A friend of mine recently said Mr. Advani is a confused man, in context with his statements like ‘Babri was the saddest day of my life’ and ‘Jinnah was secular’. For all those who believe Mr. Advani is a confused man or whatever because of these statements then I would suggest them to read the ‘Advani Series’. He is by any far means one of the most successful politician of the country whose words hold a lot more than what meets the eyes.
Let us take this time out, to talk about the ‘secular Jinnah episode’ which is the most complex Advani Code till date.If by any chance you have read something about Jinnah, then you will get to know how much communal he was? In one of the earlier post ‘Who Was Jinnah’ http://www.zhagdoo.com/2007/10/14/who-was-jinnah/ we talked about the communal credentials of Jinnah, which were not at all very promising. The communal tag got attached to him after the demand of Pakistan. Before that he was considered as a liberal and secular politician. The Muslim sect to which he belonged; his life style; his thought process; his recorded comments in history etc. none points to the fact that he was hardcore communal person. However today we are not discussing if Jinnah was secular or not; but why did Mr. Advani called him so? Against the popular belief and perception why he went on record calling him secular? Was it a mistake? Was it a misjudgment? Was it just plane confusion? Or was it something which the political pundits, analysts, even his fellow party men failed to understand.
We blame Jinnah for the partition on religious bases; but no one tries to think why he did so? Nevertheless, when the partition took place on the religious bases and one country became Muslim then why the other is not Hindu? It was for the greater good that India became secular.
But have you ever wondered what it would be like had Pakistan not turned into a Muslim state but a secular country? Had it made any difference to the Indo-Pak problem? Perhaps the current terrorism situation would be a different story to tell?
Yes! A liberal Pakistan surely would have changed history to a large extent. Most of the Indo-Pak problems would have never occurred; terrorism would have not been such a big threat from secular Pakistan. Even in present scenario if Pakistan leaves the lines of religious fundamentalism lot of Indian problems can be solved. Although this sounds too good to be true and nothing like secular or liberal currently exists in Pakistan, but that doesn’t mean it is not possible.
When Mr. Advani called Jinnah secular on Pakistani soil he scored a home run. A concept which was alien to Pakistan found some ground there. Just by saying so he gave people of Pakistan a new line of action; he simply meant that Jinnah wanted to make Pakistan a secular country, but look where you are right now. A secular Pakistan is a solution to large number Indian problems, and you cannot do it by just amending the constitution. Unless and until the masses don’t realize it, it’s not possible in practicality; this is what the whole ‘Jinnah was secular’ episode all about.
This might sound a little over ambitious but it surely was a smart move. Not only across border, but in India as well; it could have proved very beneficial for the BJP. A whole new debate challenging the current beliefs about partition would have started, which in any case prove to be beneficial for BJP. But only if the ‘Jinnah was secular’ statement had gained any momentum, which unfortunately did not.
Mr. Advani had played maser stroke, but he failed in ensuring its success. A sharp criticism from the opposition was obvious; but he failed to see the hostility of his own party men. He was not able to take them in confidence, they went all out against him, whether deliberately or unknowingly, and this is where it got ugly.
His own party could not understand what his intention was behind calling Jinnah secular and they did not support him. A move which could have proven to be turning point in the history of India and Pakistan proved to be a turning point in the political career of Mr. Advani. He is a great politician, but unfortunately this time he was a little myopic and couldn’t guide the move in right direction; else their would be a different story to tell.