By J.S.Bandukwala, New Age Islam
A leader can only be judged by the impact he leaves behind years after his death. By that criteria Jinnah fails badly. His single-minded pursuit of a homeland for Muslims, got him Pakistan. But at what horrible price? The mass killings, rapes and horrors faced at partition by both Muslims and non Muslims, have few parallels in modern times. The poison and hatred produced survives sixty five years later. This was further compounded by the equally brutal break up of East Pakistan. But the communal and sectarian tragedy plays on in large parts of Pakistan. No wonder the world considers Jinnah's creation as a failed state.
If Jinnah had the foresight to compromise at the right time, Muslims would today be at least 500 million in a United India. Communal riots have destroyed countless Muslims in India. At least in Kashmir and Gujarat, they are reduced to second class citizens. But a man who built his image by saying NO, just could not say yes, when the right time came. One could always blame it on those who came after Jinnah. But is Jinnah not to blame for failure to groom a second line of leadership?
Jinnah in his pre-partition discussions with the Viceroy insisted that he was the sole spokesman for the Muslims. In his words:" If I take a decision it would be enforced. If the Muslim League refused to ratify it, I would resign, and that would be the end of the Muslim League." No wonder Pakistan, after Jinnah became an orphan state. Pakistan struggle was for a theocratic state. Yet Jinnah in his first address in August 1947 wanted it to be secular. Then why the horrible fight with all its consequences that lasts till today? The confusion and the absence of high leadership soon resulted in power passing to the army, the mullahs and to America.
Pakistan and Israel were the two countries formed especially on grounds of a homeland for a religious community. Both countries have failed to adjust to a globalised world, where the e-world has seriously weakened most barriers between man and man. No wonder caste differences are collapsing in India, while the colour and gay barrier is becoming outdated in the US and Europe. Pakistan and Israel will have to accept a plural society, in which all citizens, including minorities are treated as equals. Otherwise both have a bleak future.
J.S.Bandukwala, Viec-President, PUCL, is a human rights defender based in Gujarat.
Please see A G Noorani’s Essay on Jinnah: