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Mainstream, VOL XLIX, No 49, November 26, 2011

On M.A. Jinnah

Sunday 27 November 2011, by Ajeet Jawed

COMMUNICATION

This in response to Mr Rawal’s letter to the editor (Mainstream, October 29, 2011) regarding my article ‘Pakistan Failed Jinnah’ in Mainstream (September 10, 2011). In this context I would like to draw his attention to the following facts:

1. It is a proven fact that before changing track in 1940 Jinnah was secular and nationalist. He had joined a secular organisation, Bombay Presidency Association, in 1900, the Indian National Congress in 1904, was the President of the Home Rule League in 1917, leader of the Independent Party with Purshottam Das Tandon as the deputy leader from 1923 to 1936, was present in the conference in 1920 in which the All India Trade Union Congress was formed, was the President of the Postal Union in 1925, Chairman of the Board of Directors of a nationalist paper, The Bombay Chronicle, presided over the All India Students Conference in which All India Students Federation was formed in 1936.

2. Jinnah had opposed the division of Bengal in 1905, the formation of the Muslim League in 1906, the separate electorates in 1909, reservation of seats for Muslims in 1911, joined the Muslim League in 1913 on the advice of Gokhale to rescue it from the hold of fanatics like Sir Aga Khan and succeeded in doing so, led the pro-Congress section within the Muslim League and was open to joint electorates even in 1937 when elections were held for the Provincial Assemblies.

3. He was a patriot and fought for India’s interests both inside and outside the Imperial Legislature. The British period, according to Jinnah, was a ‘dark age’ and India for Indians was his demand. Jinnah refused any title or post from the British and unmasked their anti-Indian policies. He resigned his seat in the Central Legislature on the issue of the Rowlatt Bills, raised and supported resolutions that weakened the hold of the orthodox sections of the both communities on the common masses. He earned the wrath of the Moulavis because of his secularism. They called him Kafir and refused to offer prayers at his funeral.

4. At the Round Table Conference, he opposed the separation of Burma from India and rebuffed Rahmat Ali’s Pakistan scheme.

5. The Lucknow Pact was the joint work of Tilak and Jinnah and was passed by both the Congress and Muslim League in 1916 at Lucknow. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, a prominent Hindu leader from the United Provinces, too hailed the Pact by saying that it had brought luck now to all the nationalists. Both the organisations had also jointly prepared a draft for the future reforms for India called the Congress-League Scheme. The Lucknow Pact was not liked by orthodox and pro-British Muslims of the Muslim-majority Provinces. They accused Jinnah of selling the Muslims’ interests for having an agreement with the Congress. The Lucknow Pact caused a split within the League. The Muslim League of Punjab Province got itself dissociated from the All India Muslim League.

6. Jinnah did not want partition. Pakistan was a bargaining counter to settle his personal scores with the Congress leaders and to get maximum concessions from the reluctant Congress. The Transfer of Power records, edited by Mensergh, leave no doubt that Jinnah was not serious about it. The Pakistan demand was officially withdrawn by the Muslim League in June 1946.

7. Even before independence Jinnah had requested Mountbatten in June 1947, when riots occurred in Muslim-majority Punjab, to ruthlessely suppress the killing and looting even if the Muslims had to be shot.

New Delhi Ajeet Jawed

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