'A Classic Exposition Of A Secular State' : outlookindia.com
There has been a hue and cry raised over LK Advani's statement. The RSS and VHP have opined that Advani had cheated millions of Hindus by his statement that Jinnah was a secular politician.
Looking at Jinnah's speech that has been excerpted in Advani's article, we see that Jinnah indeed seems to espouse a secular cause. It may be a case of Jinnah talking the talk and not walking it, but his statement at least is an unambiguous expression of secularism. Secularism mentioned here is not the Indian variety but of the real variety where religion doesn't interfere with policies of the government.
Advani has merely quoted it and said that the three countries of India, Pak and Bang would do well to follow it. Hasn't he actually put the ball in Pakistan's court? Pakistan as of now is a theocratic (well, almost) dictatorship and it would do very well indeed if it followed the controversial speech fragment. Indirectly, it was a reprimand.
If this is all that Advani said, where is the need to go ballistic by the VHP and RSS? The reaction has probably happened this way - India's pain in the neck is Pakistan, which wouldn't have existed but for Jinnah. So, by saying that Jinnah espoused secular ideas, the Partition becomes justified; especially the bloodiest part of it where millions of people were killed during the crossing. I don't think calling Jinnah secular is the same as condoning the deaths of millions. I don't know, but would Jinnah have rued his decision to part ways with India if he saw the present condition of Pakistan?
In the VHP/RSS cadre, I have come to see plenty of people who seem to be intelligent but after you ask them a couple of questions, they either feel offended or call you names. Don't get me wrong, I support many of the activities done by the RSS - building a strong nation, acting as a unifying factor for almost a billion Hindus across India and the world, social service and tons of other useful activities - all these are great and very necessary. But the current crop of RSS/VHP leaders seems to lack the farsight and wisdom to run organizations as big and important as these. Firebrands are good - but having them at the helm of affairs is probably not so good.
Personally, I too don't like Jinnah as he seemed to be responsible (from what I had read before) for fanning passions and dividing a country along religious lines, inadvertently causing the deaths of millions of people. But the statement that Advani has taken from the speech *is* an expression of secularism whether I like Jinnah or not. As I said before, Jinnah may or may not have really meant what he said - but the words are there for us to see!
Another thing is that Advani had been listed as one of a group of individuals that tried to assassinate Jinnah. Was Advani actually trying to whitewash his involvement by singing a paean and that too, quite cleverly?
The media has always taken statements out of context and has twisted them. This seems to be a similar case. Praveen Togadia has gone crazy again. I wish a body with such a good name as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, that was founded by great spiritual personalities such as Swami Chinmayananda would have somebody more sensible and sober doing its talking for it. Togadia doesn't look the part and he definitely doesn't talk like it.
It could just be that Advani got carried away in a torrent of emotions and didn't realize what he'd said!
With him resigning from the BJP head position, it would be very interesting to speculate on the fate of the BJP going forward as the second string leadership is not ready yet and Advani and Vajpayee have been sent home.