Having never set eyes on the land he was called to partition
Between two people fanatically at odds,
With their different diets and incompatible gods.
He got down to work, to the task of settling the fate
The map at his disposal were out of date
And the Census Returns almost certainly incorrect,
But is seven weeks it was done, the frontiers decided,
A continent for better or worse divided.
“Partition” by W H Auden.
Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a British administrator, was given the monumental task of laying down the borders between the 2 new states. The boundaries were carved out and the final document kept in Mountbatten’s safe. Mountbatten chose to disclose the formal partition of the cub-continent two days after independence with the terrible consequence of hundreds of thousands of people becoming stranded on the wrong side of the borders to be victims of the most unbridled savagery witnessed on the planet. The partition holocaust has few parallels in history and unlike Nazi crimes, which were state were state driven, common people turned against one another with utmost barbarity in the summer and autumn of 1947. Friend slaughtered friend, and neighbor killed neighbor in cold blood.
Mr. Jinnah held a banquet on 13th August, while the senior leaders of the Congress party celebrated independence on 15th August 1947. Gandhi however chose to stay away in a dilapidated crumbling house in Calcutta pleading with local inhabitants to refrain from violence and looting. Ironically he had Suhrawardy for company this time. It is to the immense credit of Gandhi that he managed to keep the lid on a volatile Calcutta for some days. Gandhi was by now isolated, and in deep anguish over the “vivisection” of India. The young pragmatic guns of the Congress, albeit deeply concerned by the rioting, had the onerous task of administering India. Mountbatten was to say that the “one man army” of Gandhi achieved what the 50,000 police and military force could not in the Punjab.
Jinnah was manifestly physically unfit to govern the newly formed state of Pakistan. He lungs were by now largely consumed by tuberculosis. He would not seek medical consultation and preferred to continue with his image of the iron man, the Great Leader. He took over both roles of governor general to spite Mountbatten (who became the first governor general of independent India) and the president of the Constituent Assembly. He was compelled to operate from his house because of rapidly declining health, and chose therefore to keep public contact to the minimum. We do not know to what extent his sister Fatima Jinnah knew of the gravity of his disease. There is no record or anecdote of Jinnah’s thoughts about his illness. Jinnah tragically underestimated the toxicity of the bacteria occupying and invading his lungs. It is possible that the absence of definite treatment for tuberculosis made him a stoical sufferer.
Mr. Jinnah was to die on 11th September 1948. The Muslim League would shrivel speedily after his death, because Jinnah had willingly or unwillingly not created a viable caucus to operate after him. This is puzzling for he must have known of his imminent death. It is almost as if he stopped all efforts subsequent to his triumph in creation of Pakistan. The first Pakistani president General Sikander Mirza dismissed Prime Minister Feroze Khan Noon to appoint the commander-in-chief General Ayub Khan as the Chief Martial Law Administrator in 1958. Ayub Khan deposed Mirza 13 days later to appoint himself president.
Army chief general Zia-ul-Haq conducted the next successful coup d’état at midnight July 4, 1977 against the civil government of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
In 1999 commander-in-chief general Pervez Musharraf took over Pakistan from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who tried to prevent Musharraf from landing back in Pakistan.
Numerous unsuccessful coup attempts took place. The first one as early as 1949 by general Akbar Khan, the second major attempt was by major general Tajammul Malik to assassinate Zia-ul-Haq in 1980, and in 1995 an attempt by major general Zahirul Abbasi against the prime minister was thwarted, probably by American assistance. Further coups however may not be possible because the Pakistani Supreme Court has set a bar on itself not to validate military take over. Nawaz Sharif has recently come to power following parliamentary elections but for all practical purposes the current army chief is the most powerful authority.
Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan was shot dead in Rawalpindi on 16th October 1951 in a park that was renamed ‘Liaquat Bagh’. Benazir Bhutto would be killed in the same city and in the same park on 27th December 2007. Benazir Bhutto had been prime minister of Pakistan twice and was leader of a major opposition party when she was assassinated. Her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (prime minister from 1973 to 1977) was hanged to death in Central jail, Rawalpindi on April 4,1979.
It is imperative that the reader recognizes the adverse impact of chronic disease and mental stress on cognition. The effects are subtle and thus unappreciated initially, but gravitate to dementia sooner or later. There is no evidence that treatment arrests cognition decline.
Recently the journal ‘Science’ published an article describing a series of experiments that found pressing financial concerns had an immediate effect on the ability of low- income individual to perform cognitive and logic tests. Farmers before harvest as opposed to post harvest had lower IQ scores. A farmer before harvest is decidedly poorer than after. This research based at Princeton University concluded that poverty and its related concerns require so much mental energy that the poor have less remaining brainpower to address other issues. The cohort studied were sugar cane farmers from India who relied on the annual harvest for at least 60% of their income. Poor people with money scarcity tended to be more error prone.
A protective membrane called ‘meninges’ covers the brain. A number of bacteria and virus are capable of infecting the meninges to produce ‘meningitis’. Meningitis is a lethal disease requiring quick antibiotic response. Tuberculosis too can infect the meninges causing high rates of morbidity and mortality. One of the commonest sequelae of treated meningitis is impairment of cognitive function, presenting as memory loss, confusion, inability to concentrate and changes in personality. There could also be mood swings, depression and bouts of anxiety.
Almost 40% of HIV patients have been found to have cognitive impairment 5 months after beginning therapy. This impacts every day functioning and also drug compliance.
Cognitive impairment is not uncommon following cardiac surgery (CABG) for blocked coronary arteries supplying the heart. The incidence of cognitive dysfunction post CABG surgery could be as high as 36%, but mercifully recovers in the majority. More than two-thirds of people (in their seventies) battling heart failure develop dementia; heart failure results both in inadequate blood flow and damage to the brain. Diabetes and high blood pressure also impair cognition within a few years of onset, despite optimal treatment.
Mr.Jinnah suffered from tuberculosis for a number of years. There is no evidence available indicating onset of his illness; nor do we know of the possible source of his infection. There are numerous anecdotal references to Jinnah collapsing due to sheer ‘Exhaustion’, being febrile and having repeated fits of coughing. Wolpert (biographer) hints that Jinnah had begun to spit out blood while he resided in the Pakistani governor-generals home. He suffered from severe appetite loss and photographs taken of Jinnah suggest progressive loss of weight. The famous Urdu writer Saadat Manto was lucky enough to interview an actor (Mohammad Hanif Azad) who became one of Jinnah’s chauffeurs. Azad, a member of the Muslim League had prior to working with Mr Jinnah, participated in a procession as early as 1937, in Delhi.
” My response to that procession was deeply emotional. I was completely overwhelmed. I do not even remember now what exactly I felt when I first set eyes on Jinnah sahib…As our procession wound its way through the streets of old Delhi, I got a chance to look at Jinnah sahib from many angles. Then suddenly a thought came. How could my Great Leader be so gaunt, so weak, and so frail? I would look at the Quaid’s fragile figure and then at my strong and well-built body and wish that I would either shrink. Or have him become like me”.
Doctor Bahksh documents Jinnah’s last days in Ziarat. This was from July to September 1948. Jinnah had taken refuge in this hill station hoping he would get some respite for his failing lungs. This was not to be. Dr. Bakhsh finally persuaded Jinnah to descend to Quetta and from there fly to Karachi when he noticed that Jinnah’s feet had begun to swell. The good doctor confirmed TB by sputum examination and even tried injection streptomycin. It was however too late to reverse or arrest the disease. There is no mention of a 12 lead electrocardiogram done. A chest portable x-ray was organized. Mr. Jinnah right till the end never mentioned the word “tuberculosis” nor did he concede whether any physician had ever hinted that he had contracted tuberculosis.
Mr. Jinnah surely possessed one of the sharpest minds in British India. He was also blessed with an iron will power. These stood him in good stead while he waged battles against Gandhi, the Congress party, and the British government. He, however, at some point had picked up TB, which infected his lungs. He must have carried this disease for almost 5-6 years before his death. In his endeavor to conceal his illness he failed to consult the right doctors. He may have presumed rightly or wrongly that there was no cure for TB despite streptomycin’s discovery in October 1943. It is quite likely that his penchant for secrecy denied him
Jinnah as explained earlier in this book suffered from all symptoms of a pulmonary tuberculosis for the most part of the 1940’s and probably earlier. It is possible that there may have been a TB patient in his family. Maybe his wife Ruttie who died before she turned 30 years was also a victim of TB. Jinnah’s capacity for concentration, focus, attention to details and mental stamina must have been substantially compromised.
More research on the nature of Jinnah’s illness is mandatory. There are dozens of books written on the Quaid-i-Azam and the Partition of India, but none has examined the ramifications of his illness on the final outcomes of those momentous years leading to partition of India.
After 66 years of independence the Subcontinent is one of the least integrated areas of the world. Mistrust persists between the second most and sixth most populated countries of the world. Four wars have been waged between India and Pakistan…nuclear missiles are perpetually ready for launch…. Kashmir continues to be flash point for future conflicts…the man on the street of one country is perpetually terrified of the other.
Baluchistan rich in minerals and energy resources (occupying almost half the landmass of Pakistan) has been in turmoil since it’s accession to Pakistan in 1948. The house in which Jinnah spent his last few weeks at Ziarat (in Northwestern Baluchistan) was burnt to the ground by separatist militants in June 2013. The building had been constructed in 1892 to serve as a sanatorium.
Two suicide bombers belonging to a faction of the Pakistani Taliban slaughtered more than 100 Pakistani Christians, as they filed out of the All Saints’ church in Peshawar in September 2013; despite Jinnah’s promise on 11th August 1947 to the inhabitants of Pakistan that “ you are free to go to your temples”. Christians constitute barely 1.6% of the overwhelmingly Muslim population of Pakistan.
The Taliban killed Mufti Sarfraz Naeemi, a Barelvi cleric, in June 2009 because he had issued an edict against suicide bombing. In July 2010 suicide bombers killed dozens of worshipers at the shrine of the famous saint Data Ganj Baksh. The Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan was formed in 1985 with the express intention of attacking Shia targets in order to make Pakistan a purely Sunni state like Saudi Arabia. Hundreds of Shias have been murdered since then in the most heinous manner.
All heads of states or persons with constitutional authority during Jinnah’s times were physically fit, and did not have impairment of cognition. Nathu Ram Godse shot Gandhi dead on 30th October 1947, in Delhi. Gandhi till that moment had been in reasonably good health. Mountbatten was killed by a bomb blast aged 79 years, much later in a boat in Ireland on August 27th 1979. Churchill died of brain hemorrhage when he turned 90 years, while Charles de Gaulle died of a heart attack at his home at 79 years of age in 1970. Sardar Patel succumbed to a heart attack on 15th December 1950 and Nehru died of a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm in May 1964.
Franklin D Roosevelt perished because of a stroke. Roosevelt and his aides disguised the fact that he used heavy metal braces in order to walk because of polio. He lost 30 pounds in the last year of his life and it is speculated that this was because of a melanoma. This was never proven because a biopsy was never conducted. But Roosevelt did suffer from high blood pressure. He was however never intellectually compromised while he was president of the US. President Woodrow Wilson thirteen years earlier to Roosevelt had a stroke that produced paralysis in his second term. Wilson’s wife and aides ran the US government.
Jinnah unlike the political giants suffered severely from an incapacitating disease that eventually killed him. There is scant data or records of his disease. He deliberately concealed his medical problems both from the public and his immediate inner circle. It was only at the end that when he was virtually dying that he disclosed some aspects of his medical history to the doctor summoned in Ziarat to treat him. We have moreover no means of confirming whether the information provided by Jinnah to Dr. Bahksh was either accurate or complete.
It is imperative that heads of states, particularly nuclear armed nations, elected or otherwise, are free from chronic disease, or else history shall be compelled to repeat itself. A person harboring a chronic ailment in no way compromised in quality, character, or integrity but may flounder in a crisis and also possibly under the weight of routine duty. The margin for error is getting narrower with each passing year, and thus only the best minds shall be able to steer their respective countries, political organizations or corporations to safety and prosperity.
Vice President Dick Cheney served in the highest positions of the American government and before that in the private sector. He had his first heart attack in 1978 and eventually a heart transplant in 2012; he had in between five heart attacks, coronary bypass surgery, multiple catheterizations and angioplasty with stents, a defibrillator implanted and a pump attached to his failing heart! He is a man blessed with tremendous courage and will; but was also a critical component of the think-tank that drove the Americans into war in Iraq and Afghanistan post 9/11. The famous cardiac surgeon (Denton Cooley) went on record to state that Cheney’s heart was fine without seeing or examining him; this was just before Cheney was voted Vice President. Cheney was with Bush (on 9/11) in a bunker under the White House making rapid decisions, and had authority given by the President to shoot down passenger planes!
The grand old Congress party is in tatters after 10 years in government; the reasons are many; corruption and mismanagement are right there on the top; the worst was the state of denial and indifference by the top leadership; future analyses of the stunning decimation that ignore medical status of it’s senior leadership will be inadequate but do so at great cost. The Indians have been lucky that the Pakistani strategic establishment has so far failed to spot the glaring medical chinks in the Indian armor.
The planet is staring up the barrel of a global economic meltdown and an inexplicable hardening of religious bigotry. Dark clouds of war have been gathering over Syria the last couple of years. The mainstream media is hyping up wars between Sunnis and Shias or worse Muslims and non-Muslims. The energy wars have begun and Syria with adjacent areas has become the chessboard on which the players have aligned themselves against one another for the sake of oil and energy. What is at stake are oil and energy pipelines to Europe from Qatar and Iran via Syria and Turkey. The obstacle for long has been president Assad of Syria. The majority of energy supplied across Europe is from Russia. A little war in Syria helps the Russians in supply and sale of arms to concerned parties and also ensures continued supply of energy to Europe. The US-UK-Israel-Saudi-Turkey-Qatar axis is keen on breaking the Russian monopoly. The future world will be decided upon who holds and supplies energy.
The Americans get extremely upset when their cozy embrace with the Saudis gets threatened. Both Saddam Husain and Gaddafi who dared to sell their oil outside US dollars were exterminated. The same fate awaited Assad who resisted the Qatar-Turkey-Europe pipeline. The Russians fortunately came to his rescue, along with the Iranians. There are many layers to the truth. But the one most certainly is 2 groups of nations pitted against one another for the sake of energy and oil. The American-UK-Israel-Saudi-Qatar coalition is pitted against the Syrian-Iran-Iraq-Hezbollah-Russian axis. But a religion spin is essential to mislead the world and hence war cries of saving the honor of respective religions. The leading Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential election Donald Trump has publicly declared that the much feared and despised ISIL has been created, funded, armed and trained by the Americans. No wonder Western mainstream media is deeply annoyed with Mr. Trump.
Millions of people are being galvanized by false calls demanding taking up of arms to protect one’s religious beliefs. The ploy of dividing people according to religion and creed never seems to fail. It is time that the common man wises up to the dark designs of forces determined to get their way by fake flags, or else many more millions are bound to perish.
The division of humankind on the basis of religion or creed must be stopped before it is too late. We now live in a nuclear world. The Americans have permitted Jinnah’s land to have one of the largest nuclear stockpiles in the world. The Saudis who have reportedly bankrolled the construction of quite a few nuclear missiles; possibly to be used against Iran. And of course a clutch of these missiles must be at all times pointed to New Delhi.
It therefore becomes imperative that people realize the stupidity of being divided based on their color and religion. Moreover in the fast and furious paced world that we live in we cannot afford to have leadership that has undergone heart surgery not once but twice.
Most readers of this book will be unaware that the Bretton-Woods conference held in 1944 established the US dollar as the reserve currency of the globe. The Americans could do it because they had emerged as the most powerful nation in the world towards the end of World War II. In the early seventies Richard Nixon sent Henry Kissinger across to Riyadh to create the petro-dollar system of currency. The deal was simple. The Americans would protect Saudi Arabia and sell them all the weapons the Saudis needed. The US government was providing a guarantee for security against Israel or any other Middle Eastern country that ever attempted to attack Riyadh. The Americans also would ensure that regardless of their conduct the Saudi royal family would continue to rule Saudi Arabia forever. The deal was signed in 1974 and by the next year all other OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) members followed suit. The Americans did not murmur the slightest disapproval when almost 40 people were executed in one single day recently by the Saudis despite howls of protest from the rest of the free world. The US dollar has therefore been the default currency of most of the world, as every nation needed oil and had to collect dollars to buy it.
The Saudis had to as part of the Nixon deal sell oil only in US dollars and they would have to invest their oil profits in US treasuries. Both Saddam Hussain and Gaddafi were eliminated because they had the temerity to sell their oil in Euros or local currency.
The Russians would certainly not mind subverting the petro-dollar currency. Iran has the gall to sell its oil in a different currency. In fact India buys oil from Iran in Indian rupees. This may be tiny signal that the petro-dollar is a teeny-weeny shaky. In 2009, Saudi Arabia’s oil export to 5 Asian countries (China, Japan, South Korea, India and Singapore) exceeded that to Europe and the US combined.
The recent bombings in Paris and Brussels have to be analyzed against the backdrop of the energy wars that are being waged in this century. The conspiracy theorists will have us believe that these bombings are false flags that were staged to create fear and outrage in the public. There have been every possible attempt by the mainstream media to create more terror in the public than the possibly the horrific attacks themselves. The politicians have upped temperatures by their shrill rhetoric. The president and prime minister of France have declared that these acts are “war against Europe”. The next steps will be new laws encroaching on privacy and clamp down of emergency.
There is the probability that the West is being prepared for a US led land war in Syria. Mr. Trump has not hesitated to reveal that if need be he would not hesitate to nuke ISIS. Mr. Obama in stark contrast has maintained his composure and not aborted his current trip to Cuba and Latin America. His message is that however ghastly and repugnant the bombings have been in Brussels one has to refrain from exaggerated and counterproductive responses.
The world seems to be rapidly slipping into chaos and wars. There is a serious attempt to divide the West from the Middle East. It will be no surprise if another European city is attacked in the next 2-4 months. In the mean time more than 70 people-mostly children and women have been killed by a suicide bombing at a public park in Lahore, Pakistan yesterday on Easter. More than 300 are injured with quite a few in a critical condition. A splinter group of the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the horrendous attack in which a bomber blew himself up at an entrance to the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park close to a children’s play area. The Jamaat-ul-Ahrar’s spokesperson told the Guardian: “We have carried out this attack to target the Christians who were celebrating Easter. Also this is a message to the Pakistani prime minister that we have arrived in Punjab.” I wonder what would have been Mr.Jinnah’s or for that matter Mr Iqbal’s reactions to the horrendous killing of children and women in the name of Islam.
We have few choices left before us. The first is to accept the fact that we are all one, not Muslims, Hindus or Christians. We also have to ensure as never before that world leadership is cognitively fit enough to take necessary remedial measures. The world is being made to believe that battle lines have been drawn between Muslims and non-Muslims. We are set for the final clash between 2 civilizations. The reader must strive to understand the root of the problem, what we clinicians term ‘aetio-pathogenesis of the disease. Not many will know that president Sarkozy of France was a very energetic advocate for “regime change” in Libya. He gathered considerable support by the US government. The result was a short-lived triumph of killing of Gaddafi by terrorists trained and supported by the US government. Hilary Clinton was ecstatic, but events rapidly took a turn for the worse. The US ambassador got killed by the very same people who had eliminated Gaddafi, and the country is currently controlled by the ISIL which was not present before the ‘liberation’ Sarkozy and David Cameron had been ostensibly more concerned in getting their hands on Libyan oil, and secure profitable deals for French and English companies.
The US it has now become abundantly clear was so keen in the ouster of Assad from Syria that they were prepared to create the monstrosity called ISIL with help from European governments with the tragic consequence of the terrorist capturing large swaths of territories in that area. This in turn led to millions fleeing their embattled countries to Europe. It is obvious that on the one hand Western governments have brazenly attempted regime changes in the Middle East and at the same time invited refugees over to Europe. The math is simple; even if 1% of these refugees are radicalized, there should be 10,000 potential terrorists right now in Europe, enough to send a chill down one’s spine. The Paris and Brussels attacks have prompted the usual knee jerk responses of greater surveillance and mitigation of individual freedom. The security experts have benefited the most with bigger budgets and greater roles. It is time that the person on the street demands greater responsibility from the respective government. Foreign policy has to be revised at the earliest in order to arrest the imminent meltdown of Europe. Until short termed bad policy is not changed, all measures of intrusive surveillance and racial profiling will achieve nothing. But it would be foolish to lay the entire blame on Western governments; it is imperative that these young Jihadists impatient to become martyrs begin to understand that violence for the sake of religion will only beget more misery and deprivation for their people. They are mere pawns in the biggest geopolitical chess game ever played on this planet. The paramount lesson of history has sadly been that man learns little from history.