Thursday, August 20, 2009


SHIMLA, India (AFP) — India's opposition Hindu nationalists said Thursday they had expelled senior figure Jaswant Singh amid a row over his book on the legacy of Pakistani founding father Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Singh, a former foreign minister (between 1998 and 2004) and one of the founding members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), questioned the demonisation of Jinnah by Hindu nationalists who blame him for the partition of the subcontinent in 1947. "He has been expelled from the party," BJP president Rajnath Singh told reporters in the northern hill resort of Shimla where the party is meeting for a brainstorming session. The furore over the book goes to the heart of a debate in India about blame for partition of the British-controlled subcontinent into Pakistan and India which sparked communal riots that left up to a million dead.

The subject of Jinnah has always ruffled feathers in the BJP and the current head of the party, Lal Krishan Advani, offered to resign after he sparked controversy by lauding Jinnah as a "great man" and a secular leader in 2005. Singh's book, titled "Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence", was released on Monday. He describes the Pakistani leader as a "great personality". The book “does not represent the views of the Bharatiya Janata Party. In fact, the party completely dissociates itself from the contents of the book,” the BJP said on its Web site. “The important role of M.A. Jinnah in the division of India, which led to a lot of dislocation and destabilization of millions of people, is too well-known. We cannot wish away this painful part of our history.”

Jaswant Singh, has said that his book is a "purely academic exercise, which should be read and understood". "Why should I regret [my] five years of rigour [of writing the book]? [The book] is my reading of the painful period [the 1947 partition of India] of history," he said. Jaswant Singh added: "Nehru believed in a highly centralised polity. That's what he wanted India to be. Jinnah wanted a federal polity. That even Gandhi accepted. Nehru didn't. Consistently, he stood in the way of a federal India until 1947 when it became a partitioned India." Jaswant Singh strongly contested the popular Indian view that Jinnah was the villain of the 1947 partition or the man principally responsible for it. Asked if he thought this view was wrong, Jaswant Singh said: "It is. It is not borne out of the facts... we need to correct it." "I think we have misunderstood him because we needed to create a demon ... We needed a demon because in the 20th century the most telling event in the subcontinent was the partition of the country," he said. Singh was one of the founding members of the BJP and served as foreign minister between 1998 and 2004, during which time he also held the finance portfolio.

We actually saw during the partition days in India that although Hindus and Muslims were living together peacefully, manipulation by politicians suddenly aroused feelings of hatred between them, and thus the Hindus and Muslims killed one another over politics. This is a sign of Kali-yuga.

Srila A.C. BV Swami Prabhupada:
"The Srimad Bhagavatam -
Purport in Canto 6 - Chapter 2 - Verses 5 &6"

We do not find any Hindu-Muslim riots in the history of India, even during the days of the Muslims' rule over the country. Conflict between Hindus and Muslims was created by polluted politicians, especially foreign rulers, and thus the situation gradually became so degraded that India was divided into Hindustan and Pakistan. Fortunately, the remedy to unite not only the Hindus and Muslims but all communities and all nations can still be implemented by the Hare Krishna movement on the strong basic platform of love of Godhead.

Srila A.C. BV Swami Prabhupada:
"Śrī Caitanya Caritāmrta - Ādi-līlā - Chapter 17 - Verse 148

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