Let’s stop whitewashing our history
Jaswant Singh’s new biography of Muhammad Ali Jinnah has quite predictably raised political hackles. The Congress which has long forgotten the distinction between the Nehru-Gandhi family and India has raised questions about Mr Singh’s nationalism. BJP, a party which has never shown much fondness for intellectual pursuits, has disassociated it self ”completely” from Jaswant Singh’s book with some leaders even demanding ”action” against the author.
But what is particularly disappointing is the response from the media. Barring some honorable exceptions–Karan Thapar’s interview with Jaswant Singh was particularly well done–the majority seems to view the book from the prism of current Indian politics. Or worse, question why BJP leaders are obsessed with Jinnah. Sample this comment from CNN-IBN’s National affairs’ editor,
This BJP craze for Jinnah is ridiculous. Why deify a partitionist when Maulana Azad harboured little ambition and worked for a united India?[link]
For one, Jaswant Singh has clearly stated that he has written his book as an Indian concerned about one of the most important events in modern Indian history (Not to mention that BJP is most embarrassed about Jinnah). For another, true history can never only be about the ”good guy”–it must involve those who shape history whether we like their politics or not. In that respect, Jinnah was definitely one of the most important and influential figures of Indian history.