June 11, 2005

Ghatkopar blast: All accused acquitted, will Best Bakery activists become active

Will those who have taken up the case of Best Bakery will now be active here? Doubt it. Just as they were inactive when the Supreme Court acquitted those whom the Mumbai High Court held as guilty for the burning of the Bane family in Jogeshwari in Mumbai. In both the cases, the target were Hindus and the perpatrators of the crime Muslims. Can Hindus receive justice in India? -- Ashok Chowgule

Ghatkopar blast: All accused acquitted
Vijay Singh in Mumbai | June 11, 2005 12:37 IST

A special POTA court in Mumbai on Saturday acquitted all the eight accused in the Ghatkopar blast case.

Two persons were killed and over 50 injured when a bomb went off in a BEST bus at Ghatkopar in Mumbai on December 2, 2002.

The eight accused in the case were -- Dr Abdul Mateen, Jameel Ahmed, Imran Rehman Khan, Altaf Mohammed Ismail, Towfeeq Ahmed, Arif Paanwala, Harun Rashid Lohar and Rashid Ansari.

The Mumbai police, for whom the acquittal is a big setback, had originally listed 29 accused in the case.

They, however, managed to arrest only 19. Of the 19, nine were discharged by the court for lack of evidence, one died in Hyderabad and another, Khwaja Younus, escaped from police custody under mysterious circumstances.

The defence counsel has charged that Younus was killed in police custody.

The prosecution had alleged the accused hatched the conspiracy between March 2002 and December 2002 to avenge the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.

The prosecution received a setback when Dattatraya Shelkar -- the conductor of the BEST bus number 416 in which the blast occurred -- turned hostile in March this year. During an identification parade, the conductor had identified three of the eight accused -- Paanwala, Rashid Lohar and Rashid Ansari.

Ten more witnesses turned hostile during the trial. They included inmates of Sir J J Hospital's boys hostel where Mateen, a forensic expert, was staying before he was picked up by the police.

Last year, nine accused -- Saquib Nachan, Haseeb Zuber Mullah, Aatif Mullah, Ghulam Sattar, Farhan Khot, Mohammed Kamil, Noor Mohammed Ansari, Anwar Ali and Nadeem Paloba -- were discharged for lack of evidence.

Of the eight accused acquitted on Saturday, Aarif Paanwala, Haroon Rashid and Rashid Ansari would continue to be in jail as they face charges for engineering blasts at suburban Mulund, Vile Parle and Mumbai Central. The Ghatkopar explosion was the first in a series of bomb blasts that rocked the city in 2002 and 2003.

June 10, 2005

West Bengal is going J&K way

Prafull Goradia

June, 2, 2005

What Pakistan thinks for Kashmir today, Bangladesh will think for West Bengal tomorrow. Qaid-e-Azam Jinnah and his successors wanted Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan because there were more Muslims in the Valley. Later, the argument shifted to self-determination of Kashmiris. Sooner or later, Dhaka, too, may support similar movement for autonomy in the North 24 Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda and West Dinajpur districts.

All the 54 Islamic countries would support such a demand, as they did for Kashmir. The Pandits were driven out of the Valley. The Hindus of these districts in West Bengal are not far from a similar hijrat. Only two months ago Ram Mohan Chaki told me this when I visited his village Debagram in Nadia.

The ripples of such apprehension have reached the suburbs of Kolkata. Dr Manik Dattagupta, having made it good in the US, returned home in 2003 with the intention of spending the rest of his years in leisure amidst relatives and friends. He wanted a house of his own in Salt Lake, a favourite of Bengali non-residents.

He called on Omeo Sen, his old friend at Bangbasi College, to help him get a suitable plot of land. Mr Sen's reaction was: "Why do you want to become a refugee all over again? Why do you want to be homeless for a second time in your life? Go and build your house at Varanasi or Allahabad or elsewhere." Sen added, "Remember, our parents and others had to run for their lives from Hilpur in Faridpur in 1951. By 2011, you will have to run for your dear life from Kolkata, for Bangladeshi Muslims are multiplying after flooding in from the East. There are no jobs and not enough land to work on."

There are too many people and they need living space or lebensraum, as a Dhaka ideologue put it. The districts touching the Bangladesh border already have more Muslims than Hindus, and Kolkata is only 45 km from the Jessore border. It costs a maximum of Rs 1,000 to cross the border and some Rs 2,500 to obtain a ration card. Thereafter, political parties help the infiltrator in getting his name entered in the electoral rolls. Already, one out of four voters in West Bengal is a Muslim, and he is one of the three pillars of the Left Front Government.

Last weekend, a young Somabroto, whose father Gynu Sanyal used to attend the RSS shakha regularly, dropped in to see me. We happened to discuss the greenhouse effect on Bangladesh. He said that half the country will be under water in 50 years. Yet he betrayed no particular anxiety. Apparently, in his lexicon, Muslims are those who speak Urdu. Bengalis are all Bengalis.

To Somabroto, evidently, sonar culture, led by the melody that is the Bengali language, is far above religion. He is first, second and third a Bengali and then a Hindu - to the extent that he had forgiven the oppression of his family on the way from Mymensingh to Calcutta. In one instance his parents had to throw away his six-month-old sister into a pond because crying her might have attracted rioters. Whether Muslims reciprocated this magnanimous Hindu sentiment or not, did not seem to concern Somabroto.

Aloke Gurtu, who was also present, surprised Somabroto by saying that the All India Muslim League was established in no other place than Dhaka in 1906. Gurtu went on to complain how Kashmir too had been betrayed. Step by step, family by family, person by person conversions had proved to be massive. The influential Pandits did not lift a finger, not even while the Dogras ruled for the best part of two centuries, complained Gurtu.

Years ago, while travelling from Calcutta to Delhi, a co-passenger called Girish Sapru frankly told me that he was far more comfortable in high class Muslim company than with the average Hindu. He then went on to explain that one had to understand the Kashmiris in order to appreciate their preference.

History, however, proves that Kashmiris have been betrayed. Men from the Valley have moved to Ladakh in such numbers that the original Ladakhis are on the verge of being outnumbered. Several areas of Jammu - Doda, Rajouri and Poonch - are also going the same way. Meanwhile, thanks to the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service, Pakistanis have begun claiming their properties in Srinagar.

Regardless of who is to be blamed, the fact is the Pandits have been wiped out of Kashmir. The same fate cannot overtake the Bengalis for the simple reason that their number is much greater and they are well settled in other parts of India. The question is of the fate of West Bengal. How soon or how late would the majority in the eastern districts demand autonomy a la Kashmir?

If and when that happens, the West Bengali could well start to imagine the re-enactment of East Bengal after Partition. In what detail, I do not know, but certainly Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee had visualised the broad picture. Remember, he had resigned from the Cabinet when Nehru had surrendered the rights of the East Bengal refugees to the false promises of the Pakistani prime minister and signed the Nehru-Liaquat Pact.

BC Roy had obeyed Nehru and tried hard to discourage the hapless refugees. Ironically, the same Mookerjee laid down his life for the sake of Kashmiris in J&K, in the prime of his life. Evidently, the Kashmiri Pandits ignored his sacrifice, and what was unfortunate was that the Bengalis too did not care to insist on an exchange of population a la Punjab.

Is it war on terror or economical grabbing? A Baloch Nationalist Perspective

By: Dr Jumma Khan Marri

Dr Jumma Khan Marri is Chairman of Baloch Unity http://balochunity.org with huge following in baloch diaspora and young generation. Hes son of prominent baloch leader Mr.Mir Hazar Ramkhani Marri who lead 1973 upraise against Pakistan for greater Balochistan . Currently live in Moscow .

Pakistani Govt and the Americans have same mind sat up. That is their greed for others wealth, to achieve that they will go to any length using all their tactics to achieve their goals.

It is very clear to the world that these two countries have created and financed these monsters Mullahs and their Boss, now most wanted man in the world Mr. Bin Laden.

All this artificially and carefully orchestrated war on terrorism is nothing more then occupation of others resources Iraq is clear example, for the US the Caspian Sea area and Middle East oil resources are vital for their future economical survival and their hegemony on the world.

The Pakistani are also in search of terrorists but their reach and hands are short so they found them near in Balochistan, to occupy our ports, lands, and other mineral resources soon or later they will attack us more severally then before while using the same pretexts as their big boss uncle SAM does around the world.

Instead of looking in other’s files for search of terrorists these two countries should carefully look at the files of CIA and ISI they will find all the clues and information’s where to look for these terrorists.

US Govt is not so Naïve that they do not know where to look for these terrorist with out telling more they should look in Islamabad and Rawal-Pindi they will get all the answers they are looking for.

We are afraid and have big reasons to be, that the Naïve Indians will be used by the Pakistan for their war on terror no where else but in Balochistan and Sindh to protect their economical interests that is the Iran, Pak, Indian gas pipe line project.

Pakistanis are very clever they already used Mr. L K Advani,s careless speeches in Pakistan in their favors and broke the opposition party of India and are striving to distract Indian attention from J&K with new so called Bus services, while Indian will be busy chewing Pan with their Pakistani counter parts laughing on every new joke of Musharraf in Islamabad, The Pakistani ISI will fill the J&K with new generations of Mujahids once they did this then the Indians will be black mailed for their vital economical line where Indian would have already invested huge money and already oriented their energy sources needs, on this pipe line on fake Pakistani guarantees.

They can be easily black mailed on J&K that is why Pakistan is ready and flattering the Indian to much these days once Indians are trapped in their net then, Pakistan will manipulate Indians in their maximum.

Mr. Jennah in the beginnings was not demanding Pakistan but only doing politics but once was allowed in the Indian politics wanted ever more till he broke the country, it is up to Indian to look what is better for them.

While the Indians and others say nothing on human rights violations in Balochistan but on other hand Pakistan invite the J&K leaders and strengths their friendship and future plans. Braking all the previously agreed plans.

But this pipe line will defiantly carry contaminated gas with Balochi blood if their Dharm allows them to cook food with bloody gas it is up to them.

The present Pakistani economical boom is a fake air balloon can burst any time this is only US strategy to cheat the Pakistani people so that people should not oppose Mr. Musharraf rule because Mr. general is handing over more Pakistanis to US then any Govt ever did before.

The US Govt should remove the source of terrorism that is the Pakistani criminal Govt, other wise this human trade will never end.


Because US will continue to hunt the so called Al-Qaeda terrorists and Pakistan will continue to recruit and train more of them only to sell them to US again and again to get more US arms and economical aid.

After garments the second biggest trade between the US and Pakistan is trade of Terrorists where as the Bush administration wants to see his huge godauns filled with of these terrorists while Pakistan will keep on supplying them, it is easy calculation where there is demand there is supply so until the generals in Pentagon needs them Pakistani generals will keep them exporting. Demands are meet with supply.

Ramsfield and rice with other hacks in US wants to build a strong US army and army needs a foreign enemy the enemy found and funds are needed so the US congress must fund the war on terror and we see ever increases in pentagon budget.

This war on terror came as gift from haven for many dictators in the Muslim world especially to Musharraf and Islam Kareemov of Uzbekistan, Uzbek president kills thousands job less and hungry innocent protestors Bush is silent because Mr. Kareemov linked them with al Qaeda.

Mr. Musharraf deprives Baloch and Sindhi people of their rights and builds news army cantonments Mr. Bush is silent because Mr. Musharraf is an ally in war against terrorism, Millions of travelers around the world are humiliated every day for what? The answer is war on terror that is what terrorists wanted and they are resting with happy faces, when ever the fear eases in the world again they will blast some devices some where and shock the world and go for long holidays.

No other winners are in this war on terror then the terrorists themselves and their partners and their ally the dictators, terrorists’ need platforms for their terror and dictators need them to hide their crimes, so these both of them are interdependent for each others help.

If other wise Osama and Mullah Omar would have been caught long before, so they became the milking cow for these dictatorial regimes, of Musharraf and Afghan Karzai, they will do every thing to hide them to get US billions.

Or US has no interests to catch them but the above mentioned theory garbing and occupying others resources most probably this is the main reasons so they wish the more secure these two persons are the more time they get to make more army bases around the world.

The foundations of politics are based on lies and deceptions so little force with lies and deception will solve the needs of hungry and greedy vulture’s problems, as Pakistani Punjabi and Muhajirs new Mega projects for Balochistan, we know the end results of these progress stories.

There are no doubts that CIA reports about the training camps in Pakistan, until the war on terror continues the Pakistani army can dictate their will on India and US on their fake war on terror.

This war on terror feeds the Generals in Pakistan and makes them more greedy and dangerous not only for Baloch people but for the security and stability of the entire region and world at large.

Until the war on terror continues in this way the terrorist will multiply by every coming day. Iraq is clear example for it.

And this what the terrorists and their supporters wanted and they will never allow this war to end.

It is up to sane people of the world to think weather this war is worth fighting the way it goes on or a serious strategy change is needed????

If the US Govt wants to eliminate terrors they should go behind the dictatorial’ regimes and fight hunger and illiteracy but if their choice is grabbing and killing then these terrorists and dictators are perfect partners.

Long live war on Terror!!!

June 08, 2005

Did the ISI lay a trap for Advani?

June 08, 2005

To call Mohammad Ali Jinnah a secularist is like calling Shri Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, a secularist or Pervez Musharraf a democrat.

L K Advani, the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has only himself to blame for the violent reactions in the Hindutva Parivar to his characterisation of Jinnah as a secularist and to his mea culpa before a Pakistani audience on the Babri Masjid demolition issue.

It indicates a total lack of sensitivity on his part to the feelings of those members of the Hindutva organisations in the North, whose families suffered cruelly during the pre-Partition massacre of Hindus in what now constitutes Pakistan. They have always held Jinnah responsible for the brutalities inflicted on their families.

If the reactions to Advani's remarks are not that violent in the South, it is because there are very few Hindus in the Hindutva Parivar in the south who had migrated from Pakistan and had been witness to the massacre of the Hindus.

Advani's remarks indicate a surprisingly poor knowledge of Pakistan and poor understanding of the feelings of people on the part of someone, who aspires to be the next prime minister of India.

Jinnah was not a fundamentalist Muslim. He did not want the Muslim clerics to have any say in the governance of an independent Pakistan or in the formulation and implementation of the laws of the country. However, he was not secular. He was responsible for the polarisation between the Muslims and the Hindus, the consequences of which the Indian subcontinent continues to witness even today.

Anyone, who had studied the British archives of the period before 1947, would have known how Jinnah let himself be used by the British colonial administration before 1947 in order to divide and weaken the independence struggle of Mahatma Gandhi. Periodic Hindu-Muslim riots in different parts of India were not the creation of Jinnah. They were an unfortunate occurrence even before Jinnah made its appearance in Indian politics.

But Jinnah, with the quite encouragement of the British, imparted to them a virulence which they did not have before he started demanding the Partition of India on the basis of his two-nation theory that the Hindus and the Muslims could not live together in the same nation. The British used the aggravated communal tension and violence as a result of Jinnah's policies to try to deny independence to India on the ground that the Indians would not be able to govern themselves and that the people belonging to different religions would be at each other's throat if they left the country.

When, despite their machinations with the help of Jinnah, Gandhi's independence struggle continued to gather momentum, they cunningly encouraged Jinnah's demand for the partition of India. After having opposed it initially, Gandhi had to ultimately agree to it. It was the British fear that a largely Hindu India might not serve the Western interests that led them to encourage Jinnah's demand for Partition. Their calculation that an independent Muslim nation would serve the Western interests proved right.

Jinnah's two-nation theory was supported by the Punjabi, Bengali and Sindhi Muslims, but not by the Pashtuns and the Balochs. The Pashtuns led by Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, who came to be known as the Frontier Gandhi, and the Balochs led by their tribal sardars, strongly opposed the policies of Jinnah and supported Gandhi. There was a time when Jinnah could not set foot in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Balochistan because of the strong local support to Gandhi and opposition to him.

Even the Muslims in other parts of India refused to support Jinnah. The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind strongly opposed the demand of the Indian Muslim League headed by Jinnah for the partition of India on the basis of the two-nation theory because it feared that the coming into existence of Pakistan could endanger the position of the Muslims in the rest of India.

Gandhi believed in a non-violent independence struggle. Non-violence had no appeal for Jinnah. He used violence to push forward his struggle for a separate Muslim nation. He instigated communal clashes, which resulted in bloody massacres of Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other Congress leaders condemned these massacres, Gandhi went on a fast unto death and they repeatedly toured the affected areas in order to calm the communal passions.

Jinnah rarely condemned the communal riots and used them to advance his cause for an independent Pakistan. His first statement calling for inter-religious amity, from which Advani has quoted, came after Jinnah had achieved Pakistan and felt that continuing his communal politics in an independent Pakistan could prove counter-productive.

But, by then, it was too late. The communal poison injected by him into the civil society of the areas which now constitute Pakistan and Bangladesh acquired a virulence which could not be eradicated. He found himself marginalised by his colleagues in the Muslim League. The Jamaat-e-Islami and other religious parties came to the forefront.

This set in motion the train of events, which ultimately led to the proclamation of Pakistan as a theocratic state and an Islamic republic and the inclusion in the preamble to its constitution of the principle that the State shall be governed according to the will of Allah. This gave an exalted position to the mullahs as the only people competent to interpret the will of Allah.

Jinnah has always been a controversial leader in the subcontinent's history and he does not command even today much respect among the Sindhis, the Balochs and large sections of the Pashtuns. While the Balochs and the Pashtuns opposed the creation of Pakistan, the Sindhis supported it and their leader the late G M Syed was a co-sponsor of the famous Lahore Resolution, calling for the creation of Pakistan. Even he got disillusioned by the post-1947 evolution of Pakistan as a nation dominated by the Punjabi Muslims. Before his death in the 1990s, he admitted that he had committed a Himalayan blunder by co-sponsoring the Lahore Resolution.

By praising such a controversial leader as Jinnah in the kind of language used by him, Advani not only shocked the members of his own Hindutva Parivar, but also caused bewilderment among large sections of Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun nationalists, who constitute the only genuine friends of India in Pakistani civil society.

He allowed the cunning Punjabi leaders to take control of his agenda. His interactions in Pakistan were confined to the Punjabis and the Mohajirs. He hardly had any interaction with the Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun nationalists. When Musharraf and other Pakistani leaders come to India, they do not hesitate to interact with the Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders and others, whom they look upon as the objective allies of Pakistan in the Indian civil society. Why do our leaders, during their visits to Pakistan, fight shy of similarly interacting with our objective allies in the Pakistani society?
Advani's supporters have always projected him as the second iron man of India after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He came to office projecting himself as the man who would stand up to Pakistan and teach it a lesson. He did nothing of the sort. On the contrary, the BJP-led government under his influence became as confused, as flip-flop in its handling of Pakistan as previous governments.

One would have developed a respect for Advani as a man with the courage of his conviction if during his stay in Pakistan he had drawn the attention of its people and of the international community to the fact that Pakistan continues to shelter the 20 terrorist leaders wanted for trial in India, that Dawood Ibrahim and other perpetrators of the Mumbai blasts of March,1993, continue to flourish in Pakistan, and that the Babbar Khalsa leaders sheltered in Pakistan by its Inter-Services Intelligence have been trying to revive Khalistani violence in India and if he had shown the courage to interact with the Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun nationalists as a mark of India's solidarity with them.

He did nothing of the sort. Instead, he let himself be carried away by the attention and flattery heaped on him by the Punjabi leaders of the Muslim League (Quaide Azam) led by Shujjat Hussein, whose idea it was to Musharraf to invite Advani and exploit his naivete and weakness for flattery in order to soften his hard stance on Pakistan and made one controversial statement after another forgetting that he was in the territory of an adversary State.

Advani was in Pakistan not just as an individual intellectual on a voyage of re-discovery of Pakistan and the virtues of its leaders. He was there as leader of the BJP and the Hindutva Parivar and as leader of the Opposition of India. As leader of the BJP and the Hindutva Parivar, he had an obligation to ensure that he did not make any statement, which could embarrass his party back home. He failed in that obligation.

As the leader of the Opposition, he had a responsibility to ensure that he did not say or do anything which could weaken the role of the Opposition as a watchdog and critic of the government's policies relating to Pakistan, whenever they tended to go wrong. He failed in that responsibility too.

Even before his visit to Pakistan, I had serious misgivings in my mind about the wisdom of his decision to go to Pakistan at this time and had given expression to them in an interview to rediff.com

The Pakistani military-intelligence establishment had in the past looked upon the BJP and the Hindutva Parivar as the main hurdle in its efforts to achieve its strategic objective of grabbing Jammu and Kashmir. Till 2003, the military-intelligence establishment followed a policy of demonising the Hindutva Parivar. This proved counter-productive.

Musharraf then changed the policy and embarked on a new policy of trying to soften the BJP and its Parivar by showering attention on its leaders. What they could not achieve through their demonisation before 2003, they have achieved through their flattery now. In fact, they have achieved even something which they never even dreamt of.

They have achieved the sowing of the seeds of dissension and confusion in the Hindutva movement. I find it difficult to get rid of a gnawing feeling that Advani has walked into a trap laid for him by the Pakistani military-intelligence leadership.

Musharraf, whom even his detractors acknowledge as a commando par excellence and brilliant tactician, must be having a hearty laugh over a large peg of Scotch in his presidential palace as he watches the Hindutva Parivar fighting among themselves.

Why Hindu rights are not naturally protected in India?


By Anil Rathi

A question that has been haunting me since the past so many years is why the Hindus have to fight for their rights in a country where the majority are Hindus? Also, why has Hinduism given birth to other religions like Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism? And why is Hinduism so tolerant as to allow other religions to co-exist?

Decline of Hinduism Geographically

In the early days Hinduism spread from Afghanistan to Indonesia. But slowly it got confined to India and Nepal only, while people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia adopted other religions.

Failure of Hinduism to Hold its Own Base

We have seen that Hinduism has been subject to constant change. The change may be in language, way of living, beliefs, customs, etc. Take, for instance, Sanskrit language. Considered to be the mother of most of the Indian languages, it is today being used only while performing puja or other rituals. It is confined to a specific use only and is not spoken widely. The people have gradually shifted from Sanskrit to other languages. This shift continues till today even when we have adopted the English language. Whatever may be the reasons for our adoption and acceptability of English, one thing is certain that it will be the only language which we in India will be using in future.

So also the name of our country is changing constantly. First it was known as Bharat, then Hindustan and today it is, India.

Lack of Zeal to Spread their Religion

Today we are witnessing conversions of fellow-Hindus to other religions in our own country. But are we spreading our religion in other countries? No. Moreover we are not even thinking in that direction. Christians are spreading their religion in hardcore Islamic countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. Likewise, Islam and Christianity are being spread in a Hindu country, like Nepal.

Hindus, more or less, follow an individual approach towards life and religion. The collective strength of the community is utilised only for the purposes of marriages and other functions.

Defensive Approach

Why is it that Hinduism has always been on the defensive? Hinduism has never been offensive. In fact, we have always taken pride in saying that œours is the only country in the world that has not attacked others in the last 10,000 years. Indeed, this is a remarkable quality of our country and our people. But what was our achievement in this when we were not able to resist the invaders? We always had to defend ourselves against Islamic and Christian invasions on our land. In spite of being the oldest civilisation, we have not been able to produce a world conqueror like Alexander or Chengiz Khan. Even King Ashoka got himself converted to Buddhism and was instrumental in spreading Buddhism far and wide. This defensive attitude is prevalent even today. Conversions of Hindus to other religions are taking place in our country. And what are we doing? Trying to reconvert them again to Hinduism? On the defensive again? Why are we not able to convert the people of other religions to Hinduism first? Why has Hinduism always been on the defensive?

Further, we are not able to protect our borders. Immigration from neighbouring Islamic States continues till today. This immigration is on such a large scale that it has changed the demographic ratio in some districts of Assam, West Bengal and Bihar. Hindus have failed to prevent this immigration, both individually as also collectively. No doubt this would not have been possible without the support of local people (politicians), who for the sake of power have encouraged this large-scale immigration. But are our fellow-Hindus so indifferent as to allow and tolerate this, knowing well its consequences?

Lack of Vision/Planning

Over and above all these, Hinduism has no long-term planning and vision. This may be because of internal conflicts, differences and other problems which it is passing through.

The main reason for all these factors is the fragmentation amongst the Hindus. This is primarily because of lack of united action amongst the Hindus themselves. The Hindus follow their own way of life individually. We have hundreds of sects and each sect has its own beliefs and customs. One of the reasons for this may be that Hinduism has always been a way of life, rather than a religion. What one Hindu believes, practices or follows may not hold good for other fellow-Hindus. Because of this fragmentation, we were not able to protect our borders and Hindu States of Afghanistan, Baluchistan and Sind were lost to Islam. Further, we were witness to Islamic rule in our country for almost eight centuries during which large-scale conversion of our people to Islam took place; our temples were destroyed or converted into mosques and properties looted. But after that, the Hindu resistance to Islamic invasion was truly historic. It was due to this resistance we saw the decline of Islamic power in our country. But once again, we were on the defensive. Right?

Muslims have been successful in converting our fellow-Hindus by force. Since we were not able to fight the sword of Islam, we could not prevent such conversions. The Christians were able to convert our brothers and sisters to Christianity by giving service to humanity as also love and affection. Hinduism failed on both the counts.

I have observed that the Hindus, more or less, follow an individual approach towards life and religion. The collective strength of the community is utilised only for the purpose of marriages and other functions. This development of adopting individual approach is natural in Hindu religion. Every Hindu develops this approach from his childhood. This may be one of the reasons for the birth of so many religions, sects and beliefs.

To alter this attitude, we all have to work together to bring reforms in our religion. Long-term strategic planning needs to be developed and adopted whereby the fragmentation and the casual approach of Hindus towards their religion, the individualistic approach, overall attitude towards life and work need to be changed.

Let us make Hinduism a vibrant religion, ready to take on the challenges coming in its path.

I suggest below some points which I feel will be helpful for our religion:

A Nation that Prays Together, Stays Together

The Hindus follow their religion individually. They go to the temple as per their convenience. The procedures for prayers differ from person to person and from temple to temple. This again depends upon the sect and the region to which the temple or the person belongs. This has to be changed. A movement should be launched so that aarti and puja are performed at the same time all over the country. Each and every temple, from north to south, east to west, big or small, should be given a common time to perform aarti and puja. Along with this, every house, shop, office, factory, etc. all over the country should be encouraged to perform aarti and puja at that given time. Not only aarti and puja should commence at a common time, but should also conclude at the same time.

Participation in a common prayer should be encouraged and everyone should be persuaded to take part in aarti. To make it convenient for everyone, the aarti should be held at all public places, trains, community centres, market places, during marriages and other family functions (if the time of aarti falls in between), in between religious ceremonies and discourses and every other possible place. This will facilitate fellow-Hindus to get a feel of collective worship. It will also help in reducing the class conflicts prevalent in the Hindu society. When people of different castes and creeds pray together, the social fabric gets strengthened.

Uniform Methodology for Prayer and Other Practices

Once we are able to follow this time code, then a common methodology of puja and aarti can be fixed and adopted all over the country. Similarly, there should be a common prayer for all the temples in India. The prayer should be inter-active, .e. everyone should participate in the prayer. Today in most of the temples, the priest performs the puja while the fellow-Hindus are passive participants. The prayer should be such that every participant is active and involved/engrossed in the prayer. The prayer should be brief and simple.

A movement should be launched so that aarti and puja are performed at the same time all over the country. Each and every temple, from north to south, east to west, big or small, should be given a common time to perform aarti and puja.

Appointment of Counsellors (Acharyas)

Presently the custodians of Hindu religion are at two levels. The first level comprises of priests who perform puja, aarti and other religious ceremonies while the second level is that of saints, like Murari Bapu, Sri Sri Ravisankar, etc. In between these two lies a big vacuum. A third level, called counsellors, should be created and appointed at every temple. Their prime responsibility should be to impart knowledge of the religion along with other issues like family counselling, religious counselling, personal counselling, community counselling or any other counselling, guidance, advice as may be required.

Today if a person is in trouble and has to receive counselling, either he has to go to a priest or to a saint. The priest advises him to perform puja for mental satisfaction and the saint gives advice on various dos and donts. Most probably the counsellors will also advise on the same but they do so with a human touch. The advise will come after a personal hearing and that is what a person needs at his moment of trouble. The troubled person knows that he has someone to lean upon in his time of need. One of the main problems of Hinduism is of excessive dependence on priests, who are narrow-minded and whose actions are not beneficial to a large section of the society. By appointing counsellors, the dependence on priests can be minimised. The counsellors can co-ordinate with the general public more effectively and bring about a change in the thinking process of the Hindus.

The counsellors should be thorough professionals appointed after passing the necessary examination and should be full-time employees of the temple. They should be paid handsomely so that they are perfectly capable in discharging their duties.

The counsellors will be very useful in those areas where conversions are taking place. They can stop these conversions. Being attached to the temple and the adjacent community, they can get first-hand information on all such activities. They can mix with the local population and learn about each one of them personally. They can persuade them to come to the temple. The counselors will know who visits the temple and who does not. Incentives can be given to the local population for visiting the temple. A new front can be opened for converting Muslims, Christians and Buddhists to Hinduism.

Celebration of Basant Panchami

One of the points I wish to raise here is why has Valentine's Day caught up with our youngsters?

Here one thing that has to be considered is that the young generation of today needs an excuse for celebration. They will celebrate Valentines Day or any other day, with religion taking a back seat. Thus to discourage Valentines Day is not proper unless we give them an alternative to celebrate. Why not organise a festival on the lines of Valentines Day? Basant Panchami is an ideal day that fits perfectly well in this category.

To discourage Valentines Day from becoming a part of our culture and religion in the near future, we must propagate celebration of Basant Panchami among our youngsters. Ask publishers to bring out greeting cards and special gifts on Basant Panchami. Encourage hotels to organise Basant Panchami parties. Sponsor a movie on Basant Panchami day with attractive songs and dances shown. Create SMS on Basant Panchami and send it all over India. Display hoardings and bring out special Basant Panchami messages in newspapers. In short, create a hype and atmosphere as to mould our youngsters to celebrate Basant Panchami instead of Valentines Day.

(Contact author at 1st Floor, Indra Sarita, Balraj Marg, Dhantoli, Nagpur-440 012, Email: hindusanmitra@yahoo.co.in)

The dispossession of the Hindus

Tarun Vijay

June 08, 2005

Komal Chheda is one among the hundreds devotees from Mumbai who applied to go for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra this year. He was told his spouse who was accompanying him would be allotted the same batch.

But like many others he was driven from pillar to post and no one had a moment to listen to him. The staff at the tiny Kailash Manasarovar cell in South Block are rude and unavailable to the pilgrims and the government has chosen to let the Yatra begin without the usual symbolic farewell gesture.

When the BJP-led government was in power at the Centre, some states had started giving subsidies to the Yatra pilgrims, but that too was stopped at least in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal. Apart from Gujarat and Delhi -- which has continued what Sahib Singh Verma started during his tenure -- the Kailash Yatra has become an apology for the government's secular credentials. It would like to have the Yatra completed as a hush-hush affair.

That is what lies in store for the Hindus in their homeland, at the hands of a terrified, de-Hinduised bureaucracy and political leadership. Finally the man who began a lively debate on pseudo-secularism has certified Jinnah as a secular leader. With this the process of the dispossession of Hindus in India has arrived at a maturing point.

It is obvious that any leader who is visiting the mausoleum of the father of the nation of a host country should be nice and say decent words in his memory. Jinnah could have been justifiably appreciated without getting into the minefield of historically hysterical points.

Hindus wanted a united India; they voted against Partition but Partition did happen. They wanted to retain Kashmir, the land of Maharishi Kashyap and seat of Sharda Vidya, but two-thirds of Kashmir was snatched from them and from what remained, Hindus were driven out, thus dispossessing them of their home and hearth in a truncated, nay, Independent India.

They had three great deities -- or rather three dreams -- in the words of socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia -- Ram, Krishna and Shiva. All the three holy places associated with them, had mosques built over them by the invaders.

After Independence, the Hindus naturally wanted to have their places of worship returned to them as a goodwill gesture by Muslims who otherwise got India partitioned and had no qualms razing mosques for roads and hospitals in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

But not only were they snubbed and humiliated for such a demand, even the greatest of their leaders in politics declared the day of a first Hindu resistance and effort to possess what historically belonged to them, as the saddest day of his life.

The Partition of the motherland and the resultant mayhem was not his saddest day but the day of repossessing a place of great significance to the Hindus became the 'most unfortunate' day for the man whom the world considered a Hindu nationalist leader.

So finally Hindus were dispossessed of their political leadership also, who would speak for them straight and unapologetically.

In comparison, one must salute the contemporary Pakistani leadership for their single-minded missionary zeal to improve relations with India without compromising on their issues. President Pervez Musharraf visited Rajghat, but didn't say anything about Gandhi's secularism or his struggle to help newly born Pakistan despite facing disapproval from both Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel.

They remain committed to the theory of an Islamic Pakistan as envisioned by Jinnah, the qaid-e-azam, to make Kashmir a core issues between the two nations, to get the Hurriyat leaders without a passport or visa to Pakistan and declare it an evidence of India's recognition of Kashmir as a disputed territory. They are never -- even in a light 'mood' -- apologetic or sad about Kargil.

Their firebrand leader Maulana Fazlur Rahman visited India and met RSS leaders in Jhandewala, New Delhi, but never spoke a single word in praise of the RSS or its founder Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar. He didn't find it necessary to say so for the sake of friendship. He was careful not to express regret on the demolition of hundreds of Hindu temples in Pakistan in the wake of the December 6 demolition of the Babri Masjid and even earlier.

He said all good things, expressed decent gestures, evoked friendly amiable body language -- a smiling and affectionate face -- but not an inch was given on the core issues. The Pakistanis are never apologetic about having a two-tier constitutional arrangement for Hindus and other non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan which makes them virtually second class citizens.

It is not necessary to covert to win friendship. Stand up firmly and uncompromisingly on your issues and yet strive for friendship. That alone lasts. The 'converted' can only have pity and a 'protectionist' smile, but not a friendly relationship based on parity. That is the policy which makes Pakistanis a solid block and successful on Kashmir.

Hindus wanted a say in politics and matters of governance as they had borne the brunt of all foreign invasions and barbaric torture for centuries. At last, Somnath was rebuilt and so should be our other places of importance.

But not a single Hindu pilgrim centre, with the sole exception of Vaishnodevi -- that too due to the personal efforts of Jagmohan, then Jammu and Kashmir governor, a non-BJP person though -- was made into an ideal model of a place of worship, even by those who declared themselves the sole repository of all Hindu wisdom and activism.

UP was in their hands and so was Uttaranchal, which had the most revered pilgrim centres like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Mathura, Vrindavan, Kashi and Ayodhya. Not a single religious township or temple got the attention of the Hindu nationalists.

Gangotri, visited by lakhs from all over the world, does not have power supply even today or a workable telephone connection. Ayodhya, Mathura and Vrindavan are the filthiest towns and its temples remain badly mismanaged under government control. Though they demand that Hindu temples be freed from State control, not a single Hindu nationalist state government has yet started a plan to de-control Hindu temples in their states and make them a 'shining example' of their 'vision, agenda, programme' and all that which gets an entry into their idea of Ram Rajya.

At least now they are not bound by an NDA agenda, as was their alibi for not doing what they didn't want to do. Even though they had always demanded an enquiry into the mysterious deaths of their two great stalwarts, Syama Prasad Mookerji and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, but once in power they felt shy to do it themselves.

One of their influential leaders in Manipur, who spoke courageously for Hindu issues was shot dead by insurgents and the man who would become home minister later had gone there to offer condolences and led a protest march with a strong demand to have a CBI inquiry in a written recorded statement, but ignored the memorandums of the slain leader's family members to do it, when he could have ordered it with a stroke of his pen.

After a highly pitched struggle of five decades to create a niche for their aspirations, Hindus feel dispossessed of their political clout. They are not a vote bank, but vote as Yadavs and Rajputs and backwards. They are not religiously organised as their so-called leaders have missed the bus and gone into a rhetoric which a normal, common Hindu does not relate to.

They cannot teach their children anything that would make them proud Hindus as the drive to detoxify is primarily aimed at them alone. They are insulted for expressing fears of a decline in their population and their dead are simply not counted though NGOs flourish on an extraordinarily inflated statistics of the riots affecting non-Hindus.

The conversion from Hinduism to other faiths is hailed as a hallmark of secularism and fair governance, but any effort to 'bring back' the converted is opposed as blatant communalism and an affront to minority rights.

Hindus have become so dispossessed of their self pride that an assault on the Shankaracharya, disapproved by the highest court of the land, is seen as something against Brahmins alone and the mastermind behind it celebrates it with an electoral win.



Neither Gandhi nor Jinnah was secular in practice. It is time to re-examine history dispassionately.

N.S. Rajaram

Secularism as a gimmick

During his recent to Pakistan Sri L.K. Advani seems to have stirred a hornet’s nest by stating that Jinnah, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was a secular figure who wanted Pakistan to be a secular country. The reaction in India, especially among Hindu organizations was prompt and vehement, with some Hindu leaders going so far as to denounce Sri Advani as a traitor for calling Jinnah secular. This is a bit puzzling see the same groups that denounce secularism as a fraud being upset that Jinnah was saddled with the same evil.

Beyond all the fire and smoke, one good thing that Sri Advani’s statement has done is to make us look beyond simplistic stereotypes and re-examine history. Modern Indian mythology holds Jinnah to be communal and Mahatma Gandhi to be secular, but Sri Advani now calls Jinnah secular. What is the reality?

These widely discordant views highlight two facts about modern India: the confused state of understanding of secularism, and the Indian intelligentsia’s inability to view history, or even look at personalities dispassionately. Secularism in India is a travesty. Something that self-styled Gandhians forget, or don’t want to be reminded of is that Gandhi did not advocate separation of religion from public life. Jinnah’s claim to being secular rests on the speech he made in the Pakistan Assembly after independence, which is what Sri Advani quoted. Here is the key section of the famous speech:

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan... You may belong to any religion or caste or creed— that has nothing to do with the business of the State.... We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State... Now I think we should keep in front of us our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State...”

This is secularly unexceptionable. It is no different from what Nehru — though not Gandhi — might have said and did say at various times. But as always actions speak louder than words, and Jinnah was not true to his word, especially in the years leading to the Partition. To gain his end of a homeland for the Muslims, he invoked the Two Nation Theory propounded by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. Gandhi and the Congress initially opposed it but capitulated when Jinnah and his followers let loose an orgy of violence against the Hindus in the name of Direct Action.

But Jinnah’s demand for Pakistan did not evolve in a vacuum. He had started his political career as a staunch nationalist, as an advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity. He and Gandhi were both followers of Gopala Krishna Gokhale. What soured him was Gandhi’s support for the Khilafat launched by the notorious Muslim fundamentalist brothers, the Maulanas Mohammed Ali and Shaukat Ali. Gandhi launched his Non-Cooperation Movement in support of the Khilafat. This was one of the most bizarre and tragic episodes in Indian history that is still misrepresented in history books.

We need not go into the details, but essentially it was for the restoration of the Sultan of Turkey as the Caliph following Turkey’s defeat in World War I. Gandhi launched the Khilafat Non-Cooperation movement on August 21, 1920, promising the Ali Brothers “Swaraj within the year.” What was this Swaraj to be? In Gandhi’s words:

“To the Mussalmans Swaraj means, as it must, India’s ability to deal effectively with the Khilafat question. …It is impossible not to sympathize with this attitude. …I would gladly ask for the postponement of the Swaraj activity if we could advance the interest of the Khilafat.”

The Ali Brothers saw this as a Jihad against the British. Gandhi had also provided the Ali Brothers funds from the Tilak Swaraj Fund. The results were catastrophic. The promised “Swaraj within the year” did not materialize, and the Jihad was now turned against the Hindus. It was particularly virulent in Kerala where it is known as the Moplah Rebellion, which took several months to bring under control. Because of massacres and forced conversions, it virtually changed the demography of Malabar.

Gandhi was stunned by the horrors of what he had helped unleash. Still he lamely defended the Jihad by calling the Jihadis “God fearing,” and they were “fighting for what they consider as religion, and in a manner they consider as religious.” To add insult to injury, Gandhi’s protégé Mohammed Ali publicly said: “However pure Mr. Gandhi’s character may be, he must appear to me from the point of view of religion inferior to any Mussalman, even though he be without any character.”

How did the Congressmen feel about it? Jinnah had warned Gandhi against joining hands with reactionaries like the Ali Brothers, and soon left the Congress in disgust. Achyut Patawardhan, a Congressman, wrote:

“… ‘the Himalayan error’ of Gandhiji’s leadership was the support he extended on behalf of the Congress and the Indian people to Khilafat Movement. …Apart from the fact that Khilafat was an unworthy reactionary cause, Mahatma Gandhi had to align himself with a sectarian revivalist Muslim leadership of Mullahs and Maulvis. He was thus unwittingly responsible for jettisoning sane, secularist modern leadership among the Muslims of India, and foisting upon the Indian Muslims a theocratic orthodoxy of Maulvis.”

The fruits of this ‘Himalayan blunder’ are still with us in the form of the general backwardness of the Muslim masses. It was this group that Jinnah went to for support with his promise of Pakistan.

In summary, neither Jinnah nor Gandhi was a secular politician. Jinnah might have been the architect of Pakistan, but the foundation had been laid by others. Whether one agrees with him or not, Sri Advani has done us a favor by forcing a re-examination of myths presented as history.


Dr. N.S. Rajaram is the author of Gandhi, Khilafat and the National Movement. It is available on the Internet at:

If Advaniji had to quote anything in Pakistan

If Advaniji had to quote anything in Pakistan it is the enclosed letter,
and not Jinnah's speech. The letter is nearly 6000 words long, but
worth a serious read. Pakistan's First Law & Labour Minister's Resignation Letter

-- Ashok Chowgule.

Pakistan's First Law & Labour Minister's Resignation Letter
Protesting Dalit Hindu Persecution:

Full text of the resignation letter by:
Mr. J.N. Mandal,
Minister for Law and Labour,
Government of Pakistan

On 8th October, 1950

My Dear Prime Minister,

It is with a heavy heart and a sense of utter frustration at the
failure of my life-long mission to uplift the backward Hindu
masses of East Bengal that I feel compelled to tender resignation
of my membership of your Cabinet. It is proper that I should set
forth in detail the reasons, which have prompted me to take this
decision in this important juncture of the history of Indo-
Pakistan Sub-continent.

( 1 ) Before I narrate the remote and immediate causes of my
resignation, it may be useful to give a short background of
important events that have taken place during the period of my
co-operation with the League, Having been approached by a few
prominent League leaders of Bengal in February 1943, I agreed to
work with them in the Bengal Legislative Assembly. After the fall
of the Fazlul Haque Ministry in March 1943, with a party of 21
Scheduled Caste M.L.As, I agreed to co-operate with Khwaja
Nazimuddin, the then leader of the Muslim League Parliamentary
party who formed the Cabinet in April 1943. Our co-operation was
conditional on some specific terms in the such as the inclusion
of three Scheduled Caste Ministers in the Cabinet, sanctioning of
a sum of Rupees five lakhs (Rs. 500,000) as annual recurring
grant for the education of the Scheduled Castes, and unqualified
implementation of the communal ratio rules in the matter of
appointment to Government services

( 2 ) Apart from those terms, the principal objectives that
prompted me to work in co-operation with Muslim League was, first
that the economic interests of the Muslim in Bengal generally
were identical with those of the Scheduled Castes. Muslims were
mostly cultivators and labourers, so were members of the
Scheduled Castes. One section of Muslims was fishermen, so was a
section of Scheduled Castes as well and, secondly, that the
Scheduled Castes and Muslims were both educationally backward. I
was persuaded that my co-operation with the League and its
Ministry would lead to the undertaking on a wide scale of
legislative and administrative measures which, while promoting
the mutual welfare of the vast bulk of Bengal's population and
undermining the foundations of vested interest and privilege,
would further the cause of communal peace and harmony. It may be
mentioned here that Khwaja Nazimuddin took three Scheduled Caste
Ministers in this Cabinet and appointed thr


( 3 ) After the general election held in March 1946, Mr. H.S.
Suhrawardy became the leader of the League Parliamentary Party
and formed the League Ministry in April 1946. I was the only
Scheduled Caste member returned to the Federation ticket. I was
included in Mr. Suhrawardy's cabinet. The 16th day of August of
that year was observed as "The Direct Action Day" by the Muslim
League. It resulted, in a holocaust.. Hindus demanded my
resignation from the League ministry. My life was in peril. I
began to receive threatening letters almost every day. But I
remained steadfast to my policy. Moreover, I issued an appeal
through our journal "Jagaran" to the Scheduled Caste people to
keep themselves aloof from the bloody feud between the Congress
and the Muslim League even at the risk of my life. I cannot but
gratefully acknowledge the fact that I was saved from the wrath
of infuriated Hindu mobs by my Caste Hindu neighbours. The
"Noakhali Riot" followed the Calcutta carna

( 4 ) In October 1946, most unexpectedly came to me through Mr.
Suhrawardy the offer of a seat in the Interim Government of
India. After a good deal of hesitation and being given only one
hour's time to take my final decision, I consented to accept the
offer subject to the condition only that I should be permitted to
resign if my leader, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar disapproved of my action.
Fortunately, however, I received his approval in a telegram sent
from London. Before I left for Delhi to take over as Law Member,
I persuaded Mr. Suhrawardy, the then Chief Minister of Bengal, to
agree to take two Ministers in his Cabinet in my place and to
appoint two Parliamentary Secretaries from the Scheduled Caste
Federation Group.

( 5 ) I joined the Interim Government on November 1, 1946. After
about a month when I paid a visit to Calcutta, Mr. Suhrawardy
apprised me of the communal tension in some parts of East Bengal,
especially in Gopalganj Sub-division, where the Namasudras were
in majority, being very high. He requested me to visit those
areas and address meetings of Muslims and Namasudras. The fact
was that Namasudras in those areas had made preparations for
retaliation. I addressed about a dozen of largely attended
meetings. The result was that Namasudras gave up the idea of
retaliation. Thus an inevitable dangerous communal disturbance
was averted.

( 6 ) After a few months, the British Government made their June
3 Statement (1947) embodying certain proposals for the partition
of India. The whole country, especially the entire non-Muslim
India, was startled. For the sake of truth I must admit that I
had always considered the demand of Pakistan by the Muslim League
as a bargaining counter. Although I honestly felt that in the
context India as a whole Muslims had legitimate cause for
grievance against upper class Hindu chauvinism, I held the view
very strongly indeed that the creation of Pakistan would never
solve the communal problem. On the contrary, it would aggravate
communal hatred and bitterness. Besides, I maintained that it
would not ameliorate the condition of Muslims in Pakistan. The
inevitable result of the partition of the country would be to
prolong, if not perpetuate, the poverty, illiteracy and miserable
condition of the toiling masses of both the States. I further
apprehended that Pakistan migh


( 7 ) I must make it clear that I have thought that an attempt
would be made, as is being done at present, to develop Pakistan
as a purely 'Islamic' State based on the Shariat and the
injunctions and formularies of Islam. I presumed that it would be
set up in all essentials after the pattern contemplated in the
Muslim League resolution adopted at Lahore on March 23, 1940.
That resolution stated inter alia that (1) "geographically
contiguous areas are demarcated into regions which should be
constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be
necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in
majority as in the north- Western and eastern zones of India,
should be grouped to constitute independent States in which the
Constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign " and (2) "
adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards should be
specifically provided in the Constitution for minorities in these
units and in these regions for the protection o


( 8 ) It may also be mentioned in this connection that I was
opposed to the partition of Bengal. In launching a campaign in
this regard I had to face not only tremendous resistance from all
quarters but also unspeakable abuse, insult and dishonour. With
great regret, I recollect those days when 32 crores of Hinduism
opposed my cations, but I remained undaunted and unmoved in my
loyalty to Pakistan. It is a matter of gratitude that my appeal
to 7 million Scheduled Caste people of Pakistan evoked a ready
and enthusiastic response from them. They lent me their unstinted
support sympathy and encouragement.

( 9 ) After the establishment of Pakistan on August 14, 1947 you
formed the Cabinet, in which I was included and Khwaja Nazimuddin
formed a provisional Cabinet for East Bengal. On August 10, I had
spoken to Khwaja Nazimuddin at Karachi and requested him to take
2 Scheduled Caste Ministers in the East Bengal Cabinet. He
promised to do the same sometime later.

What happened subsequently in this regard was a record of
unpleasant and disappointing negotiations with you, Khwaja
Nazimuddin and Mr. Nurul Amin, the present Chief Minister of East
Bengal. When I realised that Khwaja Nazimuddin was avoiding the
issue on this or that excuse, I became almost impatient and
exasperated, I further discussed the matter with the Presidents
of the Pakistan Muslim League and its East Bengal Branch.
Ultimately, I brought the matter to your notice. You were pleased
to discuss the subject with Khwaja Nazimuddin in my presence at
your residence. Khwaja Nazimuddin agreed to take one Scheduled
Caste Minister on his return to Dacca. As I had already become
skeptic about the assurance of Khwaja Nazimuddin, I wanted to be
definite about the time limit. I insisted that he must act in
this regard within a month, failing which I should be at liberty
to resign. Both you and Khwaja Nazimuddin agreed to the
condition. But, alas! You did not perhaps mean what


( 10 ) When the question of partition of Bengal arose, the
Scheduled Caste people were alarmed at the anticipated dangerous
result of partition. Representation on their behalf were made to
Mr. Suhrawardy, the then Chief Minister of Bengal who was pleased
to issue a statement to the press declaring that none of the
rights and privileges hitherto enjoyed by the Scheduled Caste
people would be curtailed after partition and that they would not
only continue to enjoy the existing rights and privileges but
also receive additional advantages. This assurance was given by
Mr. Suhrawardy not only in his personal capacity but also in his
capacity as a Chief Minister of the League Ministry. To my utter
regret it is to be stated that after partition, particularly
after the death of Quaid-e-Azam, the Scheduled Castes have not
received a fair deal in any matter. You will recollect that from
time to time I brought the grievances of the Scheduled Castes to
your notice. I explaine


( 11 ) The first incident that shocked me took place at a village
called Digharkul near Gopalganj where on the false complaint of a
Muslim, brutal atrocities were committed on the local Namasudras.
The fact was that a Muslim who was going in a boat attempted to
throw his net to catch fish. A Namasudra who was already there
for the same purpose opposed to throwing of the net in his front.
This was followed by some altercations and the Muslim got annoyed
who went to a nearby Muslim village and made a false complaint
that he and a woman in his boat had been assaulted by the
Namasudras. At the time, the S.D.O. of Gopalganj was passing in a
boat through the canal who without making any enquiry accepted
the complaint as true and sent armed police to the spot to punish
the Namasudra. The armed police came and the local Muslims also
joined them. They not only raided some houses of the Namasudras
but mercilessly beat both men and women, destroyed their
properties and took

( 12 ) The second incident of police repression took place in
early part of 1949 under P.S. Gournadi in the district of
Barisal. Here a quarrel took place between two groups of members
of a Union Board. One Group which was in the good book of the
Police conspired to punish the opponents on the plea of attack on
the Police Station, the O.C., Gournadi requisitioned armed forces
from headquarters. The Police, helped by the armed forces, then
raided a large number of houses in the area, took away valuable
properties, even from the houses of absentee-owners who were
never in politics, far less in the Communist Party. A large
number of students of many High English Schools were Communist
suspects and unnecessarily harassed. This area being very near to
my native village, I was informed of the incident. I wrote to the
District Magistrate and the S.P. for an enquiry. A section of the
local people also prayed for an enquiry by the S.D.O. But no
enquiry was held. Even my l


( 13 ) The atrocities perpetrated by the police and military on
the innocent Hindus, especially the Scheduled Caste of Harbinger
in the Dist. of Sleet deserve description. Innocent men and women
were brutally tortured, some women ravished, their houses raided
and properties looted by the police and the local Muslims.
Military pickets were posted in the area. The military not only
oppressed these people and took away stuffs forcibly from Hindus
houses, but also forced Hindus to send their women-folk at night
to the camp to satisfy the carnal desire of the military. This
fact also I brought to your notice. You assured me of a report on
the matter, but unfortunately no report was forthcoming.

( 14 ) Then occurred the incident at Nachole in the District of
Rajshahi where in the name of suppression of Communists not only
the police but also the local Muslims in collaboration with the
police oppressed the Hindus and looted their properties. The
Santhals then crossed the border and came over to West Bengal.
They narrated the stories of atrocities wantonly committed by the
Muslims and the police.

( 15 ) An instance of callous and cold-blooded brutality is
furnished by the incident that took place on December 20, 1949 in
Kalshira under P.S. Mollarhat in the District of Khulna. What
happened was that late at night four constables raided the house
of one Joydev Brahma in village Kalshira in search of some
alleged Communists. At the scent of the police, half a dozen of
young men, some of whom might have been Communists, escaped from
the house. The police constable entered into the house and
assaulted the wife of Joydev Brahma whose cry attracted her
husband and a few companions who escaped from the house. They
became desperate, re-entered the house, found 4 constables with
one gun only. That perhaps might have encouraged the young men
who struck a blow on an armed constable who died on the spot. The
young men then attacked another constable when the other two ran
away and raised alarm which attracted some neighbouring people
who came to their rescue. As the i

( 16 ) I visited Kalashira and one or two neighboring villages on
the 28th February 1950. The S.P., Khulna and some of the
prominent League leaders of the district were with me. When I
came to the village Kalshira, I found the place desolate and in
ruins. I was told in the presence of S.P.that there were 350
homesteads in this village; of these, only three had been spared
and the rest had been demolished. Country boats and heads of
cattle belonging to the Namasudras had been all taken away. I
reported these facts to the Chief Minster, Chief Secretary and
Inspector General of Police of East Bengal and to you.

( 17 ) It may be mentioned in this connection that the news of
this incident was published in West Bengal Press and this created
some unrest among the Hindus there. A number of sufferers of
Kalshira, both men and women, homeless and destitute had also
come to Calcutta and narrated the stories of their sufferings
which resulted in some communal disturbances in West Bengal in
the last part of January.


( 18 ) It must be noted that stories of a few incidents of
communal disturbance that took place in West Bengal as a sort of
repercussion of the incidents at Kalshira were published in
exaggerated form in the east Bengal press. In the second week of
February 1950 when the Budget Session of the East Bengal Assembly
commenced, the Congress Members sought permission to move two-
adjournment motion to discuss the situation created at Kalshira
and Nachole. But the motions were disallowed. The congress Member
walked out of the Assembly in protest. This action of the Hindu
Members of the Assembly annoyed and enraged not only the
Ministers but also the Muslim leaders and officials of the
Province. This was perhaps one of the principal reasons for Dacca
and East Bengal riots in February 1950.

( 19 ) It is significant that on February 10, 1950 at about 10
O'clock in the morning a woman was painted with red to show that
her breast was cut off in Calcutta riot, and was taken round that
East Bengal Secretariat at Dacca. Immediately, the Government
servants of the Secretariat struck work and came out in
procession raising slogans of revenge against the Hindus. The
procession began to swell as it passed over a distance of more
than a mile. It ended in a meeting at Victoria Park at about
12O'clock in the noon where violent speeches against the Hindus
were delivered by several speakers, including officials. The fun
of the whole show was that while the employees of the Secretariat
went out in procession, the chief Secretary of the East Bengal
Government was holding a conference with his West Bengal
counterpart in the same building to find out ways and means to
stop communal disturbances in the two Bengals.


( 20 ) The riot started at about 1 p.m. simultaneously all over
the city. Arson, looting of Hindu shops and houses and killing of
Hindus, wherever they were found, commenced in full swing in all
parts of the city. I got evidence even from the Muslims that
arson and looting were committed even in the presence of high
police officials. Jewellery shops belonging to the Hindus were
looted in the presence of police officers. They not only did not
attempt to stop loot, but also helped the looters with advice and
direction. Unfortunately for me, I reached Dacca at 5 O'clock in
the afternoon on the same day, in Feb.10,1950.To my utter dismay,
I had occasion to see and know things from close quarters. What I
saw and learnt from first hand information was simply staggering
and heart-rending.


( 21 ) The reasons for the Dacca riot were mainly five:

(i) To punish the Hindus for the daring action of their
representatives in the Assembly in their _expression of protest by
walking out of the Assembly when two adjournment motions on
Kashira and Nachole affairs were disallowed;

(ii) Dissensions and difference between the Suhrawardy Group and
the Nazimuddin in the Parliamentary Party were becoming acute;

(iii) Apprehension of launching of a movement for re-union of
East and West Bengal by both Hindu and Muslim leaders made the
East Bengal Ministry and the Muslim League nervous. They wanted
to prevent such a move. They thought that any large scale
communal riot in East Bengal was sure to produce reactions in
West Bengal were Muslims might be killed. The result of such riot
in both East and East Bengal, it was believed, would prevent any
movement for re-union of Bengals.

(iv) Feeling of Antagonism between the Bengalee Muslim and non-
Bengalee Muslim in East Bengal was gaining ground. This could
only be prevented by creating hatred between Hindus and Muslims
of East Bengal. The language question was also connected with it

(v) The consequences of non-devaluation and Indo-Pakistan trade
deadlock to the economy of East Bengal were being felt most
acutely first in urban and rural areas and the Muslim League
members and officials wanted to divert the attention of the
Muslim masses from the impending economic breakdown by some sort
of jehad against Hindus.


( 22 ) During my nine days' stay at Dacca , I visited most of the
riot-affected areas of the city and suburbs. I visited Mirpur
also under P.S.Tejgaon. The news of the killing of hundreds of
innocent Hindus in trains, on railway lines between Dacca and
Narayanganj, and Dacca and Chittagong gave me the rudest shock.
on the second day of Dacca riot, I met the Chief Minister of east
Bengal and requested him to issue immediate instructions to the
District authorities to take all precautionary measures to
prevent spreading of the riot in district towns and rural areas.
On the 20th February 1950, I reached Barisal town and was
astounded to know of the happenings in Barisal. In the District
of Hindus killed. I visited almost all riot-affected areas in the
District. I was simply puzzled to find the havoc wrought by the
Muslim rioters even at places like Kasipur, Madhabpasha and
Lakutia, which were within a radius of six miles from the
District town and were connected wit


( 23 ) The large-scale exodus of Hindus from Bengal commenced in
the latter part of March. It appeared that within a short time
all the Hindus would migrate to India. Aware cry was raised in
India. The situation became extremely critical. A national
calamity appeared to be inevitable. The apprehended disaster,
however, was avoided by the Delhi Agreement of April 8. With a
view to reviving the already lost morale of the panicky Hindus, I
undertook an extensive tour of East Bengal. I visited a number of
places in the districts of Dacca, Barisal, Faridpur, Khulna and
Jessore. I addressed dozens of largely attended meeting and asked
the Hindus to take courage and not to leave their ancestral
hearths and homes. I had this expectation that the East Bengal
Govt. and Muslim League leaders would implement the terms of the
Delhi Agreement. But with the lapse of time, I began to realise
that neither the East Bengal Govt. nor the Muslim League leaders
were really earnest in


( 24 ) My suspicion about the intention of League leaders was
confirmed when I read editorial comments by Moulana Akram Khan,
the President of the Provincial Muslim League in the "Baisak"
issue of a monthly journal called Mahammadi. In commenting on the
first radio-broadcast of Dr. A.M. Malik, Minister for Minority
Affairs of Pakistan, from Dacca Radio Station, wherein he said,
"Even Prophet Mahammed had given religious freedom to the Jews in
Arabia", Moulana Akram Khan said, "Dr. Malik would have done well
had he not made any reference in his speech to the Jews of
Arabia. It is true that Jews in Arabia had been given religious
freedom by Prophet Mahammed; but it was the first chapter of the
history. The last chapter contains the definite direction of
prophet Mahammed which runs as follows :-"Drive away all the Jews
out of Arabia". Even despite this editorial comment of a person
who held a very high position in the political, social and
spiritual life of the Musl


( 25 ) In one of my public statement , I expressed the view that
appointment of D.N. Barari as a Minister representing the
minorities not only did not help restore any confidence, but, on
the contrary, destroyed all expectations or illusion, if there
was any in the minds of the minorities about the sincerity of Mr.
Nurul Amin Govt. my own reaction was that Mr. Nurul Amin's Govt.
was not only insincere but also wanted to defeat the principal
objectives of the Delhi Agreement. I again repeat that D.N.
Barari does not represent anybody except himself. He was returned
to the Bengal Legislative Assembly on the Congress ticket with
the money and organisation of the Congress. He opposed the
Scheduled Caste Federation candidates. Some time after his
election, he betrayed the Congress and joined the Federation.
When he was appointed a Minister he had ceased to be a member of
the Federation too. I know that East Bengal Hindus agree with me
that by antecedents, character an

( 26 ) I recommended three names to Mr. Nurul Amin for this
office. One of the persons I recommended was an M.A., LL.B.,
Advocate, Dacca High Court. He was Minister for more than 4 years
in the first Fazlul Huq Ministry in Bengal. He was chairman of
the Coal Mines Stowing Board, Calcutta, for about 6 years. He was
the senior Vice-President of the Scheduled Caste Federation. My
second nominee was a B.A.,LL.B. He was a member of the
Legislative Council for 7 years in the pre-reform regime. I would
like to know what earthly reasons there might be for Mr. Nurul
Amin in not selecting any of these two gentlemen and appointing
instead a person whose appointment as Minister I strongly
objected to for very rightly considerations. Without any fear of
contradiction I can say that this action of Mr. Nurul Amin in
selecting Barari as a Minister in terms of the Delhi Agreement is
conclusive proof that East Bengal Govt. was neither serious nor
sincere in its profession about th


( 27 ) I would like to reiterate in this connection my firm
conviction that East Bengal Govt. is still following the well-
planned policy of squeezing Hindus out of the Province. In my
discussion with you on more than one occasion, I gave _expression
to this view of mine. I must say that this policy of driving out
Hindus from Pakistan has succeeded completely in West Pakistan
and is nearing completion in East Pakistan too. The appointment
of D.N. Barari as a Minister and the East Bengal Government's
unceremonious objection to my recommendation in this regard
strictly conform to name of what they call an Islamic State.
Pakistan has not given the Hindus entire satisfaction and a full
sense of security. They now want to get rid of the Hindu
intelligentsia so that the political, economic and social life of
Pakistan may not in any way be influenced by them.


( 28 ) I have failed to understand why the question of electorate
has not yet been decided. It is now three years that the minority
Sub-Committee has been appointed. It sat on three occasions. The
question of having joint or separate electorate came up for
consideration at a meeting of the Committee held in December last
when all the representatives of recognised minorities in Pakistan
expressed their view in support of joint Electorate with
reservation of seats for backward minorities. We, on behalf of
the Scheduled Castes think this matter again came up for
consideration at a meeting called in August last. But without any
discussion whatsoever on this point, the meeting was adjourned
sine die. It is not difficult to understand what the motive is
behind this kind of evasive tactics in regard to such a vital
matter on the part of Pakistan's rulers.


( 29 ) Coming now to the present condition and the future of
Hindus in East Bengal as a result of the Delhi Agreement, I
should say that the present condition is not only unsatisfactory
but absolutely hopeless and that the future completely dark and
dismal Confidence of Hindus in East Bengal has not been restored
in the least. The Agreement is treated as a mere scrap of paper
alike by the East Bengal Government and the Muslim League.

That a pretty large number of Hindu migrants, mostly Scheduled
Caste cultivators are returning to East Bengal is no indication
that confidence has been restored. It only indicates that their
stay and rehabilitation in West Bengal, or elsewhere in the
Indian Union have not been possible. The sufferings of refugee
life are compelling them to go back to their homes. Besides, many
of them are going back to bring movable articles and settle or
dispose of immovable properties. That no serious communal

( 30 ) It must be admitted that the Delhi Pact was not an end in
itself. It was intended that such conditions would be created as
might effectively help resolve so many disputes and conflict
existing between India and Pakistan. But during this period of
six months after the Agreement, no dispute or conflict has
readily been resolved. On the contrary, communal propaganda and
anti-India propaganda by Pakistan both at home and abroad are
continuing in full swing. The observance of Kashmir Day by the
Muslim League all over Pakistan is an eloquent proof of communal
anti-India propaganda by Pakistan. The recent speech of the
Governor of Punjab (Pak) saying that Pakistan needed a strong
Army for the security of Indian Muslims has betrayed the real
attitude of Pakistan towards India. It will only increase the
tensions between the two countries.


( 31 ) What is to the condition in East Bengal? About fifty lakhs
of Hindus have left since the partition of the country. Apart
from the East Bengal riot of last February, the reasons for such
a large-scale exodus of Hindus are many. The boycott by the
Muslims of Hindu lawyers, medical practitioners, shopkeepers,
traders and merchants has compelled Hindus to migrate to West
Bengal in search of their means of livelihood. Wholesale
requisition of Hindu houses even without following due process of
law in many and non-payment of any rent whatsoever to the owners
have compelled them to seek for Indian Shelter, Payments rent to
Hindu landlords was stopped long before. Beside, the Ansars
against whom I received complaints all over are a standing menace
to the safety and security of Hindus. Interference in matters of
education and methods adopted by the Educational Authority for
Islamisation frightened the teaching staff of Secondary Schools
and Colleges out of their old


( 32 ) Commission of thefts and dacoities even with murder is
going on as before. Thana office seldom record half the
complaints made by the Hindus. That the abduction and rape of
Hindu girls have been reduced to a certain extent is due only to
the fact that there is no Caste Hindu girl between the ages of 12
and 30 living in East Bengal at present. The few depressed class
girls who live in rural areas with their parents are not even
spared by Muslim goondas. I have received information about a
number of incidents of rape of Scheduled Castes Girls by Muslims.

Full payment is seldom made by Muslim buyers for the price of
jute and other agricultural commodities sold by Hindus in market
places. As a matter of fact, there is no operation of law,
justice or fair play in Pakistan, so far as Hindus are concerned.


( 33 ) Leaving aside the question of East Pakistan, let me now
refer to west Pakistan, especially Sind. The West Punjab had
after partition about a lakh of Scheduled Castes people. It may
be noted that a large number of them were converted to Islam.
Only 4 out of a dozen Scheduled Castes girls abducted by Muslims
have yet been recovered in spite of repeated petitions to the
Authority. Names of those girls with names of their abductors
were supplied to the government. The last reply recently given by
the office-in-Charge of recovery of abducted girls said that "his
function was to recover Hindu girls and stat "Achuts" (Scheduled
Castes) were not Hindus". The condition of the small number of
Hindus that are still living in Sind and Karachi, the capital of
Pakistan, is simply deplorable. I have got a list of 363 Hindu
temples and gurudwaras of Karachi and Sind (which is by no means
an exhaustive list) which are still in possession of Muslims.
Some of the temples hav

Possession of their landed properties were taken away from them
without any notice and disturbed amongst refugees and local
Muslims. I personally know that the Custodian declared 200 to 300
Hindus non-evacuees a pretty long time ago. But up till now
properties have not been restored to any one of them. Even the
possession of Karachi Pinjra Pole has not been restored to the
trustees, although it was declared non-evacuee property some time
ago. In Karachi I had received petitions from many unfortunate
fathers and husbands of abducted Hindu girls, mostly Scheduled
Castes. I Drew the attention of the 2nd Provisional Government to
this fact. There was little or no effect. To my extreme regret I
received information that a large number of Scheduled Castes who
are still living in Sind have been forcibly converted to Islam.


( 34 ) Now this being in brief the overall picture of Pakistan so
far as the Hindus are concerned, I shall not be unjustified in
stating that Hindus of Pakistan have to all intents and purposes
been rendered " Stateless " in their own houses. They have no
other fault than that they profess Hindu religion. Muslim League
leaders that Pakistan is and shall be an Islamic State are
repeatedly making declarations. Islam is being offered as the
sovereign remedy for all earthly evils. In the matchless
dialectics of capitalism and socialism you present the
exhilarating democratic synthesis of Islamic equality and
fraternity. In that grand setting of the Shariat Muslims alone
are rulers while Hindus and other minorities are jimmies who are
entitled to protection at a price, and you know more than anybody
else Mr. Prime Minister, what that price is. After anxious and
prolonged struggle I have come to the conclusion that Pakistan is
no place for Hindus to live in and that th


( 35 ) And what about the Muslims who are outside the charmed
circle of the League rulers and their corrupt and inefficient
bureaucracy? There is hardly anything called civil liberty in
Pakistan. Witness for example, the fate of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan
then whom a more devout Muslim had not walked this earth for many
years and of his gallant patriotic brother Dr. Khan Sahib. A
large number of erstwhile League leaders of the Northwest and
also of the Eastern belt of Pakistan are in detention without
trial. Mr. Suhrawardy to whom is due in a large measure the
League's triumph in Bengal is for practical purposes a Pakistan
prisoner who has to move under permit and can't open his lips
under orders. Mr. Fazzul Huq, that dearly loved grand old man of
Bengal, who was the author of that now famous Lahore resolution,
is ploughing his lonely furrow in the precincts of the Dacca High
Court of Judicature, and the so called Islamic planning is as
ruthless as it is complete. Ab


( 36 ) Leaving aside the overall picture of Pakistan and the
callous and cruel injustice done to others, my own personal
experience is no less sad, bitter and revealing. You used your
position as the Prime Minister and leader of the Parliamentary
Party to ask me to issue a statement, which I did on the 8th
September last. You know that I was not willing to make a
statement containing untruths and half-truths, which were worse
those untruths. It was not possible for me to reject your request
so long as I was there working as a Minister with you and under
your leadership. But I can no longer afford to carry this load of
false pretensions and untruth on my conscience and I have decided
to offer my resignation as your Minister, which I am hereby
placing in your hands and which, I hope, you will accept without
delay. You are of course at liberty to dispense with that office
or dispose of it in such a manner as may suit adequately and
effectively the objectives of your

8th Oct. 1950

Yours Sincerely,

J. N. Mandal

June 07, 2005

Advani's Jinnah never existed

By Kanchan Gupta
The Pioneer
Wednesday, June 8, 2005

We will either have a divided India or a destroyed
India," Mohammed Ali Jinnah thundered as Muslim League
members cheered him lustily. This was in late July,
1946, a fortnight before Jinnah's "direct action" to
force India's colonial rulers in London to concede his
demand for a separate Muslim homeland.

By then, Jinnah had decided to boycott the Constituent
Assembly and

had rejected the initial plan for transfer of power to
an interim regime that would include the Congress and
the Muslim League. This was not what the Muslim League
desired; it was definitely a repudiation of Jinnah's
two-nation theory that laid down, in stark black and
white, his vision of Muslims as a nation separate and
distinct from Hindus. The two, Jinnah decreed, could
not live together.

A day before declaring that he and his Muslim League
would settle for nothing less than "a divided India or
a destroyed India", he had railed against the
"Hindu-dominated Congress".

Today, much is made of Jinnah's partiality towards
constitutionalism. On that July day, he had set aside
all such partialities and declared: "We are forced in
our own self-protection to abandon constitutional
methods... The decision we have taken is a very grave
one." If India's Muslims, Jinnah added, were not
granted their separate Pakistan, they would launch
"direct action".

Any doubts that may have lingered about the true
intentions of the Muslim League under Jinnah's
leadership, any uncertainties that may have remained
about what exactly he meant by "direct action", were
washed away by the blood-letting that began on August
16, 1946, in Calcutta when Muslim League activists,
observing "Direct Action Day", butchered men, women
and children with chilling cruelty.

Huseyn Shaheen Suhrawardy, a shining star in the
Muslim League firmament and head of the Government of
Bengal, did not lift his little finger to stop the
killings. By the time the silence of the dead
descended on Calcutta, 6,000 people had been
slaughtered. Unofficial estimates pegged the figure at
16,000. The truth will never be known.

More importantly, the great Calcutta killings marked
the beginning of Jinnah's "direct action". The
massacre at Noakhali, the depredations inflicted on
Hindus and Sikhs in the North West Frontier Province
and the horrendous communal violence that swept
through Punjab directly resulted from the
Quaid-e-Azam's questionable decision to "abandon
constitutional methods" in his search for a homeland
for the sub-continent's Muslims.

Jinnah was no mullah in a cleric's robe with a flowing
beard. Margaret Bourke-White, a correspondent and
photographer for Life magazine, was in India in 1946.
She was present at the press conference where Jinnah
had announced the League's decision to go for "direct
action" and was struck by the oddity of it all.

In her book, Halfway to Freedom: A Report on the New
India published in 1949, she described Jinnah as
"cool, calculating, unreligious... a thoroughly
Westernised, English-educated attorney-at-law with a
clean-shaven face and razor-sharp mind." That someone
like him should have agreed to "direct action" was, to
a western observer, an oddity.

Not really, though. Never mind Jinnah's fondness for
drink and food forbidden by Islam. Forget too his
so-called liberal worldview. He saw himself as
distinctly separate from his erstwhile Hindu
colleagues in the Congress; he saw no place for
Muslims in Hindu majority India. His politics was
hinged on the ideology of communal separatism.

The homeland he fashioned-a "moth-eaten Pakistan" as
he was to regret later-for his constituents in the
Muslim League was his riposte to Congress' Hindustan.
He did not desire a secular state nor did he want a
large happy family of squabbling Hindus, Muslims,
Sikhs, Christians and Parsis. Had it been so, he would
have been satisfied with India as it existed before
Sir Cyril Radcliffe drew indelible blue lines on its

None of this is unknown to even the most casual reader
of books that deal with India's history. And, Mr LK
Advani is no casual reader. He is neither unaware of
the birth of Muslim separatism in British India nor of
the treacherous politics of those who provided
leadership to the separatists gathered under the
banner of the Muslim League.

Yet, he has chosen to praise Jinnah, the chief
architect of India's partition and the man who called
for "direct action" to put his two-nation theory into
practice. It is understandable that Mr Advani should
have made the right noises-after all, he was on
Pakistani soil, he was visiting Jinnah's mausoleum,
and, he was expected to provide a fillip to the
ongoing peace process between India and its hostile
western neighbour.

But to quote a snatch from Jinnah's August 11, 1947
speech, in which he made a passing reference to
Pakistan as a liberal Muslim state-"You are free; you
are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to
your mosques or to any other place or worship in this
State of Pakistan"-to assert that the 'Sole Spokesman'
of Muslims in prepartition India was "secular", to say
the least, is extremely astonishing.

Equally astonishing is his assertion, albeit made in
an indirect manner, that there's a "bit of Pakistan in
every Indian". That is simply not true: Most Indians,
including many of those who are not given to
demonising Pakistan and Pakistanis and cheerfully
spend winter nights at Wagah border holding aloft
candles, would find this preposterous.

Mr Advani may have very valid reasons for saying what
he did, but he has not shared them with either his
colleagues or with those who have been voting for the
BJP influenced by the ideology that he espoused with
such fervour till recently. That is, till he felt the
need to seek a certificate from those whom he has
berated, and encouraged his party to berate, as
"pseudo-secularists", all these decades.

If a vast number of people who believe in Hindu
nationalism feel affronted by Mr Advani's strange
utterances in Pakistan and his inexplicable idolising
of Jinnah, his colleagues in the party that he has
almost single-handedly built over the decades, are
equally incensed that he should have given a go-by to
political realities that demand carefully nuanced
statements by the BJP on sensitive issues, especially
those to do with Pakistan.

Mr Advani could have calmed the disquiet by offering
an explanation-he owes it to the country and to the
party, in that order-but he did not do so. Instead, he
recommended a debate on whether Jinnah was secular.

Apart from the fact that there is no immediate
necessity for India and Indians to revisit their past
and reopen old wounds, it is shocking that he should
have been so facetious in his response, knowing full
well that the issue at stake was not merely about the
finer points of Jinnah's politics of crude
communalism, but about the future of the BJP's
ideology that he has so gravely imperilled by so
casually quoting Jinnah out of context.

The Quaid-e-Azam has long departed for his heavenly
abode. If any of his original band of admirers are
still alive, they can truly claim vindication of their
'great' leader's pernicious politics.

Meanwhile, the Congress has provided some comic relief
to those rendered glum by Mr Advani's misplaced
exuberance. Practitioners and promoters of Muslim
separatism all, Congress leaders have the gumption to
describe Jinnah as "communal".

If Jinnah fanned Muslim separatism to further his
politics, the Congress indulges in Muslim appeasement
for the same purpose. Had it not been for the abject
capitulation of Congress leaders, Jinnah's Pakistan
would never have been a reality.