The Pakistani journal called “Islamic Studies”, run by the Islamic Research Institute, a mouth piece for reactionary and bigoted Islamist propaganda has decided to publish a 55-page unhinged and completely off the rocker attack on Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan. This is the work of Venkat Dhulipala, a rightwing Hindutvist Indian American professor at a third tier university. This new alliance between the Islamist reactionaries in Pakistan and Hindu fanatics from India, even at the cost of Pakistan’s most revered personage should give pause to anyone who cares about this country. Those ultra-nationalist types who worry about 5th generation warfare must especially take a long hard look at the real clear and present threat.

Partition of British India in 1947 has been debated, discussed and academically critiqued by many scholars. There is much disagreement between people like Ayesha Jalal, Farzana Shaikh and Faisal Devji on what the Pakistan Movement was about. Each of these scholars and historians have added new important dimensions to the understanding of history. None of these historians, however, wrote in bad faith. That was reserved for Venkat Dhulipala and his incredibly dishonest book “Creating a New Medina”. Jinnah at no point referred to a new Medina and had very clearly told Raja of Mahmudabad that he had no time for the latter’s Islamist propaganda. The Raja was told specifically to distance himself from the Muslim League by Jinnah himself and he later admitted that Jinnah was right and he was wrong. All this is recorded in black and white but it finds no mention in Dhulipala’s book, or his essay in the pages of the aforementioned journal. In this particular essay, Dhulipalahas produced a statement by Jinnah in quotes speaking of the state of Medina. However, when you go to the footnotes, there’s a reference to a poorly written article by an unknown Pakistani journalist. The footnote also carries an admission that Dhulipala could not find such a reference in any newspaper of the time.

The Pakistani journal called “Islamic Studies”, run by the Islamic Research Institute, a mouth piece for reactionary and bigoted propaganda has decided to publish a 55-page unhinged and completely off the rocker attack on Jinnah

That is not all. Dhulipala proceeds to claim that Jinnah refused franchise to Non-Muslims. This is an astounding distortion of history. The claim is based on the fact that Jinnah had asked Gandhi for a plebiscite of the Muslim community instead of territorial plebiscite in 1944 which Gandhi offered. Jinnah was saying only what Ambedkar had already suggested in his classic “Pakistan or Partition of India” as an appendix. It was, therefore, a constitutional argument posited by none other than India’s foremost constitution expert who was among the makers of the Indian constitution in 1949. It did not mean refusing “franchise point blank” but rather it laid emphasis on the inter-communal nature of the dispute rather than a territorial one. Does that mean Ambedkar was also denying Non-Muslims franchise. There are only two conclusions one can draw from such a bald-faced assertion by Dhulipala. Either he is incapable of reading what was written in plain language by Dr Ambedkar, or he has deliberately chosen to ignore it just like he has ignored Raja of Mahmudabad’s evidence. I am willing to wager having read Dhulipala’s hogwash for years that it is the latter. Same goes with the Sudetenland issue. In 1938 Jinnah cited Britain’s acceptance of German claims on Sudetenland as an example of minority-majority conflict. Dhulipala wants to cite this as an example of Jinnah being a Nazi. How ironic that when the Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha were busy disrupting the war effort, Jinnah told the British clearly that he would do nothing to disrupt the war against fascists. History bears witness to the fact that Jinnah was the most committed anti-fascist anti-Nazi leader amongst Indians. He did so at great cost to his reputation as a nationalist because by the early 1940s Congress leaders were openly meeting Adolf Hitler and even colluding with the Japanese forces.

Dhulipala loves to use the word axiomatic. Perhaps he does not know what it means. Certainly his command over the English language and his ability to understand complex issues leaves a lot to be desired. However, let me state certain facts. The only politician in Indian History to be called the Best Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity was Jinnah. My upcoming book on Jinnah, to be published by an international publisher based out of New Delhi, cites Jinnah’s voluminous record to show where Jinnah stood on these issues. Even Dhulipala’s little snippets do not make any sense. For example, he accuses Jinnah of making Urdu the sole “national” language of Pakistan. Jinnah described Urdu as the lingua franca and the state language. At no point did Jinnah ever refer to Urdu as the sole national language. To any thinking person, the distinction would be obvious, but not so to Dhulipala. Conclude what you must from this.

The debate on partition must be left to serious scholars, not propagandists like Dhulipala. Faisal Devji who he chooses specifically for attack, because Devji had torn his terribly flawed and dishonest book to shreds, is a historian of ideas. While Ayesha Jalal provided an analysis of complex motives that Jinnah had as a political leader, Devji fills in the details of why the ordinary Muslim masses chose to follow a man famous for his unorthodox approach to religion and his anglicised lifestyle instead of the various Maulanas that Congress utilised against him. The bottomline is that if Islam was raison d’etre, it was ontologically emptied and not an old time religion. For if the Muslims wanted some sort of an Islamist theocracy that Dhulipala wants to ascribe to them, they would not have chosen to follow a person long known for his secular nationalism and his westernised ideas. This is why the target of Dhulipala’s attack is none other than Jinnah but it is done so poorly and awkwardly that he ends up shooting his own foot.

So I must return to the basic question. Why did a conservative right wing Islamist journal publish this nonsense against Jinnah? This is because the unholy matrimony with the Mullahs that Gandhi and Congress laid foundations of in 1919 with their ill-advised Khilafat Movement is a gift that keeps on giving. Dhulipala is merely the latest practitioner of Gandhian perfidy.