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October 21, 1999
Vajpayee, Jinnah are two sides of the same coin: Nayanar
Equating Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Pakistan's founder Muhammed Ali Jinnah, Kerala Chief Minister and Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member E K Nayanar today said just as the latter had wanted a Muslim Pakistan the former was committed to a Hindu India.
Drawing a parallel between the two, Nayanar said, ''Both the leaders were two sides of the same coin as they symbolised the concept of misusing religion for narrow political gains.''
In his weekly column Munnottu (forward) in the party organ Deshabhimani, the chief minister, however, said Jinnah (1875-1948), though he wanted to carve out a Muslim nation, was not a believer.
In his personal life, Jinnah deviated from Islamic values. He married a Parsi and did things that were considered taboo by Islam, like eating pork and drinking liquor. ''But for political ends he had successfully misused Islamic fundamentalism,'' Nayanar said.
A task similar to the one carried out by Jinnah in the pre-Independence era was being undertaken by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its leaders. Vajpayee was one of the three prominent leaders of the RSS entrusted with the task of organising the Jana Sangh, the erstwhile political wing of the saffron brigade, to achieve the aim of establishing a Hindu Rashtra, Nayanar claimed.
The recent outbursts of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad against the planned visit of Pope John Paul II reflected intolerance, the chief minister said.
Pointing out that both religions -- Hinduism and Islam -- had fundamentalists and liberals in their fold, Nayanar said Gandhiji and Nathuram Godse were part of Hindu religion just as Jinnah and Abdul Kalam Azad (a true believer) were of Islam.
Noting that a vast majority of the minority religion believed in tolerance, he said Jinnah still had followers like Abdul Nazer Mahdani and his ilk.
There are extremists and liberals in all religions. ''The need of the hour is to defeat the spokesmen of intolerance,'' Nayanar added.
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