Saturday, February 19, 2011

Behind every successful Jinnah there is a Gandhi

History’s can of worms
Post-independence official history of the ending of colonial rule in India is a hagiographic narration of Gandhi’s life and times. Hagiography is the reverential documentation of the life of a saint by his acolytes. Thus the history of India’s freedom struggle is a narration of the making of the Mahatma in South Africa, culminating in the motivated ensconcing of the Mahatma as the nation’s civilisational emblem.



The inevitable fallout of such a construct of official history was that all significant personages of the time, and all events, were positioned around and in relationship to Gandhi, as heroes, lesser heroes or villains. Such personages (and events) who did not lend themselves to this motivated hagiography were either kept out of the official historical narrative or relegated to the margins of history.

Thus Aurobindo and Tilak of the pre-1910 years, Ambedkar’s serious differences with Gandhi, the fact that from around 1942, all top leaders of the INC except Nehru, including Gandhi’s close associates and colleagues in his social mission, and even his son Devadas, had all distanced themselves from him, are kept out of the historical narrative of the freedom struggle.
Post-independent history writers have refused to even consider the adverse impact that Gandhi’s estrangement with the Congress Working Committee had on the extremely critical tripartite negotiations which the INC was then engaged in with the British government and the Muslim League. The other heroes of our times, Bhagat Singh, Subhash Bose, Ambedkar and Savarkar, and all those ordinary Indians who suffered tortuous incarceration or died for Gandhi, and the broad contours and details of events leading up to the bloody vivisection of 1947, have not merited even a whole paragraph in our history books. Few outside of academe would have heard of Madanlal Dhingra, the Chapekar brothers, MR Jayakar, Tej Bahadur Sapru or the Sapru Committee Report. Fewer still would know that Gandhi machinated the expulsion of Bose from the INC, or that Gandhi had insisted on the resignations of Rajaji and KM Munshi too from the Congress party, because these details did not mesh seamlessly into the hagiography This dishonest rendering of history of the most important years of this enslaved nation’s existence has made out the freedom struggle to be the achievement of one man whose moral authority resting on non-violence was so overwhelming that the British government shriveled in awe before its force and slinked away in shame. To sustain the incredible fiction of this “non-violent freedom-struggle”, Nehruvian polity’s history writers have chosen to sweep away from sight the violent reprisal of the colonial government against ordinary Indians who followed Gandhi to the streets. A despotic public opinion machinery dubbed Gandhi the Father of the Nation; if that is a given, then equally true is the fact that Gandhi was also the father of the vivisected Hindu nation. Popular history has intentionally thrown a veil over why the Cabinet Mission failed in June 1946, leading to Direct Action, except to lay the failure dishonestly at Jinnah’s door. Needless to say, for Nehruvian secular politics of minority-ism, while Jinnah remains history’s villain, his vehicle, the Muslim League, is now wearing the false mustache of secularism. Year after year after year, the nation celebrates its independence from colonial rule; the de-Hinduised secular nation celebrated Nehru’s fiftieth anniversary of his tryst with destiny with a romantic midnight session of Parliament. The nation and its Father and Nehru may have woken up to independence at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, but Hindus woke up to a nation severed of her limbs, torn and bleeding. Nehru’s India and her historians have ensured that while August 15 would always be celebrated, it would never be observed as a day of mourning, of grief and of determination to reverse and avenge the consequences of Direct Action and vivisection. Nehru’s secular India did not allow Hindus to nurse a sense of victim-hood or nationhood. The infamous Jinnah debate, triggered first by Advani and now Jaswant Singh, if anything has only emphasized that –
- Jinnah will continue to remain the sole villain of recent history


- Nehruvian secular polity, which has successfully de-linked the Muslim League from Jinnah, will not scrutinize the Muslim League and other Muslim parties and organizations for similar intent


- There is none so stupid or so sick with “purblind sentimentalism” as the Hindu social, intellectual and political leadership; the writer is not at all sure that the cupidity is not a mask for calculated villainy to maintain the status-quo in political discourse


- Hindus today in the main have abdicated their responsibility to their religion and nation; Hindus are broadly either cowards unprepared to die for their religion and nation, or are so consumed by self-interest that not only will they not live for their religion and nation but are prepared to betray them for small personal gains

Typical of this purblind sentimentalism of the Hindu intellectual is a column by the renowned Magsaysay awardee, investigative journalist, and author, Shri Arun Shourie, who was so eager to fault both Jinnah and Jaswant that he took refuge in another editor, the late Shri Girilal Jain, who is supposed to have remarked that the vivisection of 1947 was good for India and the Hindus. Shourie recollects, “I have come to realise that Girilal Jain was the one who was right. You are dead wrong, he told me, after reading what I had written about Jinnah. The best thing that has happened for us is the Partition. It has given us breathing time, a little time to resurrect and save our pluralist culture and religions. Had it not happened we would have been bullied and thrashed and swamped by Islamic fundamentalists”.

It is doubtful if Girilal Jain would have used the phrase ‘pluralist culture,’ which is a 1990s decade ‘liberal’ Christian political subterfuge for seeking accommodation for religious conversion in non-Christian nations; it is certain he would not have talked of ‘religions’ in plural. If Girilal Jain, who died in July 1993, six months after the historic demolition of the Babri Masjid, and wrote and spoke in an era of rising Hindu Consciousness embodied in the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi movement, made this remark, it is obvious he did not envisage the subsequent capitulation of the political elite across the spectrum to Islam in succeeding years, which has climaxed in the disgraceful Sachar Committee Report and demands for reservations on religious lines – for minorities!


Shourie ought to have understood in 2009 – regardless of who said what 20 years ago – that as long as even one Muslim remained in the vivisected Gandhi-Nehru secular nation, then he, his wife and children belonged to the transnational Muslim ummah with the inevitability of separatism leading to secession always hanging over our heads. For there are innumerable instances of unresolved issues caused by Muslim intransigence continuing to keep Indian society in a state of unrest, with jihad raging not only in J&K but in different parts of this ‘partition is good’ nation. Anyway, if a writer quotes another person without refuting the quote, it has to be assumed that the writer is in broad agreement with the quote. To better understand the tortured routes that self-justifying sentimentalism takes, let us look at what lies beneath Shourie’s Girilal Jain fig-leaf.

Jaswant Singh, in the same breath that he lauded Jinnah, also held Sardar Patel and Nehru responsible for Partition. As pointed out earlier, there is none as cowardly or villainous as the Hindu who will not serve the Hindu cause. It is unclear in Shourie’s column where Girilal Jain ends and Shourie begins, but Shourie concludes his amazing partition-was-good declamation with panegyric ode to Gandhi, Nehru and Patel. “So, my lament is the opposite of Jaswant Singh’s today. And it also so happens that I am an adorer of Sardar Patel as of the Lokmanya, and a worshipper of Gandhiji.”

Politically correct of course, but it could almost have been a school-girl speaking of Rajesh Khanna or Sachin Tendulkar. But do facts of history support Shourie’s ode to Gandhi and Nehru? Maulana Azad poses a severe problem for writers of popular history. Is he black or is he white? The Congress, in the wake of the Jaswant’s Jinnah book, has declared its intention of employing historians to look into the history of the times in the minutest detail, but simultaneously has declared its intention to hold nation-wide meetings in praise of Nehru, Patel and Azad.

The most reliable sources of history are the primary sources, and one of the most important sources is the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (CWMG), which is a treasure house of the tiniest detail about Gandhi’s life; and this extraordinary compendium includes original British government documents declassified under ‘Transfer of Power’. The writer’s book, “Eclipse of the Hindu Nation: Gandhi and his Freedom Struggle” has relied exclusively on CWMG as one of the four primary sources for critically examining the nation’s freedom struggle between the critical years 1890 to 1947; the other three being Sri Aurobindo’s writings prior to and up to 1910, volume 8 of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s writings published by the Maharashtra state government, and RP Kangle’s three-volume magnum opus on the Kautiliyan Arthasastra.

The writer’s conclusions about the last phase of the freedom struggle between 1942 and 1947 is contrary to official history, and rejects Shourie’s motivated ode to Gandhi and Nehru. The writer holds Gandhi and Gandhi alone responsible, not only for the failure of the Cabinet Mission in June 1946, but also for the vivisection of the Hindu nation. Sardar Patel and Rajaji, KM Munshi and Madan Mohan Malaviya, were in the same position that Pranab Mukherjee finds himself in today, while Nehru may be placed in the same category as Shashi Tharoor, and Maulana Azad may be considered the role model for the BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Advani and Jaswant Singh have done Hindus a favour by opening a can of worms. It is the responsibility of Hindu nationalists to undertake a study of the history of the times and nail all lies big and small, one by one.

(To be continued…)
Editor. www.vigilonline.com

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