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Monday, October 18, 2010

Jinnah, Advani And Jinnah

first pub. June 03, 2008
KILLAI (TN): Showcasing secular values in this remote village of Tamil Nadu, a devout Muslim couple have built a temple for Hindu Goddess Mariamman in the backyard of their house and conduct regular poojas, arousing interest and curiosity in this region, which remains a citadel of communal harmony.

It all started with a dream that M Bashirbi (50) had in her sleep and her husband Mohammed Ali Jinnah (55) without any hesitation gave his full backing for building the small temple 10 years back in the backyard of their thatched house in this town, near Chidambaram, about 250 km south of Chennai. Muslim family builds temple for Goddess. Muslim family builds temple for Goddess

On august 11, 1947, Quaid e Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, sought permission from the Speaker J. N. Mandal, and addressed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan.He said this in his speech:

I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community…Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and but for this we would have been free people long long ago.

No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this.

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. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.

We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.

Now I think we should keep that in front of us as 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 the Pakistan he had in mind. Those who knew him personally were aware of his character and nature and even his worst enemies did not accuse him of harbouring fundamentalist ideas.

When Zina ul Haq came to power, he used the full might of the state machinery to obliterate and delete this part of Jinnah's speech.

Mr. L K Advani grew up in Karachi and was aware of the political movement for independence and when he visited Quaid's Mazar (Jinnah's Mausoleum) in Karachi this is what he wrote in the visitor's book:

There are many people who leave an irreversible stamp on history. But there are few who actually create history. Qaed-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah was one such rare individual. In his early years, leading luminary of freedom struggle Sarojini Naidu described Jinnah as an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. His address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 is really a classic and a forceful espousal of a secular state in which every citizen would be free to follow his own religion. The State shall make no distinction between the citizens on the grounds of faith. My respectful homage to this great man.

The BJP has Jinnah in its Enemies Hall of Fame and rose in uproar over this and other comments by L K Advani that proclaimed Jinnah secularity. Ultimately the BJP succeeded in forcing him to quit as party chief.

In his recently released memoirs, My Country My Life, in a chapter headed "I have no regrets" Avani writes: Mr. Advani grew up in Karachi and was aware of the political movement for independence and when he visited Quaid's Mazar (Jinnah's Mausoleum) in Karachi this is what he wrote in the visitor's book:

I could well understand if some ordinary people had felt surprised and even upset, at seeing headlines in TV news bulletins or newspapers that said: 'Advani calls Jinnah secular'. But what pained me is that some people thought I had committed a serious ideological heresy even before acquainting themselves with full facts and background information.
Advani recaptures the turmoil which forced him to resign as president of the BJP. "It would not be an exaggeration to say that I was upset," he notes. His resignation was, however, not accepted by the party's Parliamentary Board. He withdrew his resignation but Advani recollects that the turbulence did not end there.

"I was in a dilemma. What should I do ? How should I respond to this situation ? Never in my political life was I enamoured by any post or the power that supposedly came with it," he notes. I had no regrets and no disappointments. I had the satisfaction of having served my party dutifully and conscientiously — and the determination to continue to do so in the future," Advani writes.
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". - (Act II, Scene II).

So Back to the other Mohammed Ali Jinnah who can also boast of secular credentials.

Bhakti is the one essential thing.
To be sure, God exists in all beings.
Who, then is a devotee? He whose mind dwells on God.
But this is not possible as long as one has egotism and vanity.
The water of God's grace cannot collect
on the high mound of egotism. It runs down.

From politics to Spirituality by way of digressions: one of the wandering paths taken by poets to capture nano seconds of lucidity.

The pleasure is in journeying: not in arriving at the destination. God is everywhere. She may be oblivious – I am certain of it. Since I tend to be inclusive, for atheists reading these lines, and still here, feel free to substitute Golf, or Net, or any other Passion for god and stick around, she won't mind.

There is peace in the pursuit of peace.


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