Maulana Abul Kalam Azad made a default entry in India’s savagely polarised polls of 2019. Because the irrepressible Shatrughan Sinha made an awful faux pas at an election rally, where he included Jinnah, along with Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Indira and Rajiv, as “respected members of the Congress family who built our nation”.
This gave the BJP very potent grist for its “Congress is pro-Pakistan” propaganda – after all, if the founder of Pakistan was a cherished Congressman, then their allegation was irrefutable, right? Sinha had to beat a hasty retreat, saying it was a “slip of my tongue”. He had mistakenly said Jinnah, when he meant Maulana Azad.
But it’s almost impossible to confuse Jinnah with Azad, for they were diametrically opposite politicians. Frankly, I’ve often wondered why Maulana Azad figures so little in contemporary political discourse, while his peers like Nehru, Patel and Bose dominate.
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