Nehru was draftsman of partition’: Kanchan Gupta | New Delhi
There are now no more points left to score; all have already been scored, no great issues of partition left to resolve, except one: An ability to understand what, after all, did this partition achieve?” Jaswant Singh asks in the closing chapter of his new book, Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence, scheduled to be released on August 17. He then answers the question, “Other than constant pain and the suffering of crores of humans, all around, which has now finally moulded itself into a kind of a sealed and an abrasive continuity. This has become ours, India’s proverbial cross…”
The 654-page book is a ‘political biography’ of the founder of Pakistan, what Jaswant Singh describes as the “epic journey of Mohammed Ali Jinnah from being the ‘ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity’ to the Quaid-e-Azam of Pakistan”. It is also the senior BJP leader’s personal journey of discovery — he has accessed, used and presented a wealth of documents, including those in the custody of Pakistan. While doing so, he has been cautious not to tread the path to controversy.
In its opening pages, the book provides a grand sweep of India’s encounter with Islam, cuts to the uprising of 1857, and then to the freedom struggle. Here onwards, it is the story of Jinnah the constitutionalist seeking a place for himself on the stage of national politics, dominated by Jawaharlal Nehru and crowded by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s favoured men and women in the Congress. And how, having failed to secure that place, Jinnah increasingly turned towards crafting a constituency of his own — the Muslims — and, with the help of the Muslim League, appropriated the role of the ‘sole spokesman’ of the community.