The book “Jinnah:India-Partition-Independence” writtenby Jaswant Singh, who was the Indian Foreign Minister of BJP( Bhartiye JantaParty) Government, but was eliminated from the membership of BJP as apunishment for writing book to correct the opinions of Indians about MuhammadAli Jinnah.
The history of Indian freedom movement during the twentieth centuryis explored in this book. It contains ten chapters and all chapters give riseto the criticism on India and portraythe political sketch of Jinnah, his role in Hindu-Muslim unity and his defendfor Muslims’ rights as well as presentation of ideology of Pakistan. The authorconsiders Jinnah not only the Quaid-e-Azam of Pakistan but also of entire SouthAsia. He tries to clear the false perception of many people who consider Jinnahas a villain of India partition. Simply it can be said that this book is thebest source for one who wants to know about the character of Jinnah. Brieflythis book deals with the answers of following questions:· What was the reasonbehind the division of India? · Who was blamed forthis act? · Who was actuallyresponsible for this division?· Why only Muslims of subcontinent were fightingfor freedom? The author reveals where and when Two Nations Theoryoriginated and how this revolution was obvious when a hindu became Muslim. The inspiration of writing on Jinnah in author’s mind was during touring Minar-e-Pakistan, when he realized thatthere is no biography of Jinnah written by any Indian Political figure.
So in2004 he started work on his personality and in 2009 he concluded his views in taskof book. Thefirst chapter titled ‘India-Islam-Nationhood’ dealswith the Muslim’srise and fall in India and their crisesthey faced. He focused on the nourishment of Islam that was not an easy taskwhile living in India. The text briefly analyses the conditionsof Muslim politics and rise of Muslim exceptionalism on the basis of Two Nation Theory till August 14,1947.
Thesecond chapter, titled ‘Jenabhai to Jinnah: the Journey’ exploresJinnah’s early days, his schooling inIndia, his advanced education in England and his political career as anationalist where he joint Indian party with neutral thoughts. Author describeshow the Jenabhai of Hindu converted in Muslims’ Jinnah. This chapter alsoclarifies the characters those were responsible for Jinnah’s thoughts forseparation among them all two main actors Gandhi and Jinnah remain throughoutthe chapter.The third chapter titled ‘The turbulent twenties’ describes conflicts between Hindu andMuslims. The author also declares Jinnah efforts for the merger of Hindu-Muslimunity as he says; ‘It could not be, for almost every Muslim was with Gandhiwhen Jinnah left the Congress.’ But their social, religious and politicalconflicts made them apart in two nations.
Briefly this chapter talks about thenew added dimension of political discourse in sub-continent.The fourth chapter titled ‘Sharpening focus narrowing options’ author’s main focus is on Gandhi’s entry into the Indian politics andhis political philosophy. This chapter deals with the Jinnah’s entrance intothe second phase of his political career where he was defender of the Muslimrights as well as builder of their rights with his demand that “Muslims are aseparate nation.”The fifth chapter titled ‘A short decade-A long end game’ deals with the description ofpolitical events that were happened in India. This chapter also discusses indetails about 1937 provincial elections and their effect on Muslimrepresentation in Muslim League Resolutions as election results were in favor ofIndian National Congress. Further author also gives a glimpse on Jinnah’spositive and optimistic point of view towards the British cooperation in the SecondWorld War.
In the end of this chapter, author describes that Jinnah was actuallymaster mind in Pakistan Resolution because in his views there was Jinnah’s “carefullyplanned strategy” to gain control of Muslim politics. But after that all authoris failed to find the answer that why Jinnah thought it better for Muslims toget separation from India. The sixth chapter titled ‘Sunset of the empire-post-dated cheque ona collapsing bank’ starts with the rapidly spreading germs for gettingseparation, years after years. He talks about the yearning of Muslims ofsub-continent for their separate homeland with their separate identity.
This part also elaborates details of the August 1940 Offer, Cripps Mission and theLeague and Congress attitude during the second world War. In the end of thechapter, author seems to unwilling in accepting the reality of the division ofIndia as it was surprising situation to him that was created in India.The seventh chapter titled ‘A war of succession-Diverging paths’ Singh starts with the beliefthat careful partition done over a period of time with little loss of life andhe hopes that there would be peace before and after partition because partition’spurpose at that time was to get peace in form of liberty. The author also givesa stance on other topics as the Simla Conferences, the 1946 elections, Congressand League in UP, Cabinet Mission, Congress President elect’s interview, DirectAction Day and the Calcutta riots with summing up this chapter.The chapter eighth titled ‘Stymied Negotiations?’ completes the remaining part of theprevious continued topic Cabinet Mission plan. The author analysesGandhi-Jinnah formula and argues that Nehru and the Congress leadership hadrejected the formula but he supported this event with the thought thataccording to him, it was in a sense ‘Gandhi’s last attempt to save India from apartition.
‘ The ninth chapter titled ‘Mountbatten Viceroyalty: The end of the Raj’ deals with thediscussion of the situation which led the demand of Mountbatten induction as aViceroy of India to conclude the transfer of powers. The author calls here Jinnaha great thinker of the ideology of Pakistan and no one could move him from hisplanned path but being an Indian the author is not ready to accept the realityof the partition of India and failure of Gandhi’s plan. He says that allmistakes that happened behind the scenes were not planned by players includingNehru, Gandhi, Mountbatten and other Viceroys of India.
The chapter tenth titled’Pakistan: Birth-Independence: TheQauid-e-Azam’s last journey’ elaborates Jinnah’s desire ‘burying the past’.He briefly describes earlier setup of government after partition andacknowledges both leaders Gandhi and Jinnah’s efforts in this chapter.The author concludes all his discussion in last chaptertitled ‘In Retrospect’.
He sums up thegreat political journey of Jinnah from the Indian nationalist and ambassador ofHindu-Muslim unity to the defender ofthe Muslim rights and ideology of Pakistan. He also concludes this partitionand separation as ‘trauma in India.’ Ironically he connected this traumawith expected peace after partition.
This book is the most honest book to that covers allindependence struggles and reasons behind this and can be placed amongst one ofthe best on Indian freedom movement that reveals the reality about Jinnah whois considered villain of separation in 1947 but actually a great hero whorecognized the apt full need of Muslims while living in India. This task ofpresenting Jinnah’s purpose allows others to accepting the reality ofpartition, recognizing the ideology of Pakistan and existence of Hindus andMuslims as separate entities with different cultures and way of life. All thequestions are remained with silent answers and left for readers to answer themby themselves. In my views the clearanceof separation and elaboration of that condition aims to give respective andsympathetic neighborly relations. We need to put the past in the past.
But it isimportant to confess that the conception of Pakistan was the only the realisticsolution of many created problems of the subcontinent.