Why Jinnah Has No Place In This Country?

By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

If there is a boundary line between freedom of expression and foolishness, its quite thin and it’s called common sense. Few day ago it became public knowledge that Aligarh Muslim University or AMU has a picture of Pakistan’s founder and so called “Quaid-i-Azam” Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Some would say it’s not the most important of issues yet it’s just one of small fissures that together may give dent to our social unity which is already under a lot of stress. So, let’s look at this case from different angles and see if its good or bad for our society.

First, it’s not public business whose photo hang in someone’s home or room. If it’s a private property or sphere an Indian is free under Indian law to grace his home’s wall with the photo of the person for whom he or she has a regard for. It could be Gandhi, Jinnah, your wife, favorite actor, cricketer or your deceased aunt who left you tons of money. It’s freedom of expression and nobody has a right to preach you but when it comes to public institutions or institutions funded by public money different rules apply. When you or me are funding universities like AMU or JNU, hanging portraits of a person who divided a country for his own petty ambitions and initiated a genocide which resulted in millions of dead will be unacceptable, at least if you ask me and there are lot of folks out there who thinks the same.

Secondly, if we speak in very general terms, AMU is not considered a patriotic hot bed in public opinion, through social media, WhatsApp groups, hearsays, interactions, informal but reliable channels not including mainstream media, which I’d come to later, stories that come out doesn’t paint a picture that one may like. I am not talking about choosing sides during India-Pakistan matches but instances such as Mannan Wani, an AMU scholar who went missing and joined Hizbul in Jan this year, it raises questions about the environment there. All this contributed to the mistrust that has spread like epidemic in our society. It’s because of this mistrust that good, patriotic, law-abiding Muslims find themselves facing heat and blame for the wrongdoings they have nothing to do with. It stops the heathy discussion that may heal wounds of a battered, wounded society. It stops the wheels of progress, of a better India of tomorrow which would be a force to be reckoned with.

Thirdly, coming to media outlets who suggest that we should take this as a lesson of history. Just because constitution committee gave tribute to Jinnah doesn’t mean that we should do it too. A mistake is a mistake, whether it’s of the past or the present.

And its mistake like these that cost us our unity. AMU administration should come to its senses and try correct this error of 80 years.


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