The Problem With BJP MP Satish Gautam Questioning Jinnah’s Portrait At AMU

Some yarns of history cannot be trivialised just because a certain part of a geographical territory was ceded to the other side of the border after the Partition in 1947.

Communalising the present based on the past is an ugly attempt to divide people who love peace, solidarity and unity in cultural differences. An errant comment by Member of Parliament Shri Satish Gautam questioning the Aligarh Muslim University about the veracity of hanging up the portrait of nationalist leader Jinnah comes as a blow to the secular credential of India.

While many in India blame Jinnah for creating Pakistan, his legacy in the struggle for Independence cannot be obliterated and undermined.

The past has many things which hold significance in the present. People with little knowledge are most dangerous to the democratic ethos and national integrity. If one has problems with one fact from history, there are numerous other examples which would also require dissection and deconstruction.

Logically, we owe the British for India’s growth in modern infrastructures like railways, postal service, communication, science and technology, schools, universities, landmark monuments of historical significance. But they were also responsible for India’s penury and the slavery of people. Should we then dismantle everything with British symbolic impressions? We cannot.

Let the past not hurt the present. Let us rejoice in the effervescent glory of our past. Let our next generation relish the ethos and beauty of historical greatness of the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Gokhale, Tilak, Maulana Azad, Jinnah, Allama Iqbal and their ilk.

The lines Iqbal wrote for the children of India in admiration of the Ganga-Jamuni tradition of Hindu-Muslim amity in the form of “Tarana-e-Hind” in 1904 against the tyranny of the British government in Lahore, still echo patriotic charm:

“सारे जहाँ से अच्छा हिन्दोसिताँ हमारा
हम बुलबुलें हैं इसकी यह गुलसिताँ हमारा

ग़ुरबत में हों अगर हम, रहता है दिल वतन में
समझो वहीं हमें भी दिल हो जहाँ हमारा

परबत वह सबसे ऊँचा, हम-साया आसमाँ का
वह संतरी हमारा, वह पासबाँ हमारा

गोदी में खेलती हैं इसकी हज़ारों नदियाँ
गुलशन है जिनके दम से रश्क-ए-जनाँ हमारा…

मज़्हब नहीं सिखाता आपस में बैर रखना
हिन्दी हैं हम, वतन है हिन्दोसिताँ हमारा

यूनान-ओ-मिस्र-ओ-रूमा सब मिट गए जहाँ से
अब तक मगर है बाक़ी नाम-ओ-निशाँ हमारा

कुछ बात है कि हस्ती मिटती नहीं हमारी
सदियों रहा है दुश्मन दौर-ए-ज़माँ हमारा…”

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