Fresh look at history
Sir ' The way L.K. Advani was forced to resign for making a historically true statement about Pakistan's founder is a vindication of Pakistan's long-standing dispute with India. If anything, it proves where the hostility and sabre-rattling originates from. What concerns me is the way in which Jinnah is being dragged into a carnival of rash revisionism again ' first by the Pakistanis who dress him as an Islamic fundamentalist, and now by the Indians who have made him out to be an opportunist politician. The fact is that for a major part of his life, Jinnah was a devoted Indian nationalist. Whatever reason compelled him to advocate a separate homeland for Muslims, it was certainly not for the implementation of an Islamic state, because that goes against the grain of his demand for Pakistan. While Jinnah made equality, justice and fair play sacred, it was Gandhi's saintliness that caused secularism to rally on religious lines.
Aisha Sarwari, Lahore
Sir ' Rudrangshu Mukherjee's 'Was Jinnah secular' (June 8), makes it clear that L.K. Advani's statement about Mohammed Ali Jinnah during his visit to Pakistan was not misplaced. The Quaid-e-Azam was an ardent believer in the freedom of religious expression and envisioned Pakistan as a multi-cultural, multi-religious modern state. The fact that Pakistan went down the path of Islamization is owing to the homogenization efforts of leaders who followed him. Where the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and other members of the sangh parivar have a point is when it comes to Jinnah's public facade ' his championing of the Muslim cause. Historical research leaves no doubt that Jinnah used the Muslim card to further his electoral prospects.
Aruni Mukherjee, Coventry, UK
Sir ' The editorial, 'Parivar police' (June 8), makes a definite distinction between Jinnah and Advani. While the former was secular in thought and bearing in the beginning and gradually changed colour to suit his personal ends, the latter started off being a bigot and has tried to turn 'secular' in the evening of his life, albeit for the same reason. Rudrangshu Mukherjee's 'Was Jinnah secular' was informative about Jinnah's personality. There is no doubt however, and Mukherjee states it clearly, that Jinnah did not follow a secular path to Pakistan. His address to the Pakistan constituent assembly on August 11, 1947 should be seen in this perspective. Jinnah proposed for no discrimination and no distinction between one community and another. But this was a pledge largely on paper. History bears witness to the bloodshed for which Jinnah's 'secularlism' was responsible.
Jang Bahadur Singh,
Sir ' Along with Jinnah, the roles of two other leading lights of India's politics need to be highlighted. They tacitly backed Jinnah's two-nation configuration for advancing their own political interests. They are Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Our standard practice of targeting Jinnah, Veer Savarkar, M.S. Golwalkar, Louis Mountbatten et al as the perpetrators of Partition while treating Gandhi and Nehru as angels needs some modification. Nehru was as much power hungry as Jinnah, and Gandhi too has a lot to answer for. Gandhi was fully aware that Partition would set off a turmoil, especially after a communally turbulent 1946. Yet he did nothing to stop this tragedy. To him, Nehru's interests overshadowed those of the country. Nehru had to become the first prime minister of India, which is why Subhas Chandra Bose was bundled out of the scene. But Nehru's ambition could be fulfilled only by humouring Jinnah, who wanted his share of the cake. Jinnah, reportedly, had agreed to drop his demand for Partition provided he was made free India's first prime minister, but this was unacceptable to both Gandhi and Nehru. If Gandhi was truly against Partition ' as we are made to believe ' what prevented him from adopting his usual ploy of fasting unto death'
Jayanta Kumar Dutt, Calcutta
Sir ' How can Jinnah be ever anointed as an ambassador of 'Hindu-Muslim' unity' His call for a direct action day resulted in one of the worst riots in the history of India.
Soham Gupta, Calcutta
Sir ' After having read Jinnah's address to the Pakistan constituent assembly on August 11, 1947, no one can deny his secular vision for the nation that was going to be born. However, the fine prints of history show that the two nations were born not out of secular thoughts, but of the intolerance of the national leaders. The history we know may be incorrect in many ways. Have we ever asked ourselves why so many talented men drifted away from Gandhi (Jinnah, Subhas Bose, Shyama Prosad Mookerji, Sardar Patel to name a few)' Advani has ushered in a change in historical perspective. We should welcome it.
S.K. Mandal, Calcutta
Sir ' Jinnah's August 11 speech clearly spells out his secular vision. He expected Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India to treat religion as a personal matter and keep it out of politics. Alas, this has not happened, thanks to mullahs and sants.
Saroj Kumar Mehera,
Sir ' Jinnah was a flawed visionary. He failed to imbibe the culture of India altogether. How did he assume that the bonhomie between Muslims and Hindus, who had lived together for more than six centuries, would come to an end in free India'
Arvind K. Pandey, Allahabad
Sir ' Jinnah had once promised the king of Jaisalmer, who was in two minds about joining Pakistan, that he would agree to whatever terms the ruler dictated. Jaisalmer stayed back. Had it joined Pakistan, its identity as a Rajput state, which had survived the sultanate and the Mughal era, would have been erased forever. Jinnah may have been a secularist in private, but when it came to his public face, he was the leader of millions of communal Muslims who egged on for a partition.
Udita Agrawal, Delhi