Pseudo-Secularism

Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Churchill-Jinnah secret pact

by Satiricus

IS the Congress secular? Of course it is. Even soft-brained Satiricus does not find it very difficult to know that answer to that question. But there is another question that he finds real tough-which Congress?

For the good old simple days when there was just one Congress is ancient history. Since those times the Congress has proliferated as profusely as an amoeba, and there have been so many Congresses that the English alphabet had to come to the rescue, so that there was a Congress(I) and a Congress(R) and a Congress(S) and a Congress (what have you). And what was the difference between these Congresses? Satiricus has been given to understand that they are quite different-as different as Tweedledum and Tweedledee. So the question for Satiricus is, which one of these is the secular Congress? For as per the simple understanding of this simpleton, if one Congress is secular, the other is not. Alas, things are not that simple. Take, for instance, the two Congresses that share power in Maharashtra. One is ‘Nationalist’, the other just ‘National’. And please don’t ask Satiricus if the two adjectives have different meanings. Being a journalist, he is illiterate and wouldn’t know. The only thing he could vaguely understand is that there are secular Congresses and secular Congresses, but the only really secular Congress is the one to which you belong. Once you understand this cardinal principle of Congressecularism, the rest becomes understandable.

So Satiricus is not surprised to see Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and Nationalist Congress leader R.R. Patil debunking the secularism of the other Congress after it admitted Rane. He declared that after Rane became a Congressman the secular credentials of the party had become questionable, and added that the Nationalist Congress Party was the really secular party. See? It is not enough for a Congress to be a secular party, it has to be a really secular party. And of course the reality of the NCP’s secularism has nothing to do with the fact that the same Rane was also wooed by the NCP and its chief Sharad Pawar had claimed that Rane was in touch with him for two long months before leaving the Shiv Sena.

In other words, Congressman Rane continues to be a commmunalist, but Nationalist Congressman Rane would have become a real secularist. And why was that? Because Patil’s debunking of the Congress was done on the occasion of Faki Habibul Rehman Abbas, a member of the Central Wakf Board, defecting from the Congress to the Nationalist Congress. Patil said, Faki’s gesture proved that NCP was secular, the Congress was not. So there you are.

Could there be anyone more secular than a Muslim who defects from the Congress and walks over to the Nationalist Congress? If the question confuses Satiricus, he has only his communalism to thank for it.

And in any case, however bloodthirsty Jinnah may have sounded in a secret letter, did he not sound sublimely secular in the open speech he made? It was a secular speech, it was a great speech.

* * *

Et tu Brutus? Then die, Caesar! That was Shakespeare in Julius Caesar. Thou too, Jinnah? Then die, my new-born secularism? That may well have been BJP President Advani the other day when declassified documents of the British government exposed the clandestine connection between Jinnah and Churchill through secret correspondence.

No more the prime minister but leader of the Opposition in 1946, Churchill, who openly said he did not want to preside over the “liquidation of the British Empire”, apparently thought of sharing up the liquefying empire through the “favourite wife” of the British-the Indian Muslim. And who was the leader of the Indian Muslims who did not want to be Indian? It was Jinnah. So he played Jinnah’s counsellor, but did it so privately that he did not want to be seen with Jinnah in public, and even asked that Jinnah’s letters to him should be addressed to his secretary, a Miss Gilliatt, at her home.

In one such letter, dated July 6, 1946, Jinnah had clearly warned of the “most disastrous” shape of things to come-and less than six weeks later, on August 16, 1946, came ‘Direct Action’, the massacre of Hindus in Calcutta by Muslim Leaguers. Is Satiricus shocked to know all this now? Not exactly. Because Satiricus’s knowledge of Jinnah was not on the same noble level as Advani’s knowledge of Jinnah. For Advani, Jinnah was secular and Jinnah was great. But unlike Advani Satiricus is neither secular nor great. Then how could a small communalist like him appreciate or even understand either the greatness or the secularism of Jinnah? Perhaps his secularism was measured by the number of Hindus killed on that day, and his greatness measured by how great that massacre was. If these indexes are not intelligible for Satiricus, he has to thank his intelligence (or the lack of it) for it. And in any case, however bloodthirsty Jinnah may have sounded in a secret letter, did he not sound sublimely secular in the open speech he made? It was a secular speech, it was a great speech, and that is all that counts. For, after all, it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the public truth that triumphs, no?

So in the considered opinion of Satiricus, this declassified document does not deserve to be taken seriously. Actually, it should provide a golden opportunity for Indian intellectuals to write articles on how the great Jinnah progressed from that private letter to that public speech.

Finally, now that the same Muslim League who did that Hindu massacre has already been certified to be secular by the Congress, calling their leader secular is by no means illogical. All in all, despite damnable disclosures, the secularists and the neo-secularists seem to agree that both Jinnah and his Muslim League (as well as his Pakistan) are secular. Does that not make India Darul secularism?

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