Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wolpertisms, etc.

 In response to a question from Vishal in the comments:

1.  An account of the events around the Cabinet Mission Plan is here.  Scroll to the bottom of the page for the author of the site.  It is a collection of primary and secondary sources and some commentary.   Of course, the selection of source material quoted can be biased - but you can make up your own mind.  A summary take is here.

2.  Wolpert has a habit of dramatizing history to make it more interesting, and in that he creates fiction, in my opinion.   Here are some examples, you can judge for yourself:

a. Gandhi-Jinnah 1915
b. Gandhi-Mountbatten-Nehru 1947 -1
    Gandhi-Mountbatten-Nehru 1947 - 2
c. Gandhi's nervous breakdown, 1915
d. Gandhi and All-Parties Conference, 1928

This might seem minor.  But Wolpert constructs out of them things he makes out to be fundamental to the characters he describes:
Nehru was shocked to learn that his Mahatma was quite ready to replace him as premier with the Quaid-i-Azam......But Nehru had tasted the cup of power too long to offer its nectar to anyone else - last of all to that "mediocre lawyer", the "reactionary-Muslim Baron of Malabar Hill" as so many good Congress leaders thought of Jinnah.
Or for instance, the supposed snub Gandhi delivered to Jinnah in 1915.  Taking Wolpert seriously at that point would obscure the real Gandhi-Jinnah difference.  Gandhi was for mass participation in politics.  Jinnah was republican in the sense of many of the American founding fathers, namely the affairs of the nation and politics were to be run by a wealthy, educated class only.