Partitioning the 'Jinnah House'!“India is not a nation, nor a country. It is a subcontinent of nationalities.”
- Muhammad Ali Jinnah
These were the views of the man who is considered responsible for partitioning India into India and Pakistan. The only people who can understand and feel the partition are those lived the partition. Millions moving from India to Pakistan and vice-versa, refugee camps along the borders, etc. went on for years providing only a temporary stability. But division of territories still continued even after years of partitioning! But one such property which Pakistan could not get its hand on, was the house of its founder, The South Court or famously known as ‘The Jinnah House’. Located in the VVIP area of Malabar Hills in Mumbai, the Jinnah house has been in controversy since many decades with many staking claims over it and many having their own plans for it or the place on which it stands. So what will the future hold for this house?Razing the symbol of demolition1.
Recently demand has been raised to demolish the Jinnah House citing several reasons which are logical and practical.2.
The primary reason provided is that Jinnah was the architect of partition of India and his house is a symbol of partition.3.
Also the house is located in a VVIP area of Malabar Hills. The place can be used for many important offices, or even housing projects.4.
There is land scarcity in Mumbai and an old structure which may be of some heritage value to some people is sitting on a parcel of land which can be of immense use for people of Mumbai.5.
The house is anyways not maintained properly. It is simply consuming precious space. Also, since it is property of India now, government should think of our needs first and then heritage of some other country.6.
Some factions want to demolish the house and have a centre that would showcase and reflect the art and culture of Maharashtra. This is a good plan as more space and provisions are needed to promote art and culture of India7.
Ministry of External Affairs currently holds the property under its possession. It is planning since long to set up a South Asian Centre for Arts and Culture within the premises. This again is an apt proposal. If it is possible the building should be razed to the ground and the centre then can have a new modern building which can make better use of available space.8.
The heirs of Jinnah are claiming the property to themselves. Though Indian Government would not hand over the property, it is worthwhile to demolish the house and finish the question once and for all.9.
Also, Pakistan is requesting India for the house so that it can build Pakistani Consulate in it. It is much useful to people of India for their livelihoods than providing such precious property to build a consulate.Heritage is common to all1.
There has been a debate since many years that how much useful are heritage structures for us when there is visible space crunch and no room left for expansion and development. These structures are not merely a historic structure built years ago but they signify history of our nation.2.
The Jinnah house may be of more importance to our neighbor than us, yet undoubtedly the house is a part of history of the Indian Subcontinent. Heritage and history does not belong to any country and is shared by human kind.3.
Such a valuable structure should not be demolished. It should actually be maintained as a piece of history.4.
British ruled India for more than 100 years and yet we have British structures in India. We never talk of demolishing them. We sometimes even use them. It is the same way we should consider preserving the Jinnah House.5.
The house is also important from architectural point of view. It is sea facing and was very lavish when Jinnah lived here. Jinnah had personally overseen the work of the house brick by brick.6.
The plans to use it as centre of art and culture is a good idea but it would be even better to renovate the house and have the centre in the current house instead of demolishing it. That would add an element of history to it.7.
Some are suggesting turning the place into a Partition Memorial for a million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs who suffered during Partition. 8.
Demolishing the Jinnah House will make us the same as the people who decimated Buddha statutes in Afghanistan.
Partition has been so tough on many people of India as well as Pakistan, that it evokes very intense feelings. So it is natural for people to want to or think to remove all the symbols of this tragedy. However there are plenty of ways to preserve heritage as well as use it for a constructive purpose or more importantly to build a feeling of solidarity with the neighbors. Demolishing it would not be a wise decision because though it may be associated with anyone, it is a piece of history and it is on Indian soil. We are known for our tolerance and respect for all and one part of this respect is respecting history and heritage. There are many options available with us to make maximum use of this heritage but razing it to the ground is not a suitable one.