The Role of Jinnah in the formation of Pakistan Essay

This essay has a total of 4699 words and 19 pages.

The Role of Jinnah in the formation of Pakistan





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-trodden
minority and established a cultural and national home for it. And all that within a
decade. 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 legitimate aspirations
and cherished dreams; he had formulated these into concrete 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, phoenix-like.


Early Life:
Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born on 25th December 1876 at Vazeer Mansion
Karachi, was the first of seven children of Jinnahbhai, a prosperous merchant. After being
taught at home, Jinnah was sent to the Sindh Madrasasah High School in 1887. Later he
attended the Mission High School, where, at the age of 16, he passed the matriculation
examination of the University of Bombay. On the advice of an English friend, his father
decided to send him to England to acquire business experience. Jinnah, however, had made
up his mind to become a barrister. In keeping with the custom of the time, his parents
arranged for an early marriage for him before he left for England.


In London he joined Lincoln’s Inn, one of the legal societies that prepared students for
the bar. In 1895, at the age of 19, he was called to the bar. While in London Jinnah
suffered two severe bereavements—the deaths of his wife and his mother. Nevertheless, he
completed his formal studies and also made a study of the British political system,
frequently visiting the House of Commons. He was greatly influenced by the liberalism of
William E. Gladstone, who had become Prime Minister for the fourth time in 1892, the year
of Jinnah’s arrival in London. Jinnah also took a keen interest in the affairs of India
and in Indian students. When the Parsi leader Dadabhai Naoroji, a leading Indian
nationalist, ran for the English Parliament, Jinnah and other Indian students worked day
and night for him. Their efforts were crowned with success, and Naoroji became the first
Indian to sit in the House of Commons.


When Jinnah returned to Karachi in 1896, he found that his father's business had suffered
losses and that he now had to depend on himself. He decided to start his legal practice in
Bombay, but it took him years of work to establish himself as a lawyer.


It was nearly 10 years later that he turned toward active politics. A man without hobbies,
his interest became divided between law and politics. Nor was he a religious zealot: he
was a Muslim in a broad sense and had little to do with sects. His interest in women was
also limited to Ruttenbai—the daughter of Sir Dinshaw Petit, a Bombay Parsi
millionaire—whom he married over tremendous opposition from her parents and others. The
marriage proved an unhappy one. It was his sister Fatima who gave him solace and company.



Political Career
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 the 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.


Constitutional Struggle
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 chaos". 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 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 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 program.


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 consolation 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 League 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.
Continues for 10 more pages >>




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