Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a Lawyer and a Statesman who led Pakistan's independence from India, and was its first governor-general and president of its constituent assembly. He was entitled as Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader) and Baba-i-Qaum (Father of the Nation) in Pakistan.
 

Synopsis

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born December 25, 1876, in Karachi, Pakistan. Jinnah was trained as a barrister at Lincoln's Inn in London. Upon his return to British India, he enrolled at the Bombay High Court, and took an interest in national politics, which eventually replaced his legal practice. Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress in the first two decades of the 20th century. Jinnah became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League, and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims. In 1920, however, Jinnah resigned from the Congress when it agreed to follow a campaign of satyagraha, which he regarded as political anarchy. In 1906 he joined the Indian National Congress. Seven years later, he joined the India Muslim League. The independent state of Pakistan that Jinnah had envisioned came to be on August 14, 1947. The following day, he was sworn in as Pakistan’s first governor-general. On September 11, 1948, he died near Karachi, Pakistan.

JINNAH The Quaid-e-Azam in the Governor General's House

 

Early Life

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born in a rented apartment on the second floor of Wazir Mansion in Karachi, Pakistan (then part of India), on December 25, 1876. At the time of his birth, Jinnah’s official name was Mahomedali Jinnahbhai. The eldest of his parents’ seven children, Jinnah was underweight and appeared fragile at the time of his birth. But Jinnah’s mother, Mithibai, was convinced her delicate infant would one day achieve great things. Jinnah’s father, Jinnahbhai Poonja, was a merchant and exporter of cotton, wool, grain and range of other goods.

                      Jinnah

As a boy, Jinnah lived for a time in Bombay with his aunt and may have attended the Gokal Das Tej Primary School there, later on studying at the Cathedral and John Connon School. In Karachi, he attended the Sindh-Madrasa-tul-Islam and the Christian Missionary Society High School. He gained his matriculation from Bombay University at the high school. In his later years and especially after his death, a large number of stories about the boyhood of Pakistan's founder were circulated: that he spent all his spare time at the police court, listening to the proceedings, and that he studied his books by the glow of street lights for lack of other illumination. His official biographer, Hector Bolitho, writing in 1954, interviewed surviving boyhood associates, and obtained a tale that the young Jinnah discouraged other children from playing marbles in the dust, urging them to rise up, keep their hands and clothes clean, and play cricket instead.

 

Education in England

In 1892, Sir Frederick Leigh Croft, a business associate of Jinnahbhai Poonja, offered young Jinnah a London apprenticeship with his firm, Graham's Shipping and Trading Company. He accepted the position despite the opposition of his mother, who before he left, had him enter an arranged marriage with his cousin, two years his junior from the ancestral village of Paneli, Emibai Jinnah. Jinnah's mother and first wife both died during his absence in England. Although the apprenticeship in London was considered a great opportunity for Jinnah, one reason for sending him overseas was a legal proceeding against his father, which placed the family's property at risk of being sequestered by the court. In 1893, the Jinnahbhai family moved to Bombay.

"Think 100 times before you take a decision, But once that decision is taken, stand by it   as one man" -JINNAH

Soon after his arrival in London, Jinnah gave up the apprenticeship to study law, enraging his father, who had, before his departure, given him enough money to live for three years. The aspiring barrister joined Lincoln's Inn, later stating that the reason he chose Lincoln's over the other Inns of Court was that over the main entrance to Lincoln's Inn were the names of the world's great lawgivers, including Muhammad (PBUH).

 

Struggle for Pakistan

Picture potraying the Struggle for Pakistan
 

Until the late 1930s, most Muslims of the British Raj expected, upon independence, to be part of a unitary state encompassing all of British India, as did the Hindus and others who advocated self-government. Despite this, other nationalist proposals were being made. In a speech given at Allahabad to a League session in 1930, Sir Muhammad Iqbal called for a state for Muslims in British India. Choudhary Rahmat Ali published a pamphlet in 1933 advocating a state "Pakistan" in the Indus Valley, with other names given to Muslim-majority areas elsewhere in India.Jinnah and Iqbal corresponded in 1936 and 1937; in subsequent years, Jinnah credited Iqbal as his mentor, and used Iqbal's imagery and rhetoric in his speeches.

Although many leaders of the Congress sought a strong central government for an Indian state, some Muslim politicians, including Jinnah, were unwilling to accept this without powerful protections for their community. Other Muslims supported the Congress, which advocated a secular state upon independence. Nevertheless, the Congress enjoyed considerable Muslim support up to about 1937.

 

"Islam expect every Muslim to do this duty, and if we realise our responsibility time will come soon when we shall justify ourselves worthy of a glorious past" -JINNAH

 

Events which separated the communities included the failed attempt to form a coalition government including the Congress and the League in the United Provinces following the 1937 election.According to historian Ian Talbot, "The provincial Congress governments made no effort to understand and respect their Muslim populations' cultural and religious sensibilities. The Muslim League's claims that it alone could safeguard Muslim interests thus received a major boost. Significantly it was only after this period of Congress rule that it (the League) took up the demand for a Pakistan state ..."

Balraj Puri in his journal article about Jinnah suggests that the Muslim League president, after the 1937 vote, turned to the idea of partition in "sheer desperation". Historian Akbar S. Ahmed suggests that Jinnah abandoned hope of reconciliation with the Congress as he "rediscover[ed] his own Islamic roots, his own sense of identity, of culture and history, which would come increasingly to the fore in the final years of his life". Jinnah also increasingly adopted Muslim dress in the late 1930s. In the wake of the 1937 balloting, Jinnah demanded that the question of power sharing be settled on an all-India basis, and that he, as president of the League, be accepted as the sole spokesman for the Muslim community.

Iqbal's influence on Jinnah

The well documented influence of Iqbal on Jinnah, with regard to taking the lead in creating Pakistan, has been described as "significant", "powerful" and even "unquestionable" by scholars. Iqbal has also cited as an influential force in convincing Jinnah to end his self-imposed exile in London and re-enter the politics of India. Initially, however, Iqbal and Jinnah were opponents, as Iqbal believed Jinnah did not care about the crises confronting the Muslim community during the British Raj. According to Akbar S. Ahmed, this began to change during Iqbal's final years prior to his death in 1938. Iqbal gradually succeeded in converting Jinnah over to his view, who eventually accepted Iqbal as his "mentor". Ahmed comments that in his annotations to Iqbal's letters, Jinnah expressed solidarity with Iqbal's view: that Indian Muslims required a separate homeland.

  "You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of Islamic  democracy,   Islamic social justice and the equality of manhood in your own native soil.
 Muhammad Ali Jinnah" -JINNAH

Iqbal's influence also gave Jinnah a deeper appreciation for Muslim identity, as Jinnah came to appreciate not only Iqbal's politics but his convictions. The evidence of this influence began to be revealed from 1937 onwards. Jinnah not only began to echo Iqbal in his speeches, he started using Islamic symbolism and began directing his addresses to the underprivileged. Ahmed noted a change in Jinnah's words: while he still advocated freedom of religion and protection of the minorities, the model he was now aspiring to was that of the Prophet Muhammad, rather than that of a secular politician. Ahmed further avers that those scholars who have painted the later Jinnah as secular have misread his speeches which, he argues, must be read in the context of Islamic history and culture. Accordingly, Jinnah's imagery of the Pakistan that was to be began to make it clear it was to have an Islamic nature. This change has been seen to last for the rest of Jinnah's life. He continued to borrow ideas "directly from Iqbal—including his thoughts on Muslim unity, on Islamic ideals of liberty, justice and equality, on economics, and even on practices such as prayers".

 

Independent Pakistan

Jinnah Announcing the creation of Pakistan over All India Radio on 3 June 1947

During a 1940 meeting of the Muslim League at Lahore, Jinnah proposed the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, in the area where Muslims constitute a majority. At this juncture, Jinnah was both displeased with Mohandas Gandhi's stance at the London Round Table Conference in 1939, and frustrated with the Muslim League. Much to Jinnah’s chagrin, the Muslim League was on the verge of merging with the National League, with the goal of participating in provincial elections and potentially conceding to the establishment of a united India with majority Hindu rule.

 

“Pakistan not only means freedom and independence but the Muslim ideology, which has to be preserved, which has come to us as a precious gift and which we hope others will share with us” -JINNAH                              

To Jinnah’s relief, in 1942 the Muslim League adopted the Pakistan Resolution to partition India into states. Four years later, Britain sent a cabinet mission to India to outline a constitution for transfer of power to India. India was then divided into three territories. The first was a Hindu majority, which makes up present-day India. The second was a Muslim area in the northwest, to be designated as Pakistan. The third was made up of Bengal and Assam, with a narrow Muslim majority. After a decade, the provinces would have the choice of opting out on the formation of a new federation. But when the Congress president expressed objections to implementing the plan, Jinnah also voted against it. The independent state of Pakistan that Jinnah had envisioned came to be on August 14, 1947. The following day, Jinnah was sworn in as Pakistan’s first governor-general. He was also made president of Pakistan's constituent assembly shortly before his death.

Mountbatten and Independence

On 20 February 1947, Attlee announced Mountbatten's appointment, and that Britain would transfer power in India not later than June 1948. Mountbatten took office as Viceroy on 24 March 1947, two days after his arrival in India. By then, the Congress had come around to the idea of partition. Nehru stated in 1960, "the truth is that we were tired men and we were getting on in years ... The plan for partition offered a way out and we took it."Leaders of the Congress decided that having loosely tied Muslim-majority provinces as part of a future India was not worth the loss of the powerful government at the centre which they desired. However, the Congress insisted that if Pakistan were to become independent, Bengal and Punjab would have to be divided.

 

Quaid-e-Azam  Announcing the creation of Pakistan over All India Radio on 3 June 1947

 

Jinnah feared that at the end of the British presence in the subcontinent, they would turn control over to the Congress-dominated constituent assembly, putting Muslims at a disadvantage in attempting to win autonomy. He demanded that Mountbatten divide the army prior to independence.

On 2 June, the final plan was given by the Viceroy to Indian leaders: on 15 August, the British would turn over power to two dominions. The provinces would vote on whether to continue in the existing constituent assembly or to have a new one, that is, to join Pakistan. Bengal and Punjab would also vote, both on the question of which assembly to join, and on the partition. A boundary commission would determine the final lines in the partitioned provinces.

Jinnah arranged to sell his house in Bombay and procured a new one in Karachi. On 7 August, Jinnah, with his sister and close staff, flew from Delhi to Karachi in Mountbatten's plane, and as the plane taxied, he was heard to murmur, "That's the end of that." On 11 August, he presided over the new constituent assembly for Pakistan at Karachi, and addressed them, "You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan ... On 14 August, Pakistan became independent; Jinnah led the celebrations in Karachi.

One observer wrote, "here indeed is Pakistan's King Emperor, Archbishop of Canterbury, Speaker and Prime Minister concentrated into one formidable Quaid-e-Azam."

 

Death and Legacy

On September 11, 1948, just a little over a year after he became governor-general, Jinnah died of tuberculosis near Karachi, Pakistan—the place where he was born.

Today, Quaid-e-Azam is credited with having altered the destiny of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. According to Richard Symons, Muhammad Ali Jinnah "contributed more than any other man to Pakistan’s survival." Jinnah’s dream for Pakistan was based on the principles of social justice, brotherhood and equality, which he aimed to achieve under his motto of "Faith, Unity, and Discipline." In the wake of his death, Jinnah’s successors were tasked with consolidating the nation of Pakistan that Jinnah had so determinedly established.

 

    "Failure is a word unknown to me" -JINNAH

 

 

By Hassan Bashir He is a young entrepreneur, blogger, speaker, and student activist from Peshawar. He is currently enrolled in Chartered Accountancy program and also running an online bookstore which was initially started by his father Engr. Muhammad Bashir in 1998. He did O’Level from Lahore Grammar School and A’Level from Beaconhouse School system.