This report is a welcome step towards understanding our recent history and could have huge implications for the mist that confounds South Asia.RR
LAHORE: Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a â€œgreat leaderâ€ and was unfairly â€œdemonisedâ€ by India for his role in the Partition, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh has said.
In an interview with CNN-IBNâ€™s Devilâ€™s Advocate programme, Singh credited Jinnah for having â€œcreatedâ€ Pakistan. â€œOh yes, because he created something out of nothing and single-handedly stood against the might of the Congress party and against the British who didnâ€™t really like him … (Mahatma) Gandhi himself called Jinnah a great Indian. Why donâ€™t we recognise that? Why donâ€™t we see (and try to understand) why he called him that?â€ he said.
Singh, whose book, â€œJinnah â€“ India, Partition, Independenceâ€, would be released today (Monday), said Jinnah fought the British for an independent India in addition to fighting resolutely and relentlessly for the Muslims of India. â€œThe acme of his nationalistic achievement was the 1916 Lucknow Pact of Hindu-Muslim unity,â€ he added.
To questions on whether he subscribed to the popular demonisation of Jinnah in India, Singh said: â€œOf course I donâ€™t.â€ He said the view held by many in India that Jinnah hated Hindus was a mistake. He said Jinnahâ€™s â€œdemonisationâ€ was a direct result of the trauma of Partition.
Self-made man: Singh said he admired Jinnahâ€™s character and his status as a self-made man the most. â€œI 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) â€” Nehru and others â€” were born to wealth and position. Jinnah created for himself a position. He carved in Bombay, a metropolitan city, a position for himself,â€ he added.d.
Nehru to blame: The MP said it was Jawaharlal Nehru, not Jinnah, whose belief in a centralised system had led to the Partition. He said Jinnah had wanted â€œspaceâ€ for the Muslims of India, not dismemberment. â€œHe (Jinnah) in fact went to the extent of saying that let there be a Pakistan within India,â€ he added.
Asked if he were concerned that Nehruâ€™s heirs and the Congress party would be critical of the responsibility he was attributing to Nehru for Partition, Singh said: â€œI am not assigning blame. I am simply recalling what I have found as the development of issues and events of that period.â€
Aliens: Singh also claimed that the Muslims of India had a deep-rooted psychological insecurity, adding â€œWe (Indians) treat them as aliens.â€ He claimed Muslims had â€œpaid a price in Partitionâ€ and claimed that â€œthey would have been significantly stronger in a united Indiaâ€.
Daily Times Monitor/Iftikhar Gilani [ http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009 817story_17-8-2009_pg1_7]