“This editorial/bio is written and dedicated to the memory of a great person, lawyer, politician and most notably the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who was born on this day and which is celebrated in Pakistan as “Birth Anniversary of M. A. Jinnah””

 

Warning: No part of this editorial be copied or reproduced in anyway without the consent of the author. Remember that plagiarism is a crime according to Copyright Ordinance of 1962. {copyright (amendment) ordinance 2000} 

 

 

Muhammad Ali Jinnah is a name every literate or illiterate is familiar with. Muhammad Ali Jinnah is a very controversial figure of 20th century. Many remember him in high regards and many not (not going into the detail). He is known by many notable people as a brilliant lawyer, politician and most popularly as “Quaid-e-Azam” or “The Founder of Pakistan“.

 

Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s life saw many ups and downs, he faced a lot of criticism from opposition party, faced family related issues but he never bowed his head down towards anyone and faced every problem like a mature person. Jinnah was born on December 25th, 1876 in Karachi, British India to a notable Gujrati Khoja merchant Poonja Jinnah and his wife Mithibai Jinnah. He attended Cathedral and John Connon School. In Karachi, He studied at Sindh Madrasa-tul-Islam and Christian Missionary Society High School. He got his matriculation from Bombay University (Now University of Mumbai) and went to London to become a lawyer and studied at Inns of Court School of Law.

 

Jinnah was far from a model student. He was more interested in playing outside with his friends than focusing on his studies. He had always been an indocile and restless kid and studied in several schools.  As the proprietor of a thriving trade business, Jinnah’s father emphasized the importance of studying mathematics, but, ironically, arithmetic was among Jinnah’s most hated subjects. According to his biographer Hector Bolitho, Jinnah used to discourage street children from playing with marbles and urging them to play cricket instead. His mother insisted he attend Sind Madrassa, but Jinnah was expelled for cutting classes to go horseback riding.

 

While in London, living in a rented hotel room, he entered into Inns of Court School of Law to become a lawyer. He then studied the books and numerous political texts and biographies he borrowed from British Museum Library. He also made frequent visits to the lower house of England, the House of Commons and when Jinnah passed his legal exam in May of 1896, he was the youngest ever to have been accepted to the bar. His famous successful cases include Bawla murder trial of 1925 and 1945 defense of Bishen Lal at Agra which was his last case as a lawyer.

 

Jinnah married twice.When a 15 year old Jinnah was leaving for London to persue his career, his mother resisted but then married him with 14 year old Emibai so that his return could become possible. Unfortunately both his wife and mother died while he was in London. The death of his first wife Emibai Jinnah made him very emotional and it was a shocking time of his life. He later married Ruttenbai Petit in 1918 after the two met in Darjeeling. Rutti was the daughter of Sir Dinshaw Petit and Jinnah and Sir Dinshaw Petit were close friends but after Jinnah sent a marriage proposal to Rutti, Sir Dinshaw was horrified and obtained a court order restraining Jinnah from meeting Ruttenbai. Unfortunately, he and his second wife separated. Rutti lived as a recluse at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay for the next year, until she died on her 29th birthday. This was yet another shocking moment in Jinnah’s marital life.

 

Jinnah ran his famous political movement along with his All India Muslim League companions and sister Fatimah Jinnah. After completing his Law education, he became interested in politics as he saw in The Lower House. He then decided to enter into politics and in 1906 he joined Indian National Congress. In 1912, Jinnah attended a meeting of the All India Muslim League, prompting him to join the league the following year. Jinnah would later join yet another political party, the Home Rule League, which was dedicated to the cause of a state’s right to self-government that was known as “Swaraj“.

 

At first Jinnah was an advocate of Muslim/Hindu unity and worked with the Hindu politicians but then realised that the agenda of them was different and not what Jinnah expected. Jinnah propagated that there must be an equal ratio of Hindus and Muslims in the parliament and that all must equally represent the Subcontinent. Into the early 1920s, Jinnah firmly believed that the best way possible was Hindu/Muslim unity. In 1924, he told the Muslim League that British rule continued mainly because ‘the people of India, particularly the Hindus and the Muslims, do not trust each other.’  Muhammad Ali Jinnah changed his views after he saw disappointments in the series of The Round Table Conferences. Jinnah said:

 

I received the shock of my life at the meetings of the Round Table Conference. In the face of danger the Hindu sentiment, the Hindu mind, the Hindu attitude led me to the conclusion that there was no hope of unity. I felt very pessimistic about my country… The Musalmans were like dwellers in No Man’s Land… I began to feel that neither could I help India, nor change the mentality, nor could I make the Musalmans realise the precarious position. 

 

 

This was one of the most depressing phase in Jinnah’s life and he went to London only to brought back by future Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan who appealed to him to return to build up the declining League. In 1934, Jinnah returned to India and was elected as the League’s permanent President. Historian Ian Copland writes:

 

 

…he inherited a party all but moribund (close to death): fragmented, demoralised and chronically short of funds. But over the next decade the League underwent a remarkable renaissance. It was this somewhat unlikely transformation that, more than anything else, made the establishment of Pakistan possible. Undoubtedly, an important factor in the League’s revival was the astute, visionary and at times the ruthless leadership of Jinnah himself…

 

 

His pessimistic view regarding Hindu/Muslim unity grew further after British passed the 1935 Government of India Act. Following the elections, Muslim league lost and Indian National Congress won from major constituencies. Congress refused to cooperate with the League and the Muslims were forced to sing “Band-e-Mataram” and bowed before the picture of Mahatma Gandhi in schools and universities.

 

Jinnah got inspiration from the Two Nation Theory of Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and finally at the 1937 League meeting at Lucknow, Jinnah in a sign that things had changed, laid aside his English gentleman’s outfit. Jinnah wished that “Muslims might attain full independence in a federation of their own”.

 

between 1937 and 1940 there occurred a remarkable change. For not only did Jinnah reverse his whole life’s work of Hindu/Muslim unity, but for the first time, at the age of sixty, he became a popular figure, the ‘Quaid-i-Azam’ – ‘Great Leader.’

From The Making of Pakistan by Richard Symond, 1987

 

Quaid-e-Azam’s dream of a separate state for Muslims become more pragmatic after the famous “Lahore Resolution” of 23rd March 1940. According to Stanley Wolpert, this was the moment when Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the former ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, totally transformed himself into Pakistan’s great leader. Finally on 14th August 1947, Pakistan emerged on the map as a Muslim state and Jinnah’s dream became reality.

 

Jinnah was perhaps a great and visionary leader who fought for the Muslims till his last breath. He faced many problems but fought them bravely and raised voice against the discrimination of Muslims. He not only took along with him men but women as well and gave them the forum to express their views. In 1942, Muhammad Ali Jinnah said:

 

No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you; we are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the house as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live.

–  Muhammad Ali Jinnah, 1944 (taken from the US Library of Congress report Pakistan.

 

Regarding Quaid-e-Azam, Stanley Wolpert said:

Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.”

 

Quaid-e-Azam is not only admired by the Muslims but is admired by the people of all faiths living in Pakistan. Quaid-e-Azam was very open and vocal about the rights of the people from all faiths, castes or creed. Muhammad Ali Jinnah said.

You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed, that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

 

Quaid-e-Azam was not only the man of words but in real meaning a man of action. His quote ( Think 100 times before you take a decision, But once that decision is taken, stand by it as one man. ) is one of the proofs yet only a verbal proof because he literally stand by his decision and proved by his hard work, courage, commitment, determination, experience and expertise.

 

 

The last quote I would like to include is that of from the “editorial” from The Times, London September 13, 1948 :

Mr. Jinnah was something more than Quaid-i-Azam, supreme leader of the state, to the people who followed him: he was more than even the architect of the Islamic nation, he personally called into being. He commanded their imagination as well their confidence. In the face of difficulties which might have overwhelmed him, it was given to him to fulfill the hope foreshadowed in the inspired vision of the great Iqbal by creating for the Muslims of India a homeland where the old glory of Islam could grow afresh into a community of nations. Few statesmen have shaped events to their policy more surely than Mr. Jinnah. He was a legend even in his lifetime. 

 

 

Leaders like Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah are born in centuries. They come for only few nations. Being a Pakistani we should be proud that we got a leader like Jinnah as our founding father. We should keep in mind that the war has not ended yet and we must carry the legacy of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and live by his exemplary life. Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave us this beautiful and blessed country Pakistan and now it’s our duty as a nation to make this country peaceful for the people from all faiths. We would’ve to take Pakistan to new heights. We must not only read his quotes but live by it. It is our duty to study, to protect our country, to improve its socio-economic, educational, regional, political and infrastructural position. Even Jinnah said that “There is no power that can undo Pakistan.”

 

 

About the Columnist:

 

Muhammad Khalid is a Business/Economics student from Karachi, Pakistan and is a current amateur political analyst, freelance writer and observer covering domestic and international news and affairs.

Muhammad Khalid can be reached on Twitter at: @iamkhalidraza

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