“At the stroke of the midnight hour, as the world sleeps, Indian will awaken to life and freedom…”
That’s how our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, began his speech, upon India’s independence.
Today 63 years later, do we value this freedom? Is India really independent? To answer these questions we must first be able to define what independence means. If independence merely means not being under imperialism, then truly we have been independent. If independence means achievement in terms of growth rates, or per capita incomes, then we are there. A world, where, people can happily co-exist harmoniously, irrespective of nationality, religion, caste, colour or creed. In my opinion, that is true freedom.
But what if such freedom is misused against our own country? What if it defames the people who toiled for years to get us that freedom?
Why was the erstwhile external affairs minister was expelled from the party? He was found guilty of blaming Nehru for the partition of India and praising Jinnah, in his book ‘Jinnah- India Partition Independence”. In the same book he has also holds Jawaharlal Nehru responsible for the partition and maintains that Jinnah has unnecessarily been blamed for the same from all these years. Earlier a senior leader like Advani has also been forced to step down as the chairman of the party for praising Jinnah.
The BJP justifies these actions by saying that whatever they had said or written was against their party’s beliefs and ideals. I agree that as the members of their party, going against the ideals of the party in public is comparable to treachery. A senior leader, like Jaswant Singh is a representation of the entire party. Being such a huge figure, he is not a single entity, but is the face of the BJP.
When he makes such statements in a book he has penned down, it is in the first place, derogatory to Gandhi’s faith in Nehru, and secondly to his party’s ideals a complete betrayal. We might posses the freedom of speech, but that does not entitle him or us to defame the father of our nation, or other freedom fighters who laid down their lives for this county, at least not publicly. Expulsion from the party is indeed a small price that Jaswant Singh is paying for his statements.
Of course due to this brawl, the book is now a hot property. Everybody wants to lay their hands on one to see what Singh has really said. This event has acted as negative publicity for this book, where people just want to read it, to know whether what he has written is as bad as it is stated to be.
What adds fuel to fire is that the media, amidst this kind of treachery, is pointing fingers at the BJP saying that, it’s not secular. I’m sure that any other party would’ve acted the same way, if a member has gone against its ideals.
I agree that Jaswant Singh, as an individual may have the right to write, but because he holds a seat of power, and represents a party, it is wrong of him to derogate his country’s legendary leaders in this way.
[Image courtesy: http://despardes.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/jaswant_singh4200.jpg]