The Deadly Legacy of India's Partition by Nisid Hajari (Penguin, 2015) is a completely biased account about the Partition of India. This is made clear from the following: Partition's legacy is mere colonial hangover. The unresolved sense of siege Pakistan has suffered since 1947, its fear that India has both the capacity and the desire to snuff out its independent existence poses one of the greatest threats to the stability and security of today's world. These observations by the author of the book are completely flawed. India has fought four wars with Pakistan since 1947. All these conflicts were started by Pakistan. The fact of the matter is that Pakistan is not interested in maintaining peace with India. Till today, she leaves no opportunity of creating trouble in India.
During the pre-partition days, itself, Muslims League leaders had spewed poison against the Hindus. Just before the formation of the Interim Government in 1946 under Jawaharlal Nehru, The Dawn, in an editorial reported: The British-Congress Axis is formed and the rape of the Muslim nation is to begin in a more ruthless and criminal manner than Hitler and Mussolini dared in Europe. If Muslims wanted to survive as a community, they had to be prepared to fight. The moment the British handed over power to Nehru and a congress dominated government that will be the signal for the Muslims to do or die. Hajari, in his Epilogue, also gives expression to similar views. The American journalist Phillips Talbot visited India and Pakistan in 1950. The feeling in Pakistan then, according to Talbot was that India hoped to strangle Pakistan. Jinnah had died a year or so earlier. If Jinnah's death had left Pakistan with any sort of national mission, it was to defy their neighbour, India. Hatred of India, wrote Talbot is the cement that holds Pakistan together. Now no less than in 1947, Pakistan continues to claim Kashmir on the basis of religion; the same basis on which Pakistan had emerged in 1947.
For M.A. Jinnah creation of Pakistan was a mission. Between 1906 and 1940, Muslim League had asked for concessions to the Muslims as a minority. Having exhausted the scope of using minority, the Muslim League, in 1940 declared that Muslims were a nation judged by any yardstick. Therefore, they demanded a separate homeland. They got it in 1947.
For Mahatma Gandhi on the other hand, Independence struggle was at least as much moral as political. For the Hindus, he was more a Mahatma than a politician. How else would you justify Gandhi's decision that Muslims of India can have their separate homeland as well as stay on in India. Nehru was no less sympathetic to Muslims. He went a step further and provided for Fundamental Rights for the Muslims in the Constitution of India. With the result, we have Waqfs, one of the biggest urban land holders in the country. We have Muslim Universities largely funded by Hindu tax payers; Muslim personal laws and Islamic banking in India. In fact all the Hindu-Muslim issues that we face today are the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of Partition.
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had suggested in 1940 that along with the division of India the Congress Party should insist on the exchange of population between India and Pakistan as had been done in Europe after World War I. Gandhi and Nehru had flatly refused to accept the suggestion. How many Hindus of today are aware of this proposal made by Dr. Ambedkar? That is why every book written by a Muslim on the subject of Partition of India evokes a fresh response. Our leaders have deceived Indians by not informing them about the genesis of Partition and how it is still impacting their lives.
What is surprising is the fact that Muslims on whose demand Pakistan was created continue to write on this subject whereas Hindus whose country was vivisected hardly say or write anything on the same issue. The present book by Hajari is a one sided version of Partition and an out right Pro-Muslim League thesis. It is time, Indian leaders come clean on the subject.