The dismissal of BJP’s veteran leader Jaswant Singh, who held three important portfolios of Defence, Finance and External Affairs, is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in this party-out-of-power. This shows that the BJP’s sharp slide from the constantly claimed moral high ground continues. The party appeared strong and united when the winds were favourable and benefits of being a ruling party were available to it in abundance. But now it is dogged by internal wrangles, feuds and personality clashes and therefore is in pitiable disarray. This phenomenon was sadly seen in the other national party Congress and other regional parties when they were out of power. It is a sad comment on our democracy that parties don’t get strength from their ideologies as much as they get from power.
BJP stance is that Jaswant’s book Jinnah: India-Partition, Independence has hit at its core belief which is based on enmity towards Muslims and anything related to Muslims. This also shows that having lost power, and without any hope of grabbing it soon, it is utterly desperate and despondent.
Jaswant’s book has laid bare, once again, what has been already known to serious students of Indian independence and partition, that Jinnah was not the only person responsible for separation of a part of India. Indian National Congress and its towering leaders Nehru and Patel have to equally share the blame for it. And to be fair to them they had their own compulsions as gaining of independence was not possible unless they accepted partition. They were in no mood to delay it any further.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was staunch supporter of United India. He thought that separation of a part of India would be detrimental not only to India but to the larger and long term interests of Indian Muslims. He did his best to avoid the impending tragedy but had to yield to Nehru and Patel.
Now many Muslims also in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh feel and even articulate that it was in the interest of the Hindutvawadis of that period to divide the numerically strong Muslim community into two parts, which subsequently got divided in three parts after the creation of Bangladesh. If you take the three countries as one, you will find that India’s 18 crore, Pakistan’s 17 crore and Bangladesh’s 15 crore Muslims, put together 50 crore strong, would have been in a stronger position to safeguard their interests and serve the larger interests of the whole country and its people. The present day Hindutva supporters do not hesitate to say, of course in private talks, that creation of Pakistan was a welcome riddance from Muslim segment of India as the position and number of Muslims was a hurdle in the realisation of their dream of Hindu Rashtra.
One important lesson history teaches is: We cannot undo what history has done. Now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are solid realities. Their leaders and citizens must learn that their salvation lies in cooperation and reconciliation. To achieve this continuous efforts for conflict resolution and narrowing of differences is a must.
Let the thinking people of these three countries concentrate in building the bridges of understanding and cooperation among the peoples and governments of the three independent countries, which are destined to be closest neighbours and had been parts of the same body and share common history and culture.