Well, here I sit in Texas visiting family, and in India there are dramatic happenings. The head of the BJP, the Hindu Nationalist Party, has resigned.
It seems that he made a visit to Pakistan and said that Jinnah was a secular man. Perhaps some history is in order here. Jinnah was the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. He was the one who insisted that a separate state for Muslims be created when the British granted India independence in l947. So, instead of one independent India, there were India, and East and West Pakistan. East Pakistan later felt ignored and became Bangladesh. It does stretch the imagination to call Jinnah secular.
However, the significance of the statement made by this particular man is that it means that the BJP senses the need to become more moderate. It may indeed foretell the coming of peace between India and Pakistan. That these two countries might learn to live together without the threat of nuclear war is truly significant. I know, it hasn’t happened yet.
But Mr. Advani has been one of the more radical Hindus and has supported the Chief Minister that allowed many Muslims to be slaughtered in the Indian state of Gujurat.
Predictably, the most radical of the Hindu organizations, the Shiv Sena is outraged. This is the group that protests India playing Pakistan in cricket.
The other political parties seem to be laughing at the split this statement has caused.
But, Advani is a very smart man and would not make this kind of statement unless he saw political benefit. So, perhaps there is some cause for optimism if he thinks the Indian populace is ready to approach Pakistan in any way that is not hostile.