Except the last 14 months, he had spent his entire life in British India. So, it’s difficult (read offensive) to call him a foreigner, despite the fact that he was the founding father of that foreign country. In India, Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s nationality has always been a controversial issue. Of course, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – the current ruling party of India – has no liability to resolve the controversy.
Jinnah had played a significant role in national politics before the partition of India in 1947. And we can’t deny that ‘history’. However, the BJP is not ready to accept this fact. The ruling party has triggered a controversy over the presence of Jinnah’s portrait in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), saying that the picture of a man – who is responsible for India’s partition – could not be accepted in a public-funded institution. The BJP argues that Jinnah should be considered as India’s ‘enemy’ because he is the founding father of Pakistan, which is an ‘enemy’ state. So, it will be absurd to make an attempt to develop a counter-argument of such an ‘illogical’ argument.
If we consider Jinnah’s Two Nations Theory and the partition as sources of hostility between India and Pakistan, then we can’t arrive at a logical conclusion. Jinnah portrayed Hinduism and Islam as “two antagonistic cultures and doctrines”. But, we have to admit that some Hindu leaders – like Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar – were equally responsible for the partition. So, if the BJP tries to establish how Jinnah became India’s ‘enemy’, then the party will be in trouble (because it will have to go through a process of introspection).
Moreover, a portrait on the wall can’t inspire students to consider Jinnah as their ‘idol’. The presence of the portrait in AMU is just an acknowledgment….. an acknowledgment of history or some historical facts. The most important question is whether any Indian can consider Jinnah as an ‘ideal leader’? If the Indian Communists have the right to consider Lenin or Mao as their ‘ideal’ or Prime Minister Narendra Modi considers Lee Kuan Yew as his ‘idol’, then some Indians should have the ‘democratic’ right to consider Jinnah as an ideal leader.
Some may argue that Jinnah had done harm to AMU students or to the greater Muslim society. He never got the full support of the Muslim society in undivided India. Still, he divided the nation on the basis of religion and made the Indian Muslims ‘minorities’ in their ‘own’ country. Because of Jinnah, a section of Hindus considers Muslims as their ‘eternal enemies’. This is a lesson of history and we are not sure whether the students of AMU will accept this lesson…. it is their choice. Even if they accept the lesson, then also the BJP should have no right to make a final decision on the presence of Jinnah’s portrait in AMU.
Jinnah was 7 years younger to Gandhi
It’s unfortunate that the symbols of history have become the basis of contemporary Indian politics. In recent times, Indians have destroyed the statues of various eminent political figures, including Lenin, B R Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi and Periyar E V Ramasamy. Those – who destroyed the statues – don’t have the courage to accept a historical fact: ‘Plurality is at the heart of the idea of India.‘ Of course, we can’t blame only the Hindus. People with intense nationalist sentiment, too, believe that they can erase the history of British India by destroying all the statues of the colonial era.
It seems that Indians have become confused people because they lack sensitivity to history!
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