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"Pakistan did not live up to the vision of Jinnah"

Friday 15 April 2005

Special Correspondent

Need to accept historical reality of Partition

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Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammad Ali Jinnah. — The Hindu Photo Archive

NEW DELHI: Mohammad Ali Jinnah - a man often criticised in India for spearheading the formation of Pakistan - was hailed as a "great secular’’ of the order of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, at the New Delhi launch of Asiananda’s book "Jinnah — A Corrective Reading of Indian History’’ today.

Released by the Defence Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, the function saw speakers stress the need to accept the historical reality of Partition and work for "togetherness’’ rather than creating a confederation.

Not a Hindu-Muslim issue

In his address, the Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas, Mani Shankar Aiyar, said: " India-Pakistan relations should not be seen as a `Hindu-Muslim’ issue. India is not a Hindu State. Pakistan is an Islamic State, but it is not representative of the Muslim voice of India.’’

Mr. Aiyar said the two countries would not be able to be at peace with each other as long as Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi continued to be demonised in India and Pakistan respectively. "Both were great leaders,’’ he said, congratulating Prof. Asiananda for "touching a topic many of us would not have dared to touch in India’’.

The former Rajya Sabha member, L. M. Singhvi, differed with the author’s advocacy of a confederation; arguing that the future of the region lay in togetherness of the two countries. Pakistan, he said, did not live up to the vision of Jinnah, and quoted from a book to show that he had repented the Partition soon after.

Reading out a passage from Jinnah’s speech on the eve of Pakistan’s independence, he said the vision of Jinnah was not very different from that of Nehru. "He was a secular - quite contrary to the image we have of him in India - but his secular vision was abandoned by his successors.’’

Lamenting the fact that Indians knew very little of Jinnah unlike Pakistanis who were well versed with Gandhi, the Hindi scholar, Ved Prakash Vaidik, said Jinnah should be accepted as a "sub-continental hero."

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