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‘The following scenes accurately describe the difference between the political ideologies of Jinnah and Gandhi.
Gandhi, a lawyer who had been subjected to racial discrimination whilst in South Africa had given up his Court Dress in favor of the historical Dhoti and had radically deviated from his ideals of activism in favor of populist politics.
Jinnah, also a lawyer, (who by no means was a favorite of the British) had stood his ground and maintained a constitutional struggle for the Independence of India, rejecting symbolism and soothsaying. Jinnah joined the Congress in 1905, and was a respected member of its moderate faction which was lead by Dadabhai Naoroji, Sir Pherozeshah Mehta and Gopal Krishna Gokhale. He was opposed to the disruptive and provocative politics of his factional rivals in the Congress, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai who advocated quick and violent measures to kick the British out of India.
Jinnah’s political acumen can be estimated from the fact that by 1913 he was a member of both the Congress and the Muslim League, and was instrumental in the signing of the Lucknow Pact. Jinnah was also a founding member of the Home Rule League, which (whilst supporting the British War effort in hopes of political reforms in India in return) was to become the foundation for future independence demands. His detestation of communal politics can be understood from his denouncement of the formation of the Khilafat Movement (influenced by Gandhi’s Ahmisa and Satyagraha), which was based on Gandhi’s conviction that India was a Dar ul Harb (Land of War) for the Muslims and therefore must return to their original home, (i.e. anywhere but India).
Jinnah was also extremely critical of Gandhi’s cherry picked words and his provocative actions, which were aimed at the religious sensitivities of the Hindus. Gandhi returned to India after the 1918 Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and was intent on inciting disobedience against the British. The ‘non-violence’ was restricted to Gandhi’s speeches only, as all across the country religiously charged groups would agitate at the flicker of his fingers.
The symbolism was toxic as per Jinnah, who foresaw the desolate conditions of minorities that currently prevail in India. Gandhi’s intentions may have been different (which is highly unlikely considering how calculating and sharp his mind was) but the results were always going to be the same: a religiously charged Hindu majority group that saw all others as ‘invaders’ and ‘outsiders’, and would stop at nothing to kick everyone else out.
If Jinnah had at that time submitted to the wishes of the majority that dominated not only the Congress but also the entire Indian Subcontinent, the fate of the Muslims of India would have had been very different. One could draw parallels with the apartheid regime that currently runs Indian Occupied Kashmir.
Video Credits: Jamil Dehlavi & Akbar S. Ahmed