Sunday, August 09, 2015

Nehru and Jinnah

Since a right-wing party has come to the power, it's been open season on Nehru. He is the ultimate villain. Now before getting into Nehru, something about people who putforth such thoughts.

It's difficult to argue with the people who only view well known people as either heroes or villains or any thing in absolute goodness or absolute badness creating irrelevant moral dichotomy. But they of course consider themselves as practical persons.

Let us consider couple of allegations against Nehru.

1. Nehru was not secular as you think
    - When they proudly say this something as a 'gotcha', sometimes you get the suspicion that the very radical and counter-intuitive nature of the claim itself might have convinced them the truthiness of it. Considering the unbridled hatred that the Hindutvites show for Nehru in this country, it of course is counter-intuitive. But it's not something people who do not worship Nehru but acknowledge his work towards secularization consider worthy of discussion.

2. Nehru was responsible for the partition not Jinnah.... I mean both are equally responsible.
    -  This comes with some unclear ideas about Indian-ness, nation-state and even democracy based on majority. Nehru becomes power hungry and Jinnah a rational man finding no place in Hindu dominated India (there are many other reasons for the two-nation theory which of course aren't important here)!
    -  For all the talk about Jinnah being secular, he certainly showed prejudices that he inherited because of his Muslim identity. He was in the league of atheist and communal Savarkar(though I don't think Jinnah was an atheist).

   - When Jinnah joined Muslim League (which he found initially too communal), he endorsed a kind of people who always felt entitled to rule. This section of the Muslim community has always been enemy of an idea of democratic, egalitarian India. The results could be still seen in Pakistan which is still ruled by feudal elites. However, when there was a discussion on partitioning the country, there was another movement from under-privileged caste Muslims opposing it. Even though, they formed the majority in what is now nation-state India, their social standing and the stature of their leaders were insignificant. Their common-sense and rational argument against the partition held no chance against the philosophy of Allama Iqbal, descendant of Kashmiri Brahmin converts to Islam, an ideologue for the two nation theory. This side story of lower caste Muslim opposition to the partition and its irrelevance, strikes a chord with rationals from lower castes who themselves have been rendered irrelevant with the rise of Hindutva. Nehru would have become Prime Minister anyway as a leader of the party that won majority but for Jinnah it was an entitlement similar to the feudals who formed the Muslim League.

   -  Jinnah's prejudice because of his Muslim identity could be seen in his personal front too. He was a typical example of those rotten Muslims who would marry women from other religions but wouldn't consent their women to marry into other religions. So, Jinnah carried many prejudices as a Muslim and also as a privileged caste Muslim. It's not just his ego but the prejudices because of his Muslim identity that led to the partition and deaths of millions. If he was really secular the question of identity would have never been there. It's no wonder that people with prejudices are very short-sighted and responsible for great calamities. The two-nation theory was the creation of entitled Muslims and Nehru had no stake in it. So, it's unfair to hold him responsible in any way for its implementation.


Anilkumar Kurup said...

I agree, with your views. It is plausivble.

Manju Edangam said...

:-). Sometimes I find soliloquy is far more saner and logical than the actual discussion.