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Jinnah's portrait in AMU: Pakistan's founder has no place in our society, Indian history should remember him as a criminal

Author: Raghav Pandey
Publication: Firstpost.com
Date: May 04, 2018
URL:      https://www.firstpost.com/india/jinnahs-portrait-in-amu-pakistans-founder-has-no-place-in-our-society-indian-history-should-remember-him-as-a-criminal-4456277.html/amp?__twitter_impression=true

The recent issue of Jinnah’s portrait at Aligarh Muslim University is mostly surprising because of the very fact that it exists and Jinnah, even in today’s India, has a fan base.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah is considered as Quaid-i-Azam in Pakistan, which literally means founder of the nation. This is true for Pakistan and he should rightfully be eulogised in Pakistan, for had it not been for him, that country would not have existed.

His eulogisation in India is not only surprising but almost criminal, due to the genocidal actions perpetrated by him on this country. Perhaps, even calling him secular in his early years in the Congress would also be not out of line, because history does support this fact. This however, doesn’t absolve him of the genocidal methods which he later resorted to.

In pursuance of his demand to Pakistan, Jinnah ordered a ‘Direct Action Day’ on 16 August 1946. The goons of the Muslim League descended on the city of Calcutta that day. Several thousand people died in the violence in that single day, and many more were rendered homeless.

At that time, undivided Bengal was a Muslim-majority state, and the Muslim League was in power in coalition with the Europeans. The Congress, Communist Party and the Hindu Mahasabha were jointly in the opposition. Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy was the man chosen by Jinnah as the Chief Minister of Bengal. Suhrawardy later went on to become the 5th Prime Minister of Pakistan and before that the Defence Minister of Pakistan.

The police and military were ordered by the then Bengal government into inaction and hence, Jinnah’s lumpen hoodlums got a free hand to do whatever they wanted on that fateful day.

Hence, Jinnah held the whole of our country to ransom and forced Indian people to bend to his demand of forming a separate country for Muslims – Pakistan. He therefore, used genocide as a means to fulfil his political aims. He ordered the mass killings of innocent civilians because he wanted to fulfil his political objective of creating a new political entity.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines terrorism as:

“The unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”

The actions of Jinnah would fit any modern definition of terrorism. This makes him a terrorist, even more so for Indians. His actions, like that of Direct Action Day, were and still are largely unprecedented in modern Indian history.

The viewpoint which holds that nevertheless, he was still patriotic is also deeply flawed and more importantly against documented factual history. Jinnah’s Muslim League was in alliance with the British in Bengal. It was the opposition which consisted of the nationalist parties. It is completely absurd to argue that he was a nationalist and even then, his party was in power in Bengal in alliance with the British.

Had there been a proactive political will on this issue, along with an International Criminal Court (ICC) at that time, Jinnah could have even been prosecuted internationally for his crimes. The ICC today has a jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for a genocide, much like what happened on the Direct Action Day in Calcutta.

It is indeed a matter of great concern, that we Indians today debate and deliberate on whether his portrait should hang at a prominent education institute like Aligarh Muslim University, or anywhere in India for that matter.

Jinnah should have no place in our society today. Of course, in history he will be there, and we can’t change that. What we can do is that when we remember him, we remember him as a criminal and not a hero.

- The Author is a Senior Fellow with the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay, Mumbai. He can be reached at raghav10089@gmail.com, Twitter: @raghavwrong
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