Six years after rubbing the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) the wrong way by remarking in Pakistan that its founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, was secular, BJP leader LK Advani has hinted that he hasn’t changed his position on the matter.
Commending a recent book written by senior journalist MJ Akbar on Pakistan, titled Tinderbox, Advani approvingly quoted the author’s perception that there is little support for Islamists in Pakistan and that the neighbouring country can still become a secular state if it overcomes its challenges from Islamist radicals.
Advani quotes Akbar in a blog: “Pakistan can become a stable, modern nation, but only if the children of the father of Pakistan, Jinnah, can defeat the ideological heirs of the godfather, Maududi.”
Advani writes in the blog: “This book makes this perceptive observation: “The debate in Pakistan about the role of Islam in its polity began while Jinnah was still alive. The father of Pakistan was challenged by the godfather of Pakistan, Maulana Maududi, founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami, and accurately described as the architect of the Islamist movement in South Asia and the most powerful influence on its development worldwide’.”
Though Advani made no mention of his own formulation on Jinnah, his quoting of Akbar - that too in a broadly approving tone rather than in disagreement - suggested that he sees Jinnah's vision of Pakistan as a "stable, modern" alternative to Maududi's vision of a society enforcing "Islamic purity" to the exclusion of other visions.
Advani's appreciation of Akbar's views run contrary to the RSS's position that Jinnah stood against its concept of Akhand Bharat. The RSS has been particularly sensitive to any praise for Pakistan's founder from its ranks.
Advani had earned the displeasure of the RSS and had to resign from the post of BJP president after his remarks on Jinnah.