the unity of India do not ask how it was that a man who wanted a nationalist solution till as late as 1938, when he was 61 years of age, suddenly became a communalist”.
While the entire Indian leadership was involved in the bloodletting of migrating Muslims in India at the time of Partition, Pakistan’s violent birth did not embitter the unbending Quaid. Even after the holocaust he stood by his principles, as his August 11, 1947, address to Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly demonstrated. He had pleaded for equality of all the citizens in the eyes of the State and freedom of worship for all citizens irrespective of their religion, caste or creed. He never uttered any single statement of settling of scores or vengeance. He sought peace and good neighborly relations with India. Even Quaid’s most diehard critics had to admit that he was a man of the highest standard of probity and honor.
An ardent Hindu nationalist L.K. Advani, President of BJP, not only heaped lavish praises upon Quaid during his official visit to Pakistan in June 2005, but also astonished the Pakistanis and his fellow countrymen by saying that Jinnah was not communal but secular and that Partition was an unalterable reality of history. He said it in spite of his past tainted record of being a hardcore RSS activist, firebrand Muslim basher and reportedly involved in the assassination attempt on Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
After becoming BJP President in 1986, he was in the forefront to inflame communalism in India. He led Ram Rath Yatra in 1990, spearheaded the Ram Janambhoomi movement that ended in the destruction of Babri mosque and said that he was not ashamed of it. He condoned Gujarat pogrom in 2001, vociferously pleaded Hindutva as the basis of nationhood and Hindu cultural nationalism and ruined Agra Summit. The soothing statements given by Advani which were music for Pakistanis were severely criticized by Hindu extremist groups RSS, Sangh Parivar and VHP. His pronouncements jolted the age-old concept of Akhand Bharat feverishly pursued by the Indian nationalist leaders and incensed one-nation theory advocates to an extent that they demanded his resignation if not his head. It clearly showed that hard-line Hindus had not accepted Pakistan.
Going by the track record of Indian leaders, they have a reputation of backtracking, breaking promises, brazenly uttering falsehoods and above all past masters in deception and intrigue. It was indeed hard to digest such a radical overnight change from a political diehard like Advani. It did not take long to discern the real purpose as to why he admired the Quaid so profusely. It triggered a heated debate on Mr. Jinnah in India as well in Pakistan aimed at undermining his standing as a larger-than-life hero and leader. It gave strength to secularists in Pakistan who have always considered Quaid a secular and offended the sensibilities of those who regard him as a forward looking Islamist. The debate generated in India exposed how history is interpreted to suit expeditious and competing political designs and how widespread is antagonistic view across various divides in India about Mr. Jinnah and creation of Pakistan. Seculars in Pakistan sing the Indian song and paint Jinnah as a secular, while Altaf Hussain misses no opportunity to denigrate the great Quaid.
Jinnah had stated 101 times before Partition of India and 14 times during his little over one-year life after creation of Pakistan that the foundations of Pakistan will be laid on Islamic principles. In his considered view Pakistan and Islam complimented each other and couldn’t be separated. He however never supported theocracy and he didn’t mince his words saying that Mullaism had no place in Islam. Those attaching terrorism, ethnicity, sectarianism and extremism with Islam merely to promote secularism, or trying to find some kind of connection between secularism and Pakistan movement and the ideals of Quaid-e-Azam are oblivious of history.
Indo-Pak peace treaty signed in January 2004 and resumption of composite dialogue to resolve all contentious issues including Kashmir dispute was a big trap to numb the senses of our leaders so that it could activate the eastern front for cultural onslaught to weaken the morals of the youth; and to use Afghan soil to destabilize Pakistan covertly. Peace mantra was sung to buy time to build series of dams over Rivers Chenab, Jhelum and Indus to dry up Pakistan. After inflicting substantial damage through sabotage and subversion, it removed its masked of friendship and came out in true colors after the Mumbai attacks. Composite dialogue was put on hold for next two years and Pakistan subjected to intense pressure.
India’s latest snare is the trade offer aimed at giving a deathblow to our industries. Having cunningly entangled 150,000 Pak troops in US engineered war on terror; India is expectantly waiting for the Pak Army to get snared in North Waziristan so that it could exercise its military option. Pakistan is all set to grant India the MFN status and land route to Afghanistan but India has willfully heated up Line of Control in Kashmir with a devious intention. Protest lodged by Pakistan over unprovoked firing by Indian troops on 06 January killing one Pak soldier was cunningly covered up by making a bizarre claim that the other side had conducted a raid on 8th January killing two Indian soldiers and decapitating one of them.
The engineered incident has been blown up and Indian Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh following in the footsteps of his trigger-happy jingoistic predecessors is behaving imprudently. He is exhorting his commanders to respond aggressively and offensively. Recently concluded visa regime has been put on hold and Pakistani senior citizens wanting to visit India were turned back from the border post, while visiting Pakistani hockey team has been sent back from India. Yet we foolishly keep falling into India’s deadly embrace whenever it smiles at us captivatingly under the happy premise that this time it will not harm us. India can never be a friend of Pakistan.
The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org