Far-Left propaganda website AltNews proudly claimed that OpIndia misreported Kapil Sibal’s quote in the Rajya Sabha. As it turns out, even a broken clock is right twice a day, and we did err. However, our mistake was expecting the media to at least report accurately what Kapil Sibal was saying in the Rajya Sabha. However, as it turns out, the mainstream media is not competent enough even for that. That was our mistake.
MoneyControl quoted Kapil Sibal as saying, “I rise to oppose the CAB bill. The two-nation theory wasn’t ours, it was perpetrated by Savarkar and B R Ambedkar agreed too. Congress believes in one nation. I want Home Minister to withdraw the two-nation statement.” We quoted the same in our report. As it turns out, Kapil Sibal was a little more elaborate than that and Moneycontrol failed in capturing accurately what the senior Congress leader actually said. And consequently, we erred too by placing our trust in them.
Kapil Sibal said, “I rise to oppose this bill. Sir, I was very disturbed the other day when the distinguished Home Minister said the other day in the other House, why do we need this bill? After independence, if Congress had not done partition on the basis of religion, then we would not have needed this bill today. The Congress did partition on the basis of religion. I don’t understand which history books the learned Home Minister has read, which authors he has consulted, but I would like to remind him of what Savarkar said.”
He then continued, “The two-nation theory was not our theory, you are going to fulfill it today with the passing of this bill, if it is passed. Savarkar said, “There are two antagonist nations living side by side in India. Several infantile politicians commit the serious mistake in supposing that India is already wedded into a harmonious nation or it could be welded thus for the mere wish to do so. These are well meaning but unthinkable friends take their dreams for realities, that is why they are impatient of communal tangles and attribute them to communal organizations”. The two nation theory was perpetuated by Savarkar.”
Recalling Ambedkar, Sibal stated, “And this is what Ambedkar said, “Strange as it may appear, Mr. Savarkar and Mr. Jinnah, instead of being opposed to each other in the one nation vs two nation issue, are in complete agreement about it.” Shame. Both agree, not only agree but insist there are two nations in India- one the Muslim nation, another the Hindu nation. I request the Home Minister to withdraw that allegation because we in the Congress believe in that one nation. You don’t believe in it.”
Thus, astonishingly enough, while AltNews accuses OpIndia of misreporting, it does not fact-check the erroneous claims made by Kapil Sibal in his speech in the Rajya Sabha. Savarkar’s opinion on the two-nation theory is much more complicated than what the Congress leader made out to be. And to dispel it, we shall quote Babasaheb Ambedkar himself on the matter. In a remarkable slight of hand, Kapil Sibal only misrepresented Ambedkar’s views by selectively quoting Ambedkar from his book ‘Pakistan or Partition of India’.
In the book, the portion from where Sibal has randomly picked up the sentence is actually part of a much larger section where Ambedkar attempts to present Savarkar’s opinions on the matter. Here’s how he actually summarized the opinions of the Hindutva Stalwart: “Strange as it may appear, Mr. Savarkar and Mr. Jinnah, instead of being opposed to each other on the one nation versus two nations issue, are in complete agreement about it. Both agree, not only agree but insist, that there are two nations in India—one the Muslim nation and the other the Hindu nation. They differ only as regards the terms and conditions on which the two nations should live. Mr. Jinnah says India should be cut up into two, Pakistan and Hindustan, the Muslim nation to occupy Pakistan and the Hindu nation to occupy Hindustan. Mr. Savarkar, on the other hand, insists that, although there are two nations in India, India shall not be divided into two parts, one for Muslims and the other for the Hindus; that the two nations shall dwell in one country and shall live under the mantle of one single constitution; that the constitution shall be such that the Hindu nation will be enabled to occupy a predominant position that is due to it and the Muslim nation made to live in the position of subordinate co-operation with the Hindu nation. In the struggle for political power between, the two nations the rule of the game which Mr. Savarkar prescribes is to be one man one vote, be the man Hindu or Muslim. In his scheme a Muslim is to have no advantage which a Hindu does not have. Minority is to be no justification for privilege and majority is to be no ground for penalty. The State will guarantee the Muslims any defined measure of political power in the form of Muslim religion and Muslim culture. But the State will not guarantee secured seats in the Legislature or in the Administration and, if such guarantee is insisted upon by the Muslims, such guaranteed quota is not to exceed their proportion to the general population. Thus by confiscating its weightages, Mr. Savarkar would even strip the Muslim nation of all the political privileges it has secured so far.”
Furthermore, Ambedkar appears to hold Savarkar’s point of view in higher regard than the stance of the Indian National Congress. He says, “This alternative of Mr. Savarkar to Pakistan has about it a frankness, boldness and definiteness which distinguishes it from the irregularity, vagueness and indefiniteness which characterizes the Congress declarations about minority rights. Mr Savarkar’s scheme has at least the merit of telling the Muslims, thus far and no further. The Muslims know where they are with regard to the Hindu Maha Sabha. On the other hand, with the Congress, the Musalmans find themselves nowhere because the Congress has been treating the Muslims and the minority question as a game in diplomacy, if not in duplicity.”
Ambedkar also clearly stated that Savarkar did not want a partition. He stated, “Mr. Savarkar adopts neither of these two ways. He does not propose to suppress the Muslim nation. On the contrary, he is nursing and feeding it by allowing it to retain its religion, language and culture, elements which go to sustain the soul of a nation. At the same time he does not consent to divide the country so as to allow the two nations to become separate, autonomous states, each sovereign in its own territory. He wants the Hindus and the Muslims to live as two separate nations in one country, each maintaining its own religion, language and culture. One can understand and even appreciate the wisdom of the theory of suppression of the minor nation by the major nation because the ultimate aim is to bring into being one nation. But one cannot follow what advantage a theory has which says that there must ever be two nations but that there shall be no divorce between them.”
Thus, quite clearly, the views of Savarkar aligned with Jinnah only in so much as that he accepted that Islam is a separate nation. Agreeing to the view that Hindus and Muslims formed two different nations does not automatically lead one to endorse the position that India should be partitioned. And Ambedkar, quite eloquently, elaborates how this is true. Savarkar, clearly, did not support the partition of the country and Kapil Sibal is being dishonest when he misrepresents Ambedkar’s view on purpose to portray Savarkar in poor light.
As a matter of fact, even Karl Marx concluded that Islam believed in separate nationhood. Will Kapil Sibal now blame Karl Marx for the partition? Furthermore, the Congress party has lied on numerous occasions during its opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Bill. According to News18, Kapil Sibal said that India was not partitioned on the basis of religion. But AltNews did not find the time to fact-check that blatant lie from Sibal.
Anand Sharma of the Congress went a step further and absolved the Radical Muslims of all sins and put the blame for the partition of the country at Savarkar’s feet. He said, “Two nation theory was never brought in by Jinnah…it was introduced by Hindu Mahasabha in Gujarat in 1937”. AltNews did not find the time to fact-check this monstrous lie as well. Even Pakistan acknowledges Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as being the founder of the two-nation theory, someone who passed away while Savarkar was still a child.
We understand that the propaganda website has an axe to grind with OpIndia. However, it is utterly dishonest for them to accused OpIndia of misreporting for merely citing a quote that was reported by a mainstream media outlet and then proceeding to entirely ignore the blatant distortion of Savarkar’s opinions by Sibal while misrepresenting Ambedkar’s views. Thus, in a ‘fact-check’ that accused OpIndia of misquoting Sibal, AltNews gives Sibal a free pass for misrepresenting Ambedkar’s views. That is a remarkable sleight of hand indeed but nothing less than can be expected from a propaganda outlet such as AltNews.