Published On:22 September 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah -- His Life and Message

By Rohail Khan

September 11, 2013 was the 65th death anniversary of the Founder of Pakistan. On this occasion, let us revisit his life long struggle and deduce his “real message”.

Renowned American Historian Prof. Stanley Wolper admitted: “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. Muhammad Ali Jinnah did all three”.
Let us contemplate Great Quaid’s golden words: "Come forward as servants of Islam, organize the people economically, socially, educationally and politically and I am sure that you will be a power that will be accepted by everybody".

We remain indebted to QuaideAzam and will always cherish his life-long struggle and sacrifices. He led the South Asian Muslims to establish an Islamic state in which everyone could live and breathe as free individual.

We must appreciate the fact that Quaid-e-Azam established Pakistan as a Castle of Islam. He desired Pakistan to become a platform for renaissance of Caliphate System across the Muslim World. Well. We still have got time. Haven’t we?

May Allah grant us true understanding of Quaid-e-Azam’s teachings. Together let us work to meet his expectations. Let us observe the life and message of Quaid-e-Azam.

Shocking News

Just over a year after Pakistan’s creation, the Founder and First Governor General of the new Islamic Republic, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah died at his Karachi residence on the eve of 11th September 1948. His death, untimely for the Pakistani nation, was mourned by millions across the world.

Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru promptly stated his personal sadness. Indian Governor General Raja Gopal Achari cancelled official meetings to honour the demise of sub-continent’s greatest leader.

The Quaid was buried on 12th September 1948 amid official mourning in both India and Pakistan; a million bereaved people gathered for his funeral.

Today, Muhammad Ali Jinnah rests in Karachi in a grand marble mausoleum called Mazar-e-Quaid.

Secret of the Century

Since the 1930s, Quaid-e-Azam suffered from tuberculosis. Working twenty hours daily for decades, along with hectic travel and heavy smoking, had deprived him of good health. This was a well-guarded secret and only his doctor sister Miss FatimaJinnah and few close aides were aware of his condition. The Quaid believed that public knowledge of his lung ailments would politically hurt the cause of a separate homeland for the Muslims of India.

The great Quaid ultimately died of lung cancer on 11th September 1948. His adversaries in England and India termed this as “secret of the century”. On his death, the British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten stated that if he had known Jinnah was so ill, he would have stalled, hoping Jinnah's death would avert the partition of India.

In “My Brother”, Quaid’s biography authored by Miss Fatima Jinnah, she admits: "Even in the hour of triumph (Pakistan’s birth), the Quaid e Azam was gravely ill. He worked in a frenzy to consolidate Pakistan and totally neglected his health”. Such was the dedication and commitment of this great leader.

Formidable Political Leader -- Proponent of Free India (1904 – 1934)

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a formidable “respected-by-all” political leader whose life long struggle (from 1904 to 1947) and steadfast contribution for liberation of India from the British Empire remains unmatched.

In 1895, at a tender age of 19 years, he became a Barrister and earned the coveted distinction of being the youngest Indian to be called to the bar at Lincolns Inn, London, England. He returned home briefly to Karachi and then wisely moved to Bombay: the socio-political hub of British India.

Equipped with top-notch legal training and a burning desire to succeed, the young Muhammad Ali Jinnah began his law practice in Bombay, the “only Muslim barrister” in the metro city. English had become his principal language and would remain so throughout his life.

His first step towards a brighter career occurred when the British Advocate General of Bombay, John McPherson, invited the promising Mr. Jinnah to work from his elite chambers. In 1900, Mr. Jinnah succeeded P. H. Dastoor, as Bombay’s Presidency Magistrate. After completing six month’s probation, the British Government offered young Mr. Jinnah a permanent position on a 1,500 rupee monthly salary, which in those days was a sizeable amount. The clairvoyant Mr. Jinnah politely declined the lucrative offer, plainly stating he planned to earn 1,500 rupees “per day”, which he eventually did. Nevertheless, as Governor General of Pakistan in August 1947, he categorically refused any large salary, fixing it at a token One rupee per month.

The industrious Muhammad Ali Jinnah formally began his political career in December 1904 when he was initiated at the All India Congress Party's 20th annual meeting in Bombay. It is worth while to mention, he led a “moderate group” in the Congress, favoring “Hindu - Muslim Unity” in achieving self-government.

Mr. Jinnah’s exemplary role to persuade the British to amicably leave India was well appreciated by all Hindu and Muslims leaders alike. In fact, he perfectly suited the role, based on his towering and incorruptible personality and the intellectual guts to confront the British Bureaucrats.

In December 1913, he joined the All India Muslim League at the insistence of senior Muslim leaders. He remained a loyal member of the Congress as well and stressed that his Muslim League membership took second priority to the "greater national cause" of a free India.

Just before the advent of the First World War, Mr. Gokhale, a coveted Hindu leader, proudly stated that “Jinnah has true stuff in him and freedom from all sectarian prejudice which will make him the best ambassador of Hindu–Muslim Unity".

Mr. Jinnah's moderate faction in the Congress was undermined by the deaths of top Congress stalwarts namely: Mehta, Gokhale, and Nawroji. Nevertheless, Mr. Jinnah consistently went on to bring the Congress and Muslim League together.

In 1916, with Mr. Jinnah now president of the Muslim League, the two political parties signed the “Lucknow Pact”, setting quotas for Muslim and Hindu representation in various provinces. Although the pact could never be implemented, its signing ushered in a period of congenial cooperation between the Congress and the Muslim League.

During the First World War, Mr. Jinnah joined other Indian moderates in supporting the British war, hoping that Indians would be rewarded with political freedoms.

Politically well-placed Mr. Jinnah played an important role in the founding of All India Home Rule League in 1916. Along with senior Indian political leaders, Mr. Jinnah from 1916 - 1923 continued to demand constitutional reforms to allow "home rule" for India. This implied the status of a self-governing dominion witihn the British Empire similar to Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

British Cabinet Minister Edwin Montagu recalled Mr. Jinnah in his memoirs, "young, perfectly mannered, impressive-looking, armed to the teeth with dialectics, and insistent on the whole of his scheme".

Unfortunately, Britain's senior politicians were not genuinely interested in considering Indian constitutional reforms. Most British Ministers were against the idea of power sharing in India. Many discreetly lobbied to divide the Hindu and Muslim leaders and worked behind the doors to patronize the Pro-British Hindu Congress leaders.

In fact, Senior Ministers in London, saw in Mr. Jinnah a leader who could challenge the British Empire‘s motives to prolong the occupation of India. In 1925, in an effort to pressurize him to change sides, Mr. Jinnah was offered Knighthood by Viceroy Lord Reading. He replied: "I prefer to be plain Mr. Jinnah." This was the character of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

In 1928, the British Cabinet established the “Simon Commission” influenced by Winston Churchill, who strongly opposed self-government for India, and hoped the Simon Commission would set up policies to ensure survival of British rule in India.

The Congress, under the leadership of Moti Lal Nehru, responded with “The Nehru Report” which favored separate electorates based on geography and population. At this juncture, Mr. Jinnah intervened and proposed that electorates be based on religion. This stance was necessary "to ensure Indian Muslims had a voice in the Government".

Ironically, the British-backed Hindu leaders were adamant to dominate the Muslim representation. Mr. Jinnah strongly defended the cause of Muslims and submitted his famous “Fourteen Points” wherein he put forth proposals that would satisfy a broad range of Muslims, calling for mandatory representation for Muslims in legislatures and cabinets.

From 1930 to 1934, to resolve the conflicts between Congress and Muslim League, three Round Table Conferences were organized, none of which resulted in a political settlement.

The connivance between British and Hindu leaders had become crystal clear. Disappointed Mr. Jinnah, in utter disgust, took exile from active politics and settled back in London continuing his legal practice.

Mr. Jaswant Singh, deems Quaid -e- Azam's respite in Britain: “a temporary break from the Indian struggle”. Mr. Hector Bolitho called this period: "Jinnah's years of order and contemplation, wedged in between the time of early struggle, and the final storm of conquest".

Struggle for Separate State for Muslims (1934-1948)

Back in India, a storm was brewing up which could only be led by a leader as strong and unyielding as Mr. Jinnah. The Allahabad Address by Allama Iqbal at the 25th session of All India Muslim League on 29th December 1930 spelled out the “Concept of Pakistan”. Here Allama Iqbal (Great Philosopher and Sage of Islam) boldly presented the idea of a “separate homeland” for Indian Muslims.

Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, renowned professor at Oxford University, published his famous pamphlet in 1933 profoundly advocating the establishment of "Pakistan" for the Muslims in sub-continent.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, while admitting his efforts to foster Hindu Muslim unity had fallen apart, remained fully sympathetic to serve the Indian Muslims. The volatile political climate and side lining of Muslims by Indian National Congress showed the bleak future of Muslims in the sub-continent. Against this backdrop, Allama Iqbal’s concept rapidly gained Mr. Jinnah’s attention.

The Quaid returned back to India in 1934 buoyant with highest levels of confidence and started to collect the Indian Muslims under the singular banner of All India Muslim League.

Mr. Jinnah and Allama Iqbal conferred regularly on strategic matters. In subsequent years, Mr. Jinnah credited Allama Iqbal as his mentor, and eloquently used Allama Iqbal's concepts in his speeches.

The British Parliament's Government of India Act 1935 gave certain powers to provinces, with a weak central parliament in Delhi, which had no authority over foreign policy, defence, and budget. Full power remained in the hands of the Viceroy, who could dissolve legislatures and rule by decree.

Under Mr. Jinnah’s wise leadership, Muslim League expressed reservations about the weak parliament. The Congress grabbed the opportunity and contested the 1937 provincial elections. Consequently the Muslim League failed to win any majority.

These events had a strong impact on Mr. Jinnah’s political perspectives. Despite his belief, of twenty years, that Muslims could protect their rights in a united India through separate electorates and provincial boundaries, the Muslim voters were forcibly casted out. Alas, as a result of the 1937 elections, the British and Hindus had became one supreme power against the Muslims. Once again, the onus to re-build the Muslim majority came on the shoulders of Mr. Jinnah.

The coarse of the events altered, in favor of Indian Muslims, when the Second World War erupted in September 1939. With Congress demanding the British to “Quit India”, the Viceroy asked Mr. Jinnah for an expression of the Muslim League's position on self-government, confident that it would differ greatly from that of the Congress.

On 6th February 1940, Mr. Jinnah informed the Viceroy that the Muslim League would be demanding India’s partition instead of the federation contemplated in the 1935 Act.

The Lahore Resolution, also known as “Pakistan Resolution”, was a formal political statement adopted by the All India Muslim League on 23rd March 1940, which called for the creation of “independent state”' for Muslims in British India. The constituent units of this state were to be autonomous with no direct or indirect interference from either British or the Hindus.

Eventually, the 1940 Lahore Resolution picked up its pace and became a "unified demand for a separate Muslim state, called Pakistan".

The end of the Second World War in 1945, expedited the fall of the British Empire across the world. General Elections were announced in British India to be held in December 1945, with a firm resolve that the British would leave India after formation of a constitution-making body, following the outcome of the India-wide elections.

Mr. Jinnah declared the Indian Muslims would campaign on a single issue: “Pakistan”. He travelled all over India and aggressively campaigned for Pakistan. His message to every one was loud and clear: "Pakistan is a matter of life or death for us."

In the December 1945 elections for the Constituent Assembly of India, the Muslim League won every seat reserved for Muslims. In the provincial elections in January 1946, the League took 75% of the Muslim vote, an increase from 4.4% in 1937.

According to his biographer Mr. Hector Bolitho, "This was Jinnah's glorious hour. His arduous political campaigns, his robust beliefs and claims, were at last justified."

Prof. Stanley Wolpert, author of “Jinnah of Pakistan” wrote: “The 1945 election results appeared to prove the universal appeal of Pakistan among Muslims of the sub-continent".

The comeback of Muslim League shocked both the British and the Hindu-dominated Congress for whom the idea of a separate Muslim state was tough to be digested. On 20th February 1947, British Government finally announced she would transfer power in India latest by June 1948. Lord Mountbatten took office as Last Viceroy on 24th March 1947, to execute the final arrangements of India’s partition.

For Mr. Jinnah and the Indian Muslims, the fight was far from over.

On 2nd June 1947, the final plan was given by Lord Mountbatten to Indian leaders: “On 15 August, the British would turn over power to two dominions. The provinces would vote on whether to continue with the existing constituent assembly, or to have a new one, that is, to join Pakistan. A boundary commission would determine the final borders in the partitioned provinces”.

On 4th July 1947, Muslim League vehemently asked Lord Mountbatten to recommend to the British King George VI, that Mr. Jinnah be appointed Pakistan's first Governor General. This move angered Lord Mountbatten, who had aspired to become India's first post-independence Governor General for both dominions. Mr. Jinnah had foreseen that Lord Mountbatten would favor the new Hindu-majority state, based on his close alliances with the Hindu politicians and landlords.

Although the Radcliffe Boundary Commission, had not yet reported, there were already massive movements of populations between the nations-to-be, as well as sectarian violence.

These were testing times. Like every one, Mr. Jinnah saw that indecision and delays will only cause more bloodshed across the Muslim-dominated areas.

On 7th August 1947, Mr. Jinnah, with his sister Miss Fatima Jinnah and close aides, flew from Delhi to Karachi and on 11th August presided the new constituent assembly for Pakistan. Mr. Jinnah addressed the nation:

"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. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed. This has nothing to do with the business of the State."

Islamic Republic of Pakistan

On 14th August 1947, the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” came into existence, the "First country in the world to be founded on the basis of Islamic Ideology".

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

As Pakistan’s first head of state, Quaid-e-Azam led by example. He worked day and night to formulate policies and consolidate the entire fabric of the new Islamic Republic.

During his tenure, the Founder of Pakistan proudly boasted: “Pakistan is the Castle of Islam. Pakistan should one day serve as platform for renaissance of the Caliphate System across the Muslim world”.

In a vital public address, on the occasion of the first independence day of Pakistan, on 14th August 1948, Quaid-e-Azam advised the nation:

“Nature has given you everything. You have got unlimited resources. The foundations of your state have been laid, and it is now for you to build, and build as quickly and as well as you can. So go ahead and I wish you God speed”.

[Rohail A. Khan is a Senior Banker and CFO based at Jeddah. He is also Chairman, Urdu Academy International (UAI), Washington, D.C. He can be contacted at rohailkhan00@gmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on September 22, 2013. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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