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‘Jinnah – India Partition Independence’ by Jaswant Singh

April 22, 2010

 

 

 

REVIEW PART I (FEB 10, 2010)

Managed to finish 100 pages as of now – have pencil-marked many paragraphs which i would like to share alongwith my own comments. Guess if i start that, i can’t add up any other review for a while.

Leaving out the first 30 pages or so – way too dreary.

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Page 33: Muslim Reform Movements:
Excerpts: ….. many ashraf continued even in early 20th century to…. (believe)….. that as their forebears had come to India to rule, power & its weilding was in their blood; it was their birthright, and it is this right that remained as their just and enviable due. ………… The attitude lay, perhaps does still, at the heart of most Muslim policies…… ..infused so much of Iqbal’s poetry and led not just to the development of demand for Pakistan…..

My comment: Very true; these raiders won in a barbaric way using physical brute force against which cultured & soft-spoken natives of my land had no defence. Now that the world is more civilized, there is respect for brainpower & thinking, which is why India & Hindus are winning again.

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Page 35: Islam – Image & REality
Excerpts: Such irrational nostalgia had consequences, some extremely damaging…. for now there was a land but no glory….

My comments: very true: refusing to wake up to reality created Pakistan. Those muslims refused to give up dreaming of their past glories and get into real world where they were equals or were even less than that in certain spheres to their hindu brethren (after all, all of them were not nawabs & ashrafs)

hey wait: i stopped fawning over Pak/Re-union idea long back just like my fellow citizens… Is Jaswant trying to say we still regret Partition? Then he must surely be nuts – its a highly misplaced notion. If there’s ever gonna be a civil war in India – it will be over whether to include seceded states of Punjab & Sindh from Pakistan into Indian Union now (i mean in future). I, for one, will VOTE AGAINST THAT! Don’t give anyone wrong ideas, Jaswant… India in 2010 is not the same as India in 1947. We, India & Pak have both traversed a lot in the intervening time – in diff directions. There can never be a coming back. Doors closed forever. (ok i concede this is Jaswant’s personal peeve as he’s a man born before the partition. So perhaps he has more emotion on this issue than the rest of us)

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Page 39:
Excerpts: A continuing search for a new role, a new relevance, some responsibility, a position in life to which they were accustomed, made the Muslim community begin to reach outwares; It was this impulse that finally persuaded Muslims of India to resort to political activism. ……………… The hindus, better educated, more accomodative, were already astir. The Indian National Congress (INC) had been in existence since 1885…..

My comments: Very subtle way to put in how muslims refused to move while hindus continued to be flexible & organised and accorded priority to acquisition of knowledge always…. by 1885, that difference was already apparent. Until now – this is true in India as well as in most foreign islamic countries… shows how different we both are basically… I mean, in the middle east the muslims are an educated lot – still, the sort of knowledge & thirst for knowledge i see in India, i fail to see anywhere else; even within India, the drive for perfection & knowledge is a bit less amongst indian muslims. In a very nice way, Jaswant has put in how & when we started to veer away from each other: we hindus & muslims. One big proof is the emergence of India into a software giant in the last 15-20 yrs while Pak has floundered back. The essence of this paragraph is actually to show how & why muslims got involved in political activism.

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Pages 40-50: The Language Divide: I am not giving excerpts here; just a jist. The fight for supremacy/imposition bet’n hindi & urdu started around this time. One Q may i ask? What abt us dravidians? My gran used to talk abt Independence/rioting. She said, in those days when communication was not effective, people down south were not even aware of partition violence & bloodshed; even those who read newspapers were few; news was filtered in radio service which functioned only for few hrs everyday; As a result, the south Indian, always remained oblivious mostly to what was going on at the border. Hapless. Confused! Until today this is true in the sense, i asked my part-time maid, ‘do u know Pakistan?’ She went BLANK! I told her, ‘see its a land where mostly only bhais live (we call all muslims bhai here!) – no hindu; all bhai, bhai, bhai only!’ She looked baffled? Is there a place where only bhais could live? No hindus? It sounds preposterous to her! Believe me, this is illiterate India for u. For all the partition struggle…. i can only laugh sadly…

For the same reason, Partition does not/did not affect people below the tropic of cancer much. I am one of a kind. My H is totally indifferent to Pak. I mean, he has no opinion, no emotion, sentiment or even grudge. My son’s generation is worst; they think of Pak like finland/japan/korea. No umbilical cord attachment felt like by those from bordering states. The south remains immune to all this we are discussing here – that’s what i wanna say.

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Page 51:

On separate electorate for Muslims for the first time:

Excerpts: ………there is a predominant bias in the British officialdom in India in favour of the Muslim community partly on the ground of closer sympathy but more largely as a make-weight against hindu nationalism.

My comments: The british pampered the erstwhile nawabs etc by paying them handsome pensions; this is main reason for indian muslims getting spoilt. Muslims were the trump card being played by the British against the majority hindus.

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Review Part 2: Date:  feb 28, 2010

I am continuing from where i left. (page 51) Decided to review in parts as the volume is huge & also the author travels back & forth, back & forth so many times especially in the years 1905-1931. Very confusing really. I have to squeeze my brains like anything. Lacks clarity. Lots of repetition. Very difficult to hold attention. Dry subject. But i excuse him as he’s a first time author.

 

Page 53:
Extract:
(Sir Harcourt) Butler ( then dy comm of Lucknow writing to the law member of govt of India) held that anti-Hindu feeling was the only common platform on which the Muslims had gathered at Lucknow to draft the Simla address………..All this finally resulted in the passage of the Indian Councils Act, 1909. Thro’ this, the govt of India amplied the call for help from conservative muslims into an alarm siren.

My comment: What can i say? Like i always said, Pakistan is an unhappy child conceived & born not out of Luv, but becoz of hate. All tho’ my opinion is confirmed here, it also saddens me honestly.

 

From page 58-64:

Excerpts: From Jenabhai to Jinnah: the journey

I will give just a gist. Kathiawar is a holy place for us where Lord Krishna breathed his last. In the same Kathiawar were born 2 men who decided the fate of this nation: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as well as Mohammed Ali Jenabhai (Jinnah) – within 30 km of each other. Both were from Gujarathi trading communities – only difference was, while one was a hindu, the other was a Khoja muslim. Somehow i feel the place of birth itself could be responsible for the birth & rise of these 2 stars.

Both also studied Law in London around the same time – a few years apart, may be. Both returned to India around the same time again. Gandhi was just 6 years senior to Jinnah. Whereas i always thought there was a big age-gap betn them. I am impressed by the initial service rendered by Jinnah alongwith Dadabhai Nowroji, for Indian National Congress in the initial years. So Jinnah was a congressman for a good many years of his life. His political mentor was Nowroji.

Jinnah comes across as a very ambitious & striking young man to me with some element of integrity. Even his various experiments with his name reveal how he tried to fit in and create an image for himself for what he foresaw, lay ahead in future (for him). Its like, he was preparing himself for this (role). I can find no other reason to explain this. 7 times he has changed the spelling of his name/surname officially in this period. He was clearly undergoing a transformation of personality.

Khoja muslims are converts from Hindu Lohana originally. So Sarojini Naidu describes the Jinnah of this early period as ‘hindu by race and muslim by religion.’ There is surprisingly a lot of interlapping betn Jinnah & Naidu. Whereas i always thought there was something brewing betn Nehru & Naidu only! (hahaha)

He returned to India in 1896 and spent the next 51 years in Bombay. He was enrolled as a member of the Bombay High court bar. Gandhi also had enrolled here earlier in 1891 on his return to India. It seems he was one terrific & most sought after, successful lawyer. (naturally)

For a time he was member of both INC and the Muslim League but continued to remain secular.

There is not much on his personal life. Like Gandhi he married in his teens but lost his wife at a very young age. Looks like he never was with his 1st wife at all. He lived in a goanese bungalow for many years. His (2nd wife?) Ruthie died in 1929 and his life after this is described as ‘an amalgam of loneliness, mental & moral celibacy and an integrity so intense that it was a form of self-torture.’ His virtues were intense. his faults trivial in contrast.’ (page 75)

That’s all u get to read abt his personal life.

 

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Review Part-3 : Date: April 22, 2010

 

Just finished upto 270 pages with a lot of difficulty. Read about the first mention of Pakistan. Years back i am sure it would have hurt me. Now i feel only a vacuum which makes me feel guilty. Am i not supposed to be wounded by this?

One thing is clear: all along i remember being blamed (as hindu) for being stooges to the British – the book atleast exposes who was conniving all thro’ the history with the British (Raj).

Well one thing, – i am so livid with rage at the way these guys talk abt dividing India into bits & pieces…
Somewhere i read that during the Round Table conference in London where Gandhi was deputed to speak for congress, he refused to talk as it was his ‘Moun vrath’ day (a day when one would not utter a single word & fast – observing ‘moun’ – silence) – isn’t this too much? Already i hate Gandhi – and i hate him even more now with a vengeance..

Book also mentions those like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Rajendra Prasad etc – and Tilak amongst others – who we generally marginalize even in Indian history.

This book i feel is out of date. I am sure, none from my son’s generation can understand or identify with this book. Like i’ve stated many times, Pakistan does not matter to them – not even as an adversary. Its China for GenNext here. This book might actually leave them confused, baffled;

But in this gen, we do still share some bloodbonding – atleast i am like that. So its the final chance somehow i feel that the pakistanis are getting; they have just a shred of broken ties hanging at the hinges – to make it stronger or break it completely is in their own hands now; but this time, its the Indian youth who need to be convinced; i don’t think Gen Next can ever palate Pakistan -sadly….

But even i cannot understand this overwhelming tide of islam washing over India in the pre-independence days. I do have muslim friends – but i am not exposed to so much of islamic culture. It does come across as a culture shock even to me – after all these days; learning that islam was so strong here & muslims held such a high & favourable position (with the british especially) in the undivided nation somehow is unbelievable (pardon)….

I have lived in Malaysia and now i am visiting Qatar, an arab nation – but their brand of islam seems to be different. Its not like it sounds here in the subcontinent.

But i’ve to thank Jaswantji for revealing to us the role played by Muslim League which is completely UNTOLD in Indian history. Muslim League is just one sentence in Indian history text books in school – its very bad. U cannot shut ur eyes to the truth & pretend that the world is blind/black. Atleast, again, neither Muslim League/Pakistan or Jinnah are maligned in anyway by our text book writers either. If u wanna know abt them – then Indian govt policy is – read it from the libraries. As simple as that.

Trying to find time to read it….

 

QUITTING AS OF NOW 😦

 

BUT FINALLY DOES IT ALL MATTER?   MY SON’S GENERATION CAN’T BELIEVE INDIA AND PAKISTAN WERE ONE NATION UNTIL 1947.   THINK ITS A GREAT AFFRONT TO BE ASSOCIATED IN ANY MANNER WITH PAKISTAN.   10,000 YEARS OF SHARED, TROUBLED, BLOODY VIOLENT HISTORY.   AND A MERE 60-65 YEARS APART AND GEN NEXT INDIA WOULD WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH PAKISTAN ….  ASHAMED WE WERE ONE NATION EVER.  THERE CAN NEVER BE A GOING-BACK I KNOW, NEVER A RE-VISITING OF HISTORY.   WE HAVE BOTH BEEN TRAVERSING DIFFERENT PATHS SINCE WHICH HAVE ALREADY TAKEN US WORLDS APART.   WE CAN NEVER BE ONE AGAIN – AND NEVER WOULD I WANT IT EITHER.   THANK YOU JINNAH FOR THE GREATEST SERVICE YOU HAVE RENDERED THE INDIAN NATION BY CARVING PAKISTAN OUT OF INDIA.   WE BOTH HAVE OUR OWN DESTINIES TO FOLLOW UP NOW, OUR OWN KARMA.    ABSOLUTELY NO REGRETS.   THANKS A MILLION PAKISTAN HAPPENED.

 

 

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