The furor over a book on Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah by former senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh cost him expulsion from the party exposing the BJP and its return to hard line anti-Pakistan Hindu nationalist roots. While banning the book last month, the Gujarat government had said that Mr. Singh’s book ‘Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence’ was “objectionable, misleading and against public tranquility”. But the Gujarat high court lifted the ban saying that the government had not “read the book” before imposing the ban.
The book examines the role of Congress party leader and the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Mr. Patel in the partition of India in 1947. Mr. Singh writes that Mr. Patel was “far off the mark” in many ways with his projections about the division and future of India. The question also arises here that why senior party leader LK Advani was not similarly punished after he openly described Mr. Jinnah as “secular” after a visit to Pakistan in 2005.
Jaswant Singh is also facing furor for being closely associated with Quaid’s daughter Dina Wadia and her son Nusli Wadia. It is an allegation that Nusli Wadia financed the book to glorify his grandfather’s image. Nusli Wadia denies it strongly;
“It is all nonsense. My grandfather is my grandfather; it is not going to change. I don’t need Jaswant Singh to write a certificate for him,” he told CNN-IBN.
Jaswant Singh is prepared for the launch of his book in Pakistan too. The Indian government has allowed Jaswant Singh to visit Pakistan on September 26 to promote his book. He would arrive in Karachi on September 26, before heading to Islamabad the next day to attend a book-launch ceremony at the Islamabad Press Club.
“Sahil pay baiteh baiteh he manjdhar ke batain karthe hain … I can’t be a bystander, I’ve to be in the midstream of that emotion (re-living partition). It’s very difficult and you don’t always succeed, so I suffer that agony”
Whatever may be his reasons for being a member of the BJP until recently, it has to be said on his behalf that Jaswant Singh did try to build bridges with Pakistan but was tripped up by his own colleagues. In a broader perspective it doesn’t matter how Indians see Jinnah as they only portray Gandhi and Nehru as their heroes criticizing Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It is and will remain a fact that he is the founder of Pakistan and every Pakistani has a respect for him and will always respect him. The visit of Jaswant Singh to Pakistan cannot change the mind set of the nation towards the great leader but it could earn some respect for Mr. Singh for at least being rational.