August 19, 2009

Man, expelled

They expel Jaswant Singh for a less-than-jandiced look back at a man dead for over half-a-century?

When will this party -- and so many of us -- get over this obsession with the past? When will we learn to look at history for what it was, instead of what we want it to be?

50 comments:

Suresh said...

Assuming that your questions are not rhetorical but serious, here goes:

When will this party -- and so many of us -- get over this obsession with the past?

The past that you're talking about is the Partition, one of the most disastrous events in 20th century history. Asking those affected by it to get over this "obsession" is as good as asking Jews to get over the "obsession" with the holocaust. The questions raised by Partition will simply not go away: Who was responsible? Could it have been prevented? If Partition had to take place, could it not have taken place peacefully? Why did people who were more-or-less living in peace suddenly turn around and start raping and killing their neighbours? [The last question continues to be relevant and still unanswerable: Witness 1984, 2002 among others.]

It will take a long time before those affected by Partition can put it behind them. Only time will heal but there's no way of rushing time.

When will we learn to look at history for what it was, instead of what we want it to be?

Presumably when the past no longer matters to present-day concerns. When the past is mixed up with the present, objectivity takes a back seat. It is possible to look at, say, Ancient Egypt or ancient Babylon "objectively" because that past does not directly influence current-day Egyptian or Iraqi politics in any way (to the best of my knowledge). With regard to Partition, such is not the case, neither in India nor in Pakistan. (I don't know about Bangladesh.)

The Real Azous D'Pilid said...

Suresh, Suresh, Suresh. Sigh. One more amateur to the slaughter. Suresh, you have made the mistake of trying to present a reasonable argument. You will suffer the consequences, wait & watch. By the end of it, you will need a Disprin. Don't say you weren't warned.

The Real Azous D'Pilid said...

Oh yes, and let me confess. I am someone called Tarun Pal, Nikhil, Darkim, Ot, Shahrukh Khan, Manmohan Singh, Narendra Modi, Prakash Karat, Barack Obama, Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Atilla the Hun, Timur the Lame and Gengis Khan - basically I am anyone who writes an opposing opinion. In fact, I might even be Suresh, masquerading as someone else. What is fantastic is that this means there is only one person commenting on this site under different names and opinions.

Gengis Khan said...

AZOUS! It is because of you that my ancestor Shahrukh has been stopped at American Airports. Stop tarnishing the good name of Khan, you impotent yak.

Napoleon Torn-apart(e) said...

Azous, je voudrais coucher avec toi, mais il sera complique parce que je suis mort.

Timurlang said...

Azous, stop pretending to be me. You're behaving like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, and I should know, because I'm lame. Get it. Lame. Ha ha. Oh, by the way, I'm supposed to be speaking in Persian when I say this. But I think I learnt English in the after-life.

P.S. Dear Jihadis, there are no virgins here, we've been duped!!!!!

P.P.S. It's very hot down here too. Make sure to strap an airconditioner to your chests along with your next bomb.

Manmohan Singh said...

Azous, please hold on while I ask Sonia-ji what to do next.

Adolf Hitler said...

Leben, Freiheit und die Verfolgung von Völkermord

Nikhil said...

Suresh
Do you see the point now? For Dilip, the past ends with 1984. There is a time warp before that. Then it only goes back into history when the caste system was there.

Thanks for the questions Dilip.

But the spectacle of 70 plus making a fuss over this episode is amusing rather pathetic.

Suresh
You have asked an important question. Partition did affect a lot of people and was terrible. But look at Pakistan and even Bangladesh, I feel India would surely have gine into a civil war.
Just think- having monsters like Yahya Khan, Tikka Khan Masood Azhar, Bhutto, Zia and other Taliban creatures as part on India is scary. We have enough problems with the likes of Thackerays, Bhukharis, Madanis as it is.
What is the difference between the two?
In India such characters I have mentioned are an aberration while in Pakistan they are the norm. Even 'normal' people are like the characters I have listed above.

Chandru K said...

Suresh is right. Partition was a massive tragedy, entirely man-made. A whole group of followers of a certain religion made it very clear that they are both different and special. So different and so special, that failure to give in to all their demands for protection, weightages, considerations, percentages etc, is grounds for starting a civil war and mass murder. And they decided that the "enemy" to be fought is the majority Hindus. In Kashmir, the same mentality persists to this very day. It would be nice to forget and the past and move on, and believe me, people are trying, but the past keeps reappearing.

Pareshaan said...

It is absolutely tragic that a party that colors itself as a "Hindu" party has expelled one of its members for writing a book.
What kind of crappy intolerant leadership does the BJP have?

It crucified Advani when he had something nice to say about Jinnah and now it has expelled Jaswant Singh.

Why is the BJP so paranoid - why does Jinnah have to be an out and out bad guy? What is it that scares the BJP so, whenever someone seems to attempt to paint Jinnah as a human being?

As Hindus have we become this insecure - it almost seems as if our identity is defined by the vilification of Jinnah and his Frankenstein: Pakistan.

If that is the case then the BJP and all of us Hindus need to revisit our traditions.

Hinduism can only flourish in an atmosphere of courage, knowledge, debate and understanding. We have little hope of surviving the next millennia as a people if we start shitting our pants every time someone says something we find disagreeable.
This fear is no way to grow in strength that is how you dumb down a community, so that it can be exploited until expiry.

Jinah was a human being - just like Gandhi, Nehru and everybody else. India is peopled by humans - as is Pakistan. That is true and we need to embrace this fact.

Pakistanis seem to be extremely paranoid as a nation and as a community, they seem to have much to be scared of, Muslims as a community the world over seem harassed and persecuted.

Do we as Indians want to go down the same path? Because that’s all we can hope for with this kind of intolerance and fear mongering on the increase.
For crying out loud - a man cannot express his opinion any longer in a Hindu party - what kind of a Hindu party is this??
What kind of a political organization is this? Is this the kind of "leadership" we want for ourselves?
Are we such insecure ignorant sissys.

Like a lot of other folks I was born into a Hindu family much attenuated by the partition of India. Growing up in my family I never experienced any untoward bitterness towards Pakistan or towards Muslims - if anything there was a sense of loss and a longing to be able to return to a place, to a time, to a community that had been torn asunder by partition. Jis Lahore Nahee Vekhyaa… was an oft muttered refrain.

This rabid hatred of Pakistan (and I hate saying it but very often among Indian Hindus it is just a cover for a blanket hatred and fear of all Muslims) seems a malaise that is widespread amongst Hindus of the Hinterland. Amongst those who owing to traditional sequestering of communities haven't really known many Muslims.
This irrational fear is ignorant and vile and destructive.
As a community - as Hindus we must strive for our betterment, and our betterment does not lie in basing our identity and our superiority on specious constructs of villainy.
Jinnah/Pakistan cannot be to Hindus what Kashmir seems to be to Pakistan.
We must not base our existence on it.

Anonymous said...

Well spoken Pareshaan. You have echoed my feelings

R

Chandru K said...

What's this nonsense about "rabid hatred" of Pakistan, Pareshaan? It is Pakistan as a country that is based on religious hatred, religious separatism and religious violence, and most of it directed toward India. Most Indians don't give two hoots for that sorry excuse for a country next to India; they would be happy if India were left alone. Remember that Pakistan was formed using mass violence and mass killing. India was not. So really, you have got the order mixed up, big time.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Suresh, I have no disagreement with what you say. Partition was a calamitous and tragic disaster. It shapes us in various ways till today.

Yet that very recognition cries out for what you are also saying: what about the questions? Who was responsible? Could it have been prevented? Etc.

I think 60+ years on, it should be possible to start looking back at the trauma and questioning some of our assumptions. I think that's what Jaswant Singh is trying to do. Painting Jinnah as the sole monster who caused Partition is one-dimensional and futile. There were other characters too -- Mountbatten, Gandhi, the Congress, Patel, Azad, Nehru, Wavell, etc. What was their role?

Several years ago, HM Seervai wrote a book exploring all this (Think it was called "Partition of India: Legend and Reality"). Seervai was one of our foremost constitutional scholars and lawyers, and this book is, as you can imagine, based on impeccable research. His conclusions are similar to what Jaswant's seem to be (I wouldn't be surprised if Jaswant referred to Seervai).

What I meant by my questions was this: too many of us want to ascribe Partition solely to Jinnah. Whereas the historical record is infinitely more complex than that, as pretty much all history usually is. Is it impossible to consider it that way?

Dilip D'Souza said...

such characters I have mentioned are an aberration.

The founder and head of the party that has run the Bombay Municipal Corp for over two decades now and for better or worse stands for the aspirations of millions of Maharashtrians, the man who himself pronounced that he governed the state by "remote control" for five years -- and he's an "aberration".

Such are the dreamlands some of us inhabit in our desperation to feel superior to Pakistan.

And of course, most Indians don't give two hoots about Pakistan ... but those same Indians lose no opportunity to characterize Pakistan "as a country that is based on religious hatred, religious separatism and religious violence ... mass violence and mass killing."

Of course, there was no violence and killing on the Indian side of the border in '47, oh no.

It's just this view of history that I meant when I asked, "When will we learn to look at history for what it was, instead of what we want it to be?"

Dilip D'Souza said...

Pareshaan, it gets worse. Today's paper tells me that Narendra Modi has banned the book in Gujarat.

Jaswant Singh himself is quoted saying "the day we start questioning thought, it's a dark day for India."

Penalizing a man for his views, banning his book for his views ... that intolerance that worries you is alive and kicking, right here right now.

The identity of some of the commenters on this very page is defined by the need to vilify and hate Pakistan and Jinnah. Don't take my word for it, just read what they say.

There is no courage in all this. If there was, they would have welcomed Jaswant Singh's book and stood up to debate him. Nope, it's easier to ban his book and continue to hate Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

Would like some comment on Congress/ UPA worthies baiting the BJP as Bharatiya Jinnah Party and saying its only natural for BJP to admire Jinnah since they both practised the same extreme politics- just to different religious bases.

Do they sound like they are ready to re-evaluate Jinnah yet?

Thanks,
Jai

Suresh said...

If there was, they would have welcomed Jaswant Singh's book and stood up to debate him.

Yes, indeed, but unfortunately "they" won't. Rather than pursuing the expulsion issue further - it's fruitless - let me raise an issue triggered by my reading the transcript of Jaswant Singh's talk with Karan Thapar.

In reading the transcript, I noted that Jaswant Singh attributes Nehru's unwillingness to accept Jinnah's demands for Muslim representation within a unified India to Nehru's preference for a centralized state (in opposition to Jinnah's own preference for a federal state).

However, Jinnah's demands basically amounted to giving Muslims (through the Muslim League) a sort of "veto" right. Now you don't have to have a strong preference for a centralized state to feel uneasy with such a demand. For one, if such a demand is conceded to Muslims (as a group), then similar demands will inevitably be made by others and given the precedence, will have to be conceded also. But then, nation-building becomes difficult, if not impossible. What I am suggesting is that there perhaps was more to Nehru's response to Jinnah than Jaswant Singh suggests.

I am not being original in making the above point. Pratap Bhanu Mehta put it very well during his comments during the course of a conference on Liberal Secularism and Religious Fundamentalism [Delhi 2009]. You can see his comments for yourself on Youtube:

http://tinyurl.com/mq8zjm

Pratap Mehta starts speaking at roughly 3:10; especially relevant are his comments from 4:30 onwards and the interesting interjection by Akeel Bilgrami, the Columbia University based philosopher but former Mumbaikar.

Chandru K said...

Well said Suresh. Yes, it was that whole scummy politics of fear, hate, suspicion, paranoia, zenophobia, one upmanship of the Moslem League, and connived at by the British, that caused the violence and ultimately, the partition. To repeat, the politics of the League, and hence of millions of Moslems, was essentially this: give in to all our demands for weightages, representations, appointments and reservations, OR face civil war. And that's exactly what happened.

It's such a cop-out to blame "both sides". One of the "sides" did contribute to the independence struggle, and to promoting and upholding concepts like secularism, pluralism and a composite culture. The other side, the Moslem League, was just full of itself- believing in some Allah-ordained myth of the martial, ruling, conquering Moslems- yet also needing a great amount of protection from the wicked, majority Hindus.
Just sickening...

Dilip D'Souza said...

Suresh,

Let me paraphrase Seervai's argument from "Partition of India: Legend and Reality", since I'm more familiar with it (until I read what Jaswant Singh has to say).

In essence, he says that the demand for Pakistan grew out of the Muslim fear that their rights would not be automatically safe in a Hindu-dominated India, and so the Muslim League demanded special constitutional guarantees for those safeguards. What shape these guarantees took could be worked out, but this was the demand.

(The demand is not so outlandish. After all, given their own various compulsions and constraints, countries have experimented with variations on a basic democratic framework. Consider the electoral college in the US, the 5 percent cutoff in Germany and allocation of seats proportional to the vote. And indeed take our own moves towards reserving constituencies for women, or for certain sections of society -- Anglo-Indians, for one example.)

The Congress response was that a one-man one-vote democracy was protection enough, and all the guarantee of safety that Muslims needed, and could expect, in free India.

Whatever you may think of that, one result was that the League's demand, in the end, became for a separate country.

This is the barest gist of the argument. But it is made clearly and forcefully in Seervai's book. Six decades on, it should be possible for Indians to read and understand it -- not necessarily agree with it, but understand Seervai and therefore Jinnah. It should be possible for Indians to accept at least this much: that the blame for the great tragedy of Partition is not all Jinnah's, and continuing to believe that only keeps us trapped in hatred and suspicion.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Suresh,

Also consider that the debate you and I are having here is, perhaps, just what Seervai and Jaswant Singh hoped to stimulate.

Instead, some of us prefer to try to ban these thoughts and punish the people who express them.

Suresh said...

Dilip,

Thanks for the summary of Seervai. I was just trying to figure out what Jaswant Singh has added beyond what Seervai and Ayesha Jalal have already said. It seems to me not much, but let that be. It's good that the book has initiated a badly needed discussion - among some of us, at least.

First off, no, Jinnah's demands for a constitutional guarantee of some sort were not outlandish. It's perfectly understandable. Where I would take issue with Seervai is whether the portrayal of Congress as unyielding is accurate.

There is enough evidence - as Jaswant Singh also concedes in his talk with Karan Thapar - that Nehru understood Muslim concerns well. Remember this is the man who later on said that majority communalism was a much bigger threat for India than minority communalism. Even Patel, I think, would have understood Muslim concerns despite his arguably conservative, "pro-Hindu" outlook: remember that the constitutional arrangement to have two nominated Anglo-Indian members in the Lok Sabha basically came via a discussion between Patel and the Anglo-Indian leader Frank Anthony who argued - not very different from Jinnah! - that in a one person, one vote system, the Anglo-Indians would have no representation. (See Frank Anthony's "Britain's betrayal in India.")

The problem for us, then, is to understand why the Congress and the Muslim League were unable to come to a suitable agreement when they were "essentially" in agreement. Partly, I guess they were simply unable to trust one another. In such a situation, it might have helped if the British had played the "honest broker" in a way similar to the role that the American senator George Mitchell played in mediating between the two communities in Northern Ireland. For whatever reason, that didn't happen either. Or perhaps, the British did play the "honest broker" but couldn't mediate a suitable agreement. I don't know.

We also have to remember that the problem confronting the Congress and the Muslim League is fundamentally not an easy problem to address. As Pratap Mehta puts it, there is a history of failed negotiations (regarding a suitable constitutional arrangement in an independent India) between 1905 and 1947. I could try and explain it but I think Mehta does it much better in the Youtube clip I referred to - so I'll just refer you to him (in case you've not already seen the clip).

To sum, I don't think there are any easy villains we can blame for what happened in 1947. But, as Jaswant Singh argues correctly, we do need to understand what happened then if only to avoid having to go through the same trauma in the future. Unfortunately, that's not outlandish.

Chandru K said...

"In essence, he says that the demand for Pakistan grew out of the Muslim fear that their rights would not be automatically safe in a Hindu-dominated India, and so the Muslim League demanded special constitutional guarantees for those safeguards."

What makes Moslems so special that way? Why for instance, wouldn't real, tiny minorities like Parsees, Jains, Buddhists and Jews feel insecure, or fear that their rights wouldn't be respected under a "Hindu majority" India.

Incidentally, what presumptuous drek. So Moslem rights can be safeguarded under a British colonial, racist system, but not one where Hindus happen to be in a numerical majority- (duh- historically, India was a Hindu majority country and civilisation). And the way to obtain these 'safeguards'( from the putative wicked Hindu majority) is to make all kinds of demands, and failing which, start rioting and rampaging and mass killing on a cataclysmic scale?
Good show, Moslems!

Nikhil said...

Pareshaan
Hinduism can only flourish in an atmosphere of courage, knowledge, debate and understanding. We have little hope of surviving the next millennia as a people if we start shitting our pants every time someone says something we find disagreeable.
Why does a spat among senile 70 + guys be targetted at Hinduism. Please do not give empty statements on how Hinduism should survive. The one thing about Hinduism is it does not produce the taliban like creatures in the neighboring countries.

I never experienced any untoward bitterness towards Pakistan or towards Muslims - if anything there was a sense of loss and a longing to be able to return to a place, to a time, to a community that had been torn asunder by partition. Jis Lahore Nahee Vekhyaa… was an oft muttered refrain.
Yours not feeling bitterness is commendable. but to the second part, please ask your parents / grandparents why they came here. None of us asked you. They could have well stayed there. You feel a longing to return to the place and a time. You are free to go back to Lahore and see the 'welcome'you get there. Maybe you should do a reality check. Why are you not grateful to the rest of us Indians the ghatis, madrasis, kannadis etc who absorbed you into the Indian fold.
What is special about Lahore that is not there in Delhi, Amritsar and other Indian cities.
Honestly does your like suffer from the stockholm syndrome or is another secularism essay contest around the corner?

it is just a cover for a blanket hatred and fear of all Muslims) seems a malaise that is widespread amongst Hindus of the Hinterland. Amongst those who owing to traditional sequestering of communities haven't really known many Muslims.
Aha the usual trick picked up no doubt from Dilip. Do the usual
Pakistan = Muslim
That is why muslims in India are thriving compared to their counterparts in Pakistan.
That is why Shahrukh Khan, President Kalam, AR Rahman, Aamir Khan, Azim Premji, Khorakhiwala, Pathan and others are successful icons - because the hinterland hindus hate muslims.
Dilip - not a word from you protesting such generalizations. So now see some peoples selectivity.

continued

Nikhil said...

Dilip
Your ignorance is in full display

The founder and head of the party that has run the Bombay Municipal Corp for over two decades now and for better or worse stands for the aspirations of millions of Maharashtrians, the man who himself pronounced that he governed the state by "remote control" for five years -- and he's an "aberration".

Please see the people I have compared him to and then begin talking. At least this government by remote control was voted out.
Regarding aspirations of Maharashtrians, what is he doing what Karunanidhi, Mulayam, Laloo and others are not doing?

Let me ask you this:
Has he or any of his likes committed a genocide like the one in Bangladesh in 1971 - something that would put Hitler to shame?
What does the famous pak elite do when told about the rape camps and other atrocities being committed by the Pak army?
They simply say the next generation wil be better looking.

Compare this to the way Indian civil society reacts to riots here by condemning them.

Such are the dreamlands some of us inhabit in our desperation to feel superior to Pakistan.

Not dreamlands - it is reality based on hard facts. It is your likes who inhabit dreamlands by dreaming of eternal and unconditional peace even dreaming of a time when we will all be like Europe today.

Of course, there was no violence and killing on the Indian side of the border in '47, oh no.

It's just this view of history that I meant when I asked, "When will we learn to look at history for what it was, instead of what we want it to be?"

Your dishonesty is in full display. Did i ever say that? Again when you do not have arguments, you begin attributing statements that nobody made.
True all people Hindus, muslims and sikhs behaved with ferocity on both sides. But we have moved on whereas Pak has simply degenerated and become more communal and rabid.

What can you say about a country when the cricket captain apologises to all muslims of the world for losing a match and there is no reprimand.
Catch an Indian captain doing the same - apologizing to Hindus - and he will be looking for a new job.

Rest assured the likes of you will invite him for another people to people interface.

Here is a piece from Vir Sanghvi that aptly sums it
http://virsanghvi.com/CounterPoint-ArticleDetail.aspx?ID=236

So when Feroz Khan speaks about how muslims in India are better off than in Pakistan in pakistan itself, he is living in dreamland whereas Mahesh Bhatt who apologized to Pakistan for this sees things as they are.

Good luck and good day

Chandru K said...

Nikhil, good posting. I couldn't retrieve the article by Vir Sanghvi, but if it is the one he wrote in the "Hindustan Times" a few months ago, it is indeed a real gem. Pakistan as a country is obsessed to the point of lunacy, with the whole religious difference/religious separatism/Islam thing, that there is no way many of the actions and behaviour that you routinely see in India, would occur in Pakistan. But writers like D'Souza keep thrusting this rubbish of India and Pakistan are exactly the same, at us. Equating India with Pakistan is insulting and bogus. The sooner the practice is stopped, the better.

Nikhil said...

Dilip - For your argument:
Let me paraphrase Seervai's argument from "Partition of India: Legend and Reality", since I'm more familiar with it.

Hope you can be this objective about Babri Masjid one day. Waiting for it.

demand for Pakistan grew out of the Muslim fear that their rights would not be automatically safe in a Hindu-dominated India, and so the Muslim League demanded special constitutional guarantees for those safeguards.

Hmmm any difference between this and what Thackeray demands for the marathi manoos. Just substitiute a few words and Marathi manoos for muslims and you get what Thackeray stands for.

Jai
To continue the above, Jinnah is secular and Modi and Thackeray are communal.

Dilip - one question Who was responsible for Direct action day?

Pareshaan, it gets worse. Today's paper tells me that Narendra Modi has banned the book in Gujarat

Modi is only continuing a glorious tradition set in motion by Nehru and congress.
Let us petition for lifting the ban not only on this bt others too. How about beginning with Nine hours to Rama and Satanic verses?

Chandru
Thanks. Yes it is the same article Vir wrote for HT after the Oscars.

Not that I expect any reply for this.

Manmohan Singh said...

Please hold on, I need to ask Rahul what he thinks of this - I can't reach him, he's in the Delhi Metro right now.

Gengis Khan said...

You are all a bunch of impotent yaks.

Laloo Prasad said...

So this bull walks into a bar, and announces to the bartender 'I just humped Mayawati!' and...

oh. Wait.

That wasn't a joke. It happpened. Never mind. sorry.

Nikhil said...

Dilip, Pareshaan, Suresh
As expected you never replied.
Anyway the irony of inronies - Pakistan muslims have hardly had free voting or political rights while Indian muslims do under hindus.
So easy to just make statements than back it up with facts and figures

Aditya said...

>>The one thing about Hinduism is it does not produce the taliban like creatures in the neighboring countries.

Nikhil, What about riots in 2002 and 1984? People who kill have no religion.

Most of your arguments are based on "an eye for an eye". Two wrongs don't make a right.

Nikhil said...

What about riots in 2002 and 1984? People who kill have no religion.

I agree with the above with regard to India. But applied to Pakistan the argument does not hold. That country was created on the basis of religion and yet it has carried out the worst killings against fellow muslims before which both the above incidents pale in comparison. If you read my account I have written about the incidents of 1971 and most importantly how civic society has reacted.
Our civic society has condemned both of these incidents and tries its best to bring the guilty to justice. At least it protests whenever possible and this criticism cuts across religions
But I mentioned Hinduism because PAreshaan attributed the entire arguments in the BJP to Hinudism and what it should do. Compare this to Pakistan where minorities have actually reduced in number after independence.

Most of your arguments are based on "an eye for an eye". Two wrongs don't make a right.
Please point out where i have said that. When people talk of me living in dreamlands, it is necessary to expose their delusional thinking

Dilip D'Souza said...

Sorry was away from web access for a few days.

tries its best to bring the guilty to justice.

Picking just one, it would be interesting to hear what qualifies as "tries its best to bring the guilty to justice" with respect to the killing of 3000 Indians, by homegrown Indian terrorists, in 1984.

That's 25 years ago. A quarter century.

On another quick note:

A many says this: Most Indians don't give two hoots [about Pakistan].

Presumably he means to include himself in that "most Indians".

The same man then says this: Equating India with Pakistan is insulting and bogus. The sooner the practice is stopped, the better.

If he doesn't give two hoots, why is it "insulting"?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Why for instance, wouldn't real, tiny minorities like Parsees, Jains, Buddhists and Jews feel insecure, or fear that their rights wouldn't be respected under a "Hindu majority" India?

You're welcome to ask them.

But we do have, mentioned on this page, a real example of a real tiny minority feeling just such insecurity: the Anglo-Indians.

It's a good the measure of a democracy -- to what extent everyone feels they have a voice and feel secure.

Chandru K said...

I don't see the contradiction at all here. "Most Indians don't give two hoots about Pakistan" and "Equating India with Pakistan is bogus and insulting" ? One of the reasons Indians don't care one whit for Pakistan is precisely because all Pakistan does is support terror, separatism and anti-India sentiment. Things might be different if Pakistan were like, say, South Korea, with technology and investment.

Chandru K said...

Leaving aside the unpleasant history of Anglo-Indians being the gendarme of the British, the comparison with Moslems is not accurate at all. Anglo-Indians did not threaten violence and civil war if their demands were not met. On the other hand, one equation with Moslems is correct: Anglo-Indians, like Moslems, were a pampered lot under the British; with the impending independence of India, many of them felt they would no longer be favoured.

Nikhil said...

'Tries its best to bring the guilty to justice.'

Whatever efforts have been done to get the guilty to justice - the petitions, the protests by journalists etc.
At least they do not pass the same comments that Pakistani elite / civil society does.

Did I forget the brutal torture and killing of Saurav Kaalia by the Pak army. Again inhabiting wonderlands. But no there you will give the benefit of doubt to Pakis.

Good day and good luck.

Chandru K said...

It was Jinnah's megalomania, the Moslem engineered "Great Calcutta killing", plus Moslems from provinces like UP and Bihar stirring up violence in Punjab, that really sealed partition. If the Congress with Nehru and Gandhi can be blamed for anything, it was in not having the stomach for the kind of violence that the Moslem League and its followers were indulging in, and the threat of even more violence from the same group.

The Real Azous D'Pilid said...

Hmm about 30 comments ago, I distinctly remember saying:

you have made the mistake of trying to present a reasonable argument. You will suffer the consequences, wait & watch. By the end of it, you will need a Disprin. Don't say you weren't warned.

If only people would have heeded my advice, we wouldn't be here, here being where you were 30 comments ago, but without the disprin.

Narendra Modi said...

I have banned Azous from Gujarat.

Asif Zardari said...

I will ban anything for a 10% share.

Lipid S'oduza said...

I have banned common sense from my head.

Suresh said...

For those still following the debate, there is an interesting article by Jaithirth Rao in the Indian Express:

http://tinyurl.com/mvzusq

I found this article interesting because it suggests an understandable - at least, to me - rationale for what Nehru and Patel did in the negotiations leading to Partition. Rao starts by noting that the Cabinet Mission plan (the last chance to avoid partition, in Jaswant's words) allowed for groups of provinces to secede after ten years and this was unacceptable to Nehru and Patel. In effect, they were faced with a Hobson's choice of having a Partition right away or facing an "ongoing right of secession." They chose the former, and Rao argues that it was the right one.

I doubt that this is the last word on the subject. But I will freely admit to being troubled by the assertion (of Jaswant, and even others) that the failure of the Congress to accept the Cabinet Mission plan was simply due to their "lust for power" or the desire to "have a centralised state." It seemed to me that there was more than just that in the decision to accept Partition. Rao's article provides such a rationale (without reducing Jinnah to a villain) and no matter whether it's right or not, it at least, engages with the debate that Jaswant initiated. We should be thankful to both of them.

Chandru K said...

Suresh, you make it seem like the whole partition matter was just a friendly disagreement between two groups of gentlemen. It was far from that.
The Moslem League was a demagogic, rabidly communal, highly separatist, political organisation that was also very prone to using violence. The League was non-oppositional toward colonialism. Their 'enemy' was solely the Hindus.
More than once, Nehru remarked how awful it was trying to work with the League. He rightly described it as an obnoxious group that raised the communal temperature, vulgarised India's public life, and made India look contemptible in the eyes of the world.
It would be different if the League had an alternative, secular humanistic vision of India, and offered that to the Indian people as a whole. That was the last thing on their mind.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Suresh, thanks for the pointer. Rao is always thought-provoking.

Here's the way I see it: partition was the best option in those years leading up to 1947. In that respect, I agree with Rao and think Nehru and Patel took that best option. Sometimes you cannot keep a country united and it is wise to recognize that.

Jinnah's earliest demands, I think, should be seen as a plea for a different model of democracy -- not necessarily wrong or evil for being so, but just another model.

I should clarify that to me, the tragedy of partition I refer to above is not the partition into two countries itself, but that it was accompanied by the horrific massacres. There is evidence (Seervai explains) that the killing could have been averted, or at least minimised, if freedom had been delayed by another year. That would have given both countries time to build forces that would have been able to ensure some level of security during the movements of people in both directions. For plenty of reasons, this did not happen, and the result is that a million or more died.

It should be possible to look back at this history without needing to pick out villains and vilify them. To understand how it shapes us today. That was why I found Seervai's book an eye-opener, and like you say, we should be thankful to both Jaswant and Rao for taking this debate further.

Chandru K said...

Ah, but Dilip D'Souza neglects to tell us the underlying motive for Pakistan, which was/is something far from honourable and admirable. First, the notion that Moslems are a special group of people, second that they need protection, third that they require this 'protection' solely from the Hindus, 4th, that history in India for them begins with the advent of Islam and all its marauders and rulers.
One should also add the preposterous notion that the League has the exclusive right to speak for and represent, any individual bearing a Moslem name( the whole "sole spokesman' syndrome).

Suresh said...

Jinnah's earliest demands, I think, should be seen as a plea for a different model of democracy -- not necessarily wrong or evil for being so, but just another model.

Yes, one where political power is negotiated directly between various "groups." Rao notes that something like this operates in Lebanon. The Wikipedia gives details but it is interesting to note that the President of Lebanon is a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the Speaker of the Parliament a Shia Muslim! This approach cannot be said to have delivered peace or stability to Lebanon. I think Rao is right in arguing that if we had accepted the Cabinet Mission plan, the chances are that we would have run into problems somewhere down the line, possibly an even more brutal Partition.

Philosophically, I am with Dr. Ambedkar and Nehru in looking at society as a collection of individuals rather than a collection of groups. I acknowledge Jinnah's model as a "different" type of democracy but I am not in sympathy with such an approach and am glad that our Constituent Assembly did not adopt it.

Suresh said...

Two articles which may interest readers:

First, on the plagiarism in Jaswant Singh's book. This speaks badly not only of Jaswant Singh with his claim of the book being "meticulously researched" but also the Indian publishing industry as such.

http://tinyurl.com/mvz2c6

Second, a review of the book by Narendra Singh Sarila "The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India's Partition. Note that the review is by Philip Zeigler, the biographer of Lord Mountbatten.

http://tinyurl.com/nqbur6

Both articles point to something distressingly common in India: plagiarism and simply careless work. Of course, not everyone is this way but the frequency of such cases is simply unacceptable. The problem is that such work ends up tarring those Indian researchers and authors who are careful. My sister, herself an Indian academic, tells me that submissions from India to international journals are looked at sceptically because no one trusts the data that is reported.

And on the Indian publishing industry: I have brought two books from Rupa in the past, one by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay and another by Sylvia Plath only to find entire pages missing! What is going on?

Sorry for the slightly off-topic post.

Chandru K said...

The very fact that Suresh and D'Souza are repeatedly mentioning "Jinnah" proves that the whole Pakistan movement was created essentially by a megalomaniacal, mendacious individual, who successfully exploited the ignorance and latent fanaticism of the Moslems, to obtain political power for himself. Jinnah was the single driving force behind this nonsense.It was not some visionary, progressive 'alternative' political model.