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Sunday, 16 August 2009

Jaswant Admires Jinnah, Says He Was Great

Senior BJP leader and former foreign and finance minister, Jaswant Singh has called Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah 'a great Indian' who he said was "demonised" by India and admitted that he has been 'greatly attracted to (and) drawn to' Jinah's personality.
Jaswant, whose book "Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence", will be released tomorrow, also said Indian Muslims are treated as aliens.
In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate Jaswant Singh, who is presently a BJP MP from Darjeeling in West Bengal, spoke about the founder of Pakistan, India's first Prime Minister Pandit Nehru and host of other issues in the interview to be telecast on Sunday night.
"Oh yes, because he created something out of nothing and single-handedly he stood against the might of the Congress party and against the British who didn't really like him...
Gandhi himself called Jinnah a great Indian. Why don't we recognise that? Why don't we see (and try to understand) why he called him that," Singh said, when asked by Karan Thapar in an interview whether he viewed Jinnah as a great man.
In another startling claim, Singh said that the view held by many in India that Jinnah hated Hindus was a mistake.
He claimed that Indian leaders had not only misunderstood Jinnah but made a demon out of him. According to him the demonisation of Jinnah was a direct result of the trauma of partition.
Watch the Interview

Extracts: In a special two-part interview to the CNN-IBN programme Devils Advocate, Mr. Jaswant Singh was first asked if he subscribes to the popular demonization of Mohammed Ali Jinnah and replied:-

“Of course I don’t. To that I don’t subscribe. I was attracted by the personality which has resulted in a book. If I was not drawn to the personality I wouldn’t have written the book. It’s an intricate, complex personality, of great character, determination.”

Asked by Devil’s Advocate if he views Jinnah as a great man, Mr. Jaswant Singh replied:-

“Oh yes, because he created something out of nothing and single handedly he stood against the might of the Congress Party and against the British who didn’t really like him ... Gandhi himself called Jinnah a great Indian. Why don’t we recognize that? Why don’t we see (and try to understand) why he called him that?”

Asked by Devil’s Advocate if, in his view, Jinnah was a nationalist, Mr. Jaswant Singh replied:-

“Oh yes. He fought the British for an independent India but also fought resolutely and relentlessly for the interest of the muslims of India … the acme of his nationalistic achievement was the 1916 Lucknow Pact of hindu-muslim unity.”

Mr. Jaswant Singh told Devil’s Advocate that there was a lot in Jinnah’s character that he personally admired stressing, in particular, the fact that Jinnah was a self-made man who had carved a position for himself in a metropolitan city like Bombay without seeking help or support from anyone else:-

“I admire certain aspects of his personality. His determination and the will to rise. He was a self-made man. Mahatma Gandhi was the son of a Diwan. All these (people) – Nehru and others – were born to wealth and position. Jinnah created for himself a position. He carved in Bombay, a metropolitan city, a position for himself. He was so poor he had to walk to work … he told one of his biographers there was always room at the top but there’s no lift. And he never sought a lift.”

Asked if the view held by many in India that Jinnah hated hindus was mistaken, Mr. Jaswant Singh replied:-

“Wrong. Totally wrong. That certainly he was not … his principal disagreement was with the Congress Party .. .he had no problems whatsoever with hindus.”

Mr. Jaswant Singh said that India had not only misunderstood Jinnah but made a demon out of him. He suggested that this was a direct result of the trauma of partition:-

“I think we have misunderstood him because we needed to create a demon … we needed a demon because in the 20th century the most telling event in the subcontinent was the partition of the country.”

Speaking to Devil’s Advocate about the partition of India and the political developments that led up to it, Mr. Jaswant Singh said that if Congress could have accepted a decentralized federal country then, in that event, a united India “was ours to attain”. The problem, he added, was Jawaharlal Nehru’s “highly centralized polity”:-

“Nehru believed in a high centralized policy. That’s what he wanted India to be. Jinnah wanted a federal polity. That even Gandhi accepted. Nehru didn’t. Consistently he stood in the way of a federal India until 1947 when it became a partitioned India.”

Mr. Jaswant Singh, in the Devil’s Advocate interview, strongly contested the popular Indian view that Jinnah was the villain of partition or the man principally responsible for it. Asked if he thought this view was wrong he said:-

“It is. It is not borne out of the facts … we need to correct it.”

Speaking about the political demands enunciated by Mohammed Ali Jinnah on behalf of Indian muslims prior to 1947, Mr. Jaswant Singh described them as demands for “space” in a “reassuring system” where they wouldn’t be dominated by the country’s hindu majority:-

Jaswant Singh “Muslims saw that unless they had a voice in their own economic, political and social destiny they will be obliterated. That was the beginning (of their political demands) … for example, see the 46 election. Jinnah’s Muslim League wins all the muslim seats and yet they don’t have sufficient numbers to be in office because the Congress Party has, without even a single muslim, enough to form a government and they are outside of the government. So it was realized that simply contesting elections was not enough.

Karan Thapar They needed certain assurances within the system to give them seats?

Jaswant Singh That’s right, that’s right … all of this was a search for some kind of autonomy of decision making in their own social and economy destiny.”

Speaking about Jinnah’s call for Pakistan, Mr. Jaswant Singh told Devil’s Advocate that from his 5-year long research into the subject he believed that this was “a negotiating tactic” to obtain “space” for muslims “in a reassuring system” where they wouldn’t be dominated by the hindu majority. As he put it:-

“From what I have written, I have found it was a negotiating tactic because he (Jinnah) wanted certain provinces to be with the Muslim League, he wanted a certain percentage of (seats) in the central legislature. If he had that there would not have been partition.”

Asked by Devil’s Advocate if he was concerned that Nehru’s heirs and the Congress Party would be critical of the responsibility he was attributing to Nehru for partition, Mr. Jaswant Singh replied:-

“I am not blaming anybody. I am not assigning blame. I am simply recalling what I have found as the development of issues and events of that period.”

However, when pointedly asked by Devil’s Advocate if the final decisions had been taken by Mahatma Gandhi, Rajaji or Azad – rather than Nehru – a united India would have been attained, Mr. Singh replied: “Yes, I believe so. We could have (attained an united India).”

In the Devil’s Advocate interview Mr. Jaswant Singh also spoke about the relationship between Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi. This is how he described the two of them as politicians:-

“Jinnah was essentially a logician. He believed in the strength of logic. He was a parliamentarian. He believed in the efficacy of parliamentary politics. Gandhi, after testing the water, took to the trails of India and he took politics into the dusty villages of India.”

Mr. Jaswant Singh explained that Jinnah had two fears of Gandhi’s style of mass politics. First, “if mass movement was introduced into India than the minorities in India could be threatened and we could have hindu-muslim riots as a consequence.” Second, “this would result in bringing religion into Indian politics and he (Jinnah) didn’t want that.”

Mr. Jaswant Singh pointed out that Jinnah’s fears were shared by Annie Besant and added that events had shown that both were correct.

Mr. Jaswant Singh also told Devil’s Advocate that at the end of their lives both Jinnah and Gandhi died failed men. Asked if he looked upon both as failures, he replied:-

“Yes, I am afraid I have to say that … I cannot treat this (the outcome of their lives) as a success either by Gandhi or Jinnah … the partition of India and the Hindu Muslim divide cannot really be called Gandhiji’s great success … Jinnah got a moth-eaten Pakistan but the philosophy that muslims are a separate nation was completely rejected within years of Pakistan coming into being.”

In the Devil’s Advocate interview, Mr. Jaswant Singh also spoke about Indian muslims who, he said, “have paid the price of partition”. In a particularly outspoken answer, he lent forward and said India treats them as “aliens”:-

“Look into the eyes of the muslims that live in India and if you truly see the pain with which they live, to which land do they belong? We treat them as aliens … without doubt muslims have paid the price of partition. They could have been significantly stronger in a united India … of course Pakistan and Bangladesh won’t like what I am saying.”

Later, Mr. Jaswant Singh pointedly added: “Every muslim that lives in India is a loyal Indian and we must treat them as so”.

Calling his book and its contents “a shake-up call”, he added: “We should learn from what we did wrong or didn’t do right so that we do not repeat the mistakes.”

In the Devil’s Advocate interview, Mr. Jaswant Singh was questioned at length about the likely response to his biography of Jinnah and his views on partition, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indian muslims and whether this would end up stirring a storm of protest. This is what he said:-

Jaswant Singh “I have written what I have researched and believed in. I have not written to please.

Karan Thapar In a sense you were driven to write this book?

Jaswant Singh Indeed … how do I abandon my search, my yearning and what I have found? If I am wrong then somebody else should do the research and go and prove me wrong.”

When it was pointed out to Mr. Jaswant Singh that at the BJP chintan bhaitak, starting on the 19th, his colleagues could express their resentment or anger, he answered:-

Jaswant Singh “I did not write this book as a BJP parliamentarian. I wrote this book as an Indian … this is not a party document. My party knows I have been working on this. I have mentioned it to Shri Advaniji and others.

Karan Thapar Are they aware of your views and the content of the book?

Jaswant Singh They cannot be aware unless they read them.

Karan Thapar Are you worried that when they find out about your views and your analysis they might be embarrassed and angry?

Jaswant Singh No, they might disagree. That is a different matter. Why should there be anger?”

Indian Air Force:More bad news for Delhi, Mig 35s delayed by a decade

After the colossla failure of the Kevari engine and the Ligh Combat Aircraft (LCA), which has been in the design phase for more than 20 years, the IAF is struggling to replace its Flying Coffins (Migs 21s). The crash rate of the IAF is the highest in the world. About 300-500 Mig 21s have crashed. Delhi blames Moscow for sending it shoddy planes. Moscow blames Delhi for horrid local parts that don’t work. Desperate for planes, the IAF decided to spend about $10 Billion for foreign air craft.
The tender bid for 126 planes has been submitted and a final decision is awaited in a few weeks. The MiG-35 Fulcrum-F, is a stripped down version of the Russian MiG-29M OVT which is exported to third world countries. When, and if, the MiG-35 wins a contract for the Indian MMRCA or any other tender, Sokol would be the manufacturing base for the aircraft. Russia has remianed very vague about the final configuration of the MiG-35’s onboard equipment. There is no information available on the On Board radar. The Zhuk-ME, Bars-29, and ELTA Systems’ EL/M-2052 radars are possible options.
NIZHNY NOVOGORD – Production of MiG-35 multirole fighters offered for sale to India cannot start before 2013 or 2014, a Russian aircraft maker has said.
“We have begun testing the MiG-35 fighter for the Indian tender,” Alexander Karezin, general director of the Sokol company based in Nizhny Novgorod, said Thursday.
Russia’s MiG-35 Fulcrum-F, an export version of the MiG-29M OVT (Fulcrum F), is a highly manoeuvrable air superiority fighter, which won high acclaim during the Le Bourget air show in France last year.
Six major aircraft makers — Lockheed and Boeing from the US, Russia’s MiG, which is part of the UAC, France’s Dassault, Sweden’s Saab and the EADS consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies — are in contention to win the $10 billion contract for 126 light fighters to be supplied to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Sokol earlier said that the first two MiG-35 aircraft would be delivered to India in August for test flights prior to the award of the tender. In late 2009, Russia will conduct a series of flight tests with live firing for an IAF delegation at a testing ground in Russia.
The fighter is powered by RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring engines. The RD-33 OVT engines provide superior manoeuvrability and enhance the fighter’s performance in close air engagements, its manufacturers say. RIA Novosti
The export versions of Mig 35s are actually part of the family of MiG-29 fighters that includes the MiG-29M/M2 and the MiG-29K/KUB versions. Lockheed Martin, Saab and Russian Sukho and Migs have all put in thier offer.
Six global aircraft makers – Lockheed and Boeing from the United States, Russia’s MiG, which is part of the UAC, France’s Dassault, Sweden’s Saab and the EADS consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies – are in contention for the $11 billion MMRCA contract for 126 fighters to be supplied to the Indian Air Force. Domain B
The issue is that American private manufacturers will never commit commercial suicide by giving up their secret “Coke Formula“. Similarly one of the biggest exports for Russia are her planes and missiles. It cannot let a Delhi aligned with Washington have the ability to compete with the Russian arms industry. A decade ago when USSR did not have the oil and it was really hungry for cash, Moscow sold Bharat a lot of equipment. Now things have changed. “Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport has said military aircraft will continue to dominate the company’s foreign sales in 2009, and will total about $2.6 billion (Domain B).” The geostrategic landscape in South Asia has been transformed. Moscow watches Delhi’s closeness with Washington with suspicion. Russia has recently reached out to Pakistan to build train and pipelines linking Pakistan to the Tajikistan and Iran. Gorprom, the Russian Oil company is ready to help in building the Iran-Pakistan pipeline.
The fiasco of the price of the Russian Aircraft carrier describes the Delhi-Moscow relationship. The endless haggling over the price of the air craft career predicted Delhi’s predicament on the sale of the Mig 35s. Moscow now informs Delhi that it cannot begin the supply ’till 2014. Based on previous experience, it is a matter of record that planes from Russia are prone to perpetual delays and price hikes. It is not beyond comprehension that sensing a bit of a tiff between Delhi and Washington, Russia is using delay tactics to hike up the price of the Migs that are to be sold to Bharat.
Will the Mig delay tilt the balance towards Lockheed Martin? Only time will tell.
When Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited the shipyard responsible for converting the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov for the Indian navy at the beginning of last month, he suggested there would be “serious consequences” if Moscow failed to deliver.
Political hyperbole aside, the fall-out from India’s effort to secure a new aircraft carrier could turn out to be far-reaching. Aviation Week. Russia, India Continue Carrier Haggling, Aug 13, 2009, By Neelam Mathews in New Delhi and Douglas Barrie in London
The threat supposedly hinted at the $10 Billion plane contract. The current news from Ria Ovosti seems to tell the world how much Russia has taken the Bharati threat seriously.
Medvedev, during a visit to the Sevmash shipyard at Severodvinsk, characterized the carrier program as a “very difficult experience.” This is a view shared by India’s comptroller and auditor general, the authority that audits and assists the state and central institutions on accounts and accountability.
The audit body has been critical of the carrier deal, providing opposition parties with ammunition with which to attack the government. One, the Bhartiya Janta Party, accused the government of buying “junk” at an exorbitant price.
India signed up for the program in 2004, with a delivery date of 2008. The new date for the ship—the INS Vikramaditya—is now set for 2012. Aviation Week. Russia, India Continue Carrier Haggling, Aug 13, 2009, By Neelam Mathews in New Delhi and Douglas Barrie in London
The 12 MiG-29Ks and four MiG-29KUBs, a naval variant of the Fulcrum that came with the Admiral Gorshkov will be delivered a year late. The planes arrive before the Aircraft carrier. However these are meant to land on the Aircraft Career only.
The entire Bharati establishment is built around refurbishing arcane Russian equipment. Introducing Amercan arms with their instrusive inspections, requirements for segration, and pop inspections is going to be a new experience for the IAF. Rupee News would be very surprised if Bharat buys the F-16s. However stranger things have happened in the Bharati quest for modern arms.