I have been rather busy so I haven’t posted for days now. This is unprecedented on Drishtikone. There are a few things that need some comment and I wish I had some more time.
I think the top most issue is of BJP in general and Jaswant Singh and Arun Shourie in particular. I haven’t read Jaswant Singh’s book so cannot categorically say what he says or doesn’t about Jinnah and other subjects. But here are some of my thoughts:
- I think Jaswant Singh was a rather smart Foreign Minister that India had. His handling of the post-Nuclear Blast talks was very good. So, I cannot write him off right away.
- Who ended up helping in creation of Pakistan is immaterial. Why they did is more material. I would suspect that the rationale for Patel was very different from that of Nehru’s and that of Gandhi’s. Patel was a remarkably sharp person with great intellect and national pride. He understood strategic stuff rather well. Sam Maneckshaw narrates how Patel was instrumental in the decision to attack Pakistani forces in Kashmir in 1948, when only Srinagar airport was left to lose.
- There is no way one can give a clean chit to Jinnah on partition. I am convinced after talking to people from partition and reading of history closely, that violence was THE MOST INSTRUMENTAL in bloodshed and finally partition. Violence erupted because of “Direct Action Day” call by Jinnah in July 1946. When asked what he meant by Direct Action Day, he retorted; “Go to the Congress and ask them their plans. When they take you into their confidence I will take you into mine. Why do you expect me alone to sit with folded hands? I also am going to make trouble.” And, “make trouble” .. he DID! In just 72 hours of riots in Calcutta, 4000 people died and 100k were left homeless.
Direct Action Day was on August 16, 1946. That it was a prima facie call for violence was UNAMBIGUOUS! Dawn, a paper founded by Jinnah himself in 1941, ran an ad saying this:
“Today Muslims of India dedicate anew their lives and all they possess to the cause of freedom. Today, let every Muslim swear in the name of Allah to resist aggression”; and stated that ?Direct Action? was the only course left to Muslims, because “they offered peace but peace was spurned, they honoured their word but were betrayed, they claimed liberty but are offered thraldom; now might alone can secure their right”
For months Muslim League and Congress people rioted in Bengal and Bihar. It was AFTER seeing the violence in Bengal and Bihar and the massacres like Noakhali sparked by communal speeches of Ghulam Sarwar Hussein, that RSS became active in Punjab. I had heard from many refugees who came from Punjab that around the second quarter of 1947, people had started preparation for a fight and started hoarding bricks, and arms. Such a thing was not heard of earlier.
Another rather strange and repeated claim by all is that some people “Balwayees” (rioters in Punjabi) came to the village or town to start the riots. Now, in small town and villages one knows folks from many villages in the close radius. If these Balwayees were “Strangers”, then where did they come from? More importantly, WHO sent them??
Contrary to the claim of many – specially in the Congress and the secular brigade – it was NOT RSS that was the cause of the violence of partition but Muslim League AND Congress! RSS got involved in the latter half in defense.
For orchestrating the largest and the MOST bloodiest riots in history of modern India, and doing the unimaginable (putting to death millions), I hold JInnah SQUARELY responsible. It was rather shameful that AFTER being responsible for so many deaths, he gave a call for a Secular Pakistan….. truly a cruel joke!
Now, about BJP and its future. It seems clearly that the days of BJP are numbered. Unless it reinvents itself, its all but gone. Its people cannot get their act together and cannot seem to handle the power equations. It might break into many groups – more broadly.. the “hawks” and the “moderates”.
I think there is a niche for a “Nationalistic Party”. But that party has to be pragmatic and based on broader agenda than just as a reflection of RSS fundas. RSS stuff has its own place but let it not interfere with the running of the country. They want to champion the cause of Hindus just as other groups do it for other religions. Whether they truly represent Hinduism is another matter.. but they do have the right to do what they feel is their agenda.
The Nationalistic Party with pragmatic and progressive agenda that I forsee cannot be linked to RSS or other such groups. This party needs to provide an alternative to Congress and the other useless Third Front idiots.
Arun Shourie has good credentials to take the initiative. He is smart, energetic and very articulate as well.
Jaswant Singh, rightly or wrongly, by pumping up Jinnah, despite his many flaws has, I believe, lost his stature. I don’t see much use for him in the politics except for the lecture tours and speaking arrangement post his book.
Congress may be the ONLY party worth voting for in the next elections – to at least make sure the Third Front idiots do not come up and start using tax payers money to erecting their statues all over the country!!