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 Lincoln's
Inn in 1893 to become the youngest Indian to be called to the Bar, three years later. Starting out in the legal profession
withknothing to fall back upon except his native ability and determination, young Jinnah rose to prominence and became Bombay's
most successful lawyer, as few did, within a few years. Once he was firmly established in the legal profession, Jinnah formally
entered politics in 1905 from the platform of the Indian National Congress. He went to England in that year alongwith Gopal
Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915), as a member of a Congress delegation to plead the cause of Indian self-governemnt during the
British elections. A year later, he served as Secretary to Dadabhai Noaroji(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 his first political speech in support of the resolution on self-government.
Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's achievement as the founder
of Pakistan, dominates everything else he did in his long and crowded public life spanning some 42 years. Yet, by any standard,
his was an eventful life, his personality multidimensional and his achievements in other fields were many, if not equally
great. Indeed, several were the roles he had played with distinction: at one time or another, he was one of the greatest legal
luminaries India had produced during the first half of the century, an `ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, a great constitutionalist,
a distinguished parliamentarian, a top-notch politician, an indefatigable freedom-fighter, a dynamic Muslim leader, a political
strategist and, above all one of the great nation-builders of modern times. What, however, makes him so 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 India's 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.
Three years later, in January 1910, Jinnah was elected to the newly-constituted
Imperial Legislative Council. All through his parliamentary career, which spanned some four decades, he was probably the most
powerful voice in the cause of Indian freedom and Indian rights. Jinnah, who was also the first Indian to pilot a private
member's Bill through the Council, soon became a leader of a group inside the legislature. Mr. Montagu (1879-1924), Secretary
of State for India, at the close of the First World War, considered Jinnah "perfect mannered, impressive-looking, armed to
the teeth with dialecties..."Jinnah, he felt, "is a very clever man, and it is, of course, an outrage that such a man should
have no chance of running the affairs of his own country."
For about three decades since his entry into politics in 1906, Jinnah passionately
believed in and assiduously worked for Hindu-Muslim unity. Gokhale, the foremost Hindu leader before Gandhi, had once said
of him, "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, to be sure, he did become the architect of Hindu-Muslim Unity: he was responsible for the Congress-League
Pact of 1916, known popularly as Lucknow Pact- the only pact ever signed between the two political organisations, the Congress
and the All-India Muslim League, representing, as they did, the two major communities in the subcontinent.
The Congress-League scheme embodied in this pact was to become the basis for
the Montagu-Chemlsford Reforms, also known as the Act of 1919. In retrospect, the Lucknow Pact represented a milestone in
the evolution of Indian politics. For one thing, it conceded Muslims the right to separate electorate, reservation of seats
in the legislatures and weightage in representation both at the Centre and the minority provinces. Thus, their retention was
ensured in the next phase of reforms. For another, it represented a tacit recognition of the All-India Muslim League as the
representative organisation of the Muslims, thus strengthening the trend towards Muslim individuality in Indian politics.
And to Jinnah goes the credit for all this. Thus, by 1917, Jinnah came to be recognised among both Hindus and Muslims as one
of India's most outstanding political leaders. Not only was he prominent in the Congress and the Imperial Legislative Council,
he was also the President of the All-India Muslim and that of lthe Bombay Branch of the Home Rule League. More important,
because of his key-role in the Congress-League entente at Lucknow, he was hailed as the ambassador, as well as the embodiment,
of Hindu-Muslim unity.
In subsequent years, however, he felt dismayed at the injection of violence into
politics. Since Jinnah stood for "ordered progress", moderation, gradualism and constitutionalism, he felt that political
terrorism was not the pathway to national liberation but, the dark alley to disaster and destruction. Hence, the constitutionalist
Jinnah could not possibly, countenance Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's novel methods of Satyagrah (civil disobedience) and the
triple boycott of government-aided schools and colleges, courts and councils and British textiles. Earlier, in October 1920,
when Gandhi, having been elected President of the Home Rule League, sought to change its constitution as well as its nomenclature,
Jinnah had resigned from the Home Rule League, saying: "Your extreme programme has for the moment struck the imagination mostly
of the inexperienced youth and the ignorant and the illiterate. All this means disorganisation and choas". Jinnah did not
believe that ends justified the means.
In the ever-growing frustration among the masses caused by colonial rule, there
was ample cause for extremism. But, Gandhi's doctrine of non-cooperation, Jinnah felt, even as Rabindranath Tagore(1861-1941)
did also feel, was at best one of negation and despair: it might lead to the building up of resentment, but nothing constructive.
Hence, he opposed tooth and nail the tactics adopted by Gandhi to exploit the Khilafat and wrongful tactics in the Punjab
in the early twenties. On the eve of its adoption of the Gandhian programme, Jinnah warned the Nagpur Congress Session (1920):
"you are making a declaration (of Swaraj within a year) and committing the Indian National Congress to a programme, which
you will not be able to carry out". He felt that there was no short-cut to independence and that Gandhi's extra-constitutional
methods could 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 Jinnah's worst fears, but
also to prove him right. Although Jinnah left the Congress soon thereafter, he continued his efforts towards bringing about
a Hindu-Muslim entente, which he rightly considered "the most vital condition of Swaraj". However, because of the deep distrust
between the two communities as evidenced by the country-wide communal riots, and because the Hindus failed to meet the genuine
demands of the Muslims, his efforts came to naught. One such effort was the formulation of the Delhi Muslim Proposals in March,
1927. In order to bridge Hindu-Muslim differences on the constitutional plan, these proposals even waived the Muslim right
to separate electorate, the most basic Muslim demand since 1906, which though recognised by the congress in the Lucknow Pact,
had again become a source of friction between the two communities. surprisingly though, the Nehru Report (1928), which represented
the Congress-sponsored proposals for the future constitution of India, negated the minimum Muslim demands embodied in the
Delhi Muslim Proposals.
In vain did Jinnah argue at the National convention (1928): "What we want is
that Hindus and Mussalmans should march together until our object is achieved...These two communities have got to be reconciled
and united and made to feel that their interests are common". The Convention's blank refusal to accept Muslim demands represented
the most devastating setback to Jinnah's life-long efforts to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity, it meant "the last straw" for
the Muslims, and "the parting of the ways" for him, as he confessed to a Parsee friend at that time. Jinnah's disillusionment
at the course of politics in the subcontinent prompted him to migrate and settle down in London in the early thirties. He
was, however, to return to India in 1934, at the pleadings of his co-religionists, and assume their leadership. But, the Muslims
presented a sad spectacle at that time. They were a mass of disgruntled and demoralised men and women, politically disorganised
and destitute of a clear-cut political programme.
Muslim League Reorganised
Thus, the task that awaited Jinnah was anything
but easy. The Muslim League was dormant: primary branches it had none; even its provincial organisations were, for the most
part, ineffective and only nominally under the control of the central organisation. Nor did the central body have any coherent
policy of its own till the Bombay session (1936), which Jinnah organised. To make matters worse, the provincial scene presented
a sort of a jigsaw puzzle: in the Punjab, Bengal, Sindh, the North West Frontier, Assam, Bihar and the United Provinces, various
Muslim leaders had set up their own provincial parties to serve their personal ends. Extremely frustrating as the situation
was, the only consulation Jinnah had at this juncture was in Allama Iqbal(1877-1938), the poet-philosopher, who stood steadfast
by him and helped to charter the course of Indian politics from behind the scene.
Undismayed by this bleak situation, Jinnah devoted himself with singleness of purpose to organising the Muslims on
one platform. He embarked upon country-wide tours. He pleaded with provincial Muslim leaders to sink their differences and
make common cause with the League. He exhorted the Muslim masses to organise themselves and join the League. He gave coherence
and direction to Muslim sentiments on the Government of India Act, 1935. He advocated that the Federal Scheme should be scrapped
as it was subversive of India's cherished goal of complete responsible Government, while the provincial scheme, which conceded
provincial autonomy for the first time, should be worked for what it was worth, despite its certain objectionable features.
He also formulated a viable League manifesto for the election scheduled for early 1937. He was, it seemed, struggling against
time to make Muslim India a power to be reckoned with.
Despite all the manifold
odds stacked against it, the Muslim Leauge won some 108 (about 23 per cent) seats out of a total of 485 Muslim seats in the
various legislature. Though not very impressive in itself, the League's partial success assumed added significance in view
of the fact that the League won the largest number of Muslim seats and that it was the only all-India party of the Muslims
in the country. Thus, the elections represented the first milestone on the long road to putting Muslim India on the map of
the subcontinent. Congress in Power With the year 1937 opened the most mementous decade in modern Indian history. In that
year came into force the provincial part of the Government of India Act, 1935, granting autonomy 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 the League's offer of cooperation, turning its back
finally on the coalition idea and excluding Muslims as a kpolitical entity from the portals of power. In that year, also,
the Muslim League, under Jinnah's dynamic leadership, was reorganised de novo, transformed into a mass organisation, and made
the spokesman of Indian Muslims as never before. Above all, in that momentous lyear were initiated certain trends in Indian
politics, lthe crystallisation of which in subsequent years made the partition of the subcontinent inevitable. The practical
manifestation of the policy of the Congress which took office in July, 1937, in seven out of eleven provinces, convinced Muslims
that, in the Congress scheme of things, they could live only on sufferance of Hindus and as "second class" citizens. The Congress
provincial governments, it may be remembered, had embarked upon a policy and launched a programme in which Muslims felt that
their religion, language and culture were not safe. This blatantly aggressive Congress policy was seized upon by Jinnah to
awaken the Muslims to a new consciousness, organize them on all-India platoform, and make them a power to be reckoned with.
He also gave coherence, direction and articulation to their innermost, lyet vague, urges and aspirations. Above all, the filled
them with his indomitable will, his own unflinching faith in
As a result
of Jinnah's ceaseless efforts, the Muslims awakened from what Professor Baker calls(their) "unreflective silence" (in which
they had so complacently basked for long decades), and to "the spiritual essence of nationality" that had existed among them
for a pretty long time. Roused by the imapct of successive Congress hammerings, the Muslims, as Ambedkar (principal author
of independent India's Constitution) says, "searched their social consciousness in a desperate attempt to find coherent and
meaningful articulation to their cherished yearnings. To their great relief, they discovered that their sentiments of nationality
had flamed into nationalism". In addition, not only lhad they developed" the will to live as a "nation", had also endwoed
them with a territory which they could occupy and make a State as well as a cultural home for the newly discovered nation.
These two pre-requisites, as laid down by Renan, provided the Muslims with the intellectual justification for claiming a distinct
nationalism (apart from Indian or Hindu nationalism) for themselves. So that when, after their long pause, the Muslims gave
expression to their innermost yearnings, these turned out to be in favour of a separate Muslim nationhood and of a separate
Demand for Pakistan
"We are a nation", they claimed in the ever eloquent words of the Quaid-i-Azam-
"We are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and
nomenclature, sense of values and proportion, legal laws and moral code, customs and calandar, history and tradition, aptitudes
and ambitions; in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life. By all canons of international law, we are
a nation". The formulation of the Musim demand for Pakistan in 1940 had a tremendous impact on the nature and course of Indian
politics. On the one hand, it shattered for ever the Hindu dreams of a pseudo-Indian, in fact, Hindu empire on British exit
from India: on the other, it heralded an era of Islamic renaissance and creativity in which the Indian Muslims were to be
active participants. The Hindu reaction was quick, bitter, malicious.
Equally hostile were the British to the Muslim
demand, their hostility having stemmed from their belief that the unity of India was their main achievement and their foremost
contribution. The irony was that both the Hindus and the British had not anticipated the astonishingly tremendous response
that the Pakistan demand had elicited from the Muslim masses. Above all, they faild to realize how a hundred million people
had suddenly become supremely conscious of their distinct nationhood and their high destiny. In channelling the course of
Muslim politics towards Pakistan, no less than in directing it towards its consummation in the establishment of Pakistan in
1947, non played a more decisive role than did Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. It was his powerful advocacy of the case
of Pakistan and his remarkable strategy in the delicate negotiations, that followed the formulation of the Pakistan demand,
particularly in the post-war period, that made Pakistan inevitable.
While the British reaction
to the Pakistan demand came in the form of the Cripps offer of April, 1942, which conceded the principle of self-determination
to provinces on a territorial basis, the Rajaji Formula (called after the eminent Congress leader C.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 did not concede the Muslim demand the whole way, while the Rajaji Formula 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 not altogether impossible. Cabinet Mission The most delicate as well as the most tortuous
negotiations, however, took place during 1946-47, after the elections which showed that the country was sharply and somewhat
evenly divided between two parties- the Congress and the League- and that the central issue in Indian politics was Pakistan.
These negotiations began with the arrival, in March 1946, of a three-member British Cabinet Mission. The crucial task
with which the Cabinet Mission was entrusted was that of devising in consultation with the various political parties, a constitution-making
machinery, and of setting up a popular interim government. But, because the Congress-League gulf could not be bridged, despite
the Mission's (and the Viceroy's) prolonged efforts, the Mission had to make its own proposals in May, 1946. Known as the
Cabinet Mission Plan, these proposals stipulated a limited centre, supreme only in foreign affairs, defence and communications
and three autonomous groups of provinces. Two of these groups were to have Muslim majorities in the north-west and the north-east
of the subcontinent, while the third one, comprising the Indian mainland, was to have a Hindu majority. A consummate statesman
that he was, Jinnah saw his chance. He interpreted the clauses relating to a limited centre and the grouping as "the foundation
of Pakistan", and induced the Muslim League Council to accept the Plan in June 1946; and this he did much against the calculations
of the Congress and to its utter dismay.
Tragically though, the League's acceptance was put down to its supposed weakness
and the Congress put up a posture of defiance, designed to swamp the Leauge into submitting to its dictates and its interpretations
of the plan. Faced thus, what alternative had Jinnah and the League but to rescind their earlier acceptance, reiterate and
reaffirm their original stance, and decide to launch direct action (if need be) to wrest Pakistan. The way Jinnah manoeuvred
to turn the tide of events at a time when all seemed lost indicated, above all, his masterly grasp of the situation and his
adeptness at making strategic and tactical moves. Partition Plan By the close of 1946, the communal riots had flared up to
murderous heights, engulfing almost the entire subcontinent. The two peoples, it seemed, were engaged in a fight to the finish.
The time for a peaceful transfer of power was fast running out. Realising the gravity of the situation. His Majesty's Government
sent down to India a new Viceroy- Lord Mountbatten. His protracted negotiations with the various political leaders resulted
in 3 June.(1947) Plan by which the British decided to partition the subcontinent, and hand over power to two successor States
on 15 August, 1947. The plan was duly accepted by the three Indian parties to the dispute- the Congress the League and the
Akali Dal(representing the Sikhs).
Leader of a Free Nation
In recognition of his signular contribution, Quaid-i-Azam
Mohammad Ali Jinnah was nominated by the Muslim League as the Governor-General of Pakistan, while the Congress appointed Mountbatten
as India's first Governor-General. Pakistan, it has been truly said, was born in virtual chaos. Indeed, few nations in the
world have started on their career with less resourcesand in more treacherous circumstances. The new nation did not inherit
a central government, a capital, an administrative core,or an organized defence force. Its social and administrative resources
were poor;there was little equipment and still less statistics. The Punjab holocaust had left vast areas in a shambles with
communications desrupted. This, alongwith the en masse mirgration of the Hindu and Sikh business and managerial classes, left
the economy almost shattered.
The treasury was empty, India having denied Pakistan the major share of its cash balances.On
top of all this, the still unorganized nation was called upon to feed some eight million refugees who had fled the insecurities
and barbarities of the north Indian plains that long, hot summer. If all this was symptomatic of Pakistan's administrative
and economic weakness, the Indian annexation, through military action in November 1947, of Junagadh (which had originally
acceded to Pakistan) and the Kashmir war over the State's accession (October 1947-December 1948) exposed her military weakness.
In the circumsances, therefore, it was nothing short of a miracle that Pakistan survived at all. That it survived and forged
ahead was mainly due to one man-Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The nation desperately needed in the person of a charismatic leader at
that critical juncture in the nation's history, and he fulfilled that need profoundly. After all, he was more than a mere
Governor-General: he was the Quaid-i-Azam who had brought the State into being.
In the ultimate analysis, his very
presence at the helm of affairs was responsible for enabling the newly born nation to overcome the terrible crisis on the
morrow of its cataclysmic birth. He mustered up the immense prestige and the unquestioning loyalty he commanded among the
people to energize them, to raise their morale, land directed the profound feelings of patriotism that the freedom had generated,
along constructive channels. Though tired and in poor health, Jinnah yet carried the heaviest part of the burden in that first
crucial year. He laid down the policies of the new state, called attention to the immediate problems confronting the nation
and told the members of the Constituent Assembly, the civil servants and the Armed Forces what to do and what the nation expected
of them. He saw to it that law and order was maintained at all costs, despite the provocation that the large-scale riots in
north India had provided. He moved from Karachi to Lahore for a while and supervised the immediate refugee problem in the
Punjab. In a time of fierce excitement, he remained sober, cool and steady. He advised his excited audence in Lahore to concentrate
on helping the refugees,to avoaid retaliation, exercise restraint and protect the minorities. He assured the minorities of
a fair deal, assuaged their inured sentiments, and gave them hope and comfort. He toured the various provinces, attended to
their particular problems and instilled in the people a sense ofbelonging. He reversed the British policy in the North-West
Frontier and ordered the withdrawal of the troops from the tribal territory of Waziristan, thereby making the Pathans feel
themselves an integral part of Pakistan's body-politics. He created a new Ministry of States and Frontier Regions, and assumed
responsibility for ushering in a new era in Balochistan. He settled the controversial question of the states of Karachi, secured
the accession of States, especially of Kalat which seemed problematical and carried on negotiations with Lord Mountbatten
for the settlement of the Kashmir Issue.
The Quaid's last Message
It was, therefore, with a sense of supreme
satisfaction at the fulfilment of his mission that Jinnah told the nation in his last message on 14 August, 1948: "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". In accomplishing
the task he had taken upon himself on the morrow of Pakistan's birth, Jinnah had worked himself to death, but he had, to quote
richard Symons, "contributed more than any other man to Pakistan's survivial". He died on 11 September, 1948. How true was
Lord Pethick 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".
A man such as Jinnah, who had fought for the inherent rights of his people all
through his life and who had taken up the somewhat unconventional and the largely mininterpreted cause of Pakistan, was bound
to generate violent opposition and excite implacable hostility and was likely to be largely misunderstood. But what is most
remarkable about Jinnah is that he was the recepient of some of the greatest tributes paid to any one in modern times, some
of them 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 "the most important man in Asia", and Dr. Kailashnath
Katju, the West Bengal Governor in 1948, thought of him as "an outstanding figure of this century not only in India, but in
the whole world". While Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, called him "one of the greatest leaders
in the Muslim world", the Grand Mufti of Palestine considered his death as a "great loss" to the entire world of Islam. It
was, however, given to Surat Chandra Bose, leader of the Forward Bloc wing of the Indian National Congress, to sum up succinctly
his personal and political achievements. "Mr Jinnah",he said on his death in 1948, "was great as a lawyer, once great as a
Congressman, great as a leader of Muslims, great as a world politician and diplomat, and greatestof all as a man of action,
By Mr. Jinnah's passing away, the world has lost one of the greatst statesmen and Pakistan its life-giver, philosopher and
guide". Such was Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the man and his mission, such the range of his accomplishments and achievements.