Introduction

Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born on December 25, 1876 at Wazir Mansion, Karachi. He was the eldest of seven children born to Mithibai and Jinnahbhai Poonja. His father, Jinnahbhai, was a prosperous

Muhammad Ali Jinnah


Professional Achievements


Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born on December 25, 1876 at Wazir Mansion, Karachi. He was the eldest of seven children born to Mithibai and Jinnahbhai Poonja. His father, Jinnahbhai (1857–1901), was a prosperous Gujarati merchant who had moved to Sindh from Kathiawar, Gujarat before Jinnah's birth.

The first born Jinnah was soon joined by six siblings, three brothers (Ahmad Ali, Bunde Ali, and Rahmat Ali) and three sisters (Maryam, Fatima and Shireen). Their mother tongue was Gujarati. However, in time they also learned to speak Kutchi, Sindhi and English.

The young Jinnah, a restless student, studied at several schools: at the Sindh-Madrasa-tul-Islam in Karachi; briefly at the Gokal Das Tej Primary School in Mumbai; and finally at the Christian Missionary Society High School in Karachi, where, at age sixteen, he passed the matriculation examination of the University of Bombay.

The same year (1892) Jinnah was offered an apprenticeship at the London office of Graham's Shipping and Trading Company, a business that had extensive dealings with Jinnahbhai Poonja's firm in Karachi.

However, before he left for England, at his mother's desire he married his distant cousin, Emibai Jinnah. The marriage was not to last long as Emibai died a few months later. During his sojourn in England, his mother also passed away.

Jinnah soon left the apprenticeship to study law by joining Lincoln's Inn. The welcome board of the Lincoln's Inn had the names of the world's top ten magistrates. This list was led by the name of Muhammad, which was the sole reason of Jinnah's joining of Lincoln's Inn (http://www.lincolnsinn.org.uk/index.php/library/the-inns-archives).

In three years, at the age of 19, Jinnah became the youngest Indian to be called to the bar in England. Around this time, Jinnah also became interested in politics. An admirer of the Indian political leaders Dadabhai Naoroji and Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, he worked, with other Indian students, on the former's successful campaign for a seat in the British Parliament. Although, by now, Jinnah had developed largely constitutionalist views on Indian self-government, he nevertheless condemned both the arrogance of British officials in India and the discrimination practised by them against Indians.

During the final period of his stay in England, Jinnah came under considerable pressure when his father's business was ruined. Settling in Mumbai, Jinnah built a house in Malabar Hill, later known as Jinnah House. He became a successful lawyer, gaining particular fame for his skilled handling of the ‘Caucus Case’.

In 1896, Jinnah joined the Indian National Congress, which was the largest Indian political organisation. 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. 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 un-elected pro-Raj loyalists and Europeans. Nevertheless, Jinnah was instrumental in the passing of the Child Marriages Restraint Act, the legitimization of the Muslim waqf (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 Muslim oriented. 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, twenty-four years his junior. She was 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 converted to Islam, adopting the name Maryam Jinnah, resulting in a permanent estrangement from her family and Parsi society. The couple resided in Mumbai, and frequently travelled across India and Europe. In 1919 she bore Jinnah his only child, daughter Dina Jinnah.

Jinnah's problems with the Congress began with the ascent of Mohandas Gandhi in 1918, who espoused non-violent civil disobedience and Hindu values as the best means to obtain Swaraj (independence, or self-rule) for all South Asians. Jinnah differed, saying that only constitutional struggle could lead to independence.

By 1920, Jinnah resigned from the Congress, with prophetic 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 September 1923, Jinnah was elected as Muslim member for Bombay in the new Central Legislative Assembly. He showed great gifts as a parliamentarian, organized many Indian members to work with the Swaraj Party, and continued to press demands for full responsible government. He was so active on a wide range of subjects that in 1925 he was offered a knighthood by Lord Reading when he retired as Viceroy and Governor General. Jinnah replied: ‘I prefer to be plain Mr. Jinnah’.

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 while the Nehru Report favoured 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 14 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 travelling 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.

At the Round Table Conferences in London, Jinnah 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 Jinnah, who lived and travelled with him and also became a close advisor. She helped raise his daughter, who was educated in England and India. Jinnah later became estranged from his daughter, Dina Jinnah, after she decided to marry Parsi-born Christian businessman, Neville Wadia. Jinnah continued to correspond cordially with his daughter, but their personal relationship was strained. Dina continued to live in India with her family.

A letter by Jinnah to Winston Churchill in the 1946 elections for the Constituent Assembly of India, the Congress won most of the elected seats, while the League won a large majority of Muslim electorate seats. The 1946 British Cabinet Mission to India released a plan on May 16 calling for a united Indian state comprising 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 separation of South Asia along religious lines, with princely states to choose between accession to the dominion of their choice or independence.

The Congress, fearing India's fragmentation, criticised the May 16 proposal and rejected the June 16 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 16 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 South Asia, 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. Interim Government portfolios were announced on October 25, 1946. Muslim Leaguers were sworn in on October 26, 1946. 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 independence of Pakistan was the only way of avoiding political chaos and possible civil war. The Congress agreed to the division 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 independence of Pakistan because the consequences of any other alternative would have been too disastrous to imagine.

A controversy has raged in Pakistan about whether Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be a secular state or an Islamic state. His views as expressed in his policy speech (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ali_Jinnah's_11_August_Speech) on 11th August 1947 said: There is no other solution. Now what shall we do? Now, 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. If you will work in co-operation, forgetting the past, burying the hatchet, you are bound to succeed.

If you change your past and work together in a spirit that every one of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make. I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community, because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis and so on, will vanish.

Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and for this we would have been free people long ago. No power can hold another nation and specially a nation of 400 million people in subjection, nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this.

Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. You are free to go to your temples, free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.

Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State. While this was a clear indication that Jinnah wanted a secular state, he did on occasion refer to Islam and Islamic principles.

Pakistan not only means freedom and independence but the Muslim Ideology which has to be preserved, which has come to us as a precious gift and treasure and which, we hope other will share with us. Furthermore he also pointed out on various occasions that the country’s constitution and its financial setup must be based on Islamic principles.

The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principle of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fair play to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan.

In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Parsis but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.

It has been argued by many people that Jinnah wanted to point out that Pakistan would be a secular state as mostly people think that an Islamic state is a theocratic state, this perception is however wrong and is miss interpreted, the reason is because a true Islamic state is not a theocratic state, as rightly stated by Jinnah.

On the opening ceremony of the state bank of Pakistan Jinnah pointed out that the financial setup of the state should be based on Islamic economic system. We must work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice. We will thereby be fulfilling our mission as Muslims and giving to humanity the message of peace which alone can save it and secure the welfare, happiness and prosperity of mankind.

Along with Liaquat Ali Khan and Abdur Rab Nishtar, Muhammad Ali Jinnah represented the League in the Division 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. Jinnah became the first Governor-General of Pakistan and president of its constituent assembly.

Inaugurating the assembly on August 11, 1947, Jinnah spoke of an inclusive and pluralist democracy promising equal rights for all citizens regardless of religion, caste or creed. This address is a cause of much debate in Pakistan as, on its basis, many claim that Jinnah wanted a secular state while supporters of Islamic Pakistan assert that this speech is being taken out of context when compared to other speeches by him. On October 11, 1947, in an address to Civil, Naval, Military and Air Force Officers of Pakistan Government, Karachi, he said: We should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play.

On February 21, 1948, in an address to the officers and men of the 5th Heavy Ack Ack and 6th Light Ack Ack Regiments in Malir, Karachi, he said: You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of Islamic democracy, Islamic social justice and the equality of manhood in your own native soil. With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve.

The office of Governor-General was ceremonial, but Jinnah also assumed the lead of government. The first months of Pakistan's independence were absorbed in ending the intense violence that had arisen in the wake of acrimony between Hindus and Muslims. Jinnah agreed with Indian leaders to organise a swift and secure exchange of populations in the Punjab and Bengal. He visited the border regions with Indian leaders to calm people to encourage peace and organised 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 then 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 authorised 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 cancelled 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, under the advice of local party leaders, Jinnah stressed that Urdu alone should be the national language, a policy that was strongly opposed by the Bengali people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). This opposition grew after he controversially described Bengali as the language of Hindus. He also worked for an agreement with India settling disputes regarding the division of assets.

Through the 1940s, Jinnah suffered from tuberculosis, only his sister and a few others close to him 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 independence from British Rule.

Attempting to recuperate, he spent many months at his official retreat in Ziarat, but died on September 11, 1948 (just over a year after independence) from a combination of tuberculosis and lung cancer. Funeral prayers were led by Allamah Shabbir Ahmad Usmani for the general public, mostly Sunni, at Jinnah's request. Jinnah did have a private Namaz-e-Janaza at Kharadar which was attended by close relatives and people from the Shia community. His funeral was followed by the construction of a massive mausoleum ‘Mazar-e-Quaid’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazar-e-Quaid) in Karachi to honour him. Official and military ceremonies are hosted there on special occasions.

Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah is generally regarded as the father of the state of Pakistan. He is officially known in Pakistan as Quaid-e-Azam (Great Leader) and Baba-e-Qaum (Father of the Nation). His birthday is a national holiday in Pakistan. Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.