Muhammad Ali Jinnah (December 25, 1876 – September 11, 1948) was a major political leader of the All India Muslim League who founded Pakistan and served as its first Governor-General. He is commonly known in Pakistan as Quaid-e-Azam ("Great Leader") and Baba-e-Qaum ("Father of the Nation.") His birth and death anniversaries are national holidays in Pakistan.
Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress expounding Hindu-Muslim unity. Helping shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the Muslim League, he was a key leader in the All India Home Rule League. Differences with Mahatma Gandhi led Jinnah to quit the Congress. He then took charge of the Muslim League and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims in a self-governing India. His efforts failed and this, coupled with a lack unity within the League, led Jinnah to move to London for many years.
Several Muslim leaders persuaded Jinnah to return to India in 1934 and reorganize the League. With the failure to build coalitions with the Congress, Jinnah embraced the goal of creating a separate state for Muslims as in the Lahore Resolution. The League won the most Muslim seats in the elections of 1946, and Jinnah launched the Direct Action campaign of strikes and protests to achieve "Pakistan," which degenerated into communal violence by those who opposed partition across India. The failure of the Congress-League coalition to govern the country prompted both parties and the British to agree to partition. As the Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah led efforts to rehabilitate millions of refugees, and to frame national policies on foreign affairs, security, and economic development. Jinnah's name is revered in Pakistan but his political, social, and religious ideas are neglected. Several scholars argue that Jinnah's legacy should be revisited in order to discover ideas that could help reconcile Muslims and Hindus within the subcontinent, and to forge a path between secularists and Islamic fundamentalists.
Jinnah was born as Mahomedali Jinnahbhai in Wazir Mansion, Karachi, Sindh (now in Pakistan). The earliest records of his school register suggest he was born on October 20, 1875, but Sarojini Naidu, the author of Jinnah's first biography, gives the date December 25, 1876. Jinnah was the eldest of seven children born to Jinnahbhai Poonja (1857–1901), a prosperous Gujarati merchant who had emigrated to Sindh from Kathiawar, Gujarat. Jinnahbhai Poonja and Mithibai had six other children—Ahmad Ali, Bunde Ali, Rahmat Ali, Maryam, Fatima and Shireen. His family belonged to the Khoja branch of Shi'a Islam. Jinnah had a turbulent time at several different schools, but finally found stability at the Christian Missionary Society High School in Karachi. At home, the family's mother tongue was Gujarati, but members of the household also became conversant in Kutchi, Sindhi and English.
In 1887, Jinnah went to London to work for Graham's Shipping and Trading Company. He had been married to a distant relative named Emibai, who is believed to have been either 14 or 16 years old at the time of their marriage, but she died shortly after he moved to London. His mother died around this time as well. In 1894, Jinnah quit his job to study law at Lincoln's Inn and graduated in 1896. At about this time, Jinnah began to participate in politics. An admirer of Indian political leaders Dadabhai Naoroji and Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, Jinnah worked with other Indian students on Naoroji's campaign to win a seat in the British Parliament. While developing largely constitutionalist views on Indian self-government, Jinnah despised the arrogance of British officials and the discrimination against Indians.
Jinnah came under considerable pressure when his father's business was ruined. Settling in Bombay, he became a successful lawyer—gaining particular fame for his skilled handling of the "Caucus Case". Jinnah built a house in Malabar Hill, later known as Jinnah House. He was not an observant Muslim and dressed throughout his life in European-style clothes, and spoke in English more than his mother tongue, Gujarati. His reputation as a skilled lawyer prompted Indian leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak to hire him as defence counsel for his sedition trial in 1905. Jinnah ably argued that it was not sedition for an Indian to demand freedom and self-government in his own country, but Tilak received a rigorous term of imprisonment.
In 1896, Jinnah joined the Indian National Congress, which was the largest Indian political organization. Like most of the Congress at the time, Jinnah did not favour outright independence, considering British influences on education, law, culture and industry as beneficial to India. Moderate leader Gopal Krishna Gokhale became Jinnah's role model, with Jinnah proclaiming his ambition to become the "Muslim Gokhale." He was soon known as the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity. On January 25, 1910, Jinnah became a member on the sixty-member Imperial Legislative Council. The council had no real power or authority, and included a large number of unelected pro-Raj loyalists and Europeans. Nevertheless, Jinnah was instrumental in the passing of the Child Marriages Restraint Act, the legitimization of the Muslim wakf—religious endowments—and was appointed to the Sandhurst committee, which helped establish the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun. During World War I, Jinnah joined other Indian moderates in supporting the British war effort, hoping that Indians would be rewarded with political freedoms.
Jinnah had initially avoided joining the All India Muslim League, founded in 1906, regarding it as too communal. Eventually, he joined the league in 1913 and became the president at the 1916 session in Lucknow. Jinnah was the architect of the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the League, bringing them together on most issues regarding self-government and presenting a united front to the British. Jinnah also played an important role in the founding of the All India Home Rule League in 1916. Along with political leaders Annie Besant and Tilak, Jinnah demanded "home rule" for India—the status of a self-governing dominion in the Empire similar to Canada, New Zealand and Australia. He headed the League's Bombay Presidency chapter. In 1918, Jinnah married his second wife Rattanbai Petit ("Ruttie"), twenty-four years his junior, and the fashionable young daughter of his personal friend Sir Dinshaw Petit of an elite Parsi family of Mumbai. Unexpectedly there was great opposition to the marriage from Rattanbai's family and Parsi society, as well as orthodox Muslim leaders. Rattanbai defied her family and nominally converted to Islam, adopting (though never using) the name "Maryam"—resulting in a permanent estrangement from her family and Parsi society. The couple resided in Bombay, and frequently traveled across India and Europe. She bore Jinnah his only child, daughter Dina, in year 1919.
Jinnah's problems with the Congress began with the ascent of Mohandas Gandhi in 1918, who espoused non-violent civil disobedience as the best means to obtain Swaraj (independence, or self-rule) for all Indians. Jinnah differed, saying that only constitutional struggle could lead to independence. Unlike most Congress leaders, Gandhi did not wear western-style clothes, did his best to use an Indian language instead of English, and was deeply spiritual and religious. Gandhi's Indianised style of leadership gained great popularity with the Indian people. Jinnah criticized Gandhi's support of the Khilafat struggle, which he saw as an endorsement of religious zealotry. By 1920, Jinnah resigned from the Congress, warning that Gandhi's method of mass struggle would lead to divisions between Hindus and Muslims and within the two communities. Becoming president of the Muslim League, Jinnah was drawn into a conflict between a pro-Congress faction and a pro-British faction. In 1927, Jinnah entered negotiations with Muslim and Hindu leaders on the issue of a future constitution, during the struggle against the all-British Simon Commission. The League wanted separate electorates for the time being while the Nehru Report favored joint electorates. Jinnah personally opposed separate electorates, but then drafted compromises and put forth demands that he thought would satisfy both. These became known as the fourteen points of Mr. Jinnah. However, they were rejected by the Congress and other political parties.
Jinnah's personal life and especially his marriage suffered during this period due to his political work. Although they worked to save their marriage by traveling together to Europe when he was appointed to the Sandhurst committee, the couple separated in 1927. Jinnah was deeply saddened when Rattanbai died in 1929, after a serious illness. Close friends noticed him crying at his ex-wife's grave.
At the Round Table Conferences in London, Jinnah criticized Gandhi, but was disillusioned by the breakdown of talks. Frustrated with the disunity of the Muslim League, he decided to quit politics and practice law in England. Jinnah would receive personal care and support through his later life from his sister Fatima, who lived and traveled with him and also became a close adviser. She helped raise his daughter, who was educated in England and India. Jinnah later became estranged from his daughter after she decided to marry Parsi-born Christian businessman, Neville Wadia—even though he had faced the same issues when he desired to marry Rattanbai in 1918. Jinnah continued to correspond cordially with his daughter, but their personal relationship was strained. Dina continued to live in India with her family.
Prominent Muslim leaders like the Aga Khan, Choudhary Rahmat Ali and Sir Muhammad Iqbal made efforts to convince Jinnah to return to India and take charge of a now-reunited Muslim League. In 1934 Jinnah returned and began to reorganize the party, being closely assisted by Liaquat Ali Khan, who would act as his right-hand man. In the 1937 elections, the League emerged as a competent party, capturing a significant number of seats under the Muslim electorate, but lost in the Muslim-majority Punjab, Sindh and the Northwest Frontier Province. Jinnah offered an alliance with the Congress - both bodies would face the British together, but the Congress had to share power, accept separate electorates and the League as the representative of India's Muslims. The latter two terms were unacceptable to the Congress, which claimed to represent all Indians. Even as Jinnah held talks with Congress president Rajendra Prasad, Congress leaders suspected that Jinnah would use his position as a lever for exaggerated demands and obstruct government, and demanded that the League merge with the Congress. The talks failed, and while Jinnah declared the resignation of all Congressmen from provincial and central offices in 1938 as a "Day of Deliverance" from Hindu domination, some historians assert that he remained hopeful for an agreement.Jinnah finally became convinced that Congress could not represent the interests of the minority.
In a speech to the League in 1930, Sir Muhammad Iqbal mooted an independent state for Muslims in "northwest India." Choudhary Rahmat Ali published a pamphlet - "Now or Never; Are we to live or perish forever?" in 1933 advocating a state called "Pakistan." Following the failure to work with the Congress, Jinnah, who had embraced separate electorates and the exclusive right of the League to represent Muslims, was converted to the idea that Muslims needed a separate state to protect their rights. Jinnah came to believe that Muslims and Hindus were distinct nations, with unbridgeable differences—a view later known as the Two Nation Theory. Jinnah declared that a united India would lead to the marginalization of Muslims, and eventually civil war between Hindus and Muslims. This change of view may have occurred through his correspondence with Iqbal, who was close to Jinnah. In the session in Lahore in 1940, the Pakistan resolution was adopted as the main goal of the party. The resolution was rejected outright by the Congress, and criticized by many Muslim leaders like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Syed Ab'ul Ala Maududi and the Jamaat-e-Islami. On July 26, 1943, Jinnah was stabbed and wounded by a member of the extremist Khaksars in an attempted assassination.
Jinnah founded Dawn in 1941—a major newspaper that helped him propagate the League's point of views. During the mission of British minister Stafford Cripps, Jinnah demanded parity between the number of Congress and League ministers, the League's exclusive right to appoint Muslims and a right for Muslim-majority provinces to secede, leading to the breakdown of talks. Jinnah supported the British effort in World War II, and opposed the Quit India movement. During this period, the League formed provincial governments and entered the central government. The League's influence increased in the Punjab after the death of Unionist leader Sikander Hyat Khan in 1942. Gandhi held talks fourteen times with Jinnah in Mumbai in 1944, about a united front—while talks failed, Gandhi's overtures to Jinnah increased the latter's standing with Muslims.
In the 1946 elections for the Constituent Assembly of India, the Congress won most of the elected seats and Hindu electorate seats, while the League won control of a large majority of Muslim electorate seats. The 1946 British Cabinet Mission to India released a plan on May 16, calling for a united India comprised of considerably autonomous provinces, and called for "groups" of provinces formed on the basis of religion. A second plan released on June 16, called for the partition of India along religious lines, with princely states to choose between accession to the dominion of their choice or independence. The Congress, fearing India's fragmentation, criticized the May 16th proposal and rejected the June 16th plan. Jinnah gave the League's assent to both plans, knowing that power would go only to the party that had supported a plan. After much debate and against Gandhi's advice that both plans were divisive, the Congress accepted the May 16th plan while condemning the grouping principle. Jinnah decried this acceptance as "dishonesty," accused the British negotiators of "treachery", and withdrew the League's approval of both plans. The League boycotted the assembly, leaving the Congress in charge of the government but denying it legitimacy in the eyes of many Muslims.
Jinnah issued a call for all Muslims to launch "Direct Action" on August 16 to "achieve Pakistan". Strikes and protests were planned, but violence broke out all over India, especially in Calcutta and the district of Noakhali in Bengal, and more than 7,000 people were killed in Bihar. Although viceroy Lord Wavell asserted that there was "no satisfactory evidence to that effect", League politicians were blamed by the Congress and the media for orchestrating the violence. After a conference in December 1946 in London, the League entered the interim government, but Jinnah refrained from accepting office for himself. This was credited as a major victory for Jinnah, as the League entered government having rejected both plans, and was allowed to appoint an equal number of ministers despite being the minority party. The coalition was unable to work, resulting in a rising feeling within the Congress that partition was the only way of avoiding political chaos and possible civil war. The Congress agreed to the partition of Punjab and Bengal along religious lines in late 1946. The new viceroy Lord Mountbatten and Indian civil servant V. P. Menon proposed a plan that would create a Muslim dominion in West Punjab, East Bengal, Baluchistan and Sindh. After heated and emotional debate, the Congress approved the plan. The North-West Frontier Province voted to join Pakistan in a referendum in July 1947. Jinnah asserted in a speech in Lahore on October 30, 1947 that the League had accepted partition because "the consequences of any other alternative would have been too disastrous to imagine."
Along with Liaquat Ali Khan and Abdur Rab Nishtar, Muhammad Ali Jinnah represented the League in the Partition Council to appropriately divide public assets between India and Pakistan. The assembly members from the provinces that would comprise Pakistan formed the new state's constituent assembly, and the Military of British India was divided between Muslim and non-Muslim units and officers. Indian leaders were angered at Jinnah's courting the princes of Jodhpur, Bhopal and Indore to accede to Pakistan - these princely states were not geographically aligned with Pakistan, and each had a Hindu-majority population.
The office of Governor-General was ceremonial, but Jinnah also assumed the lead of government. The first months of Pakistan's existence were absorbed in ending the intense violence that had arisen. In wake of acrimony between Hindus and Muslims, Jinnah agreed with Indian leaders to organize a swift and secure exchange of populations in the Punjab and Bengal. He visited the border regions with Indian leaders to calm people and encourage peace, and he organized large-scale refugee camps. Despite these efforts, estimates on the death toll vary from around two hundred thousand, to over a million people. The estimated number of refugees in both countries exceeds 15 million. The capital city of Karachi saw an explosive increase in its population owing to the large encampments of refugees. Jinnah was personally affected and depressed by the intense violence of the period.
Jinnah authorized force to achieve the annexation of the princely state of Kalat and suppress the insurgency in Baluchistan. He controversially accepted the accession of Junagadh—a Hindu-majority state with a Muslim ruler located in the Saurashtra peninsula, some 400 kilometres (250 mi) southeast of Pakistan—but this was annulled by Indian intervention. It is unclear if Jinnah planned or knew of the tribal invasion from Pakistan into the kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir in October 1947, but he did send his private secretary Khurshid Ahmed to observe developments in Kashmir. When informed of Kashmir's accession to India, Jinnah deemed the accession illegitimate and ordered the Pakistani army to enter Kashmir. However, Gen. Auchinleck, the supreme commander of all British officers informed Jinnah that while India had the right to send troops to Kashmir, which had acceded to it, Pakistan did not. If Jinnah persisted, Auchinleck would remove all British officers from both sides. As Pakistan had a greater proportion of Britons holding senior command, Jinnah canceled his order, but protested to the United Nations to intercede.
Owing to his role in the state's creation, Jinnah was the most popular and influential politician. He played a pivotal role in protecting the rights of minorities, establishing colleges, military institutions and Pakistan's financial policy. In his first visit to East Pakistan, Jinnah stressed that Urdu alone should be the national language which was strongly opposed by the Bengali people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), for the reason that they traditionally spoke Bangla (Bengali). He also worked for an agreement with India settling disputes regarding the division of assets.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be a modern Islamic state and he mentioned it many times in his speeches, but his ideology never fully materialized because he died just after a year after independence of Pakistan in 1948.
Speaking to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, he said:
|“||If we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor... you are free - you are free to go to your temples mosques or any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed - that has nothing to do with the business of the state... in due course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to Muslims- not in a religious sense for that is the personal faith of an individual- but in a political sense as citizens of one state||”|
— Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, Karachi August 11, 1947
Islamic parties at that time like the newly formed Jamat-e-Islami first opposed the creation of Pakistan. After the creation of Pakistan these parties involved in the political process and their agenda has been to make Pakistan an Islamic state. They even called Jinnah "Kafir-e-Azam" due to his moderate views.
Secularism has been a taboo topic in Pakistan and many Pakistanis do not understand its meaning. Because of illiteracy and due to the misrepresentation of secularism by Islamic parties, an average Pakistani thinks of it as being a threat to Islam or being a "religionless" society. Ahmed (1997) however suggests that reduction of the debate about what sort of society Pakistan should be to one between secularism and a fundamentalist Islamic state actually overlooks Jinnah's legacy. To ask whether or not Jinnah was a secularist, he says, is too simplistic. The real issue, he suggests, is "what kind of Islam would Jinnah have wanted?." According to Ahmed, Jinnah's Islam was "compassionate and tolerant" rather than "literalistic, rigid" and "in conflict with other religions" .
On the one hand, Jinnah is often depicted as culturally Muslim but as otherwise non-practicing. It is said that he could not "say his prayers properly in Arabic" . He did not appear in public wearing Muslim dress until 1937 or speak Urdu, "the language he claimed would be the national language of the Muslims." All his political speeches were delivered in English . However, towards the end of his life, Jinnah made a "conscious attempt to move towards Islam in terms of text, purity and the scriptures" and away from "village Islam or modern Westernized Islam" . Like Muhammad Iqbal, he wanted to return to the sources of Islam and interpret them for the contemporary context, not to merely copy how others, in the past, in different circumstances, have understood or misunderstood Islam. In Ahmed's opinion, Jinnah, with Nehru and Gandhi, stood for harmony and co-existence, not confrontation . Jinnah was born into a family of Shi'a Khoja Muslims, although he may have converted to Sunni Islam towards the end of his life .
Through the 1940s, Jinnah suffered from tuberculosis—only his sister and a few others close to Jinnah were aware of his condition. In 1948, Jinnah's health began to falter, hindered further by the heavy workload that had fallen upon him following Pakistan's creation. Attempting to recuperate, he spent many months at his official retreat in Ziarat, but died on September 11, 1948 from a combination of tuberculosis and lung cancer. His funeral was followed by the construction of a massive mausoleum—Mazar-e-Quaid—in Karachi to honour him; official and military ceremonies are hosted there on special occasions.
On December 26, 2006, eight women officer cadets from the training academy for Pakistani army officers became the first women to mount honour guard at the mausoleum of Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
Dina Wadia remained in India after partition, before ultimately settling in New York City. Jinnah's grandson, Nusli Wadia, is a prominent industrialist residing in Mumbai. In the 1963–1964 elections, Jinnah's sister Fatima Jinnah, known as Madar-e-Millat ("Mother of the Nation"), became the presidential candidate of a coalition of political parties that opposed the rule of President Ayub Khan, but lost the election. The Jinnah House in Malabar Hill, Mumbai is in the possession of the Government of India—its future is officially disputed. Jinnah had personally requested Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to preserve the house—he hoped for good relations between India and Pakistan, and that one day he could return to Mumbai. There are proposals for the house be offered to the Government of Pakistan to establish a consulate in the city, as a goodwill gesture, but Dina Wadia's family have laid claim to the property.
Some critics allege that Jinnah's courting the princes of Hindu states and his gambit with Junagadh is proof of ill intentions towards India, as he was the proponent of the theory that Hindus and Muslims could not live together, yet being interested in Hindu-majority states. In his book Patel: A Life, Rajmohan Gandhi asserts that Jinnah sought to engage the question of Junagadh with an eye on Kashmir—he wanted India to ask for a plebiscite in Junagadh, knowing thus that the principle then would have to be applied to Kashmir, where the Muslim-majority would, he believed, vote for Pakistan.
Some historians like H. M. Seervai and Ayesha Jalal assert that Jinnah never wanted partition—it was the outcome of the Congress leaders being unwilling to share power with the Muslim League. It is asserted that Jinnah only used the Pakistan demand as a method to mobilize support to obtain significant political rights for Muslims. Jinnah has gained the admiration of major Indian nationalist politicians like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani—the latter's comments praising Jinnah caused an uproar in his own Bharatiya Janata Party.
In Pakistan, Jinnah is honoured with the official title Quaid-e-Azam, and he is depicted on all Pakistani rupee notes of denominations ten and higher, and is the namesake of many Pakistani public institutions. The former Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, now called the Jinnah International Airport, in Karachi is Pakistan's busiest. One of the largest streets in the Turkish capital Ankara — Cinnah Caddesi —is named after him. In Iran, one of the capital Tehran's most important new highways is also named after him, while the government released a stamp commemorating the centennial of Jinnah's birthday. The Mazar-e-Quaid, Jinnah's mausoleum, is among Karachi's most imposing buildings. In media, Jinnah was portrayed by British actors Richard Lintern (as the young Jinnah) and Christopher Lee (as the elder Jinnah) in the 1998 film "Jinnah". In Richard Attenborough's film Gandhi, Jinnah was portrayed by theatre-personality Alyque Padamsee. In the 1986 televised mini-series Lord Mountbatten: the Last Viceroy, Jinnah was played by Polish actor Vladek Sheybal. Jinnah's modesty is evidenced by his refusing a doctorate degree from Aligarh Muslim University, commenting that he had always been known as "Mr. Jinnah" and hoped he would die as plain Mr. Jinnah" .
All links retrieved May 10, 2014.
The Earl Mountbatten
(Governor-General of India)
|Governor-General of Pakistan
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