By Yasser Latif Hamdani
Pakistanis like to claim a lot of nonsense about Jinnah. Most recently Hamid Mir of Geo has claimed that Jinnah had willed that Shabbir Ahmed Usmani would lead his funeral prayers. What can one say to such patent nonsense? I suppose Jinnah told his butler, “I have decided that Usmani old boy would lead my funeral prayers” while holding a cigar in one hand, a class of single malt in the other and his pet dog resting in his lap. Ludicrous. There is absolutely no evidence of any kind – primary or otherwise- that seconds such a ridiculous claim. As a counter-question, one may also ask why then a separate Shia funeral was held at the Governor General’s residence? Was that also willed?
It goes without saying that Hamid Mir is in a long line of people who have taken liberties with facts of Jinnah’s life. For example I received another email from Waseem Altaf, who had earlier fallaciously argued that Jinnah had converted to Shiism in 1921 from Ismaili faith to “further his political career” only to be proved wrong when I showed that in fact Jinnah had converted to Shiism in 1901 long before he was in politics and that converting to Shiism as a matter of fact would not have helped Jinnah’s career either in the League or the Congress. It turns out that Altaf Hussain of MQM has recently shown that in fact the conversion was in 1898. The ignorant arguments of Waseem Altaf – amongst the new illiterate lot who want to criticize Jinnah to prove themselves enlightened except they don’t know enough to criticize him for right reasons- were exploded in my post here.
So coming back to the email, Waseem Altaf mian put in subject “this further reveals Jinnah’s character”. Apparently Waseem Altaf has it on the good authority of “the great historian and scholar” Nasim Yousuf that Jinnah received Rs. 600,000 to make Pakistan. This coming from a person who not long claimed- on this website- that the Australian scholar Ian Bryant Wells’ book “Jinnah, Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity” published by a reputed Indian publisher was secretly financed by deep state in Pakistan (if only the Deep State adhered to the secularist ideals that the book states to be Jinnah’s politics). Talk about wild fantasy. Anyway I had read the article by Mr. Yousuf and found it so patently ridiculous that I did not feel the need to respond to it. However if you do not nip a lie in the bud it comes to accepted as the truth, especially with someone like Jinnah who is already widely misunderstood and whose nuanced political efforts are not always easy to explain to a simple mind. For one thing, there is absolutely no evidence – primary or secondary- to substantiate this utter and total lie nor has Nasim Yousaf provided any substantiation of his claim. A single line is produced and claimed to be from Modern Review’s editorial from December 1946 which is “…Jinnah is receiving 6 lakhs annually from the government of India…” There are several issues with this.
1. Why does Nasim Yousaf not produce hard copy evidence which is verifiable for this claim? Should be easy enough? After all he claims to have seen it. Why not produce it?
2. Why is the said “excerpt” truncated as if lifted from mid sentence? Surely the words preceding these 9 words and following them are equally important?
3. Why – if this was such a huge revelation – was it not carried by Hindustan Times, Civil and Military Gazette, the Hindu etc which were considered traditional Congress press?
Let us assume- for the argument- that this line actually occurs in the said journal on the said date, is it automatically assumed that this was some sort of illegal gratification? For example Jinnah’s Lahore house was requisitioned by the British Army in 1941 for the purposes of the world war. Similarly Jinnah was eligible for fuel and other parliamentary allowances as a member of the central legislative assembly which he was continuously from 1910 to 1946. So it could be anything (which is why Mr. Nasim Yousaf has omitted the words immediately before and after the said line and the truth of it can only be ascertained if Mr. Yousaf produces the actual primary source in some scanned form or produces the entire context).
In any event Jinnah was held universally by his opponents and admirers alike to be a man of absolute integrity, honesty and incorruptibility. Dr. Ambedkar, the great untouchable leader, considered Jinnah the one politician to whom term “incorruptible” could be most fittingly applied and who had “never been a soldier of fortune”. Gandhi, Jinnah’s principal rival, considered Jinnah’s greatest strength his incorruptibility. Nehru, who bitterly criticizes Jinnah, wrote in his book “Discovery of India” that Jinnah was without the lure of public office or personal gain. H V Hodson described Jinnah as a completely scrupulous man who was beyond question by even his worst opponents. The list goes on. One may disagree with Jinnah’s positions in the closing decade of the raj, but one can never claim that he was receiving subsidies from the British.
Allama Mashriqi – who or what was he?
However the same could not be said of Nasim Yousaf’s grandfather, Allama Mashriqi who was widely alleged to have been financed by Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists. Mashriqi had by his own admission met Mr. Hitler in 1926 and had automatically taken a liking to the Nazi leader. His son confirms that in 1934, the fuhrer had sent a special emissary to Mashriqi to help bolster Mashriqi’s efforts to organize the Khaksar Tehreek. UP Legislature spent an entire day’s proceedings discussing Mashriqi’s connections to Nazis during the second world war. Allama Mashriqi was a thoroughly unbalanced and eccentric character though a gifted mathematician and an alright educator. Other than that he was akin to what we call “chun chun da muraba” in Punjabi. Mashriqi was everything and nothing. His Khaksar Tehreek was a curious mixture of Hitler Youth and a militant interpretation of Islamic prayer. Mashriqi’s vision for India was under absolute Muslim rule of one Muslim dictator called the Amir, who would be a cross between Nietzche’s Superman and Iqbal’s Mard-e-Momin and who would be General Muhammad Bin Qasim and Mahmud Ghaznavi reborn. Allama believed in Islamic Puritanism and Social Darwinism, and sought to combine the two with the local version of fascism. Despite this he claimed the Khaksar Movement was non-communal. Later Mashriqi claimed in his book “Aksariat ya Khoon” (Majority or Blood) that Muslims deserved to inherit India because “on average 125 Muslims have died for every Hindu in battle for India since the inception for colonial rule”. He criticized the Mullahs from the angle of a popular Islamist lower middle class urbanite. Allama also criticized Averroes and Avicenna for having made pure Islam impure by bringing in Greek philosophy. Allama attacked Gandhi for his non-violence which he thought was not manly enough and sent Rafiq Sabir to assassinate Jinnah (ironically for not coming to terms with Gandhi in 1944). In many ways Allama and his Khaksars were the subcontinent’s Kharjites. Mashriqi attacked the Muslim League for not coming to an arrangement with the Congress but in NWFP he bitterly attacked Khan Sahib and Red Shirts for being too soft on Congress and for being in league with the Hindus. After partition he was one of the foremost advocates of absolute Islamisation of Pakistan. Other than that he was – Sir Sikandar Hayat put it- a coward (which he proved when he failed to come to Lahore in early 1940 to carry out the 313 agitation against the Unionist party which he had called and which resulted in the unfortunate deaths of 50 Khaksar youths). Those interested in reading an unvarnished account of Allama Mashriqi and his movement should refer to Ian Talbot’s brilliant “Region and Partition”, which includes a detailed paper on Mashriqi by Iftikhar H Malik, however I will sum it up in one line – Mashriqi was the “Sir” Allama Zaid Hamid of his time – crazy, eccentric and a chun chun ka muraba.
Now enter Mr. Nasim Yousaf, the “historian” and “scholar” whose great works range from export-import to Singapore to the issue of how Jinnah was a British agent and Mashriqi was a great colleague of Gandhi (he was not! Mashriqi was as critical of Gandhi as he was of Jinnah) who worked to preserved the unity of India, which is also not true. In fact it is impossible given Mashriqi’s flip flops, threats etc to determine which side of the fence he fell, unlike Maududi, JUH and Ahrar who clearly and consistently supported the Congress. As for Nasim Yousaf, those who wish to take him to be some sort of a scholar should at the very least watch his regal message to the peoples of the subcontinent – delivered through youtube. That should prove that the apple does not fall far from the tree!