Debating India

Jinnah was secular only initially : Vajpayee

Monday 22 August 2005

Many nationalists later on became religious fanatics, says Seshadri’s book

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Sandeep Saxena
A VETERAN’S TRIBUTES: The former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, at a meeting called to condole the death of RSS leader H.V. Seshadri, in New Delhi on Sunday.

NEW DELHI: Reviving the controversy that the Sangh Parivar appeared to have buried, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Sunday said Pakistan founder Mohd Ali Jinnah was secular initially but was later responsible for the Partition.

Participating at a condolence meeting for veteran Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader H.V. Seshadri, Mr. Vajpayee made an address that was interpreted in different ways in the Sangh Parivar.

Some saw in it an approval of Bharatiya Janata Party president L.K. Advani’s controversial remarks in Pakistan, which prompted the RSS to ask him to step down, while others saw the opposite.

Referring to the recent controversy but without taking names, Mr. Vajpayee recalled that Seshadri in his book Tragic Story of Partition had written that many people who were nationalists, later on became communal and religious fanatics. "What happened to such people? Why Jinnah changed his colours? He had nothing to do with communalism or Islam. It was wrong to call him religious and when he became associated with the Home Rule movement, he used to say he belonged to the sect which believed in `Dashavataras’ and practised Hindu social customs and laws of succession," he said quoting extensively from the book which he asked everyone who wanted to know about the Partition to read.

Mr. Vajpayee said Jinnah used to hate religious fanaticism and to illustrate his point read out an anecdote from Seshadri’s book in which he tells Motilal Nehru that he "does not believe in the bakwaas (nonsense) of mullahs."

"It is regrettable that he had to go with the fools," Mr. Vajpayee said, quoting the RSS veteran. "However, we have to see [the matter] in totality and he [Jinnah] was responsible for the Muslim League, the country’s Partition and religious fanaticism," he said.

See online : The Hindu

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