Thoughts & Ideas

Monday, July 07, 2008

On Reading Stanley Wolpert's - Jinnah of Pakistan

I recently read the book “Jinnah of Pakistan” by Stanley Wolpert where I found my self in disagreement with the author on various points. I wrote to the author and the publisher but did not get any satisfactory reply. I am giving a list of my observations vis a vis statements in the book below. The observations relate to the paperback edition of the book brought out by Oxford University Press – Oxford India Paperbacks edition of the year 2005 fourth impression of the year 2007:

As per the book : Page 30 - Satyendra P Sinha – A Hindu Brahman by birth
My observations : Lord Sinha was a Bengali and with a surname like Sinha the probability of his being a Brahman is quite low. In all probability he would be a Kayastha.

As per the book : Page 34: Delhi’s Chandni Chawk (Silver Market)
My observations : It is said that moonlight reflecting on a nearby canal earned it its name, 'Chandni Chowk' or the 'Moonlit Cross Road' – please refer to Wikipedia. The name “Chandni Chowk” is not related to silver market. Silver is Chaandi while Chandni means moonlight and the word is derived from Chand (Moon).

As per the book: Page 53 : The Mahmudabad’s
My observations : It is not just erroneous but quite silly to refer to the Raja of Mahmudabad or any of his family members as “Mahmudabad”. Mahmudabad is the name of the place they come from.

As per the book: Page 64 : Amritsar (Nectar of Immortality)
My observations : Amrit means nectar (by drinking it one gets immortality) and Sar (short form of sarovar) means lake. So the correct meaning of Amritsar is the Lake of Nectar.

As per the book : Page 64 : It was Sunday, a Hindu festival holiday
My observations :It was a festival holiday not because it was a Sunday but because it was Baisakhi – the New Year day as per the calendar followed by people of that area which is also a major harvest festival.

As per the book:Page 75 : “Had he adhered to his initial response the transfer of power from Imperial British to national Indian control might have been advanced a full decade and a half”
My observations : A very naive conclusion. Imperial Britain would not have given up control of such a lucrative colony as India until they were sure that they would not be able to control it. Their giving up control was due to twin causes of fight for Independence by Indians and the weakening of Britains economic & political power due to Second World War.

As per the book : Page 77 : “Parsi” Jamnadas Dwarkadas
My observations :With a name like “Jamnadas Dwarkadas” there is very little possibility that the person was a Parsi. The name suggests that he was a Gujarati or Marwari Hindu (caste not determinable by just the name).

As per the book: Page 113 the “Muslim Problem”
My observations : Did the “muslim problem” actually exist or was it Jinnah’s inability to have his way which led him to create the “Muslim Problem”. Incidentally there was no way that creation of Pakistan would solve the "Muslim problem" as Jinnah saw it and a man as intelligent as Jinnah would have knew this. I say this since Pakistan would be created out of the Muslim majority areas where there was no "Muslim Problem" leaving vast majority of oridinary Muslims in India. I am emphatic in stating that Jinnah knew that creation of Pakistan would not solve the Muslim problem or that creating the Muslim problem was a deliberate ploy to have an independent country to rule as it is evidenced with his virtually first speech to the constituent assembly of the new nation which included the words,

"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. . . . We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State. "

As per the book: Page 315 : This negative analysis … reveals Nehru’s intense hatred of Jinnah.
My observations :How is the analysis presented on that page construed to be negative and how is the conclusion drawn that Nehru’s hated Jinnah intensely?

General Observations : Jinnah as a politician or mass leader also failed to appreciate that a sizeable tribal population and other minorities existed in India. There is no mention in the book of his having given any thought to their existence. It is naive to think of India on pure Hindu – Muslim terms.

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