Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Of All the Persons Jaswant Singh!

Of All the Persons Jaswant Singh!
By Saeed Qureshi
Isn’t it amazing, that out of blue, Jaswant Singh belonging to a race steeped up to neck in hate against the Muslims and more pointedly against the founder of Pakistan showers accolades on Quaid-e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the father of Pakistani nation? By winning Pakistan in the face of the combined hostility of British and Hindus, not only that Quaid-i-Azam earned the abiding gratitude of his nation, but also created for him a glorious niche in the gallery of the legendary figures who shaped and crafted history by performing amazing and impossible feats. Quaid-e-Azam remains as the tallest and an imposing statesman when judged in the light of the epic and relentless struggle for independence from the British imperial yoke of slavery.

If someone receives aplomb and admiration from one’s own clan or nation, it might look less edifying or credible. But if the praise comes from a high profile political opponent such as Jaswant Singh then it becomes a veritable and self evident truth. That is what Jaswant Singh has done. With Jaswant Singh’s bold narration of the division of the sub-continent and apportioning blame for this to the Congress leaders’ shortsightedness, the character bashing and vilification of Quaid orchestrated by both British and Hindus before and after partition stands nailed and checkmated for future. A top notch Hindu leader who is also a member of an anti Muslim extremist political party would never spew out truth unless his conscience awakens to compel him not to deviate from the facts.

While the Hindus have had only one contender to deal with, i.e., the British; Quaid-e-Azam had to fight on two fronts: one against the British colonial masters and the other, the inveterate anti-Muslim chauvinism of Hindus. The great leader as he is fondly called, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah waged his resolute struggle under the banner of the Muslim League to wrest an exclusive homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent. With his god gifted tools of unimpeachable character, unwavering convictions, immaculate honesty, bounteous talent for advocacy and deep legal knowledge, he surmounted all the hurdles in his way of achieving the goal of Pakistan. If any leader in the Sub-Continent is, adored, revered and acclaimed for his impeccable character, his lofty and sublime principles, it was Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The Quaid was above petty politicking, base intriguing and sleazy wheeling dealing and similar shady norms that are considered as raison d’être in politics.

The back door compromises and underhand deals were far from the clean and unsullied character of Quad-e-Azam. He was cast in a mould of disarming his rivals with the weapon of irresistible logic and veracity of his views and ideals. He knew not what hypocrisy was. His personality was free from murky shades of cant, deceit, duplicity, dodge or cunning. Perched on the lofty throne of righteousness, rectitude and moral glory, he reigned supreme over others in the field of politics. The friends and foes alike entirely believed in the nobility of his character and the supremacy of his intellect.

By holding responsible the Indian leaders more conspicuously Nehru and Patel, for partition of India, Jaswant Singh didn’t do any favor to Quaid-i-Azam nor has he become a supporter or friend of Pakistan. He has simply tried to state the bare facts and remove the vicious propaganda about Quaid Azam. But it also doesn’t mean, which Jaswant Singh might have cleverly tried to convey that Quaid-i-Azam did not want partition of India and Pakistan because he accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan to live with Hindus within a federation. Yet Jaswant Singh should be appreciated as a courageous man, who though belatedly, could not suppress the truth in regards the Indian Independence Movement and has put it in correct historical perspective.
But Jaswant Singh is not alone in his truthful portrayal of the personality and character of a great Muslim icon. There is a trail of such writers, historians and commentators who paid tributes to Quaid-i-Azam for his charismatic leadership and for the nobility of his character and clean principled politics.

Sarojini Naidu, a freedom fighter, poet and the first woman President of the Indian National Congress and the first woman Governor of Uttar Pradesh, thus eulogized Quaid e Azam, “The true greatness of Quaid- i-Azam lies not in the range and variety of his knowledge but in the faultless perfection of his subtle mind and spirit; not in the diversity of aims and the challenge of a towering personality but rather in the singleness and sincerity of purpose and the lasting charm of a character animated by a brave conception of duty and the austere and lovely code of private honor and public integrity.”

Mr. R. G. Casey the Governor of Bengal writes about Quaid, "Mr. Jinnah is the only outstanding Muslim of all India stature in Indian politics today. He is a man of iron discipline and has denied himself the luxury of any qualities that might loosen his concentration upon his purpose.”

Indeed Quaid was known as the ambassador of the Muslim-Hindu unity, a conviction to which he remained wedded till the rejection by the Indian leaders of the power transfer plan presented by the Cabinet Mission sent by the British government in 1946 to India. Quaid-i- Azam accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan which meant to remain with Hindus in a federation or in an undivided India. But the acceptance of Cabinet Plan was a masterly stroke by Quaid to call the bluff of the Indian leaders that they did not want a separate Muslim land. Quaid knew that the biased and hate filled Indian leaders would reject the plan. It happened exactly and thus the British were convinced that the partition of India in two independent states was the only option left out.

Jaswant Singh’s book, “Jinnah - India, Partition, and Independence” is selling like hot cakes in Pakistan which in fact demonstrates the deep love and respect of Pakistanis for their great leader. Although Jaswant Singh is known as a liberal democrat, yet the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), from which he has-been expelled for favoring Jinnah, is a right-wing nationalist political party. By hastily expelling one of their distinguished leaders who has been twice the finance minister, one time each the External Affairs minister and Defence minister of India, the BJP has brazenly exposed the anti Quaid and for that matter the anti Pakistan animus and bias that still linger on in the minds of Indian fanatical leaders. It was the same anti Muslim mindset that convinced and impelled Quaid-i-Azam to demand a separate homeland for the Indian Muslims so as to live in peace without the oppressive lordship from a biased and hostile Hindu majority.

Also by not allowing Jaswant Singh to travel to Pakistan in connection with the sale and promotion of his book, the Indian government has shown the hate and venom that their forbearers had towards the creation of an independent Muslim country and its illustrious founder. Does it not quite candidly and irrefutably establish that the creation of Pakistan was a genuine and indispensible demand of the Quaid-i-Azam for the Muslims of undivided India?

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