Destroying Jinnah’s house will not undo the Partition, Mangal Lodha

Published: March 29, 2017
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For once, let us break the pattern of kneejerk responses that have defined India-Pakistan relations. PHOTO: MID-DAY & HAMARI WEB

The sordid saga of ultra-nationalism unfolding in the subcontinent took a new twist this week. The Times of India reports that a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, demanded that Jinnah’s house in Mumbai be demolished and replaced by a centre representing Maharashtra’s culture. 

Jinnah’s residence is a mansion in the Malabar Hill area of Mumbai where Mohammad Ali Jinnah resided following his return to India from England in 1936. It continued to be his primary residence till 1944, following which he started transitioning to the Flagstaff House in Karachi where he moved permanently after Partition.

Before anything else, let’s dispense one clarification: jingoism is equally prevalent on both sides of the border. Successive governments have used the spectre of the enemy to justify extravagant defence budgets at the expense of health, education and infrastructure. For much of the past seven decades, Indian and Pakistani leaders have shrouded their corruption and maladministration with the smoke and mirrors of war and the threat of it.

Within the two nations, where a combined 330 million people live in poverty and 150 million lack access to potable water, the most prominent area of competition is nuclear capability. Each country proudly owns over a hundred nuclear warheads, and these stockpiles are reportedly the fastest growing ones in the world – such are the priorities of our leadership.

So, moving on to Mr Lodha and his demand, this delightful gentleman is a textbook example of a purblind mentality widely prevalent in the subcontinent. A mentality that refuses to accept history and attempts to efface all remnants of the past that stand in the way of the dishonest narrative of nationhood it wishes to make reality.

According to Lodha,

“The Jinnah residence in south Mumbai was the place from where the conspiracy of Partition was hatched. Jinnah House is a symbol of the Partition. The structure should be demolished. The structure should be demolished and a cultural centre highlighting Maharashtra’s culture and pride should be built. The cultural centre should also exhibit the glorious history of India.”

Mr Lodha, the Pakistani dream of nationhood birthed in the imagination of intellectual giants like Allama Iqbal and was brought to fruition by the political prowess of master statesmen like Jinnah. If after 70 years it is all still a “conspiracy” to you, pardon us for suspecting you of both prejudice and ignorance.

Where the artists, poets, writers and everyday citizens of Pakistan and India make overture after overture of peace and rapprochement, politicians like Lodha continue their vile mission to sow hatred and schism. If the speed at which the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) brand of nationalism is rising in government ranks in India is any indication, the hatemongers are having a heyday of sorts.

For once, let us break the pattern of kneejerk responses that have defined India-Pakistan relations. Following the precedent of the Katas Raj renovation, instead of destroying the beauty of our multicultural and diverse heritage, let us restore it and preserve it.

Regardless of what the BJP chooses to do across the border, let us refuse to be provoked into such childish tantrums and retaliation. Let us refuse to tolerate jingoism and attempt to rewrite history. Let us, as Gandhi said, “be the change we want to see in the world”.

As for you Mr Lodha, destroying the Babri Mosque did not magically undo the Mughal conquests and the Mughal Empire. Destroying Jinnah’s residence, which I urge you not to lobby for, will not undo the creation of Pakistan. You and the people of these two great nations will be best served by peace. Be an ambassador of peace Mr Lodha, not one of discord.

Khusro Tariq

Khusro Tariq

The author is a Pakistani-American Psychiatrist currently pursuing training in Jungian psychoanalysis. He blogs on Huffington Post on matters of psychology, faith, politics and poetry. He tweets as @KhusroKhwaja (twitter.com/khusrokhwaja)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Jor El

    “Destroying Jinnah’s residence, which I urge you not to lobby for, will not undo the creation of Pakistan.”

    1) … will not undo the creation of Pakistan – Fine, no problem …
    2) Destroying Jinnah’s residence, which I urge you not to lobby for – Why not ???Recommend

  • vinsin

    No one wants to undo the partition or Mughal history. Destroying illegal structure is part of rebuilding a secular society. Everyone nations has done it so why can’t India?

    By not treating Hagia Sophia as Mosque doesnt mean undoing of conquest by Mehmed.

    All Jinnah residence are in Pakistan not in India, he left them for Pakistan.Recommend

  • Vish

    No point in preserving the house of a man who did not believe in coexistence and clearly stated that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together. No point in preserving the house of a man who worked to validate his theory that Hindus and Muslims cannot coexist, by creating a country where Hindus were systematically cleansed to the extent that they hardly exist in Pakistan. If at all this house is preserved it must be converted into a museum or memorial which enlightens people that the kind of hate and negativity that Jinnah unleashed must never be allowed to happen again.Recommend

  • Rohan

    Seriously why do Pakistanis care about one house in India,your infrastructure is crumbling and only jehad infrastructure thrives so why not demolish that first before writing such blogsRecommend

  • Concard_007

    Who are you to say what we should and shouldn’t do in our land? Pakistanis seems to have a hangover of everything Islamic. You think destroying Babri mosque was undo Mughal invasions? Then we could have destroyed every mosque in the country. You think destroying Jinnah house is undo Partition?lol. The last thing we need is 200 million radical Muslims in our country. We will destroy Jinnah house to make way for other useful and important things. Jinnah called for the mass murder of Hindus on direct action day. You can worship him but we despise him.Recommend

  • ab1990

    A country formed by a religious person has no authority to lecture india. India fought and earned independence . Not like pakistan snatching it peacefullyRecommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    If you think Indians want to undo the partition, you are so mistaken. It took thousands of Hindus and Sikhs to get rid of Pakistani Muslims. We can not ever let their sacrifice go waste. As for Jinnah’s house, it is “enemy” property on OUR land and we will do as we please with it.Recommend

  • khwajatariq

    An excellent peace of writing. Instead of trying to rewrite the history, we should make an effort to learn from history for a better future.. Presence of Muslims in India is for about a thousand years.This is a historical fact. Mr Ladha cannot delete this chapter from the history of India even if Taj Mahal is demolished to built another Ram Mandir.Recommend

  • Gautam

    “Destroying Jinnah’s house will not undo the Partition”. No it won’t but letting it stand will keep reminding us about the communal problem he was. You can celebrate him, we can’t…Recommend

  • wb

    In all honesty, if Allama Iqbal what he wrote, today, he would be beheaded by Pakistanis.

    ” politicians like Lodha continue their vile mission to sow hatred and schism.”

    This reads like a German accusing a Jew of being hateful and creating of differences by talking ill of Nazis. After all, as Tariq will wholeheartedly agree, Nazis did what they did because they thought they were just and honest and believed that that was in the best interest of the world.

    Jinnah did the same.Recommend

  • Jameel

    Hindus have caste system where they hate lower caste hindus. Seeing the vulnerable conditions of indian muslims we salute to our leader Jinnah who made right decision at the right time. Thank you Jinnah for providing us the country were we can live in our own way. #PakistanZindabadRecommend

  • Jameel

    There could have been no independent india today if Muslims at that time did not fight against the British. Hindus are cowards by default.Recommend

  • Reddy

    “political prowess of master statesmen like Jinnah”
    your master statesman left india in 1930s to settle down in england when nothing was going on for him,there at a mosque he realized islam is a good tool to become politically prominent,not just that your political prowess opposed quit india movement,your iqbal was even more colorful character,had he been alive,he would’ve been singing in mandarin,pro british to pro india to pro islam to pro kabaddi

    be that as it may,pakistan acted on enemy property law in 1948 itself destroyed and confiscated properties belonged to hindus,so pakistan or pakistanis don’t have any moral high ground on this or any other matter regarding india such as 200 temples in pakistan’ve been destroyed after babri masjid demolition,we will raze jinnah’s house to the ground or make an amusement park out of it …we couldn’t careless abt wht pakistan has to sayRecommend

  • Reddy

    and partition was the sanest thing gandhi-nehru clan did to india …we’ve no wish to undo that ever,only after that little experiment we came to know that muslims can’t live among themselves let alone with other religions,now entire world realised that muslims can not be part of any civilised society…harkat hi kuch aisa hota hai tumhara..Recommend

  • Parvez

    When statements such as this are made by politicians, especially second tier politicians, they are made for a specific purpose like staying relevant, or to divert the attention of the people from matters that effect the people etc….. saying it is one thing….having it done is completely different.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    The author means well and is pleading against the violence which illetrates and uncivilised humans practice trying to obletrate the traces of unpopular history. but ignores the reality of both Nations having the nuclear bombs which sooner than later will determine their final destiny. Let ttureshe two play their political pos in the interim.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • vinsin

    He called for Jihad and who can forget Noarkhali riots.Recommend

  • Sane

    Indians need food for hatred. And you always find something. Keep yourself indulged in trivial issues, Pakistan has to progress. Indian Muslims one day shall take back all those which you say ‘enemy property’. Taj Mahal and many monuments and landmarks are ‘enemy property’, raze them all. Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    How funny Pakistanis support Jinnah for his Muslim nationalism, but hate RSS for its Hindu nationalism.

    India’s Education and Health budget is actually far greater than Pakistan’s in % terms. India has also been more successful in reducing poverty than Pakistan.

    Why club both countries together and make both look bad? india is doing a good job. Pakistan is digging itself into a debt trap taking on expensive loans it can’t afford.Recommend

  • Khwaja Khusro Tariq

    Kindly read about Tipu Sultan, war of 1857 and prominent congress muslims such as Abu Kalam Azad.
    Recommend

  • Khwaja Khusro Tariq

    I am at a loss about this analogy. Please elaborate or find at least one well-sourced instance of Jinnah calling for violence against any community. Just one.Recommend

  • Hassan

    You are Comparing Mr Jinnah to Hitler, seriously ???????Recommend

  • Mo B

    So go ahead and destroy the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Red Fort, Agra Fort etc etc as they are symbols of Muslim conquest by the Mughals; oh wait we can’t do that as they bring us billions of rupees in tourism.
    Seriously if India keeps going the way it is it will become the laughting stock of the world.
    There are a lot of Hindus still in Pakistan, the ones that complain about discrimination are like the ones you have back home in India in billions, ; the dis franchised. These are the people who are lied to by the politicians that once we convert or get rid of the Muslims your lives will get better.
    Dream on.
    Pakistan is far from a bed of roses but it does not have institutionalised religious bigotry. Recommend

  • Concard_007

    “Pakistan is far from a bed of roses but it does not have institutionalised religious bigotry.”

    Good joke. That is why yesterday Christians were asked to convert to be let off in a case. As for as Hindus again you are a good comedian. Lot of Hindus who travel to India for tourism purposes stay put and never go back. They say Pakistan is bad for them. Go convince them to come back to Pakistan.Recommend

  • abhi

    Well written blog. I think Pakistan should take a lead and restore all the temples destroyed after partition and put in place some affirmative actions for minority. This will make Indian realise their mistakes.Recommend

  • abhi

    He said Hindus and Muslim cannot live togher in same country isn’t it?Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    Jinnah was worse. Just like Hitler, Jinnah used “religious” card for power grabbing which resulted into death of thousands and displacement of millions. Jinnah’s Pakistan is worse for minorities than Hitler’s Germany for “jews”.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    Muslims who fought against British , fought for their fiefdoms. The Muslims who fought for INDIA, could have been counted on fingers. Just check out the leaders of Muslim League and see how many of them were jailed by British in freedom fight. You would be surprised. As for Hindus being coward, well if all the 4 wars with India has not taught you a thing, then I don’t think you have capacity to learn.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    Is Pakistan not “ISLAMIC” republic??? It pretty much defines the nature of your country. More over One has to be a Pious Muslims as per artcile 62 of your constitution to hold any high post in Govt as if Non Muslims are not pious. Is it not bigotry???Recommend

  • vasan

    Remember “Direct Action Day” ?Recommend

  • vasan

    And also please remember what Abu Kalam Azad said about Partition.Recommend

  • Khwaja Khusro Tariq

    Please provide a source for this claim.Recommend

  • wb

    You see, you don’t have to ask someone to kill or rape another person to be instigating of violence.

    When you teach someone that someone else is a vile creature that will not leave us in peace and we cannot live with such vile creatures, as we are superior, you automatically promote hate and violence.Recommend

  • Khwaja Khusro Tariq

    I’m afraid none of those qualify as a call to violence. Not even close.Recommend

  • Raj

    To counter Hinduism… Muslims have shia and sunni…. Which was taken one step further by Pakistan… Shia, sunni, ahmedi, Punjabi, Sindhi, Bengali, behari, balochi, etc… CongratsRecommend

  • ab

    So it proves right that Indians are very narrow minded. if Pakistan was not created then Muslims would have been wiped out from India. Long live Pakistan. We are not like you.Recommend

  • Mike Pilgrim

    Hindu temples in Pakistan could end up being bulldozed.Recommend

  • LS

    Name 10 Muslim freedom fighters from what is pakistan today. I do not consider Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan as pakistani. He hated pakistan. He was an Afghan.Recommend

  • LS

    Tipu Sultan did not fight to free India for its freedom, he was fighting to save his kingdom. he himself butchered millions of Hindus. He had no interest in India. Participation of Muslims in 1857 was negligible. Bahadur Shah Jaffar was a token king and reported into Marathas. He was a puppet of Marathas. Recommend

  • LS

    Then why is that No non-muslim can occupy a top leadership position anywhere in pakistan by constitution?
    Why is that Ahmadia and other sects are discriminated by constitution?
    Why is that NOW after 70 years you are legalizing minority marriage laws?
    Why is that minorities are forced to recite “Kalma” in schools?

    Why is bigoted text books are used for teaching in your government schools?Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Khan Brothers did not hate the entity Pakistan, but were against the division of India on religious grounds. They were popular National figures among the Pashtuns and far advanced in their vision for the Indian people as a whole. Mr Jinnah had no vision but followed a quick remedy to overcome the muslim league discourse with Indian congress. This is history now. Mr Jinnahs villa can be trnfered to Karachi instead of destroying the remaining memory of the good old man.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Khwaja Khusro Tariq

    No. That is a strange and grossly incorrect assessment. Please read about Nawab Mahmoud Khan, Khan Bahadur etc. Also read about not just the common Muslim Indian but the hundreds of nawabs and noblemen who were killed during the rebellion.
    You might also benefit from reading about Bahadur Shah Zafar’s trial and the British charges against him.
    Please respond after at least a minimal amount of research.Recommend

  • ab1990

    we dont care. Pakistan has destroyed everything. what use are temples when there are no people?Recommend

  • Ravikant

    muslim mosques in india could also get bulldozed just as mosques are being destroyed in iraq, syria, yemen etcRecommend

  • Ravikant

    muslim are racist that is why they are being banned everywhere paksitan already broke in 71 when bangaldeshw as created. islam could not stop itRecommend

  • LS

    I am talking about Tipu and all those names you have put in the comment. You need to start comprehending things properly. Most of the Muslim Nawabs were protecting their fiefdoms during 1857 and had so significant contribution. Bahadur Shah Zafar simply wanted to become the ruler of India and NOT make India independent of British. That was his motivation for participating in 1857.. That was the MAIN reason for the failure of rebellion. No one cares about British Trial and charges against him…Recommend

  • Vishal Saurav

    If Pakistan is so concerned about ‘historical houses’, then why did it destroy Abbotabad mansion in which Bin Laden was found?? 50 years down the time, that mansion could have been tourist destination in Pakistan.
    Recommend