30 July, 2021

Jinnah Unbottled? Not Yet.

Wolpert recycled, with little that's not already been said about the man

Jinnah Unbottled? Not Yet.

Rafiq Zakaria seeks to provide an insight into the mind of Mohammad Ali Jinnah who "single-handedly created Pakistan", yet doesn’t cite a shred of unpublished or original evidence in support of his often contradictory conclusions. The disquiet is all the greater as there is not a single annotated reference to the monumental work on Jinnah, the man, and Pakistan, the idea, by world-renowned historians like Khurshid Kamal Aziz and Ayesha Jalal who have demolished many myths about Partition in India and Pakistan. In fact, Zakaria’s excessive reliance on Stanley Wolpert’s popular biography of Jinnah—I counted nearly 40 references to him alone in a tally of 223—makes the new addition to "partition literature" rather passe.

Maybe the author was more concerned about flogging his own personal prejudices instead of helping exorcise our historical ghosts. He admits candidly in the preface to the book that his wife Fatma advised him against the project. "I think you should leave Jinnah alone for a while," she mused,...

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