Punjab Research Group

Jinnah re-visited, thank you Jaswant Singh by Beena Sarwar

Posted in News/Information by Pippa on November 6, 2011

Generations have grown up in India and Pakistan fed on distorted versions of history. Attempts to counter these versions don’t go down too well at home, as Jaswant Singh​ found out when he challenged the Indian version that lays the entire blame for the Partition on the shoulders of Mohammad Ali Jinnah​, ignoring the parts played by Jawaharlal Nehru​, the Congress and the British.

Ironically, while eulogising the country’s founder as the Quaid-e-Azam or Great Leader, Pakistan has also censored him, sweeping aside his guiding principles, secularism and insistence on justice and constitutionalism. Similarly, in India, Mahatma Gandhi​ is eulogised while his guiding principles and insistence on non-violence are made increasingly irrelevant.
Each side conveniently forgets the extremisms of its dominant faith. Hindu extremism existed well before 1947 (remember who killed Gandhi) as did Muslim extremism, particularly since 1857, when the British drove a wedge between the two religious communities. Both continue to feed off each other.

Official textbooks, policies or public discourse ignore the findings of scholars like Mubarik Ali, Ayesha Jalal​ and KK Aziz in Pakistan, and Romila Thapar​, KN Panikkar and Sumit Sarkar in India whose work is based on solid research and facts rather than emotive myths. There is no official support for a joint history project.

Read full article: http://www.hardnewsmedia.com/2009/09/3225

Also see review of Jaswant Singh, Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence by Farina Mir on H-net. follow link: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=30415

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PRG Meeting June 2011 – Royal Holloway

Posted in PRG Meetings by Pippa on October 31, 2011

The meeting was kindly hosted by Ali Usman Qasmi, Royal Holloway.


F. M. Bhatti, Independent Researcher
‘Sikh Pilgrims to the Punjab Pakistan: cultural change, revival and change’

Hassan Javid, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology,
London School of Economics and Political Science
‘Land and Power: The Politics of Space in the Punjab Canal Colonies, 1886-1926’


Margaret Walton-Roberts Director, International Migration Research Centre Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario
‘Transnational arbitragers: immigration brokers and new processes and patterns of India-Canada diasporic reproduction’

Virinder Kalra, Department of Sociology, University of Manchester
‘Gugga Pir as the Hybrid Norm’


Elisabetta Iob, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, Royal Holloway
‘“The sword of Heaven is not in haste to smite/Nor yet doth linger”: the rise of the Muslim League in Malik Barkat Ali and Muhammad Ali Jinnah private correspondence’

Pseudo-Scholarship

Posted in Book reviews by Pippa on September 14, 2009

Jaswant Singh’s controversial book on Jinnah has nothing new to offer, except some rare photographs. It is significant only because it rudely and perhaps unexpectedly exposed the tussles within the top ranks of the BJP leadership.

C.M. Naim

With due apology to every Pathan in the world, I must start with a “Pathan” joke. A Pathan came down into the plains to visit with a friend. The friend treated him to qalaqand. The Pathan loved the chunky, grey-white sweet so much that the next day he went looking for it in the market. Unfortunately he couldn’t remember the name, and so when he saw a man selling what looked like qalaqand, he pointed to it and bought some. As he started eating he found himself in terrible agony, for what he had bought was home-made soap. Seeing his anguished look and the foam trickling out of his mouth, a man asked, “What’s the matter, Khan? What are you eating?” Gasping for breath, the Pathan retorted, “What do you think? Khan is eating his money.” 

Read the full article: http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?261816

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Prof. Jagan Nath Azad: Creator of Pakistan’s First National Anthem by Adil Najam

Posted in Articles by Pippa on June 9, 2009

I am ashamed that until recently I did not know who Jagan Nath Azad was, or what he did. I am glad that I now know. I hope you are too.

First, the basics: Jagannath Azad (1918-2004) was an Urdu poet, a Punjabi Hindu, and a scholar of Iqbal’s poetry who, on the direct invitation of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, wrote Pakistan’s first national anthem, which remained Pakistan’s official anthem for its first year-and-half and whose first lines were as follows:

Aé sarzameené paak
Zarray teray haéñ aaj sitaaroñ se taabnaak
Roshan haé kehkashaañ se kaheeñ aaj tayree khaak
Aé sarzameené paak

 Jagan Nath Azad was born in 1918 in Isa Khel in the Punjab (later of Atta Ullah Khan Eesakhelvi fame), he studied at Gordon College in Rawalpindi, and the University of the Punjab in Lahore. At the time of partition in 1947, he was a journalist and a poet living in Lahore. Mr.  Jinnah asked him to write a new national anthem for Pakistan. The anthem was used for 18 months, until it was replaced (after Mr. Jinnah’s death). Some time after writing the national anthem, he migrated to India, where from 1977 to 1980 he was a Professor of Urdu and head of Urdu department at the Unversity of Jammu. Prof. Azad was a noted authority on the works of Dr. Allama Mohammad Iqbal. He was awarded the President of Pakistan’s gold medal for his services to Urdu literature.

Read full article: http://pakistaniat.com/2009/06/05/jagannath-azad/

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