KAJAL CHATTERJEE, KOLKATA
KUDOS to Sujit De for his letter titled “Don’t glorify Jinnah (NT, May 15, 2018). Rightly has he commented about Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s communal politics instead of succumbing to the ‘in thing’ (prevalent among many scholars) of painting him in a secular light! Though it would be unfair to say that the Partition of India was the handiwork of Jinnah only, but the whole world knows that the Muslim League leader played the pivotal role in that gory episode. And the fact remains that it was Jinnah’s call of ‘direct action day’ that provoked the year-long ‘Great Calcutta Killings’ and resulted in thousands of innocents being butchered to death. Jinnah’s dream of Pakistan got fulfilled at the expense of the lives of millions. And those who survived the mayhem found themselves raped, widowed, orphaned, uprooted and homeless. After achieving his goal, Jinnah acted pious by promising equality for all Pakistanis, irrespective of their religious affiliation. But that rhetoric is not enough to absolve Jinnah of the deadly crime that he had perpetrated against humanity. However, the greatest misery lies in the fact that the ill-effects of Partition are of such mammoth proportion that even today innumerable faceless. innocent and helpless Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis land up in jails of the three countries and experience unfathomable agony for decades or eternity as the hapless lot either step across the international border, often not clearly demarcated, or venture into alien waters by mistake while fishing on the seas. Also borders do get crossed to visit the ailing mother or brother in an emergency situation as the formality of arranging passports and visas are time-bound process. So this is the result of Jinnah’s unique “secularism” wherein all the ills of Partition will perhaps continue till eternity, the plight of the “aliens” and their vulnerable children seeing no end. Since Jinnah was born in pre-Partition India and remained associated with certain universities or institutions, that slice of history should never be erased. But there lies absolutely no reason to glorify one of the fathers of Partition.