Monday, December 7, 2009

MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN CONFUSES ME MOST!

Like every ordinary Indian people I love movies, their concepts, stories and every other thing. It is usual that it affects my mind, body as well as instincts. Nowhere is this more significant than the habit of mine to assign an angel status and a demon status to everybody in this world. According to me you can either be a hero or a devil but nobody in between. To say in scientific words i consider world as nucleus where only protons and electrons resides. To me James Chadwick [founder of neutron] was never born. [P.S-I extended two statements by using clutches of science just to satisfy the sheded egos of some of my engineering friends who usually complains that I don’t write like an science stream student].This habit although I know is not exact and good but still i follow this with my whole heart. Bose is a super-hero, so is sachin, Mahatma Gandhi was also an angel and similarly there are many demons [names of whom is irrelevant to the topic and are controversial].However hard I try I can’t assign status to midnight’s children Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammed Ali Jinnah. It is not that I had never assigned them any status but now-a-days my opinions about them had changed and presently their status is complicated [ahem himeshbhai is happy].

Jawaharlal Nehru the first prime minister of modern India was a moody, idealistic intellectual who felt an almost mystical empathy with the toiling peasant masses; an aristocrat accustomed to privilege, who had passionate socialist convictions, an anglicized product of harrow and Cambridge and an agonist radical who became an unlikely protégé of saintly mahatma Gandhi. A pampered youth, he always had little connections about grass-root problems. Even he himself had written in his biography that an only son to prosperous parents is apt to be spoilt and if he remains alone till 11 the chances of left unspoiled is nil especially in India.

There are many fine things which Nehru gave us. He united a nation out of most heterogeneous people on the earth. He nurtured democracy. More than any other individuals we owe him our present day attachments to democratic institutions. He respected minorities and made us secular in our temperament. Most important he injected in us the modernist idea of liberty and equality. He gave us youthful hope and optimism. But there are equal bad things which Nehru gave us if not more. His failed economic promises which have cost us two generations of missed opportunities. Instead of socialism, his path led to a corrupt, domineering state which we are desperately trying to dismantle today with the economic reforms. He lacks vision, the blind faith on China who later backstabbed us. His failed policies, overconfidence had made India backward by at least two generation from what it deserves. The uncompromisable attitude which led to the partition of India and his more than desired idealistic attitude which lacks realism still cost us and after seeing the condition of today I can say that even the Fabians socialist ideology went wrong at some point and what was more pathetic was his reluctance to improve. That’s what we call ego.

Mahomedali Jinnahbhai, as the world knows, was a Gujarati-speaking khoja Muslim, a westernized liberal constitutionalist who believed the mass movement unleashed by Gandhi was also leading to widespread religious divisions in the public because of the way Gandhi was mixing religion with politics. His break with the Congress was ironic because at heart Jinnah was a diehard Congressman, whose early associates were Gopalkrishna Gokhale and SN Banerjea.

Jinnah was a towering national leader much before Gandhi returned from South Africa and entered public life. He was better known than Motilal Nehru, Tej Bahadur Sapru and M.R. Jayakar. Gandhi’s rise to prominence lies in the Khilafat movement which Jinnah bitterly opposed. Jinnah was a permanent secular liberal while Gandhi adjusted his secularism according to the prevalent condition and the requirement. He was constantly humiliated by congressmen and was not treated nicely.

All this did not dishearten Jinnah to such an extent that he demands a separate homeland for Muslims. Till 1937, Jinnah saw “no difference between the ideals of the Muslim League and of the Congress, the ideal being complete freedom for India. In October 1937, he said that “all safeguards and settlements would be a scrap of paper unless they were backed up by power.” In Britain the parties alternate in holding power. “But such is not the case in India. Here we have a permanent Hindu majority....”This is where Jinnah went horribly wrong. His constant humiliation led him to majority-minority trap. He forgot that the key issue to Muslim development was through empowerment on all fronts including politics. Jinnah was so frustrated and in that he raised the slogan of “permanent Hindu majority”

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, aristocrat by temperament, catholic in taste, sectarian in politics, and the father of Pakistan, was the unlikeliest parent that an Islamic republic could possibly have. He was the most British of the generation of Indians that won freedom in August 1947. As a child in the elite Christian Mission High School in Karachi, he changed his birthday from 20 October to Christmas Day. As a student at Lincoln's Inn, he anglicised his name from Jinnahbhai to Jinnah. He wore Savile Row suits, heavily starched shirts and two-tone leather or suede shoes……Despite being the Quaid-e-Azam, or the Great Leader of Muslims, he drank a moderate amount of alcohol and was embarrassingly unfamiliar with Islamic methods of prayer. He was uncomfortable in any language but English, and made his demand for Pakistan — in 1940 at Lahore — in English, despite catcalls from an audience that wanted to hear Urdu.”

However the status assigned by Indian historians and media-persons to both persons is sharp contradicting. Nehru is a super-hero, jinnah is the all purpose villain. But the reality is If Nehru compromised on minorities’ rights then Jinnah on India’s unity although both men were secularists. A.G. Noorani writes, “Therein lies the tragedy. Nehru harmed secularism by denying the legitimacy of minority rights. Jinnah ruined it by the two-nation theory.” He adds, “ Yet, it is doubtful if, in the entire history of India’s struggle for freedom, anyone else has been subjected to such a sustained, determined denigration and demonization as Jinnah has been from 1940 to this day, by almost everyone - from the leaders at the very top to academics and journalists.”The Cabinet Mission’s Plan of May 16, 1946, for a united India failed and dragged it “into the abyss of inevitability.” Everyone including Nehru and Patel had given up; only Maulana Abul Kalam Azad remained opposed to it.

India would have been surely different and better had Nehru taken some realistic steps or had sardar vallabh bhai Patel became the first prime minister of India? Similarly for Jinnah, had he been somewhat less egoist, History would have been different.
[Note:-Being an Indian I had not touched Jinnah’s aspects as a nation head and had only focussed on his role before partition]