Kapil Komireddi’s butchery of history on Jinnah

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan

Source: Pak Tea House

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

So complete have been the state sponsored mythologies in the subcontinent that both Indians and Pakistanis are incapable of looking at the past objectively or with any kind of intellectual ability.

Consider for example jingoistic Indian columnist Kapil Komireddi’s piece for Daily Beast titled “Pakistan’s Mohammad Ali Jinnah is not Mandela”. As if Jinnah would care he would be compared to Mandela. Nelson Mandela is no doubt a great leader of our times and did a lot for his country and his people but the comparison is not an apt one. Behind Mandela were a people united against racial tyranny and Mandela”s own role while substantial was not central to the future of his people. Mandela was not handicapped by demands of religious orthodoxy and by divergent interests of his people.  Jinnah on the other hand became the voice and legitimate sole spokesman of 90 million diverse multitude of people, rich and poor, divided horizontally and vertically with objectives often running cross purposes. Jinnah’s achievement was to bring together these people and despite divisions on almost all issues under one flag.  Still I do not want to go into any inane comparisons or contrasts between Mandela and Jinnah.  Who one likes can be a matter of choice. Jinnah’s aloof and cold temperament that was projected by all and sundry at the cost of Jinnah the deeply passionate and inwardly emotional man and this makes him rather uninspiring for the average joe who gets his history from Hollywood or fictional suspense thrillers like “Freedom at Midnight”. On the Mandela issue however, let us allow the former South African President, who is said to be similar to Jinnah in at least one sense – incorruptibility and honesty-  be the last word:

‘Ali Jinnah is a constant source of inspiration for all those who are fighting against racial or group discrimination.’ (Mandela 1995 Visitor’s Book Karachi; on this particular trip Mandela had insisted on visiting Jinnah’s Mausoleum in Karachi even though the capital of Pakistan is Islamabad).

My concern is the deliberate butchery of history that Mr. Komireddi undertook in his rather mediocre and one sided piece. Komireddi writes: “Hindus and Muslims can [n]ever evolve a common nationality,” Jinnah had declared in 1940. Could a journey fuelled by such hatred and divisiveness possibly have culminated in a peaceful and pluralistic destination?’

Read further in Pak Tea House

This article is response to: Why Pakistan’s Mohammed Ali Jinnah Was No Nelson Mandela

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2 replies

  1. We know what Jinnah did.
    Nobody is telling the world his DARK side.
    He refused to accept Mountbatten as Governor-General for 1 year after partition. This resulted in:
    Displacement & murder of millions of East Punjabi Muslims.
    Rape, kidnapping & murder of several hundred thousands Muslim women.
    A book on this subject by a PAKISTANI MUSLIM Raees Ahmad Jafary Titled”Pachas Hazar Ortain” is worth reading.
    Without consultation,announcement of Urdu as national language of Pakistan, which resulted in riots in East Pakistan & finally dismemberment of the country.

    • Mr. Yousafzai: Thank you finally to have written Pakistan with its correct spelling. As for Jinnah, please read a bit more enlightened writers like Ayesha Jalal, Yasser Latif Hamdani (Jinnah: Myth and reality), Stanley Walport and Jaswant Singh. Mr. Jafary is not an authentic source on Jinnah or Indo pak history.

      Here is a good reference for your reading:
      Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India 3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 · rating details · 48 ratings · 9 reviews by Stanely Walport
      Britain’s precipitous and ill-planned disengagement from India in 1947–condemned as a “shameful flight” by Winston Churchill–had a truly catastrophic effect on South Asia, leaving hundreds of thousands of people dead in its wake and creating a legacy of chaos, hatred, and war that has lasted over half a century.
      Ranging from the fall of Singapore in 1942 to the assassina…more Britain’s precipitous and ill-planned disengagement from India in 1947–condemned as a “shameful flight” by Winston Churchill–had a truly catastrophic effect on South Asia, leaving hundreds of thousands of people dead in its wake and creating a legacy of chaos, hatred, and war that has lasted over half a century.
      Ranging from the fall of Singapore in 1942 to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, Shameful Flight provides a vivid behind-the-scenes look at Britain’s decision to divest itself from the crown jewel of its empire. Stanley Wolpert, a leading authority on Indian history, paints memorable portraits of all the key participants, including Gandhi, Churchill, Attlee, Nehru, and Jinnah, with special focus on British viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Wolpert places the blame for the catastrophe largely on Mountbatten, the flamboyant cousin of the king, who rushed the process of nationhood along at an absurd pace. The viceroy’s worst blunder was the impetuous drawing of new border lines through the middle of Punjab and Bengal. Virtually everyone involved advised Mountbatten that to partition those provinces was a calamitous mistake that would unleash uncontrollable violence. Indeed, as Wolpert shows, civil unrest among Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs escalated as Independence Day approached, and when the new boundary lines were announced, arson, murder, and mayhem erupted. Partition uprooted over ten million people, 500,000 to a million of whom died in the ensuing inferno.
      Here then is the dramatic story of a truly pivotal moment in the history of India, Pakistan, and Britain, an event that ignited fires of continuing political unrest that still burn in South Asia.(less)

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