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Chanakya’s View: Alienating in the name of Hinduism

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There are two entirely separate issues for consideration in the ongoing unrest at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) regarding the portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah hanging since 1938 in the student union’s office. First, should a portrait of a man who actively worked for the Partition of India, created Pakistan, and stoked hatred between Hindus and Muslims, be hung in the university? And, second, if not, what is the best way to have an earlier wrong rectified? I say these are separate issues because if you don’t make the distinction you are likely to fall like a ripe apple in the lap of the Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) goons who protested against Jinnah’s portrait. In fact, Samajwadi Party MP Praveen Nishad, who just won the Gorakhpur byelections, did exactly that. Protesting the behaviour of HYV members, he began, on TV, to praise Jinnah, comparing him to Gandhi and Nehru. This was music to the musclemen of the HYV. It was precisely the reaction they wanted. It fulfilled their principal agenda to establish that they were “nationalists”, and those opposing them were anti-nationalistic followers of Jinnah, and quite deserving to be banished — as they often say to all those who oppose them — to Pakistan.

Whether AMU should have a portrait of Jinnah can be debated without unnecessarily glorifying the founder of Pakistan. Some people can argue that this portrait was installed in 1938, when Jinnah was given a life membership of the university’s student’s union. This........

© Deccan Chronicle