The likeness of Muhammad Ali Jinnah: Father of Nation this present life is as water that We send down out of heaven,and the plants of Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnahs the earth mingle achievement as the founder of Pakistan, dominates everything else withe eat, till, he did in his long and crowded public life spanning some 42 years. when the earth Yet, by any standard, his was an eventful life, his personality has taken on its multidimensional and his achievements in other fields were many, glitter and has if not equally great. Indeed, several were the roles he had playeddecked itself fair, with distinction: at one time or another, he was one of the greatest Our command legal luminaries India had produced during the first half of the comes upon it century, an `ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, a great and We make it constitutionalist, a distinguished parliamentarian, a top-notch stubble, as politician, an indefatigable freedom-fighter, a dynamic Muslimthough yesterday leader, a political strategist and, above all one of the great nation-it flourished not. builders of modern times. What, however, makes him so Quran 10:24. remarkable is the fact that while similar other leaders assumed the leadership of traditionally well-defined nations and espoused their cause, or led them to freedom, he created a nation out of an inchoate and down-trodeen minority and established a cultural and national home for it. And all that within a decase. For over three decades before the successful culmination in 1947, of the Muslim struggle for freedom in the South-Asian subcontinent, Jinnah had provided political leadership to the Indian Muslims: initially as one of the leaders, but later, since 1947, as the only prominent leader- the Quaid-i-Azam. For over thirty years, he had guided their affairs; he had given expression, coherence and direction to their ligitimate aspirations and cherished dreams; he had formulated these into concerete demands; and, above all, he had striven all the while to get them conceded by both the ruling British and the numerous Hindus the dominant segment of Indias population. And for over thirty years he had fought, relentlessly and inexorably, for the inherent rights of the Muslims for an honourable existence in the subcontinent. Indeed, his life story constitutes, as it were, the story of the rebirth of the Muslims of the subcontinent and their spectacular rise to nationhood, phoenixlike. Early Life Born on December 25, 1876, in a prominent mercantile family in Karachi and educated at the Sindh Madrassat-ul-Islam and the Christian Mission School at his birth place,Jinnah joined the
Lincolns Inn in 1893 to become the youngest Indian to be called tothe Bar, three years later. Starting out in the legal professionwithknothing to fall back upon except his native ability anddetermination, young Jinnah rose to prominence and becameBombays most successful lawyer, as few did, within a few years.Once he was firmly established in the legal profession, Jinnahformally entered politics in 1905 from the platform of the IndianNational Congress. He went to England in that year alongwithGopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915), as a member of a Congressdelegation to plead the cause of Indian self-governemnt during theBritish elections. A year later, he served as Secretary to DadabhaiNoaroji(1825-1917), the then Indian National Congress President,which was considered a great honour for a budding politician. Here,at the Calcutta Congress session (December 1906), he also made hisfirst political speech in support of the resolution on self-government.Political CareerThree years later, in January 1910, Jinnah was elected to the newly-constituted Imperial Legislative Council. All through hisparliamentary career, which spanned some four decades, he wasprobably the most powerful voice in the cause of Indian freedomand Indian rights. Jinnah, who was also the first Indian to pilot aprivate members Bill through the Council, soon became a leader ofa group inside the legislature. Mr. Montagu (1879-1924), Secretaryof State for India, at the close of the First World War, consideredJinnah "perfect mannered, impressive-looking, armed to the teethwith dialecties..."Jinnah, he felt, "is a very clever man, and it is, ofcourse, an outrage that such a man should have no chance ofrunning the affairs of his own country."For about three decades since his entry into politics in 1906, Jinnahpassionately believed in and assiduously worked for Hindu-Muslimunity. Gokhale, the foremost Hindu leader before Gandhi, had oncesaid of him, "He has the true stuff in him and that freedom from allsectarian prejudice which will make him the best ambassador ofHindu-Muslim Unity: And, to be sure, he did become the architectof Hindu-Muslim Unity: he was responsible for the Congress-League Pact of 1916, known popularly as Lucknow Pact- the onlypact ever signed between the two political organisations, theCongress and the All-India Muslim League, representing, as theydid, the two major communities in the subcontinent.
The Congress-League scheme embodied in this pact was to becomethe basis for the Montagu-Chemlsford Reforms, also known as theAct of 1919. In retrospect, the Lucknow Pact represented amilestone in the evolution of Indian politics. For one thing, itconceded Muslims the right to separate electorate, reservation ofseats in the legislatures and weightage in representation both at theCentre and the minority provinces. Thus, their retention wasensured in the next phase of reforms. For another, it represented atacit recognition of the All-India Muslim League as therepresentative organisation of the Muslims, thus strengthening thetrend towards Muslim individuality in Indian politics. And toJinnah goes the credit for all this. Thus, by 1917, Jinnah came to berecognised among both Hindus and Muslims as one of Indias mostoutstanding political leaders. Not only was he prominent in theCongress and the Imperial Legislative Council, he was also thePresident of the All-India Muslim and that of lthe Bombay Branchof the Home Rule League. More important, because of his key-rolein the Congress-League entente at Lucknow, he was hailed as theambassador, as well as the embodiment, of Hindu-Muslim unity.Constitutional StruggleIn subsequent years, however, he felt dismayed at the injection ofviolence into politics. Since Jinnah stood for "ordered progress",moderation, gradualism and constitutionalism, he felt that politicalterrorism was not the pathway to national liberation but, the darkalley to disaster and destruction. Hence, the constitutionalist Jinnahcould not possibly, countenance Mohandas Karamchand Gandhisnovel methods of Satyagrah (civil disobedience) and the tripleboycott of government-aided schools and colleges, courts andcouncils and British textiles. Earlier, in October 1920, whenGandhi, having been elected President of the Home Rule League,sought to change its constitution as well as its nomenclature, Jinnahhad resigned from the Home Rule League, saying: "Your extremeprogramme has for the moment struck the imagination mostly ofthe inexperienced youth and the ignorant and the illiterate. All thismeans disorganisation and choas". Jinnah did not believe that endsjustified the means.In the ever-growing frustration among the masses caused bycolonial rule, there was ample cause for extremism. But, Gandhisdoctrine of non-cooperation, Jinnah felt, even as RabindranathTagore(1861-1941) did also feel, was at best one of negation anddespair: it might lead to the building up of resentment, but nothingconstructive. Hence, he opposed tooth and nail the tactics adoptedby Gandhi to exploit the Khilafat and wrongful tactics in the Punjab
in the early twenties. On the eve of its adoption of the Gandhianprogramme, Jinnah warned the Nagpur Congress Session (1920):"you are making a declaration (of Swaraj within a year) andcommitting the Indian National Congress to a programme, whichyou will not be able to carry out". He felt that there was no short-cut to independence and that Gandhis extra-constitutional methodscould only lead to political terrorism, lawlessness and chaos,without bringing India nearer to the threshold of freedom.The future course of events was not only to confirm Jinnahs worstfears, but also to prove him right. Although Jinnah left the Congresssoon thereafter, he continued his efforts towards bringing about aHindu-Muslim entente, which he rightly considered "the most vitalcondition of Swaraj". However, because of the deep distrustbetween the two communities as evidenced by the country-widecommunal riots, and because the Hindus failed to meet the genuinedemands of the Muslims, his efforts came to naught. One sucheffort was the formulation of the Delhi Muslim Proposals in March,1927. In order to bridge Hindu-Muslim differences on theconstitutional plan, these proposals even waived the Muslim rightto separate electorate, the most basic Muslim demand since 1906,which though recognised by the congress in the Lucknow Pact, hadagain become a source of friction between the two communities.surprisingly though, the Nehru Report (1928), which representedthe Congress-sponsored proposals for the future constitution ofIndia, negated the minimum Muslim demands embodied in theDelhi Muslim Proposals.In vain did Jinnah argue at the National convention (1928): "Whatwe want is that Hindus and Mussalmans should march togetheruntil our object is achieved...These two communities have got to bereconciled and united and made to feel that their interests arecommon". The Conventions blank refusal to accept Muslimdemands represented the most devastating setback to Jinnahs life-long efforts to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity, it meant "the laststraw" for the Muslims, and "the parting of the ways" for him, as heconfessed to a Parsee friend at that time. Jinnahs disillusionment atthe course of politics in the subcontinent prompted him to migrateand settle down in London in the early thirties. He was, however, toreturn to India in 1934, at the pleadings of his co-religionists, andassume their leadership. But, the Muslims presented a sad spectacleat that time. They were a mass of disgruntled and demoralised menand women, politically disorganised and destitute of a clear-cutpolitical programme.
Muslim League ReorganisedThus, the task that awaited Jinnah was anything but easy. TheMuslim League was dormant: primary branches it had none; evenits provincial organisations were, for the most part, ineffective andonly nominally under the control of the central organisation. Nordid the central body have any coherent policy of its own till theBombay session (1936), which Jinnah organised. To make mattersworse, the provincial scene presented a sort of a jigsaw puzzle: inthe Punjab, Bengal, Sindh, the North West Frontier, Assam, Biharand the United Provinces, various Muslim leaders had set up theirown provincial parties to serve their personal ends. Extremelyfrustrating as the situation was, the only consulation Jinnah had atthis juncture was in Allama Iqbal(1877-1938), the poet-philosopher,who stood steadfast by him and helped to charter the course ofIndian politics from behind the scene.Undismayed by this bleak situation, Jinnah devoted himself withsingleness of purpose to organising the Muslims on one platform.He embarked upon country-wide tours. He pleaded with provincialMuslim leaders to sink their differences and make common causewith the League. He exhorted the Muslim masses to organisethemselves and join the League. He gave coherence and direction toMuslim sentiments on the Government of India Act, 1935. Headvocated that the Federal Scheme should be scrapped as it wassubversive of Indias cherished goal of complete responsibleGovernment, while the provincial scheme, which concededprovincial autonomy for the first time, should be worked for what itwas worth, despite its certain objectionable features. He alsoformulated a viable League manifesto for the election scheduled forearly 1937. He was, it seemed, struggling against time to makeMuslim India a power to be reckoned with.Despite all the manifold odds stacked against it, the Muslim Leaugewon some 108 (about 23 per cent) seats out of a total of 485Muslim seats in the various legislature. Though not very impressivein itself, the Leagues partial success assumed added significance inview of the fact that the League won the largest number of Muslimseats and that it was the only all-India party of the Muslims in thecountry. Thus, the elections represented the first milestone on thelong road to putting Muslim India on the map of the subcontinent.Congress in Power With the year 1937 opened the most mementousdecade in modern Indian history. In that year came into force theprovincial part of the Government of India Act, 1935, grantingautonomy to Indians for the first time, in the provinces.
The Congress, having become the dominant party in Indian politics,came to power in seven provinces exclusively, spurning theLeagues offer of cooperation, turning its back finally on thecoalition idea and excluding Muslims as a kpolitical entity from theportals of power. In that year, also, the Muslim League, underJinnahs dynamic leadership, was reorganised de novo, transformedinto a mass organisation, and made the spokesman of IndianMuslims as never before. Above all, in that momentous lyear wereinitiated certain trends in Indian politics, lthe crystallisation ofwhich in subsequent years made the partition of the subcontinentinevitable. The practical manifestation of the policy of the Congresswhich took office in July, 1937, in seven out of eleven provinces,convinced Muslims that, in the Congress scheme of things, theycould live only on sufferance of Hindus and as "second class"citizens. The Congress provincial governments, it may beremembered, had embarked upon a policy and launched aprogramme in which Muslims felt that their religion, language andculture were not safe. This blatantly aggressive Congress policywas seized upon by Jinnah to awaken the Muslims to a newconsciousness, organize them on all-India platoform, and makethem a power to be reckoned with. He also gave coherence,direction and articulation to their innermost, lyet vague, urges andaspirations. Above all, the filled them with his indomitable will, hisown unflinching faith in their destiny.The New AwakeningAs a result of Jinnahs ceaseless efforts, the Muslims awakenedfrom what Professor Baker calls(their) "unreflective silence" (inwhich they had so complacently basked for long decades), and to"the spiritual essence of nationality" that had existed among themfor a pretty long time. Roused by the imapct of successive Congresshammerings, the Muslims, as Ambedkar (principal author ofindependent Indias Constitution) says, "searched their socialconsciousness in a desperate attempt to find coherent andmeaningful articulation to their cherished yearnings. To their greatrelief, they discovered that their sentiments of nationality hadflamed into nationalism". In addition, not only lhad they developed"the will to live as a "nation", had also endwoed them with aterritory which they could occupy and make a State as well as acultural home for the newly discovered nation. These two pre-requisites, as laid down by Renan, provided the Muslims with theintellectual justification for claiming a distinct nationalism (apartfrom Indian or Hindu nationalism) for themselves. So that when,after their long pause, the Muslims gave expression to theirinnermost yearnings, these turned out to be in favour of a separate
Muslim nationhood and of a separate Muslim state.Demand for Pakistan"We are a nation", they claimed in the ever eloquent words of theQuaid-i-Azam- "We are a nation with our own distinctive cultureand civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, namesand nomenclature, sense of values and proportion, legal laws andmoral code, customs and calandar, history and tradition, aptitudesand ambitions; in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on lifeand of life. By all canons of international law, we are a nation". Theformulation of the Musim demand for Pakistan in 1940 had atremendous impact on the nature and course of Indian politics. Onthe one hand, it shattered for ever the Hindu dreams of a pseudo-Indian, in fact, Hindu empire on British exit from India: on theother, it heralded an era of Islamic renaissance and creativity inwhich the Indian Muslims were to be active participants. The Hindureaction was quick, bitter, malicious.Equally hostile were the British to the Muslim demand, theirhostility having stemmed from their belief that the unity of Indiawas their main achievement and their foremost contribution. Theirony was that both the Hindus and the British had not anticipatedthe astonishingly tremendous response that the Pakistan demandhad elicited from the Muslim masses. Above all, they faild torealize how a hundred million people had suddenly becomesupremely conscious of their distinct nationhood and their highdestiny. In channelling the course of Muslim politics towardsPakistan, no less than in directing it towards its consummation inthe establishment of Pakistan in 1947, non played a more decisiverole than did Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. It was hispowerful advocacy of the case of Pakistan and his remarkablestrategy in the delicate negotiations, that followed the formulationof the Pakistan demand, particularly in the post-war period, thatmade Pakistan inevitable.Cripps SchemeWhile the British reaction to the Pakistan demand came in the formof the Cripps offer of April, 1942, which conceded the principle ofself-determination to provinces on a territorial basis, the RajajiFormula (called after the eminent Congress leaderC.Rajagopalacharia, which became the basis of prolonged Jinnah-Gandhi talks in September, 1944), represented the Congress
alternative to Pakistan. The Cripps offer was rejected because it didnot concede the Muslim demand the whole way, while the RajajiFormula was found unacceptable since it offered a "moth-eaten,mutilated" Pakistan and the too appended with a plethora of pre-conditions which made its emergence in any shape remote, if notaltogether impossible. Cabinet Mission The most delicate as well asthe most tortuous negotiations, however, took place during 1946-47, after the elections which showed that the country was sharplyand somewhat evenly divided between two parties- the Congressand the League- and that the central issue in Indian politics wasPakistan.These negotiations began with the arrival, in March 1946, of athree-member British Cabinet Mission. The crucial task with whichthe Cabinet Mission was entrusted was that of devising inconsultation with the various political parties, a constitution-makingmachinery, and of setting up a popular interim government. But,because the Congress-League gulf could not be bridged, despite theMissions (and the Viceroys) prolonged efforts, the Mission had tomake its own proposals in May, 1946. Known as the CabinetMission Plan, these proposals stipulated a limited centre, supremeonly in foreign affairs, defence and communications and threeautonomous groups of provinces. Two of these groups were to haveMuslim majorities in the north-west and the north-east of thesubcontinent, while the third one, comprising the Indian mainland,was to have a Hindu majority. A consummate statesman that hewas, Jinnah saw his chance. He interpreted the clauses relating to alimited centre and the grouping as "the foundation of Pakistan", andinduced the Muslim League Council to accept the Plan in June1946; and this he did much against the calculations of the Congressand to its utter dismay.Tragically though, the Leagues acceptance was put down to itssupposed weakness and the Congress put up a posture of defiance,designed to swamp the Leauge into submitting to its dictates and itsinterpretations of the plan. Faced thus, what alternative had Jinnahand the League but to rescind their earlier acceptance, reiterate andreaffirm their original stance, and decide to launch direct action (ifneed be) to wrest Pakistan. The way Jinnah manoeuvred to turn thetide of events at a time when all seemed lost indicated, above all,his masterly grasp of the situation and his adeptness at makingstrategic and tactical moves. Partition Plan By the close of 1946, thecommunal riots had flared up to murderous heights, engulfingalmost the entire subcontinent. The two peoples, it seemed, wereengaged in a fight to the finish. The time for a peaceful transfer ofpower was fast running out. Realising the gravity of the situation.
His Majestys Government sent down to India a new Viceroy- LordMountbatten. His protracted negotiations with the various politicalleaders resulted in 3 June.(1947) Plan by which the British decidedto partition the subcontinent, and hand over power to two successorStates on 15 August, 1947. The plan was duly accepted by the threeIndian parties to the dispute- the Congress the League and the AkaliDal(representing the Sikhs).Leader of a Free NationIn recognition of his signular contribution, Quaid-i-AzamMohammad Ali Jinnah was nominated by the Muslim League asthe Governor-General of Pakistan, while the Congress appointedMountbatten as Indias first Governor-General. Pakistan, it has beentruly said, was born in virtual chaos. Indeed, few nations in theworld have started on their career with less resourcesand in moretreacherous circumstances. The new nation did not inherit a centralgovernment, a capital, an administrative core,or an organizeddefence force. Its social and administrative resources werepoor;there was little equipment and still less statistics. The Punjabholocaust had left vast areas in a shambles with communicationsdesrupted. This, alongwith the en masse mirgration of the Hinduand Sikh business and managerial classes, left the economy almostshattered.The treasury was empty, India having denied Pakistan the majorshare of its cash balances.On top of all this, the still unorganizednation was called upon to feed some eight million refugees who hadfled the insecurities and barbarities of the north Indian plains thatlong, hot summer. If all this was symptomatic of Pakistansadministrative and economic weakness, the Indian annexation,through military action in November 1947, of Junagadh (which hadoriginally acceded to Pakistan) and the Kashmir war over the Statesaccession (October 1947-December 1948) exposed her militaryweakness. In the circumsances, therefore, it was nothing short of amiracle that Pakistan survived at all. That it survived and forgedahead was mainly due to one man-Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Thenation desperately needed in the person of a charismatic leader atthat critical juncture in the nations history, and he fulfilled thatneed profoundly. After all, he was more than a mere Governor-General: he was the Quaid-i-Azam who had brought the State intobeing.In the ultimate analysis, his very presence at the helm of affairs wasresponsible for enabling the newly born nation to overcome theterrible crisis on the morrow of its cataclysmic birth. He mustered
up the immense prestige and the unquestioning loyalty hecommanded among the people to energize them, to raise theirmorale, land directed the profound feelings of patriotism that thefreedom had generated, along constructive channels. Though tiredand in poor health, Jinnah yet carried the heaviest part of the burdenin that first crucial year. He laid down the policies of the new state,called attention to the immediate problems confronting the nationand told the members of the Constituent Assembly, the civilservants and the Armed Forces what to do and what the nationexpected of them. He saw to it that law and order was maintained atall costs, despite the provocation that the large-scale riots in northIndia had provided. He moved from Karachi to Lahore for a whileand supervised the immediate refugee problem in the Punjab. In atime of fierce excitement, he remained sober, cool and steady. Headvised his excited audence in Lahore to concentrate on helping therefugees,to avoaid retaliation, exercise restraint and protect theminorities. He assured the minorities of a fair deal, assuaged theirinured sentiments, and gave them hope and comfort. He toured thevarious provinces, attended to their particular problems and instilledin the people a sense ofbelonging. He reversed the British policy inthe North-West Frontier and ordered the withdrawal of the troopsfrom the tribal territory of Waziristan, thereby making the Pathansfeel themselves an integral part of Pakistans body-politics. Hecreated a new Ministry of States and Frontier Regions, and assumedresponsibility for ushering in a new era in Balochistan. He settledthe controversial question of the states of Karachi, secured theaccession of States, especially of Kalat which seemed problematicaland carried on negotiations with Lord Mountbatten for thesettlement of the Kashmir Issue.The Quaids last MessageIt was, therefore, with a sense of supreme satisfaction at thefulfilment of his mission that Jinnah told the nation in his lastmessage on 14 August, 1948: "The foundations of your State havebeen laid and it is now for you to build and build as quickly and aswell as you can". In accomplishing the task he had taken uponhimself on the morrow of Pakistans birth, Jinnah had workedhimself to death, but he had, to quote richard Symons, "contributedmore than any other man to Pakistans survivial". He died on 11September, 1948. How true was Lord Pethick Lawrence, the formerSecretary of State for India, when he said, "Gandhi died by thehands of an assassin; Jinnah died by his devotion to Pakistan".
A man such as Jinnah, who had fought for the inherent rights of hispeople all through his life and who had taken up the somewhatunconventional and the largely mininterpreted cause of Pakistan,was bound to generate violent opposition and excite implacablehostility and was likely to be largely misunderstood. But what ismost remarkable about Jinnah is that he was the recepient of someof the greatest tributes paid to any one in modern times, some ofthem even from those who held a diametrically opposed viewpoint.The Aga Khan considered him "the greatest man he ever met",Beverley Nichols, the author of `Verdict on India, called him "themost important man in Asia", and Dr. Kailashnath Katju, the WestBengal Governor in 1948, thought of him as "an outstanding figureof this century not only in India, but in the whole world". WhileAbdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the ArabLeague, called him "one of the greatest leaders in the Muslimworld", the Grand Mufti of Palestine considered his death as a"great loss" to the entire world of Islam. It was, however, given toSurat Chandra Bose, leader of the Forward Bloc wing of the IndianNational Congress, to sum up succinctly his personal and politicalachievements. "Mr Jinnah",he said on his death in 1948, "was greatas a lawyer, once great as a Congressman, great as a leader ofMuslims, great as a world politician and diplomat, and greatestof allas a man of action, By Mr. Jinnahs passing away, the world has lostone of the greatst statesmen and Pakistan its life-giver, philosopherand guide". Such was Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, theman and his mission, such the range of his accomplishments andachievements.