Here we go again. Nehru-bashing has been quite a popular fad nowadays (especially among the rightists) and so far he had been blamed for myriad things. But this recent assault, has a new edge.
I was quite excited when I heard about this new book on Jinnah written by Jaswant Singh: Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence. But then I read this interview between Mr. Singh and Karan Thapar, and found out that the BJP politician is actually blaming Nehru for the partition of India.
Now there are many things (said by Mr. Singh) in this interview that are plainly incorrect – like how Jinnah was born poor and was a self-made man, or how British offered India a dominion status in the 20’s; wrong and baseless, respectively – but this ‘demonization’ of Nehru proves yet again how lenient and eloquent we Indians are when it comes to criticizing Nehru (and often, Gandhi). [See my earlier post: Love to Hate Nehru.]
In response to Thapar’s question “How seriously has India misunderstood Jinnah?” he explains how we needed to create a demon for one of the most dreadful events of the 20th century in South Asia, and Jinnah ended up being our scapegoat – the villain of partition. How ironic! Because I think Mr. Singh himself needed a demon to ‘un-demonize’ Jinnah in his book, and he found a scapegoat in Nehru!
What do I think about this novel allegation (that Nehru, along with Jinnah, was responsible for partition)? I think it’s quite preposterous, if not outright ludicrous. I don’t have any problem with a new perspective on Jinnah. May be we (Indians) did misunderstand Jinnah to some extent. I would love to see a different point of view on one of the most influential figures in Indian history. But belittling Jinnah’s contemporaries with a hope that the fabricated contrast would help in elevating his personality is not a very honest approach.