Yasser Latif Hamdani in The News, Pakistan
In the 1930s and the 1940s, the Hindu bourgeoisie was not nearly as mature -- though much more so than its Muslim counterpart -- to look up to a successful and secular barrister from the minority community as its leader. Things are different today though. The new middle-class in India finds itself alienated from its heroes -- if only subconsciously...
Jinnah stands in contrast to all of the traditional founders of India. He was from the middle-class and was entirely self-made. Through sheer hard work and some luck he reached the top of his game both as a lawyer and a politician. Though a Muslim, he was entirely westernised -- perhaps more modern in every sense of the word than most Indians and Pakistanis even today -- and knew the ways of the world. He carved out his space in cosmopolitan Bombay through his own efforts and this is something that most in the Indian bourgeoisie have always admired about him even if they disagreed with his post-1937 politics. He was part of the Congress when Gandhi was still in South Africa and when Nehru was in boarding school in England. His legislative contributions to India are second to none. He might well have been the founding father of an independent India -- as Sarojini Naidu had predicted -- had Gandhi not arrived on the scene and pulled the rug from under him. Jinnah's support for Bhagat Singh is also increasingly underlined. The latter is seen -- despite his Marxism -- as an icon of a new Indian youth. Now free men and finally successful, the Indian middle-class is doing what free men are known to do -- questioning officially sanctioned views of history. It is to this class that Jaswant Singh has spoken.
HT: CM Naim