Whose Portrait is it anyways ????
Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, Ambedkar, Patel, Maulana, Periyar, Gokhale and even English are a part of Indian Heritage and Incredible Country’s Freedom Story.
Article: by Nandini Goel.
India’s freedom is the result of the cumulative efforts, ideas and sacrifices made by the members of different sections of the Indian Society.
In the post-independence era, when certain social and religious differences overlap one another, this article is an attempt to create acceptance and tolerance for different sections of Indian society, as it throws light at the contributions made by various intellectuals from different sections of Indian Society during Indian Struggle for Independence.
The thought of penning down this article triggered in my mind after the recent brawl at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) about Jinnah’s portrait inside the University’s premises. Now the question is “Whether role of Jinnah was insignificant during Indian freedom struggle and Whether such trivial issue must be raised in present India”?
One thing that is beyond doubt; is that Mohamamd Ali Junnah was associated with the Indian National Congress and was also a prominent member of the Congress. As historian claims Jinnah was actively present during the landmark Congress session of 1906 when “Swaraj” or “Self Rule” was demanded for the first time by the Indian National Congress, he also served as the private secretary to president Dadabhai Naoroji (The Grand Old Man of India) . He served as the defence counsel for many Indian freedom fighters against the British Colonial Government, most prominently for one of the Hindu Brahmin Bal Gangadhar Tilak. His demand for partition of India on the behalf of Muslim League will perhaps always remain dubious but does it obliterate all his previous contribution in the Indian Freedom Struggle?
His tone might have been different during the freedom struggle but was still a part of the same symphony that the rest of India crooned.
And let us look at a brighter picture here: Had India not been partitioned in 1947, and this thought of partition as a better alternative would have persisted in the minds of few religious fundamentalists today. Wouldn’t it have led to a more painful partition today than what it did way back in 1947?
I also see some similarity of thought and approach with leaders and great thinkers like B.R Ambedkar and E.V Ramaswamy Naicker ( Better known as Periyar ), who are perceived mainly as the saviours of the depressed classes, also have an integral role in our freedom struggle. Their main demand might have been abolition of caste hierarchy but freedom from British Raj was their main goal.
Now no where I am trying to put Jinnah, Ambedkar and Periyar in one group and neither my intentions are to hurt some sentiments, but I am with my little knowledge till date, I am here trying to understand the role of our great thinkers those who also represented different minorities in India during Indian Freedom Struggle.
Leaders like Gandhiji always stood for Pan India. He represented everyone whether it was Rich or poor, Brahmin or the depressed classes, a tribal or a city man, Hindus or Muslims. A follower of Gokhale and draped in simple khadi, he led India to freedom in his saintly attire. He was perceived as the voice of India. While Sardar Patel (also known as “The Bismarck of India”) united the India with his “iron hand” and Jawaharlal Nehru (“The Architect of Modern India”) through his policies and wisdom designed the India of today. But somewhere as a matter of fact they represented majority classes in India.
Not just Indians, but even English have served an integral role in Indian History and Indian Freedom Struggle. Annie Besant was one such name. She was an Irishwoman who made India her home and put her heart and soul in its service. She was one of the prominent members of Theosophical Society in India and also led the Home Rule Movement along with Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
India is indeed one beautiful country with members of different sections contributing their share in their service. It is imprudent to raise such paltry issues like positioning of portraits of leaders when we have had such a delightful shared history and an even more appealing future beholds us.
I would see Jinnah as more an Indian Freedom Fighter and thinker than as a father of a neighbouring nation.
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