The Urdu Press: Jinnah’s portrait

Roznama Khabrein’s editorial on May 5: "Critics of the Modi government say that the issue of Jinnah’s portrait is being raised to hide the government’s failures and divert the attention of people from the questions that have been raised in this respect."

Updated: May 11, 2018 12:09:00 am
 Mohammad Ali Jinnah Mohammad Ali Jinnah

Commenting on the controversy about Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait in the Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union hall, Roznama Khabrein’s editorial on May 5 notes, “Apparently there is nothing wrong in the demand as to why a portrait of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and the one responsible for the partition of India, should be hung anywhere in India. Why should there be an insistence on doing so? The demand should be accepted and the portrait should be removed. (But) Is this only a matter of Jinnah’s portrait? When the BJP-led Atal Bihari Vajpayee government held office at the Centre and the BJP held office in UP, the Jinnah portrait did not attract anyone’s attention. Why has this matter been given so much importance, now? Critics of the Modi government say that the issue of Jinnah’s portrait is being raised to hide the government’s failures and divert the attention of people from the questions that have been raised in this respect. Efforts are being made to generate heat in the (political) environment.. The matter of Jinnah’s portrait could have been resolved through dialogue and dispassionate discussion.”

Akhbar-e-Mashriq ‘s commentary on May 7 notes: “There is a tradition of hanging portraits of honorary life members in the Union Hall. Following this tradition, a portrait of Bapu Mahatma Gandhi was put up there. Jinnah’s portrait was also put up after he was conferred the life membership of the Union in 1938…Jinnah had also given some financial help when the institution was upgraded to a university.”

Sahafat’ s commentary on the same day asks: “Will the AMU controversy end with the removal of Jinnah‘s portrait? Would the university not be targeted by the BJP, Sangh and the communalists? Considered answers should be found to the question, whether the BJP is troubled by the Jinnah portrait or about the very existence of AMU?”

No discrimination
The success of Muslim candidates in the civil services examinations (51 out of 990 selected) has been the subject of much discussion. Jamaat-e- Islami’s bi-weekly, Daawat, in its commentary on May 4, notes: “The Sachar Committee had said in its report that the representation of Muslims in the administration was not more than three per cent. Following the report, the government paid some attention and made arrangement for free coaching for the UPSC’s competitive examinations. Muslims too took an interest in and started benefiting from these coaching centres. The results are now before us… The performance of Muslim candidates in the UPSC examinations has improved rapidly in the last four or five years… The percentage of successful Muslim candidates in 2013 was 3.03; that went up to 5.25 per cent in 2017… This is a great success of the largest minority of the country particularly because Muslims compete in the General Category. Their participation in the reserved category is minimal. They are not included in the SC category and their numbers are very small in the ST and OBC categories.”

Inquilab’s editorial on April 29 comments: “Surprisingly, girl students who are ahead of boys on all educational fronts choose traditional courses and degrees. Not even one per cent (Muslim) girls target competitive examinations… Marriage is the prime reason for them enroling for higher education. That is why such a small percentage of them appear in the competitive examinations. If that was not the case, the overall percentage of Muslim IAS and IPS officers would not have been as small as it is.”

All-India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul- Muslemeen’s Etamaad ran an interview (with a photograph) of Jameel Fatima Zeba of Hyderabad, who got the fourth position among the successful Muslim candidates in the country, on April 30. “It is wrong to suggest that Muslims receive discriminatory treatment at civil services examinations,” she says.

Restraining Biplab
Inquilab’ s editorial on May 4 comments on Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb’s statements: “Interestingly, none of these statements is less valuable than the other. These are absolutely original statements. Making such statements did not require reading books or perceiving people’s sentiments or feelings… People used to pearls of wisdom from Trump, Putin and others may wonder why they do not have a Biplab Deb in their countries… It is amazing that as a chief minister, Deb is involved in designing programmes to popularise Gandhiji’s teachings during the 150th anniversary of his birth. Why is the prime minister not controlling him?”

Munsif ’s editorial on May 1 notes: “The PM has advised unemployed youth to make pakodas. Now the Tripura chief minister has indicated a u-turn on the government’s resolve to provide employment to at least one member of each family by giving the bright advice to the unemployed to open paan shops… it is true that no vocation is big or small. But the question is: Why is the government not fulfilling its promise of providing employment to the unemployed?”

Siasat’s editorial on April 30 notes: “Already there is a campaign in the country against gutka and tobacco. There is need to strengthen this campaign and raise people’s consciousness. But by advising the youth to open paan shops, one is playing with their future… Senior BJP leaders, particularly the party’s president, Amit Shah and PM Modi, must issue a clarification: Should the youth hope for government jobs or peddle small articles on streets for their livelihood?”

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