Previous post HERE.
The other thing to note -- and that has gone largely unremarked in the English-language Indian media -- is that, while Jaswant Singh holds Nehru responsible for ensuring partition by insisting on a centralized state (rather than being sympathetic to, as he put it to CNN-IBN's Karan Thapar, the Muslim desire for an adequate space within the Indian political system), he seems to have drawn the opposite lesson from this than one might have expected. In his interview with Thapar, Singh went on to express hostility towards the whole idea of reservations, warning that they might herald a further partition of the country. One would have thought that Jaswant Singh's own claims about the historical record would make precisely the opposite point, namely that resisting such demands might have grave implications for the Indian polity. Evidently, Singh's stick is only good to beat Nehru with -- not to stir the contemporary status quo pot.
[The disconnect undermines Singh's historical argument in a different way as well, by shedding light on his caste-shaped blind spots. In his interview, Singh (rightly) pointed to the aftermath of the 1937 provincial elections in British India as a watershed -- the Congress' breach of faith with the Muslim League convinced the latter that the absolutism of the former meant it was determined not to allow non-Congress political formations any space -- and suggests that this demonstrated to the Muslim League that even contesting elections would not be enough to safeguard Muslim interests. On the contrary, the Congress' short-sighted cynicism (and lack of ethics) aside, the lesson Jaswant Singh wishes to draw (and that the Muslim League did draw) has not been borne out by history. That is, the rise to power and prominence of various regional "lower-caste" formations in recent years, typically turning on electoral coalitions between Muslim voters and particular caste-groupings, offers a glimpse of the road not taken by the League, a road that might well have yielded far greater dividends in the context of an un-divided India than of the post-1947 Indian union. Of course, given the disproportionate influence of ashrafi Urdu-speaking elites in the Muslim League; not to mention of the landlord classes; that was one of the least likely roads for the Muslim League (in short, the latter countered the Congress' ambition not by attempting to subvert it -- as the Left, Periyar, the Punjab Unionist Party, wittingly and unwittingly, and in their own ways, all sought to do -- but by positing a rival totalizing principle, a rival nationalism. That sort of competitive absolutism inevitably raised the temperature, and made compromise less and less likely). Jaswant Singh's continuing blindness and insensitivity to the caste/class question -- i.e. the fact that it apparently plays no role in his study of Jinnah, and the fact that the great lesson Singh appears to have drawn is that reservations are divisive -- over six decades after 1947, shows how little he has learnt.]