Jinnah: The abiding enigma

This refers to the book review “Jinnah, the abiding enigma” by Amar Nath Wadhera (Spectrum, Dec 4). Jinnah remained in the Congress for three decades as a secular leader. He defended forcefully Bhagat Singh and his companions involved in the Lahore conspiracy case in the Central Assembly when Congress leaders preferred to keep quiet.

When the Simon Commission visited India, some Muslim League leaders wanted to meet it, but Jinnah boycotted the commission, both officially and socially. Again when at the Nagpur session of the Congress, differences arose between Gandhi and Jinnah, the then Viceroy, Lord Reading, to win over Jinnah, offered him Knighthood. Jinnah, however, rejected the offer, saying that he would like to die as Jinnah only.

The parting of ways between Jinnah and the Congress came when the latter refused to induct Muslim League members in the UP Cabinet after the 1937 election. As such, it was not Jinnah but the Congress that was responsible for the division of the country.


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The writer has rightly observed that Jinnah, “a visionary statesman”, finally “settled for being a mere politician”. Jinnah’s political career began in 1904, two years before the birth of Muslim League. At that time, he was an ardent nationalist. His role models were Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta and Gopal Krishna Gokhle.

No wonder, Jinnah regarded the Morley-Minto Reforms (1909), commending separate electorates to the Muslims, as “divisive”. He refused to accept the Muslim League ideology and to toe the line of Syed Ahmed Khan and Sir Aga Khan.

As a member of the Imperial Legislative Council, Jinnah worked closely with Gokhle, helped the Indian cause before the British Parliamentary Council on India as well as before the White Hall Committee on India.

When Motilal Nehru repudiated the Lucknow Pact and projected the demand for complete independence, a marginalised Jinnah withdrew to his chambers in London. Now onwards, he was a changed man.

For him, the creation of Pakistan was a moment of triumph. It was also a moment of great loss for him. He died a sad, lonely man, overpowered by events and his ego.


No point in eulogising Bill Gates

I read “His dream project comes true” by Harihar Swaroop (Perspective, Dec 11). I see no reason for eulogising Bill Gates for his so-called philanthropy in India. Reasons are simple. First, India is the home of computer wizards.

We do not need an outsider to tell us about the IT. Second, as regards philanthropy, I think we have enough of Birlas, Ambanis, and our own NRIs, to come forward and help the charitable organisations.

And third, I do not like Americans and Britons coming to India in a giving capacity. Let them come in a taking capacity, be it George Bush or Tony Blair.

People like Bill Gates do no good to our over 320 million people who still live below the poverty line. By his dream project of super computers, will they get a job? No, it will only help him to spread his computer empire, and the IT elite. So, let’s not lose our focus of elevating poverty. We must be able to give two square meals to every Indian before we give him a lap top.

India is a great country with all the talent and resources. We must learn to be proud of this fact. Then alone, the others will respect us as such.

MADHU R.D. SINGH, Ambala Cantonment

Sociological problem

This refers to “Married to the mob” by Roopinder Singh. Yes, indeed, a cellphone has become a must-possess. Most of us, poor or rich, irrespective of our age and profession, cannot leave homes without a mobile phone.

Dr Adam Burgess at the University of Kent, UK, believes that the danger posed by mobile phones relates more to sociology than to any laws of science. Traffic cops, sending “use of mobile phone while driving” challans, too, will agree that mobile phones are a sociological problem.

According to an NDTV opinion poll, 60 per cent viewers feel that benefits of cellphones outweigh the health risks posed by these.

Lt-Col ONKAR CHOPRA (retd), Chanan Khera, Abohar

Legendary actress

I refer to Shoma Chatterji’s piece “I was different from other actresses” (Spectrum). It was good but not good enough to pay tribute to one of the most legendary, beautiful, charming, talented and intelligent actresses of the Indian sliver screen.

Sharmila Tagore was one of my favourite actresses. In mid-60s, when I was a student of Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, I and my buddies would pedal our way to Kiran, Neelam or Jagat Cinema to watch her movies on the first night of their release.

Her first Hindi film Kashmir Ki Kali with Shammi Kapoor was a box-office hit.

Indeed, she was different in many ways. She was an actress of her own kind. She never followed anyone’s footprints to reach the top of the Indian cinema. She was perhaps the only actresses who never allowed herself to be dragged in any sleazy story or affair with her co-stars.

When she followed Pataudi wherever he would go to play test cricket, she knew what she was doing. It was very smart of her. It made me real proud when Indiana University at Bloomington (Indiana) screened her film Aradhana a few years ago.n



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