Thanks to Jaswant Singh, former External Affairs Minister of India for writing ” Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence” a scholarly treatise on what actually happened before the calamity of the Partition of India way back in 1947. The publication of the book ( Rupa & Co 2009) stirred up a great deal of controversy. Singh was expelled from the BJP- in which party he had grown to be an admired leader. There was a school of thought that he did wrong in praising Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Actually that makes for an interesting debate which is the central theme of the book.
Who was primarily responsible for the Partition of India? Was it the British who were simply waiting to get the hell out of India and concentrate on a war torn Britain? Was it Jinnah, the feisty leader of the Indian Muslim League, for whom this was the only point in his agenda? Or was it the Congress Party- which was waiting to govern an independent India at any cost?
Singh’s book is excellently researched and he writes in considerable detail about the background to the calamitous happenings of that period. You must remember that millions had to shift their homes and lands, walking away virtually only with the clothes they wore. It was undoubtedly one of the most tragic events of this century in the Indian sub-continent. I daresay the scars of Partition have not really healed more than 60 years later.
Jinnah comes out as a man of principles, vain but not a hypocrite and not one to be cowed down by the British. I must confess that -perhaps like many other Indians, I had a very different view of Jinnah till I read this book. As Singh points out at one time, Jinnah was hailed by none other than Gopalkrishna Gokhale as ” an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity”.
Read the book yourself to find out why such a person became adamant on a separate state for the Muslims.