Was Jinnah secular?

By Yasser Latif Hamdani 

(In wake of the national debate on ideology and textbooks, Mr. Raza Rumi, the founder and editor of Pakteahouse, recently asked me to revisit the issue of Jinnah’s secularism through a comprehensive blog-post. This blog post is written for PTH exclusively and may be reproduced by giving PTH credit.)

Many people (though not all) on all sides of the ideology divide in Pakistan take umbrage with the description of Mahomed Ali Jinnah – the anglicized founder of Pakistan- as a secular leader or a secularist. Islamists in Pakistan say that he wanted an Islamic state. Islamic modernists say he wanted a modern Islamic democratic state (whatever that means), some people from the left say he was a communalist who was not secular because he championed Muslim separatism (albeit only in the last 11 years of his life). All of these groups agree that if Jinnah had been secular, it would not have been necessary to make a separate state. All of them – unconvincingly and inaccurately- claim that those who lay claim to a secular Jinnah are basing it on a solitary speech of Jinnah made on 11 August 1947. A slightly different claim is made by the Wali Khan group- which is ideologically consistent if historically errant- which claims that Jinnah wanted a secular state and that his push for Pakistan was the result of British manipulation and divide and rule which made him utilize Islamist rhetoric for the creation of Pakistan. While respecting all these points of view, I disagree with all of them and through this article I will explain why.

I have argued repeatedly and I stick by the position that Jinnah wanted a state that can only be described in modern parlance as a secular democratic state. My claim is not based on 11 August 1947 alone and in fact I will go as far as to say that Jinnah’s vision of the state would have been secular even if he had not made that extraordinary pronouncement where he merely put it in black and white.

My claim is based on all of the following:

  1. Jinnah’s record as a legislator in the central Indian legislature spanning over four decades.
  2. Jinnah’s role in the Indian Independence movement and in trying to forge a united Indian nationality which earned him the title of “Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity”. 
  3. Jinnah’s record after he took over the Muslim League as its president.
  4. Jinnah’s clear pronouncements as the Governor General and the first president of the constituent assembly.
  5. The symbolism deployed by Jinnah in his choice of his cabinet.

Record as a legislator and a leader of the Indian Independence Movement:

Jinnah started his political career as a liberal nationalist and a moderate in Indian National Congress in 1906. His opposition to the Muslim delegation’s demands in 1906 placed before Lord Minto is well known and documented. He opposed initially the separate electorate in principle as being divisive only to reconcile later with it as a necessary and temporary evil which would be dispensed with in due course. For a detailed discussion on Jinnah’s politics I encourage everyone to read “Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity” by Ian Bryant Wells, probably the best book written on Jinnah’s early politics – which should serve as a prequel to Dr. Ayesha Jalal’s brilliant “Sole Spokesman. Together these two form the essential “Jinnah reader”.

What is not well known is that after the acceptance of the separate electorate principle by the British government, Jinnah tried to move an amendment allowing non-Muslim candidates on Muslim seats arguing forcefully that the Muslim electorate should not be deprived of quality candidates just because of their faith. In other words Jinnah argued – without contradiction – that non-Muslims could represent Muslims and Muslim interests as well as any Muslim. Much later in his life he proved exactly that by appointing a Scheduled Case Hindu on a Muslim League seat.

As a legislator, Jinnah always put progress above faith. In1912, Jinnah alienated many of his Muslim supporters by giving his wholehearted support to the Special Marriage Amendment Bill, which sought to provide mixed religion marriages legal protection.  He argued that the bill would provide equality but he was opposed by many members on the grounds that the bill contravened the Koran. Undaunted Jinnah asked the law member who had opposed the bill if he “would deny that there is a certain class of educated and enlightened people who rightly think that a gravest injustice is done to them as long as liberty of conscience is held from them”. 

This was a position through out his life believe it or not.  Rubbishing the idea that Muslim sensibilities would be hurt, he asked:

“Is this the first time in the history of legislation in this country that this Council has been called upon to override Musalman Law or modify it to suit the time? The Council has over ridden and modified the Musalman law in many respects.”[1]

[An aside: This is a very important issue not that personal choices are relevant. It also lends us an important insight into Jinnah and debunks another myth. Many Pakistan ideology and Islam-hawks in Pakistan claim that Jinnah objected to his daughter’s marriage to a parsi on grounds of faith. This is only partially true. If Jinnah was all bothered about faith, he would not have ensured that his daughter grew up in a British boarding school and learned in British (not Muslim culture). If Jinnah’s anglicization was deliberate, his daughter is in very real terms English and there is absolutely no indication in Jinnah’s life that he tried to have his daughter schooled in religious dogma. His objection to his daughter’s marriage was on legal grounds. The law in India did not allow interfaith marriage unless one of the spouses converted to the other faith or both renounced their faith. For a leader and politician waging the battle for Muslim community interests, and increasingly a target of Mullahs already questioning his lifestyle and his minority Shia faith, this would have been embarrassing.]

In 1919 Jinnah gave evidence before the Joint Select Committee appointed by Parliament on the Government of India Reform Bill. The following views were expressed by him in answer to questions put by members of the Committee on the Hindu-Muslim question. This is as clear a representation of Jinnah’s life long belief in secularism as any:

EXAMINED BY MAJOR ORMSBY-GORE.Q. 3806.—You appear on behalf of the Moslem League— that is, on behalf of the only widely extended Mohammedan organisation in India ?—Yes.

Q. 3807.—I was very much struck by the fact that neither in your answers to the questions nor in your opening speech this morning did you make any reference to the special interest of the Mohammedans in India: is that because you did not wish to say anything ?—No, but because I take it the Southborough Committee have accepted that, and I left it to the members of the Committee to put any questions they wanted to. I took a very prominent part in the settlement of Lucknow. I was representing the Musalmans on that occasion.

Q. 3809.—On behalf of the All-India Moslem League, you ask this Committee to reject the proposal of the Government of India?—I am authorised to say that—to ask you to reject the proposal of the Government of India with regard to Bengal [i.e., to give the Bengal Muslims more representation than was given them by the Lucknow Pact].

Q. 3810.—You said you spoke from the point of view of India. You speak really as an Indian Nationalist ?—I do.

Q. 3811.—Holding that view, do you contemplate the early disappearance of separate communal representation of the Mohammedan community ?—I think so.

Q. 3812.—That is to say, at the earliest possible moment you wish to do away in political life with any distinction between Mohammedans and Hindus ?—Yes.  Nothing will please me more than when that day comes.

Q. 3813—You do not think it is true to say that the Mohammedans of India have many special political interests not merely in India but outside India, which they are always particularly anxious to press as a distinct Mohammedan community? —There are two things. In India the Mohammedans have very few things really which you can call matters of special interest for them—I mean secular things.

Q. 3814.—I am only referring to them, of course.—And therefore that is why I really hope and expect that the day is not very far distant when these separate electorates will disappear.

Q. 3815.—It is true, at the same time, that the Mohammedans in India take a special interest in the foreign policy of the Government of India ?—They do; a very.—No, because what you propose to do is to frame very keen interest and the large majority of them hold very strong sentiments and very strong views.

Q. 3816.—Is that one of the reasons why you, speaking on behalf of the Mohammedan community, are so anxious to get the Government of India more responsible to an electorate ?—No.

Q. 3817.—Do you think it is possible, consistently with remaining in the British Empire, for India to have one foreign policy and for His Majesty, as advised by his Ministers in London, to have another ?—Let me make it clear. It is not a question of foreign policy at all. What the Moslems of India feel is that it is a very difficult position for them. Spiritually, the Sultan or the Khalif is their head.

Q. 3818.—Of one community ?—Of the Sunni sect, but that is the largest; it is in an overwhelming majority all over India. The Khalif is the only rightful custodian of the Holy Places according to our view, and nobody else has a right. What the Moslems feel very keenly is this, that the Holy Places should not be severed from the Ottoman Empire— that they should remain with the Ottoman Empire under the Sultan.

Q. 3819.—I do not want to get away from the Reform Bill on to foreign policy.—1 say it has nothing to do with foreign policy. Your point is whether in India the Muslims will adopt a certain attitude with regard to foreign policy in matters concerning Moslems all over the world.

Q. 3820.—My point is, are they seeking for some control over the Central Government in order to impress their views on foreign policy on the Government of India ?—No.

EXAMINED BY MR. BENNETT

Q. 3853.—. . . .Would it not be an advantage in the case of an occurrence of that kind [i.e., a communal riot] if the maintenance of law and order were left with the executive side of the Government ?—1 do not think so, if you ask me, but I do not want to go into unpleasant matters, as you say.

Q. 3854.—It is with no desire to bring up old troubles that I ask the question ; I would like to forget them.—If you ask me, very often these riots are based on some misunderstanding, and it is because the police have taken one side or the other, and that has enraged one side or the other. I know very well that in the Indian States you hardly ever hear of any Hindu-Mohammedan riots, and I do not mind telling the Committee, without mentioning the name, that I happened to ask one of the ruling Princes, “How do you account for this?” and he told me, “As soon as there is some trouble we have invariably traced it to the police, through the police taking one side or the other, and the only remedy we have found is that as soon as we come to know we move that police officer from that place, and there is an end of it.”

Q. 3855.—That is [a] useful piece of information, but the fact remains that these riots have been inter-racial, Hindu on the one side and Mohammedan on the other. Would it be an advantage at a time like that [that] the Minister, the representative of one community or the other, should be in charge of the maintenance of law and order ?—Certainly.

Q. 3856.—It would ?—If I thought otherwise I should be casting a reflection on myself. If I was the Minister, I would make bold to say that nothing would weigh with me except justice, and what is right.

Q. 3857.—I can understand that you would do more than justice to the other side; but even then, there is what might be called the subjective side. It is not only that there is impartiality, but there is the view which may be entertained by the public, who may harbour some feeling of suspicion?—With regard to one section or the other, you mean they would feel that an injustice was done to them, or that justice would not be done?

Q. 3858.—Yes; that is quite apart from the objective part of it.—My answer is this: That these difficulties are fast disappearing. Even recently, in the whole district of Thana, Bombay, every officer was an Indian officer from top to bottom, and I do not think there was a single Mohammedan—they were all Hindus—and I never heard any complaint. Recently that has been so. I quite agree with you that ten years ago there was that feeling what you are now suggesting to me, but it is fast disappearing.

EXAMINED BY LORD ISLINGTON

Q. 3892.—. . . .You said just now about the communal representation, I think in answer to Major Ormsby-Gore, that you hope in a very few years you would be able to extinguish communal representation, which was at present proposed to be established and is established in order that Mahommedans may have their representation with Hindus. You said you desired to see that. How soon do you think that happy state of affairs is likely to be realized?—1 can only give you certain facts: I cannot say anything more than that: I can give you this which will give you some idea: that in 1913, at the All-India Moslem League sessions at Agra, we put this matter to the lest whether separate electorates should be insisted upon or not by the Mussalmans, and we got a division, and that division is based upon Provinces; only a certain number of votes represent each Province, and the division came to 40 in favour of doing away with the separate electorate, and 80 odd—1 do not remember the exact number—were for keeping the separate electorate. That was in 1913. Since then I have had many opportunities of discussing this matter with various Mussulman leaders; and they are changing their angle of vision with regard to this matter. I cannot give you the period, but I think it cannot last very long. Perhaps the next inquiry may hear something about it.

Q. 3893.—You think at the next inquiry the Mahommedans will ask to be absorbed into the whole?—Yes, I think the next inquiry will probably hear something about it. [2]

Leader of the Muslim League and the Governor General of Pakistan:

The great paradox for Pakistan’s imagined Islamic nationhood is that had Jinnah not adopted a secular – i.e. non-theological- policy- he would have never managed to bring all Muslims together on one platform. The doctrinal differences between Muslims were far too great to make for any real unity. Nor was Islamic rhetoric or Muslim unity alone able to bring the Muslims marching behind the Muslim League. The painful and long process by which Jinnah forged an apparent unity is indicative of his masterful political skill. What Jinnah wanted has been long a subject of controversy but there is abundant evidence that Jinnah did not want a complete separation or partition.

The classic consociationalist theory Jinnah put forth was to secure adequate and effective representation for Muslims, having seen in close quarters the sidelining of the League in UP despite being the largest Muslim party there. Therefore Jinnah’s lawyerly arguments —  a regurgitation of a small pamphlet called “Confederacy of India” (originally named Pakistan but changed at Jinnah’s insistence) by “a Punjabi” called Kifayet Ali- as he placed them in front of the League in his famous 23 March 1940 address cannot by any stretch of imagination be used to argue that he wanted an Islamic state. I strongly recommend K K Aziz’s long essay (including an interview with Kifayet Ali) on “Confederacy of India” which can be found in his short works published by Vanguard Books. In any event the Lahore Resolution did not refer to “Islam” or “Islamic state” even once. This is significant for a resolution that was imagining a different country. At the very least it was clear that there was no one fixed vision of Pakistan that the League agreed on.   

The very call for national – instead of territorial- right of self determination indicated a national compact between communities and was not a clarion call for an Islamic utopia. His objective was a political space where Muslims were not limited by their faith which to Jinnah was a significant accident of birth. Ironically, that is precisely what Pakistan has been doing for the last 30 odd years.

Raja of Mahmudabad’s evidence is significant. The Raja started off by saying that since the Lahore resolution had been passed earlier that year, if and when Pakistan was formed, it was undoubtedly to be an Islamic State with the Sunna and Shariah as its bedrock. The Quaid’s face went red and he turned to ask Raja whether he had taken leave of his senses. Mr. Jinnah added: `Did you realize that there are over seventy sects and differences of opinion regarding the Islamic faith, and if what the Raja was suggesting was to be followed, the consequences would be a struggle of religious opinion from the very inception of the State leading to its very dissolution. Mr. Jinnah banged his hands on the table and said: We shall not be an Islamic State but a Liberal Democratic Muslim State.[3]

Jinnah’s appeal to Islam was entirely ambiguous and never concrete. In fact he always very conveniently managed to sideline the issue of Sharia, especially in 1943 when a bunch of Muslim Leaguers tried to pass off a resolution to commit Pakistan to Islam. Jinnah vetoed it and called it a censure on every Muslim Leaguer. [4]

On 21st May, 1947,   Jinnah described clearly what kind of state he envisaged in Pakistan:

The basis of the central administration of Pakistan and that of the units to be set up will be decided no doubt, by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. But the Government of Pakistan can only be a popular representative and democratic form of Government. Its Parliament and Cabinet responsible to the Parliament will both be finally responsible to the electorate and the people in general without any distinction of caste, creed or sect, which will the final deciding factor with regard to the policy and programme of the Government that may be adopted from time to time… The minorities in Pakistan will be the citizens of Pakistan and enjoy all the rights, privileges and obligations of citizenship without any distinction of caste creed or sect.  They will be treated justly and fairly. The Government will run the administration and control the legislative measures by its Parliament, and the collective conscience of the Parliament itself will be a guarantee that the minorities need not have any apprehension of any injustice being done to them. Over and above that there will be provisions for the protection and safeguard of the minorities which in my opinion must be embodied in the constitution itself. And this will leave no doubt as to the fundamental rights of the citizens, protection of religion and faith of every section, freedom of thought and protection of their cultural and social life.  [5]

In an interview with Duncan Hooper he said:

Minorities DO NOT cease to be citizens. Minorities living in Pakistan or Hindustan do not cease to be citizens of their respective states by virtue of their belonging to particular faith, religion or race. I have repeatedly made it clear, especially in my opening speech to the constituent assembly, that the minorities in Pakistan would be treated as our citizens and will enjoy all the rights as any other community. Pakistan SHALL pursue this policy and do all it can to create a sense of security and confidence in the Non-Muslim minorities of Pakistan. We do not prescribe any school boy tests for their loyalty. We shall not say to any Hindu citizen of Pakistan ‘if there was war would you shoot a Hindu?’[6]

In his address to the people of the United States of America,  Jinnah said:

In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State — to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non- Muslims — Hindus, Christians, and Parsis — but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.[7]

Speaking to Parsi gathering in Karachi in February 1948, he said:

I assure you Pakistan means to stand by its oft repeated promises of according equal rights to all its nationals irrespective of their caste or creed. Pakistan which symbolizes the aspirations of a nation that found it self to be a minority in the Indian subcontinent cannot be unmindful of minorities within its own borders. It is a pity that the fairname of Karachi was sullied by the sudden outburst of communal frenzy last month and I can’t find words strong enough to condemn the action of those who are responsible. [8]

On 22nd March 1948, meeting with Hindu Legislators in an effort to stem their exodus to India, he said:

We guarantee equal rights to all citizens of Pakistan. Hindus should in spirit and action wholeheartedly co-operate with the Government and its various branches as Pakistanis. [9]

On 23rd March 1948 meeting the ‘Scheduled Caste Federation’, he said:

We stand by our declarations that members of every community will be treated as citizens of Pakistan with equal rights and privileges and obligations and that Minorities will be safeguarded and protected.[10]

Speaking to Quetta Parsis in June 1948, he said:

Although you have not struck the note of your needs and requirements as a community but it is the policy of my Government and myself that every member of every community irrespective of caste color, creed or race shall be fully protected with regard to his life, property and honor. I reiterate to you that you like all minorities will be treated as equal citizens with your rights and obligations provided you are loyal to Pakistan. [11]

Symbolism was also very important. As mentioned earlier, Jogindranath Mandal, a Scheduled Caste federation politician and lawyer from Bengal, was first appointed on League’s behalf to represent Muslims of India in the interim government. After partition he was nominated by Jinnah to chair the inaugural session of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. He was then nominated to the first cabinet as Pakistan’s first law minister. This is a very significant fact. If Pakistan was to be an Islamic state, why was a Hindu being appointed the minister of law?  Jogindranath Mandal was not only a scheduled caste Hindu but he was entirely unversed in Islamic law (unlike Rana Bhagwandas). Another significant thing was Jinnah’s decision to get a Hindu to write Pakistan’s first national anthem. This was done presumably to show that Pakistan was not exclusivist state for Muslims alone.

Jinnah’s “Islamic” rhetoric and a Secular Pakistan

 

Jinnah’s references to Islam were – contrary to the tall claims made by those Ulema who ironically had the time opposed the creation of Pakistan- few and far between. It was usually an Eid message or a speech at convocation where Jinnah referred to Islam. Three such quotes that these Ulema bring up include Jinnah’s speech on the occasion of Eid Milad un Nabi, his letter to Pir of Manki Sharif and his alleged speech in Peshawar’s Islamia College.

Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. Islam has taught Equality, Justice and fairplay to everybody. What reason is there for anyone to fear. Democracy, equality, freedom on the highest sense of integrity and on the basis of fairplay and justice for everyone. Let us make the constitution of Pakistan. We will make it and we will show it to the world. Islam is not only a set of rituals, traditions and spiritual doctrines. Islam is also a code for every Muslim, which regulates his life and conduct in even politics and economics and the like. [12]

The latter part is quoted out of context to prove that Jinnah did not want a secular state, when a closer reading shows that this is erroneous. Take the example of Keith Ellison, the Muslim Congressman in the United States. He is a practicing religious Muslim. For him Islam is a code of conduct. He is also a member of the Congress of United States of America and a patriotic American. His life and conduct in politics and economics are all regulated by his adherence to Islam. Jinnah’s opposite number in the Congress Party, Maulana Azad, was another example of an extremely conservative Muslim whose every action was driven by and regulated by Islam. In contrast Jinnah himself had a very liberal understanding of the code of Islam – if indeed he followed it.  The point is that Jinnah’s reference to code for every Muslim was on a personal level. It does not speak of a state or any other thing like that.  How then can this statement be taken to mean that Pakistan would be an Islamic state or a theocracy especially when read together with other speeches and statements quoted above?  It also bears remembering that whenever Jinnah spoke of “Islamic principles” he qualified the statement with “democracy”, “equality”,  “fairplay”,  “brotherhood of man” and “social justice”.

Another often quoted example is Jinnah’s letter to Pir of Manki Sharif.    The Pir had asked Jinnah if lives of Muslims shall be subject to Shariat?  What Jinnah had promised was that affairs of the Muslim community would be subject to Shariat i.e. the Muslim personal law. No where did Jinnah promise to make Shariat the civil and criminal law of Pakistan.    Shariat in British India referred to Personal Law.  It is this law that is still in force in India.

Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937 of India reads:

2. Application of Personal Law of Muslims.- Notwithstanding any customs or usage to the contrary, in all questions (save questions relating to agricultural land) regarding intestate succession, special property of females, including personal property inherited or obtained under contract or gift or any other provision of Personal law, marriage, dissolution of marriage, including talaq, ila, zihar, lian, khula and mubaraat, maintenance, dower, guardiaship, gifts, trusts and trust   properties, and  wakfs (other than chartities and charitable institutions and charitable and religious endowments) the rule of decision in case where the parties are Muslims shall be the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat). [13]

 

 

This is the law in secular India today.   Muslims of India are governed by Shariat in their affairs as a community.   Does it affect Indian secularism in anyway?    Communal Personal laws are an accepted part of English Jurisprudence.   So it does not quite follow that Mr. Jinnah was referring to anything but this when he promised Pir of Manki Sharif that the affairs of Muslim community (not nation interestingly) shall be run by Shariat in Pakistan and that no Muslim would be forced to accept any unIslamic law, which implies – for those who use this double-edged sword to prove the impossible-  that there was an element of choice that a Muslim may accept an unIslamic law out of his or her free will.   This would obviously make it consistent with Jinnah’s life long support to mixed marriages bill.

And finally the issue of the alleged “laboratory of Islam” speech: without getting into the controversy of whether Jinnah actually did say it and assume that he did. Considering his Peshawar audience, this was almost revolutionary. After all was Islam not be “final” and “complete”? Was Jinnah talking of experimentation i.e. Ijtehad? Was he under Qadiani influence? It certainly does not mean that Jinnah wanted a conservative Islamic state.

The argument that Jinnah was secular does not mean necessarily a secularism of the French or Ataturk kind (even though Jinnah admired Ataturk greatly and described Ataturk’s Turkey as an exemplary Muslim state). Jinnah’s secularism was of the English variety schooled and crafted by British liberalism which was far more tolerant of religion.

Indeed he referred to English history in his land mark 11th August speech. If Pakistan is the citadel of Islam in South Asia, as some claim, England was the bastion of Protestantism in Europe. It is – technically- a protestant country today. Yet it is a perfect secular democracy because it does not have a state religion and every elected office in the country is open to every subject of the Queen regardless of religion, caste or creed. Now let us consider what Jinnah said:

“As you know, history shows that in England, conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State. The people of England in course of time had to face the realities of the situation and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens placed upon them by the government of their country and they went through that fire step by step. Today, you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain and they are all members of the Nation. Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”

It was the perfect summation of English secularism. It was also Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan. Jinnah’s Pakistan to sum it up was to be

  1. An inclusive democracy
  2. An impartial state without a state religion
  3. A state which ensured rule of law and equality of citizenship to all its citizens regardless of religion caste or creed.
  4. A state where a person’s religion was to be a personal matter.

No one- even those quoting Jinnah’s so called Islamic references- can deny these four postulates which Jinnah expressed repeatedly again and again. This is the essence of a secular state. This is why Jinnah was a liberal secular democrat in my view.

NOTES: 

        [1] p. 21, Ian Bryant Wells, Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity, Permanent Black New Delhi

        [2] http://tinyurl.com/ycfsg3g

        [3] http://www.dawn.com/events/pml/review38.htm

        [4] See Jinnah’s speech at the Delhi Session of the Muslim League of 1943 after Dr. A H Kazi tried to introduce a resolution committing Pakistan to Khilafat-e- Rashda. See Footnote on Page 96 of Ayesha Jalal’s “Sole Spokesman” published OUP.

        [5]  p.845,  Zaidi, Z.H. (ed) (1993) Jinnah Papers: Prelude to Pakistan, Vol. I Part I. Lahore: Quaid-i-Azam Papers Project

        [6]  p. 61,  Jinnah Speeches and Statements 1947-1948,  Oxford 1997

        [7]  p. 125 Ibid

      [8] p.102-103 Ibid

      [9] p.  153 Ibid

    [10] p.  154 Ibid

    [11] p. 223  Ibid

    [12]  p. 98  Ibid

    [13] http://www.vakilno1.com/bareacts/muslimperact/s2.htm

206 Comments

Filed under Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, Pakistan, secular Pakistan

206 responses to “Was Jinnah secular?

  1. Yasser, what matters is the reality of the present day Pakistan and not what Jinnah may have wanted, wished for or hoped for Pakistan.

    Pakistan, in its present guise, can never realize the following goals:

    1.An inclusive democracy

    2.An impartial state without a state religion

    3.A state which ensured rule of law and equality of citizenship to all its citizens regardless of religion caste or creed

    4.A state where a person’s religion was to be a personal matter

    Pakistan has become a religious state, where religion is determined by the state and where rule of religion certifies that their can be no equality of law and citizenship for all and it has become an exclusive democracy because of the role of religion in politics.

    Jinnah is immaterial to what Pakistan today is and it is best to bury the memory of that man forever and not to confuse our present and future generations with his words. Pakistan of today is a rejection of everything, which you mentioned in this article and as heart rending it really is to admit this, it is time we lived with what we have created and stop wishing for what can never be realized.

    Best Wishes, as always.

  2. Ambiguous

    “Soon after the formation of the Jama’at in 1941, Qamaru’ddin Khan, the secretary-general of the Jama’at, was dispatched to Delhi to meet with Jinnah. Through the good offices of Raja Mahmudabad — a deeply religious and generous patron of the League — a meeting was arranged between Qamaru’ddin Khan and Jinnah at the latter’s residence. During the meeting, which lasted forty-five minutes, Qamaru’ddin Khan outlined the Jama’at’s political platform and enjoined Jinnah to commit the League to the Islamic state. Jinnah responded astutely that he saw no incompatibility between the positions of the Muslim League and the Jama’at, but that the rapid pace at which the events were unfolding did not permit the League to stop at that point simply to define the nature of the future Muslim state:

    “I will continue to strive for the cause of a separate Muslim state, and you do your services in this regard; our efforts need not be mutually exclusive.”

    Then he added, “I seek to secure the land for the mosque; once that land belongs to us, then we can decide on how to build the mosque.”

    The metaphor of the mosque no doubt greatly pleased Qamaru’ddin Khan, who interpreted it as an assurance that the future state would be Islamic. Jinnah, however, cautioned Qamaru’ddin Khan that the achievement of an independent Muslim state took precedence over the “purification of souls.”

    At this time, the Jama’at decided not to make this meeting public, although it had served to quell the anxieties of the pro-Pakistan members of the Jama’at and had been seen as a green light for greater political activism by the party.”

    Islamic revolution: the Jama’at-i Islami of Pakistan
    Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr
    page 113.

  3. Bilal Ahmad

    Many people argue that Jinnah was a religious Muslim as he achieved a Islamic country to enforce Islam. But to me our present Pakistan has little to do with Jinnah and his legacy, his speech on August 11, 1947 and the passing of Objective Resolution in March 1949 are two happenings that define Jinnah’s irrelevance to present Pakistan. I do know that those considering Jinnah to be a Muslim saint quote his speeches where he praised Islam and its values and declared them vital for Pakistan. But in the case of a Muslim state, the most significant and defining words from him were those spoken on August 11 as those were specifically directed for constituent assembly of newly achieved Pakistan. All other speeches were expression of his devotion to peaceful Islam, same as Mustafa Kamal Attaturk did in his life. But it is very unfortunate that present day Pakistan is totally different what Jinnah tried to achieved but eventually failed as his opponents have made it a theocratic state, where minorities have to live as second class citizens and get persecuted under blasphemy laws.

  4. Milestogo

    I think it’s time to ask as a Pakistani why you want for your children and grand children. Jinnah is dead and irrelevant.

  5. YLH

    Gentlemen advising me on the irrelevance should read the intro. This is a commissioned article/blog post …in a specific debate.

  6. Milestogo

    I am waitin for an article from the Pakistani intellectuals titled – what Jinnah wanted and want we want?

  7. YLH

    Ambiguous mian…

    And did the Jamaat e Islami join the Pakistan movement? Do I need to quote Jamaat e Islami’s founder Maududi’s abuse against Jinnah during the period between 1941-1947?

    Did you miss out the rest of the Vali nasr book? Does he not talk about Maududi’s opposition.

    I find it ironic that while people like you overlook Gandhi’s blatant role in promoting Mullahs, Jinnah’s attempt to convince (unsuccessfully) a certain group to give up its opposition is being quoted here.

    Yes let us forget that Jinnah cautioned Qamaruddin about “purification of souls”.

    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  8. amar

    If Jinnah himself were to review his life, his own opportunist ways, his own scene-makings, his own politricking because he found Gandhi disgusting (a trait shared also with many hindus, past and present) – all that of the last 11 years of his life, what would he say?

    Today’s Pakistan is in the hands of the fanatics of an alien arab religion because of what Jinnah failed to do in the 13 months that he was the boss of Pakistan.

    Forget those earlier days – it is just these 13 months that are now decisive. In front of his eyes hindus were exterminated, Kashmir invaded, hatred against India and hindus was whipped up like never before … the foundation of a new kind of Pakistan was laid right under his nose. He could have set an example if he had resigned and fled back to Mumbai and died in the arms of his daughter in Mumbai. That would have been the only thing that he could have done to tell the people of this haughty arrogant quisling-land that they are headed towards disaster.

  9. YLH

    Character?

    You mean the fact that he was considered incorruptible and honest to a fault and completely upright?

    I suppose he should have slept naked with grand nieces like Gandhi to earn your respect.

  10. amar

    to ylh
    Gandhi promoted mullahs because he thought the best about them. And he thought the best about them because he thought the best about islam – which was the real blunder of his life. Such blunders are a result of discussions/interactions which take place between flatterers. “You are good and I am good and we are both so wonderful” – that kind of discussions, especially among the religion-oriented people are proving to be fatal for human civilization.

    Even in the PTH we have such “I good. You good ” types.

  11. hindu jinnah

    After singlehandedly creating the islamic republic of pakistan, he gave that famous speech, (quoted by advani) that yu are free to go to your temples and mosques and churches, that has nothing to do with the affairs of the state. This while the entire hindu-sikh community was getting wiped out from what is today’s pakistan. I plan to do the EXACT same thing to the muslims minority in India; preside over their state sponsored genocide, and then give the EXACT same speech of Jinnah in parliament. I can be as much of a hypocrite as jinnah was. Nobody can stop me

  12. YLH

    Moderators please remove these idiots.

  13. Probyn

    @ Hindu Jinnah….

    Yawn!

  14. Yasser: thanks for writing this post on my request. I think the readers should bear in mind that this is not a current affairs post. YLH has been writing earlier with much (primary and secondary) evidence on this issue. I wanted him to bring the earlier arguments in one consolidated post. This is where I agree with him wholeheartedly.

    Feroz: I agree with you that Pakistan today perhaps has no relevance to what is stated above. However, it is important to set the record straight and remind ourselves as to what the elusive, misunderstood, and demonised Jinnah stood for. He may have made many political compromises – such were the times and challenges – but he never wanted the Pakistan that exists today.

    At PTH we also wish to continue debates on history and challenge the mainstream narratives. Alternative media has this ingrained strength – it operates outside the ‘official’ or at least on the surface…

    To our Indian readers: If you want to contribute without sounding foolish please engage in a debate and not silly emotional, grade 5 type of stuff about Islam, Pakistan and Jinnah. Otherwise, we will be moderating comments. Please bring evidence, quotes, references to contest the views here.
    Simple rebuke, abuse and invective would not do!!

    Finally, YLH we need a proper debate here and don’t be roped into a shouting match – avoid the four letters and ch…[s] please

  15. dont know what is the real story.

  16. Perspective

    The answer to the posed question, whether yes, no or maybe, is of historical and intellectual interest only.

    The best one can say is that balancing the demands of secular (“not pertaining or relating to religion”) politics; and the politics of a separate Muslim homeland (where the term “Muslim” has a religious meaning***) turned out to be beyond the powers of Jinnah.

    *** Muslim could have a cultural rather than religious meaning. E.g., Jinnah himself perhaps could be called a cultural Muslim and not a religious Muslim. However, the history of the twentieth century (if not longer) has been about the erasure of the cultural Muslim.

  17. YLH

    Perspective …

    Check out Muslimswearingthings blog. Cultural Muslims are coming back with a bang …to the dismay of fundamentalists and Islamophobes alike.

  18. Anil

    Yasser:

    Whatever my deductions from my read:

    1. Jinnah wanted a pluralist society.
    2. Jinnah wanted all people can be free to express and live openly and rise their level of competency (or as Murphy’s law to incompetency).
    3. He wanted a market based economy which will create opportunities for all.
    4. Jinnah is an abandoned Indian Hero.
    5. Jinnah’s vision all strains in all socieites are present and will be present, as long the center of gravity is where the power lies.
    6. In his view people will rise to take power away from those snatch it away from society’s center of gravity.

    Secularism is an artificial construct, there is nothing natural about. This is slapped on him, just as Islamist is imposed on him by superficial people in Pakistan. He would have rebuked them, had he been alive, and told them to go back and work.

    Jinnah’s biggest mistake was that when he embraced the name “Muslim League” to be his platform, he gave up his most cherished principle. No ifs no buts. He could never have realized, and never did, in the sea of people of the kind (religion, etc.) that South Asia was, by choosing “Muslim League”. Even Turkey, as far as I know, never named a ruling party in the name of religion.

    Jinnah’s mistake become Paksitan’s biggest cancer. It now awaits a new Jinnah to realign and make correction. Bhutto, for his faults, did try to change from the grass root and named his movement “PPP”. Is there a courageous Pakistani, if believe so, he / she is there in today’s Pakistan who will emerge once the grandchildren of partition take the power away.

    If Chowk is any indication, religion of all colors (Masadi or Urstruly), military dicatorship (Riaz Huck) are rejected, but have inordinately more power than a democracy will allow them. They resort to arms or now suicide belts and bombing. If democratic institutions are allowed to mature, this will happen.

  19. Anil

    Please excuse me of my mistakes in the write.

    “…If democratic institutions are allowed to mature, this will happen…”

    “This will happen” stands for democracy will prevail.

    Thanks,
    Anil

  20. Perspective

    Oh, why the answer is of historical and intellectual interest only is that I don’t see anyone in Pakistan willing to be bound by whatever the answer turns out to be; for instance the way they might have consented had Jinnah lasted for another five years.

  21. YLH

    “Post-Islamic” it can only be if there is movement towards “Post-Hindu” and other such posts.

  22. YLH

    “Hurt Gandhi”

    Must be a total idiot to come up with such awesome interpretation.

  23. YLH

    Don’t you have something better to do then spam this website with your hatefilled nonsense?
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  24. Bin Ismail

    Yasser Latif Hamdani:

    Brilliant article.

    Regards
    Bin Ismail

  25. Farid

    As some of the posters above have alluded to already, Jinnah is irrelevant to the current Pakistan.

    Pakistan took a new shape after 1971 separation of East Pakistan and Bhutto, a Jinnah type leader, rightly called it a new Pakistan.

    Jinnah’s role before 1938 does not really matter. He shifted gears and his politics and reincarnated into a pawn in the hands of UP Muslims who defined Pakistan’s ideology and not Jinnah. When you make a political alliance, your politics becomes part of that alliance.

    UP Muslim politics was not secular and Jinnah never talked about a secular Pakistan before or after the partition. UP Muslims wanted Pakistan to be an Islamic state. UP Muslim leaders like Liaquat Ali, Shabir Ahmend Usmani and Khaliqueuz Zamman ensured that Pakistani constitution states that in the form Objective Resolution.

    In the top Muslim league leadership, all others like Liaquat, Khalique, even Punjabi and Bengali leaders were as English-like as or as enlightened as Jinnah was. They all used to drink and did not keep their wives and daughters in Purdeh. Most of them even abhorred usual Indian Muslim attire in public places before Muslim League’s Pakistan demand or after Jinnah switched to Sherwani to appear more Muslim to satisfy the orthodox Muslims in the ML ranks mostly from UP.

    For Jinnah using Muslims was a political necessity and he did not mind leaders just below him promising an Islamic paradise to first UP Muslims and then to Punjabi Muslims. Bengalis and Sindhi were won over by an ambiguous resolution in 1940, which was later changed in 1946 under pressure from the UP Muslims. Both Sindhi and Bengali leader knew that Jinnah and his acolytes have cheated them. Sindhi leadership withdrew from the Pakistan demand and Bengali leaders realized that they too have to take control of the situation. But by that time it was too late. So they waited and Bengali nationalism movement started right after the independence. Sure enough, Jinnah and his UP Muslim tolla(Clique) went for the jugular and tried to politically disenfranchise them by first denying the rightful place to the majority language and then by making deals with the Punjabi Unionist feudal and by allowing the civil bureaucracy to take a major role in politics.

    The inclusion of two well know British sycophants Sir Zafar and Ghulam Mohammed in the cabinet as most prominent ministers showed the real intentions of Jinnah and his clique as to what direction they wanted the new country to take.

    They set the path and the country has now gone so much down that path that even Jinnah and his acolytes from the UP Zaminadar class appear secular…which they were not, at least politically, at around 1947.

    Bill O’Reilly appears liberal now that Glen Beck is even more conservative.

  26. YLH

    Farid mian,

    Typical. Read Hamza Alavi’s analysis. It debunks the slaughter of history you produced here convincingly.

    You have no clue at all especially about Bengali nationalism. And calling yourself “farid” does not mean we can’t tell who you are hossein pahwar.

    It is people like you who have set Karachi on fire all because you hate Mohajirs.

    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  27. YLH

    Goes back to what secularism is. Farid mian seems to think that only Pushtuns or Sindhis can be “secular” even if they keep their women in Purdah and are thoroughly unmodern so long as they use “custom” as excuse. It is sadly a definition of secularism only found in Balochistan you see.

    Meanwhile ANP wallahs can make alliances with Islamic extremists and shelter them in Sohrab Goth and they are secular because well…they are ANP.

    And Jinnah and his tolla were not secular despite all I have quoted above and despite being more modern, worldly and integrated because well they were UP wallahs who had some hidden secret Islamic agenda…

    I just love the argument though : US constitution is not secular because it doesn’t use the word secular and because its makers were WASPs and protestant fanatics.

  28. Probyn

    @ amar…

    ‘Jinnah’s primary intention was to quip and hurt Gandhi.’

    I’m beginning to believe that the only reason a grade A moron like you is always on here is to have something to distract yourself from the searing realization that you…

    …have a small P****….!

    PS: apologies to all the good folks at PTH for this and to YLH who wrote this piece. but Ive had just about all I can take of this gimp!

  29. Bin Ismail

    @amar (November 6, 2010 at 11:23 pm)

    What else do you call a brilliant article, other than “brilliant”? Your reasoning, if I may say so, appears to be a bit confused.

  30. Chote Miyan

    This topic is a guaranteed to generate traffic: the goose that laid golden eggs.

  31. PMA

    Chote Miyan (November 7, 2010 at 1:23 am):

    You are just jealous. Pure and simple jealous. What is your problem! Don’t you like eggs.

  32. Chote Miyan

    No PMA, I am not jealous. That was just an observation. As for eggs, golden or otherwise, I reserve my comments.
    With apologies to the original author:
    “An egg is an egg is an egg”

  33. Hayyer

    Even though Obama has consecrated him does not mean that Jinnah was all about Gandhi.
    Gandhi had plenty of hangups and a blinkered vision. To paraphrase Shaw, Gandhi thought he was being moral when he was only being stubborn.
    Jinnah put up with Gandhi for more than 20 years. That was more than enough. He wasn’t obliged, as some Indians seem to feel they are, to put up with him for perpetuity.
    If India lost Jinnah it was as much Gandhi and Nehru’s fault as Jinnah’s own tendencies, except for the fact that his exceptional abilities marked him out for leadership and Gandhi only wanted followers.

  34. Chote Miyan

    “except for the fact that his exceptional abilities marked him out for leadership”

    Yes! We need to go over some speeches post ’39.

  35. @ Raza Rumi (November 6, 2010 at 9:01 pm)

    Even if you have set the historical record straight, will you achieve Jinnah’s Pakistan?

    In Pakistan, we must deal with the reality that exists and not with a reality we wish existed. If you want Jinnah’s Pakistan, then you must deal with the realism of your disadvantaged situation and again my question is; what are you prepared to do for your Pakistan?

    Raza sahib, this is not an idle question. The people, who are opposing you and your views of a Pakistan are willing to kill in the name of their version of Pakistan. Are you willing to kill for your version of Pakistan? Are you willing to kill and be killed, if necessary, to realize Jinnah’s Pakistan?

    Raza sahib, the people who oppose you may not speak English and may not know the real historical record or who Jinnah was and what he stood for, but they are willing to die for that they believe in.

    A person who is willing to die for a believe, even if it is wrong, will always triumph over a person not willing to die for his believe, no matter how right that believe may be.

    Setting the historical record straight in the Pakistan of today, about Jinnah, is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It will do no good. The events have moved far beyond this stage and what is now required is what Otto von Bismarck once refered to as the policies of blood and iron!

    If the intention was to stir a hornet’s nest and instigate a debate, then I applaud you and Yasser for the effort. I will be more than happy to partake in this debate and offer my cynism as a foil and I can only hope that my dear old friend Yasser, to echo your wise words, has the forebearance to rise above the fry and not lose his wits, while other around him may be losing theirs in this debate.

    ciao

  36. Pankaj

    I think it is totally irrelevant what Jinnah wanted because the new born state of Pakistan was immediately taken over by the Mullah Military combine

    This Mullah Military combine side lined Jinnah and has made pakistan what it is today.

    The moderates are a weak and small minority

  37. no-communal

    Chote Miyan

    I agree with you that this is a topic expected to generate a lot of traffic. But at the same time this is probably fit for debate mainly by the Pakistanis.

    Whatever Gandhi’s virtues or the lack of it, his legacy is a settled matter in India. Those who are for tolerance and inclusiveness revere it. The intolerant and exclusive, and dreamers of a Hindu rashtra, detest it. The inclusive folks, who nonetheless spare no opportunity to castigate Gandhi, are probably just intellectualizing in their spare time.

    This, however, is not the case with Jinnah and Pakistan. Jinnah’s legacy appears to offer something to everyone. Secular Pakistanis claim him for his secular personal values. Islamist Pakistanis also claim him as some sort of messiah. Even in PTH there are all shades of Pakistanis (except, perhaps, the taliban). There are the hard and gentle secularists, there are those who still wish to cure Muslims of the corrupting influence of Hindus, and then there are the really intolerant ones. So who gets Jinnah, the adored founding father, as a talking point?

    It may be an academic question for us, for Pakistan it’s potentially a far-reaching one. We should probably root for the secularists to win their Jinnah back.

  38. libertarian

    @YLH: yes Jinnah was secular. When it suited him. Otherwise he was “pragmatic”. Pardon my cynicism – but it’s hard to separate the man from his actions. And more importantly from the results of his actions. Even his most ardent admirers will be hard-pressed to defend his Pakistan legacy as anything but a giant disaster. “Moth-eaten and truncated” in his own words. That was before the mullahs’ temper tantrums and when he was Lord (or was it Governor General) of all he surveyed. And before 1971. The best part of his legacy is probably Bangladesh – not exactly something to write home about.

    So from an academic standpoint the dude was secular. Even Advani and Jaswant Singh have endorsed that view. The bigger question is does that even matter?

  39. YLH

    Feroz,

    I have been ready to kill and be killed for it.
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  40. amar

    After my posts are censored without being read – what can I say?

    My posts are hard to take for some so they resort to abuse and cry for help from the moderators.

    As said by Feroz – the pakistani ship has sailed off into an evil direction long ago. Even before Jinnah took over. Did he hope to turn it around as he assumed the leadership in the ML? But then he must have soon noticed (if he really was that intelligent and incorruptible, as claimed) that it was not possible under the aegis of this alien religion from Arabia.

    to bin ismail
    Brilliance of articles should lead to realism and not bad dreams. If not, it is no brilliance but only stubborn-ness (as noted above, which was mistaken for morals in case of Gandhi). Jinnah’s opportunism was a manifestation of his corruption (what else?). This opportunism can not be gotten out of the veins and arteries of Pakistan. And even if it is proved that Jinnah was secular, it still does not mean victory for the secularists in Pakistan. The islamic framework and fundament makes such a victory impossible.

  41. YLH

    Pakistan the country that produced a robust Muslim middle class and which produced people like Asma Jahangir and Aitzaz Ahsan…and people like Raza Rumi and Sherry Rahman…

    My mother – hailing from a conservative family- would never have become a doctor had it not been for Pakistan and the whole early push … My father would probably never have gone into business.

    If Pakistan’s failings 30 40 50 or 60 years later are to be laid at Jinnah’s door … then surely all the successes – and there are many despite bungling by Pakistani ruling elite- should also be laid at his door.

    Pakistan for 50 out of 60 years out did India in every major field despite those failures. How ironic that even today – despite the head start Hindu middle class had over Pakistani middle class- the ratio of doctors in the US for example is 1 Pakistani to five Indians ? In my day as an undergraduate the US … there were almost half as many Pakistanis as Indians on campuses all across the US …and almost 30 Pakistanis to one Indian Muslim …when allegedly the latter is said to be higher number than Pakistanis. When you added Bangladeshi undergrads…the number was even bleaker ….in all aforesaid counts.

    Pakistan has failed in those respects that Jinnah emphasized but no fair or honest observer can write off a nation state of 170 million with – despite all the failures- the 27th largest economy, and a booming middle class and a diaspora that is amongst the 10th largest. And it has a semblance of constitutional democracy atleast, a strong if partial judiciary, a robust if misguided free media and a strong army.

    If Pakistan is an unqualified disaster …may I remind you that other than window dressing hardly anything separates Indian success.

    So don’t be arrogant. Just because the world is paying attention to you recently doesn’t mean you pass judgment on other counties.

  42. Straight-Talk

    Even if Pakistan’s people believe and desired/ wanted a secular state and if they think that whatever Jinnah said is right and even if they wanted to oppose the mullahism……… they would never come out in open lest they’ll be branded as Kafirs/apostate who is entitled to be killed.

    The false interpretation of Islam have totally denied the chance of any fruitful and constructive criticism or even any slightly tickling which is pertinent with changing of time, from the time of tribal mindset of 6th century AD to today’s time of globalization. The fear of fire of hell has totally soaked their vitality and freedom of conscience.

    So the role of people like YLH and Raza Rumi becomes the most important, first they’ve to alleviate the fear of common people from these dogmatist mullah and then drill home the point in the elite class of Lahore and Rawalpindi living in ivory palaces that the fire today engulfing Pakistan one day even could burn your own mansions.

  43. Bin Ismail

    @amar (November 7, 2010 at 2:38 pm)

    * 1: “…..it was not possible under the aegis of this alien religion from Arabia…..”

    It is this “alien religion from Arabia” as you like to call it, that teaches:

    a. “There is no coercion in matters of religion” (Quran 2:256 )
    b. “Whoever chooses to believe let him believe and whoever chooses to disbelieve let him disbelieve” (Quran 18:29)
    c. “Your religion is for you and my religion is for me” (Quran 109:6)
    d. “And revile not those deities whom they call upon beside Allah” (Quran 6:108)

    If Muslims do not observe these teachings, it is a discredit to the Muslims, not to Islam.

    * 2: “…..Brilliance of articles should lead to realism and not bad dreams…..”

    Well, the article is based very much on realism. It also leads to realism. And repeated efforts along these lines, will one day, indeed take this country out of the bad dream it is presently enduring.

    * 3: “…..Jinnah’s opportunism was a manifestation of his corruption…..”

    I wouldn’t call that opportunism. In fact talking of opportunities, the last opportunity that was practically available to keep India undivided was the Cabinet Mission Plan. Jinnah endorsed it and the Congress leadership blew it. The only other option left was to go for a separate state, and Jinnah moved on. So it was not Jinnah who was an opportunist – it was the Congress leadership who lost the opportunity. I’m sure they must have had good reasons for it, but that’s how things actually happened. As for Jinnah, there was certainly no opportunism and most certainly no corruption.

    * 4: “…..even if it is proved that Jinnah was secular, it still does not mean victory for the secularists in Pakistan. The islamic framework and fundament makes such a victory impossible…..”

    Jinnah, his politics, his political philosophy and his statecraft however brief it may have been was by all standards unequivocally “secular”. That already stands proven. Pakistan will one day revert to Jinnah’s vision of a Secular State run on the principles of Equality, Justice and Fairplay, and on that day Pakistan will truly be victorious.

    Regards
    Bin Ismail

  44. Ali

    I think Mr Hamdani, in the first place, needs to be clear about the meaning of certain terms. When he says Jinnah was a secular, does that refers to his style and ideology of politics or his personal life choices? If religion had been that much insignificance for Jinnah, then why did he make a shift from his original khoja religion to a twelver Shiite identity? When Rattie Jinnah died, Jinnah ensured that the Shiite burial rites (including that of talqeen) are practiced. He opposed the marriage of his daughter to a parsi although he himself had done a similar thing. Mr Hamdani’s rationale for Jinnah’s opposition to this marriage is rather inadequate as it makes one think about Jinnah as a political opportunist with no morals.
    I am sure that what Mr Hamdani has in mind is Jinnah’s political praxis which, according to him, was purely secular. There is no denying the fact that Jinnah was an Indian nationalist through out the major portion of his life and it was only during the 1930s and 1940s that he acquired a communalist political outlook. During the Pakistan movement, numerous of Jinnah’s speeches, statements and interviews did create an impression that he believed in Islam to be a vital and dynamic force which was compatible with the dictates of modernity and state affairs. He consistently referred to the ‘glorious principles’ of Islamic democracy, equity and egalitarian spirit which were supposedly to be the guiding principles of the new state of Pakistan. In order to garner popular support for the highly vague idea of Pakistan, it was essential for Jinnah to get on board the support of Ulema. It was with this intention that the League propagandists almost forged a letter of support from Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi and were successful in wooing the support of leading Deoband clerics including Shabbir Ahmad Usmani and Mufti Muhammad Shafi. Most Ulema of the so-called Barelwi persuasion were also largely supportive of the Pakistan movement while individuals from other religious groups (like Ibrahim Mir Sialkoti of Ahl-e-Hadith – grandfather of present day Senator Sajid Mir) also supported the Pakistan movement. In supporting the movement, these people when addressing their clientele (obviously people with a religious outlook) had to convince them about the utility of Pakistan on the basis that it was going to be an Islamic state. It would be a gross distortion of fact to say that Jinnah did not know what was happening at the grass root level where the slogan of Islam was being used to mobilize public support. Worst, Jinnah did little to dispel the impression that Pakistan wont be an Islamic state. At best he just tried to make the clarification that Pakistan wont be a theocracy and that it will be a ‘modern Islamic state’ (whatever that meant!!).
    Once Pakistan had been created, Jinnah asked for the services of Deobandi clerics to do the flag hoisting services in both wings of the country! After he was snubbed by his own party men for his 11th August speech, Jinnah once again made several speeches reiterating the idea of Pakistan as a modern Islamic state. This makes me believe that Jinnah did not renounce the use of Islamic symbols and religious rhetoric in political affairs. In his mind there was no contradiction between Islam and a democratic state and that is why he continued to believe and talk about Pakistan as a modern Islamic state. If in that state the non Muslims were to have equal rights, it did not really make it a secular state as long as Islam was to blatantly used in the public sphere for a number of purposes.
    Therefore, I would insist that putting the straitjacket of secularism on Jinnah is as much a distortion of history as his portrayl as strictly Islamic in his beliefs and actions.

  45. Milestogo

    What has economy to do with secularism? Nobody cares how many peace loving successful Pakistani doctors are in USA because that is ordinary and expcted. One Pakistani is enough to blow up the times square and that is what matters.

  46. Hayyer

    no-communal:

    “Whatever Gandhi’s virtues or the lack of it, his legacy is a settled matter in India. Those who are for tolerance and inclusiveness revere it. The intolerant and exclusive, and dreamers of a Hindu rashtra, detest it. The inclusive folks, who nonetheless spare no opportunity to castigate Gandhi, are probably just intellectualizing in their spare time.”

    1. His legacy is not a settled matter at all.

    2. All of those who are for tolerance and inclusiveness do not revere it.

    3. Such inclusive folk are not intellectualizing in their spare time about Gandhi. They just don’t like the enforced hagiolatory of his worshipers.

    4. There was tolerance and inclusiveness of a sort in India before Gandhi and it is there after him. It worked before and it works in a way now. We dont sing hosannas to Gandhi every time we feel kindly towards our fellow men.

    5. Gandhi took along the Hindu Mahasabha’s views when speaking for the Congress. He backed out of an agreement with Muslims that he had proposed himself at the time of the Round Table Conference in London, because according to him, the Mahasabha wouldn’t come on board. If cohabiting with communalists was okay for Gandhi it was okay for Jinnah.

  47. sid

    Building a country takes more than a life, I suspect, Jinnah did not have a team which understands his ideals and vision that can take the lead after him. Not realizing this could be Jinnah’s failure.

    I don’t have any knowledge about who were the Jinnah’s followers at that time, was there any? and what was their role in Pakistan politics after Jinnah?

  48. Straight-Talk

    Whenever now days I see the Veena Malik in Bigg Boss on Color TV and her tantrums, daring scene of openly love making, professing love affairs and then ditching one for others, have broken the myth of burqa clad stereotype women of Pakistan (rightly or wrongly) .

    Her boldness and liberal attitude (you can call it besharmi) is certainly a legacy of those people who vouched for a personal liberty, secular, democratic and liberal Pakistan. I personally like her courage although many channels here in India damning her acts and don’t know the reaction in Pakistan.

    I tend to believe that their is two class of people in Pakistan. One in minority are open minded, liberal, affluent and secular and other which are in majority are not so rich, orthodox and conservative or may be looks like it.

    @ Milestogo
    Islam prohibits many things in business which otherwise required for profit making and therefore a rigidly follower of Islam may never be able to benefit from his business. But a secular mindset can give him courage to accept what otherwise he will be hesitant to accept.

  49. PEER SCHAMWHOREISCH RIDZVAUN AL-MURTAZA NAQVI-ALBUKHARI

    Jinnah was a great, honest human-being, indubitably a meritorious genius!!!!!!! Had he lived for another decade or so, Pakistan would not have gone astray at all; as it, unfortunately, did and is doing.

    Jinnah’s wife, Rutti (born as a Parsi) is buried by choice in the Isna Ashiri Graveyard of Bombay/ Mumbai. We are charitably told that Jinnah was a “Mussalmaan” (it carries a presumption in law). 500 Acres of his land in Hawkes Bay; 42 acres in Gulberg (Mozah Icchra; which he purchased from Nawab Mammdote in 1932 fopr a total of Rs 3300/-) and his house in Lahore Cantt have been surreptitiously usurped by the Kafkaesque Land Mafia that is born-again abuser and nemesis of merit and decency.

    How is this connected with the Secularism that The Great Jinnah liberally espoused and fearlessly represented? We have systemically degenerated into (the nadir of our being) a nation of appeasers, commission-eaters, phony flag-wavers and disinformers. With a front of godliness, we have taken leave of goodness. As the saying goes: Munh Mein Ram-Ram Baghelle Mein Churri (SharrReef)”.

    That paradigm short-shrift, spread over last half a century; verily, is no cause for applause.

  50. To the contributors of this Blog, PTG. Thank you all no matter what your opinions are. For me, it is a window into the heart of Pakistan; something that I could never get from a newspaper and certainly something that will never be told in a history book.

    The first Pakistani’s I met were young pilots training in our Air Force back in the 60’s and they were delightful. I have wonderful conversations weekly with Pakistani’s once a week in the shopping center near by; they willingly share stories of their homeland with me. They are glad to be here, but they are homesick. The young students at the University are also friendly and outgoing.

    I would like to say that when people have such strong feelings for their country then they must share a common goal to make it work. I hope you find a way.

  51. Ranger

    Obama is in India. He is talking a lot about Gandhi. Gandhi this, Gandhi that. Its getting monotonous and boring. Even the Indian Prime Minister has never mentioned Gandhi in his whole career as Obama has over the last 2 days. With 1 more day left to go in India, I suspect more is to come.

    By the way, I am not sure Mr. Obama knows who the Jinnah dude is.

  52. YLH

    Yes. Gandhi needs all the endorsement he can get. Congratulations.

  53. Ranger

    Looks like there are more Indians than Pakistanis in this site….is that good ? I wonder.

  54. YLH

    Precisely.

    (Btw Obama does know “Jinnah dude” is. In his interview with Dawn News TV he said “dating back to Jinnah, Pakistan has shown tremendous ability to overcome adversity” … Jinnah however does not need patronisation from anyone. He didn’t crave it in his lifetime …he certainly doesn’t need it posthumously)

  55. Ranger

    “Yes. Gandhi needs all the endorsement he can get. Congratulations.”

    Gandhi is dead. Does not matter to him what people say about him.

    But it was never about Gandhi to you, was it ? It was always about targeting the bloody Indians.

    Its like that. You dont like a guy, you abuse his dead father.

  56. YLH

    No. I think most Indians are very nice people. And no I don’t think Gandhi is your dead father. I would not insult an entire nation that way.

  57. YLH…1………..Ranger 0

    Couldn’t resist!

  58. no-communal

    @Hayyer

    Hayyer Sb,

    With due respect, this discussion is not, or at least it should not be, about comparing Jinnah with Gandhi. Otherwise we Indians will crowd and dominate (in terms of comments posted) this debate, which is only an academic interest to us, and will act merely as a distraction to a discussion which can be crucially important for Pakistan. Rightly or wrongly, Jinnah is irrelevant to today’s India. So is Bose, another secular leader independent India never had. So is Gandhi in today’s Pakistan.

    When liberal Pakistanis malign Gandhi, they are comrade in arms with our (and their) right wing folks. When Indians cast Jinnah in terms of an islamic fundamentalist, we are weakening the position of the tiny section of liberal Pakistanis who, at the time, are probably fighting a lonely battle. This is why this debate should not be about Jinnah vis a vis Gandhi, but rather more in line with “what Jinnah wanted for Pakistan” than whether “he was secular”.

    If inclusive folks have problems with the enforced hagiolatory of Gandhi’s worshippers, well, they should take it up with the worshippers, rather than casting doubts on the only effective modern legacy of tolerance, a sort of gentle, moral, guardian on our firmament, itself. Otherwise, they would be making the cardinal mistake of blaming the message for the faults of the messenger.

    Your last point is precisely what I did not want to get us into, but please be assured (to imitate Vajra, after all imitation is the best form of flattery🙂 ) that there are ample counter arguments.

    Finally, as for Gandhi’s legacy settled or not in India, look at it this way: show me one exclusivist intolerant dreamer of a Hindu rashtra talking up Gandhi and his vision for India. That should settle this part of the debate.

  59. @ Yasser

    Congrats! Once you have decided upon that step, then please remember, there is no going back, because what you have really pledged is an oath to a blood feud.

    What is important in this fight is not the personality of Jinnah and the first thing to admit and accept is that Jinnah is dead and he is not coming back and it is useless to wish had he lived, things would be different because he did not live.

    The task for those of us who wish to see Pakistan as a place, which it was once envisaged, is a very hard one. Not only are we faced with the impossibility of washing away experiences and consequences of last six decades worth of decisions, but we must also admit, as galling as this truth may be, that the Pakistan of today is based on the political legacy left behind by Jinnah and Jinnah, to a very large degree, left behind a personal example of goverance, which not only derailed democracy in Pakistan but also in the process sanctified the rule of the autocrat.

    Jinnah’s decision to become a Governor-General of Pakistan was wrong and he must be held responsible for that decision. Pakistan, at its infancy, was supposed to be a parliamentary democracy and the head of the government was to be Liaquat Ali Khan. Jinnah by assuming overarching powers compounded his original sin, which was to deny the nature the parliamentary system headed by a prime minister by creating the idea of an invididual being supreme over the ideas of institutionalism and in fact, and deed, changing the nature of the executive power in Pakistan, from being a prime ministerial one to that of a presidental style.

    In Pakistan, sixty plus years later, we are still debating this issue and we have wasted sixty plus years debating this issue, between military rules that have been presidental styled and civilian rules, which have been parliamentary styled. We are still debating the role of the institutions over that of a rule of an individual and all this present morass started because of Jinnah and his decisions on how to rule Pakistan.

    When Jinnah died, there was an attempt to make the office of the prime minister strong, but the office of the Governor-General resisted that move. Jinnah had created an imperial governor-generalship and all the governor-generals who followed him, none wanted to dispose of the powers Jinnah had arrogated to the office of governor-general and had by his actions, created a duality in Pakistani politics, where power was being shared a hybird system of presidental-parliamentary practiced governance.

    Jinnah’s death in 1948 left this wound wide open and it has continued to fester since his death. This issue has still not been settled in Pakistani politics and the result is a paralysis of an effective governance replaced by an acute sense of a dysfunctional government. Even the civilian prime ministers, holding Jinnah as their role model, have sought to deny the parliament its rightful role and have sought to rule Pakistan in a presidential sense while claiming the useless slogans of the supremacy of the parliament.

    In order to remake Pakistan on the principles espoused by Jinnah, we need to understand the role of Jinnah as the chief executive of Pakistan from August 14, 1947 to September 11, 1948. We may admire, and rightly so, Jinnah’s idealism for Pakistan, but must also rightfully admit the failures of Jinnah as a politican in attaining those ideals by his own actions in undermining the idea of institutionalism in Pakistani politics and of giving Pakistan the legacy of a presidential rule.

    Jinnah changed the very matrix of political power and its understanding in Pakistan. Jinnah made Pakistan, by his documented deeds in governing Pakistan, while he was alive, into a presidential form of government with a strong executive and a weak parliament. It can be said, with some validity, that Jinnah destroyed the idea of a supremacy of parliament in Pakistan, when he undermined the role of Liaquat Ali Khan as the first prime minister of Pakistan and created the impression of the prime minister as a weak entity in comparsion to the governor-general.

    In this sense, I have a very high degree of respect for Nehru more than Jinnah as a politican, because he followed the right methodology and took upon political powers for the office of the prime minister and as result, India developed a stable form of government and a clearly well defined and demarcated separation between the powers of the governer-general (later presidental powers) and that of the prime minister.

    Nehru, by his actions, build institutions in India while Jinnah, by his actions, destroyed them in Pakistan and sixty years later, the result is visible to all who wish to see the reality of the Indian experience since 1947 to that of Pakistan since 1947.

    The best course of action left to Pakistan and to Pakistanis, such as you and Raza Rumi and others who yearn for Jinnah’s idealism, is stop with the charade of a parliamentary style government in Pakistan and give up the idea of a supremacy of parliament in Pakistan. Accept the reality that Pakistan, thanks to Jinnah, is a country more suited towards a democratic presidential style of rule, because what enables an effective rule in Pakistan, given its myriad political insecurities of incoherence, is the need for an effective administration and not necessarily political respresentation.

    Thanks to Jinnah and his political machinations, whether evil or good, Pakistan’s experience of government is always going to be a marriage of a strong presidential style rule sharing power with a weak but assertive parliamentary form of government and the political stability, which everyone craves in Pakistan, will arise from a political compromise between these two competing ideas and how they agree to share political power.

    The caveat to this proviso will be always be, and it must be acknowledged, that the political powers of office will tilt more towards the office of the president than the parliament and it will continue thus, till insititutional politics in Pakistan start to develop to a point, where they become independent from the curse of personalities, which has historically marred Pakistani politics starting with the man who himself instituted the cult – Jinnah.

    To develop strong, independent institutional politics in Pakistan clearly means the re-birth of the bureaucracy and the separation of the bureaucracy from the politics. In a modern nation state, it is the bureaucracy which implements policies and administers the government; not the ministers. The purpose of a minister is only to act as a spokesperson for his/her department and convey his/her department’s concerns to the cabinet in the formulation of policies and not administer the policies themselves.

    In the case of Pakistan and reverting to the original intention of this blog/article, this is what needs to happen if Jinnah’s words are to be given a tangible form. A strong presidential form of government has to be created, which executes laws, and more importantly is capable of instituting change, aided by a parliament, which passes the laws, in consultations with the executive, which give a legal framework to the changes sought and an independent bureaucracy, which then implements and administers the intentions of the executive and the parliament.

    The linchpin, which will hold this political construction together will be the Supreme Court and the purpose of the Supreme Court will be, not to take suo motto notices and fix the problems of the poor electricity distribution or what not, but to act as the fulcrum, which oversees the delicate balance of power that exists between the parliament and the presidency.

    The sine qua non, of this idea is not only to create a balance of power in the political heirarchies of Pakistan, but to bring a sense of political stability to the system, whereby its resources and its energies are directed towards a common goal instead of being squandered on political in-fighting and in acting at cross-purposes with one another.

    The greatests failure of Pakistan to actualize the goal, which Jinnah wanted for Pakistan has been its glaring failure to admit the mistakes of the past. We cannot change the past, so there is no point trying to undo the past and keeping wishing that Jinnah would come back and life would be a bliss, but we can influence the future. The best way to influence the future is to understand the limitations of reality and within those limitatons, to create a system; set of criterias and a scope of direction and the intent that allows for the gradual but a progressive process of politics, which may not undo the past mistakes, but creates the maneuvering space to avoid the pitfalls of the past.

    Once such a policy creates political stability, its natural outflow will be better governance marked by improved law and order situation and a more reinvigorated writ of the state and enforcement of laws, which should take be based on the principles of utilitrianism, on the idea of equality for all.

    The mistakes of the past are not written in granite and can be legislated away, but there has to be a political will to remedy the inequities of the past.

    Pakistan of today is what Jinnah wanted; the question is how do we make it better by removing the flaws that exist within in it?

    Once, more the question is heard: what are you prepared to do?

    ciao

    P.S: Yasser, sorry for this unbearably long post. Please consider it as the words of a person more in love with the idea of the idea than the idea itself.

  60. Gorki

    ‘If cohabiting with communalists was okay for Gandhi it was okay for Jinnah.’

    Dear Hayyer:

    It is not as simple as that.

    Since MAJ and his legacy is a topic for Pakistanis to discuss, I will not discuss him here (or compare him with MKG).

    However I find several problems with the above quip unless one assumes that Gandhi was just another politician and completely ignore all else. No one can deny that Gandhi was much more; a religious consensus builder; a social reformer, and dare I say it a spiritual thinker.

    Above all what ever one may think of it, his religiosity was not an act of political expediency but an unwavering belief system rooted in Indian culture yet broad based enough to accommodate all other beliefs in keeping with the plural nature of Indian society.

    Ideological purity is luxury only armchair strategists can enjoy; in the real life every successful politician has to make accommodations if one wants to advance a new agenda. It is the agenda that separates the opportunists among the politicians from the statesmen.

    Indeed Gandhi the politician listened to the Maha Sabhaites just as he also listened to the Muslim religious leaders, the socialists, the trade unionists the landlords and all others for he could not afford to ignore this politically powerful Hindu nationalist constituency if he were to build a national consensus.

    Yet his accommodations were made not to further an exclusivist resurgent Hindu agenda of the Maha Sabha but to advance an inclusive vision of India.

    He spent years nay decades in winning over everyone, including the Hindu nationalists to his vision and once he had as broad a consensus, he turned over the party to a staunch secularist Nehru, even above the party prefered candidate Patel, for which he is criticized to this day. The wisdom of this decision was apparent in the days when the Hindu refugees started streaming into camps in Delhi and many wanted to exact a revenge on the Muslims. Even Patel made statements demanding the Muslims should vouch for their own loyalty before being considered as equals. All this talk was rightly and very actively nipped in the bud by Nehru.
    It is due to such acts of this staunch Gandhi ‘imposed leader’ that the Hindu nationalist in the BJP and the RSS still revile Nehru (and embrace Patel) yet it is this kind of actions that laid the foundation for a tolerant political space in India that we inherit today.

    Even when the politician Gandhi succeeded, he did not rest for the social reformer in him knew that political victories would mean nothing if peoples attitudes did not change.

    It is a fact of life in India not lost to some of those who opposed to him. For example, this is what Ambedkar wrote on 26th January 1950:

    ‘India had gotten rid of alien rule but we must not be content with mere ‘political democracy’. The country he said “was going into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality; in politics one man one vote and in social life we continue to deny one man one value”.

    He concluded with a warning that day that “if we continue to deny social equality for long, we would do so only by putting our political democracy in peril”.

    Gandhi understood that long before Ambedkar spoke and devoted his life to changing attitudes by persuasion rather than by legislation. One would have to be hopelessly biased to ignore his long term agenda which was always to unite the hopelessly fragmented and parochial political elements of India a home into one tolerant nation, a common home for all castes, creeds and faiths.

    Let me reiterate, politicians come in all hues; it is the agenda that separates opportunists from the statesmen.

    I agree with you that there was tolerance and inclusiveness of a sort in India before and after Gandhi and no doubt some of us may ‘feel kindly’ towards our fellow men but the question is whether feeling kindly is enough in a country like ours?

    Compare the actions of ‘all of those who are for tolerance and Inclusiveness today but who do not revere or sing hosannas’ to that of his in the time of crisis.

    In 1946 Gandhi trekked barefooted to Noakhali caught up in communal riots. Madhu Dandwate touched up on this aspect of Gandhi’s life in his “Gandhi’s Human touch” in the following words:

    “There were ‘brave men’ in India who from house tops were saying: “Hindus are being butchered, they are subjected to atrocities in Noakhali and we must save them.” But, there was only one Gandhi and his peace mission went to Noakhali. The Noakhali episode and Gandhi’s peace March brings out his courage as well as compassion. Gandhi went from village to village. He carried holy books with him. He went to every village. He appealed to all the men and women, Hindus as well as Muslims, to ensure peace. They offered prayers and Gandhi made them take a pledge that they will not kill each other. But he waited for a few days in every village to see that whatever pledges that were given were implemented.
    What type of human experience he had? Horace Alexander, an eminent journalist of those days, gave a story to one of the leaders. He said that when Gandhi’s prayer was going on in one village, all of a sudden a Muslim person pounced on him. He caught his throat. Gandhi almost collapsed. While falling down Gandhi recited a beautiful quotation from the Quran. Hearing the words of Quran, the Muslim, instead of throttling Gandhi, touched his feet and with a feeling of guilt he said: “I am sorry. I was committing a sin. I am prepared to remain with you to protect you. Give me any work, entrust to me any task, tell me what work I should do?” Gandhi had a sense of humour and compassion. He said: “Do only one thing. When you go back home, do not tell anyone what you tried to do with me. Otherwise there will be Hindu-Muslim riots.
    Forget me and forget yourself….”

    Now, the scenario after Gandhi; in 1992 there was tension in the air for months before the Babri Masjid was demolished yet no one really cared.
    The Rao Govt. had his intelligence reports, yet he did nothing.
    As Advani’s Rath Yatra slowly gathered steam, and the Mulayam Singh Govt. cynically chose confrontation over building a broad political consensus against communalism to build his own Muslim vote banks yet the poor Muslims were left to their fate on the fateful day.

    The armchair ‘secularists’ including the centrists; the congress-wallas; the socialists and leftist political leaders; senior government officers, journalists, historians, thinkers, social scientists; social reformers; other non Hindu religious leaders; all loudly condemned the rioters and the Govt. for not maintaining ‘law of the land’ but all from the safety of their drawing rooms.
    Most such statements were made with a cynical view on the all important ‘vote banks’ and other such partisan considerations.

    The only ones who tried to do something on the ground and to change hardened attitudes were a handful of Gandhians led by an ageing associate of the Mahatma who led them to a singing of ‘Ishwar Allah tero naam’ on the streets of Ayodhya. When confronted by the Ram Bhakt Kar sevaks they said, “we are here representing Gandhiji”.
    Fine replied the sevaks, ‘we represent Godse’!

    That is the difference between 1946 and 1992!!

    Regards

  61. Taha Rizvi

    We know what Jinnah was and what he wanted.
    The burning question here is : Where and when did we go wrong ?
    Was it due to Saudi/wahabi interference that resulted in Pakistan becoming a theological state or was it because of our indigenous attraction towards extremist Islam ?

  62. Taha Rizvi

    P.S : keep it up @ YLH & RR.

  63. Salman Arshad

    Admire your resolve YLH !

  64. Veeru

    Was Jinnah secular?

    He wasnt. If u need references let me know. He may be secular in the beginning but he’s not during the creation of Pakistan & after creation.

    Hope this author guy ends this secular-vecular drama ad nauseam.

  65. Hayyer

    Gorki:

    That was playing Napoleon to my Lone Ranger- heavy salvos responding to my pop gun.

  66. Gorki

    Dear Hayyer

    Sorry for that😉

    This is an article for the Pakistanis on MA Jinnah and it is appropriate that we Indians should stay out of the way as much as possible; I will.

    I have already written more than I should have, (though my post is but a footnote in importance) and I will not take any more space here but will add that my admiration goes out to Feroz, Yasser and RR for their resolve…..

    Regards.

  67. Gorki:

    This is an article for the Pakistanis on MA Jinnah and it is appropriate that we Indians should stay out of the way as much as possible….

    The thought did fleetingly cross one’s mind. For an article on Jinnah and his secularism, the comment seemed to have an awful lot of Gandhi, very well written and eloquent, as usual, but not very much of Jinnah.

    Another thought which crossed one’s mind, not so fleetingly, is that it might be a good idea to jump on to the bandwagon of one that exists, and flatter through imitation. Festina lente, in other words, when deciding if it is absolutely necessary to comment; just ask Jiggs Kalra why airlines avoid beans in their in-flight menus.

  68. YLH

    I think the important debate about Gandhi just kickstarted after the New York Times article which seemed to argue similarly to my own article “obama’s Gandhi syndrome”. I’ll produce that as a blogpost and we can all contribute there.

  69. Ahmed

    Words, words, words, words! I don’t care much for words. They cost nothing, and can be negated in a matter of seconds. They can be selectively quoted to support a view point, or simply oppose the same view point. All which has been done to Jinnah’s words.

    I care only about *actions*. And, actions speak ill of Jinnah and his secularism. Yes, he was more broadminded towards other religions. But, secular he was not.

    Jinnah acted to create a special state for Indian muslims. That state cannot be secular, by definition, because a particular religion (Islam) is more central and more important to that country than any other. It is a contradiction in terms for a country carved out for Muslims to be secular. It is as simple as that. The rest is just idle sophistry.

    It is in human nature to create a “hero” personality who was forward-thinking and messiah-like. Even if that person never existed. Given our paucity of heroes and abundance of villians, we gravitate to Jinnah as that perfect secular figure. And, we deign surprise that Pakistan has become the authoritarian, jihadi mess that it is. But, that is when we suspend rational thought and fail to see the obvious – that the seeds of the current malaise was sown by Jinnah’s actions 63 years ago.

  70. YLH

    (For some reason these posts of mine got deleted. I am reproducing them here to set the record straight. If the moderators feel that this post is excessive for some reason, they should also take off Feroz’s off the topic post and deliberate and utterly malafide attempt- chowk style- to derail the discussion)

    Dear Feroz,

    I cannot agree with that interpretation of history and I have written extensively about it and frankly I don’t want to get into that because this is not what the topic is about. I’ll just restate my position on the issue which needless to say I can defend by quoting chapter and verse.

    Jinnah’s actions as governor general were not only constitutional, they were far less autocratic than Abraham Lincoln’s actions and Nehru’s actions. Yet those nations turned out to be democracies.

    The reason why Pakistan has faced problems has to do with something quite different. It has explained in part by Aitzaz Ahsan’s “Why Pakistan is not a democracy”.

    I for one think that Jinnah was far less autocratic than he should have been. He had the mandate and the stature. His illness and virtual withdrawal from direct rule in after Feb 1947 is what weakened Pakistan’s structure.Perhaps you should withdraw and read up on section 93 that Nehru insisted in the Indian version and Jinnah omitted.

    Perhaps you should withdraw and read up on section 93 that Nehru insisted in the Indian version and Jinnah omitted. Nehru was a strong autocratic prime minister who overruled the parliament on several occasions. He was precisely the kind of leader needed to stabilise the unruly coalition.

    Jinnah’s so called autocratic powers were not derived from the constitutional position of the governor general but his stature.

    Pakistan’s parliamentary democracy worked just fine under him… And perhaps he should have been more autocratic in imposing his will. Every single one of his actions was not only democratic and keeping with norms it was the only way possible. It did not indicate a presidential system either. Most of Jinnah’s actions occured within the PCA.

    Supremacy of parliament as a concept does not revolve around the division of powers between executive and the legislature … But the parliament’s ability to change the course of national future. In the current system …the parliamentary powers are championed by the PPP as opposed to unelected institutions ie judiciary and the army. Otherwise President Zardari is the key decision maker not Prime Minister Gilani. Zardari – may I remind you- is unlike Jinnah even the party head. So the issue of executive powers is an immaterial one and entirely irrelevant to the real discussion … which is not around perceived niceties of parliamentary democracy but the actual sovereignty of the parliament…. the former being an academic question… the latter being the issue confronted by Pakistan and many other fledgeling democracies.

    So the concern over where the executive powers lie is merely a smokescreen formed by unelected institutions … I am sure it will come as a surprise to you but Governor General Jinnah did not have the powers under the amended constitution to dismiss even a provincial legislature let alone the PCA (in India Governor General did under Section 93).

    So I am not sure why you are fingering an issue which is entirely irrelevant to the issue I have raised. And before you waste more time writing about Jinnah’s dismissals of “NWFP government” etc, you will probably do well to realise that the governor of NWFP did not dismiss the provincial legislature but effected an inhouse change on GG’s advice under 51(5) of the GOIA 1935 ..which gave the new premier till the March to show majority (which he did). I suggest you read Juma Khan Sufi’s book on Bacha Khan to see who actually was acting democratically and who wasn’t.

    As a Canadian you would probably appreciate that the Governor General of Canada in December 2008 did tsomething very similar to protect the Harper ministry. How sad that you don’t accuse the Canadian GG of being autocratic.

  71. YLH

    Ahmed…

    Is Great Britain a secular state… given the special status of the Anglican Church there? The answer to that question – indeed the very meaning of secularity- has significance not just for the mother of all democracies but other secular democracies like Canada, Australia, Spain, Italy, Greece, Argentina, Brazil, Ireland and I daresay Israel etc.

    The roots of the current malaise were sown by people who opposed the creation of Pakistan… yes the Majlis-e-Ahrar, Jamaat e Islami and what not … they were as opposed to this so called “special state” for “Indian Muslims” as you are. Denying history … be it from the left or the right … is a malaise. Take away the arrogant left-wing contempt that you have for the idea, and your views mirror our Pakistan Studies brigade… given so much as these fail to recognise that the issue of the creation of Pakistan was not as simple as “Jinnah asked for a special state for Indian Muslims” and “Jinnah got a special state for Indian Muslims” and “Jinnah was broadminded about other religions but was not secular”.
    Also I was not aware that Ajeet Jawed, H M Seervai, Jaswant Singh, S K Majumdar etc were all Pakistanis who have a propensity to gravitate towards Jinnah as a perfect secular figure given the paucity of heroes …

    Perhaps you should ask yourself, as a committed communist, why the Communist Party of India, the sole voice of the left in the 1940s, not only endorsed Jinnah’s Muslim League but wholeheartedly supported it in winning the 1946 elections.

  72. Ahmed

    YLH,

    Israel and Pakistan can never be secular! Ever! Given the way they were created.

    USA is of course the perfectly secular modern democracy. UK is secular too because there is no tangible advantage that one gains legally by being anglican. That is not true with Pakistan of course. And, the UK wasn’t created for Anglicans, the way Pakistan and Israel were.

    As for “mother of democracy”, I really don’t view Great Britian is as deserving of the title. In fact, the subcontinent has a genuine claim for having invented democracy. The Indian republics of the 6th century BC with sanghas and ganas were classical democracies. (Ambedkar based his Indian constituition as much of ancient Indian democratic traditions as in modern western ones). But, of course, since most of us in Pakistan disown pre-islamic heritage, the point here may be moot.

  73. sai

    @YLH
    You mentioned in one of your posts about how a large group of Pakistani and Bangaldeshi muslims have benefitted from the legacy of Jinnah. But what of the muslims of post-partition India who were left in the lurch by Jinnah? It has been an unmitigated social, economic and political disaster for them over the last decades. Paradoxically, you hold their relative socio-economic backwardness ( indian muslim representation being significantly lower in US universities compared to their pakistani counterparts) itself as a proof of the positive impact of Jinnah !Surely, you realize that their dismal plight is a direct outcome of Jinnah-led Pakistan movement? . The point is, for a movement which claimed to espouse minority rights, it has been a death blow to minorities in all three parts of the sub-continent. It was left to Nehru of the “Hindu” congress to salvage the situation and prevent it from getting worse over the next two decades. Unfortunately, the minorities of Pak and BD were not lucky enough to get such leaders.

  74. YLH

    Read my questions again.

    Dr. Ambedkar DID NOT base his Indian constitution on “ancient Indian democratic traditions”. He merely remarked once that ““there was a time when India was studded with republics and even where there were monarchies, they were either elected or limited”. He was trying to convince Gandhians that democracy was not alien to Indian culture (just like Jinnah was trying to convince Muslims that democracy was not alien to Islam)… Infact quite the contrary to what you state speech after speech of Dr. Ambedkar shows his contempt for the idea that “ancient wisdom” of India should have anything to do with a modern constitution. He was explicit in disowning Gandhian ideas. I am sorry but you are clueless. Read more about Dr. Ambedkar at http://www.Ambedkar.org.

    You are talking to the wrong person about disowning pre-Islamic heritage. I for one have written extensively about our pre-Islamic heritage and its importance.

    Furthermore I suggest you acquaint yourself with the History of Great Britain in the 16th century more clearly. Great Britain may not have been created for “Anglicans” (though that is neither here nor there) but starting with Tudor era it was a state whose raison d etre was to be the bastion of protestantism in Europe.

    Israel is a secular democratic state and Zionism itself has been described by most political scientists as a secular ideology …. even someone who is sympathetic to the Palestinians … like Karen Armstrong… has described Zionism as a secular ideology.

    So… it is your left wing bias… even though the Communist Party of India supported the creation of Pakistan… and in Israel’s case… the founders of Israel were secular socialists.

    “USA is of course the perfectly secular modern democracy.”

    In his book “Idea of Pakistan”, noted American political scientist Stephen Cohen described Pakistan as one of the three countries formed on the same ideal… the other two were US and Israel. I do not necessarily agree with Stephen Cohen … but it goes to show that your dogmatism about what secularism means and why Pakistan was formed is not shared by any thing outside the Pakistan studies class and Indian nationalist mythology.

  75. YLH

    Sai mian…

    Try to stick with the context sir. It is not economic misfortune of the Indian Muslims but the gains Pakistani Muslims got. I don’t necessarily agree that Indian Muslims would have been too much better off than they are today had there been no partition…. but Pakistani Muslims certainly would have been relegated to farmer-soldier-peasant role in what would have been only an agricultural backwater of United India.

    The whole reason the Pakistan idea was thrown up was because of the differences that existed between Muslims of these regions and Muslims of what is now India. Jinnah’s Lucknow Pact for example was denounced by every Punjabi Muslim for giving up majority in Punjab.

    The solution that Jinnah was looking for was a confederation of the subcontinent… not a separate state. The prosperity of the Pakistani Muslim is an inadvertent impact of Jinnah, since he did not want a separation. My argument above is addressed to those who call Pakistan a “giant disaster”.

  76. Chote Miyan

    “why the Communist Party of India, the sole voice of the left in the 1940s, not only endorsed Jinnah’s Muslim League but wholeheartedly supported it in winning the 1946 elections. ”

    Hmm..This same party did a U-turn soon after, especially the Joshi guy, no?

  77. YLH

    Only some years after partition… not before it.

  78. Chote Miyan

    @no-communal
    November 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    NC,
    My comment was merely an observation. I just meant to say that the folks at PTH were wanting for some attention and hence….

    As for the rest of your post, I broadly agree with the main points except that Gandhi’s status is not a settled fact. Every age debates its icons, which I think is a good thing. As you can see, the generation of Hayyer has a rather unique perspective of Gandhi, which we ( I assume we are in the same generation) find different from ours, and so the debate goes on..

    “We should probably root for the secularists to win their Jinnah back.”

    Who can disagree with that, but be prepared to receive some gratuitous kicks on your backside, when this same crowd gets the power. Who can forget the Bhuttos. I have a rather resigned outlook towards this whole tamasha. If you read some of the newspaper archives, they were debating the same stuff then too. It’s good to debate, however. We are humans, after all, God’s choicest creation. As the Poet said:
    “Dil ko behlane ka galib yeh khyal acha hai”

  79. Chote Miyan

    “Only some years after partition… not before it.”

    I wrote ‘after’, and yeah, like within two years of independence!

  80. Chote Miyan

    Hayyer,

    “There was tolerance and inclusiveness of a sort in India before Gandhi and it is there after him. It worked before and it works in a way now. We dont sing hosannas to Gandhi every time we feel kindly towards our fellow men. ”

    There was untouchability before Gandhi and it is there after him. Curiously, we also blame Gandhi for not taking care of it. Had it not been for that old fool, acceptance of untouchability, no matter how hypocritical, would still be in fashion, Ambedkar or no Ambedkar. He may have been a devil incarnate for Muslims, but for Hindus, he was just right. Thanks.

    “If cohabiting with communalists was okay for Gandhi it was okay for Jinnah.”

    That is precisely what some leaders on the right say in Pakistan. I am surprised you don’t see the contradiction.

    “hagiolatory of his worshipers.”

    That is hardly true. If it is, Gandhi is not alone in that group. We hardly know about Bose’s later transformation. Does that demean his earlier fervor or his still valid inspiration to all of us? Incidentally, he wasn’t very fond of Jinnah’s ideas, and he was by far, not a communal Hindu by any stretch of imagination and had more intelligence than the rest of the Congress leadership put together. Actually, that hagiolatory is more true about Jinnah than Gandhi.

  81. Chote Miyan

    Gorki,
    “The armchair ‘secularists’ including the centrists; the congress-wallas; the socialists and leftist political leaders; senior government officers, journalists, historians, thinkers, social scientists; social reformers; other non Hindu religious leaders; all loudly condemned the rioters and the Govt. for not maintaining ‘law of the land’ but all from the safety of their drawing rooms.”

    That, my dear friend, is the nub of the issue.
    Thanks.

  82. Chote Miyan

    @Ali
    November 7, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Ali Saab,
    Good points, though I think we should realize that we have a complex relationship with religion no matter how strenuously we deny it. In my view, Jinnah’s apparent contradictions were a result of a late and a half-hearted conversion(to the cause of Pakistan), and as such, his ideas were still forming. That can be one of the explanations for some rather pedestrian and bizarre ideas he floated, like quoting Al Beruni, etc. In fact, it’s quite shocking. Maybe , he was playing to the gallery, but still…

  83. libertarian

    @YLH: Pakistan the country that produced a robust Muslim middle class …

    Now MIA except for honorable exceptions like yourself.

    My mother – hailing from a conservative family- would never have become a doctor had it not been for Pakistan and the whole early push … My father would probably never have gone into business.

    Irrelevant. My parents are a mini Horatio Algers too but it’s all credit to them and not the system.

    If Pakistan’s failings 30 40 50 or 60 years later are to be laid at Jinnah’s door … then surely all the successes – and there are many despite bungling by Pakistani ruling elite- should also be laid at his door.

    Agree.

    Pakistan for 50 out of 60 years out did India in every major field despite those failures. How ironic that even today – despite the head start Hindu middle class had over Pakistani middle class- the ratio of doctors in the US for example is 1 Pakistani to five Indians ? In my day as an undergraduate the US … there were almost half as many Pakistanis as Indians on campuses all across the US …and almost 30 Pakistanis to one Indian Muslim …when allegedly the latter is said to be higher number than Pakistanis. When you added Bangladeshi undergrads…the number was even bleaker ….in all aforesaid counts.

    The US numbers are the result of several factors: Pakistan’s closeness to the US because of SEATO/CENTO, the attendant aid and open US doors. Here’s something to chew on: in the 1990’s 50% of all IIT graduates came to the US (yours truly included) for graduate study. Today that number is 5%. There is now a reverse brain-drain back to India. I know several Indians with net worths north of $10M that are choosing to be bi-continental or closing shop in the US and moving back. So yes – for 50 of 60 years Pakistan looked great – but was it show or real substance (refer Vir Sanghvi)? The refrain I hear from expat Pakistanis is not Pakistan Zindabaad, but Pakistan se Zinda Bhaag.

    Pakistan has failed in those respects that Jinnah emphasized but no fair or honest observer can write off a nation state of 170 million with – despite all the failures- the 27th largest economy, and a booming middle class and a diaspora that is amongst the 10th largest. And it has a semblance of constitutional democracy atleast, a strong if partial judiciary, a robust if misguided free media and a strong army.

    No entity is too big too fail. Pakistani society is undoubtedly vibrant – the (non-Fauji) economy, middle class and diaspora. The Pakistani state is cancerous at the core. Too many poison pills – too many constituents holding guns to each others’ heads. And please don’t attempt to dress up Iftikhar and his merry band as a “judiciary”: they’re a joke. For an outsider’s point of view the representatives of the state make it look even worse: Haqqani the snake-oil salesman, Shah Mehmood on an exclusive diet of Kayani’s d**k, Gilani the powerless, good-natured, clueless fellow (except when he’s moseying towards Sherry Rehman’s breasts), Zardari and his french chateaus, and inscrutable Kayani who gave himself a 3-year extension.

    If Pakistan is an unqualified disaster …may I remind you that other than window dressing hardly anything separates Indian success.

    Let’s take a snapshot in 2015. And then in 2020. That will make my case. As Cyril Almeida posits: Pakistan should take a leaf out of it’s Eastern neighbor who is obsessed with growth above all else.

    So don’t be arrogant. Just because the world is paying attention to you recently doesn’t mean you pass judgment on other counties.

    No place for arrogance. We have a giant number of hungry and malnourished people. We have a huge number of illiterate people. But the corrupt, bumbling organs of the state are firmly in the control of the people. We’ll clean house – likely later rather than sooner – but we will clean house eventually.

  84. Chote Miyan

    Libertarian,
    Just to add to your post, and this in no way denigrates the achievement of Pakistanis, the Pakistanis that I have come across in the US have all been, without exception, from the very elite class of their country, very rich, well-heeled and laid back, which, I am sure comes from being born into privilege. I remember Tilsim mentioning one time that Indians in US are very competitive. That just happens because quite a few of us, mostly from middle class, have gone to the US for graduate studies after going through withering competitive exams back home. For most of us, the first year is more often than not, a cakewalk.

  85. sai

    @YLH
    I dont see how it is out of context to point out that the gains made by Pakistani muslims were made at the cost of their Indian counterparts. It is a strange argument to make that the status of Indian muslims wouldnt have been much better in a undivided India. Indian muslims are just above the dalits in socio-economic indicators currently – pre-partition, they were supposed to be relatively more advanced that their eastern and western counterparts. And as I keep reiterating, it could have been much much worse – just look at the fate of Bangladeshi Hindus.
    If Jinnah did not want a separate state, then you will have to accept that he went horribly wrong with his “Pakistan as bargaining chip” strategy, because that is what he ended up getting. It was reckless gamble in which he – ostensibly the sole leader of all Indian muslims – was willing to sacrifice the interests of one-third of his political constituency.

  86. YLH

    Chote miyan… Most people from India thought I was from upper class when nothing can be farther from the truth.

    Please have some balance. What libertarian wrote is crap and I am saddened that even reasonable people are so ignorant about their neighborhood.

  87. libertarian

    @YLH: What libertarian wrote is crap and I am saddened that even reasonable people are so ignorant about their neighborhood.

    Care to expand? Or is that too off-topic.

  88. YLH

    In time I will expand. For example your suggestion that the middle class of Pakistan magically has only one member when a historian like Sumit Sarkar has written rather convincingly that the reason why there is a Muslim middle class in the subcontinent today is because of Pakistan.

    Do you think it is the elite alone that mans one of the largest telecom sectors in the world (with 100 million + connections) a huge banking sector, a very large services industry etc? I am just wondering… if what you say is true, then perhaps we can conclude that Pakistani elite makes up roughly 50 percent of the population of Pakistan or consists of super men and women.

    It is sad that you guys love to put down others… when you are completely clueless. Most of my colleagues at my previous employer – i.e. the largest cell phone company in Pakistan – were people who were first generation college graduates…. and whose parents or grand parents were derived from lower peasantry. So I am not sure what world you and your “India shining” types live in.

  89. Hayyer

    Chhote Mian:

    ““If cohabiting with communalists was okay for Gandhi it was okay for Jinnah.”

    That is precisely what some leaders on the right say in Pakistan. I am surprised you don’t see the contradiction.

    “hagiolatory of his worshipers.”

    That is hardly true. If it is, Gandhi is not alone in that group. We hardly know about Bose’s later transformation. Does that demean his earlier fervor or his still valid inspiration to all of us? Incidentally, he wasn’t very fond of Jinnah’s ideas, and he was by far, not a communal Hindu by any stretch of imagination and had more intelligence than the rest of the Congress leadership put together. Actually, that hagiolatory is more true about Jinnah than Gandhi.”

    There isn’t a contradiction. If Gandhi can continue being secular even if he coexisted in the same space as the Hindu Mahasabha you cannot deny Jinnah the same privilege.

    Jinnah worship came about rather late in the life of that idol. Gandhi was a Mahatma from the outset and behaved as if he was one. You did not presume to question him. Nehru tried circa 1930/31 and see what he got.

    I still don’t know if Bose was anything but a fascist, even if he was the brightest of the whole lot of Congressmen. Nirad Chaudhuri sketches him organizing an annual conclaves of the Congress in Calcutta-uniforms, ranks and jackboots are already in evidence in the twenties.

    I cannot say what effect Gandhi had on untouchability in other parts of India. In the Muslim majority areas of India it wasn’t such a big deal anyway. Certainly not in Punjab-But Brahminism has been weak here for millenia, so that may be no surprise.

    Gandhi worship was inaugurated by people of my grandfather and father’s generation. We just reacted. Nearly all Gandhian economics is absurd, his politics ineffective, and his eccentricities almost pathological-Imagine offering Mountbatten an enema. He exerted his authority as a Godman and intimidated other Congressmen through his status as a Godman. The rational Jinnah was a better role model had he not been to proud to package himself for sale to Hindus. I don’t approve of the Jinnah after 1937, but it was a human failing that led him along that path-the mahatama would never have admitted to any human failings. He was always striving to be God like or hiding behind the effort.

    This is a Jinnah thread and I did not want to occupy so much space, so my apologies. We should wait for YLH’s promised Gandhi piece to respond if we want.

  90. bciv

    @hayyer

    If Gandhi can continue being secular even if he coexisted in the same space as the Hindu Mahasabha you cannot deny Jinnah the same privilege.

    whether jinnah and AIML were thoroughly or mostly communal or not, the muslim religious right considered them sworn enemies. where and who was the hindu equivalent alongside or further right of even the mahasabha with similar feelings about gandhi.. and his congress (before partition)?

    most amongst the muslim religious right were congress allies, and even more were devotees of gandhi. almost all of them were opposed to jinnah and AIML.

  91. AMG

    This is to YLH.
    While I understand that some of our Indian idiots could get your goat, it does not behove you to step down a few flights. The story of Gandhi sleeping with someone of his choice could be interesting reading in another context, not when it comes from you.
    If I remember correctly, you are from Lahore. I intend to be there sometime this month, and if you would have time to spare for me, I would like to drop in to shake hands.

  92. Milestogo

    Ylh

    Let me ask again – what has economy to do with secularism?

  93. PEER SCHAMWHOREISCH RIDZVAUN AL-MURTAZA NAQVI-ALBUKHARI

    That Gandhi Ji slept with ‘the other’ young virgin (virtuous) girls is perfectly in consonance with the sexy teachings of the Kuma Sutra. Ennui in that respect is a nono. As the sacred Rig Veda pres-cribed : “Let winds of changE blow in from all directions”.
    One more Lnumber (bownie-point) for Gandhi Ji is that he wrote well (Jinnah was kept too busy dishing out moolah to the mullahs – – to keep their big mouths shut – – from his personal halal business en deavours!), often esoterically; and in-between-the-lines, albeit just never signed his name as cowardly initials or in absentia pseudonymously.

    When I was at school, I read one telltale statement (quotation) by Gandhi Ji (forgive my muddling it slightly but the gist of its archtypal essence is retained): ‘first they viciously malign you, then they hate and abuse you (they idiotically telephone your law colleges; stupidly call bar councils).. then they fall flat on their red-faces (and their knees). and thereafter, eventually, at long last in the heart of their hearts they start envying, adoring and worshiping you … and their progeny eventually canonizes and idolizes you.

    Just remember, Pakistan and India represented the first “Amerika-AMERIKA” of the entire world, attracting immigrants from all over. Jinnah and Gandhi were two uprightly solid, immensely outstanding leaders and human-BEINGS who were born in the Indic subcontinents. Combined India (Jehlum, for example:) produced eminent scions like Gujral and Manmohan Singh. Our Jehlum, since 1947 raised jerks like Iftikhar Hussain Choudhurry who deserves a Boston Tea Party at the Lahore High Court Bar Association courtyard.

    We, don’t act ought our thinks nor wrought our thoughts, we resist furthering our vision. Myself and Janab Iftikhar Hussain Rajpooot (it is spelled with three R’s!!!), lodged an FIR against IHCh. when he was at eptome of his (abuse of) powers. Now he dare not enter the High Court.

    Quaide Azam Jinnah, from his noble grave + Gandhi Ji from The Holy Ganges, beseech us to courageously mend our ways.

    We desperately need more jinnahs and more gandhis. Justice, in stead of being a fig leaf, should turn the page sothat legitimate expectations of our masses are fulfilled, not prismed and distorted by quacks and conmen.

    Jai Jinnah! Gandhi Zindabaad. To hell with the fiefdom of our nouveau riche parasites! Not withstanding their huge nest eggs nestled overseas, time is fast approaching that they lay an egg. Very $oon!

    Get ready with your secular frying pans, with a little bit of “L”uck!
    The Bombay Ducks are meowing: quack-quack!

  94. Rashid Aurakzai

    Every Pakistani has his own version of Jinnah. From the article, he seems to be quite confused about the issue. He is dividing India on religious basis and but dreams a secular state for them. What a dichotomy? A jurist, statesman, politician and leader fighting for freedom with no thought of constitution for his dreamland and no plans for post-independence discourse. Empowering Governor General’s office and advocating parliamentary democracy.

    Hope I have not sinned by asking those questions?

  95. YLH

    We have had this debate. However suffice to say may I recommend Ayesha Jalal’s and H M Seervai’s book on the issue.

    As for parliamentary democracy, you may refer to my post addressed to Feroz.

  96. Hayyer

    bciv:

    I had promised myself not to post on this thread but I must respond to the following.

    “whether jinnah and AIML were thoroughly or mostly communal or not, the muslim religious right considered them sworn enemies. where and who was the hindu equivalent alongside or further right of even the mahasabha with similar feelings about gandhi.. and his congress (before partition)?

    most amongst the muslim religious right were congress allies, and even more were devotees of gandhi. almost all of them were opposed to jinnah and AIML.”

    It is a serious issue, and most of us in India and Pakistan do not grasp it.

    The Congress was a Hindu party in the main that aspired to be inclusive. It included Hindu Mahasabha, Ákali Dal, Deobandis and everybody and his uncle. It spoke for everyone including the Hindu communalists. The Muslim right was happy to go along as long as it felt it could moderate the Hindu discourse in a way that would protect the faith, because it was bound to be a minority in a future democratic set up and genuine political power seemed unlikely. Jinnah pulled off a miracle and Pakistan lives with the consequences of the Jamaat e Islami switching to reap the benefit. In India Deoband continues with the old policy.

    So, there does not have to be a Hindu organization further to the right of the Mahasabha. It was co-opted, and Gandhi was listening to it, but trying to evolve a discourse that satisfied the Hindu right and the Muslim right, both of them being under Congress tutelage, which meant his own.

    Now within that discourse which is ‘all inclusive’ there was no space for the Muslim salariat any more than there was for a Hindu salariat. Except for the fact that a Hindu salariat was in any case the body of the Congress and claimed to speak for all. The Muslim salariat ( I don’t use the capital S assuming that it has passed into the language) feeling left out became an organization speaking only for Muslims. Thus for Indians who are not Muslim, the AIML was an organization that spoke for Muslims alone and was, ipso facto, a communal organization.

    But I meant more than just the Muslim League. Jinnah in his later career, just before and even after independence occasionally seemed to cater to the Muslim right. He was a politician then seeking to accommodate and explain. In India after ’47 Nehru could do it in his vague woolly inclusive way because the Congress had always claimed to speak for all and did not adjust its theory at least, if not its practice, to accommodate the trauma of partition. But Pakistan had no choice and Jinnah’s demise did not help.

    @Baron Schamwhoreisch:

    Would your lordship care to amplify his comment on the eminence of Manmohan Singh and Inder Kumar Gujral, in terms other than the rank they attained.

  97. no-communal

    Chote Miyan

    “As for the rest of your post, I broadly agree with the main points except that Gandhi’s status is not a settled fact. Every age debates its icons, which I think is a good thing. As you can see, the generation of Hayyer has a rather unique perspective of Gandhi, which we ( I assume we are in the same generation) find different from ours, and so the debate goes on.. ”

    I meant Gandhi’s legacy, not status. His legacy is unquestionably that of tolerance, plurality, and non-violence. Our right wing folk hate him for that. Other than the law of the land, they know this is the single giant barrier they have to cross if they were ever to realize a Hindu rashtra. All Indians, no matter which generation, know this. So I don’t know what we are arguing about.

    I wouldn’t say the gentlemen in question here represent their generation as far as Gandhi is concerned. But even then I don’t think they would seriously object to what is being said about his legacy.

    Ramachandra Guha too is in this generation. By the way he includes Jinnah in his latest book as one of the makers of modern India along with Gandhi, Tagore, etc.. I haven’t had a chance to take a look at it though.

    The gentlemen here will rationalize the politics of Jinnah merely as a reaction to Gandhi and Congress, but wouldn’t know for sure if Bose was anything but a fascist (no reaction here!). Actually, I am now confused what fascism really means.

    About Nirad C. Chaudhury, the less said the better.
    He was from an earlier generation though. Did he represent his? Here’s his another quote (other than the sketch of Bose Hayyer Sb refers to):

    “Muslims do not have the slightest right to complain about the desecration of one mosque in Ayodhya. From 1000 AD every temple from Kathiawar to Bihar, from the Himalayas to the Vindhyas has been sacked and ruined. Not one temple was left standing all over northern India. They escaped destruction only where Muslim power did not gain access to them for reasons such as dense forests. Otherwise, it was a continuous spell of vandalism. No nation with any self-respect will forgive this. What happened in Ayodhya would not have happened had the Muslims acknowledged this historical argument even once.”

    Here’s Bose on a similar subject in his unfinished autobiography, ‘An Indian Pilgrim’.

    “I was lucky, however, that the environment in which I grew up was on the whole conducive to the broadening of my mind. … In fact I cannot remember even to have looked upon Muslims as different from ourselves in any way except that they go to pray in Mosque.”

    Nirad C. Chaudhury, the last alive Englishman, is commenting on Bose’s fascist tendencies!!!

  98. PEER SCHAMWHOREISCH RIDZVAUN AL-MURTAZA NAQVI-ALBUKHARI

    Just know and go Hayyer!!

  99. bciv

    @hayyer

    it was bound to be a minority in a future democratic set up and genuine political power seemed unlikely. Jinnah pulled off a miracle and Pakistan lives with the consequences of the Jamaat e Islami switching to reap the benefit. In India Deoband continues with the old policy.

    when has JI achieved or required, in pakistan, any more than the best democratic representation deoband could have expected in india?

    given the above, the But Pakistan had no choice difficulty could have been negotiated and overcome. Jinnah’s demise did not help: in terms of compounding a crisis of confidence, no it did not.

  100. bciv

    @N-C

    re. NC vs SCB: what is a fascist? are fascist, communalist, bigoted and prejudiced all one and the same thing?

  101. gandhi

    Profit of new religion Jina-Haram brought enlightenment to India in 1947. He was opposed by Jahil grass eater dark short nanga Gandhi. Real history starts in Churchil’s bed when profit was conceived in 30s.

  102. amar

    After my posts are censored without being read – what can I say?

    My posts are hard to take for some so they resort to abuse and cry for help from the moderators.

  103. no-communal

    bciv,
    Let’s not discuss Bose and fascism on a thread about Jinnah and secularism. May be one of you can write a different post arguing Bose’s fascist tendencies and we can all comment there.

  104. karun1

    Secularism can come in various avatars, although i deem the ‘indian-type’ most suitable to south-asia.Whether it came out of necessity, values of its founders or deep wisdom of cultures is immaterial.

  105. Chote Miyan

    YLH,
    “Chote miyan… Most people from India thought I was from upper class when nothing can be farther from the truth.”

    I was talking about Pakistani people I met in US. Till now, I haven’t met a single person from Pakistan who didn’t belong to the super elite class, and I know at least 45-50 of them, through cricket clubs and sundry other activities. If you provide me details about where I am wrong, I’ll be happy to verify, and if proven wrong, more than willing to accept my mistakes. It may be due to the restrictive visa policies of the US–I don’t know. As for the liberalism, well, my neighbor was a student in Arizona in 2000 and the cricket team fielded by the local Pakistani guys were named, and this is true, Mujahideen and “The” Taliban! The next year, after the 9/11, they were simply named, “The Fighters.” If you think I am indulging in hyperbole, I can furnish you details.

    As for the expanding middle class “in” Pakistan, I hardly touched that topic. I do remember reading an article by Irfan Hussain titled “The Mehran Man” and I believe that just as in India, there is a rapidly expanding middle class, which, unfortunately, is quite conservative.

    Quoting yourself as an example doesn’t suffice. I am a statistician, and even in extreme cases, we need at least 7 samples to come to any sort of conjecture.

  106. YLH

    Dear Chote miyan,

    1. Everyone I went to College with -barring one- at Rutgers (I mean Pakistani international students) were from the middle class and some who were first generation college let alone first generation American college. We are talking about a large sample… all of them are now either employed working 9-5 in Pakistan or in the US.

    2. My wife’s family is entirely self made and proudly middle class …one of her brothers is an Engineer in the valley and the other a leading doctor and head of a medical programme in the US… Both of them got their first degrees in Karachi …

    3. The Pakistani middle class is conservative like all middle class. Unfortunately though General Zia’s bigoted changes to the syllabus and society, they are also vicious and inhumanly fanatical in some ways…but that is precisely what we are trying to change.
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  107. Chote Miyan

    Hayyer,

    “There isn’t a contradiction. If Gandhi can continue being secular even if he coexisted in the same space ….”

    I was talking about extrapolating your logic to some woolly Mullah who uses the same reasoning to defend his stance of mixing religion with politics. Would you give him a sympathetic hearing if he invokes Jinnah to justify his position? In fact, his claim is more genuine. He, after all, never had the benefit of a liberal education(read Macaulay). I can’t believe that, as perceptive as you are, you would miss my point.

    “Jinnah worship came about rather late in the life of that idol.”

    That is not quite correct. Do refer to Roedad Khan’s interview.

    ” Gandhi was a Mahatma from the outset and behaved as if he was one. You did not presume to question him.”

    It’s a presumption on your part to presume that I haven’t questioned that epithet. Strangely you don’t bring that about Quaid-e-Azam. Why? I mean it’s strange: First you foist a title on someone and insist that it is out of love, despite all protestations of the receiver and then take him to task for accepting it. If you did a minimal study of Gandhi’s own writings, he has written several times about this unnecessary appendage.

    “Nehru tried circa 1930/31 and see what he got. ”

    True. And Nehru was about 40 in ’30 and just getting his feet wet in politics. I am not surprised. I have never claimed that Gandhi was above politics. In fact he was pretty adept at that.

    “I still don’t know if Bose was anything but a fascist, even if he was the brightest of the whole lot of Congressmen.”

    Hmmm..Well, Bose’s “fascist” ideas would require a different thread to be fully expanded. Assuming that was true about Bose then, would you see Gandhi’s ruthlessly elbowing out Bose out of Congress in a different light?

    ” Nirad Chaudhuri sketches him organizing an annual conclaves of the Congress in Calcutta-…”

    Coming from you, it’s depressing that you have chosen NC Chaudhari to support your thesis. Do I need to add to No communal’s post to illuminate this gentleman’s “erudition”. To allow a pathetic self-indulgent pantomime of the Raj who was nothing but a hollow bandbox to caricature Bose is the worst insult to Bose and his legacy.

    “Certainly not in Punjab-But Brahminism has been weak here for millenia, so that may be no surprise.”

    I learned the word “Bhangi” when I moved to Delhi. My brother-in-law is posted in Gurdaspur. Do you want me to quote specific examples? I can’t say for undivided Punjab, but I have heard that in the land of Pure, there are pious Muslims aiming to distill this purity still further who keep forceps to hand over or accept money from low caste Hindus. Now our neighbors are free to dispute this claim. As usual, I’ll be happy to retract my claim if proved otherwise.

    “Gandhi worship was inaugurated by people of my grandfather and father’s generation. We just reacted.”

    Well, what can I say, except that a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. I had a hunch but thanks for that helpful info.

  108. Chote Miyan

    YLH,
    Well, I guess I have been hanging out with a wrong crowd. This weekend, I met two guys from Pakistan, who are quite young, freshmen, in fact. One of the guys’ dad is a big shot in the Air Force and the other one’s is a big guy in Wells Fargo. I remember only one guy who was not that rich, a very humble and intelligent person, but unfortunately, very religious as well, which right away took out going to bars and such. After a while, we lost touch.

  109. Chote Miyan

    NC,
    “I am now confused what fascism really means.”

    You could have included imperialism, secularism and intellectual in that list. Any Tom, Dick, and his uncle, when they get stuck, promptly attach a ‘fascism’ or ‘imperialism’ to their article and have a ready made thesis for consumption. Of course, if you wanted to sound genuinely intellectual(another much abused term) then you go for a more flashy attachment like a “neo”.

    I have my own thoughts about the categories that these gentlemen fall under, but I shall wait for the Gandhi article to post mine.

  110. YLH

    Do you think big shot in the air force is someone who is landed or industrial elite necessarily?

  111. Chote Miyan

    “Do you think big shot in the air force is someone who is landed or industrial elite necessarily?”

    I can tell you about the Indian Air Force. I don’t know about PAF, but judging from the all the brouhaha about the armed forces cornering all the goodies in Pakistan, I assume they are quite rich. At least the guy I met is.

  112. Chote Miyan

    As for landed or industrial elite, how would I know.

  113. Ranger

    Obama spoke a lot about Gandhi over the last 3 days. But here is the best quote. Made by him in his speech to Indian parliament.

    “If it weren’t for the father of your nation, I wouldn’t have been here today as the president of mine.”

  114. YLH

    Well the answer is twofold:

    1. PAF like IAF is largely a professional force barring a few examples …and it is not like the Army.

    2. People in the forces etc have risen from the middle class by and large. Take Zia and Musharraf for example. So even the Generals are not from the landed or industrial classes … But largely urban middle classes. This is why there is a distinct lack of classiness increasingly in the Pakistan Army (to distinguish from class).

  115. YLH

    Ha. So you are saying Gandhi screwed not just India but the US as well…sorry couldn’t resist.

    I suppose in terms of inadvertent impact Obama is right… But historically one may also add that if your father of the nation had his way with the blacks of South Africa, South Africa would never have a Nelson Mandela…though paradoxically Mandela too is a beneficiary of the great inadvertent impact of the Mahatma.

  116. Chote Miyan

    Well, honestly, you don’t expect me to ask him the source of his wealth. I am aware of the trend that you are talking about in PAF, though not sure how prevalent that is. For example: The idiot bomber’s dad was a celebrated pilot who rose through ranks on basis of pure merit but then the article also said that such cases were rare. Now, I don’t know how much of that is true. He was also, quite rich. Before the current scandal(Adarsh scam), army officers in India were not known to be rich. Good comfortable living, but not rich, by any means. I know that from personal experience.

    I can tell you one more thing. I have always invited most of my Pakistani friends, some of them bacon eating Muslims, for Holi, which I try to host every year. None of them ever show up. Their dads have less hang up though. The pious ones’ piety is restricted to Ramzan. For example: no whoring or drinking during that month, but anything goes for the rest of the year.🙂

  117. Jinnah

    Comments on conclusion:

    An inclusive democracy – democracy by definition favors majority,hence its not possible.
    An impartial state without a state religion – without a state relgion,doesn’t make it impartial.
    A state which ensured rule of law and equality of citizenship to all its citizens regardless of religion caste or creed – its what Islam stands for.
    A state where a person’s religion was to be a personal matter-is questionable,in one way or another,some rules are to be followed whether they’re man-made or God-made in any state.

  118. Bin Ismail

    Perhaps participants may like to read the article and comments at the following link:

    https://pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/the-will-of-the-father-of-this-nation/

  119. amar

    Jinnah has taken his true rebirth.
    We knew it all along.

  120. Bin Ismail

    Earlier on, there was an article at Pak Tea House, titled “The will of the father of this nation” [June 28, 2010] by Nusrat Pasha. New participants may find it useful to go through this article and the comments the article invited.

  121. PMA

    Dear Mr. Hamadani,

    I find your following comments of November 9, 2010 (at 12:44 pm) some what disturbing. Like yourself, I identify myself and my parents belonging to the ‘professional middle class’. You have gone on to say:

    “People in the forces etc. have risen from the middle class by and large. Take [Ayub] Zia and Musharraf for example. So even the Generals are not from the landed or industrial classes … But largely urban middle classes. This is why there is a distinct lack of classiness increasingly in the Pakistan Army (to distinguish from class).”

    Correct me if I am wrong. Are you saying that “urban middle classes lack classiness”? If your answer is yes then you disappoint me. I would not think of you, myself and our parents lacking classiness. Please expound if you can.

  122. PMA

    Chote Miyan (November 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm):

    Among Pakistani urban middle classes the trend has always been to give their children best college education they could. Engineering, medicine were always the first two choices. Third in order were the civil and military services. (With due respect to the lawyers and professors on this board, those professions ranked lower on preference scale). For the last ten or fifteen years the MBA and the ‘computer techies’ have also joined the crowd. My point is that, with some exceptions, Pakistani educated professional class comes mostly out of the middle classes. The Pakistani students and young professionals you have come across in the USA are the 3rd. or 4th. generation of this particular class. Unfortunately, in Pakistan corruption is the way of life. It is not always the case but chances are that majority of your Pakistani friends come from this “privileged middle class” with means to accumulate wealth. At the same time chances are that some of them have made to the USA on merit, regardless the economic class of their family. On the other hand the ‘landed’ feudal class (the Bhuttos etc.) and now joining them the new ‘industrialist’ class (the Sharifs etc.) makes its choices on different criteria.

  123. Hayyer

    Chhote Mian:

    The Mullah is more likely to extrapolate Gandhi into his argument. Jinnah was rather late at dinner with the Mullahs. Gandhi had embraced them over Khilafat two decades before him when Jinnah walked out of the Congress over Gandhi’s cultivation of communal Muslim sentiment. Gandhi did not care. After his Muslim strategy blew up he continued cultivating Hindu communalism. Jinnah did not ever embrace the Mullahs the way Gandhi did, and he is not known to have pursued his religion with the monomania that Gandhi exhibited.

    ” Would you give him a sympathetic hearing if he invokes Jinnah to justify his position?” We are discussing Jinnah, and Gandhi incidentally. I don’t have time for mullahs, priests, granthis or whatever in any capacity. The argument is that Gandhi’s supporters consider him a secular person though he associated with the Hindu Mahasabha. Jinnah very late in his career also used the Mullahs in the run up to the elections in 1946, and sometimes made Islamic sounding statements. That was in the last ten years of his life but Gandhi spent his life injecting religion into politics.

    Jinnah was as big an egoist as Gandhi. But he became Qaid e Azam much later in life than Gandhi became a Mahatma. His opposition was proforma I suppose. Did he not tell Abha just a few days before his death. ‘I am truly a Mahatma’. When I recall where I read this I will let you know. The title was not foisted on him. Tagore called him one and the title was taken up. Pandit Nehru did not object to being addressed as Pandit despite Harrow, Cambridge and his atheism. It helps in politics to have a communal identity.

    ” Assuming that was true about Bose then, would you see Gandhi’s ruthlessly elbowing out Bose out of Congress in a different light?”

    He was elected; Gandhi should not have elbowed him out.

    Nirad Choudhuri was one of the most perceptive and original thinkers India produced. Self indulgent? He earned it. He struggled in near poverty all his life refusing ever to compromise. Nehru almost had him arrested over his autobiography. It is only with the Continent of Circe that he attained fame and some measure of temporary fortune. His pantomime is excusable, it was the only way he could get attention.
    Nirad Chaudhury a hollow bandbox? That may be true of Gandhi, never of Nirad Chaudhury who could be full of himself but he had much to be full about. And what is Bose’s legacy?

    I said caste-ism is weak in Punjab, not absent. Bhangi is not the Punjabi word for scavenger, it is ‘chur(d)a’. Bhangi in Punjabi means a consumer of Bhang. There was a Bhangi misl among the Sikhs so called because they were addicted to Bhang.
    Bhangi is I believe an adopted word in Punjab. Bhangi is used in Delhi for safai karamchari but the etymology of the word needs to be traced.

    “I learned the word “Bhangi” when I moved to Delhi.”

    I learned the word in Mussoorie. It is commonly used in UP. Another word used for the cleaning dude used to be Mehtar; I don’t know the origin of that one either. In Chitral the ruling chief is called Mehtar.

  124. PMA

    Hayyer (November 9, 2010 at 9:47 pm):

    Sir, you are right. Bhangi is not the Punjabi word. It is a Hindi word for scavenger. (Bhangan for female). On the other hand Mehtar is a Persian/Urdu word meaning ‘prince’ or ‘chief’.

    During the British rule in Punjab many dark-skin Untouchable Hindus (and Sikhs) of Dravidian origin, commonly known as ‘Chura’ and ‘Chamar’ were converted into Christianity. These folks were employed by the newly setup municipal governments as sweepers and given separate quarters on the city-skirts. Also along with new Christian names they were given new identity as ‘Khakrobe’, a Persian/Urdu word meaning ‘duster’ or ‘sweeper of dust’. The chief of the khakrobe gang was called ‘Jamadar’ (keeper of the group) or Mehtar meaning ‘Chief Khakrobe’. With time ‘Mehtar’ and ‘Jamadar’ became the acceptable names for all street cleaners. (Mehtrani and Jamadarni for female). However, in private most unkind folks still call them ‘Chura’. Even a dark skin person is derogatorily referred as ‘Kala Chura’, sad as it is. Those Churas that become Muslim, leave the profession and are honored with new Muslim names such as ‘Shaikh’ and ‘Deendar’ and are absorbed into the Muslim community.

  125. gandhi

    Niraj Chaudhary was a anglophile gandu. Chutya banawed young english reading folks in 70s and early 80s.

    Profit of Jina-Haram’s real progeny is Kasab of 11/26 fame and his convent accentwala handlers and double converts such as Hadley, who is in Chicago prison. Profit was as much secularist and chikna as Hadley.

    Baki sub buk-buk is just is Gosht-Biryani fart and burp.

  126. no-communal

    @Hayyer

    Hayyer Sb,

    Although your comment is directed to Chote Miyan, I couldn’t resist saying the following lines. I hope you and CM would not mind too much.

    You yourself pointed out in just the earlier post (which I didn’t see before I posted mine) that Gandhi’s cultivating both Muslim and Hindu religious elements was a part of his unifying, not divisive, agenda. What you wrote, and I reproduce it below, is perhaps the best characterization of what Gandhi was attempting to do as part of presenting a unified nationalist front against the British government.

    “…It was co-opted, and Gandhi was listening to it, but trying to evolve a discourse that satisfied the Hindu right and the Muslim right, both of them being under Congress tutelage, which meant his own.

    Now within that discourse which is ‘all inclusive’ there was no space for the Muslim salariat any more than there was for a Hindu salariat.”

    Gorki also made the same point earlier in one his characteristic beautiful posts.

    So, given the then (and now) religion obsessed subcontinent, Gandhi was a net unifier, not divider, and we should keep that in mind when we ascribe all our woes to this one man.

    “Nirad Choudhuri was one of the most perceptive and original thinkers India produced…”

    I am extremely surprised by this comment. I don’t know how much of Bengali literature you are familiar with (I guess you are originally from Calcutta, but I am not sure you are familiar with the Bengali written word), but compared to other Bengali writers of his period – just two examples, Bibhuti Bhushan Bannerjee, Buddhadev Basu – N. C. Chaudhuri’s literary achievement is puny. His claim to fame is mainly due to his writing in English in an era when it was not so widespread and his consistently courting controversy (and love of the English) by his outrageous commentary. So yes, CM is exactly right when he describes him as “a pathetic self-indulgent pantomime of the Raj who was nothing but a hollow bandbox”.

    To put it in context for those who may not know N.C. Chaudhury’s work, he was both a Hindu Bengali (emphasis) supremacist and a Raj sycophant. He made it abundantly clear that these were the only two groups who were worthy of political power in India. He described himself as ”an Englishman except in birth” and announced in clear terms that he forced himself to move to Delhi because the Muslims (ML) assumed political power in Bengal. If these are examples of “perceptive original thinking”, well, I don’t know what imperceptive unoriginal thinking is. I mean many Hindu Bengalis, even to this day, think this way (I am a Hindu Bengali, I know). They just don’t write it clear terms, which N. C. Chaudhury did, because as he himself said, at the age of 50, he suddenly discovered he hadn’t written or said anything remarkable. I must assume then that there are many Hindu Bengalis who could be regarded perceptive original thinkers, if only they were bold enough to court controversy by outrageous writing.

    Finally, what would you say to his comment that I quoted earlier?

    “Muslims do not have the slightest right to complain about the desecration of one mosque in Ayodhya. ….. it was a continuous spell of vandalism. No nation with any self-respect will forgive this.”

    Too many Hindus think this way, and some of it may even be true. But putting it in clear black and white by an author of some stature is extremely imperceptive and unoriginal in my opinion.

    ” And what is Bose’s legacy.”

    Nothing. He has a zero net legacy (CM may disagree with it though). Try to look at it this way.

    There were two great secular Congress leaders both of whom were rebuffed by Gandhi. One came from the pacifist constitutional side, the other from the violent resistance side. Shunted away from the mainstream political movement, they both ended up charting a political path in complete contradiction to themselves. One pork-eating, pet-loving, suit-wearing, essentially English lawyer became the champion of Muslim communal causes. One ICS, mayor of Calcutta, two-time Congress president, dhoti-clad Bengali babu sought help from the Pushtun warlords of NWFP, Germans, and finally the Japanese to actually attack India.

    The success of the former made sure his legacy in independent India is a net negative. The failure of the latter ensured that his legacy, on balance, is zero.

  127. Chote Miyan

    NC,
    Your precise inputs are most welcome. Jinnah’s success has ensured that in India any two bit idiot can stand up and make a mockery of a life time of service just because the victim happened to be a Muslim. Some leadership. Thanks. What’s more galling is the nonchalance with which some “experts” suggest that that was the intended outcome. Imagine someone stands up and inspires you with a dream and you sacrifice everything for that, putting even you identity at risk, and at the nth hour, the gentleman says, “sorry mate, I intended this only for x, y, and z, not for you. You are on your own.” And for a good measure his moronic followers shut the gates for you. Imagine.

    Hayyer,
    Let me begin by acknowledging a slight error. I agree that chuda is more commonly used than bhangi for a scavenger in the Punjab. Bhangi is also a popular choice as you go towards Agra. Thanks to PMA for enlightening us about the origin of the word mehtar whether dark skinned or not. That word transforms to mestar in my home state, Bihar. Terms aside, we were not talking about the status of Brahminism in the Punjab. It’s a well known fact that caste structure in the Punjab is less rigid as compared to the BIMARU states. What I was referring to was the status of untouchables. That, I am afraid, as far I have seen, was no better in Punjab and Haryana. Even if Gandhi’s message was not relevant there, that hardly detracts us from his relevance elsewhere.

    “The Mullah is more likely to extrapolate Gandhi into his argument. ”

    Probable? Yes. Possible? Yes. In reality? No. All you have do is to type Zaid Hamid or some x_uddin in youtube and you’d have a feast of videos from these rascals claiming their inspiration form Jinnah. I am surprised that the irony is lost on you. We wouldn’t be discussing Jinnah’s secularism if what you are claiming is true.

    “he is not known to have pursued his religion with the monomania that Gandhi exhibited.”

    To me Jinnah appeared more confused than anything else to pursue religion with the monomania you are describing.

    “Jinnah very late in his career also used the Mullahs in the run up to the elections in 1946, and sometimes made Islamic sounding statements.”

    Sometimes? Really? Do you want me to post the speeches? That is the sure way to get banned from posting on this site. Gandhi may have been the original sinner but the witches brew was stirred with passion by Jinnah; it apparently inspired one secular Bhutto to claim how Jinnah helped him to understand the evil designs of the Hindus. While you are at it, do post some communal speeches by Gandhi. Let’s see some examples, at least.

    “But he became Qaid e Azam much later in life than Gandhi became a Mahatma.”

    Why should Gandhi be blamed for laziness of Jinnah’s followers. Was he expected to suggest titles for Jinnah, or what?

    “Pandit Nehru did not object to being addressed as Pandit despite Harrow, Cambridge and his atheism. It helps in politics to have a communal identity.”

    I guess I am lost. What are you trying to say? There have been scores of other people honored with titles of heavier tonnage. What’s your point?

    “His opposition was proforma I suppose. Did he not tell Abha just a few days before his death. ‘I am truly a Mahatma’. When I recall where I read this I will let you know. ”

    If you are going to argue on the basis of hearsay and masala history, I know several variants of his last statement before dying; one of the more outrageous ones was that had he not been busy fondling his nubile nieces he would have ducked Godse’s bullets.

    “The title was not foisted on him. Tagore called him one and the title was taken up. ”

    Correct me if I am wrong, but shouldn’t Tagore be hauled for that?

    “He was elected; Gandhi should not have elbowed him out.”

    In that case, you would have blamed him for the opposite. You can’t have different standards for different people. At least Bose was not hounded out with humiliating titles of a congress or a Hindu stooge.

    “Nirad Choudhuri was one of the most perceptive and original thinkers India produced.”

    That is slightly worrying. NC has done a fair job clearing that up. I had the misfortune of reading(not fully; I couldn’t) his “The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian”, apparently his “masterpiece”. It was a veritable torture. I was looking online to quote some passages from this superlative piece of work and was quite shocked that none other than Rushdie described it as a masterpiece. I mean it’s downright hilarious. I would write more but I will wait for your input on Nirad babu’s perspicacity before penning my thoughts. My comments were prompted by your choice of critic for Bose. By god, if you have to criticize Bose choose someone that at least approaches his shadow. He deserved that much, at the very least.

    “And what is Bose’s legacy? ”

    If Bose’s legacy is zero then so is of Bhagat Singh, Ashfaq Ulla and Azad. We don’t call Hannibal a failure just because he was routed at the battle of Zama. If nothing remained of Bose, his stirring call for “Tum Mujhe Khoon do Main Tumhein Azaadi Doonga” would reverberate as long as India remains on the map. That the present politics of Rahul baba and his Mummyji has duly sidelined his memory, let’s not humiliate Bose further by allowing a 3rd rate colonial windbag to take pot shots at him.

  128. Hayyer

    PMA:

    Thank you for explaining the origin of the usage. I always wondered why mehtar and jamadar were synonyms for cleaners. I used to think that the Jamadar and Subedar ranks for JCOs in the army were ways of showing down Indians of rank. I wonder if using mehtar and jamadar adjectivally for sweepers is also a British innovation.

    no-communal:

    *

    ou yourself pointed out in just the earlier post (which I didn’t see before I posted mine) that Gandhi’s cultivating both Muslim and Hindu religious elements was a part of his unifying, not divisive, agenda. What you wrote, and I reproduce it below, is perhaps the best characterization of what Gandhi was attempting to do as part of presenting a unified nationalist front against the British government.

    “…It was co-opted, and Gandhi was listening to it, but trying to evolve a discourse that satisfied the Hindu right and the Muslim right, both of them being under Congress tutelage, which meant his own.

    Now within that discourse which is ‘all inclusive’ there was no space for the Muslim salariat any more than there was for a Hindu salariat.”

    Gorki also made the same point earlier in one his characteristic beautiful posts.

    So, given the then (and now) religion obsessed subcontinent, Gandhi was a net unifier, not divider, and we should keep that in mind when we ascribe all our woes to this one man.

    Jinnah was a unifier too but outside of the religion. If India is united today (to the extent that it is united) it is outside of religion, which was what Jinnah wanted. We don’t endorse the Khalifa and we disapprove of Hindu jingoism. Gandhi would have laboured to preserve both sentiments.

    CM’s argument is about communalism. Gandhi played with communalists, Jinnah abhorred them. When Jinnah did take the mullahs on board it was a tactical decision not a strategic one. I won’t speculate on what might have happened had he lived a few more years. Who ever got rid of LAK could have done the same to Jinnah. Those anti Ahmadi riots could have happened under Jinnah as well.

    No, my point was that merely associating with communalists does not make one communal. What about using communal elements for a communal end? Possibly it does, but we are not sure that Jinnah’s ends were communal in the sense that the term is commonly understood. He was a separatist, but was he genuinely sectarian? He used mullahs briefly in the run up to the 46 elections to strengthen his negotiating position vis a vis the Congress. Is it OK to use mullahs to unite but not to divide? Did the Congress not rely on a pan Hindu sentiment to build itself up? Jinnah’s use of communal elements does not make him a communal person. That is the short point.

    Perceptive and original are not adjectives reserved exclusively for novelists. (Bibhuti Bhushan Banerjee was a close friend of Chaudhuri’s as you may know.) His literary fame is based on three works. His autobiography, the Circe book and Thy Hand Great Anarch. A Passage to England is weak and boastful.

    Of course his claim to fame is due to his English books. He revelled in the outrage that he caused, and was never afraid of controversy. The English loved him, and were flattered enough to arrange a residency at Oxford for him. But pathetic he is not.

    He said outrageous things about everyone. And he is kinder to Muslims than he is to Hindus. Most Bengali Hindus detest him because he shredded the Bengali Hindu character. His contempt was dripping but especially for Hindus. It is true that he thought poorly of Bengali Muslims but did he not say also that whereas the Muslim is a boor in Bengal compared to the Hindu it is the Hindu who is a boor in UP compared to the Muslim.

    I don’t buy this Raj sycophancy theory. He attributed the existence of the modern Indian to the blessings of having been ruled by the British. That would be hard to deny. And he got a minor job in the Government rather late in life, when he was well into his forties in All India Radio, having worked as Sarat Chandra Bose’s secretary before that. A sycophant would managed much better.

    “If these are examples of “perceptive original thinking”, well, I don’t know what imperceptive unoriginal thinking is.”

    No leaving Calcutta because of Muslim rule is not an example of original thinking. What of it. I did not say that everything he wrote or said was original and perceptive. Nirad Chaudhure had more original and perceptive things to say about Indians and India than anyone else that I know of in twentieth century India.
    “…..N. C. Chaudhury….. at the age of 50, …. suddenly discovered he hadn’t written or said anything remarkable.”

    Better late than never. If it had dawned on him earlier we might have had a larger body of original and perspicacious writing.

    “I must assume then that there are many Hindu Bengalis who could be regarded perceptive original thinkers, if only they were bold enough to court controversy by outrageous writing.”

    If there are any around who are even half as original as Nirad Chaudhuri they should write. Any publisher will pay vast sums for original thought and expression.

    “Finally, what would you say to his comment that I quoted earlier?

    “Muslims do not have the slightest right to complain about the desecration of one mosque in Ayodhya. ….. it was a continuous spell of vandalism. No nation with any self-respect will forgive this.”

    I have already said that he commented adversely on Hindus and Muslims without exception.

    ” Nothing. He has a zero net legacy (CM may disagree with it though). Try to look at it this way.

    There were two great secular Congress leaders both of whom were rebuffed by Gandhi. One came from the pacifist constitutional side, the other from the violent resistance side. Shunted away from the mainstream political movement, they both ended up charting a political path in complete contradiction to themselves. One pork-eating, pet-loving, suit-wearing, essentially English lawyer became the champion of Muslim communal causes. One ICS, mayor of Calcutta, two-time Congress president, dhoti-clad Bengali babu sought help from the Pushtun warlords of NWFP, Germans, and finally the Japanese to actually attack India.

    The success of the former made sure his legacy in independent India is a net negative. The failure of the latter ensured that his legacy, on balance, is zero.”

    Dear no-communal, Jinnah is eventually a failure because he died too early, or because he failed at the game he was playing with the Congress over the division of power within India, but he extracted a heavy price, which some of us are still paying.

    As for Bose I am trying to look at it your way. Did we want the Axis powers to win and Bose to ride back into India on a Japanese one ton truck as they fought their way from Kohima to Delhi devastating everything in their path? Bose is a failure either way. Jinnah had a better chance of making a success of what he tried than Bose who is a disaster any which way. It was because of Bose’s dramatic escape to Germany that Gandhi launched his quit India movement with such momentous consequences for the AIML and the whole of India.

  129. no-communal

    @Hayyer

    My comment on Gandhi is not to show Jinnah in a poor, contrasting, light. Even though the opposite is almost never true by many (but not all) commentators here. Like CM, I would wait for a communal speech by Gandhi that you might reproduce here.

    My point simply is that Gandhi was a net unifier. At least on the Hindus (and many Muslims that I know) his inclusive non-violent religious influence (the sort that, for e.g., Tilsim would appreciate) is just too much to simply say “If India is united today… it is outside of religion”.

    About N. C. Chaudhury, I would let CM make his comments since this was originally a discussion between you and him. However, let me just say that my assesment of him as a Hindu Bengali (with emphasis on Bengali) supremacist and a Raj sycophant is shared by many readers, but of course outside West Bengal.

    About legacy of Jinnah and Bose on independent India, you seem to have completely missed my point. When I mention the success of Jinnah, I mean his immediate success, not after Pakistan is created, of ensuring Muslim interests. That results in a net negative legacy on Independent India, because, whatever the initial motivation, this eventually led to the partition.

    When I say the failure of Bose ensures that he, on balance, has a zero legacy, I mean exactly the opposite of what you seem to have understood. By that statement I mean that, had he succeeded like Jinnah, his legacy would also have been negative. So his failure in a way saved his legacy.

  130. no-communal

    So in my mind there is a complete analogy between the political careers of Jinnah and Bose, even though they came from two opposite sides of the spectrum. I wouldn’t call Jinnah communal for the same reason I wouldn’t call Bose fascist. Some, however, would only selectively assign the benefit of doubt.

  131. amar

    The word “hindu” changed its meaning from the neutral-ethnic “inhabitant of the Sindhu valley” (around 500 BC) to “lazy fellow, black fellow, watchman, fool, coward” etc. (after islam took control of many minds and made quislings and bootlickers of arabs and turks out of them).

    Gandhi had a very wishful idea of religion. He was trying to bring in the best of jainism, hinduism and christianity in and hoping that the mullahs would bring the best of islam into it. That Jinnah, the still-secular-britishized man, did not approve of this only proves that Jinnah knew all along that from islam nothing good will come in. May be, he tried to tell that to Gandhi in some private conversation unknown to us. Jinnah did the blunder of leaving India at a crucial time and then rejoining with a new incarnation of islamic identity, megalomania and victimhood-complex. How a legalist like him took over the top post of a party in which he had never done any grassroot work over decades? This is called corruption (just like young Rahul being automatically the next PM candidate – but at least Rahul and his lackeys can say that he is doing some grassroot work in the Congress right now).

    Gandhi brought in religion due to his wishful thinking. Jinnah did it in spite of knowing better, as a new-fake-muslim shedding crocodile tears for “his fellow” muslims. The ML was a hypocrisy-heavy party at the top – like a hydrocephalia. Jinnah had to play the muslim-victimhood game and role expected of him. I wonder what he thought when he was alone in the evening smoking his cigarettes and drinking his whisky. “What game am I playing? How will I get out of this?”

    MAJ = Megalomania, Arrogance, Jealousy

    Thus the intelligent foresighted MAJ (M A Jinnah) was lost to us all. This alien arab religion has its ways of misusing human beings.

  132. amar

    Jinnah, knowing his death coming nearer, should have appointed a hindu as the next GG of Pakistan. Getting a hindu to write a national song was not enough. He should have concentrated on writing a book or a political will/testament (the experienced lawyer that he was in these matters) and gettting it published in Pakistan, India, UK etc.

    Jinnah was a chain of failures and wrong and bad decisions in his last 11 years, or worse yet in his last 13 months, or worst ever in the last 6 months.

    That should put the last nail in the coffin of this debate (in spite of ylh).

  133. Hayyer

    no-communal

    I was saying that Jinnah did not become a communal person by associating with or taking the tactical support of communalists. Gandhi did it and our modern secular politicians factor it in all their calculations.

    Nirad Chaudhuri is reviled by Indians in and outside Bengal, more outside than in because outside there is not even the pride in his Bengali-ness to excuse him. He was scathing about Hindus and Indians in general and gave them little in extenuation. It offends the Hindu Indian’s sense of his own worth.

    I may have missed your point about Bose and Jinnah. My apologies for that. I thought for a moment that you finding excuses for Bose. I find it difficult to understand how such a brilliant man could be so naive internationally, unless he was always a fascist at heart.

    Jinnah is for me a tragic figure. Such towering potential, succumbing, bitter and frustrated with the Congress, to support the separatism that he had resisted most of his life.

  134. PMA

    Hayyer (November 10, 2010 at 12:04 pm):

    ‘jama’ meaning ‘sum’ or ‘collection’, and ‘suba’ meaning ‘province’ or ‘division’ are originally Arabic words. ‘dar’ meaning ‘having’ or ‘holding’ is originally a Persian word. During the Muslim period the words ‘jamadar’ and ‘subadar’ (not subedar) were coined for the military and administrative purposes. Jamadar was a company commander and subadar was a divisional commander on the military side. Since a subadar was also responsible for raising and financing his division, the king would appoint him as administrator as well hence ‘subadar’. British on their part took these words/ranks and applied to the petty non-commissioned natives officers. During British period the term ‘jamadar’ was also used for chief of road and railroad construction gangs.

  135. PMA

    Hayyer (November 10, 2010 at 5:09 pm):

    “Jinnah is for me a tragic figure. Such towering potential, succumbing, bitter and frustrated with the Congress, to support the separatism that he had resisted most of his life.”

    Hayyer: That feeling of ‘frustration’ of Jinnah towards the Indian Congress, now transferred to the state of Pakistan regarding India, continues to this date. I often wonder what is that India is waiting for. In the past the excuse was that Pakistan has joined the Western alliances. Now that India itself has joined the West, what is the excuse now.

  136. amar

    To PMA

    It is the west that is trying to join India or trying to pull India. Pakistan already has two western slaveries to labour under. One from Arabia, and the other from the “hated west” (seen as a source of money and weapons through double-dealings, esp. by the “glorious” pak army). India may have to make some compromises because India is poor in terms of certain resources. But India’s policy remains indigenous. A quisling state like Pakistan can only be jealous of this and burst out in anger and slander out of frustration.

  137. no-communal

    @Hayyer

    Hayyer Sb,

    Your are viewing the international scene during WWII with the benefit of a 20-20 hindsight. At the time, this was not the prime concern of the Indian leadership. For a long time even the US viewed it as an European war despite civilizational and cultural bonds with the British. In contrast, Bose vowed to fight the British govt. any which way he could. How do you think he would see it?

    Even after being expelled from the Presidency College for being involved in the Prof. Oaten affair in protesting against the sense of racial superiority, he said this,

    “I had rather a feeling of supreme satisfaction of joy that I had done the right thing, that I had stood up for our honour and self- respect and had sacrified for a noble cause.”

    You can criticize him for this ultra nationalism, but fascism is a little too much.

    Sidelined by Gandhi when he was actually more popular than him, what avenues were open to him? Unlike Jinnah, he couldn’t have organized a Hindu force, because, as you correctly say, they were already in the Congress fold. Also he had absolutely no appetite for the communal Hindu faction anyway. He could have organized the lone-wolf revolutionaries, but obviously that would be too little. So he went for the big picture, not with the benefit of our 20-20 hindsight.

    Let’s not forget Bose also had a detailed plan to organize the Pushtun warlords including the Faqir of Ipi to attack India from the western front. Should he be regarded an islamic fundamentalist as well?

    This is Bose in a letter to a friend H. Sarkar,

    “No body has really the right to interfere in anybody elses individual philosophy of life or speak against it but…. the basis of that philosophy has got to be sincere and true as Spencer’s Theory is – ‘He is free to think and act so long as he does not infringe on the equal freedom of any other individual”

    Finally these are his words in the Presidential address in the Maharashtra Provincial Conference in 1928,

    “If you want to make India really great we must build up a political democracy on the pedestal of a democratic society. Privileges based on birth, caste or creed should go, and equal opportunities should be thrown to all irrespective of caste, creed, or religion”

    Surely, these are no words of a fascist.

  138. no-communal

    But as I said to bciv earlier, let’s not discuss Bose and fascism on a thread about Jinnah and secularism.

  139. PEER SCHAMWHOREISCH RIDZVAUN AL-MURTAZA NAQVI-ALBUKHARI

    While this self-serving debate about and mostly OFF Jinnah (RA) is going on, on the other (not hidden) hand, I find reference to the phantom Middle Class a bit exaggerated.

    First let us broadly define MIDDLE CLASS. Is someone making $250000.oo per annum in USA middle class in Pakistan?

    It is fashionable for the Trendy Fringe to claim to be “Middle Class”, which they are not; they are Well-Off and Upper (I did not say First) Class feigning perverse deviation as a Defense Mechanism (to evade income-taxes and discover new hunting-grounds; to serve their OverLARDS while filling their own BigBig begging bowls under the table).

    If I were to guideline that anyone making between Rs 2 to 5 Lakhs a year is Middle Class. Then tell me how much Middle Class exists over here in Pakistan.

    QuaideAzam Mohammed Ali Jinnah was born in a middle class family, but became Very Affluent by his own striving for excellence.
    And, verily, he must be turning in his karachi (Ucccch!) Tomb sensing the rudderless debate going on and Made in Pakistan.

    Such debating over the web is successful, but only in one ‘respect’ – – The Pakistan Post Office is loosing income by leaps and bounds.

    Sirjee: PTH is the newfound abbatoir of Postage : Que Sera Sera!
    .
    PS: I am not married. I am not an Avis or Hertz L.L.B. or bureaucRAT. And my gross income is less than circa Rs 2 Lakhs a year. I have class (and thank God for that!) but I am not Middle Class. I am not a hypocrite. I, not unlike Jinnah, honestly practice what I profess, probe and preach.

  140. Chote Miyan

    NC,
    Fascism was still not an -ism in the 30s. At that time Hitler was still being proclaimed as the George Washington of Germany or Europe.

    Hayyer,
    I tried to borrow “The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian” because I have read that book in parts and so could comment on it at length, but I couldn’t find that masterpiece in the two main libraries here, and this is a liberal arts school. So, I got the next best choice, “The Continent of Circe”. As I said, do pass me some samples of his unmatched insight. Alternatively, we can go chapter by chapter of this book. Apart from some very shoddy history, it is full of errors, in the two chapters I have read. It is NOT a scholarly work by any stretch of imagination. Merely causing outrage for the sake of causing outrage is not a benchmark of an original thinker. Mark Twain caused outrage and so did Mencken, but they backed their criticism with nuanced reasoning. Chaudhari just latches on to some half baked assertions and then finds theories to support his stupid arguments.

    I am really shocked that his autobiography is given so much esteem. I guess I read that book after Kim so that might have been the reason for my disappointment. As a literary sketch it just felt like a styrofoam. What these critics found mischievous in his writing, I found downright silly. Added to that this imperial parrot repeatedly extrapolated his interaction with his few Bengali friends to sweeping generalizations about the “people” of India, a great example of which is seen in the following remark(your source):
    “the Hindu who is a boor in UP compared to the Muslim.”

    I am not sure on what basis he formed that judgment.

    I actually felt sorry for that guy when I read that book. I didn’t find a spec of that doughty “fearlessness” he was famous for. That caricature, I think, is a creation of his later followers. The language alternated between timidity and insufferable turgidity, and this idea that he was swimming against the tide fighting fearsome odds is just plain horse-manure. His much vaunted sallies against establishment were not brave rapier thrusts but pin pricks that irritate at best. I never called him a sycophant; that would be gross flattery. He reminds more of a court jester who was indulged for his limericks by his lord overmasters, the British. And I am not sure he mentioned the famine of 42 in great detail or the causes behind it. I have to check though.

    I do want, however, and I say this in all sincerity, for you to give instances of his originality and perspicacity. I am pretty sure there are some. I could quote the opposite side but then you would say that “I did not say that everything he wrote or said was original and perceptive. ”

    About your claim that Nehru almost got him arrested, here is what I got from a simple google search:
    “Chaudhuri wrote that besides the officials in the Ministries, the Indian Higher Commissioner in the U.K., V.K. Krishna Menon, had “strongly criticised” the Autobiography in public. And Menon was known to be a close friend of the Prime Minister. But Chaudhuri insisted that neither his views, nor any one else’s, would have caused Nehru to wreak a petty act of revenge. As he put it, “Jawaharlal Nehru was not the man to be roused to action over a book”. ”

    I mentioned elsewhere that I would write about my thoughts of “cliques” that generally had a visceral hatred of Gandhi, Nehru, and co. A hint of that is given by Guha and I feel quite smug about it:
    “And K.C. Chatterjee, of Bankipore, rejected the argument that Nehru could have no successor. There were two worthy candidates in Bengal itself: B.C. Roy, who “has shown a spirit of sacrifice in leaving his lucrative practice to lead the troubled and mutilated state of West Bengal”, and the “constructive” and eloquent leader of the parliamentary Opposition, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. ”

    Here is another sample of his insight:

    “In it he blamed the British correspondents in Dhaka before the military action for being “extremely unrealistic in playing up the possibility and even inevitability of the secession” and encouraging “theextremism of Muslim Bengalees.” He painted a pessimistic picture of the outcome of a freedom struggle by Benaglees. The only result that he could foresee was that the “Pakistan army would remain in East Bengal as an army of occupation in an enemy country. This it can do indefinitely.The worst is yet to come, for famine and disease will follow.” He concluded his letter to the editor with these words: “The only humane attitude to adopt now would be to refrain from saying or doing things which would encourage Bengalee resistance or give provocation to the Pakistan army. The outside cannot do anything more for the Bengalee Muslims, but it can at least avoid worsening the situation”. Nirad Chaudhury was of course wrong in his assessment of the prospects of the liberation war for Bangladesh, for Bangladesh, for Bangladesh emerged as a sovereign state before the year was over. That Nirad Chaudhury was embarrassed by his failure to asses the situation correctly is evident from the fact that in the sequel to his Autobiography, “Thy Hand, Great Anarch” (1987), he has chosen to omit any mention of this faux pas on his part.”

    The central issue with the men that you don’t tire writing encomiums about is that these were a sort of x-men, of the xerox variety, fancy ones though. They spent a lifetime mastering the rules so that they could beat the British at their own game. The problem is that when you are hanging at the coattails, the best view you have is of your own backside and the people snipping at it. By the time they got ready to have a go, the rules had changed and they were caught wrong footed. Of course, they can’t berate the British, so they chose the next easy target: the “native” rabble rouser, or the foul mouthed reactionary. That is also a natural reaction.

    “Any publisher will pay vast sums for original thought and expression.”

    And they do, at least for the expression if not for the original thought. Arundhati Roy and Pankaj Mishra are shining examples.

    I guess, I am done with your views about Gandhi.
    “Gandhi would have laboured to preserve both sentiments.”

    There is something to be said about contradictions and selective amnesia. Wasn’t Gandhi shot by a Hindu Communalist?

  141. Chote Miyan

    “When Jinnah did take the mullahs on board it was a tactical decision not a strategic one. ”

    Wow. Well if it was strategic, we wouldn’t be arguing here. If it was tactical, then why berate the likes of Advani. Their apologists also say the same thing.

    “Is it OK to use mullahs to unite but not to divide?”

    What kind of question is that?

    “When Jinnah did take the mullahs on board it was a tactical decision not a strategic one. ”

    and,

    “Jinnah is for me a tragic figure. Such towering potential, succumbing, bitter and frustrated with the Congress, to support the separatism that he had resisted most of his life.”

    Don’t you see any contradiction in those two statements? If we are in the business of assigning Shakespearean characters, there are a lot of candidates for the role of the tragic hero.

    “Jinnah’s use of communal elements does not make him a communal person.”

    Well, that exonerates Savarkar.

  142. Chote Miyan

    @PEER SCHAMWHOREISCH RIDZVAUN AL-MURTAZA NAQVI-ALBUKHARI
    November 11, 2010 at 4:08 am

    I agree with you and a correction. When I mentioned middle class, I didn’t include the people who could send their kids for undergraduate schooling in the US. That is not the definition of middle class in India.

  143. YLH

    I am frankly surprised. The Mullahs who are responsible for the ills of Pakistan are not the same as the few and far between who joined the movement. Mullahs by and large stuck with the Congress and every fanatical and bigoted Mullah in Pakistan today traces origin back to the same Mullahs who supported the Congress or at the very least opposed Jinnah.

    The Muslim mullahs who did support Jinnah or as chote miyan perversely puts its Jinnah used them were by and large BARELVI … They uare the same ones being blown to bits by the Taliban now.

    So get your facts and origins struaight and give Guandhi ji the credit for bringing Deoband into politics.

  144. Hayyer

    Chhote Mian:

    If you cannot see anything of value in NC there must be a huge difference of perception between you and me. I would have to write a dissertation on him to show you the value and I cannot obviously do that here on PTH. This is a thread on Jinnah and I should revert to my original resolve.

    It is said that Savarkar was an atheist. I have read atheistic compatriots on PTH who don’t let that mask their hatred for Muslims. I haven’t read much of Savarkar, but the occasional quote one comes across reveals much the same mentality. Can atheists be anti Muslim? Certainly, they can, even as they are not anti Hindu or anti Christian.
    Jinnah, on the other hand is not on record as far as I know of saying anything anti Hindu.

  145. amar

    to chote mian

    fascism exists since long – no matter how or when it was named. Just as electrons exist since long before they were recognized and named.

    When someone or something is regarded as uncriticizable and as ever-praiseworthy then it is fascism or fascism in the making.

    to hayyer

    Jinnah never said anything openly anti hindu because he knew too well that the hindu was the defender and the muslim the quisling – the hindu was (and still is) defending his homeland against the agents and quislings of an alien arabic imperialist ideology.

    to ylh

    If it was barelvi mullahs who sided with Jinnah then why has Pakistan gone into the hands of the devbandis? This is because the basic idea of Pakistan is a devbandi-type idea. It was a temporary contradiction that the devbandis did not join the Pakistan idea (because they wanted the whole of India to be back under the boot of islam, and not because of any love for hindus or Gandhi), whereas the barelvis should have opposed the Pakistan idea, since it rested on the slanderings and hatred against hindus. This temporary contradiction fell apart soon after 1947 and the Pakistan idea slipped out of the hands of the barelvis and went intot he hands of its rightful owners, the devbandis.

  146. YLH

    Amar.

    What I wrote is an undeniable historical fact …what you are writing is merely your ignorance.

    How deobandi Islam was used in the Afghan war is well known. Pakistan Army was deploying the most naked form of Gandhiism.

    Pakistan’s idea came from anti-deobandi forces …the Islamic modernists, Shias, Ahmadis and Barelvi Sunnis. So the question of Deobandis being rightful owners is Hindu ignorance.

    A clear example of this is the Indian Shah Bano case … The lawyer for Shah Bano was Daniyal Latifi – a stalwart of Jinnah’s Muslim League. Those opposing it were fascist bigots of Deoband supported by Congress Party… A continuing historical alliance.
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  147. amar

    to ylh

    Your disgust with the Congress party, even in its present day form, is fully shared by me. I am no fan of M K Gandhi either. In fact I have again again said that we ALL lost Jinnah due to unfortunate circumstances. But he too must be held responsible for his blunders of the last 11 years, or his last 13 months or his last 6 months.

    If Jinnah had taken the time to remove the doubts about himself and his aims in a clear final document (I had called it a “political testament” and you, in spite of being a lawyer, did not like that phrase), if he had clearly WRITTEN DOWN that he wants the hindu component in Pakistan to be restored with full dignity and human rights, etc. then Pakistan would not have gone down the ayub-CIA-zia-Taliban drain. This is what a statesman acts (has to act) like, this is where he failed us ALL.

  148. YLH

    Again you hate Congress because of your Hindu fascist views. I dislike Congress for entirely different reasons.

    I wonder why Iran and Algeria and other places went through the Islamisation process. Pakistan is not unique as a Muslim country and its problems with political Islam have to do with the global revival in 70s and 80s… It has nothing to do with the creation of Pakistan which was a modernist movement concerned with constitutional and political solutions not theocracy.

    Unless it is the view of some that Muslims should not have a majority any where, the whole issue becomes pointless.

  149. Perspective

    Jinnah, on the other hand is not on record as far as I know of saying anything anti Hindu.

    Depends on what anti-Hindu means. Jinnah has some extremely harsh words for Hindus. Now depending on your point of view, that could be justified criticism or it could be anti-Hindu.

  150. YLH

    Yeah ..none as brilliant as “I am a Hindu and therefore a true Indian”. Or “we shall cut off the heads of Muslims” etc. Or “musalman as a rule is a bully” etc.

    Jinnah’s denunciation was always of Caste Hindu leadership. On the other hand he always referred to the Hindu community as Great … on all occasions.

    Why don’t you quote this “anti-Hindu” statement…

  151. YLH

    Btw nothing Jinnah said as “criticism” even came close to or compared with what Dr. Ambedkar said about Hindus and their religion and about Muslims as well. Does that make Dr. Ambedkar anti-hindu as well as anti-Muslim?

  152. amar

    to ylh

    I don’t hate congress because I am hindu fascist or anything like that. Congress has often followed a two-steps-forward and one-to-three-steps-backward policy. A recently retired congress protegee said that the main thrust of the congress always was “retaining power by all means”. This is how REAL democracy unfortunately works. We will have to wait till all human beings become self-less spiritual beings till things improve.

    Jinnah did not have to say anything anti-hindu – that job had been delegated to others. Be it those in ML or to Dr. Ambedkar or the communists. Dr. Ambedkar’s criticism of hinduism was largely valid. About the others – they were just opportunists, tricksters or rogues in their own fashion.

    The islamization process has something to with the fact that islam makes false-sweet promises aplenty, and ignorant and suffering muslims believe that is their salvation. It is like a man sinking grasping at a straw. These false-sweet promises are also backed by a lot of money-dazzle, suppression of women (what many a muslim man longs for) and “you can blame the non-muslims to your heart’s content” propaganda.

  153. YLH

    On the contrary when a leaguer referred to Hindus and Jews as sons of shylock, Jinnah severely reprimanded him and had him withdraw his comments. So I think in a country that thrives on hunood yahood demonisation … this is what we want to emphasize.

  154. amar

    to ylh

    “…when a leaguer referred to Hindus and Jews as sons of shylock, Jinnah severely reprimanded him…”

    Was it only a leaguer who did that?
    What does the kuran say? And some ahadith?
    Did Jinnah also expose the kuran or hadith here in this context?
    Merely admonishing a M-leaguer was apparently not enough. The real source/cause of this leaguer’s remarks was elsewhere.

  155. YLH

    Quran also says Jews are the people of the book and that every people and every land is divinely guided.

    I didn’t know we were going to base modern day issues on the scripture.

  156. amar

    to ylh

    “Quran also says…”

    So you admit that this so-called holy book speaks with a forked tongue. No wonder those who wish to believe in it and guide their lives according to it are at each others’ throats. Always were and always shall be.
    Did Jinnah the lawyer think about that? Did he WRITE DOWN what he thought?

    If every land is divinely guided then where was the necessity for islam/arabs to come to India? Hindus did not go to Arabia to make hindus out of arabs. So this so-called holy kuran just plays with words and fools and misuses the ignorant. “Say one thing and do or incite another thing”.

    “I didn’t know we were going to base modern day issues on the scripture.”

    I hope not – I am fiercely against it. But are the muslims saying that by and large? Today it is not those in “Gandhi’s” land but in “Jinnah’s” that are destroying trust between human beings with suiciders and street gangs.

    Jinnah simply failed to make certain things clear in his last days. We are ALL paying a terrible price for that.

    I hope Jinnah too is forgotten and today’s Pakistan brings forth a real new honest free-thinking leader. That is where your brilliant Jinnah-oriented scholarship suffers a shipwreck and invites a scathing opposition even from pakistanis.

  157. YLH

    I don’t need guidance from a Hindu fascist now do I.
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  158. amar

    If you can’t take criticism then you call the critic a fascist. Your stubbornness outweighs that of your red-rag Gandhi. No one expects you to abandon Jinnah, you can keep shrieking in his name and bring more confusion upon your land. A man who became an opportunist and megalomaniac (in spite of knowing better) can never become a saviour for his land. Megalomania is a typical trend among muslims, especially their leaders. But their islamic education does not equip them with the wherewithalls for it. It is always easy to incite ignorant, hatefilled people nurtured on falsified stories of their own glory with false promises and slander against the others and use them for one’s own gloria – but to fufill these promises is then impossible and the society ends up as one of angry, frustrated, irrational zombies. And that is what Pakistan has in “purity”.

  159. YLH

    Read Nehru’s “Discovery of India”. I think it is page 428-432 that he discusses Jinnah (I might be wrong). Nehru says that the greatest strength of Jinnah was that he was able and that lure of office did not appeal to him.

    Nehru – it is well known- detested Jinnah. Yet even he admits that Jinnah was not an opportunist and was not motivated by personal gain or lure of office.

    So frankly I am sorry that it upsets you so much that I mention Jinnah. I will not stop…why don’t you stop trying to impose your views on me?

  160. Perspective

    Yes, some of Ambedkar would count as anti-Hindu.

  161. bciv

    @CM

    When I mentioned middle class, I didn’t include the people who could send their kids for undergraduate schooling in the US. That is not the definition of middle class in India.

    re. your friend who is the son/daughter of a PAF officer, a typical Pakistani forces officer cannot afford sending his child to university in the US. the middle class, in general, will not be able to do that without considerable effort and prioritising (and, often, luck too). members of the middle class with access to resources other than their main livelihood are the exception to the rule.

    the middle class, unlike the upper classes, have to work to make a living but they a) have a relatively secure livelihood (can almost take it for granted that they will have one) and b) need not count pennies. in pakistan, at least, the definition is slightly misleadingly altered where we think of the middle class as those just managing to make ends meet or able to hide well the fact that the ends don’t quite meet.

    as non-textbook definitions go, the one from a character amol palekar played is not bad. he said that if your kids greet you first thing every morning, you are middle class.

    an auto rickshaw driver’s son i used to play cricket with gave his subaltern take on it: if you need to be nice in order for others to be nice to you, you are middle class. if you are lower class, you dare not be anything but nice or be surprised at being taken for granted. the rich don’t care. little did my friend know that he was almost paraphrasing this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mYY1QGK0jQ (the british class system is of a different class, of course)

  162. YLH

    Chote miyan has his own shifting explanation.

    Pakistan’s middle class ranges from those who make 15000 Rupees a month to those who make 500000 a month.

    I am assuming that mutatis mutandis it is the same for India.

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  163. Perspective

    The non-peasant Muslims of Pakistan are not fit for democracy. If I say this, is this anti-Muslim? If it is not, then Jinnah was not anti-Hindu.

  164. YLH

    Ha! You say this all the time … Are you saying that you and your sister admit to being anti-Muslim.

    Jinnah said this about upper caste Hindus as a leader of a minority in United India…not as a leader of majority.

    You speak of non-peasant Muslims of Pakistan (and also peasant Muslims of Kerala) when many of them in Pakistan have risen from lower peasantry.

  165. no-communal

    @CM
    “I do want, however, and I say this in all sincerity, for you to give instances of his originality and perspicacity. I am pretty sure there are some.”

    There are none. I will give you one example of what there is. Hayyer Sb. refers to the fact that even many Hindu Bengalis don’t quite like the man, even though he was basically a Hindu Bengali chauvinist and a British Raj sycophant. Here is why.

    Some time before he passed away, N. C. Chaudhury wrote an article in the Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika where he listed ten greatest Bengalis of all time. To everyone’s surprise, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar wasn’t on that list.

    Now outsiders may have heard of Raja Ram Mohon Roy, but to a Bengali who understands the nuances of Bengal there is nobody quite like Vidyasagar. Just do a google or wikipedia search to see why. I mean this was a man about whom Tagore once said,

    “One wonders how God, in the process of producing forty million Bengalis, produced a man”

    Confronted by readers’ outrage, N. C. Chaudhury offered an explanation in a later article by saying that he did not include Vidyasagar in his list because even though he was a son of Bengali parents and was brought up with Bengali values, everything Vidyasagar did seemed so much influenced by Western culture. Thus, Chaudhury found Vidyasagar to be a Western concept camouflaged in a Bengali get up. This, coming from a man who dedicated his first book to the memory of the British empire,

    “To the memory of the British Empire in India,

    Which conferred subjecthood upon us,
    But withheld citizenship.
    To which yet every one of us threw out the challenge:
    “Civis Britannicus sum”
    Because all that was good and living within us
    Was made, shaped and quickened
    By the same British rule.”

    It is this sort of outrage Chaudhury revelled in that many Bengalis don’t quite like, even though some of us take quite a bit of hidden pleasure in his otherwise Hindu Bengali chauvinistic writings. His resentment towards Nehru, Gandhi and Congress has nothing to do with any perspicacious new idea. It has everything to do with his Bengali chauvinism, shared by many of us, and its decline by the gradual westward transfer of political center of gravity. And of course the Brits love him because as you very correctly said “He reminds more of a court jester who was indulged for his limericks by his lord overmasters, the British”.

    Let’s face it, N. C. Chaudhury the litterateur is puny compared to many other stalwarts of his time (post Tagore, this was the golden period of literature in Bengal). We Bengalis have a habit of vacuously intellectualizing from a high pedestal. No wonder Arundhati Roy is also a Bengali from her father’s side. Nirad Chaudhury in whatever little he wrote perfected the mindless, attention-grabbing, vacuous intellectualization to an art form.

  166. Chote Miyan

    NC,
    Thanks for this vital input and I must commend on your consistent attempt to get to the meat of the issue rather than waste time blowing bubbles. Though, you are quite wrong about Vidyasagar’s influence outside Bengal. The story about him missing a baraat procession while he was busy studying under a street lamp is among every mom’s list of stories to her children. There was quite a bit about him in Bihar Board textbooks.

  167. Chote Miyan

    Ylh,
    “Read Nehru’s “Discovery of India”. I think it is page 428-432 that he discusses Jinnah (I might be wrong)…
    Nehru – it is well known- detested Jinnah. Yet even he admits that Jinnah was not an opportunist and was not motivated by personal gain or lure of office. ”

    Jinnah’s probity has never been questioned, here or elsewhere. If you read more of Nehru’s views about Jinnah, I am sure you would not use the word, detest. It was a typical case of a young upstart muscling his way up. I just fail to understand why people don’t see it that way. And I must remind you, at no stage did Nehru ever fall back upon communal politics in his dealings with Jinnah. He shows genuine irritation as to why Congress should be labeled as a Hindu party.
    Once the partition was settled and Nehru ensconced in the throne he so vainly desired, he was unfailingly polite to Jinnah.

    “Chote miyan has his own shifting explanation.”

    Care to explain how?

    “A clear example of this is the Indian Shah Bano case … The lawyer for Shah Bano was Daniyal Latifi – a stalwart of Jinnah’s Muslim League. Those opposing it were fascist bigots of Deoband supported by Congress Party”

    I was quite impressed by your analysis of Shorish interview of Azad, and I don’t use it as a reference. Even if I do, I include a caveat. Therefore, it just amazes me that you would jump to such a simplistic conclusion here. Congress party’s crucial act, if I remember, came later, in overturning the judgment of SC. It was the job of Rajiv Gandhi and his clique, which included people like Arun Nehru, Arjun “chamcha” Singh, and probably MJ Akbar who sings a different tune nowadays. None of these gentlemen were Deobandis by any means. It was naked politics. That’s all. For an outside person, a Mullah is a Mullah. You didn’t expect Hindus to go up to someone chanting, “Ladke lenge Pakistan…” and other stuff and ask,”Hey are you a barelvi or a Ahl-e-Hadith? Oh, Barelvi? You are fine, mate!”
    Half of my village population is Muslim, and I didn’t know they were Barelvi till I moved to Delhi and heard stories and came back to inquire. I am not condoning anyone’s actions but try seeing it from others perspective too.

  168. Chote Miyan

    Hayyer,
    I am just criticizing your claim that he was the 20th century most incisive commentator of Indian people, etc. That’s all. I am sure he has made some incisive remarks.

  169. YLH

    But surely you can appreciate the difference between worshippers killed at Data sb’s (who were all Barelvi) and Taliban (who are all Deobandi)?

    If that is your position you shouldn’t differentiate between Sufis and other Muslims…because a Sufi in a South Asian sense is a Barelvi Sunni and that is what makes a Sufi liberal as opposed to a straitjacket variety.
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  170. Hayyer

    non communal and Chhote Mian:

    Which conferred subjecthood upon us,
    But withheld citizenship.
    To which yet every one of us threw out the challenge:
    “Civis Britannicus sum”
    Because all that was good and living within us
    Was made, shaped and quickened
    By the same British rule.”

    There is a lot of truth in this, Macaulite or not. Britian made Indians out of us even as it withheld citizenship.
    His analysis of Gandhi and Nehru upsets Indians because it is accurate, his Bengali chauvinism notwithstanding. Amartya Sen displays ample amounts of Bengali chauvinism, but no one notices that.
    “And of course the Brits love him because as you very correctly said “He reminds more of a court jester who was indulged for his limericks by his lord overmasters, the British”.

    Talk of prophets without honour in their own country.

    “Nirad Chaudhury in whatever little he wrote perfected the mindless, attention-grabbing, vacuous intellectualization to an art form.”

    Attention grabbing yes, mindless and vacuous intellectualization, no. Nirad Chaudhury is not being discussed as a poet or novelist but for his social and political commentary.

    “I am just criticizing your claim that he was the 20th century most incisive commentator of Indian people, etc. That’s all. I am sure he has made some incisive remarks.”

    If you can name one better let’s hear of him.

    I don’t want to take up space on Nirad Chaudhuri on a Jinnah thread. I may one day write a piece on his perspicacity and originality and post it somewhere.
    Please note that I have am not an uncritical admirer. He was vain, often boastful and sometimes ludicrous. But he had much to be vain about and he had more intellectual substance than Nehru Gandhi and Bose combined.

  171. YLH

    “one day write a piece on his perspicacity and originality and post it somewhere.”

    I read “Thy hand great anarch” at Alexander Library at Rutgers University and was really impressed.

    We would love to publish your piece on Nirad Chaudhry…I’ve also read Khushwant Singh’s sketch…

  172. no-communal

    Hayyer

    “There is a lot of truth in this, Macaulite or not.”

    I hope you know why N. C. Chaudhury is saying this. This is nothing new or original from a typical upper class Bengali Hindu. An average upper class Bengali Hindu, especially from that generation and earlier, is almost by definition pro-British for one and one reason only: they got rid of Muslim rule.

    And Nirad Chaudhury was an average Bengali upper caste Hindu whose father was a lawyer; so he was no exception. I am surprised you find value in the utmost banality of this attitude.

    “His analysis of Gandhi and Nehru upsets Indians because it is accurate, his Bengali chauvinism notwithstanding. Amartya Sen displays ample amounts of Bengali chauvinism, but no one notices that.”

    Amartya Sen has substance. He backs up his statements with facts, figures, and analysis. Chaudhury made fantastic statements that pretty much anybody can make, and he does not back them up. There is only one reason why he made them though. He always wanted to be a historian. But it was beyond him. By the age of 50, he was considered a failure, by himself. It was at this time he realized he would write history after all, without doing any research. Thus came the idea of an “autobiography” full of provocative statements, which in reality anybody with sufficient hankering for fame could make .

    Amartya Sen and Chaudhury are in two different leagues.

    “Attention grabbing yes, mindless and vacuous intellectualization, no. Nirad Chaudhury is not being discussed as a poet or novelist but for his social and political commentary.”

    There is nothing I have seen which is more mindless and vacuous. BTW CM and I have given at least 10 examples of vacuousness of NC. None have been refuted so far. If you have the appetite I can produce more. We are still waiting for something really original and incisive that came out of his pen. And please no usual Gandhi, Nehru, Congress bashing, colonial power loving, inanities that pass off as incisive commentary.

    “If you can name one better let’s hear of him.”

    You mean those who didn’t take the easy route of provocative controversial theories to name and fame and instead wrote some real commentary which they showed the courtesy of backing up ?With due respect, how many do you want?

    “But he had much to be vain about and he had more intellectual substance than Nehru Gandhi and Bose combined.”

    Now this is really over the top and slightly worrying as well!

  173. amar

    Suffice it to say Jinnah was a secular person to begin with and then destroyed his own secularism, dignity, trustworthiness, human-ness and self-respect by joining the islam-pasand (“We muslims are best and most innocent and noble human beings but have been ill-treated by the evil non-muslims”) faction – for whatever reason. These reasons are of interest only to those who still wish to worship him and re-make a messias out of him. But time and tide wait for no man. The more you try to resurrect him the more you expose his end-time depravity. Why not say an “RIP” on him and let him be? How does a human being behave when his end, the end of his ambitions and lies, the end of his opportunisms and opportunities, is near? That is decisive. This is where Jinnah proved to be a minion and a failure – neither a giant nor a statesman.

  174. bciv

    @CM

    “Half of my village population is Muslim, and I didn’t know they were Barelvi till I moved to Delhi and heard stories and came back to inquire.”

    now, if you had gone on to think them the same as taliban then, as your neighbours, they would have not only been justified in feeling offended but also in giving you your own advice:
    “I am not condoning anyone’s actions but try seeing it from others perspective too.”

    in the context of what some have tried to put forth here, linking taliban to jinnah would have been worse than ignorance about half your village before jumping to conclusions, and even less excusable.

  175. bciv

    … the barelvi pirs being mobilized in the heat of electioneering in the punjab was local AIML pols acting in direct response to congress mobilizing the deobandis.

  176. bciv

    @YLH

    “Chote miyan has his own shifting explanation”

    lucky he didn’t meet prince harry in his khakis, or he might have thought that, just like the pakistani armed forces, british military officers too are not middle class.

  177. Hayyer

    no-communal:

    The British got rid of Muslim rule in Bengal but not in the whole subcontinent. India was wrested from the Muslims, the Maharathas and the Sikhs. In Punjab it was the Muslims who would have been grateful for being rid of the Sikhs. Hindu sentiment is uniformly against NC.

    “Amartya Sen has substance.”

    Probably, but not as much as NC.

    “He backs up his statements with facts, figures, and analysis. Chaudhury made fantastic statements that pretty much anybody can make, and he does not back them up.”

    The route of facts figures and analysis is taken by the academic. Great thinkers don’t do that sort of thing.
    Now I am not comparing NC to the great thinkers of Western Civilization, so don’t please excuse me of going over the top again, but great Indian thinkers of the past and 19th centuries specialized in the kind of output that you make NC guilty of. Only, NC was the more incisive.

    “Thus came the idea of an “autobiography” full of provocative statements, which in reality anybody with sufficient hankering for fame could make .”

    It is true that anybody can make provocative statements. We have the RSS chief Sudarshan and young Varun Gandhi doing that for us, and all of mullahdom.

    “Amartya Sen and Chaudhury are in two different leagues.”

    They certainly are, both Bangals from East Bengal with huge cranial capacity, but of the two NC is greatly the superior.

    “BTW CM and I have given at least 10 examples of vacuousness of NC. None have been refuted so far. If you have the appetite I can produce more.”

    Of course you can. What of it. Of his huge fund of ideas some are definitely cranky and some plain wrong. What of it? In comparison to say Gandhi or Nehru, two more prolific Indians he had far more original vision.

    “We are still waiting for something really original and incisive that came out of his pen. And please no usual Gandhi, Nehru, Congress bashing, colonial power loving, inanities that pass off as incisive commentary.”

    For that you will have to wait for the moment when I get down to writing something on him. This is not the appropriate place.

    “You mean those who didn’t take the easy route of provocative controversial theories to name and fame and instead wrote some real commentary which they showed the courtesy of backing up ?With due respect, how many do you want?”

    Provocative writing is for that reason alone not to be criticized. NC was not an academic, quoting sources to defend his thesis before an examination board. He was not working towards a Ph.D, anymore than, say, Vivekananda or Aurobinda Ghosh when they penned their thoughts. Some might consider those two gents to be over the top, yet millions of Indians revere them.

    “Now this is really over the top and slightly worrying as well!”

    It shouldn’t worry anyone. My views can’t harm you. What is your view on the following statement;
    ‘My countrymen, give me blood and I will give you freedom.’ Would you say it is over the top?

    I think we should stop wasting space on PTH’s servers. If you would like to continue the discussion you may obtain my address and write to me. I will then go back to my copies of NC and send you examples of why I think well of him.

  178. Chote Miyan

    Hayyer,
    For all the talk of Nirad’s incisive commentary or original vision(another hyperbole), you still haven’t come up with any samples. Surely, if you call him 20th century’s greatest commentator, or whatever, you would come up with at least one example without referring to your notes. For calling someone a prophet, you have done precious little to defend him. If an amateur(and that is a stretch) like me can, without great effort, blow holes in this gentleman’s arguments, I am not surprised why he is so lampooned.

    You don’t call a shoddy product “greatest” just because it may be the only one in the market. There are certain metrics for that measurement. As for examples, you could start with Sen’s “The Argumentative Indian”. How about Ambedkar? If you wish, I can throw in a few others. There is a whole literature available if you allow for writings in native languages.

    “The route of facts figures and analysis is taken by the academic. Great thinkers don’t do that sort of thing.”

    That is a extremely tardy argument.

    “I think we should stop wasting space on PTH’s servers.”

    That is a weak excuse to chicken out, I am afraid. Now that YLH has expressed his admiration for Nirad’s work, you have an audience. My intention is not to put you on the spot but I need that to articulate my views about Jinnah too. Trust me, it’s quite relevant. Actually, I am glad you brought up Nirad initially.

  179. Chote Miyan

    bciv,
    What’s your point? Do you want me to ask for that guy’s dad tax returns or what? It’s you guys who make such a hai-tauba about your armed forces cornering all the goodies. Stop being silly.

  180. YLH

    Chote miyan read Kristoff’s article in New York Times.

  181. Chote Miyan

    bciv,
    “linking taliban to jinnah would have been worse than ignorance about half your village”

    Hello! When did I do that?

  182. Chote Miyan

    Ylh,
    Excellent article and my heartfelt congratulations for a welcome change. I also know about the new politician(I forget his name) who is in his mid 30s and comes not from feudal or elite class but from poor working class and is making great waves. I hope you encourage guys like that to come forward and not lampoon him on his lack of “western” education as some of the entrenched elite do in out country.

    Btw, what has it to do with my point?

  183. no-communal

    Hayyer Sb.,

    I exactly know why you and some others love this man’s views on nationalism, British raj and Gandhi. I absolutely fail to see, however, what they see as original in them. These are views that have been known all along. Frankly these are the views an upper caste Hindu Bengali child grows up with at home. It is for this reason that I find absolutely nothing original in them, other than the truly innovative idea of selling them to the Brits with an English book on one hand and a begging bowl on the other. His laudatory remarks on Jinnah, for which he is popular in some Pakistani circles, were nothing original either. He wrote that book in 1988. Heck, as far as I remember by that time there was even a Bengali book “Jinnah, Pakistan, Notun Bhabna” or something, which translates as “Jinnah, Pakistan, New Thoughts” (I forget the name of the author). And please no tears for his “poverty” as described in the obituaries in the western press. He was the son of a upper caste Hindu lawyer and a municipal employee.

    I hope you know NC tried desperately to find a British publisher for his book full of Raj sycophancy and anti nationalism so it would receive an appreciative audience. And sure enough the first person to publicly like the book was Winston Churchill, the same prime minister who was directly responsible for the death of 3 crore Bengalis during WWII. This I call ‘with begging bowl on hand’.

    As NYTimes describes it, NC’s “literary” motivation comes from the fact that,

    “He was not pleased with the rise of Indian nationalism or the imminent withdrawal of the British from the subcontinent it had ruled
    since 1757. He realized that both developments would put an end to the time of the Babus, his fellow intellectual Bengalis centered in Calcutta who had reached out to European civilization and who he thought should be the political and cultural rulers of modern India.”

    Frankly this is just laughable to a non-Bengali reader of his book, and I am absolutely ashamed before my friends that NC has some stature in Calcutta.

    On the news of the imminent grant of independence, a number of Bengali Judges petitioned for British citizenship “for fear of anarchy”. The lord masters obliged them and they gleefully emigrated abroad. NC represents that mindset. I and many Bengalis today find absolutely nothing original in that solicitous suppliant mindset.

    As the introduction of his book goes

    “India had been conquered by the British, exploited by them, ruled by them by the strategy
    of alienating its religious communities from each other (“divide and rule”),… now that epoch was over, India could look forward to a future of freedom, equality, and prosperity. Chaudhuri disagreed on almost every count.”

    His disagreements on these do not make him an original thinker (anybody can predict doom), they
    make the rest of the book senile babbling to say the least.

    Frankly, I find the man absolutely abhorrent, the very antithesis of what I know to be good, original, and praiseworthy.

    “…He was not working towards a Ph.D, anymore than, say, Vivekananda or Aurobinda Ghosh when they penned their thoughts. Some might consider those two gents to be over the top, yet millions of Indians revere them.

    “Now this is really over the top and slightly worrying as well!”

    It shouldn’t worry anyone. My views can’t harm you…”

    I am not worried about any harm being done. But there must also be sanity.

    Finally, I hope before you mentioned Ph.D you knew that Nirad Chaudhury flunked his MA in History from Calcutta University. Now, there lies his true, unappreciated, genius!!

  184. Hayyer

    Chhote Mian:

    For all the talk of Nirad’s incisive commentary or original vision(another hyperbole), you still haven’t come up with any samples. Surely, if you call him 20th century’s greatest commentator, or whatever, you would come up with at least one example without referring to your notes. For calling someone a prophet, you have done precious little to defend him. If an amateur(and that is a stretch) like me can, without great effort, blow holes in this gentleman’s arguments, I am not surprised why he is so lampooned.

    You don’t call a shoddy product “greatest” just because it may be the only one in the market. There are certain metrics for that measurement. As for examples, you could start with Sen’s “The Argumentative Indian”. How about Ambedkar? If you wish, I can throw in a few others. There is a whole literature available if you allow for writings in native languages.

    “The route of facts figures and analysis is taken by the academic. Great thinkers don’t do that sort of thing.”

    That is a extremely tardy argument.

    “I think we should stop wasting space on PTH’s servers.”

    That is a weak excuse to chicken out, I am afraid. Now that YLH has expressed his admiration for Nirad’s work, you have an audience. My intention is not to put you on the spot but I need that to articulate my views about Jinnah too. Trust me, it’s quite relevant. Actually, I am glad you brought up Nirad initially.

    My dear chhote mian, I never chicken out. I must only reiterate that I wont discuss NC here- at length that is. I don’t see the holes you claim to have blown-though you have highlighted your prejudices. Those (ten? per n-c) inconsistencies only show up your biases. NC is not lampooned by anyone who has not bought into the modern Indian discourse. To Indian uber nationalists of course NC is anathema.

    No, I haven’t come up with any samples of his originality-and I have explained why I haven’t. NC’s ad-hoc commentary swept very wide. It is impossible, on a forum like this, to discuss his comprehensive grasp of India and of Hindu society. You and n-c believe that a five minute nit picking debate can undermine him and demolish the superstructure that could be created on his work.
    It is true that NC did not formulate a comprehensive theory of India. His books are mostly personal observation, and commentary. But it is a very acute observation. Modern India, obsessed with growth and basking in the adulation of the western media, attendant upon its courting by the sole super power should pay more attention to the rot within that economic growth conceals. NC saw deeper and more presciently of what most Indians are happy to be ignorant.

  185. no-communal

    I mean flunking in History?? That surely is the feat of a genius!!!

  186. Hayyer

    no-communal:

    I cannot imagine how you know my views exactly.
    Yes I know NC flunked the MA. But he had topped Calcutta University, then India’s premier university in his BA. Why he flunked his MA, NC does not tell us. Maybe it was a failed love affair.

    The rest of your piece is somewhat ad hominem. I rather liked that last comment about my sanity. If it were China or the Gulag you would surely have NC (and myself I suppose) put into an institution. If NC shames you we can hardly have a rational discussion. All the more reason not to discuss it in this forum.

    I omitted to put chotte miyan’s comments in quotes in my previous post. I apologize for that.

  187. Chote Miyan

    Hayyer Sb,
    It makes me sad that you don’t understand the youth of your own country. NC and I come from different parts of our country, both fiercely proud of our heritage(in my case, a bit less so) but we have found a common ground. You are grossly wrong in assuming that we are uber nationalists unmindful of the problems faced by our country. What we object is off-the-rack scholarship of dubious authenticity. It is the same reason why we feel embarrassed about pathetic workmanship at the CWG or similar bungling, both, if I may remind you, a gift of your generation. Nirad was too late in the 50s and by 90s he was a living fossil.

    I wanted to wait for your commentary before laying out my arguments. Regrettably, NC has let the cat out of the bag earlier than expected:

    “He realized that both developments would put an end to the time of the Babus, his fellow intellectual Bengalis centered in Calcutta who had reached out to European civilization and who he thought should be the political and cultural rulers of modern India.”

    That is where the problem lies.

    As for holes in the argument, give me a few hours later tonight. It requires a fair bit of typing. I gave you an appetizer.

  188. Chote Miyan

    I missed this earlier remark. My apologies.

    “It is said that Savarkar was an atheist…. I have read atheistic compatriots on PTH who don’t let that mask their hatred for Muslims. I haven’t read much of Savarkar, but the occasional quote one comes across reveals much the same mentality…. ”

    and

    “Jinnah, on the other hand is not on record as far as I know of saying anything anti Hindu.”

    Absolutely correct. And so, pray tell me, who is more culpable?

  189. no-communal

    @Hayyer
    “I rather liked that last comment about my sanity. If it were China or the Gulag you would surely have NC (and myself I suppose) put into an institution.”

    The sanity comment was directed to the comparison of NC with Gandhi, Nehru, and Bose put together (BTW, how about Jinnah, if we include him as well, did NC have a better intellect than the quartet)? The question is how, precisely, you figured that out.

    About you I have the highest regard. About NC, none. I have grown up around those characters. I still see them around here. The kind that proudly proclaim “India is full of thieves”, “Since the British left…” etc. and declare doom and gloom, as if they are making some prophetic announcement sitting in their airconditioned homes. And no, I am not a uber nationalist by any stretch, but I do revere Vidyasagar.

  190. YLH

    I read about Vidaysagar and wow …very impressive.

    The difference between Pakistan and India as well as Muslims and Hindus is that for one Sir Syed Ahmed Khan you have many Vidaysagars and of significantly better quality.

  191. Chote Miyan

    Nirad Babu’s work, so far as I have read it, reminds me of an old Samuel Johnson quote:

    “Your manuscript is both good and original. But the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.”

  192. Chote Miyan

    Ylh,
    The difference is also that you don’t bracket Sir Syed Ahmad Khan with the likes of Maududi. We do that, and with unfailing regularity.

  193. YLH

    Don’t know what to make of that comment but it is unfortunate if you actually do.

  194. bciv

    @CM

    Do you want me to ask for that guy’s dad tax returns or what?

    why wouldn’t you just use some common sense instead? even the kuwaiti armed forces personnel are middle class. but then you think even the indian army is no longer middle class after news of some financial scam!

    Hello! When did I do that?

    all you had to do was read what i had actually written instead of the edited version you wanted to quote: “in the context of what some have tried to put forth here linking taliban to jinnah would have been worse than ignorance about half your village”.

  195. Hayyer

    Chhote Mian and no-communal:

    “It makes me sad that you don’t understand the youth of your own country. NC and I come from different parts of our country, both fiercely proud of our heritage(in my case, a bit less so) but we have found a common ground. You are grossly wrong in assuming that we are uber nationalists unmindful of the problems faced by our country. What we object is off-the-rack scholarship of dubious authenticity. It is the same reason why we feel embarrassed about pathetic workmanship at the CWG or similar bungling, both, if I may remind you, a gift of your generation. Nirad was too late in the 50s and by 90s he was a living fossil.”

    I haven’t followed this shift to the generation gap. What does youth or fierce pride have to do with our discussion? If your youth can excuse Gandhi it can excuse NC. Fierce pride is a dangerous emotion and prevents rational discussion.

    Also, in a discussion on Jinnah how do you jump to blaming me for the Commonwealth games mess up. I wasn’t involved. And on the subject of youth may I say, without at all being comparative, that young people in politics, the civil services and even sports start out these days with dollars signs in their eyes. I can answer for myself not my whole age cohort. How about you?

    {I missed this earlier remark. My apologies.

    “It is said that Savarkar was an atheist…. I have read atheistic compatriots on PTH who don’t let that mask their hatred for Muslims. I haven’t read much of Savarkar, but the occasional quote one comes across reveals much the same mentality…. ”

    and

    “Jinnah, on the other hand is not on record as far as I know of saying anything anti Hindu.”

    Absolutely correct. And so, pray tell me, who is more culpable?}

    Culpable of what?

    “The sanity comment was directed to the comparison of NC with Gandhi, Nehru, and Bose put together (BTW, how about Jinnah, if we include him as well, did NC have a better intellect than the quartet)? The question is how, precisely, you figured that out.”

    Let us just say that I have my methods.

    Thank you for not thinking me fit for committal proceedings. NC cultivated his eccentricity to the point of caricature, especially his imitation of the upper class Englishmen, showing off familiarity with good wine, with French and western classical music. But he was emphatically not the kind of character who… “proudly proclaim “India is full of thieves”, “Since the British left…” etc. and declare doom and gloom, as if they are making some prophetic announcement sitting in their airconditioned homes.” That is to misread him completely. NC did not live in air-conditioned homes, and he had genuine vatic ability.

    I have no quarrel with you at all about Vidyasagar. He was a great reformer. But I shall not discuss NC anymore on this thread.

  196. hindu militant

    @YLH,
    You dont need guidance from a hindu fascist? Well, it is actually Islamofascism, (a term popularised by george w. bush) and it is hindu nazism. Since most right wing hindus actually admire hitler.
    Hindu nazism is the ONLY answer to Islamofascism.

  197. Prasad

    Thank God. Hindu Nazism is non existent. We dont need Hitlers in our lives

  198. amar

    Some hindu rightists admire Hitler out of ignorance or because he made Germany “great” (so their primitive and ill-informed viewpoint).

    As regards hindu fascism – it is clearly a belated, mostly silly, ill-organized and weak reaction to the successes of islamic fascism and imperialism of the past 1400 years. It is also called the semitization of hinduism by the leftist press in India. Hindu religions are actually inherently anti-fascist because of their inner disunity, inequality and the caste system and polytheism.

    Nazi stands for Nationalsozialismus. I dont think any hindu rightist is a socialist. Not even for tactical reasons (like Hitler was).

  199. YLH

    Due to a problem with my track ball I am unable to browse the internet … However let me state unequivocally: I DID NOT POST THE RESIGNATION AS CO-EDITOR.

    I have a commitment to Raza bhai and given that he has always stood by … I will not abandon ship the first sign of trouble. Infact Raza Rumi would have to kick me out to get rid of me.

    Yasser

  200. Bade Miyan

    Oh! Dang! I take my statement back. I knew you wouldn’t make the same mistake that Jinnah made when he left the congress…

  201. YLH

    Jinnah left the Congress after trying long and hard to keep it together and after a third party was introduced who acted like he founded the Congress.

  202. FAKE YLH

    i had my fun , ylh. do you think it was a coincidence that you couldnt browse the net ? We indian software walas can do things…..

  203. YLH

    Really I had no idea the dirt on my track ball is Indian.

  204. Pingback: Did Jinnah Want Pakistan? « Pak Tea House