Jinnah debate crucial for BJP future – Scholars

Shimla: BJP may have sacked Jaswant Singh for uttering dark lord Jinnah name but scholars here reviewing the book, while pointing out many factual errors, were of the opinion that the debate the book had raised was crucial for the future of the political party.

At a critical review of Jaswant’s book, Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence, scholars at Indian Institute of Advance Studies (IIAS) found fault with many references that had been lifted from other sources without being given due credit.

Shail Mayaram, senior fellow at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi was of the view that even though Jaswant may have become the casualty because of writing a book on Jinnah but ultimately the authors attempt to reposition BJP would be crucial for the survival of the party.

She said that lack of historical evidences do not give a definite picture about Jinnah as he was an extremely private person who did not leave behind any diary. The coldness of Jinnah is often compared with compassion of Gandhi, she said.

Taking a contrarian view, Mayaram said that partition actually helped India, which not only inherited the name but all the institutions and linkages that the collapsing British empire left behind. It also enabled India to integrate all the principally states without much resistance, where as Pakistan had to start from scratch. East and West Pakistan posed a peculiar situation for the new born nation state.

The furor the book has raised in BJP are clear indications that it may be a minority view presently but reaching out to Muslims and other sections is what the party leaders have to consider for the future of the party if it is to have a pan India appeal.

CM Nain, a retired professor from university of Chicago and a scholar at IIAS was highly critical of the book terming it as “an embarrassing book to read, which had had nothing new to offer. He was of the opinion that book lacked standard tools of scholars as there were numerous references lifted from various sources but have not given due credit.

The scholar pointed out that only Jinnah and Muslim League’s two-nation theory has been given prominence in the book but VD Sarvarker, who too was a proponent of the two nation theory is conspicuously missing in the voluminous work.

“Other than visceral hatred of Nehru, one thing the book has succeeded in is bringing out the internal dynamics of BJP,” he said

“No history of BJP will be written without mentioning Jaswant Singh’s book on Jinnah,” concluded Nai.

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  1. says: Ravinder Makhaik

    Professor CM Nain, in his presentation did point out the sources from some lines had been lifted in verbatim, but since the scholar refused to hand over a copy of his notes with those present at the book review meet, it was not possible to mention the exact sources from where the author acquired them in this report

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