How Jinnah lost his love, and political relevance

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Rashna, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    How Jinnah lost his love, and political relevance

    Before he rose to forge Pakistan, the Muslim League leader suffered a humiliating fall from grace, writes Nisid Hajari in a new book .


    In the summer of 1916, the man who would go on to found Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, ran up against one of India's most stubborn communal prejudices. His good friend Sir Dinshaw Petit had invited him to escape Bombay's suffocating heat and spend several weeks in cool Darjeeling. Sir Dinshaw was a Parsi, and heir to a textile fortune. More importantly, he had a 16-year-old daughter - a sinuous beauty named Rattanbai, or "Ruttie." Jinnah would have been hard-pressed to ignore her presence. She wore gossamer-thin saris that clung to her body and had a ready, flirtatious laugh. One prim memsahib described her as "a complete minx."

    Like many Indians, Jinnah had been married young to someone of his parents' choosing, a 14-year-old Gujarati village girl named Emibai. A year later she had died while he was away studying in London. He told friends that he hadn't kissed a woman since then (although, hearing that particular tale, the irrepressible poetess Sarojini Naidu trilled, "Liar, liar, liar!"). Jinnah left no record of what transpired between him and Ruttie amid the emerald tea plantations of Darjeeling, but clearly a romance blossomed.

    When they returned to Bombay at the end of the summer, Jinnah asked Sir Dinshaw how he felt about intermarriage. The Parsi didn't realize what his Muslim friend was angling at. A capital idea, Petit declared - just the thing to help break down the foolish barriers that divided Indians from one another. Jinnah's next question horrified him, though. The nearly 40-year-old Muslim marrying his teenage daughter? The idea was "absurd!" Sir Dinshaw not only refused but took out a restraining order against Jinnah.

    Jinnah was not to be discouraged, however, either personally or politically. He and Ruttie continued to correspond secretly. Like many of the youth in her circle she was enthralled by the romance of the nationalist movement, and that winter she eagerly followed the news coming out of the graceful Mughal city of Lucknow, capital of the United Provinces, where Jinnah had helped arrange for the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress to hold their annual sessions simultaneously. For the first time the two parties agreed on a common set of demands to make of the British - what became known as the "Lucknow Pact." Jinnah won for Muslims a guaranteed percentage of seats in any future legislature, among other safeguards that would ensure they were not perpetually outvoted by the Hindu majority.

    The Lucknow Pact raised Jinnah's political stock sky-high; he seemed a shoo-in to become president not just of the League, but perhaps even the much larger Congress one day. A few months later, soon after Ruttie had turned 18, she and Jinnah scandalized Bombay's Parsi community by eloping. They quickly became one of the city's most glamorous couples, cruising down Marine Drive in Jinnah's convertible at sunset each night, her hair loose in the wind.

    Then Jinnah threw it all away. Just as his political career was reaching its zenith, the spotlight shifted to another Gujarati lawyer, born just 30 miles from Jinnah's ancestral village. In 1915 a 45-year-old Mahatma Gandhi had returned to India from South Africa, where he had lived for the past two decades, and where his efforts to organize South Africa's Indian immigrant community had made him a celebrity.

    Gandhi dubbed his strategy satyagraha - literally, "soul force" - and he now proposed replicating his methods in India. Jinnah balked. He did not challenge the principle behind satyagraha - the idea that Indians should peacefully refuse to cooperate with their British overlords. "I say I am fully convinced of non-cooperation," Jinnah declared at a contentious Congress meeting in September 1920. But he did not believe that the Indian masses were educated or disciplined enough to ensure their protests remained nonviolent. He thought Congress leaders needed to prepare their followers first. "Will you not give me time for this?" he asked the crowd at the meeting, plaintively.

    Not all of Jinnah's motivations were so high-minded, of course. He was unquestionably a snob: later, when tens of thousands of Muslims turned out at rallies to see him, he would recoil from shaking hands with his own supporters. He also found Gandhi's appeal to the largely Hindu masses dangerously crude. At his evening prayer meetings, the Mahatma would frame his political arguments using parables from Hindu fables; he described his vision for independent India as a "Ram Rajya" - a mythical state of ideal government under the god Ram. All the chanting and meditating that accompanied Gandhi's sermons seemed to Jinnah like theatrics.

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    Jinnah would have been hard-pressed to ignore the 16-year old Ruttie. She wore gossamer-thin saris that clung to her body and had a ready, flirtatious laugh.

    What is almost never acknowledged, though, is that Jinnah worried less about Hindus than about the danger of inflaming religious passions among Muslims. At the time mullahs across the subcontinent were threatening to launch a jihad if the British, who had defeated the Ottomans in World War I, deposed the Turkish Sultan - the caliph, or leader, of the world's Sunnis. Led by a pair of fiery brothers, Mohammed and Shaukat Ali, this "Khilafat" movement had attracted an unsavory mob of supporters. The acerbic Bengali writer Nirad C. Chaudhuri remembers Khilafat volunteers as "recruited from the lowest Muslim riffraff...brandishing their whips at people."

    Jinnah had no sympathy for these rough-edged Muslims, or for their fanatic cause. He feared that their rage would inevitably turn from the British to Hindus. Gandhi, on the other hand, threw his support behind the Khilafat movement: in turn Muslim votes gave him the slight majority in Congress he needed to launch his satyagraha. Years later Gandhi recalled Jinnah telling him that he had "ruined politics in India by dragging up a lot of unwholesome elements in Indian life and giving them political prominence, that it was a crime to mix up politics and religion the way he had done."

    Nowadays most Indian accounts put down Jinnah's opposition to Gandhi to jealousy. At a follow-up Congress meeting in December 1920, they often note, Jinnah drew jeers by referring to "Mister" Gandhi in his speech, rather than the more respectful "Mahatma." In fact, although he did slip once or twice more, Jinnah did switch to using "Mahatma." What he absolutely refused to do was refer to Khilafat leader Mohammed Ali as "Maulana," a term reserved for distinguished Islamic scholars. Jinnah was not about to encourage what he saw as religious demagoguery. "If you will not allow me the liberty to ... speak of a man in the language which I think is right, I say you are denying me the liberty which you are asking for," he vainly protested. The crowd's howls chased him off the stage.

    The humiliating scene marked the beginning of Jinnah's long slide into irrelevance as a national political figure. Under Gandhi's influence a new, less august crowd dominated Congress meetings - middle-class and lower-middle-class men and women, clad in saris and kurtas and sitting on the ground cross-legged rather than in chairs. Jinnah still got upset when his bearer laid out the wrong cufflinks for him. He no longer fit in.

    Jinnah did not disappear from the political scene, but as Gandhi's Congress grew larger and larger, the League leader was pushed further and further to the margins. He became what he had never wanted to be - a purely Muslim politician, reduced to petitioning for concessions for his community. By the end of the 1920s, the League had begun to break up into factions, and Jinnah's influence had become negligible.

    This was not the illustrious nationalist hero with whom the impressionable Ruttie had fallen in love. After giving birth to a daughter, Dina, in August 1919, Ruttie had plunged into a half-baked mysticism, taking up crystals and seances. She may have begun using drugs like opium to combat a painful intestinal ailment. The differences in the couple's ages and temperaments became too obvious to ignore. "She drove me mad," Jinnah told one friend. "She was a child and I should never have married her." In early 1928, Ruttie moved into a suite at Bombay's Taj Mahal Hotel, leaving Jinnah home with eight-year-old Dina. That spring, visiting Paris with her mother, Ruttie fell into an unexplained coma and almost died.

    While she recovered, their relationship did not. Two months later, on February 19, 1929, Ruttie fell unconscious in her room at the Taj Hotel. She died the next day, on her 29th birthday.

    Most accounts say only that the circumstances of Ruttie's demise were "mysterious." But her daughter Dina put it more bluntly: "My mother committed suicide," she told Jinnah's first biographer. The embarrassed author left that nugget out of his hagiography. Still, even at the time rumors about the death were rife. Jinnah never wanted to be reminded of his private tragedy, which had become so humiliatingly public. He packed away Ruttie's jades and silks and volumes of Oscar Wilde in boxes and rarely mentioned her again.

    There was nothing left for Jinnah in India. In its two decades of existence, the Muslim League had accumulated fewer than 2,000 members, most of whom did not pay their dues. Creditors tried to seize what little furniture remained at League headquarters to sell at auction. Parts of the factionalized party did not even recognize Jinnah's leadership.

    In 1931 Jinnah moved to London with Dina and his spinster sister Fatima. He refused to answer questions about when-or if-he would return to India. "I seem," he told an Indian journalist over lunch at Simpson's, with startling candor, "to have reached a dead end."

    Excerpted from 'Midnight's Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India's Partition and Asia' with permission from Penguin India
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...-political-relevance/articleshow/47845905.cms
     
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  3. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    It seems that Gandhi's way of politics was not understood or liked by Jinnah and Gandhi in fact led to Jinnah's faltering political presence. If this were truly a case of Jealousy it would explain why Jinnah started a movement for an independent country where he could rule the roost along with the rich landlords of punjab. It seems that he had little regard for the intelligence of the masses whom he considered easy to manipulate and sway..
     
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  4. The enlightened

    The enlightened Regular Member

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    Gandhi unnecessarily brought religion into politics.
     
  5. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    Isn't religion the opium of the masses? And what else did Jinnah do? It wasn't Gandhi who was rooting for a hindu country was it?
     
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  6. The enlightened

    The enlightened Regular Member

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    Are you praising its qualities or bashing it:confused1:
    Gandhi brought Hinduism into the freedom fight.
    That was a reaction to Gandhis and other Indians actions. Obviously, it was an over-reaction born out of paranoia (which perfectly defines the Pakistanis thought process till this day) but there was no reason to bring Ram-Rajya to Freedom Struggle. Ram Rajya, if it exist was for the historians to deal with.:smile:
     
  7. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    I am neither praising it nor bashing it... Ram rajya as a concept of good governance is not strictly religious because at the time when Ram lived there was no religious competition, the qualities came to be embodied as some which are associated with fairness, prudence, and qualities which are beneficial to the people at large. Therefore to say that talking about Ram Rajya is peddling religion is not right.. in my opinion.
    Also let us not forget that India had been under british rule and the people of the country were poor and sucked dry.. At this time when they had no hero to invoke who better than Ram?

    Based on the above if Jinnah then over-reacted and started to find solace in Khilafat, that is even worse....

     
  8. The enlightened

    The enlightened Regular Member

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    If there are good qualities then they must be considered because of their being good qualities and not because it was part of a mythical Ram Rajya. Bringing Ram on to the national political stage will certainly alienate the Muslims. Would the Hindus ever take in to making India a Caliphate on the lines of Omar bin Khattab as proposed by Khujliwal? Its same for the other side.

    Also based on the above, it was Gandhi and not MAJ who showed enthusiasm over the Khilafat.
     
  9. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    How are you arriving at that conclusion?
     
  10. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ram is an Indian hero as opposed to Khilafat which is foreign... If we have to look up to heroes they have to be our own, their being mythical or otherwise is not important... Religion always has mythical references by virtue of being ancient... Anything which is old can be called mythology simply because it doesn't exist in the present.

    The british had driven a wedge between the hindus and muslims already. The task therefore was to unite at least significant majority against the british, by the time gandhi came in to politics the seeds of dissention between hindus and muslims had already been laid....
    Divide and rule was already in practice... Consequently its not surprising that Ram rajya was seen as a dividing force by muslims.

     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
  11. The enlightened

    The enlightened Regular Member

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raghupati_Raghava_Raja_Ram
    Lets just agree to disagree
     
  12. Sakal Gharelu Ustad

    Sakal Gharelu Ustad Detests Jholawalas Moderator

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    The title of thread is funny. Jinnah lost political relevance but still managed to carve out Pakistan!
     
  13. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    That's why i am proposing that he went after a pakistan to get relevant again....And had the Brits not been hellbent on divide and rule, Jinnah might have never succeeded... in fact many pakistanis call him an agent of the british... An irony of sorts!!!



     
  14. Sakal Gharelu Ustad

    Sakal Gharelu Ustad Detests Jholawalas Moderator

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    He was not relevant but managed to get separate electorate for muslims even in the 1936 elections!

    Well Brits played a role but should not give too much credit to them.
     
  15. Rashna

    Rashna Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yes but the quest then was to have a stake in the Indian polity..After Gandhi became the mahatma i guess Jinnah would have been under scrutiny. More because he was a reluctant muslim, who did not really understand or follow his faith too well... That and his western ways could have meant he became irrelevant even to the muslims in comparison to Gandhi who was a loin clad man who appeared to be close to the roots and even a pious hindu.

    I am not trying to deify gandhi but trying to draw parallels between Jinnah and him and what might have led to Jinnah's fall from grace...

    How can you not give credit to the british for creating a divide between hindus and muslims when they had sufficient cause, the cause being that the hindus and muslims were united during the mutiny.

     
  16. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    What is wrong with this bajan?

    He has his beliefs ..... did he tried to convert any one or boasted that his religion is great?

    He kept his belief to himself and also said all are equal. If people hate Hinduism and see any one embracing his own religion is a threat , then GOD can only help those guys and their thinking.

    Can anyone from Islam or Christianity say that all religions are equal and all are children of GOD?

    A Hindu said that and even then, since he roamed with his favourite book Gita he can be labelled as religious and also a threat to minorities!

    It is the other way around ..... people from certain religions are intolerant !
     
  17. Sakal Gharelu Ustad

    Sakal Gharelu Ustad Detests Jholawalas Moderator

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    Personalities arise according to the times they live in. You think Jinnah grew what he was because he consciously chose it. No.

    The time before independence had seen great reflection by the muslim community to analyse the reason behind their fall from Delhi. They wanted the same social status back and someone would have realised it in the muslim community- Jinnah or no Jinnah. It was too good an opportunity to lose. Jinnah being a shrewd politician did what was best for him.

    Gandhi tried his best to win muslims by giving sanctions to even Mopallah carnage, but he was not a muslim and could have never won their confidence.

    Btw, Hindu-Muslim unity during mutiny is another fairy tale. Lets leave it for some other time.
     
  18. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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    well ram rajya means good governance...... From where the religion comes in......
    .
    .
    this article symbolizes future of india and pakistan through and symbols are gandhiji and jinnah respectively.... Jina's bhak ke shadi krna and gandhi's brahmcharya the real two opposite sides.....
     
  19. jackprince

    jackprince Turning into a frog Senior Member

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    The excerpt seem to be ToI's effort to be a Jinnah apologist. Whh is particular excerpt? What does it matter what rode Jinnah to do what he did? He is the man behind the direct action day, so he was a bloody criminal, period.

    Now after about 70 years, I am glad the partition has happened, othewise as the modern history is evident the Hindus would have been in a very poor condition in a undevided India. My family has suffered and millions others, but today I am and my children are facing a brighter day because those [email protected]' greed.
     
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  20. anupamsurey

    anupamsurey Regular Member

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    will the article does portray Jinnah as a human not the allah ka banda which Pakis love to paint on him.
    Jinnah was an ambitious person he wanted to rule a country like a diktat. but, since that was not possible in India he decided to make a nation of his own, fodder to his thought-Islam. he was helped by the then west (US-UK alliance) too, to get a nation of his own.
    I saw the movie Sardar (played brilliantly by Paresh rawal), it captured the backstage politics during India's freedom struggle and partition.
    innah was hopelessly outmatched by congi leaders, the only crybaby was Mahatama Gandhi, otherwise they would have clipped the Nails of Jinnah the dog back then.
     
  21. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    What is politics ?

    If you understand that well, you would not make such comment ?

    Secondly. he never used competitive religion as a tool of politics .
     
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