New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said attempts were being made to vilify Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in the wake of Jaswant Singh`s book on Mohammad Ali Jinnah and said it was a malicious campaign to distort history for narrow partisan interests.
He also attacked attempts to make out that Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, the leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, the progenitor of the latter day Jana Sangh and BJP, and Jinnah had no role in Partition.
Mukherjee made sarcastic references to senior BJP
leader L K Advani`s controversial visit to Pakistan in 2005
and Jaswant Singh`s book on Jinnah and said they should
explain the psychology behind glorifying Jinnah.
"BJP leaders should explain. When Advani will go to
Pakistan, he will discover that Jinnah is secular. Jaswant
Singh suddenly discovered that he was not responsible ( for
Partition). He wanted a united India. These are not
historically correct," he told a news agency in the first high-level
reaction from Congress to Singh`s book.
"This is mudslinging and vilification. An attempt is
being made to vilify Jawaharlal Nehru by accusing him of being
responsible for the Partition of India.
"This is a malicious campaign completely ignoring the
facts pertaining to the Partition and an attempt to distort
history for narrow partisan interest," Mukherjee said.
Referring to Singh`s book and saffron leaders`
attempts to blame Nehru and other Congress leaders for
Partition, Mukherjee said, "How can they claim they (HMS
leaders) had no role in Partition? The BJP leaders should not
forget that the founder of Jana Sangh, S P Mukherjee was one
of the main architects of Partition of India."
He said Mukherjee was then the President of HMS and
he not only supported Partition of the country but insisted
on Partition of Bengal and Punjab on the basis of Hindu-Muslim
and Hindu-Sikh-Muslim majority districts respectively in these
"It is ironical that leaders of that party are trying
to distort history and are eager to absolve Jinnah for his
role in Partition of this country," he said.
The Minister said BJP owed an explanation to the
people on what prompted their leaders to distort history and
vilify Nehru, who was an architect of modern India.
"The contribution of this statesman (Nehru) in shaping
the destiny of this country in its early years of independence
does not require any certification from any political party,
least of all BJP," he said.
Mukherjee said the greatness of a leader comes from
his actions and the legacy he leaves behind. "He left behind a
strong, secular and democratic nation, which is today the
largest parliamentary democracy in the world. He has his own
place in history and no irresponsible comment could alter his
place in history."
Mukherjee said his point was that Nehru`s evaluation
would be done by history.
"He has left behind a strong, vibrant, functional
parliamentary democracy and a well laid-out Constitution which
is regarded as the magna carta of the socio-economic
transformation," he said.
The minister said all the effective institutions to
support democracy like an independent election commission,
free media, independent judiciary and all the institutional
arrangements were made by Nehru.
"So he has left a legacy of democracy, liberalism. In
international politics he has given the Non-Alignment
Movement," he said.
Asked why Jinnah was being glorified periodically by
BJP leaders, he said, "I am not going to analyse it but they
should not do it. Every individual is free to express his
opinion even in writing by writings books. But you cannot
denigrate somebody which is not historically correct and
To a query whether history was being made to suit
domestic political ends, he said, after all these types of
observations, Advani ultimately had to back out or at least he
left them aside. He did not go further but he had to face
criticism in his party, he said.
CPI slams BJP
The CPI has accused the BJP of
"politicising" Mohammad Ali Jinnah`s role in partition of the
country, long after his death.
"It is an irony that BJP is politicising Jinnah long
after his death," National secretary D Raja said at a public
meeting here last night.
On the Gujarat government banning expelled BJP leader
Jaswant Singh`s book, "Jinnah: India, Partition,
Independence", he said the BJP regime in the state can only
ban books, not ideas.