Aug 302009

* Jaswant Singh calls Partition most damaging event in modern India

NEW DELHI: One has to understand Muhammad Ali Jinnah – both as a man and as a statesman – to understand India’s relationship with Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Economist Times quoted former Indian external affairs minister Jaswant Singh as saying on Saturday.

“Unless we understand Muhammad Ali Jinnah as a man and as a statesman, we cannot understand Bangladesh, Pakistan and our relations with the two countries. Nobody has written about Jinnah – whom Mahatma Gandhi described as a great man – the way I have,” Singh told a packed audience consisting of writers, journalists, publishers and bureaucrats at the Pragati Maidan in New Delhi on the inaugural day of the 15th Delhi Book Fair.

Singh’s book, which defended Jinnah’s role in the Partition and said he had been “unnecessarily demonised”, has been banned by the BJP government in Gujarat.

At the book fair, Singh was addressing a panel discussion, “Ban on Jaswant Singh’s Book – Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence”.

Most damaging: “Partition has been the most damaging event in modern India. Though I was born in a village far away from Lahore and Sindh, I always wondered how could they ever become foreign lands… and (how) the man (Jinnah) who had so assiduously worked for the 1916 Lucknow Pact could divide the country,” Singh said.

“Jinnah set a milestone in communal amity with the Lucknow Pact. A man who had lived all his life in India barring the last 13 months and who had been insulted by the British did not have to be demonised by us,” he added.

Daily Times report

 Posted by at 2:52 am

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