Have AMU students endorsed Jinnah’s two-nation ideology based on religion?
Time has come to rein in the Aligarh Muslim University, and political correctness is damned in making this demand. If the university’s union continues to take pride in the display of MA Jinnah’s portrait in the campus and the administration is unable to take decisive action, the Centre has to step in. Imagine the cheek: Here is a Central university created by an Act of Indian Parliament, and it showcases the portrait of a man responsible for not just the division of the nation but also for the promotion of disunity among Hindus and Muslims.
The plan is obvious enough: Create a Hindu versus Muslim narrative by pitting Jinnah as the Muslim face to counter the likes of Savarkar and obfuscate the shocking presence of the image of the father of India’s partition in an Indian university’s campus.
One would expect Indian Muslims and non-Muslims to demand in one voice the removal of the portrait of the man who opposes everything that India stands for. Unfortunately, that has not happened. Should it surprise anybody that most of these reluctant characters are the very ones who had backed the Jawaharlal Nehru University gang which called for the dismemberment of India. They had spoken in favour of the hate-preacher Zakir Naik. They had shed tears over the sentencing of terrorists Yakub Memon and Afzal Guru. They are ones who were coy about calling Budhani Wani a militant. They are in the forefront in condemning the Indian security forces in Jammu & Kashmir who risk their lives while combating militants.
But of course, faced with trenchant criticism, some of these apologists have conceded the folly of having Jinnah’s portrait at the AMU. But to ‘balance it out’, they also demanded the removal of VD Savarkar’s portrait from the Central Hall of Parliament. What’s the connection? Savarkar was a patriot and a nationalist, regardless of differences one may have over his Hindutva ideology. The plan is obvious enough: Create a Hindu versus Muslim narrative by pitting Jinnah as the Muslim face to counter the likes of Savarkar and obfuscate the shocking presence of the image of the father of India’s partition in an Indian university’s campus.
These people have been so consumed by their hatred for the Right that they conveniently twist history. On Indian television on Tuesday evening, they said that Jinnah alone could not be held responsible for partition — the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha are equally culpable. The RSS has ever since its existence spoken about Akhand Bharat or a united India. In fact, it was taken by surprise by the partition plan. Author Pralay Kanungo in his book, RSS’s Tryst with Politics: From Hedgewar to Sudarshan — this book incidentally is critical of the RSS — writes, “The RSS leadership failed to anticipate…that the country would be partitioned”, and that later RSS chief Balasaheb Deoras had “admitted that the then leadership was unable to foresee these events”. How can then the proponents of Akhand Bharat be held responsible for partition?
The AMU student’s body had objected to the visit of the country’s President Ram Nath Kovind to the university on the ground that it opposed his ‘soch’ (ideology)
The Hindu Mahasabha too never stood for India’s partition. The Jinnah apologists’ pet target, Savarkar, had written in Hindu Rashtra Darshan about the looming danger of partition, saying that the clause about self-determination for provinces “constituted a veritable dagger aimed at the heart of the integrity of Hindustan as an indivisible nation…” Indeed, the Mahasabha even observed an Anti-Pakistan Day on May 10, 1942, well before the creation of Pakistan. Further, the Mahasabha had demanded an assurance from the Congress that the indivisibility of India, “from the Indus to the seas as an organic nation”, would be maintained. There may be many points on which the Mahasabha and its tallest leader Savarkar can be criticised or even condemned, but peddling brazenly wrong material as fact is a sign of the desperation of the lobby that wishes to justify Jinnah’s portrait in an Indian university.
A senior member of the AMU students’ union defended Jinnah’s presence by taking us to 1938 and informing us that Jinnah had been made a life-member of AMU’s union and had also been a co-founder. But 1947 happened after 1938, and the killing of millions of people, both Hindu and Muslim, took place as a result of the partition that Jinnah had insisted upon. And before 1947 came 1946 when Jinnah’s Direct Action Day had resulted in thousands of Indian losing their lives in targeted communal violence across Bengal. For the AMU students’ union, the tragedy of the deaths of innocent men, women and children — and the rape and pillaging that accompanied the barbarity — is of secondary importance to the fact that Jinnah was a life member of the union and founder-member!
The AMU student’s body had objected to the visit of the country’s President Ram Nath Kovind to the university on the ground that it opposed his ‘soch’ (ideology). It has also objected to the opening of an RSS unit in the campus on a similar pretext. Should we then assume now that, by having no qualms about retaining Jinnah’s portrait in the campus, the students have endorsed Jinnah’s two-nation ideology based on religion?
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.