The Book that Expelled Jaswant Singh from BJP

(Picture: Jaswant Singh with his controversial book -- Jinnah, India-Partition Independence)

I had to read this book! Not because it became controversial, but more because of the interesting dynamics it presented. 1) This is a book on Jinnah by one of the top BJP leaders 2) It's written by a politician so everyone thinks 'what is the hidden agenda?. I do too. 3) Pro-Hindu organizations/parties do not remember Gandhi's reaction and his appeals during post-partition riots are not fondly.

I was left unimpressed with the book overall. Not because it did not live up to the hype but in general, it was an average history text book. The only time when the book solely focuses of Jinnah is when the author explores Jinnah's equation with Gandhi -- sometimes basing it on historic documents and sometimes simply on his opinion. The author tries to be politically correct by subtly taking Jinnah's side at times and Gandhi's side during the others. Though Jinnah and Gandhi had strangely similar backgrounds, Gandhi is projected as a leader who got everything easy, coming from a wealthy influential family, and having the natural support of the Hindu community and Jinnah as the one with many disadvantages, but the chapter is based on simple obvious observations rather than real research. The entire thing lacked depth.

I did not get a glimpse of Jinnah as a person in the book. I did not get to understand his side of story. All I got was a chronological list of events of India's independence struggle that can be read from any history book. The only difference being Jaswant Singh's English is quite tough to read. He used the old school English which made it difficult for me to enjoy reading the very thick book.