Karan Johar’s Mughal epic

thanks to Sanjana..

LINK

“The film boasts of a massive star cast including Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar, Janhvi Kapoor and Anil Kapoor. While it has been reported that Vicky will play Aurangzeb and Ranveer will essay the role of his elder brother, Dara Shikoh, Kareena Kapoor Khan will play Jahanara Begum Sahib and Anil Kapoor is said to play their father Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal emperor.

Alia Bhatt is said to play Dara Shikoh’s wife, Begum Nadira Banu. They had a happy and successful marriage and Dara was so much in love with his wife that he never married anybody else after her. Vicky Kaushal plays Aurangzeb who married the feisty, spirited Dilras Banu Begum (her role is said to be played by Bhumi Pednekar), who was his first wife, chief consort and favourite, and died a year before he ascended the throne. Jahnavi Kapoor is said to play the role of a young slave girl, called Hira Bai, who Aurangzeb fell in love with. Hirabai died young and he was extremely affected by her death. Aurangzeb also had a favourite concubine, Udaipuri Bai.”

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51 Responses to “Karan Johar’s Mughal epic”

  1. This is certainly an unusual project for Johar even if he seems to be too much in Bhansali’s footsteps.

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    • Vicky Kaushal as Aurangzeb is an interesting choice, and fresh (in the sense that I felt Ranveer Singh might turn up to play Aurangzeb as another version of his idiotic Khilji).

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  2. In a tweet, Karan had described the movie as, “An incredible story embedded in history… An epic battle for the majestic Mughal throne… A story of a family, of ambition, of greed, of betrayal, of love & of succession… TAKHT is about WAR for LOVE…”

    https://www.hindustantimes.com/bollywood/takht-kareena-kapoor-plays-jahanara-ranveer-singh-is-dara-shikoh-and-anil-kapoor-s-shahjehan/story-v1ZBZkp3Dy3onp5obP79FL.html

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    • I like everything about this film. Story, cast & I’m sure music will be good but it’s not really Kjo’s genre so let’s see what he can conjure up.

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  3. IdeaUnique Says:

    bollywood’s fascination with Moghul kings continue….Akbar, Aurangjeb, Allauddin…….

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  4. Dara Shukoh(Ranveer Singh) will be shows as extremely positive (Ram) whereas Aurangzeb(Vicky Kaushal) will be extremely negative (Raavan) something on the lines of Padmaavat. Movie ends with the proclaim that if Dara Shukoh was the successor, India would have been better than it was with Aurangzeb. Not surprising movie for the current trend of India and Bollywood.

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    • Refer this post of mine and refer in 2020 when movie releases!

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    • You’re probably right but even this would be controversial as from a certain perspective a Muslim ruler of India is by definition a villain irrespective of anything else .

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    • A guy who imprisoned his own father, murdered his elder brother, burnt Guru Tegh Bahadur alive in boiling oil and ordered his severed head not to be removed, ordered the destruction of the Kailasa Temple (a temple built out of a single monolith) and re-introduced a tax on people for being non-muslim. What could possibly be wrong about this guy?

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  5. I haven’t liked anything by Karan Johar in a long time. His attempts at deconstruction are very self-conscious. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was a wet blanket. His segment in Lust Stories was unconvincing and Vicky Kaushal had a poorly written role.

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  6. It is amazing that folks are discussing the ‘current climate’ of India owing to which this film would end up in controversy thanks to the intolerant times in India. [It’s better I stop enclosing intolerant in quotes; it’s really become pedestrian and any Dick is using it in today’s context].

    The winner here is Karan Johar. How can anyone attribute political thinking and history to this man? The very fact that he has chosen a ‘historical’ project is a blasphemy of the highest order. Why? Because we know how his cinematic mind operates. This is going to be Karan Johar’s history; not India’s history. In the name of ‘one of my most personal movies’ he made ADHM and landed up neither in Imtiaz land nor KJo land. It was a bloody chicken meal mixed with salad. He destroyed — and by that I mean he enabled– AGNEEPATH’s inner angst with a visually appealing movie but one that missed the ENTIRE point of the original. And the less said about SAIRAT, the better. If he can enable the destruction of a movie set in present-times like SAIRAT, imagine what he can do with a historical one!!

    If this were a movie planned by directors of integrity like Mani or Rajamouli or Manjule or B.R. Chopra [RIP] or even a Bhansali, I would have been all over this one. And the reason I mention Bhansali is only because he has TRUE passion for the grandiloquent cinema of yesteryears. He too is no true-blue stickler to history but none of us — at least that I know of — go to his movies to learn history. Cut that out, and he will have half his fans out of favor. Look at the choice of heroines – Alia? Jahnavi Kapoor? Kareena Kapoor? If this doesn’t reek of campism, what does? Even the choice of Bhumi Pednekar is questionable and stereotypical: Fiesty anyone? The only trick he seems to have pulled off is casting Ranveer Singh as Dara Shikoh, one of the most pacifist and scholarly rulers of the dynasty and reasonably on par with Akbar as far as actively enhancing Indo-Islamic is considered: That this is a polar opposite role to that of Khilji and it will be an interesting challenge for the actor, and might be that conclusive one to prove whether Ranveer indeed has the range or whether he’s just about manic-energy all over. [Of course, he has shown some glimpses of it in LOOTERE — but that’s not enough.]

    For all his missteps and the massive disaster that Ramu’s RGVKA was, his intention was entirely the love for a cinema of the caliber and scale of SHOLAY and the twinkle in Ramu’s eyes when he talks of SHOLAY would attest to that: That, no one can take from him. Karan, on the other hand, has the $ symbol shining in eyes whenever he opens his eyes.

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    • But this isn’t about Johar’s qualities as a filmmaker nor even about whether he’s being cynical here. Clearly he’s following in Bhansali’s footsteps. Obviously this is a surprise coming from him. However the point is about the subject and itself and how easily ‘controversy’ is manufactured in India around these subjects. And people at every end who wouldn’t be able separate history from grandma’s bedtime stories suddenly get involved in the most fierce debates on these things. JA would have seen much worse had it released when Padmavati did. Of course Johar is probably cynical even here. He’d be disappointed not to get the controversy! It helps the gross and it would help him to say he’d made an edgy film. With Dara Shikoh you can play the syncretistic card. But even that isn’t acceptable. To make a film in today’s India with a Muslim ruler (anyone!) is definitionally barred. there is no good Muslim-bad Muslim polarity that can be ‘sold’. The only question then revolves around how much trouble can be created. Ranveer Singh should be careful. Too many Muslim kings and someone might notice! Other than this hopefully Johar picks the right release date. He wouldn’t want competition from the latest weekend lynching. A tolerant society should always have a place for all kinds of entertainment..

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      • ” Too many Muslim kings and someone might notice! ”

        It will happen sooner or later especially if he’s playing ‘good’ muslim in Takht unlike Khiji. It happened with Hrithik right after his huge entry he played Amaan & Altaaf and both muslim terrorist with heart and he got threats to not play sympathetic muslim characters anymore. He hasn’t played one except the Akbar later down the road.

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        • IdeaUnique Says:

          why no one is choosing Hindu kings like Vikram or Ashok (SRK’s version was anything but authentic – he screwed it big time) or Janak or PrIthviraj Chauhan or….well there are hundreds of brave kings who were rulers…..why?

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          • Wait, didn’t they just make film called Padmaavat? And Bajirao Mastani? And there are tons of TV serials featuring Prithviraj Chauhan and other kings you seem to want to focus on!

            Aside: you can’t discount Asoka because it “wasn’t authentic”: what popular film would be? (Was Bajirao Mastani?)

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          • IdeaUnique Says:

            Padmaavat was more about her and Khilji, Ashoka was a fiasco – i am intrigued with the non-fascniation of Indian origin kings…why? serials are different ball-games – i m talking about more films like Baahubali – would like to have more like that….

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          • Agreed on Padmavat and Asoka. The first was more about Padmavat and Khilji while SRK’s Asoka was anything but an historical epic. It was a low budget period drama with a fictitious love story at the very base.

            I think there were rumours of a Prithviraj Chauhan project with Akshay Kumar recently but we have heard nothing since. Dwivedi has been planning it with Sunny Deol for more than a decade. Hope it gets made finally.

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    • 50’s were great time thanks to ‘libeal’ Nehru. Just in 30 seconds Anand destroys the biggest bubble Nehru created by left
      +media in post Ind India.

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        • Of course, after all the Nehru baiting, there isn’t a word on Savarkar, who begged for forgiveness from the British and promised to work on their behalf, if he were released from Kaala Paani. And he delivered on his promise. Not to mention he was a co-accused in the murder of the Mahatma and to re-iterate, got away on a technicality.

          Not a word about how Shyama Prasad Mukherjee who aligned with the Muslim League to form a government in Bengal after the Congress had boycotted the elections as a mark of protest in the early 40s.

          But hey, let’s paint Nehru as the bad guy!

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          • Oh and the anti-liberal Nehru invited Shyama Prasad Mukherjee to be in his cabinet as the minster for Industries and Supplies. A former president of the Hindu Mahasabha working in Nehru’s cabinet. Must have been really dark times…

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          • Yes. He begged coz he was sent to Kaala pani to die and not lodged in house arrests and posh jails and if one uses rational grey cells, we know why.

            Same Nehru went all way to defeat Ambedkar. Do read on that to what length they went.
            It gives me joy when one comment gets to nerves of Nehru worshippers and how they start labelling everyone and proving so called liberals are most illiberals and fanatics.
            Nehru is not above board and every person/event needs to re-evaluated but Nehru fans can’t bear it as they fear skeltons tumbling out …
            Yes same Nehru jailed 19 yr old Majhrooh for criticisng him and same Nehru brought 1st amendment to curb FoS for ever in India laying foundation for dysfubctional democracy.

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          • I suppose he got so pissed off for not being sent to a posh jail that he plotted to kill Gandhi thereafter.

            A call to kill the PM of the country, less than 2 years after Gandhi’s killing, is of course just ‘criticism’.

            Please keep the jokes coming.

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          • Its a fact that Nehru divided India for the chair, and conveniently blamed Jinnah for it. Nehru was the Mr Moneybags of Congress. Motilal was the richest benefactor of the Congress. The Opulence of his mansions in Allahabad and Delhi are an index to the kind of money (and influence) that the Nehrus had access to. The Congress party had to follow his diktats bcoz of such financing. So even when Patel beat him in Party President elections, Gandhi was forced to ask Patel to step down in favor of Nehru.

            Jinnah tried for 20 yrs to get some sensible formulation to protect Muslim rights. Any such formulation wouldve diluted Nehru’s ultimate power, which he did not want. Even the RSS sided with Jinnah in various provincial assemblies in the 1935-45 period, bcoz they feared partition. They had an inkling of what was to come, had Jinnah not been accommodated.
            Nehru Worshippers can never understand the pain of partition. For personal power, Nehru would do anything to keep Jinnah out. Had there been any sort of accommodation with Jinnah, at least the country would not be divided. That was the logic used by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. So, yes off course, he aligned with JInnah to form a government in Bengal. What else could he do to prevent the division of India.
            But Nehru never agreed. He was a spring chicken in age compared to Jinnah, Gandhi and Patel all of whom had one leg in their graves ( and all died within 3 yrs of Independence). Nehru only had to wait it out. Jinnah, the sickest of the 3 oldies, finally got tired, and called for Direct Action Day in 1946. There was mass rioting, killings and vitiating of communal harmony.
            Yet Nehru did not relent. He would not give in.
            Faced with an existential crisis, all 4 stalwarts agreed to Partition, the most ill conceived of mass migrations in human history, that uprooted millions, killed millions, and left a contiguous sub continent in 3 pieces, with populations not given access to basic human rights and dignities. And full of unscruplous politicians, religion-mongers, corrupt bureaucrats permanently ruling over ordinary lives. This has forced 40million South Asians to migrate to other countries, and begrudgingly work productively tocontribute to those economies (from running the Oil in GCC to the Tech in the West), while the entire sub continent gasps for dignified life.

            The simple fact is this: The House of Nehru is a curse on South Asia, and this house will divide, sub-divide, sub-sub-divide to infinity, just to keep its fangs on power, that has bestowed unrivaled perks to this House. Nehru was the Last Badshaah of India. Without any moral burden on his soul, or an eye to keep a watch on him, he lived like a King, while hypocritically denying post-independence privy purses to all the erstwhile Rajas-Maharajas. Consider a small incident of this opulent lifestyle: Nehru once had his favorite Cigarettes flown down from Delhi to Bhopal, just because he forgot to take them on a visit to Bhopal!! And Mr Socialism thought this was all right. Who could question him after all? Gandhi, Patel, Azad, Jinnah were all dead and gone; leaving him the vast prizes of unbridled power to enjoy.

            Yet Nehru Worshippers go on and on. The Partition didn’t have to happen, and 70 years of misery bestowed on this sub-continent did not have to happen. All save for the House of Nehru.

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          • Too much hatred for Nehru. If it were reserved for his daughter and her off springs, I could still understand. That too is bad for one’s health, but still…

            Fact is, he was the 2nd most popular leader in the country after Gandhi. Sardar Patel, better or not, did not stand a chance against him. Plus he had cancer. Sardar Patel himself admitted that people came to see Nehru, not him.

            Nehru spent 15 years in jail. He didn’t have to spend a single day, given his aristocratic background, but he did. How could he have known that spending 15 years in jail would one day confer rewards? Had there been no WWII, the British would not have left India. He could have died in jail for nothing.

            Moreover, Nehru wasn’t behind the Hindu-Muslim riots of 1946. That pretty much paved the way for the two-nation theory.

            As for the rest, in 1934, the Congress formed the largest party and wasn’t interested in sharing seats with the Muslim League that came second. By 1945, the Muslim league failed to win a single seat outside the Muslim constituencies. Gandhi suggested Jinnah as prime minister if it would keep India unified, a proposition that would have been profoundly undemocratic.

            How could Jinnah be the PM of an undivided India? It would have led to even more killings, more bloodshed. In the long run.

            Oh and Nehru, the divider, wrote The Discovery of India while in jail. As to what constituted his personal spending habits, I couldn’t care less.

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          • One redditer posed this open challenge for all Nehru bashers: Name 3 founding fathers, in the past century, who did a better job for their country compared to Nehru. The results will surprise you!

            Open challenge to all Nehru bashers – name three founding fathers, in past century, who did a better job for their country than what JLN did for India

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          • I think Nehru did what was good initially but India’s “Hindu rate of growth” could be attributed to initial license raj setup and Indira Gandhi.

            https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-at-70-a-comparison-of-progress-with-pakistan-and-4-other-nations-here/story-UEIuCPfvjOFE4U3aFHaIYI.html

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          • That’s precisely the point. I’m not even a great fan of Nehru! I have myself argued against his economic policies several times with Satyam.

            But I just don’t get the blatant propaganda and hatred reserved for Nehru. I have my own reasons as to what’s really behind it, but that’s a different debate.

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          • On the economy, let’s also distinguish the growth rates and the overall size of the bureaucracy in the Nehru years, from the Indira years — IMO the latter was the true economic disaster (it wasn’t Nehru who nationalised the banks or the coal mines etc. etc., and it is hardly his fault that she did so). The So-called “Hindu rate of growth” was also a legacy of the Indira years, not of the Nehru years — and alas on the social and political fronts, she had hardly any of her father’s virtues. That she is so fondly remembered today is largely down to the fact that our bourgeoisie loves figures with an authoritarian bent, and of course the fact that she led India to victory in 1971 (aside: we now know how cautious and reluctant she was, and one could argue her hand was forced by the implications of the Bengal genocide for India’s position in West Bengal).

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          • For those who think this whole thing is about who got to be PM, I’m afraid they do not understand Jinnah and what he was about. And for those who think this sort of designation-by-communal identity is a recipe for stability, well one might want to consider the history of Lebanon.

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          • Nykavi: as a reading of history this is astounding (more fantasy than history to be honest); it’s remarkable to me how many in India are willing to absolve Jinnah of any agency whatsoever. This isn’t about being pro-Jinnah or pro-Nehru or anti-either: it’s about a sophisticated understanding of human motivation and psychology, and sensitivity to the historical context. Nothing in the careers of either Jinnah or Nehru even remotely suggests that the partition could have been made/unmade based on who became PM. Indeed (speaking of Patel) Azad himself wrote that his experience in the unity government of 1946, with Liaqat Ali Khan vetoing everything, convinced him that partition was inevitable.

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          • PS — the idea that the decades leading to 1947 are basically about Jinnah struggling to secure proper representation for Muslims in India,* and “moneybags” Nehru thwarting him because he wanted to be PM, is reminiscent of some serious revisionist propaganda (I note that even many progressives in India — so intent on debunking the “mainstream” Congressi view of history everyone has been force-fed in school — jump to swallow this hook, line and sinker). The likes of Ayesha Jalal and others have popularized this notion that the demand for Pakistan was simply a negotiating tactic — now, let’s accept for the sake of argument that this is true (and personally, I consider it indubitable that the responsibility for partition does not rely ENTIRELY on any one party: the Hindu Right, the Congress nationalists, and above all the British government, all bear responsibility, as does the Muslim League; heck, while they didn’t have power so can’t be considered as determining any outcome, even the Communists did not cover themselves with glory, in their blind, slavish adherence to the most UN-Marxist, un-communist line put out by Stalin on “national self-determination”), but then what does it tell us about the sort of politics that is being practiced, about the deep and abiding cynicism of the man leading this effort? If today someone says “the demand for a Ram mandir in Ayodhya was simply a way for me to exert pressure on the system, to secure political advantage, I don’t ACTUALLY believe in it”, would we not conclude that such a politician must be a truly devious fellow, one devoid of scruple? Yet when it comes to (e.g.) Jinnah one sees even many liberals rushing to accept such a story, while simultaneously absolving him of any moral culpability. One can’t have it both ways.

            [Aside: the more time passes, and the long working out of Partition’s consequences in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh become clearer and clearer (some of those consequences now coming to fruition in India at some delay, vis-a-vis its two midnight siblings), the more I find that Azad and Gandhi were the most prescient on what partition would mean. Everyone else, be it Ambedkar, Nehru, Patel, could not match that level of insight.]

            *[I do not suggest that seeking to secure representation for Muslims in pre-1947 India was not a worthy goal. But doing so not by seeking an expansion of the franchise, or by trying to speak “for” subaltern communities (as, e.g., Ambedkar was doing) but by re-casting the debate in terms of the sort of blood-and-spirit community identitarianism favored by… I guess so so many then and now, is something that I find profoundly alienating — and I find it profoundly alienating whether it is practiced by Muslim Leaguers then/Pakistanis now, or Sanghis then and now.]

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        • I don’t think it was written by this particular MP..Initially I thought he may wanted to join Punjab Congress for 2019 election; But wherever his name is explicitly used he is toeing BJP line.

          https://punjabkesari.com/category/editorial/

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      • Commonwealth ka daas hai Nehru
        maar le saathii jaane na paae!

        This is a call to kill Nehru. For the communist cause. Two years after the Mahatma was murdered in broad-day light.

        And so the subsequent incarceration of Sultanpuri, which he avoided for a couple of years by going underground, becomes evidence of Nehru’s anti-liberal stance? Wow, just wow.

        On second thoughts, last I heard Ashwin wasn’t doing that well at Lord’s. The Indian team could do with some spin doctors at short notice.

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  7. Expecting Baahubali from bollywood is wishful thinking. History cant be touched because some groups will stall the film, ask for bans etc. Fiction needs imagination and culture. Telugu film industry of fictional king stories was not built in a day. It is a sort of parampara which lasted for years until the advent of action films started dominating the scene. Baahubali sort of revived it but I dont think it can replace the usual stuff even in telugu film industry. It is a package of comedy, melodrama, heroes unlike Slb films which specialises in lovestories even in historical dramas.

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  8. Such a big film from kjo and no srk? Darling adi has also said no dhoom for srk unless zero makes some money … oh dear!

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    • Glad that ranveer has bagged this one. Some other high profile films he may get if simba works well are dhoom4 and bhansali’s next.

      Sad that ranbir has chickened out of this, such a pussy he is. But great deal for vicky kaushal.

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  9. “..For those who think this whole thing is about who got to be PM, I’m afraid they do not understand Jinnah and what he was about..”

    At least he was not a bearded muttawah mullah! The guy was a rich well-dressed/coiffed cigar-chomping dude, in fact a complimentary Muslim Nehru (ie before Nehru started wearing Khadis to prove his Gandhiism). Both of them had similar wealthy backgrounds, wealthy tastes, and off course a consequential strive for power in the emerging political landscape of early 1900s India. The Congress circa early 1900s, was an experimental political organization, one which was dominated by upper-caste Hindus, all being driven by hefty Nehru financing. Its like what the BJP was in the 80s-90s, except for a single family center. So off course, they would not give any space to Jinnah or people of his ilk. That he used this rejection to expand the Muslim League was indeed the biggest failing of the Congress Experiment. All Jinnah wanted in the beginning was representation, and by denying him such, the Congress only fanned the fires of the separatists. Jinnah had nothing in common with the ML fundamentalists, yet he willingly cavorted to that side, just so he too could have a piece of the large pie which was to be left behind by the British.
    I may go overboard in attributing Nehru’s lust for power in trying to avoid partition, but the fact is that the historical trajectory of events from the early 1900s to 1947 cannot be simply wished away without an understanding of the power dynamics which drove these two men.
    For long after 1947, Nehru’s acolytes in the Press, academia, literature etc took a line on not discussing Partition. They suppressed the emanation of facts, with the cynical logic that such discussion would revive the pain. It was almost like denying the Holocaust. They also propagated the line that this separation was inevitable. Well, Partition was NOT inevitable, and the true cost of this exercise can now be evaluated with the past 70+ years of war, corruption, sycophancy, poverty and humiliation borne by the populations of this broken sub-continent.
    The entire Two Nation Theory can be debunked by the simple contemporary reality of what goes on in the GCC, where you have people from all religions working together in symbiotic economies. They enjoy greater dignities, even though they do not have absolute rights. A undivided sub-continent would have had counter-balances between Muslim and Hindu majority areas, with protections for minorities, much greater than what minorities in these 3 countries now enjoy.
    Off course, hindsight is always 20/20; and so without any of this Dream coming true, we can only pack our bags, get that foreign passport and enjoy serving foreign masters, who will never ever treat us South Asians as one of them.

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    • My question is: how could Nehru have known that 40 years down the line he would become the PM? How could he have plotted so elaborately to win this ultimate prize? Why bother at all, when life was pretty good for him and his family?

      40 years is a lot of time. It’d require an absolute miracle for an infinite number of possibilities to converge into one possible outcome.

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    • RE: “At least he was not a bearded muttawah mullah! The guy was a rich well-dressed/coiffed cigar-chomping dude…”

      There’s a lot for me to disagree with here, but this line in particular is interesting: the implicit assumption here is that the “mullahs”, i.e. the religious, were more likely to be “separatist” than the “well-dressed/coiffed cigar-chomping dude”. That is historically backward, and betrays one’s own contemporary class bias (that would prefer the cigar-chomper to the real or imagined “muttawah mullah”): actually it was the “modernists” who were more likely to be susceptible to this sort of nationalism (this isn’t unique to Muslim politics), whereas, at least up until a point, the “traditionalists” were more likely to be skeptical of something like the two-nation theory. One finds a (facile, but it’ll do for these purposes) fitting representation of this in the politicos of the moment: Iqbal and, later on, Jinnah, were exemplary modernists, and both were susceptible to this sort of notion of politics; Azad, the Deoband-educated maulana, was most certainly not. I wrote on this a long time ago, and while the piece is a bit dated (in that I might calibrate some things differently now), I still stand by the central point.

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    • Re: “A undivided sub-continent would have had counter-balances between Muslim and Hindu majority areas, with protections for minorities, much greater than what minorities in these 3 countries now enjoy.”

      Since I’ve spent a fair amount of time on disagreement (and on the overweening amount you attribute to Nehru’s agency in the decades leading up to partition, when he hardly had the sort of Olympian stature he acquired in the 1950s; heck even if we agreed on what psychologically drove Nehru and Jinnah — we do not — he simply wasn’t as powerful as you seem to think, perhaps a back-handed compliment to the great man’s stature seen from our vantage point), only fair to point out the opposite: I agree completely with this. And by the way, one doesn’t need the GCC to de-bunk the two-nation theory: closer to home, 1971 will do! Of course, some things are irreparable, so the fact that the two-nation theory was de-bunked did not lead to any renovation of an idea that might have animated a pre-1947 India (Bangladesh was formed, East Pakistan did not merge with India). [Aside: for a long time the Indian complacency was to believe that Partition was a horrible thing that happened TO us, but not something that materially changed us in any way: this was in fact Nehru’s true fiction, a noble and grand one, but ultimately un-true, the fiction that we can simply carry on as we would have had it not happened — I love Sunil Khilnani’s phrase calling partition “the unspoken sadness at the heart of the idea of India.” The reality is that India and Pakistan are both post-partition states, in India the logic of the partition has taken longer to manifest itself (delayed, no doubt, and perhaps irrevocably shaped by Nehru), but manifested it most certainly is (the Bangladesh example is under-studied, but is the most fascinating, inhabiting as it does an ambiguous position “between” Pakistan and India where logic of partition is concerned).]

      The true success of colonialism, its ability to efface its own violence, its own complicity, may be gauged by the fact that the once-colonized reserve most of their bile for each other, and have warm relations with Britain (the same point could be made of other countries, other former colonial overlords as well). Honestly believe India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh need to jointly commemorate (and mourn) on August 16, the day the Radcliffe boundary awards were announced — whatever one’s views on partition, the way these were announced, the violence they contributed to as people did not know “where they were”, is disgusting, a history for which, barring a few academics, hardly anyone calls Britain to account.

      I suppose this can only be appreciated as a question of historical genealogy: nationalism is a Western idea, one that came to large swathes of the world in the form of colonialism; the latter was also the primary vehicle for modernity, and in no former colony could the inheritors be completely hostile to the very tradition and imperium that had created the very idea of the nation, the very state, that the resisters were inheriting! This is as true of the socialists, of the Muslim nationalists, the Hindu nationalists, the Arab nationalists, you name it…

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  10. “..Indeed (speaking of Patel) Azad himself wrote that his experience in the unity government of 1946, with Liaqat Ali Khan vetoing everything, convinced him that partition was inevitable…”
    Sure, it became inevitable in 1946, when the genie (the ML) had already been uncorked. All the Congress actions of the previous 3 decades had set the ball rolling, such that a few wealthy landowners from the North West were able to create a Monster that gobbled up half of India. And now, after 70+ years of having a large pie to themselves, they will never ever relinquish it to any of the serfs whom they control. Captains will come and go, but rights of people will never be manifested.

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  11. If you hate Nehru you can call it lust for power. Otherwise you can call it a desire to make the country great according to one’s vision. Only through power one can get the vision implemented. Even BJP wanted power to implement its vision through power.
    Rajeev Gandhi did not want that power but he was pushed into it and lost his life because of some decisions. Indira Gandhi wanted power because she was a fighter and wanted to prove a point to her detractors. Vajpayeeji was different and he followed his own interpretation of Rajdharma. If Jinnah was that good why did he make Pakistan an Islamic republic instead of a secular country? What did he fear?

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