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This is a book ,which created waves.let us know it
Sep 11, 2009 07:29 PM 1516 Views



The book which seems to have become responsible for a probable collapse of the historic and formidable Bharatiya Janata Party is out in the market and is selling like hot cakes. Written by none other than former union minister and a long time BJP associateJaswant Singh, the book is of 674 pages. The publisher and seller of this happens to be Rupa and Co, the price is currently at Rs 695 and it is a hardbound edition.

The work by Jaswant has been looking at Mohammed Ali Jinnah, leader of the Awami Muslim League in a rather upclose manner and gives a different perspective. This has actually changed the lines of history since many believe it was Jinnah who was responsible for the partition of India and the later consequences.

However, Jaswant who has been part of history as a soldier and then a politician has stirred the hornet’s nest by writing that it was not Jinnah but Sardar Patel who actually gave Pakistan. Also, the fact that Jinnah was keen on a federal structure whilePandit Nehru was focused on a central structure is also said to be another cause as per Jaswant. While Gandhiji was said to be relying on a federal approach, it is believed that Nehru was the man who was not game for it and paved way for the partition of the country-according to the book.

Jaswant Singh opens up serious and interesting questions, but fails in resolving them!

Writing about the politics of Partition in the right register seems impossible. Entrenched ideological commitments, the desire for explanations, the need to apportion blame, and a preoccupation with subtexts make the history almost impossible to write. Writing on Partition also suffers from a peculiarly unimaginative take on human agency. How could anyone in the 1930s and ’40s have imagined what the Indian subcontinent would be like? How do such a complicated and brilliant cast of political characters engage in complex political negotiations? How easy is it to read intentions? What is the relationship between the negotiations of these characters and the complex movements of self and identity brewing on the ground? How do we think of possible counterfactuals: if only Nehru had done “X” or Mountbatten had done “Y”? There has always been a false confidence with which so many historians approach these difficult questions. There is also the wishing away of uncomfortable thoughts. Men acting in good faith can produce unintended consequences and often two incompatible lines of argument seem to have their own internal integrity. It is easy to argue that Hindus and Muslims were not two nations. It is far more difficult to suggest what framework would have accommodated all possible aspirations. It is far too easy to take a position on should India have been a strong, central state or a weak federation. But it is more difficult to make a knockdown argument for one position or the other. Yet, we write and argue as if all these judgments are so easy. Certainly, none of the characters central to this drama — Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel or Mohammed Ali Jinnah — ever thought there were easy answers. Their moments of self doubt, hesitation and frustration are a tribute to their seriousness, as much as our encrusted certainties are a reminder of the laziness of our condescension.

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Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence - Jaswant Singh