↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jinnah: Pakistan adores its favourite son but ignores his vision

All the recent brouhaha over Jaswant Singh's new book and the argument that he puts forward is a rehash of the one many scholars have already written about including Dr Ayesha Jalal in The Sole Spokesperson. So here are words from straight from Ayesha Jalal ~ t

Mohammad Ali Jinnah has had a contested and confused relationship with the country he created. Left to an adoring following in Pakistan and equally impassioned detractors in India, the clear-headed lawyer who never missed a cue has been reduced to a jumble of contradictions that mostly cancel each other out. Sterile and uncharitable depictions of one of modern South Asia’s leading politicians might not have withstood the test of history if they did not serve the nationalist self-projections of both India and Pakistan.

An anglicized and moderate politician of the liberal ilk, Jinnah would recoil at his battered image in secular and democratic India. But he would find cold comfort in his portrayal as a fervent Muslim in Islamic and militarily authoritarian Pakistan. As a politician who knew the importance of playing to the gallery, Jinnah did make references to Islam that might appear to undermine his vision for a Pakistan “based on the highest principles of honour, integrity, fairplay and justice for all”. But he did so without accepting the narrow-minded definitions the mullahs and their sympathizers tried to impose on its teachings with regard to women and minorities. Jinnah’s Islam was neither reactionary nor bigoted; he hailed the Prophet of Islam, for “laying the foundations of democracy”. Asserting the compatibility of Islam and democracy did not mean consigning the constitutional future of the country to ideas dating back 1,300 years.

“I know of no religion apart from human activity,” the Quaid-e-Azam had written to Mahatma Gandhi in January 1940, as it “provides a moral basis for all other activities.” Jinnah’s broad humanistic outlook and vision for the subcontinent has been distorted in Pakistan, if not wholly forgotten, due to the political gamesmanship of authoritarian rulers and self-styled ideologues of Islam. Instead of the supremacy of the rule of law that Jinnah strongly advocated, anarchy prevails in large swathes of Pakistan.



Post a Comment

<< Home