Jinnah to Quaid-i-Azam

By Sushmita Dutta | Last Updated: Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 17:46

"Yes, I am Karachi-born, and it was on the sands of Karachi that I played marbles in my boyhood. I was schooled at Karachi," said Muhammad Ali Jinnah at a Dinner Party given by the late Ghulam Hussain.

On 16th of August 1946 Jinnah gave call for Direct Action Day, sometimes also referred as the Great Calcutta Riot. It was the day when blood flowed through the streets of Calcutta like water. Calcutta witnessed its worst day in the history with dead people strewn around all over the city. It commenced also of what came to be known as ‘The Week of the Long Knives’.

In the 1940s, when the Constituent Assembly was formed, the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League emerged as the two largest political groups. In 1946, the Cabinet Mission was proposed. It laid out a plan for the transfer of power from the Britishers to the Indians and also gave a plan for the structure of the new Dominion of India.

But on 16th June, the Cabinet Mission changed its course. It proposed an alternative plan, believed to be under the pressure of the chief of the Muslim League, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It proposed to divide the country into parts- the Hindu-dominated India and the Muslim-majority Pakistan. This plan by the Britishers evoked instant protest from all parts of the nation. Calcutta was the worst affected by the violence triggered by the protests. More than 4000 people died and 10000 were rendered homeless.

Before 1947, when the state of Pakistan came into force, Jinnah had been the strongest voice of the Indian Muslims. Jinnah’s sincere effort to lead the Muslims throughout India ended in 1947, with him becoming the Quaid-i-Azam of Pakistan .

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born in Karachi on December 25, 1876, but the date is still a matter of debate. He was born in a well-to-do mercantile family. His early education was at the Sindh Madrassat-ul-Islam and the Christian Mission School. In 1905, he joined the Indian National Congress. That year he went to London alongwith Gopal Krishna Gokhale and put forward the request of self-government. He even served as the secretary to Dadabhai Naoroji, then considered to be a great honour. In 1906, he gave his first political speech at the Calcutta session of Congress.

From 1906, to the next thirty years Jinnah worked tirelessly for the unity of Hindus and Muslims. Gopal Krishna Gokhale had once remarked about Jinnah “He has the true stuff in him and that freedom from all sectarian prejudice which will make him the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity”. And this observation by the great leader turned out to be absolutely true. In 1916, when the Congress-Muslim League pact was signed, Jinnah became the architect of that act.

Several historians, who have witnessed the Partition, from both side of the border have their own views on Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Sayeed Hasin Khan (Pakistani Historian)

Frustration was growing among the masses due to the atrocious colonial rule. There was ample reason for extremists to show their anger. But, Gandhi followed the doctrine of non-cooperation, which Jinnah felt was a doctrine of negation and despair. Je tjought it might lead to the building up of resentment, but nothing constructive. He had an inclination towards communism.

Aisha Jalal (Pakistani Historian)

Before Independence, the British tried their level best to divide India into small states and favoured Jinnah initially. But after partition, Jinnah became useless for the British. Jinnah did a lot for Pakistan.

Vipin Chandra(Indian Historian)

Jinnah became desperate to gain power that the only thing in his mind was Partition. He wanted Pakistan to get separated at any cost. He was a liberal kind of person.

The Congress had denied the idea of coalition with the Muslim League when it became the major political party in India. It virtually put the League out from the corridors of power. Jinnah grabbed the opportunity and became the spokesperson for the Muslims in India, and led them under his dynamic leadership.
Demand for Pakistan

The entire dynamics of the Indian freedom struggle and politics changed in 1940 when Muslims demanded a separate nation - Pakistan. On one hand, the Hindu dream of a Hindu-led empire lay shattered after the English left India.

It also led to an era of Islamic renaissance which brought to the fore Muslims. The Hindu reaction was quick and bitter.

The Britishers were also not much pleased. They were trying to gain worldwide achievement by highlighting to the world the unity of India. But both the Hindus and Bristishers were not prepared for the response it elicited from the Muslims.

On the other hand, Muhammad Ali Jinnah became the president of the Muslim League in 1916, then from 1934–48, had by 1940 started advocating the need for a separate state of Pakistan.

During various conferences in London in 1946 he insisted on the partition of British India into Hindu and Muslim states.

After Partition he took over as Pakistan`s first Governor General.

On accomplishing the task of a separate nation (Pakistan), Jinnah had taken upon himself on the pain of Pakistan`s birth.

Jinnah had worked himself to death. But to quote Richard Symons, Jinnah had "contributed more than any other man to Pakistan`s survivial".

He passed away on 11 September, 1948. How true was Lord Pathick Lawrence, the former Secretary of State for India, when he said, "Gandhi died by the hands of an assassin; Jinnah died by his devotion to Pakistan".

Adaptation by Sushmita Dutta



First Published: Friday, August 28, 2009 - 00:26

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