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Friday, March 2, 2012

From Ramachandra Guha's Column

This post includes first three paragraphs of an article ('Jinnah Reassessed - Insights of a courageous thinker) written by historian Ramachandra Guha in his weekly column (Politics and Play) in The Telegraph

Only these three paragraphs are posted here because they directly connect with the motive of this blog.
To read the full article click here

The text below is posted here with the permission from Ramachandra Guha 

It was on a pavement near Bombay’s Flora Fountain, some 15 years ago, that I discovered Hamid Dalwai. On the hard dark stone the title of his book leapt out for attention: Muslim Politics in India. I bought it (for something like twenty rupees), and took it home to Bangalore. I have since read it at least half-a-dozen times.
Although little known today, Hamid Dalwai was perhaps the most courageous thinker to come from the ranks of Indian Muslims. Born in the Konkan, he moved to Bombay as a young man and threw himself into leftwing politics. He wrote some fine short stories, and also some superb political essays, these translated by his friend and fellow writer, Dilip Chitre, and published in book form as Muslim Politics in India. The book excoriates both Muslim reactionaries and Hindu obscurantists, and calls for liberals of all shades and faiths to come together on a common platform to build a secular, plural, and modern India.
When I included Hamid Dalwai’s work in an anthology of Indian political thought, some critics were puzzled. Others were enraged. The source of the puzzlement (and anger) was two-fold — first, that I had included a man the critics had never heard of; second, that I had excluded Maulana Azad. It is true that Dalwai is now largely forgotten. This is in part because he died in his early forties. As for choosing him over Azad, the fact is that while the Maulana was a great scholar and nationalist, his writings do not really speak to the problems of the present.
My admiration of Dalwai was confirmed by a later essay of his that I recently read. This is a reassessment of the life and legacy of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, translated by Dilip Chitre, and published in 1973 in the literary journal, Quest. That journal is now defunct, but Dalwai’s essay is included in an excellent recent anthology called The Best of Quest.

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