(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 06, 2009
Jaswant�s Book on Jinnah
Three Issues That Merit Discussion
APART from everything else, the RSS/BJP have ensured the booming sale of Jaswant Singh's 669 page book Jinnah, India -- Partition Independence (JIPI). There are three issues raised in the book that merit a discussion -- the two-nation theory, the role of Sardar Patel and if partition was supposed to be the solution for communal tensions in India, why does communalism continue to impose grievous harm even sixty years later today.
Before we come to discuss these issues it is necessary to note that the convulsions currently rocking the RSS constellation shows that the BJP is in the grips of an irreconcilable contradiction. During the last two decades, while Advani's `rath yatra' brought aggressive Hindutva to the fore mobilising its hardcore support base, the experience of the thirteen-day Vajpayee government in 1996 made them realise that such support alone is not sufficient to capture power. They needed allies and, thus, was born the NDA and the 1998-2004 Vajpayee government. The need for allies, however, meant putting hardcore Hindutva agenda on the back burner. This, in turn, made the RSS uncomfortable apart from alienating its hardcore support base. The BJP functions as the political arm of the RSS and this umbilical cord can never be severed.
attempted to broaden the BJP's
appeal by speaking favourably about
Jinnah's secular credentials, the RSS, ensured that he remit office as the BJP president.
Advani's presumption, expecting support from
Indian Muslims on this count, is itself
outrageous. In the first census after
It is the unfolding of this irreconcilable contradiction that repeatedly forces the RSS/BJP to resurrect Jinnah and the two-nation theory in order to consolidate their `Hindu vote bank'. If portraying Jinnah in favourable light leads to expulsion because it goes against �the core ideology� of the RSS/BJP on the grounds of the two-nation theory, then what does BJP have to say about Savarkar, who, three full years before Jinnah's Muslim League advanced the two-nation theory at Lahore in 1940, said in his 1937 presidential address to the Hindu Mahasabha, �India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogeneous nation, but on the contrary, there are two nations, in the main, the Hindus and the Muslims�. Later in 1943, Savarkar emphatically says, "I have no quarrel with Mr Jinnah's two nation theory. We Hindus are a nation by ourselves and it is a historical fact that Hindus and Muslims are two nations." Jinnah after all was only carrying forward the �cherished mission� of Savarkar, whose portrait was so ceremoniously located in parliament by the Vajpayee government.
fact the entire ideological
basis of the RSS rests on the foundations laid by Golwalkar in his "We
Our Nationhood Defined". It was chillingly argued here that India can
be a "Hindu rashtra" where those not subscribing to the Hindu fold
will only live as `foreigners' at the mercy of the Hindus. This
religious theocratic state is what the RSS continues to seek replacing
modern secular democratic
battle between the three visions that emerged during the course of our
struggle in the decade of the 1920s continues to impact upon the consolidation of the modern secular
democratic Indian republic. The main
stream vision, represented then by the Congress, envisioned independent
and conflicting was the right-wing
vision which envisaged independent
is this continuous
pursuit of replacing the modern Indian republic with a rabidly
fascistic "Hindu rashtra" that continues to foster communal hatred
and tensions. This is ably aided and abeted by the Muslim
particularly by cross border terrorism sponsored by
fact that Jinnah
tragically succeeded and the mainstream vision prevailed in
Sardar Patel was reflected in the fact that L K Advani chose to model
as the Loh Purush while being the Home minister in the
government. Narendra Modi has christened himself as the chota sardar
kicks off all his election campaigns from Karamsad in
It is precisely this attempt to separate these two leaders during the freedom struggle that Jaswant Singh has effectively disproved in JIPI. On page 418, he suggests that the formal adoption of the resolution partitioning the country by the Congress party was done in the absence of Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Azad on March 8, 1947, "Nehru and Patel had known (they) would oppose the resolution". Jaswant goes on to quote Patel explaining the resolution to Gandhi later as "that you had expressed your views against it, we learnt only from the papers." A strong suggestion is made here that Nehru and Patel acted as one in changing the long held position of the Congress of opposing partition and agreeing to it overnight. Jaswant concludes that within a month of Mountbatten's arrival, the Congress's view on partition had changed.
is precisely the
diabolic role played by the British in partitioning the country that
RSS/BJP seek to obfuscate in order to drive the wedge between Nehru and
to achieve their political objectives. That the British left behind
that continue to plague millions of people through partitioning of
countries when the British colonial empire collapsed is deliberately
overlooked. Even today there are four unfortunate countries, including
Indian sub-continent that continue to bleed thanks to the British
partition. The most unfortunate of these are the Palestinians who
be denied their right to a homeland.
In their preoccupation to establish their version of a "Hindu rashtra" the RSS required an enemy external to the Hindus against whom the Hindus could be mobilised. The Muslims were thus the `chosen enemies'. In the freedom struggle, Hindus and Muslims alongwith other Indians together fought the British. An anti-British sentiment was not conducive for the RSS to achieve their objective. Hence their complete absence from the freedom struggle.
Whenever we from the Left raise this issue, the RSS counters by spreading falsifications regarding the communist role in the Quit India movement. To set such calumny at rest, recollect that on the 50th anniversary of the Quit India movement, at a special midnight session of the parliament, the then president of India, Shri Shankar Dayal Sharma addressing the nation said "After largescale strikes in mills in Kanpur, Jamshedpur and Ahmedabad, a despatch from Delhi dated September 5, 1942, to the secretary of the state, in London, reported about the Communist Party of India: "The behaviour of many of its members proves what has always been clear, namely, that it is composed of anti-British revolutionaries." As opposed to this, there was a despatch by the Home department during the Quit India movement that noted, "The Sangh has scrupulously kept itself within the law and in particular has refrained from taking part in the disturbances that broke out in August 1942." In fact, Savarkar as president of the Hindu Mahasabha issued an edict in September 1942, "I issue this definite instruction to all Hindu Sabhaites in particular and in all Hindu sanghatanists in general ...holding any post or position of vantage in the government services should stick to them and continue to perform their regular duties." This was the attitude of both the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha to the Quit India movement in particular and the freedom movement in general.
It is in this background, desperate to find some link with the freedom struggle that the RSS seeks to distort history and appropriate Patel. As the union Home minister, Sardar Patel penned a government communique dated February 4, 1948 announcing the ban on the RSS by stating �the objectionable and harmful activities of the Sangh have, however, continued unabated and the cult of violence sponsored and inspired by the activities of the Sangh has claimed many victims. The latest and the most precious to fall was Gandhiji himself�.
says that this
was done at the behest of Nehru. Even
so, how they can appropriate Patel
remains inexplicable. On November
14, 1948, Patel's Home ministry issues a press note on the talks that
with then RSS chief, Golwalkar who made many deceitful compromises. This informs that the �professions of RSS
leaders are, however, quite inconsistent with the practice of its
and refused to withdraw the ban. A
further request by Golwalkar for a meeting was refused by Sardar Patel
ordered his return to
this the RSS
was in the search for a political arm to continue with its diabolic
transforming secular democratic
the BJP will get out
of its current identity crisis and organisational quarrels is its
Every political party has its own set of rules and moral standards by
decides on internal matters including discipline. However, the fact
that the increasing control of the RSS and the pursuit of a hardcore
agenda will continue to pose grave challenges for