(Author: Jaswant Singh)
New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2009.
Reviewed by Azam Khan
The book under review is about the history of India and Pakistan. The bulk of the book covers the history of Indian freedom movement during the twentieth century. The author also discusses the history Indian Muslims establishing their rule in India. It has ten chapters and twelve appendices. The book provoked much criticism in India. The writer, who was an important leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P), was thrown out of the party. The importance of the book increased with criticism and reaction generated in India in its wake and ultimately became one of the best sellers.
Jaswanth Singh is one of the important public figure in India. He had been a member of Loc Saba till he was thrown out of the party. He retained important portfolios, which included that of foreign ministry and interior ministry.
In the book, Jinnah- India- Partition- Independence, the writer tries to throw light on the advent of Muslims in India. The writer seems bias in discussing that era. Two things are important to be discussed in this regard i.e. first that Islam spread with the help of sword, second that the Muslim never considered themselves as a nation in the past. What he discusses in the subsequent chapters does not suggest that he is sympathetic with the cause of Indian Muslims during the Indian freedom movement but he is rather unhappy about the partition of India. What perhaps generated the huge criticism against the book in India was that Jaswanth Singh does not consider Jinnah as solely responsible for the partition of India. He criticizes the congress leaders particularly Jawaharlal Nehru for creating situations which made the partition of India inevitable. He counts several occasions which gave the Congress a chance to accommodate with Muslims in the united India but subsequently lost the same. When it comes to Muslims working towards getting a separate state he criticizes it. He criticizes the passing of Lahore Resolution as adding difficulty to the already volatile political situations of the country. The author’s bias is also evident from the fact that he does not criticize the role of R.S.S, an ally of B.J.P, in killing Muslims during the Indian freedom movement.
Jaswanth Singh seems to be impressed from Jinnah’s personality, which he said in an interview became the cause of writing the book. He says that Jinnah was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth rather he attained greatness as a reward of his own hard work. He compares Gandhi with Jinnah and calls the former a religious minded person and the later a secular. At last he says that it was unfortunate on the part on the part of Pakistan that she lost her great leader at the earlier stage.
On the whole the book is a welcome and bold addition particularly coming from the pen of Indian politician of Jaswanth Singh standing. The book would have not created such a storm of criticism in India if it were written by a less important political player of India.