Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quaid: A Study in Statesmanship

By Prof Sharif al Mujahid

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah with Lord Pethick-Lawrence and Mr A V Alexander (1946 Cabinet Mission to India)

Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah's claim to statesmanship lay in his two attributes: (i) his rational approach towards politics, and (ii) his keeping himself in close touch with the objective ground realities, however awkward, however complex, however shifting or confusing. Little surprising, he often made the right choice at the right moment.


Prescience, idealism, intellectual vigour, faith and resolution these qualities Jinnah had in an abundant measure. Qualities that having crystallized with the years had transformed him what he finally turned out to be in the last decade of his eventful life.


His sense of realism would never fail him, with this decisions stemming from a genuine pragmatic approach. An approach, which would always take the world as it was in its changing historic realities, only to have it improved to the extent that the existing possibilities permitted, with a view to upholding the ideals of freedom and the common good. Yet underlying all of Jinnah's politics were a specific set of moral values, reflecting the intellectual traditions and sociological norms among the historical realities of Indian Islam.


Jinnah, like Konred Adenauer of West Germany, was averse to following "a purely positively utilitarian policy of expediency". This is because he was not prepared to sacrifice moral principles and spiritual necessities for temporary political gains. Nor would he allow his realism to deflect him into a policy of opportunism. For his realism had a sound ethical base, his being a policy of conviction and of conscience all the time.


Nevertheless, his overwhelming sense of pragmatism shied him away, from the futile task of abstract theorizing and enabled him to concentrate all his energies on the practical mastery of the tangible, day-to-day, political problems and tasks.


Chance, and particularly the chance of genius, says Voltaire, "is an incalculable, factor in the story of the past". "Chance because it decides which people will survive", because it determines, what names will survive the ravages of time and tide. And that he should be able to rise to any occasion is perhaps the most significant mark of greatness in a statesman. Jinnah could do something more: he could crystallise a lifetime's faith into a single bold action. And such actions over a 30-year provide the key to his political career and success.


Barely twelve years after his debut into politics for instance, Jinnah brought the divided Hindu and Muslims on one platform, a "miracle" that had never happened again.


He also got this Hindu-Muslim unity consecrated in the famous (Congress-League) Lucknow Pact of 1916. For all that it meant, it was not the handwork of a mere politician. It was an act of faith: faith in Hindu-Muslim unity as the condition of Indian freedom. And it called for utmost tact, persuasive powers, and statesmanship of the highest order to breathe a spirit of compromise, of give-and-take, into the two warring parties, so mortally suspicious of each other.


Some ten years later, he devised an extremely viable formula for a Hindu-Muslim settlement. This was in the Delhi Muslim Proposals (1927). Despite Muslim reservations about joint electorates, he offered to waive the Muslim right to separate electorates, if certain basic Muslim demands were met. These demands were: Proportional representation for Muslims in the Punjab and Bengal, the separation of Sindh from Bombay Presidency the extension of reforms to the NWFP and Balochistan and one-third Muslim representation at the center. Within the united Indian framework, the Delhi Proposal ensured the setting up of five stable Muslim Provinces to match the six Hindu ones. Hence Maulana Abul Kalaam Azad hailing them as opening. "The door for the first time to the recognition of the real rights of Muslims in India". While negating the long-standing Hindu reservations on separate electorates, the Proposals guaranteed Muslims "a proper share in the future of India".


Initially, the Congress welcomed and accepted the Proposals, Later, however, it gave in to the Hindu Mahasabhaite pressure, and opposed the Muslim demands except for the one relating to the NWFP, and for a conditional acceptance of Sindh's separation.


This mean that Jinnah's spirit of accommodation was sadly supporting on the other side. He requested that "the Muslims should be made to feel that they are secured and safeguarded against any act of oppression of the majority" fell on deaf cars. So did his plea "to rise to that statesmanship which Sir Tej Bahadur describes". But for the rejection of his impassioned pleas, the subsequent history of India would have been different. Mere politicians, out to score tactical gains let slip through their fingers the chance of a lifetime. At this juncture, the only other political leader who could match Jinnah's breadth of vision and statesmanship was Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru.


In 1937 came another chance for a Hindu-Muslim rapprochement. From 1935 onwards, Jinnah had established an entente with the Congress at the center. In February 1935, he tried to negotiate an alternative to the Communal Award (1932) with Babu Rajendra Prasad, the Congress President. A viable formula was finally worked out, but the pressure built up by the Congress Nationalist Party under Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, especially in Bengal and the Punjab, scuttled their efforts.


In the pre-1937 election period, despite Pandit Nehru's provocative denial of Muslim entity and identity in India's body politics on September 18, 1936, Jinnah had managed to keep him cool, offering the Congress an olive branch repeatedly. "Ours is not a hostile movement", he assured on August 20, 1936. He urged his Peshawar audience on October 19, "to unite to hammer out an advance nationalist bloc" from amongst themselves "to send to the Provincial Assembly". He exhorted Hindus and Muslims alike, at a public meeting at Nagpur's Chitnawis Park on January 1, 1937, to produce by a process of hammering fine steel and weed out those obstructing their march to freedom".


He declared on January 20, 1937 that "the urgent question facing every nationalist in India is how to create unity out of diversity and not of fight each other'.


With this end in view, he promoted the establishment of "something like a concordat" with the Congress during the 1937 elections, especially in the U.P. and Bombay. After the elections, he instructed the League Leaders to shun joining the interim ministries in these provinces. He instructed A.M.K. Dehalvi, Muslim League Assembly Party leader in Bombay, to reject out of hand Governor Brabourn's offer to head the interim ministry. Husseinally Rahimtulla and the Raja of Salempur were expelled for joining the Cooper and Chatter ministries in Bombay and the U.P. respectively.


Yet, when the Congress finally took office in July 1937, it by passed the Muslim League and Jinnah. It opted for Unitarianism a la the Nehru Report as against Muslim federalism, offered "absorption" instead of "partnership", and called for the dissolution of Muslim League parties in the legislatures for being considered for a share in power. The Congress justified the formation of exclusive one-party governments on the basis of the collective responsibility principle, but when it came to provinces such as the NWFP and Assam where it did not command an absolute majority, it flouted this principle and went in coalition ministries.


The failure of the Congress to exploit its spectacular electoral gains in 1937 for extending the areas of cooperation with the League is inexplicable unless explained in terms of it becoming "heady" with its unexpected victory and of a terrible lack of political prescience and foresight. For a plural society and for a multi-national country like India, Switzerland rather than England was the model coalition, rather than one-party government, the rule.


History shows that neglected opportunities do not, as a rule, return. However, Congress was presented the opportunity of reaching a peaceful settlement of the communal question in 1928, during 1930 (at the time of the Round Table Conference), during 1935-37 (Jinnah-Prasad Formula and the formation of provincial governments), and, finally, in 1946. But each time it failed, rather miserably. Of all these, the Cabinet Mission Plan (1946) presented the Congress leaders at this crossroad of history the chance of a lifetime, the chance perhaps of centuries. But none of them could rise to the occasion, because none of them had that "incredible clarity of vision", that "statecraft", and that "practical Bismarckian sense of the best possible" which, was Jinnah's alone, to quote the Aga Khan.


Bismarck, it is said, "was always emphatic that he could not make events". And if Jinnah had been asked about this situation at this juncture, he would have most probably said in the Bismarckian vein" "Politics are not a science based on logic; they are the capacity of always choosing at each instant, in constantly changing situations, the least harmful, the most useful". Again, like Bismarck, Jinnah, though perhaps taken by surprise by the Congress" reservations on the Cabinet Mission Plan, would turn the blunders of his enemies to his own advantage, to emerge victorious in the end.


But this anticipates. For the moment, it would suffice to note that Jinnah's crucial decision to accept the Cabinet Mission Plan demonstrated, perhaps more than anything else, this genius in statesmanship - a measure of statesmanship perhaps unmatched by the political giants involved in writing the last chapter of the British Raj in India. Hence the Aga Khans' verdict:


"In the one decision to accept the Cabinet Mission Plan, combining as it did sagacity, shrewdness, and unequalled political flair, he justified.... My claim that he was the most remarkable of all the great statesmen that I have known. In puts him on a level with Bismarck."


Remember, the Aga Khan was himself a statesman of a rare caliber, having occupied the president ship of the League of Nations.


Political genius, it is often said, lies in compromise. But this is only true within limits. An empirical approach is a distinguishing characteristic of a statesman, but that statesman alone is great who does not lose his purposive political creed in the exercise of power vested in him. The Muslim nation had, of course, authorized Jinnah to negotiate was operative only within the framework of the nation's cherished aspirations and supreme objective. The genius for compromise could never be carried beyond a recognizable point. The genius for compromise could never be carried beyond a recognizable point, the limit to compromise being set by the words of high purpose, such as Justice, Honour and Equity. In accepting the Mission Plan, Jinnah had compromised to the extent of suffering central control over the Muslim areas in respect of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications. But in attempting to erode the grouping provision on the one hand and envisaging and strenuously striving for a strong Centre on the other, the Congress had brazenly trespassed the limits to compromise. The Mission Plan, as formulated by its authors, ensured for Muslim Justice, Honour and Equity in the future Indian dispensation - though not in full, but in a substantial measure. The Plan, as the Congress had interpreted and proposed for implementation, had sought to cut across these high, non-compromisable principles. Jinnah had, therefore, to revoke his earlier acceptance of the Plan.


"The Future", says A.J.P. Taylor, a British historian, "is a land of which there are no maps; and historians err when they describe even the most purposeful statesman as though he were marching down a broad highroad with his objective already in sight. More flexible historians admit that a statesman has an alternative course before him; yet even they depict him as one choosing his route at crossroad. Certainly the development of history has its own logical laws. But these laws resemble rather those by which floodwater flows into hitherto unseen channels and forces itself finally to an unpredictable sea."


And if the Mission Plan had forced Indian politics through hitherto unseen channels on to an unpredictable sea, Jinnah, like Bismarck in such situations "proved himself master of the storm, a daring pilot in extremities. Like Bismarck again, even in the extremely difficult situation spawned by the British adverse verdict on the Pakistan demand, he never, even for a moment, let the initiative slip through his dexterous fingers.


Part of the wisdom of statecraft, to barrow a phrase from Richard Goodwin, is "to leave as many options open as possible and decide as little as possible... Since almost all-important judgments are speculative, you must avoid risking too much on the conviction that you are right. "The other half of the wisdom of statecraft is to "accept the chronic lubricity and obscurity of events without yielding, in Lincoln's words, firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right. Such acceptance rules out the contingency of keeping too many options open for too long, lest such keeping should paralyse the lobe of decision and end up in losing the game altogether. Thus, within the parameters of this framework, Jinnah's crucial decisions, first to accept the Mission Plan and later, when confronted with impossible congress conditions, to reject it, represent the two-halves of the wisdom of statecraft.


Jinnah's statecraft as well fulfils a test proffered by Bismarck himself: "Man cannot create the current of events. He can only float with it and steer." And the genius of Jinnah lay in his adroitly and successfully steering the adverse current of events during 1946 to bring the battered Muslim ship, safe and sound ashore within a year.


To sum up, then, Jinnah had a keep appreciation of the truth that politics is the art of the possible, that ends must conjoin and be conducive to means, that the best must be made of what is beyond one's power to change. Not only did he adroitly exploit to the full opportunities provided by his opponents. More importantly, like Mazzini, he also believed in creating opportunities through his own efforts. He had an iron will, and an unwilling faith in himself and his mission. To make these attributes the more impregnable and consequential, he was also resolute, fearless, courageous, calculating, and even somewhat reckless at time.


Yet he was farsighted, and, not withstanding the fierce invectives he had hurled oft and anon in the face of the "hated" congress, he always preferred the path of moderation and conciliation. Cautious for most part, he never took a step he could not retrace. The enabled him to stretch the hand of conciliation and compromise whenever such an opportunity presented itself. And it is a measure of the elasticity of his temper that the could change his political theosophy dewing his mid. Sixties, after over thirty years in public life, that he could accept the Mission Plan after pronouncing the "Pakistan-or- Perish" dictum, that he could call for "burying the hatchet" once the goal was achieved, that he could even preach friendship and collaboration with those to whom he was but lately so vehemently opposed. And, as in the case of Bismarck, his greatest, and perhaps most admirable, quality was to be content with limited success.


All told, it were these qualities that enabled him to surpass "possibly everyone else in India, in practical political intelligence" that earned him probably one of the highest tributes from a statesman whose stature and calibre were themselves universally recognized. In his Memoirs, the Aga Khan remarks:


Of all the statesmen that I have known in my life - Clamenceau, Lloyd George, Churchill, Curzon, Mussolini, Mahatma Gandhi - Jinnah is the most remarkable.


None of these men in my view outshone him in strength of character and in that almost uncanny combination of prescience and resolution, which is statecraft.


(The writer was founder-Director, Quaid-e-Azam Academy (1976-89), and authored "Jinnah: Studies in Interpretation (1981)", the only work to qualify for the president's Award for Best Books on Quaid-e-Azam)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jinnah's concern for economy in the government's spending

By Qutubuddin Aziz

The Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who assumed the reins of office as the first Governor General of Pakistan, on August 14, 1947, exercised the utmost economy in authorising government spending on his high office as Governor General and his own person. He kept a strict watch on the official expenditure on the Governor General's House in Karachi and his person. Having refused to accept the high salary to which he was entitled as the Governor General, the Quaid-i-Azam shunned the huge expenditure in vogue in India and other Commonwealth countries on the gubernatorial establishment and personally examined every month the items of expenditure on the staff, services and utilities of the Governor General's House in Karachi. He instructed the staff to show care and economy in the consumption of electricity and piped water in the household. The Governor General was fully aware of the financial constraints the fledgling State of Pakistan was at that time suffering from. In Karachi, there was shortage of electricity and piped water. According to the Quaid's sister, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, at times the Governor General, instead of burdening the State Exchequer, bore some part of the monthly administrative expenditure on the Governor General's House from his personal funds which he brought into Pakistan through his bankers in Mumbai. He took only a token sum of Rupee ONE per month as his official salary from the Government of Pakistan. As one of the leading barristers in India, Jinnah's income from his professional fees and profits from corporate investments was considerable, indeed more than his budgeted salary as Pakistan's Governor General. He still used his old Packard Limousine, which was brought from Mumbai to Karachi. It was very well maintained and the Quaid-i-Azam bore the expenses of maintaining it. He retained the services of his old chauffeur who had served him most devotedly in Mumbai and opted to serve him in Karachi. Jinnah had purchased the Packard Limousine some 15 years ago through the good offices of a commercial firm in Calcutta headed by his most devoted party colleague, Mirza Abul Hasan Ispahani. The Pakistan Foreign Office and the Protocol wing of the government impressed upon the Governor General the urgent need for him to have a new suitable Limousine for use in Karachi and a new aircraft for his use on State duty. The Quaid-i-Azam called for a report from the government on what kind of Limousines and aircraft were in use for heads of State in other Commonwealth countries.

The Quaid-i-Azam felt utterly surprised when he learnt from Prime Minister Liaquat Ali the details of the lavish spending by the British Indian Government on the office of the Viceroy and his person and family in New Delhi "This expenditure is too huge for our new State, we cannot afford it. Cut my budget to the barest minimum. I can live decently in Karachi with my own funds. We need more funds urgently for Kashmir and refugee rehabilitation, he said. "I don't need a new Limousine, my Packard is still a beauty and runs well. I can use commercial aircraft and Air Force planes for travel in the country," thus spoke Governor General Jinnah to his Prime Minister. Pakistan's Foreign Minister Sir Zafarullah Khan took it upon himself to explain to the Quaid-i-Azam the rationale and need for getting a suitable Limousine and aircraft for his use on State duty. The Governor General finally agreed but instructed that Ambassador M.A.H. Ispahani in Washington D.C. should look into the matter i.e. buying a suitable new Limousine and a small aircraft in the USA for the use of the Governor General in Pakistan. The Quaid-i-Azam was pleased when Ambassador Ispahani suggested the purchase of a new Super Cadillac and wrote that the manufacturer of General Motors would give a very substantial discount in the listed price for the new model. The Quaid-i-Azam got a detailed report on the Limousine, the net price payable, and the time when it would be delivered in Karachi. He also got a report on which other countries were using Cadillacs for their heads of State, heads of Government and Ambassadors. The Quaid-i-Azam, suggested that as Pakistan has a left-hand traffic system, the Cadillac should have a left hand drive system. He also wanted assurances from the manufacturers that spare parts needed for the vehicle would be made available in Pakistan quickly. General Motors offered to install many new gadgets, facilities and conveniences inside the Cadillac at small expense such as long distance telephone. The offer was accepted largely because the amount was small. Knowing the wishes and mood of the Governor General, Ambassador Ispahani managed to bring about reduction in the cost of shipment, boxing the car and insurance for its journey from the USA to Karachi in Pakistan. Ambassador Ispahani made himself conversant with every item of the transaction and the schedule for the delivery of the Limousine in Karachi. Ispahani to Governor General Jinnah intimated every bit of the transaction. The Quaid was a hard taskmaster and Mr Ispahani knew his penchant for the minutes' detail and absolute transparency.

The exchange of correspondence about the purchase of the Cadillac Limousine between Ispahani and Governor General Jinnah is amply covered in a hefty 1948 book: M.A. Jinnah Ispahani Correspondence 1936-1948 edited by Z.H. Zaidi and launched in Karachi by Ispahani in a crowded press conference at his residence in the presence of his gracious wife, Begum Ghamar Ispahani.

Seemingly, the Governor General was a bit annoyed when the delivery of the Limousine ordered from the USA through our Embassy there was delayed. In his letter dated December 11, 1947, to Ispahani, Governor General Jinnah wrote... "What about my car? It was to be delivered in the middle of November and here we are now in the middle of December and I have not yet heard as to what has happened to it. Please let me know how the matter stands because I want the car very badly." In his letter of December 20, 1947, from the Pakistan Embassy in Washington D.C Ambassador Ispahani informed the Governor General of Pakistan that the Cadillac had reached New York from Detroit, its place of manufacture by General Motors and it will be placed on board a ship bound for Karachi before the end of next week. I am sure you will like the automobile. In this letter, Ispahani also enclosed a photograph of the new 20-passenger Model 34 Beechcraft aeroplane, which had successfully completed its initial flight test on October 1, 1947, and can be bought at a reasonable price for use of the Governor General in Pakistan. In his letter dated January 8, 1948, Ambassador Ispahani informed the Governor General of Pakistan that the Cadillac booked for him was shipped on S.S. Explorer which left the USA on December 29 and it was due to reach Karachi port in the first week of February.

In a letter sent to Ambassador Ispahani from Government House in Lahore, Jinnah did not approve of buying an aircraft of quarter million dollars from the Beechcraft Corporation, saying that the Governor General of Pakistan cannot afford to travel in an aircraft, which will cost more than fifteen lakhs in rupees. The Governor General seemed to have opted for a slightly less expensive aircraft of Vickers Armstrong whose Viking planes were in use in India and Pakistan for civil purpose and he said in his reply to Ispahani that the Viking prices were not unreasonable, and taking everything into consideration I am trying to negotiate with them. Another difficulty with the Beechcraft plane was servicing while it's for the Vikings posed no problem.

It was also suggested to the Quaid-i-Azam that along with the Cadillac ordered for him, he should have a second Limousine. Ambassador Ispahani proposed from Washington that the Governor General should have a 1948 Super Packard or a new Lincoln. A substantial diplomatic discount was offered for either car. The Quaid-i-Azam studied the literature pertaining to the two cars but when he learnt from the Pakistan Ambassador in Washington D.C that the Cadillac car ordered for him had been boxed and shipped from the USA to Karachi, he immediately informed Ambassador Ispahani that he would not like to have a second car. He looked forward to get the Cadillac in Karachi because the number of top ranking foreign dignitaries visiting Pakistan were multiplying briskly and at times they had to ride with the Governor General in his official car from the Karachi Airport to Governor General's House in the heart of the city. The meticulous care with which the Pakistan Governor General attended to official work, is evidenced by Ambassador Ispahani's letter of October 20, 1948, from the Pakistan Embassy in Washington D.C to him in Karachi in which the Ambassador wrote that he had received the letter of the Military Secretary to Jinnah, Colonel Birnie dated October 21, 1948, advising him of the remittance to him of 6,000 US dollars to meet the cost and other charges incurred on account of the Cadillac car.

In a letter dated November 3, 1947, from Washington D.C Ambassador Ispahani informed the Governor General that the aircraft for his use from the Beechcraft Corporation would cost around a quarter million dollars. A super aircraft offered by the Consolidated Vultee Corporation of the USA whose details Ispahani sent to the Governor General in Karachi would have cost half a million dollars, a price which was not acceptable to the Quaid-i-Azam. After carefully examining all the offers and the prices involved, the Governor General showed a preference for the Viking plane offered by Vickers Armstrong, which was a little less expensive than all the other offers. The Governor General called for reports on each offer from the Pakistan Air Force experts to ensure that the aircraft Pakistan was buying for its Governor General was technologically the best for the very reasonable price he would agree to pay for it. It should be remembered that the time when the Quaid-i-Azam was personally examining this matter in Karachi he was not in the best of health and his physicians were pressing him to shift to Quetta or Ziarat.

Photo Albums

Album # 1:
Young Mr. Jinnah

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Album # 2:
Quaid-e-Azam Residency – Ziarat
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Album # 3:
Jinnah’s Family

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Album # 4:
Jinnah House in London

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Album # 5:

Mazar-e-Quaid - مزار قائد

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Album # 6:

Quaid-e-Azam & Pakistan Movement


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Album # 7:

Rare Photos of Quaid-e-Azam - I

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Album # 8:
Rare Photos of Quaid-e-Azam - II

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Album # 9:
Quaid-e-Azam (All Photos)

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Album # 10:

Quaid-e-Azam's firearms license

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quaid-e-Azam Residency - Ziarat

The most famous landmark of Ziarat is, of course, the Residency. It was here that the Father of the nation spent his last days. The summer residence at Ziarat, where Jinnah struggled with his mortal illness is still preserved this day as it was when he was alive. The building, constructed in 1892, was originally meant to serve as a sanatorium but was later converted into the summer residence of the Agent to the Governor General (AGG). It has now been declared a national monument.
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Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat
Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat
Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat
Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat
Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat
Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat
Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat
Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat
Quaid-e-Azam residency on reverse of 100  Rupee note Quaid-e-Azam Residency Ziarat

>> Click here for Virtual tour of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah Residence in Ziarat

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Timeline of Quaid-e-Azam

through the yearsJinnah
December 25, 1876   Born at Karachi
1882   Education started at home
1887   Admitted to Sind Madrasatul Islam, Karachi
1892   Married Emibai at the age of 16 
  Left Karachi for Europe
1893   Joined Lincoln's Inn 
  Emibai died at home
1895   Became Bar-at-Law 
  Mother died at Karachi
1896   Returned to Karachi from London 
  Migrated to Bombay
1897   Enrolled as Advocate in Bombay High Court
1900   Appointed Presidency Magistrate, Bombay
1906   Appointed Personal Secretary to Dadabhoy Naoroji
1909   Father died 
  Elected to the Supreme Imperial Council uncontested
1910   Elected to the Legislative Assembly, Bombay
1911   Piloted Waqf Alal Aulad Bill -- the only private member's Bill to be passed 
  (in 1913)
1912   Attended All-India Muslim League Council Meeting
1913   Left for England with Gokhale 
  Founded London Indian Association
  Joined All-India Muslim League
1915   Initiated the move for setting up of a League-Congress joint committee 
  for Hindu-Muslim unity
1916   Presided over the sixteenth Bombay Provincial Conference 
  Presided over the All-India Muslim League Lucknow session; Lucknow 
  Pact signed
1917   Became President, Home Rule League, Bombay 
  Organised "Memorandum of the Nineteen
1918   Married Rattenbai at Calcutta 
  Foiled the move to set up "Willingdon Memorial" in Bombay. Jinnah's 
  People's Memorial Hall constructed as a tribute to his services.
1919   Daughter (Dina) born 
  Resigned from the Imperial Legislative Council as a protest against Rowlatt Act
1920   Resigned from Home Rule League 
  Resigned from the Congress on differences with Gandhi
1922   Participated in All Parties Conference in Bombay as one of the three 
1923   Elected to the Imperial Legislative Council from Bombay
1924   Presided over the All-India Muslim League session in Lahore
1927   Boycotted the Simon Commission. Presided over a meeting of all the 
  important Muslim leaders at Delhi
1928   Attended National Convention at Calcutta
1928   Rattenbai died
1929   Jinnah's amendments to Nehru Report rejected 
  All-India Muslim League rejects Nehru Report at its Delhi session
  Jinnah's Fourteen Points
1930   Attended Round Table Conference in London
1931   Stayed on in England; gave up political activities temporarily
1934   Returned to India. Got actively engaged in politics 
  Again elected to the Central Legislative Assembly
  Elected Permanent President of All-India Muslim League
  Elected leader of the Independent Party in the Assembly
1935   Government of India Act, 1935 passed 
  Jinnah-Rajendra Prasad Formula
1936   Constituted All-India Muslim League Central Parliamentary Board to fight elections under 1935 Act
1937   Provincial elections under 1935 Act 
  Congress forms ministries in six provinces; Congress raj begins
  Jinnah presides over League session at Lucknow. All-India Muslim League turned into a mass organisation and compete independence adopted as goal
1938   Presides over Special League Session at Calcutta 
  Presides over League Session at Patna
1939   Demand Royal Commission to inquire into Muslim grievances under Congress rule. 
  Day of Deliverance observed (on exit of Congress Ministries)
1940   Historic Lahore (Pakistan) Resolution passed
1943   Rejected Rajagopalachariya formula 
  Presided over All-India Muslim League's Karachi session and said: "We have got millions  behind us; we have got our flag and our platform; and what is more we have now the definite goal of Pakistan." Toured the subcontinent like a storm
1944   Jinnah-Gandhi talks
1945   Participated in Simla Conference. Elected to Central Legislative Assembly
1946   January 11, All-India Muslim League sweeps the polls in Muslim constituencies; Victory Day 
  April 4, Meeting with Cabinet Mission
  April 9, Called a convention of all Muslim members of the Central and Provincial 
  Assemblies at Delhi
  May 16, Cabinet Mission Plan announced
  June League accepts Cabinet Mission Plan. League also accepts Short-Term 
  (Interim Government) Plan
July Conditional acceptance of Cabinet Mission Plan by Congress. Congress rejects Short- Term Plan. Viceroy's volte face on the formation of Interim Government. All-India Muslim League withdraws earlier acceptance, rejects Cabinet Mission Plan and announces boycott of Constituent Assembly. Called upon Members to renounce all British titles and honours in protest against British attitude towards Muslims and decides to launch Direct Action to wrest Pakistan
  August 16, Direct Action Day
  October 25, All-India Muslim League agrees to participate in the Interim Government
  December 2, Reaches London on invitation from Secretary of State
  December 6, British Government's clarification upholds League's viewpoint on Cabinet Mission Plan
1947   February 20, Prime Minister Attlee announces that the British would relinquish power in India by June 1948 
  June 3, Plan envisaging partition of India and establishment of Pakistan announced.  Jinnah's historic broadcast accepting the Plan
  July, Indian Independence Act passed by British Parliament
  August 7, Left Delhi for Karachi by air
  August 11, Elected President of Pakistan Constituent Assembly. Presidential address in the Constituent Assembly. Title of "Quaid-e-Azam" conferred on him
  August 14, Pakistan comes into being; the Quaid-e-Azam sworn in as the first Gvernor-General
  October, Set up headquarters at Lahore to supervise settlement of refugees in Punjab
  December 25,   First official birthday
1948   July 1, Inaugurated State Bank of Pakistan; gave a call for evolving a new economic system 
  July 14, Left again for rest at Ziarat
  August 14, First Independence Day; last message to the nation
  September 11, Returned to Karachi from Ziarat; Breathed his last.

Monday, October 11, 2010

BBC - Historic Figures: Mohammad Ali Jinnah

Jinnah was an Indian politician who successfully campaigned for an independent Pakistan and became its first leader. He is known there as 'Quaid-e-Azam' or 'Great Leader'.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah was born on 25 December 1876 in Karachi, now in Pakistan, but then part of British-controlled India. His father was a prosperous Muslim merchant.

Jinnah studied at Bombay University and at Lincoln's Inn in London. He then ran a successful legal practice in Bombay. He was already a member of the Indian National Congress, which was working for autonomy from British rule, when he joined the Muslim League in 1913. The league had formed a few years earlier to represent the interests of Indian Muslims in a predominantly Hindu country, and by 1916 he was elected its president.

In 1920, the Indian National Congress launched a movement of non-cooperation to boycott all aspects of British rule. Jinnah opposed this policy and resigned from the congress. There were by now profound differences between the congress and the Muslim League.

After provincial elections in 1937, the congress refused to form coalition administrations with the Muslim League in mixed areas. Relations between Hindus and Muslims began to deteriorate. In 1940, at a Muslim League session in Lahore, the first official demand was made for the partition of India and the creation of a Muslim state of Pakistan. Jinnah had always believed that Hindu-Muslim unity was possible, but reluctantly came to the view that partition was necessary to safeguard the rights of Indian Muslims.

His insistence on this issue through negotiations with the British government resulted in the partition of India and the formation of the state of Pakistan on 14 August 1947. This occurred against a backdrop of widespread violence between Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, and a vast movement of populations between the new states of Pakistan and India in which hundreds of thousands died.

Jinnah became the first governor general of Pakistan, but died of tuberculosis on 11 September 1948.

Source: BBC

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jinnah's Vision of Pakistan

By Sharif al Mujahid

For some years now, Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah's vision of Pakistan has been a source of controversy and conflict. Much of this has however tried to cut Jinnah to fit a predetermined image. A close look at Jinnah's long and chequered public life, encompassing some forty-four years (1904-48), helps determine the core values he was committed to throughout his political career.

This paper examines how Jinnah’s politics evolved through main phases, which, though distinct, yet merged into the next, without sudden shifts. It analyses how his liberalism underwent an apparent paradigmatic shift from 1937 onwards, and led to him advocating the charismatic goal of Pakistan, and to elucidate it primarily in Islamic terms. Finally, the Islamic strain in his post independence pronouncements and his 11 August 1947 address is discussed, and an attempt made to reconcile it with his other pronouncements.

Jinnah as Liberal

In the first phase of his public life (1904-20) three main influences shaped Jinnah's personality and politics:

  • Nineteenth century British liberalism, first absorbed during his four-years' (1892-96) stay in England as a student of law,

  • The cosmopolitan atmosphere and mercantile background of metropolitan Bombay where he had established himself as an extremely successful barrister since the turn of the century, and

  • His close professional and personal contact with the Parsis, who, though only a tiny community provided an example of how initiative, enterprise and hard work could overcome numerical inferiority, racial prejudice and communal barriers.

These formative influences seem to have prompted Jinnah to join the Indian National Congress. Fashioned after liberal principles and cast in their mould, the Congress was at that time pledged to take India on the road to self-government through constitutional means. Soon enough, he rose high in its echelons, high enough to be its 'spokesman' for its representation to the Secretary of State on the reform of the India Council in May 1914. Jinnah believed in moderation, gradualism, ordered progress, evolutionary politics, democratic norms, and above all, in constitutionalism. When the Congress sought to abandon these liberal principles in 1920 and opted for revolution and extra constitutional methods, he walked out of the Congress for good.

The constitutionalist in Jinnah led to him having a similar experience with the Home Rule League (HRL). He had collaborated with it since it was founded by Annie Besant, and joined it in a show of solidarity when Besant was interned in 1917. In October 1920 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, upon being elected HRL President on Jinnah's proposals, went about changing its constitution and its aims and objects and renaming it Swarajya Sabha rather unilaterally. Gandhi ruled out Jinnah's objections that the constitution could not be changed unless supported by a three-fourths majority, and without proper notice. Jinnah, along with nineteen other members resigned, charging that the "changes in the constitution were made by adopting a procedure contrary to the rules and regulations of the (HR) League."

Throughout this period, in fact since 1897, Jinnah was active in Anjuman-I-Islam, Muslim Bombay's foremost religio-political body. In 1906 Jinnah opposed the demand for separate electorates, but before long his opposition thawed when he realized that the demand had "the mandate of the community". In 1910 he was elected to the Imperial Council on a reserved Muslim seat. From then on, he came in close contact with Nadwah, Aligarh and the All India Muslim League (AIML), and he was chosen by the AIML to sponsor a bill on Waqf alal Aulad, a problem of deep concern to Muslims since the time of Syed Ahmad Khan. Though not yet a formal member of the League, Jinnah was yet able to get the League committed to the twin ideals of self-government and Hindu-Muslim unity during the next three years, thus bringing the AIML on par with the Congress in terms of its objectives.

He joined the AIML formally in October 1913 and became its President in 1916. He utilized his pivotal position to get the Congress and the League act in concert, and work out common solutions to problems confronting the country. One result of his efforts was the Congress-League, Lucknow Pact of 1916, which settled the controversial electorate issue, at least for the time being, and paved the way towards a entente cordiale between Hindus and Muslims. Another result was the holding of Congress and League annual sessions at the same time and at the same place for seven years (1915-21).

It can be seen that there were three dominant strands in the first phase (1904-1920) of Jinnah's political career. These were a firm belief in a united Indian nationhood, with Hindus and Muslim sharing in the future Indian dispensation; a sense that Indian freedom could come through Hindu-Muslim unity, and a need for unity in Muslim ranks through strengthening the Muslim League. These strands continued in the second phase (1920-37) as well; but with the years their position came to be reversed in his scale of priorities, as the Congress's ultimate objectives underwent a radical change under the influence of Hindu extremists. Jinnah's efforts for Muslim unity became increasingly pronounced with the years, becoming a passion with him towards the closing of the second phase.

For Jinnah, while national freedom for both Hindus and Muslims continued to be the supreme goal, the means adopted to achieve it underwent a dramatic change. If it could not be achieved through Hindu Muslim unity, it must be done through Hindu-Muslim separation; if it could not be secured through a composite Hindu-Muslim nationalism, it must be done through separate Hindu and Muslim nationalisms; if not through a united India, it must be through partition. In either case, the ultimate objective was to ensure political power for Muslims.

Jinnah’s Transformation

The period after 1937 marked a paradigmatic shift. Jinnah became identified in the Muslim mind with the concept of the charismatic community, the concept which answered their psychic need for endowing and sanctifying their sense of community with a sense of power. Increasingly he became the embodiment of a Muslim national consensus, which explains why and how he had become their Quaid-i-Azam, even before the launching of the Pakistan demand in March 1940.

This shift was squarely reflected in his thinking, his posture, his platform, and in his political discourse. And of course his appearance -- for his public rallies Jinnah replaced his finely creased English Saville Row suits with achkan, tight pyjamas and, to boot, a karakuli cap. He still believed in democracy, but now felt parliamentary democracy of the Westminster type was unsuitable for India because of the existence of a permanent majority and a permanent minority, which he defined in specific terms:

Minorities means a combination of things. It may be that a minority has a different religion from the other citizens of a country. Their language may be different, their race may be different, their culture may be different, and the combination of all these various elements - religion, culture, race, language, arts, music and so forth makes the minority a separate entity in the State, and that separate entity as an entity wants safeguards.

Extending this elucidation, he occasionally called Muslims 'a nation', stressing their distinct religion, culture, language and civilization, and calling on them to "live or die as a nation". He even called the League flag 'the flag of Islam', arguing that "you cannot separate the Muslim League from Islam.

Jinnah also traveled across the other end of the political and ideological spectrum in other ways. Previously he had disdained mass politics, now he opted for mass politics. Previously he had objected to Gandhi's injection of religion into politics, now he was not averse to couch his appeals in Islamic terms and galvanising the Muslim masses by appealing to them in a cultural matrix they were familiar with. Previously he had called himself an Indian first and last, now he opted for an Islamic identity. Previously he had strived long and hard for a national consensus; now all his efforts were directed towards a Muslim consensus. Jinnah, the erstwhile "ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity" became the fiercest advocate of Hindu-Muslim separation.

Jinnah had a political basis for this paradigmatic shift, through which Muslims and Islam came to occupy the centre of his discourse. For one thing, how else could Muslims, scattered as they were unevenly throughout the subcontinent, sharing with their non-Muslim neighbours local customs, ethos, languages, and problems and subjected to local conditions (whether political, social or economic) become a 'nation' except through their affiliation with Islam? For another, since Pakistan was to be established in the Muslim majority provinces, why else should the Muslims in the minority provinces struggle for Pakistan, except for their deep concern for the fate and future of Islam in India? Above all, what linked them irretrievably with their fellow Muslims in the majority areas except this concern?

In an address to Gaya Muslim League Conference in January 1938, Jinnah begun mapping out his new world view. He said:

When we say ‘This flag is the flag of Islam’ they think we are introducing religion into politics - a fact of which we are proud. Islam gives us a complete code. It is not only religion but it contains laws, philosophy and politics, In fact, it contains everything that matters to a man from morning to night. When we talk of Islam we take it as an all embracing word. We do not mean any ill. The foundation of our Islamic code is that we stand for liberty, equality and fraternity.

Jinnah then used this to argue the case for Pakistan at two levels. First, he invoked the universally recognized principle of self-determination. But it was invoked not on the familiar territorial basis, but for the Muslim nation alone. As he stipulated in his marathon talks with Gandhi in September 1944, the constituency for the plebiscite to decide upon the Pakistan demand would comprise only the Muslims, and not the entire population of the areas concerned. Second, he spelled out his reasons for reaching out towards the 'Pakistan' goal in his Lahore (1940) address in more or less ideological terms, arguing that "Islam and Hinduism... are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are... different and distinct social orders", that "the Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literature", "to two different civilizations", that they "derive their inspiration from different sources of history"... (with) different epics, different heroes and different episodes." "We wish our people", he declared, "to develop to the fullest our spiritual, cultural, economic, social and political life in a way that we think best and in consonance with our own ideals and according to the genius of our people."

Jinnah developed this into a definition of Muslim nationhood that was most cogent, the most closely argued, and the most firmly based in international law since the time of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. "We are a nation," he wrote to Gandhi on 17 September 1944, "with our distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of values and proportion, legal laws and moral code, customs and calendar, history and traditions, aptitude and ambitions; in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life."

He returned to this more extensively in his Id message in September 1945, saying:

"Everyone, except those who are ignorant, knows that the Quran is the general code of the Muslims. A religious, social, civil, commercial, military, judicial, criminal, penal code, it regulates everything from the ceremonies of religion to those of daily life; from the salvation of the soul to the health of the body; from the rights of all to those of each individual; from morality to crime, from punishment here to that in the life to come, and our Prophet has enjoined on us that every Musalman should possess a copy of the Quran and be his own priest. Therefore Islam is not merely confined to the spiritual tenets and doctrines or rituals and ceremonies. It is a complete code regulating the whole Muslim society, every department of life, collective[ly] and individually."

Jinnah’s Realisation

After independence, as head of the state he had founded, Jinnah talked in the same strain. He talked of securing "liberty, fraternity and equality as enjoined upon us by Islam" (25 August 1947); of "Islamic democracy, Islamic social justice and the equality of manhood" (21 February 1948); of raising Pakistan on "sure foundations of social justice and Islamic socialism which emphasized equality and brotherhood of man" (26 March 1948); of laying "the foundations of our democracy on the basis of true Islamic ideals and principles" (14 August 1948); and "the onward march of renaissance of Islamic culture and ideals" (18 August 1947). He called upon the mammoth Lahore audience to build up "Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam", to "live up to your traditions and add to it another chapter of glory", adding, "If we take our inspiration and guidance from the Holy Quran, the final victory, I once again say, will be ours" (30 October 1947).

As for the specific institutions of the new state, he exhorted the armed forces to uphold "the high traditions of Islam and our National Banner" (8 November 1947); and commended the State Bank research organization to evolve "banking practices compatible with Islamic ideals of social and economic life" and to "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" (1 July 1948).

For Jinnah, "the creation of a State of our own was a means to an end and not the end in itself. The idea was that 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" (11 October 1947). He told Edwards College students that "this mighty land has now been brought under a rule, which is Islamic, Muslim rule, as a sovereign independent State" (18 April 1948). He even described Pakistan as "the premier Islamic State" (February 1948).

Jinnah's broadcast to the people of the United States (February 1948) is in a similar vein:

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 principles of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of men, justice and fairly 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.

In this broadcast, Jinnah, the constitutionalist that he was, refused to forestall the shape of the constitution, in order not to fetter the Pakistan Constituent Assembly from taking decisions it deemed fit. While he laid a good deal of stress on Islamic ideals and principles, he ruled out theocracy, saying "Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds."

Technically speaking, theocracy means a government "by ordained priests, who wield authority as being specially appointed by those who claim to derive their rights from their sacerdotal position." Unlike Catholicism, there is no established church in Islam; (in fact, it decries such a church). Moreover, since Islam admits of no priestcraft, since it discountenances a sacerdotal class as the bearer of an infallible authority, and since it concedes the right of ijtihad to "men of common sense", the concept of theocracy is absolutely foreign to Islam. Hence, during the debate on the Objectives Resolution (March 1947), Mian Iftikharuddin refuted the Congress members fears about the sovereignty clause, saying that "the wording of the Preamble does not in any way make the Objectives Resolution any the more theocratic, any the more religious than the Resolution or statement of fundamental principles of some of the modern countries of the world" (10 March 1949). Thus neither Iqbal, nor Jinnah, nor any of the independence leaders (including Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani) stood for a theocratic state.

Of all Jinnah's pronouncements it is his 11 August address that has received the greatest attention since the birth of Pakistan, and spawned a good deal of controversy. Although made somewhat off-the-cuff -- he said that "I cannot make any well-considered pronouncement, but I shall say a few things as they occur to me" -- it is considered a policy statement. He said:

... If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, ... 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. ...we must learn a lesson from this [our past experience]. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of 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 ... we are starting in the days when there is no discrimination between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste, or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.... 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.

Not surprisingly, it has elicited varied comments from scholars and contemporary journalists. One scholar has put it down to "loose thinking and imprecise wording" and a departure from Jinnah's erstwhile position. Another calls it "a remarkable reversal" and asks "was he [Jinnah] pleading for a united India - on the eve of Pakistan?"
In dissecting this statement, there is, however, little that could lend itself to disputation. There is no problems with the dictum that every one, no matter what community he belongs to, would be entitled to full fledged citizenship, with equal rights, privileges and obligations, that there would no discrimination between one community and another, and that all of them would be citizens and equal citizens of one state. These principles Jinnah had reiterated time and again during the struggle period, though not in the same words.

It is, however, not usually recognized that political equality in general terms (because absolutism was the rule at the time of the advent of Islam) and equality before law in more specific terms are attributes Islam had recognized long before the world discovered them as secular values. They were exemplified in the Misaq-i-Madinah, the pact between the Prophet (PBUH) and Aus and Khazraj, and in his letter to Abul Hairs, Christian priest and the accredited representative of the Christians of Najran, and in the conduct of the Khulfa-i-Rashidun. This covenant, comprising 47 clauses, lays down, inter alia, that the Quraishite Muslim, the Medinites and the Jews of Banu Auf from one community apart from other people, that the Jews shall have their religion and the Muslims their own, that they shall help each other against one who fights with the people of the covenant. Now, how could these disparate tribes characterised by differing religious affiliations from one political community unless their entitlement to equal rights, privileges and obligations are conceded in the first place. A community postulates such entitlement, and it may be conjectured that Jinnah believed that Islam concedes equal citizenship to one and all, without reference to creed, colour or race.

Finally one crucial question. If it is still contended that Jinnah had envisaged a 'secular' state, does one pronouncement prevail over a plethora of pronouncements made before and after the establishment of Pakistan. Does one morsel make a dinner? Does one swallow make a summer? A close study all of Jinnah's pronouncements during 1934-48, and most of his pronouncement during the pre-1934 period, shows that the word, 'secular' (signifying an ideology) does not find a mention in any of them. Even when confronted with the question, he evaded it -- as the following extracts from his 17 July 1947 press conference indicates:

Question: "Will Pakistan be a secular or theocratic state?"

Mr. M.A. Jinnah: "You are asking me a question that is absurd. I do not know what a theocratic state means."

A correspondent suggested that a theocratic State meant a State where only people of a particular religion, for example, Muslims, could be full citizens and Non-Muslims would not be full citizens.

Mr. M.A. Jinnah: "Then it seems to me that what I have already said is like throwing water on duck's back (laughter). When you talk of democracy, I am afraid you have not studied Islam. We learned democracy thirteen centuries ago."

It is well to recall the ideological environment of the period in which the pronouncements we are trying to dissect, analyse and interpret today were made. It was already a bipolar world, smitten by the gathering cold war. The great ideological divide had warped simple and long familiar words such as freedom, liberty, equality, democracy, state, sovereignty, justice, and tyranny with ideological overtones. Hence these concepts had to be qualified to mean what they actually stand for. Hence when Jinnah talks of the concept of a democratic type embodying the essential principles of Islam, he was giving notice that he did not mean the standard Western type or the Soviet brand of people's democracy, but a sort of 'Islamic democracy' which, while retaining the institutional appurtenances of a democratic structure, is congruent with Muslims' ethos, aspirations and code of morality. And, as Mian Iftikharuddin argued, "no one need object to the word 'Islamic.' If we can use the words, 'Roman Law' or the 'British Parliamentary system' and so many other terms without shame or stint, then why not 'Islamic'?"


Jinnah was the most Westernised political leader in all the annals of Indian Islam; no other Muslim political leader could match him in terms of modernity and a modern outlook. He was completely at home with the milieu in cosmopolitan Bombay and metropolitan London. He also married a Parsi girl, so unconventional for a Muslim leader at that time, though after getting her converted to Islam. During his chequered career, Jinnah came in contact with an exceedingly large number of non-Muslim leading personalities and a host of British officials, more than any other Muslim leader and had interacted with them for some four decades -- before he underwent a paradigmatic shift. Jinnah was also a man who minced no words, stood no humbug, and called a spade a spade. He held political rhetoric in high disdain; he preferred political wilderness to playing to the gallery. Such a man could not possibly have gone in for an Islamic orientated discourse unless he felt that the Islamic values he was commending were at home with the values underlying modernity, that Islam was in consonance with progress and modernity. During the debate on Islam and secularism, this is a point that has lain ignored.