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Muhammad Ali Jinnah (December 25, 1876 – September 11, 1948) was a lawyer, politician, and founder of Pakistan. Jinnah served as the leader of the Muslim League of India from 1913 until Pakistan”s independence on August 14, 1947 and then as the first Governor General of Pakistan until his death. He is revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam (in Urdu: قائد اعظم, “Great Leader”) and Baba-i-Qaum (بابائے قوم, “Father of the Nation”). His birthday is considered a national holiday in the country.
Born in Wazir Manor in Karachi, Jinnah was trained as a lawyer at Lincoln”s Inn in London. Upon returning to British India, he enrolled in the Bombay High Court and became interested in national politics, which ultimately replaced his legal practice. Jinnah was prominent in the Indian National Congress in the first two decades of the 20th century. In these early years of his political career, Jinnah advocated Hindu-Muslim unity, helping to shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the Muslim League of India, in which Jinnah also excelled. Jinnah became a key leader in the All India Self-Government League and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims. In 1920, however, Jinnah resigned from the Congress when it agreed to follow the satyagraha campaign, which he considered political anarchy.
In 1940, Jinnah came to believe that the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent should have their own state. That year, the Muslim League, led by Jinnah, passed the Lahore Resolution, demanding a separate nation. During World War II, the League gained strength while Congress leaders were imprisoned, and in elections held shortly after the war, it won most of the seats reserved for Muslims. Ultimately, the Congress and the Muslim League could not come up with a power-sharing formula for the subcontinent to be united as a single state, leading all parties to agree to the independence of a predominantly Hindu India and a Muslim-majority state, Pakistan.
As Pakistan”s first Governor General, Jinnah worked to establish the government and policies of the new nation and to help the millions of Muslim migrants who had migrated to Pakistan from the new India, personally overseeing the settlement of the refugees. Jinnah died at the age of 71 in September 1948, just over a year after Pakistan became independent from Britain. He left a deep and respected legacy in the country. Several universities and public buildings in Pakistan bear his name. According to one of his biographers, Stanley Wolpert, he remains Pakistan”s greatest leader.
Family and Childhood
Jinnah”s name at birth was Mahomedali, and he was probably born in 1876, the son of Jinnahbhai Poonja and his wife Mithibai, in a rented apartment on the second floor of the Wazir Mansion near Karachi, Sindh, in the Bombay Presidency of British India, now Pakistan.
Jinnah”s family was Ishmaelite, although Jinnah later converted to the teachings of Duodeciman Shiism. According to Akbar Ahmed, Jinnah would have converted to the Sunni sect early in life. ̃After his death, some relatives and other witnesses claimed that he had belatedly converted to Sunism; others, like his sister, reaffirmed that he was a Shiite; as for Jinnah himself, he rejected such classifications, saying he was only a Muslim. His religion at the time of his death has been disputed in several court cases. Stanley Wolpert, the historian, comments however that religion never played an important role in Jinnah”s life, except for its political significance.
Jinnah was from a wealthy background, the son of a wealthy merchant. His father was born to a family of textile weavers in the village of Paneli in the princely state of Gondal; his mother was also from that village. They moved to Karachi in 1875, having married before their departure. Karachi was then enjoying a great economic boom: the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 meant 200 nautical miles closer to Europe for shipments, than Bombay. Jinnah was the second child; he had three brothers and three sisters, including his younger sister, Fatima Jinnah. The parents were native speakers of Gujarati, and the children also spoke Kutchi and English. With the exception of Fatima, little is known about his siblings, where they settled or met his brother as he advanced in his legal and political careers.
As a boy, Jinnah lived for some time in Bombay with an aunt and may have attended Gokal Das Tej Primary School, then studying at John Connon Cathedral and School. In Karachi, he attended Sindh Madressatul Islam University and the Christian High School of the Missionary Society. He gained matriculation to Bombay University in high school. His official biographer, Hector Bolitho, writing in 1954, interviewed childhood classmates and found that young Jinnah discouraged other children from playing marbles in the dust, asking them to stand up, keep their hands and clothes clean, and play cricket instead.
Education in England
In 1892, Frederick Leigh Croft, a business associate of Jinnahbhai Poonja, offered young Jinnah an apprenticeship in his firm, Graham”s Shipping and Trading Company in London. He accepted the position despite opposition from his mother, who before leaving, arranged for him to marry his cousin, a young woman then about fourteen years old, Emibai, and whom Jinnah had never seen until the day of the arranged marriage… Jinnah”s mother and first wife died during his absence in England. Although the apprenticeship in London was considered a great opportunity for Jinnah, the reason for sending him abroad was a legal case against his father, which put the family property at risk of being taken by the court. In 1893, the Jinnahbhai family moved to Bombay.
Shortly after his arrival in London, Jinnah gave up his apprenticeship to study law, angering his father, who, before his departure, had given him enough money to live on for three years. The aspiring lawyer joined Lincoln”s Inn, and reportedly claimed that the reason he chose it was that at the main entrance to Lincoln”s Inn were the names of the world”s great lawmakers, including Mohammed. Biographer Stanley Wolpert notes that there was no such inscription, but inside there is a mural showing Mohammed and other lawmakers, and speculates that Jinnah may have edited the story in his own mind to avoid mentioning a pictorial description that would be offensive to many Muslims. His legal education followed the pupillage (legal apprenticeship) system, which had been in place for centuries. To gain knowledge of the law, he followed a trained lawyer and learned from his practices, as well as studying law books. During this period, he shortened his name to Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
During his student years in England, Jinnah was influenced by 19th century British liberalism, like many other future leaders of Indian independence. This political education included exposure to the idea of the democratic nation and progressive politics. He became an admirer of the Parsee political leaders, Dadabhai Naoroji and Pherozeshah Mehta. Naoroji became the first British MP of Indian origin shortly before Jinnah”s arrival, triumphing with a three-vote majority in Finsbury Central. Jinnah listened to Naoroji”s first speech in the House of Commons from the visitors” gallery.
The Western world not only inspired Jinnah in his political life, but also greatly influenced his personal preferences, particularly in the way he dressed. He abandoned local costumes in favor of Western-style clothes, and throughout his life he was always concerned with looking impeccable in public. He even owned more than 200 suits, which he wore with well-ironed, detachable collared shirts, and, as a lawyer, he prided himself on never wearing the same silk tie twice. Even when he was dying, he insisted on dressing formally: “I don”t go traveling in my pajamas. In his later years he was usually seen wearing a karakul hat, which later became known as the “Jinnah hat”.
Dissatisfied with the law, Jinnah briefly embarked on a stage career with a Shakespeare company, but resigned after receiving a stern letter from his father. Later , he confessed to having had a secret ambition to play the role of Romeo in the Old Vic. In 1895, at the age of 19, he became the youngest Indian to be called to the bar in England. Although he returned to Karachi, he remained there only a short time before moving to Bombay.
At the age of 20, Jinnah began his practice in Bombay, being the only Muslim lawyer in the city. English became his primary language and remained so throughout his life. In his first three years , from 1897 to 1900, he did not win many cases; but his first step toward a successful career occurred when Bombay”s attorney-general, John Molesworth MacPherson, invited Jinnah to work in his offices. In 1900, P.H. Dastoor, a magistrate in the Bombay Presidency, left his position temporarily, and Jinnah was able to obtain the interim position. After his six-month appointment period, Jinnah was given a permanent position with a salary of 1,500 rupees per month. However, he politely declined the offer, stating that he planned to earn 1,500 rupees a day – a huge amount at that time – which in fact turned out to be the case. However, as Governor General of Pakistan, he refused to accept a large salary, setting it at one rupee per month.
As a lawyer, Jinnah gained fame for his able conduct of the 1908 “Caucus Case.” This controversy arose out of the Bombay municipal elections, where Indians claimed they were rigged by a European caucus to keep Sir Pherozeshah Mehta off the council. Jinnah won high esteem from leading the case for Pherozeshah, himself a prominent lawyer. Although Jinnah did not win the case, he obtained a successful record, becoming well known for his advocacy and legal logic. In 1908, his partisan enemy in the Indian National Congress, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, was arrested for sedition. Before he was prosecuted, he hired Jinnah in an attempt to secure his release on bail. Jinnah was unsuccessful, but got his acquittal when he was charged with sedition again in 1916.
One of his fellow lawyers at the Bombay High Court recalled that “Jinnah”s faith in himself was incredible.” When admonished by a judgeː “Mister Jinnah remember that you are not addressing a third-class magistrate,” Jinnah retorted, “Sir, let me warn you that you are not addressing a third-class advocate.” Another of his fellow lawyers described him, saying:
He was what God made him, a great defender. He had a sixth sense: he could see the hidden corners. That”s where his talents lay… he was a very clear thinker…
Jinnah was also a champion of working class causes and an active trade unionist. He was elected president of the All India Postal Staff Union in 1925, with about 70,000 members. According to the Pakistan Federation of Labor”s publication, “Productive Role of Trade Unions and Industrial Relations,” being a member of the Legislative Assembly, Jinnah vigorously defended workers” rights and fought to achieve “decent wages and fair conditions” for them. He also played an important role in the enactment of the Trade Unions Act of 1926, which gave legal cover to the organization of the trade union movement.
Leader on the rise
By 1857, many Indians had revolted against British rule. At the end of the conflict, some Anglo-Indians, as well as Indians residing in Britain, called for enhanced self-government for the subcontinent, resulting in the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885. Most of the founding members had been educated in Britain, or by English teachers in India, and did not show impatience with the minimal slow reform efforts made by the government. Muslims were not enthusiastic about calls for democratic institutions in British India, as they made up a quarter to a third of the population, being outnumbered by Hindus. The first meetings of the Congress contained a minority of Muslims, mainly from the elite.
Jinnah devoted much of his time to the practice of law in the early 1900s, but remained politically involved. He began his political life by attending the twentieth annual meeting of the Congress in December 1904. Jinnah was a member of the moderate group, favoring Hindu-Muslim unity in achieving self-government and following leaders such as Pherozeshah Mehta, Dadabhai Naoroji, and Gopal Krishna Gokhale. On the opposite side, leaders, such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai sought swift action for independence.
In 1906, a delegation of Muslim leaders headed by Aga Khan, assured their loyalty to the new viceroy of India, Lord Minto, and requested assurances that in any political reform they would be protected from the “unfriendly Hindu majority.” Dissatisfied with this, Jinnah wrote a letter to the editor of the Gujarati newspaper, asking what right the members of the delegation had to speak on behalf of Indian Muslims, since they were not elected, but self-appointed. When many of the same leaders met in Dhaka in December to form the Muslim League to advocate for the interests of their community, Jinnah again objected. Aga Khan later wrote that it was “strangely ironic” that Jinnah, who would lead the League to independence, “showed bitter hostility to everything my friends and I had done … He said that our principle of separate constituencies was to divide the nation against itself.” In its early years, however, the League was not influential; Minto refused to regard it as representative of the Muslim community, and the League was ineffective in preventing the repeal in 1911 of the partition of Bengal, an action seen as a blow to Muslim interests.
Although Jinnah initially opposed separate electorates for Muslims, he used this means to win his first elective office in 1909, as the Muslim representative from Bombay in the Imperial Legislative Council. He was a compromise candidate while the two older and better known Muslims who were seeking the position were blocked. The council, which had been expanded to 60 members as part of the reforms enacted by Minto, recommended legislation to the viceroy. Only officials could vote on the council; non-official members, such as Jinnah, had no voting rights. Throughout his legal career, Jinnah practiced inheritance law (with many clients from India”s nobility) and, in 1911, introduced the Waqf Validation Act to put Muslim trusts on a sound legal footing under British Indian law. Two years later, the measure passed, the first non-officially sponsored act being passed in council and promulgated by the viceroy. Jinnah was also appointed to a committee that helped establish the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun.
In December 1912, Jinnah addressed the annual meeting of the Muslim League, although he was not yet a member; he was not until the following year, although he also remained a member of the Congress, and emphasized that membership in the League was a second priority to the “greater national cause,” that of an independent India. In April 1913, Jinnah again went to Britain, with Gokhale, to meet with officials on behalf of the Congress. Gokhale, a Hindu, later stated that Jinnah “has upright thoughts, and that freedom from all sectarian prejudice will make him the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity.” Jinnah led another delegation in 1914 to the British capital, but due to the outbreak of World War I, the authorities took little interest in Indian reforms. By coincidence, he was in Britain at the same time as a man who would become a great political rival of his, Mohandas Gandhi, a Hindu lawyer who had become well known for advocating satyagraha, nonviolent resistance, in South Africa. Jinnah attended a reception for Gandhi and returned to India in January 1915.
Breaking with Congress
Jinnah”s moderate Congress group was damaged by the deaths of Mehta and Gokhale in 1915; he was further isolated by the fact that Naoroji was in London, where he remained until his death in 1917. Nevertheless, Jinnah worked to reunite the Congress and the League. In 1916, now as president of the Muslim League, the two organizations signed the Lucknow Pact, establishing quotas for Muslim and Hindu representation in the various provinces. Although the pact was never fully implemented, its signing inaugurated a period of cooperation between Congress and the League.
During the war, Jinnah joined other Indian moderates in supporting British efforts in the hope that Indians would be rewarded with political freedoms. Jinnah played an important role in founding the All India Self-Government League in 1916. Along with political leaders Annie Besant and Tilak, Jinnah demanded “local government” for India – the status of an autonomous domain in the Empire, similar to Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, although with the war, Britain”s politicians were not interested in considering Indian constitutional reform. The British cabinet minister, Edwin Montagu, recalled Jinnah in his memoirs: “young, perfectly educated, impressive, armed to the teeth with dialectics, and insistent in his whole scheme.”
In 1918, Jinnah married his second wife, Rattanbai Petit (“Ruttie”), 24 years younger than he. She was the young and elegant daughter of his friend Dinshaw Petit and was part of a wealthy family of the Parsi élite of Bombay. There was great opposition to the marriage from her family and the Parsi community, as well as from some Muslim religious leaders. Rattanbai defied his family and nominally converted to Islam, adopting (though never using) the name Maryam Jinnah, resulting in a permanent estrangement from his family and Parsi society. The couple resided in South Court Manor in Bombay and frequently traveled throughout India and Europe. The couple”s only daughter, Dina Wadia, was born on August 15, 1919. The couple separated before Ruttie”s death in 1929, and subsequently Jinnah”s sister Fatima took care of him and his daughter.
Indian-British relations became strained in 1919 when the Imperial Legislative Council extended emergency wartime restrictions on civil liberties; Jinnah resigned when this happened. There were disturbances across India, which worsened after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, in which British troops fired on a protest, killing hundreds of people. In the aftermath of Amritsar, Gandhi, who returned to India and became a widely respected and influential leader in Congress, called for satyagraha against the British. Gandhi”s proposal gained widespread Hindu support and also attracted many Muslims from the Caliphate Movement. These Muslims, supported by Gandhi, sought to maintain the Ottoman Caliphate, which provided spiritual leadership to many Muslims. The Caliph was the Ottoman Emperor, who would be stripped of both titles after being defeated in World War I. Gandhi achieved considerable popularity among Muslims because of his work during the war on behalf of Muslims killed or imprisoned.
Unlike Jinnah and other Congress leaders, Gandhi did not wear Western-style clothes, did his best to use Indian languages instead of English, and was deeply rooted in Indian culture. Gandhi”s local style of leadership gained great popularity with the Indian people. But Jinnah criticized Gandhi”s advocacy of the Caliphate, which he considered an endorsement of religious fanaticism; he also considered Gandhi”s proposed satyagraha campaign as political anarchy and believed that self-government should be secured by constitutional means. He opposed Gandhi, but the tide of Indian opinion was in Gandhi”s favor. At the 1920 session in Nagpur, the delegates approved Gandhi”s proposal, promising to make India independent. Jinnah did not attend the subsequent League meeting, held in the same city, which passed a similar resolution. Because of the Congress” action in supporting Gandhi”s campaign, Jinnah resigned, leaving all offices except in the Muslim League.
Interlude in England
The alliance between Gandhi and the Caliphate Movement did not last long, and the resistance campaign proved less effective than expected as India”s institutions continued to function. Jinnah sought alternative political ideas and considered organizing a new political party as a rival to the Congress. In September 1923, Jinnah was elected Muslim member for Bombay in the new Central Legislative Assembly. He showed much competence as a parliamentarian, organizing many Indian members to work with the Swaraj Party, and continued to press demands for a fully respons̃able government. In 1925, in recognition of his legislative activities, he was offered a knighthood by Lord Reading, who was retiring from the Viceroyalty. He declinedː “I prefer to be simply Mister Jinnah.”
In 1927, the British government, under the Conservative Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, conducted a ten-year review of Indian policy mandated by the Government of India Act 1919. The review began two years early, as Baldwin feared that he would lose the next election (which he did, in 1929). The cabinet was influenced by Minister Winston Churchill, who was strongly opposed to self-government for India, and its members hoped that with the commission appointed earlier, their preferred policies would outlast the government. The resulting commission, led by Liberal MP John Simon, though with a majority of conservatives, arrived in India in March 1928. They were met with a boycott by Indian, Muslim and Hindu leaders, angered by the British refusal to include their representatives on the commission. A minority of Muslims, however, withdrew from the League, choosing to host Simon”s Commission and repudiating Jinnah. Most members of the League”s executive council remained loyal to Jinnah, attending the League”s meeting in December 1927 and January 1928, which confirmed him as permanent president. At that session, Jinnah told delegates that “a constitutional war has been declared in Britain. Negotiations for a settlement must not come from our side…. By appointing an exclusively white commission, Lord Birkenhead has declared our unfitness for self-government.”
In 1928, Birkenhead challenged Indians to come up with their own proposal for constitutional change of India; in response, Congress convened a committee under the leadership of Motilal Nehru. Nehru”s report favored constituencies based on geography and on the basis that if they depended on each other for election it would unite communities. Jinnah, while believing that separate constituencies based on religion were necessary to ensure that Muslims had a voice in government, was willing to compromise on this point, but talks between the two parties failed. He put forward proposals that he hoped would satisfy a wide range of Muslims and unite the League again, calling for mandated representation of Muslims in legislatures and cabinets. These became known as the “Fourteen Points.” He was unable to secure adoption of the proposals, as the League meeting in Delhi, at which he hoped to win a vote of confidence, dissolved into a chaotic dispute over arguments.
After Baldwin was defeated in the 1929 British parliamentary elections, Ramsay MacDonald of the Labour Party became prime minister. MacDonald wanted a conference of Indian and British leaders in London to discuss the future of India, a course of action supported by Jinnah. Three roundtable conferences followed over many years, but none of them resulted in a decision. Jinnah was a delegate to the first two conferences, but was not invited to the last one. He remained in Britain for most of the period from 1930 to 1934, practicing law before the Privy Council, where he handled a number of India-related cases. His biographers disagree as to why he remained in Britain for so long – Wolpert claims that if Jinnah had been a Law Lord, he would have stayed there all his life, and that he sought the alternative of a parliamentary seat. His first biographer, Hector Bolitho, denied that Jinnah had sought entry to the British Parliament, while Jaswant Singh considered this period to be a break in the Indian struggle. Bolitho called this period “Jinnah”s years of order and contemplation, sandwiched between the time of the initial struggle and the final storm of conquest.”
In 1931, Fatima Jinnah joined her brother in England. From then on, Jinnah would receive personal care and support from her as he aged and began to suffer from lung diseases that would kill him. She lived and traveled with him, and became a close advisor. Jinnah”s daughter, Dina, was educated in England and India. Jinnah later distanced himself from Dina after she decided to marry a Christian, Neville Wadia, from a successful Parsi family. When Jinnah urged Dina to marry a Muslim, she reminded him that he had married a non-Muslim. Jinnah continued to correspond cordially with her daughter, but their personal relationship became strained, and she did not return to Pakistan during her lifetime, but only at his funeral.
Return to politics
In the early 1930s there was a resurgence of Indian Muslim nationalism, which reached a peak with the “Pakistan Declaration,” a pamphlet written by Choudhary Rahmat Ali,. In 1933, Indian Muslims, especially from the “United Provinces,” began to ask iJinnah to return and again assume leadership of the Muslim League, an organization that had fallen into inactivity. He remained titular president of the League, but refused to travel to India to preside over a session in April 1933, writing that he could not return until the end of the year.
Among those who met with Jinnah to seek his return was Liaquat Ali Khan, who would be an important political associate of Jinnah in the following years and the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. At Jinnah”s request, Liaquat discussed the return with a large number of Muslim politicians and confirmed his recommendation. In early 1934, Jinnah moved to the subcontinent, although he continued to travel between London and India on business in the following years. He sold his house in Hampstead and ended his legal practice in Britain.
The Muslims of Bombay elected Jinnah, though absent in London, as their representative to the Central Legislative Assembly in October 1934. In 1935, the British government gave considerable power to the provinces of India, with a central parliament in New Delhi, which however had no authority over such matters as foreign policy, defense, and much of the budget. Total power remained in the hands of the viceroy, who could dissolve legislatures and rule by decree. The League reluctantly accepted the scheme. Congress was much better prepared for the provincial elections in 1937, and the League failed to win a majority even of the Muslim seats in any of the provinces where members of that faith had a majority. It won a majority of Muslim seats in Delhi, but failed to form a government, although it was part of the ruling coalition in Bengal. The Congress and its allies formed government even in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), where the League did not win seats, despite the fact that almost all the residents were Muslim.
According to Jaswant Singh, “the events of 1937 had a tremendous, almost traumatic, effect on Jinnah. Despite his twenty-year beliefs that Muslims could protect their rights in a unified India through separate electorates, provincial boundaries, and other minority rights protections, Muslim voters failed to unite on the issues Jinnah hoped to advance, lost amid factional fighting. Singh notes the effect of the 1937 elections on Muslim political opinion, “When the Congress formed a government with almost all Muslim parliamentarians sitting on the opposition benches, non-Congress Muslims suddenly faced this reality of almost total political powerlessness. It was made clearer to them, like lightning, that even if Congress did not win a single Muslim seat as long as it won an absolute majority in the House, on the strength of the general seats, it could form a government entirely on its own….”
Over the next two years, Jinnah worked to build Muslim support for the League. He secured the right to speak for the Muslim-led Bengali and Punjabi provincial governments in the central government in New Delhi. He worked to expand the League by reducing the cost of membership to two annas (⅛ of a rupee), half of what it cost to join the Congress. He restructured the League in a similar way to the Congress, putting more power in a Working Committee, which he appointed.
Background of independence
By the late 1930s, most Muslims in the British Raj hoped, after independence, to be part of a unitary state covering all of British India, as did Hindus and others who advocated self-government. Despite this, other nationalist proposals were being made. During a speech in Allahabad to a League session in 1930, Muhammad Iqbal called for a state for Muslims in British India. Choudhary Rahmat Ali published a pamphlet in 1933 advocating a “Pakistan” state in the Indus Valley, also giving other names to Muslim-majority areas elsewhere in India. Jinnah and Iqbal corresponded in 1936 and 1937; in subsequent years, Jinnah credited Iqbal as his mentor and used his images and rhetoric in speeches of his own. Although many Congress leaders sought a strong central government for an Indian state, some Muslim politicians, including Jinnah, were unwilling to accept this without powerful protections for their community. Other Muslims supported the Congress, which officially advocated a secular state after independence, although the traditionalist wing (including politicians like Madan Mohan Malaviya and Vallabhbhai Patel) believed that an independent India should enact laws to ban cow slaughter, and make Hindi the national language. The failure of the Congress leadership to repudiate the Hindu communalists worried Muslims who supported the Congress. Nevertheless, the Congress enjoyed considerable Muslim support until about 1937.
The events that separated the communities included the failed attempt to form a coalition government including Congress and the League in the United Provinces after the 1937 election. According to historian Ian Talbot, “Congressional provincial governments made no effort to understand and respect the cultural and religious sensitivities of Muslim populations. The Muslim League”s claims that it alone could protect Muslim interests received a major boost. Significantly, it was only after this period that the Congress devoted itself to the demand for a Pakistani state … “.
Balraj Puri, in his journalistic article on Jinnah, suggests that the Muslim League president, after the 1937 vote, turned to the idea of partition in “sheer desperation.” Historian Akbar S. Ahmed suggests that Jinnah abandoned hope of reconciliation with Congress as he “rediscovered his own Islamic roots, his own sense of identity, culture, and history, which would become increasingly evident in the last years of his life.” In those later years, Jinnah also increasingly adopted Muslim dress, rhetoric, and thought. Following the 1937 vote, Jinnah demanded that the issue of shared power be established throughout India, and that he, as president of the League, be accepted as the sole spokesman for the Muslim community.
Iqbal”s well-documented influence with regard to leadership in the creation of Pakistan has been described as “significant,” “powerful,” and even “unquestionable” by scholars. Iqbal was also cited as an influential force in convincing Jinnah to end his self-imposed exile in London and re-enter the politics of India. Initially, however, Iqbal and Jinnah were opponents, as Iqbal believed that Jinnah did not care about the crises faced by the Muslim community during the British Raj. According to Akbar S. Ahmed, this began to change during Iqbal”s last years before his death in 1938. Iqbal gradually managed to convert Jinnah to his vision, and the latter finally accepted him as his “mentor”. Ahmed comments that in his notes to Iqbal”s letters, Jinnah expressed solidarity with his idea: that Indian Muslims demanded a separate homeland.
Iqbal”s influence also gave Jinnah a deeper appreciation for Muslim identity, as he came to esteem not only Iqbal”s politics but also his convictions. Evidence of this influence began to be revealed from 1937 onward. Jinnah not only began to echo Iqbal in his speeches, he began to use Islamic symbolism and began to address his appeals to the underdog. He continued to adopt ideas “directly from Iqbal – including his thoughts on Muslim unity, on the Islamic ideals of freedom, justice and equality, on economics, and even in practices such as prayers.” This change was seen as lasting the rest of his life.
Ahmed Akbar noticed a change in Jinnah”s words: while he still advocated freedom of religion and the protection of minorities, the model he now aspired to was that of the Prophet Muhammad, rather than that of a secular politician. Ahmed is, however, of the opinion that if Jinnah was not a secularist, he was not a fundamentalist either.
In a speech in 1940, two years after Iqbal”s death, Jinnah stated, “If I live to see the ideal of a Muslim state achieved in India, and then I am offered a choice between the works of Iqbal and the rule of the Muslim state, I would prefer the former.”
World War II and the Lahore Resolution
On September 3, 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced the outbreak of war with Nazi Germany. The next day, the Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, without consulting Indian political leaders, announced that India entered the war along with Britain. There were widespread protests in India. After meeting with Jinnah and Gandhi, Linlithgow announced that negotiations on self-government were suspended for the duration of the war. The Congress on September 14 demanded immediate independence with a constituent assembly to decide on a constitution; when this was refused, its eight provincial governments resigned on November 10. Jinnah, on the other hand, was more willing to accommodate the British, and they in turn increasingly recognized him and the League as representatives of the Muslims in India. Jinnah later stated, “After the war started … I was treated on the same basis as Mr. Gandhi. I was stunned as to why I was promoted and had a place side by side with Mr. Gandhi.” Although the League did not actively support the British effort in the war, they did not try to obstruct it.
With the British and Muslims cooperating to some extent, the Viceroy asked Jinnah for a Muslim League position on self-government, confident that it would be very different from that of Congress. To arrive at that position, the League”s Working Committee met for four days in February 1940 to establish the terms of reference for a constitutional subcommittee. The Working Committee asked the subcommittee to come back with a proposal that would result in “independent domains in direct relation to Great Britain” where Muslims were dominant. On February 6, Jinnah informed the viceroy that the Muslim League would demand a partition rather than the federation contemplated in the 1935 Act. The Lahore Resolution (sometimes called the “Pakistan Resolution,” although it does not bear that name), based on the work of the subcommittee, embraced the Two Nations Theory and called for a union of the Muslim-majority provinces in northwestern British India, with full autonomy. Similar rights should be granted to Muslim majority areas in the east, and unspecified protections granted to Muslim minorities in other provinces. The resolution was passed by the League”s session in Lahore on March 23, 1940.
Gandhi”s reaction to the Lahore Resolution was muted; he called it “disconcerting,” but told his disciples that Muslims, in common with other people in India, had a right to self-determination. Congress leaders were more vocal; Jawaharlal Nehru referred to Lahore as “fantastic proposals from Jinnah,” while Chakravarti Rajagopalachari considered this view of partition “a sign of a sick mentality.” Linlithgow met with Jinnah in June 1940, just after Winston Churchill became the British prime minister, and in August he offered the Congress and the League a deal in which, in return for full support for the war, the viceroy would set up a representative body after the war to determine the future of India, and that no future solution would be imposed over the objections of a large part of the population. This was not satisfactory to either the Congress or the League, although Jinnah was pleased that the British had moved to recognize him as the representative of the interests of the Muslim community. Jinnah was reluctant to make specific proposals about Pakistan”s boundaries, or its relations with Britain and the rest of the subcontinent, fearing that any precise plan would divide the League.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 brought the United States into the war. In the following months, the Japanese advanced in Southeast Asia, and the British Cabinet sent a mission led by Stafford Cripps to try to reconcile the Indians and get them to fully support the war. Cripps proposed to give some provinces what was dubbed the “local option”: to remain outside a central Indian government, either for a period of time or permanently, to become a dominion on their own, or to be part of another confederation. The Muslim League was far from sure if it would win the legislative votes that would be needed for mixed provinces such as Bengal and Punjab to secede; Jinnah rejected the proposals as not sufficiently recognizing Pakistan”s right to exist. Congress also rejected the Cripps plan, demanding immediate concessions that Cripps was not prepared to give. Despite the rejection, Jinnah and the League saw Cripps” proposal as recognizing Pakistan in principle.
The Congress, after Cripps” failed mission, demanded in August 1942 that the British immediately “get out of India,” proclaiming a mass satyagraha campaign until they did. The British promptly arrested most of the top Congress leaders by the end of the war. Gandhi, however, was placed under house arrest in one of the Aga Khan”s palaces before his release for health reasons in 1944. With Congress leaders absent from the political scene, Jinnah warned against the threat of Hindu domination and maintained his demand of Pakistan, without going into great detail about what that would entail. Jinnah also worked to increase the League”s political control at the provincial level. He helped found the Dawn newspaper in the early 1940s, which helped spread the League”s message and eventually became Pakistan”s leading English-language newspaper.
In September 1944, Jinnah and Gandhi, who had already been released from his palace prison, formally met at the Muslim leader”s home in Malabar Hill, Bombay. Two weeks of negotiations followed between the two, which resulted in no agreement. Jinnah insisted that Pakistan be granted before British departure, while Gandhi proposed that partition plebiscites take place after a united India gained its independence. In early 1945, Liaquat and Congress leader Bhulabhai Desai met, with Jinnah”s approval, and agreed that after the war, the Congress and League should form a provisional government with members of the Viceroy”s Executive Council appointed by the Congress and League in equal numbers. When the Congress leaders were released from prison in June 1945, they repudiated the agreement and reproached Desai for acting without proper authority.
Marshal Viscount Archibald Percival Wavell succeeded Linlithgow as viceroy in 1943. In June 1945, after the release of the Congress leaders, Wavell called a conference and invited the leaders of the various communities to meet him in Shimla. He proposed a temporary government on the lines that Liaquat and Desai agreed to. However, Wavell was unwilling to guarantee that only League candidates would be placed in the seats reserved for Muslims. All the other invited groups submitted lists of candidates to the viceroy. Wavell abbreviated the conference in mid-July without further seeking an agreement; with a British general election imminent, Churchill”s government did not feel it could proceed.
In February 1946, the British Cabinet decided to send a delegation to India to negotiate with leaders there This mission included Stafford Cripps and Pethick-Lawrence. The highest level delegation, to try to break the deadlock, arrived in New Delhi in late March. Few negotiations had been held since October, due to the elections in India. The British in May launched a plan for a united Indian state comprising substantially autonomous provinces, and called for “clusters” of provinces formed on the basis of religion. Issues such as defense, foreign relations, and communications would be handled by a central authority. Provinces would have the option of leaving the union altogether, and there would be an interim government with representation from Congress and the League. Jinnah and the Working Committee accepted this plan in June, but fell apart over the question of how many members of the interim government the Congress and League would have, and over the Congress” desire to include a Muslim member in its representation. Before leaving India, British ministers stated that they intended to inaugurate an interim government, even if one of the major groups did not want to participate.
On July 27, 1946, at a Muslim League meeting in Bombay, the British plan was formally rejected, and the decision to resort to “direct action” was announced. The date of August 16, 1946 was chosen for “Direct Action Day,” without Jinnah or the League clearly specifying what it would mean. The League”s proclamation for that date invokes the battle of Badr, the conquest of Mecca, and the permission of Jihad. The day went almost without incident throughout India, except in Calcutta. A League rally began at noon, with speakers Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy (later to become Pakistan”s fifth prime minister) and Khawaja Nazimuddin (later to succeed Jinnah as Governor General), whose roles in inciting the violence were much discussed.
As soon as the rally was over, the mob, armed with stones, white guns and metal bars, set out on savage attacks on the Hindus and their property. These and the Sikhs responded in equal measure. The mutual massacres continued until August 21, resulting in thousands of deaths (the number varies according to sources, but is estimated at 5,000 to 10,000) and thousands of injured and displaced persons (about 20,000). In the streets of Calcutta, hundreds of vultures feasted on the corpses. The two sides blamed each other; it was a foreshadowing of what was to follow after the partition of India.
The Congress soon joined the new Indian ministry. The League took longer, not joining until October 1946. In accepting that the League join the government, Jinnah abandoned his demands for parity with the Congress and the veto on issues concerning Muslims. The new ministry met amidst turmoil, especially in Calcutta. The Congress wanted the viceroy to immediately convene the constituent assembly, begin work on drafting a constitution, and felt that League ministers should join the demand or resign from the government. Wavell tried to rectify the situation by referring leaders such as Jinnah, Liaquat, and Jawaharlal Nehru to London in December 1946. At the end of the talks, the participants issued a statement that the constitution would not be forced on reluctant parts of India. Back from London, Jinnah and Liaquat stopped in Cairo for several days of pan-Islamic meetings.
The Congress approved the joint statement of the London conference on the dissent of some elements. The League refused and did not participate in the constitutional discussions. Jinnah was willing to consider some links with Hindustan (as the Hindu-majority state that would be formed on partition was sometimes referred to ), such as a joint army or communications. However, in December 1946, he insisted on a fully sovereign Pakistan with dominion status.
After the failed trip to London, Jinnah was in no hurry to reach an agreement, considering that time would allow him to win the undivided provinces of Bengal and Punjab for Pakistan, but these provinces, rich and populous, had sizable non-Muslim minorities, complicating a deal. Attlee”s ministry desired British withdrawal from the subcontinent, but had little confidence in Wavell to achieve that end. Beginning in December 1946, the British authorities began searching for a successor to Wavell, and soon found Lord Mountbatten, a wartime leader popular with the Conservatives for being a great-grandson of Queen Victoria and with Labour for his political views.
Mountbatten and Independence
On February 20, 1947, Attlee announced Mountbatten”s appointment, and that Britain would transfer power in India no later than June 1948. Mountbatten took over as viceroy on March 24, 1947, two days after his arrival in India. By this time, the Congress had become convinced to the idea of partition. Nehru stated in 1960, “The truth was that we were tired and growing old…. The plan for partition offered a way out, and we grabbed it.” Congress leaders decided that having loosely connected Muslim-majority provinces as part of a future India did not compensate for the loss of a powerful central government they desired.However, Congress insisted that if Pakistan became independent, Bengal and Punjab would have to be partitioned.
Mountbatten had been warned in his papers that Jinnah would be his “most difficult client” who had proven to be a chronic nuisance, because “no one in this country had so far entered Jinnah”s mind.” The men met over the course of six days, beginning on April 5. Mountbatten was not favorably impressed with Jinnah, repeatedly expressing frustration over his insistence on Pakistan in the face of all arguments.
Jinnah feared that at the end of the British presence in the subcontinent, they would pass control to the Congress-dominated constituent assembly, putting the Muslims at a disadvantage in their attempt to gain autonomy. He demanded that Mountbatten divide the army before independence, which would take at least a year. Mountbatten had hoped that post-independence agreements would include a common defense force, but Jinnah considered it essential that a sovereign state have its own forces. Mountbatten met with Liaquat on the day of his last session with Jinnah, , and concluded, as Attlee and the Cabinet said in May, that “it became clear that the Muslim League would resort to arms if Pakistan, in whatever form, was not granted.” The viceroy was also influenced by the negative Muslim reaction to the assembly”s constitutional report, which provided for broad powers for the post-independence central government.
On June 2, the final plan was delivered by the viceroy to the Indian leaders: on August 15, the British would give power to the two dominions. The provinces would vote on whether to continue in the existing constituent assembly or have a new one, i.e. join Pakistan. Bengal and Punjab would also vote, both on the question of which assembly they would join, and on partition. Plebiscites would take place in the North West Frontier Province (which had no League government, despite a majority Muslim population) and in the Muslim-majority Sylhet district adjacent to East Bengal. On June 3, Mountbatten, Nehru, Jinnah, and Sikh leader Baldev Singh made the formal announcement over the radio. Jinnah concluded his speech with “Long Live Pakistan” which was not in the script. In the following weeks, votes from Punjab and Bengal resulted in partition. Sylhet and the N.W.F.P. (North West Frontier Province) voted for Pakistan, a decision joined by assemblies in Sind and Baluchistan.
On July 4, 1947, Liaquat asked Mountbatten on Jinnah”s behalf to recommend to the British King, George VI, that Jinnah be appointed the first Governor-General of Pakistan. This request angered Mountbatten, who had hoped to have this position in both countries – he would be the first governor-general of India after independence – but Jinnah felt that Mountbatten would probably prefer the new Hindu-majority state because of his proximity to Nehru. In addition, the governor-general would initially be a powerful figure, and Jinnah did not trust anyone else to fill that position. Although the Boundary Commission, led by British lawyer Cyril Radcliffe, had not yet reported, there were already massive population movements between the future nations, as well as sectarian violence. Jinnah sold his house in Bombay and purchased a new one in Karachi. On August 7, Jinnah, along with his sister, and members of his staff, flew from Delhi to Karachi on Mountbatten”s plane. On August 11, 1947, he presided over the new constituent assembly in Karachi and addressed them:
We are beginning the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We start with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state.(…)
This primordial discourse, addressing the separation of religion and state, respect for minorities, and the equality of all citizens, has, throughout Pakistan”s subsequent history, been the subject of omission, censorship, and even tampering, as scientist Abdul Hameed Nayyar, among others, notes.
On August 14, 1947, Pakistan became independent; Jinnah led the celebrations in Karachi. Noting the great power acquired by Jinnah, Alan Campbell-Johnsonː comments, “Here is, in effect, the Emperor of Pakistan, Archbishop of Canterbury, Speaker and Prime Minister concentrated in one formidable Quaid-e-Azam.”
The Radcliffe Commission, dividing Bengal and Punjab, completed its work and reported to Mountbatten on August 12; the last viceroy withheld the maps until the 17th, not wanting to spoil independence celebrations in both countries.
There had already been much ethnic violence and population movements before Independence; the publication of the Radcliffe line dividing the new nations caused a torrent of mass migrations, murders, kidnappings, rapes, and ethnic cleansing. No one knew exactly where the line was, and many on the “wrong side” of the lines fled or were murdered, or murdered others, in hopes of creating faits accomplis, and perhaps reversing the commission”s verdict. Radcliffe wrote in his report that he knew that neither side would be happy with his decision. Some 14.5 million people moved between India and Pakistan during and after partition, seeking the places where their respective religions were in the majority.
The newly formed governments had not anticipated, nor had any plan, for such a large population migration. Despite signs of tension between the communities, the signatories to the agreement that divided India hoped that the minorities would remain where they were, with the protection of the two nascent states. This did not happen.
Violence and bestial massacres have occurred on both sides of the new India-Pakistan border. Estimates of the number of deaths vary, ranging from 200,000 to 2 million. The worst case of violence, among all the regions, was in Punjab. Virtually no Muslims survived in East Punjab (except in Malerkotla) and almost no Hindus or Sikhs survived in West Punjab. Christopher Beaumont, Radcliffe”s private secretary, later wrote that Mountbatten “must be to blame – though not exclusively to blame – for the massacres in the Punjab, in which between 500,000 and a million men, women and children perished. Power was handed over too quickly.”
Slaughter accompanied, or sometimes was the reason for the displacement of the various groups. Hunger and disease caused many others to die. There are no exact figures. The British side, at the time of the events, estimated 200,000 dead; later the Indian side spoke of 2 million; the most accepted figure is at least a million. Thousands of families were torn apart, houses destroyed, villages and crops abandoned. Some 75,000 women were kidnapped and raped by men of religions other than their own (and sometimes also of their own religion). Rape was a weapon of war, which had already been seen in Calcutta. Later the two governments, India and Pakistan, agreed to rescue these women and return them to their country of origin; however, many were refused by their families because they were “contaminated,” and several others did not want to return.
Jinnah did what he could for the eight million people who migrated to Pakistan; although he was over 70 and frail of lungs, he traveled throughout West Pakistan and personally oversaw the aid to the migrants. According to Ahmed, “What Pakistan desperately needed in those first few months was a symbol of statehood, one that would unite people and give them the courage and determination to succeed.”
Along with Liaquat and Abdur Rab Nishtar, Jinnah represented Pakistan”s interests in the Divisional Council, to properly divide public assets between India and Pakistan. Pakistan was to receive one-sixth of the government”s assets before independence, carefully divided by agreement, even specifying how many sheets of paper each side would receive. The new Indian state, however, was slow to deliver, waiting for the collapse of the Pakistani government and again the union. Few members of the Indian Civil Service and the Indian Police Service chose Pakistan, resulting in staff shortages. Partition meant that for some farmers,the market for their crops was on the other side of the border. There was a shortage of machinery, not all of which was made in Pakistan. In addition to the huge refugee problem, the new government sought to save abandoned crops, establish security in the chaos, and provide basic services. According to economist Yasmeen Niaz Mohiuddin in his study of the country, “Although Pakistan was born in bloodshed and turmoil, it survived the initial and difficult months after partition only because of the tremendous sacrifices made by its people and the selfless efforts of its great leader.”
The Indian princely states, of which there were several hundred, (about 565), were advised by the British to choose to join Pakistan or India. Most did so before independence, but the latecomers contributed to the formation of lasting divisions between the two countries. Indian leaders were irritated by Jinnah”s attempts to convince the princes of Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bhopal and Indore to join Pakistan – the last three princely states did not border Pakistan. Jodhpur bordered and had a Hindu majority population and a Hindu ruler. The coastal princely state of Junagadh, which had a majority Hindu population, joined Pakistan in September 1947; Shah Nawaz Bhutto, its ruler”s ambassador, personally delivered the accession documents to Jinnah. But the two states that were subject to Junagadh”s control – Mangrol and Babariawad – declared their independence and joined India. In response, the ruler of Junagadh occupied the two states militarily. Subsequently, the Indian army occupied the principality in November, forcing its former leaders, including Bhutto, to flee to Pakistan, starting the politically powerful Bhutto family.
The most contentious of the disputes was, and still is, over the princely state of Kashmir. It had a Muslim majority population and a Hindu maharajah, Hari Singh, who delayed deciding which nation he would join. With the population in revolt in October 1947, aided by Pakistani irregulars, the maharajah joined India; Indian troops arrived, airborne. Jinnah opposed this action and ordered Pakistani troops into Kashmir. The Pakistani army was still commanded by British officers, and the commander, General Douglas Gracey, refused the order, stating that he would not enter what he considered another nation”s territory without the approval of a higher authority, which he did not. Jinnah withdrew the order, but that did not stop the violence , with the outbreak of the first Indo-Pakistan war of 1947.
Some historians claim that Jinnah”s courting of the rulers of the Hindu-majority states, and his wager in Junagadh, evidences ill intent toward India, since Jinnah had promoted separation on the basis of religion, but tried to gain the support of the Hindu-majority states. In his book Patel: A Life, Rajmohan Gandhi states that Jinnah hoped for a plebiscite in Junagadh, knowing that Pakistan would lose, in the hope that the principle would be established for Kashmir. However, when Mountbatten proposed to Jinnah that in all princely states where the ruler did not adhere to a dominion corresponding to the majority population (which would have included Junagadh, Hyderabad and Kashmir), accession should be decided by an “impartial reference to the will of the people,” Jinnah rejected the offer. Despite UN Security Council Resolution 47, issued at India”s request, for a plebiscite in Kashmir after the withdrawal of Pakistani forces, this never occurred.
In January 1948, the Indian government finally agreed to pay Pakistan its share of British India”s assets. They were spurred on by Gandhi, who threatened to fast until he died. A few days later, on January 30, Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who believed Gandhi was pro-Muslim. Jinnah issued a brief condolence statement, calling Gandhi “one of the greatest men produced by the Hindu community.”
In a radio statement addressed to the people of the U.S.A. in February 1948, Jinnah expressed his views on the constitution of Pakistanː “The Constitution of Pakistan is yet to be framed by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, I do not know what the final form of the Constitution will be, but I am sure that it will be of the democratic type, incorporating the essential principles of Islam. Today, these are as applicable in today”s life as they were 1300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It taught us the equality of man, justice and fair play for all. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and we are fully aware of our responsibilities and obligations as the authors of the future constitution of Pakistan. Elections followed by military coups have never established lasting democratic governments.”
In March, Jinnah, despite his diminished health, made his only post-independence visit to East Pakistan. In a speech to a crowd estimated at 300,000 people, Jinnah stated (in English) that only Urdu should be the national language, believing that a single language was necessary for a nation to remain united. The Bengali-speaking people of East Pakistan strongly opposed this policy, and in 1971 the official language issue was a factor in the secession of the region to form Bangladesh.
Since the 1930s, Jinnah began suffering from tuberculosis; only his sister and a few others close to him were aware of his condition. Jinnah believed that public knowledge of his lung diseases would harm him politically. In a 1938 letter, he wrote to a supporter of his that “you must have read in the papers that during my travels…I suffered, not because there was anything wrong with me, but the irregularities and over-strain weighed on my health.” Many years later, Mountbatten stated that had he known that Jinnah was so physically ill, he would have stopped, hoping that Jinnah”s death would prevent the partition. Fatima Jinnah later wrote: “Even in his hour of triumph, Quaid-e-Azam was seriously ill…. He had little or no appetite and had even lost the ability to force himself to sleep. All this coincided with reports, from both sides of the border, of horrific stories of massacres, rapes, arson and looting.(…) He worked in a frenzy to consolidate Pakistan. And, of course, he totally neglected his health …”. Jinnah worked with a carton of Craven “A” cigarettes on his desk, of which he had smoked 50 or more a day for the past 30 years, as well as a box of Cuban cigars. As his health worsened, he took more and more and longer rest breaks in the private wing of the official Residence in Karachi, where only he, Fatima and the servants were allowed to stay.
In June 1948, he and Fatima flew to Quetta in the mountains of Baluchistan, where the weather was colder than in Karachi. He could not rest completely there, addressing the officers of the Command and Staff College, saying, “You, along with the other Forces of Pakistan, are the guardians of the life, property and honor of the people of Pakistan.” He returned to Karachi on July 1 for the opening ceremony of the State Bank of Pakistan. A reception by the Canadian Trade Commissioner that evening in honour of Dominion Day was the last public event he attended.
On July 6, 1948, Jinnah returned to Quetta, but, on the advice of doctors, soon traveled to an even higher altitude retreat in Ziarat. He was always reluctant to undergo medical treatment, but realizing that his condition was worsening, the Pakistani government sent the best doctors it could find to treat him. The tests confirmed tuberculosis and also showed advanced lung cancer. He was informed, asked for full information about his illness and how his sister had been informed. He was treated with the new “miracle drug” of streptomycin, but it did not help. He was taken to the lower altitude of Quetta on August 13, the day before Independence Day. Despite an increased appetite (he weighed a little over 36 kilograms), it was clear to his doctors that if he wanted to return to Karachi alive, he would have to do so very soon. Jinnah, however, was reluctant to go, not wishing his aides to see him as an invalid on a stretcher.
By September 9, Jinnah had also developed pneumonia. The doctors requested that he return to Karachi where he could receive better care, and with his agreement, he was taken there on the morning of September 11. Dr. Ilahi Bux, his personal physician, believed that Jinnah”s mental change was caused by the foreknowledge of death. The plane arrived in Karachi that afternoon, it was awaited by Jinnah”s limousine and an ambulance. The ambulance broke down on the way into town, with Jinnah on a stretcher; he could not be put in the car as he could not sit up. They waited on the side of the road in oppressive heat as trucks and buses passed by, inadequate to transport the dying man and with his occupants, unaware of Jinnah”s presence. After an hour, a replacement ambulance came and transported Jinnah to the Government Residence, arriving there more than two hours after landing. Jinnah died later that night at about 10:20 PM at his home in Karachi on September 11, 1948, at the age of 71, just over a year after the creation of Pakistan.
Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said of Jinnah”s death, “How should we judge him? I have been angry with him many times during the last few years. But now there is no bitterness in my thoughts, only great sadness for all that has happened…he succeeded in his mission and won his goal, but at what cost and with how much difference from what he had imagined.” Jinnah was buried on September 12, 1948, amid official mourning in India and Pakistan; a million people gathered for his funeral. The Indian Governor General, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, cancelled an official reception that day in honor of the deceased leader. Today, Jinnah rests in a large marble mausoleum, the Mazar-e-Quaid, in Karachi.
Dina Wadia, Jinnah”s daughter, remained in India after independence and after her divorce settled in New York City. In the 1965 presidential election, Fatima Jinnah, then known as Madar-e-Millat (“Mother of the Nation”), became the presidential candidate of a coalition of political parties opposing President Ayub Khan”s government, but was unsuccessful.
Jinnah”s house on Malabar Hill in Bombay is in the possession of the Government of India, but the issue of its ownership has been contested by the Government of Pakistan. Jinnah had personally requested Prime Minister Nehru to preserve the house, hoping that one day it could return to Bombay. There are proposals that the house be offered to the Government of Pakistan to establish a consulate in the city as a goodwill gesture, but Dina Wadia had also claimed ownership.
After Jinnah”s death , his sister Fatima, in September 1948, asked the court to execute Jinnah”s will under Shia Islamic law, which became part of the Pakistani debate about his religious affiliation. Vali Nasr says that Jinnah “was an Ishmaelite by birth and a Duodeciman Shiite by confession, although he was not a religiously observant man.” In a legal challenge in 1970, Hussain Ali Ganji Walji claimed that Jinnah converted to Sunni Islam. Witness Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, a lawyer, stated in court that he converted to Sunni Islam in 1901 when his sisters married Sunnis. In 1970, the joint declaration of Liaquat Ali Khan and Fatima Jinnah (who lived with her brother the last 19 years of his life) that he was a Shiite was rejected. But in 1976, the court rejected Hussain Walji”s claim that Jinnah was Sunni; effectively accepting him as a Shiite. In 1984, again a court reversed the 1976 verdict and held that “the Quaid was definitely not a Shiite,” which might suggest that Jinnah was Sunni. According to journalist Khaled Ahmed, Jinnah publicly held a non-sectarian position and “strove to bring together the Muslims of India under the banner of a general Muslim faith and not under a divisive sectarian identity.” Liaquat H. Merchant, his great-nephew, writes that “Quaid was not a Shiite, he was not a Sunni either, he was simply a Muslim.” An eminent lawyer, who is not named, and who served in the Bombay High Court until 1940 testified that Jinnah used to pray as an orthodox Sunni. Akbar Ahmed notes that , according to court testimony given by some relatives and associates, Jinnah was a firm Sunni Muslim until the end of his life. Altaf Hussein, a Sunni, from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, claims that Jinnah was a Shiite, and at the same time criticized sectarianism. Yahya Bakhtiar, who observed Jinnah closely, concluded that Jinnah was a “very sincere, deeply committed and dedicated Muslim.”
As for Jinnah himself, he never allowed himself to be classified into any of the various branches of Islam, and several episodes in his life attest to this. At one meeting he was asked whether he was Shiite or Sunni. He answered with a questionː “What was the Holy Prophet ?” The interlocutor replied that he was simply a Muslim. “Then”-Jinnah continued-“I too am neither Shiite nor Sunni, just a simple Muslim. The debate continues, and to better frame it, it should be noted that almost since the beginning of Pakistan, Shiites have been progressively discriminated against by the Sunni majority, the target of persecution and extra-judicial executions – just like all the other religious minorities that Jinnah wanted to protect in his ideal of the future.
According to Mohiuddin, “He was and remains as highly honored in Pakistan as George Washington is in the United States…. Pakistan owes its very existence to his drive, tenacity and judgment…. Jinnah”s importance in the creation of Pakistan was monumental and immeasurable.” Stanley Wolpert, giving a speech in honor of Jinnah in 1998, considered him Pakistan”s greatest leader.
According to Jaswant Singh, “With Jinnah”s death, Pakistan has lost its moorings. In India, another Gandhi will not come easily, nor to Pakistan, another Jinnah.” Malik wrote, “While Jinnah was alive, he could persuade and even push regional leaders for greater mutual accommodation, but after his death, the lack of consensus on the distribution of political power and economic resources often became contentious.” According to Mohiuddin, “Jinnah”s death deprived Pakistan of a leader who could have increased stability and democratic governance…. The stony road to democracy in Pakistan and the relatively smooth one in India can, to some extent, be attributed to the Pakistani tragedy of the loss of an incorruptible and highly revered leader soon after independence.”
His birthday is observed as a national holiday, the Quaid-e-Azam day, in Pakistan. Jinnah has been given the title Quaid-e-Azam (which means “Great Leader”). His other title is Baba-i-Qaum (“Father of the Nation”). The first title was given to him initially by Mian Ferozuddin Ahmed. It became an official title by effect of a resolution passed on August 11, 1947 by Liaquat Ali Khan in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. There are some sources which maintain that Gandhi gave him this title.
Pakistan”s civilian awards include an ”Order of Quaid-i-Azam”. The Jinnah Society also confers the ”Jinnah Award” annually to a person who renders outstanding and meritorious services to Pakistan and its people. Jinnah is depicted on Pakistani rupees, and is the namesake of many Pakistani public institutions. The former Quaid-i-Azam International Airport in Karachi, now called Jinnah International Airport, is the busiest in the country. One of Ankara”s major streets, Cinnah Caddesi, is named after him, as is the Mohammad Ali Jenah Expressway in Tehran, Iran. The royalist government of Iran also issued a stamp in 1976 commemorating the centennial of Jinnah”s birth. In Chicago, a part of Devon Avenue has been named “Mohammed Ali Jinnah Way”. The Mazar-e-Quaid, Jinnah”s mausoleum, is among Karachi”s landmarks. The “Jinnah Tower” in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India, was built to honor Jinnah.
There are a considerable amount of university studies on Jinnah, originating in Pakistan, but according to Akbar S. Ahmed, they are not widely read outside the country and generally avoid the slightest criticism of Jinnah; Ahmed notes the poverty of their historical analysis and comments “this is what Muslim academic studies were reduced to at the end of the 20th century” Many books published on Jinnah outside Pakistan mention that he consumed alcoholic beverages, and ate pork, but this is omitted from books published in Pakistan. Ahmed suggests that portraying Quaid”s consumption would weaken Jinnah”s Islamic identity, and by extension Pakistan”s, by strengthening the views of the “so-called secular” and urban élites, who mostly drink. Dina Wadia in New York reacted with irritation to these stories from ” Pakistanis who only seemed interested in whether Jinnah drank whiskey and ate ham.” Historian Ahmed feels that this aspect of Jinnah”s life is not a defining part of his character, and notes the fact that the right pretends it never happened, and liberals exaggerate its importance.
According to historian Ayesha Jalal, while there is a tendency toward hagiography in the Pakistani view of Jinnah, in India he is viewed negatively. Sharif-ul-Mujahid considers Jinnah “the most denigrated person in recent Indian history…” In India, many see him as the demon who divided the land. Even many Indian Muslims view Jinnah negatively, blaming him for their problems as a minority in India. Some historians like Jalal and Hormasji Maneckji Seervai claim that Jinnah never wanted the partition of India – it was the result of Congress leaders being unwilling to share power with the Muslim League. They claim that Jinnah only used Pakistan”s demand in an attempt to mobilize support to gain meaningful political rights for Muslims.
Jinnah has won the admiration of Indian nationalist politicians, such as Lal Krishna Advani, whose comments praising Jinnah caused an uproar in the Indian People”s Party (Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP). Indian politician Jaswant Singh”s book, Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence (2009) caused controversy in India. The book was based on Jinnah”s ideology and claimed that Nehru”s desire for a powerful center led to Partition. After the book”s release, Singh was expelled from his party, to which he responded that the BJP is “narrow-minded” and has “limited thoughts.”
Jinnah was the central figure in the 1998 film, Jinnah, directed by Jamil Dehlavi, based on her life and her struggle for the creation of Pakistan. Christopher Lee, who portrayed Jinnah, said that this was the best performance of his career.
Hector Bolitho”s 1954 book, Jinnah: Creator of Pakistan, prompted Fatima Jinnah to release a book, entitled My Brother (only published in 1987), since she thought Bolitho”s book failed to express the political aspects of Jinnah. Akhtar Balouch in the Dawn newspaper reports that several pages of Fatima Jinnah”s book were deleted by Sharif-ul-Mujahid of the Quaid-i-Azam Academy for being “against the ideology of Pakistan.”
The view of Jinnah in the West was shaped to some extent by his portrayal in Richard Attenborough”s 1982 film Gandhi. The film was dedicated to Nehru and Mountbatten and received considerable support from Nehru”s daughter, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It portrays Jinnah (played by Alyque Padamsee) in an unflattering light – a sort of villain, crabby and misanthropic, seeming to act jealous of Gandhi. Padamsee later claimed that his character was not historically accurate. However, the image we are left with of Jinnah, conveyed by the leading historians who have focused on his figure, such as Stanley Wolpert, Hector Bolitho, or Ayesha Jalal, among others, in addition to the testimonies of those who knew him (including political opponents such as Nehru) is that of a man undoubtedly out of the ordinary, of great character, somewhat arrogant, aware of his own brilliance, upright and tolerant – and even more so, with a spirit of humor.
In a newspaper article about Pakistan”s first Governor General, historian RJ Moore wrote that Jinnah is universally recognized as central to the creation of Pakistan. Stanley Wolpert summarizes the profound effect that Jinnah had on the world:
Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still change the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.