Biography of the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah:
The youngest of three boys, Jinnahbhai Poonja (born 1850), was Jinnah. With his parents’ approval, he wed a woman named Mithibai and relocated to Karachi, a port city that was expanding. The young couple rented an apartment on the second level of the Wazir Mansion, a three-story building. Because the nation’s founder and one of history’s most outstanding leaders were born within the Wazir Mansion, it has subsequently been renovated and turned into a national monument and museum. The first of Mithibai’s seven children, a son, was born on December 25, 1876. The frail newborn weighed a few pounds less than usual and appeared extremely weak.
Officially named Mahomedali Jinnahbhai, his father enrolled him in school when he was six—the Sindh Madrasatul-Islam; Jinnah was indifferent to his studies and loathed arithmetic, preferring to play outdoors with his friends. Jinnah joined Gokal Das Tej Primary School in Bombay.2 His spirited brain rebelled inside the typical Indian primary school which relied mostly on the method of learning by rote. He remained in Bombay for only six months, returned to Karachi upon his mother’s insistence, and joined the Sind Madrassa.
He then joined the Christian Mission High School where his parents thought his restless mind could be focused. Karachi proved more prosperous for young Jinnah than Bombay had been. His father’s business had prospered so much by this time that he had his own stables and carriages.
Jinnah looked up to the handsome, well-dressed, and successful man. Sir Frederick liked Mamad (Jinnah’s childhood name), and recognizing his extreme potential, he offered him an apprenticeship at his office in London.3 That kind of opportunity was the dream of all young boys of India, but the privilege went to only one in a million. Sir Frederick had truly picked one in a million when he chose Jinnah.
His father was especially keen on his studying arithmetic as it was vital in his business. By the early 1880s’ Jinnahbhai Poonja’s trade business had prospered greatly. He handled all sorts of goods: cotton, wool, hides, oil seeds, and grain for export and Manchester manufactured pieces of goods, metals, and refined sugar imports into the busy port.
Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad 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.
Jinnah officially entered politics in 1905 on the Indian National Congress platform after becoming well-established in the legal field. As a member of a Congress delegation that year, he traveled to England with Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866–1915) to advocate for Indian self-government during the British elections.
It was seen as a significant distinction for a rising politician when he was appointed as Dadabhai Noaroji’s (1825–1917) secretary the next year. He also delivered his first political address here, at the Calcutta Congress session in December 1906, in favor of the self-government motion.
About Quaid-e-Azam: https://pakistan.gov.pk/Quaid/about.html
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.
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 Luck now Pact- the only pact ever signed between the two political organizations, the Congress and the All-India Muslim League, representing, as they did, the two major communities in the subcontinent.
- The Council of the Secretary of State was to comprise eight to twelve people. Three of them should be Indian, and at least half of them should have spent at least ten years in India.
- The Central Legislature was to consist of two houses, the Upper House (Council of the State), and the Lower House (Legislative Assembly). The Council of the State was to consist of 60 members, out of them 35 members would be elected and the rest of them would be nominated by the Governor General. The Legislative Assembly was to consist of 144 members, out of them 103 were to be elected and 41 were to be nominated by the Governor General. The duration of the Upper House was five and of the Lower House was three years.
- Powers were divided between the center and the provinces. The important subjects were vested with the center and the unimportant ones remained with the provinces. The important central subjects were defense, foreign affairs, customs, relations with Indian states, currency, and railway. On the contrary, unworthy provincial subjects were local self-government, public health, education, etc.
- The salary of the Secretary of State for Indian Affairs should be paid by the British exchequer; previously, his salary was paid by the Indian treasury.
- The system of ‘Diarchy’ or a kind of double government in the Provinces was introduced. Provincial subjects were divided into two categories “Transferred and Reserved.” Transferred subjects which were public health, education, local self-government, and agriculture were under the control of the Minister; likewise, all transferred subjects were unimportant. Reserved subjects included administration, police, land revenue, etc. which were under the control of the Governor with the help of his secretaries. It was indirect control over transferred departments by the reserved department. Hence, Governor was the head of transferred and reserved subjects.
- Muslims partly accepted the Montague-Chelmsford reforms with certain reservations and demands regarding the safety of Muslim states. Gandhi categorically rejected this scheme and congress denounced it as inadequate, unsatisfactory, and disappointing.
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 Punjab in the early twenties. On the eve of its adoption of the Gandhian program, 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 program, which you will not be able to carry out”.
He felt that there was no shortcut to independence and that any extra-constitutional methods could only lead to political violence, lawlessness, and chaos, without bringing India nearer to the threshold of freedom.
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 calendar, 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 Muslim 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, the 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, and malicious.
Above all, they failed to realize how a hundred million people had suddenly become supremely conscious of their distinct nationhood and their high destiny. In channeling the course of Muslim politics toward Pakistan, no less than in directing it towards its consummation in the establishment of Pakistan in 1947, none played a more decisive role than did Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad 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.
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- During the war, the British would retain their hold on India. Once the war finished, India would be granted dominion status with complete external and internal autonomy. It would, however, be associated with the United Kingdom and other Dominions by a common allegiance to the Crown.
- At the end of the war, a Constituent Assembly would be set up with the power to frame the future constitution of India. The members of the assembly were to be elected based on proportional representation by the provincial assemblies. The Princely States would also be given representation in the Constituent Assembly.
- The provinces not agreeing to the new constitution would have the right to keep themselves out of the proposed Union. Such provinces would also be entitled to create their own separate Unions. The British government would also invite them to join the Commonwealth.
- During the war, an interim government comprising different parties of India would be constituted. However, defense and external affairs would be the sole responsibility of the viceroy.
Quaid-i-Azam considered these proposals as “unsatisfactory” and was of the view that the acceptance of the Cripps proposals would “take the Muslims to the gallows.” He said that the proposals have “aroused our deepest anxieties and grave apprehensions, especially with reference to the Pakistan Scheme which is a matter of life and death for Muslims of India.
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. Realizing 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 on a 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).
In recognition of his singular contribution, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad 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 saying, was born in virtual chaos. Indeed, few nations in the world have started their career with fewer resources and in more treacherous circumstances.
The new nation did not inherit a central government, a capital, an administrative core, or an organized defense force. The Punjab holocaust had left vast areas in shambles with communications disrupted. This, along with the en masse migration 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.
Quaid’s last message:
It was, therefore, with a sense of supreme satisfaction at the fulfillment 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 survival”. He died on 11 September 1948.