Blue Flower

Jaswant Singh’s unhistorical work on the partition of India

Interview with J.B.P.More

 


(translated from Tamil)

 

Please tell us about your research and how you entered the research field?

I entered the research field in history quite late and not in the usual fashion. While I was working full time in France, I chose history for my higher studies. I obtained my doctorate degree at the world famous ‘Institute for Higher Studies in Social Sciences’, founded by one of the great French historians, Fernand Braudel. When I started, I thought of doing some research on south India.But there were none who knew anything worthwhile about south India at that time. There were a few who knew something about the Muslims of India. They told me that there were no research done on the Muslims of Tamilnadu, so you can do research on them. This is how I undertook research on the Muslims of Tamilnadu.

Though the people were very much interested in my research, I had to face several difficulties. So, I took an independent course in the research field. Currently I am affiliated to the Institute for Research in Social Sciences and Humanities. I modified somewhat my doctoral thesis and got it published by Orient Longman in 1997. My next book titled ‘Freedom Movement in French India’ was published in 2001 by Irish. These books were warmly received in India and the western countries. It is then I came to be known as a specialist of the Muslims of India. Good reviews of these books appeared in England, America and India. I am as fluent in French as in English. I discovered the manuscripts of the eighteenth century Indologist, Maridas Poullé, from the National Library of Paris. I edited them and got them published in French in the year 2003 in two volumes. In the year 2004, my book ‘Muslim Identity, Print Culture and the Dravidian factor in Tamilnadu’, was published by Orient Longman.

 

While focusing your research on Muslims, why did you refer to the Dravidian Movement?

While doing research on the Muslims of Tamilnadu, there was the natural compulsion of doing research on the Dravidian movement too. There was a lot of relationship between Muslims and the Dravidian movement in those days. E.V.Ramasamy Periyar, who founded the Self-respect movement, had asked the depressed caste people to convert to Islam in the 1930s. The Muslims liked Periyar because of this. This relationship becomes strained in the 1940s, due to differences of opinion with some Muslims.

For instance, Periyar affirmed that the Dravidian religion was superior. But Muslims declared that Islam was superior to ‘Dravidam’. In the year 1940, Mohammad Ali Jinnah demanded Pakistan as a separate country. This was supported by Periyar. At the same time, Jinnah extended his support to Periyar’s demand for a separate Dravidanadu. But later he withdrew his support.

While Periyar was functioning with atheism as the central policy, the Muslims functioned with religion as the central policy. So the differences of opinion between Periyar and Muslims of Tamilnadu aggravated. As a result, Jinnah distanced himself from Periyar by declaring that the demand for Dravidanadu was Periyar’s problem in which he cannot interfere. He even affirmed that he could speak only for the Muslims and not for the Dravidians. The Muslims of Tamilnadu too began to distance themselves from Periyar. In spite of this, Periyar continued to support the demand for Pakistan. Later, the editor of ‘Dar-ul-Islam’ since 30 years, Dawood Sha launched severe criticisms of Periyar. I have written extensively about these things in my book published in 2004.

 

Please tell us about your book ‘Religion and Society in South India’, published in 2006?

As far as Muslims are concerned, they believe mostly in religion. The historians from northern India have always asserted that Muslim chiefs like Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, originated from Arabia, Persia or Afghanistan. But on the basis of records that I found in France, it is certain that they were Kannadigas. Apart from this important aspect, I have dealt in this book about Hindu-Christian relations, Tipu Sultan’s relations with Christians, Muslim situation in the employment field of the Madras Presidency, about various Muslim saints and Muslim relationship with the Dravidian movement. The Preface for this book was written by Professor Francis Robinson of London University. He has done a lot of research on Indian Muslims. This book was well received in India and England especially. A good review of it was published in the ‘Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society’, London.

 

What was the necessity for you to write a book on the partition of India?

‘Partition of India: Players and Partners’ was published in October 2008. I found the relevant records to write this book in London. Generally when it comes to the partition of India, the Pakistanis affirm that Jinnah asked for partition and achieved it. The Indian National Congress would accuse Jinnah of dividing India, while the leftists put the blame on the British for the partition. In 1985, a young researcher from Pakistan, Ayesha Jalal, published a book on Jinnah and Pakistan. It was a thesis submitted to the Cambridge University. It is this research work which has now created all the confusion.

In this book, Ayesha Jalal affirms that Jinnah was a nationalist, that Jinnah did not want to divide India, that he did not ask for an independent Pakistan, that he put forward the demand for Pakistan as a political slogan, and that if proper concessions had been given to the Muslims, India would have remained united; she adds that people like Nehru, Gandhi and Patel did not want to give concessions to the Muslims and as Jinnah was not able to get concessions for the Muslims, in spite of all his efforts, Pakistan was forced upon him.

As a matter of fact, these arguments were quite old. It existed first as rumours during British rule. The importance given to Ayesha Jalal and her views by some British scholars now, was not given by the British Indian government in those days. It was in the 1960s that some British historians put forward the ‘bargaining counter theory’. The Indian research scholar, A.G.Noorani, while doing his PhD. in Cambridge in the 1960s had acquiesced to this theory.

Since the time of the publication of Ayesha Jalal’s book, A.G.Noorani, Rafiq Zakaria, M.J.Akbar and some others particularly Indian Muslim scholars started asserting that Jinnah was a nationalist, Jinnah was secular and Jinnah was not a separatist. This was something surprising to the British and also favourable to them. Ayesha Jalal’s views were against the views of the Indian National Congress and the leftists that India was divided by the British. Today’s British scholars endorsed Ayesha Jalal’s findings as authentic. They even started to affirm that all the other researches done on partition previously were incorrect. The most vehement proponent of such views was none other than the Islamic expert, Francis Robinson, who had written the Preface for my book published in 2006. When such a situation was prevailing, some four or five years ago, L.K.Advani declared that Jinnah was secular. Presently, modifying somewhat Ayesha Jalal’s research here and there, Jaswant Singh also affirms the same. As all these affirmations are fundamentally wrong, I brought out my work on partition last year, with adequate documentary evidences.

 

In the recently published book, ‘Jinnah: India – Pakistan, Independence’, Jaswant Singh writes that Jinnah was a nationalist and was also secular. What do you think of this?

In the year 1916 at Lucknow, the Congress had accepted the All India Muslim League as the recognised representative of the Muslims. Jinnah was a nationalist only as long as he was member of both the Congress and the Muslim League. When Gandhi entered the Congress, this situation was in for a change. In 1921, Jinnah broke away from the Congress completely and became the leader of the All India Muslim League.

The Muslim League was a sectarian party, as non-Muslims were not allowed to become its members. Jinnah was the leader of this sectarian party. In those days, Muslims made up for about 25% of the total population. Later, Muslim League claimed to be the only party for all the Muslims. I do not understand how Jaswant Singh or anybody else could call Jinnah as a nationalist, especially when he was the leader of a sectarian party.

Jinnah as leader of a sectarian party, might have sometimes spoken in favour of united India. That cannot make him a nationalist. One can at the most call him a sectarian nationalist, as far as I am concerned. Anyone who functions on the basis of a religion or a caste in politics cannot be known as a full-fledged nationalist.

 

Why and how did Jinnah demand partition?

The Congress and the Muslim League contested the 1937 provincial elections. In south India, the Justice party was routed. Muslim League also failed to make a mark in the hustings at the all India level. Congress won in most of the provinces. Now the question naturally arises that if Jinnah was the uncontested leader of the Muslims as it was claimed, why the Muslim League lost in the 1937 elections. At that time people like Abul Kalam Azad, etc., were in the Congress. When the Congress formed ministries in the various provinces, it refused to enter into a coalition with the Muslim League. This made Jinnah to think that he was side-lined and belittled by the Congress.

In September 1939, the Second World War broke out. At that time, Jinnah was still a sectarian nationalist. How such a Jinnah makes the transition to become a Muslim nationalist or a separatist is now a subject of research. The Congress ministries did not support the British in the war. Instead they resigned and gave up their offices. Such a situation became favourable to Jinnah. Jinnah did not have any power then. He made use of the mistakes made by the Congress, especially with regard to the resignation of ministries, and organised in December 1939 the ‘Deliverance Day’ in order to celebrate the deliverance of the Muslims from Congress rule, all over India.

In the celebrations conducted in south India, Periyar joined the Muslim League and spoke in favour of Jinnah. At that time, the over-riding aim of the British was to win somehow the world war. They were more worried about how to use whom and when to achieve their objectives. In those days, the Indian Army was made up of 40% Muslims, 30% Sikhs, while the remaining 30% consisted of Hindus, mainly made up of Gurkhas, Dogras and Mahrattas.

As Gandhi had declared that Congress cannot support the war, the British had no other alternative, but to turn towards the Muslims. It was then that Jinnah demanded concessions for Muslims, if the British wanted Muslims to support the war. The then British Viceroy Linlithgow gave the necessary assurances to Jinnah during 1939-40, that there will be no constitutional advance in India without Jinnah’s agreement. On account of such assurances, the Congress, in spite of being the largest party in India, could do nothing. Jinnah thought that the British had succumbed to him and that his prestige had risen dramatically. Linlithgow himself asked Jinnah to submit a plan, to prevent the Congress from having its way.

At this stage, I should tell you something else. In December 1938, Periyar started demanding a separate Dravidanadu. This was the first separatist demand in India. Though Dravidanadu was composed of Tamilnadu, Andhra, Kerala and Karnataka, later Periyar  included even Bengal in it. In January 1940, after the ‘Deliverance Day’, Periyar and C.N.Annadurai went to Bombay, met Jinnah and asked his support for Dravidanadu. Jinnah accepted to support Dravidanadu. Then they met Ambedkar. It was then said that Periyar, Jinnah and Ambedkar would form a joint front. Two months after this in March 1940, Jinnah raised the demand for separate states for Muslims. It is at this time, the sectarian nationalist that Jinnah was until then became a Muslim nationalist, wanting to break away from India, on the basis of religion.

The separatist resolution was adopted in Lahore. If one reads carefully this resolution, it is quite clear that wherever Muslims were in a majority in contiguous areas, they needed to have separate states. These states were to be in the north-west and north-east of India. They are known as separate sovereign states in the resolution. There was no use of the term ‘Pakistan’ in it.(Pakistan was first coined by Rahmat Ali Choudhury, who was forgotten). On the whole, the resolution of the Muslim League was quite clear. But Ayesha Jalal claims that the demand was not clear. She says that there was no map to show the Muslim states. But the job of drawing the map was not that of Jinnah. It was that of the British. Besides, in the resolution, the rights of the minorities whether Hindu or Muslim, have been safeguarded.

 

What is the position of Gandhi?

Even before the Pakistan demand was raised, Gandhi began to write and talk, that if the Muslims really want to break away, no one can stop them. He wrote the same in his Harijan newspaper. Even after the demand for Pakistan was raised, Gandhi continued to hold that Pakistan may be given. But at the same time, he wanted India to remain united. This was the situation in early 1940s.

 

Why Jinnah turn down Cripp’s Offer?

In early 1942, the world war was raging. Japan had captured south-east Asia and Andaman islands and were knocking at Imphal on the eastern Indian frontier. At that time wanting to rope in the support of the Indians for the war, Sir Winston Churchill despatched Sir Stafford Cripps, who was until then ambassador of Britain in Russia, to India with some constitutional proposals. In his proposals, there was no question of contiguous Muslim areas seceding from India. Instead, whole provinces were given the right to secede. This was a surprising move. But Jinnah had doubts about the proposals. He was not sure if in the case of the secession of Punjab, Bengal will join with it. There were also doubts about the Pathans of North-west Frontier province or Sind, joining Punjab to form Pakistan.

The Congress refused to accept the proposals of Cripps. Abul Kalam Azad was the president of the Congress then.

 

Why did Rajaji support Cripp’s Offer?

Rajaji wanted the Congress to accept Cripp’s Offer, for he thought that this will pave the way for the formation of the Indian Union with the majority of the provinces. When this was not possible, he got the Madras Legislative Assembly Congress members pass a resolution accepting Jinnah’s demand under certain conditions. The same resolution was put forward by Rajaji at the Allahabad session of the Congress in May 1942. Some southerners like K.Santhanam and Subbaroyan were for the resolution. But Nehru and many others were against it. The resolution was defeated with 120 voting against it and only 15 for it. Rajaji resigned from the Congress committee. Rajaji’s resolution made many people in the Congress sit up and think. A counter-resolution was passed against all forms of secession.

But one has to note that the same Congress had earlier adopted a resolution according to which unwilling parts were allowed to keep away from the Indian Union. Rajaji’s resolution was well within the terms of this resolution. In spite of this, Rajaji’s resolution was opposed by Jagat Narain Lal of Bihar, at the behest of Nehru. There was a confusing situation in the Congress ranks due to Rajaji’s stand.

 

How did Jinnah react to all this?

Taking into account the confusion in the Congress and the offer of Cripps, Jinnah gradually revised his strategy. The Lahore resolution was the brain-child of Sikandar Hayat Khan of Punjab. He desired the secession of only contiguous Muslim majority areas. But Cripps was offering secession on a provincial basis. So by 1943 Jinnah too started asking Pakistan on a provincial basis i.e. on the basis of provinces where Muslims were in a majority. He starts equating the ‘contiguous Muslim majority areas’ of the Lahore resolution with ‘contiguous Muslim majority provinces’. He now wanted for Pakistan the whole of Punjab province as well as Bengal including all its Hindus and Sikhs. He even added Assam, where Muslims were a minority, to Bengal. At that time, the Punjab province was made up of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and some parts of western Uttar Pradesh. Jinnah thought that he can get all this including Kashmir.

 

Please tell us about Quit India movement and Rajaji?

On 8th August 1942, the Congress adopted a resolution asking the British to quit India. The Congress said that it wanted freedom first. Later they can take care of the problem of partition. All big leaders of the Congress like Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Azad and Rajendra Prasad supported the Quit India resolution. Though Nehru sometimes had differences of opinion with Gandhi, finally he used to fall in line with Gandhi. Patel was brought into politics by Gandhi. He was Gandhi’s disciple like Rajendra Prasad. As far as south India is concerned, Gandhi was not only friendly with Rajaji, but was also his relative. In 1927, when Devdas Gandhi, the son of Gandhi, was teaching Hindi in Madras, he fell in love with Rajaji’s daughter, Lakshmi. In 1933, the marriage between the Tamil Brahmin girl and a gujarati baniya man took place. This was a great revolution then. That is a different story. Rajaji is being denounced by some as an orthodox Brahmin. But as far as I am concerned, this marriage was a very big thing.

This same Rajaji opposed the Quit India resolution. He wanted Congress to cooperate with the British in the war. Otherwise he told that the Japanese will occupy India and cause a great confusion. But Gandhi did not listen to Rajaji. So Rajaji left the Congress and did propaganda in favour of the British, thinking that in this way the British will help to maintain united India. In this case, even if there was a demand for separation, it would not be a big problem. But at this time the Congress opposed the British. The British were dependent upon the Indian Army. From Punjab, several lakhs of soldiers joined the Indian army. The majority of them were Muslims. Due to this, the British were prepared to give whatever Jinnah asked for. Rajaji was now convinced that the British will never let down Jinnah.

 

Tell us about the Rajaji formula?

With the passing of the Quit India resolution, all Congress leaders were arrested. Rajaji alone was outside. Later in 1943, Gandhi was released in health grounds. At that time, there was no political activity in India. But Rajaji was in contact with Gandhi. The historians of Pakistan and those of northern India would consecrate only about a page or so to describe the happenings of the three year period since August 1942 until all the Congress leaders were released in May 1945. In the next one and half year India became independent. But this three year period is a crucial phase in the history of partition. Rajaji wanted somehow to get Jinnah agree to the formation of a national government. Gandhi supported Rajaji in this respect. When Gandhi was released from prison, Rajaji gradually arranged for a meeting between Gandhi and Jinnah.

In September 1944, Jinnah agreed to meet Gandhi. Talks took place. Gandhi himself went to Jinnah’s house in Bombay at Pleasant Road every day. Rajaji was the advisor of Gandhi. If we go into the records of these talks, one could see that Jinnah stuck to his two nation theory – one Muslim and other Hindu, while Gandhi said that nationality remains the same even if one converts. But the main problem of these talks was to decide whether Pakistan meant ‘contiguous Muslim majority areas’ or ‘Muslim majority provinces’. The Rajaji formula put forward by Gandhi would concede area-wise Pakistan, provided there were some mutual arrangements in matters of common interest. The rest of the talks were just purely academic. Finally the talks failed. But Gandhi had given importance to Jinnah as a representative of the Muslims of India.

 

What about the Cabinet Mission Plan?

In the year 1943, the British constitutional expert Sir Reginald Coupland put forward a plan to break the constitutional deadlock. According to this plan, Coupland wanted the British to recognise the existence of two nations in India – Hindu and Muslim. These two nations must rule at the Centre, on the basis of parity. In other words, the Muslim minority will have the same status, power and rights at the Centre as the Hindu majority. This plan appeared in the Manchester Guardian. This plan was adopted by the Cabinet Delegation, which was despatched to India in 1946. During the Simla conference, the creation of two groups – one Muslim and the other Hindu, with parity at the Centre was put forward. The Congress declined to accept. But the Cabinet Delegation modified the same and created two Muslim groups – one in the north-west and the other in the north-east, who will be united with the Hindu-dominated group at the Centre. Three constitutions - one for the Centre, one for the groups and a third for the provinces, were to come into force. This was the Cabinet Mission Plan. But the plan was so complex that the British knew that the plan will not work. Besides, Assam which was a Hindu/tribal majority province was included in the Muslim majority north-eastern group.

In the beginning the Congress accepted the plan under certain conditions. Jinnah accepted it as he was getting mostly what he asked for in the form of two Muslim groups, which would be united at the Centre. It is on the basis of this that some scholars and politicians assert that Jinnah really wanted a united India. Without going into all the details, they are claiming that Jinnah did not want partition and was a nationalist.

The Reforms Commissioner of Lord Mountbatten, V.P.Menon, another constitutional expert K.M.Pannikar and also the British expert Sir Penderel Moon, have all affirmed that if the Congress had accepted in full the Cabinet Mission plan, Jinnah would have ultimately got his province-wise Pakistan. When the situation is thus, how can anyone think that Jinnah stood for the unity of India? It is here that Jaswant Singh had gone wrong. Rajaji too finally opined that Jinnah was actually aiming for a ‘big Pakistan’ through the Cabinet Mission Plan.

When Jinnah knew that the Congress would not accept the Plan, he resorted to ‘Direct Action’ to get his ‘big Pakistan’. This resulted in a lot of killing, riots and bloodshed. Thus the problem was seen by the world as a Hindu-Muslim problem, while the British were forgotten. As Congress did not accept the Plan, some thought that the British have to give what Jinnah was asking for. To assert like Jaswant Singh that Britain was acting like a mid–wife between Jinnah and the Congress during this period is completely unfounded in the light of the above.

 

What do you consider as the main reasons for India’s partition?

The British were ruling the world for several centuries. Naturally they had to safeguard their strategic, imperialist, capitalist and geo-political interests, while retreating from India. On the one hand, there was Russian communism, which might spread to Afghanistan and India. This had to be stopped. On the other, there was the oil of the Middle-east. The Russians had to be stopped there too. This game which started in the nineteenth century is known as the Great Game. Neither the Congress leaders nor Jinnah seem to have worried about all this. The British always had an eye on their interests and were never really bothered about the rift between the Hindus and Muslims. If Jinnah asked for Pakistan, it was because of the British. If we go into the records of the British Cabinet during this period, their main worries were about how to protect their geo-political, strategic and other interests in the Indian sub-continent and the entire Indian Ocean region including the Middle-east and south-east Asia.

They needed uninterrupted oil supply. They needed uninterrupted air communication between U.K. and the Middle-east, India, Malaysia and Australia. They needed to safeguard the shipping lanes. They had also to keep the Russians under check. So for the British, it was not a question of giving Pakistan because Jinnah asked for it. The British wanted to maintain control over this part of the world. Indian leaders never really thought about all this. Jinnah too never thought about all this. He thought that if he gets Pakistan, he can become the leader and liberate all Muslims from the Hindus.

At the high level meetings of the British Cabinet several ideas were mooted to safeguard British interests. One of them was to give a ‘full Pakistan’ to Jinnah. If that was not possible a ‘small Pakistan’ must be given. It was thought that Pakistan in whatever shape will be favourable to the British. According to the British geo-strategist Olaf Caroe, if a ‘full Pakistan’ on the basis of Muslim majority provinces plus Assam was given, then the British would have easy access to Afghanistan and China. At the same time, south Asia and the Indian Ocean region will be under control. This was necessary for world economy. So in order to safeguard all this, India had to be divided. If they left India united, it may become a superpower overnight. It can also ally with the Russians and challenge the British. For this, they made use of Jinnah. Jinnah was never aware of all these implications. But Jaswant Singh like some others say that Jinnah was extremely intelligent, without going into all these details. We are also not sure if Nehru, Patel and Gandhi thought about all this.

For the British, Pakistan must be created as a counterpoise to Hindustan. This was not because Jinnah asked for Pakistan. The British wanted Pakistan to counter India. But the British could not give a ‘full Pakistan’ to Jinnah, because the Hindus were a majority in East Punjab and West Bengal. Prime Minister Attlee waited till the last moment to make Bengal independent and integrate it in the British Commonwealth. Jinnah then told the British ‘Give us a full Pakistan, we also will join the Commonwealth’. The creation of the British Commonwealth itself is a ploy to maintain British influence. It was a diplomatic victory for the British.

However, the Second World War had weakened Britain very much. America had stepped into its shoes. Finally agreement was reached to divide Punjab and Bengal, on religious basis. A small Pakistan was thus created. But this Pakistan was nearly one-third the size of India. One has to just imagine what would have happened to India if a ‘full Pakistan’ had been given. But through this division, Britain obtained a foothold in south Asia.

India was a new nation. Pakistan was a new nation. Both needed western help. In the beginning, Nehru did not want to join the Commonwealth. But later, listening to Krishna Menon, he joined the Commonwealth. He told he will join the Commonwealth if Punjab and Bengal were divided. Thus both India and Pakistan became members of the Commonwealth. As members of Commonwealth, they are safeguarding British interests in the world. This is the greatest victory of British diplomacy.

When Pakistan was to be created, the question arose about how to keep the Pathans quiet. The last Viceroy Lord Mountbatten told Jinnah that he had to spend three and half crores annually to keep the Pathans quiet. But Jinnah did not care for all this. He thought that all were Muslims. But today to keep the Pathans and their cousins in Afghanistan quiet, several crores of rupees are being spent. Besides, army is being used, including western forces, causing innumerable deaths and destruction. It is here that the British may have miscalculated.

If India was divided, it was primarily to safeguard British imperial interests. India was prevented from becoming a strong power. India was weakened. South Asia was weakened. Pakistan became dependent on western powers. This is a great victory for British diplomacy. It happened because the Indian leaders, were unable to put their heads together, especially as far as geo-politics were concerned. As a consequence, today we see Britain and America telling India and Pakistan ‘Do this’ ‘Do that’ or ‘Don’t do that.

 

What is the situation of the Muslims in the sub-continent today?

I don’t think that Jinnah has achieved anything worthwhile. Jinnah did not get his ‘full Pakistan’. At that time, the population of Muslims of India was about 25%. Today there may be about 450 million Muslims in the sub-continent. What is their strength and power in south Asia? When Jinnah asked for Pakistan, it was with the objective of saving the interests of all Indian Muslims including religious. But Jinnah’s achievement was nothing more than splitting the Muslims between India and Pakistan. Naturally, in India, Muslims have become subordinated and dependent. Later, Bangla Desh split away from Pakistan. Bangla Desh is an economic disaster. In what remains of Pakistan, Baluchistan is asking for independence. Then there are the never-ending problems with the Pathans, Talibans and the Al Qaida, not to speak of the problems with the Mohajirs and Sindhis. Are these problems not part of Jinnah’s achievements and legacy? Wanting to save the Muslims from the Hindus, why all this happened? It is because of the inexperience of the Muslim Leaguers in geo-politics. Neither they nor Jinnah understood the changing geo-political and strategic interests of Britain and America.

But India escaped somewhat. As ‘small Pakistan’ was created on the basis of the Rajaji formula and the Lahore resolution, India lost only west Punjab, Sind and East Bengal. Baluchistan and North-West Frontier Province were never parts of India. It was towards the end of the nineteenth century that Britain amalgamated them with British India. So Hindus lost very little. But Muslims lost the most. Sikhs also lost much. They were driven away from west Punjab. The British never showed genuine interest about the welfare of the Sikhs in the event of partition. That is why the barbarous riots and killings took place during partition. In 1857, the British used the same Sikhs to quell the Indian rebellion, but now they were abandoned.

Today Jaswant Singh, discounts British role in the partition of India and claims that Jinnah was a nationalist. Jaswant Singh and many others before him never go into all the details that led to partition. They are mere politicians, with no historical depth. They never took into consideration the high level meetings of the British Cabinet. Jaswant Singh thinks that he can write a book by reading the works of Ayesha Jalal and some other western scholars.

Though in the preceding I have told more or less what happened during partition, yet I have not gone into all the details. Pakistan was not a joke. It was needed by the British to protect their imperial interests. By demanding partition, Jinnah made a monumental mistake. Muslims had suffered the most because of this.

 

Muthiah Vellaiyan for Puthiya Puthagam Pesuthu, October 2009

                                                   

 

 

(J.B.P.More’s ‘Partition of India: Players and Partners’, is available at Barathi Puthagalayam or Orient Blackswan Book Point, in Chennai. He is an apolitical scholar and historian)