Daya Varma


About a year ago the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM had expelled veteran communist leader Somnath Chatterjee for not resigning as the Speaker of the Parliament as ordered by its General Secretary Prakash Karat. Not to be shamed for being any less monolithic than CPM, Rajnath Singh, the President of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) expelled its leader Jaswant Singh for writing a book on the role of different leaders for the partition of India.


The partition of India is a safe subject for a book by BJP leaders because they can never be faulted since Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sang (RSS), the mentor of BJP, had nothing to do with India’s independence movement.   I have not read Jaswant Singh’s book ‘Jinnah, India Partition, Independence,’ nor do I intend to read it. From the published reports, it appears that Jaswant Singh was kinder to Jinnah than to Nehru for the division of India.  My own understanding is that with the exception of Gandhi, Maulana Azad and a handful of other leaders, everyone else in Congress and Muslim League including Jinnah and Allama Iqbal were responsible for the partition. The leading figure of the partition, however, was Jinnah.


Jinnah may not have opted for the division of India early in his life but he entered the central stage of Indian politics only when he did. Whether Nehru should have agreed to the partition or allowed the issue to fester for a while can only be judged by the developments in the two countries since August 14/15, 1947.


What is certain is that the formation of Pakistan placed Indian Muslims into political, social and economic disadvantage ever since. With East Pakistan becoming the independent Bangladesh, there are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan. Since BJP wants Muslims to be worse off than they are now, I am surprised that Jaswant Singh raises this issue not long after Advani did it.


For me the issue is neither the book nor who did what. Little is to be learned from Jaswant Singh. The issue is the expulsion of Jaswant Singh. I would be delighted if it weakens BJP just as I was saddened that the expulsion of Somnath Chatterjee weakened CPM.  But the expulsion of these two leaders on dubious grounds raises an important question, which is not new in the Communist tradition but quite new in non-communist or anti-communist organizations like the BJP. Congress was never a monolithic party but did and is now doing quite well despite that. Indeed Congress suffered during Indira Gandhi’s time because she suppressed pluralism and inner party democracy. The very concept of a monolithic party is against dialectical materialism.


BJP is a special case and some what organizationally similar to the functioning of communist Parties which have many front organizations but do not allow them true democratic rights. BJP too is a front of RSS, which does not allow any deviation. As long as RSS is not weakened, it is wishful thinking that BJP will be weakened. Jaswant Singh has been expelled from BJP precisely because he is not a trained cadre of RSS and potential new leader to replace Advani. 

Top - Home