Quaid-e-Azam: Father of the nation
Written by English NewsPaper/Dawn/Others   

Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was born on December 25, 1876 at Wazir Mansion, Karachi, and was the first of seven children of Jinnahbhai Poonja, a prosperous merchant. After being taught at home, Jinnah was sent to the Sindh Madrasasah in 1887.

  Later he attended the Mission High School, from where he passed his matriculation examination at the age of 16. On the advice of a British friend, his father decided to send him to England to acquire business experience. Jinnah, however, had made up his mind to become a barrister. In London he joined the Lincoln’s Inn, one of the legal societies that prepare students for the bar. In 1895, at the age of 19, he was called to the bar.
When Jinnah returned to Karachi in 1896, he found that his father’s business had suffered losses and that he now had to depend on himself. He decided to start his legal practice in Bombay, but it took him years of hard work to establish himself as a lawyer.

It was nearly 10 years later that he turned towards active politics. A man without hobbies, his interests were divided between law and politics.

In 1906, Jinnah joined the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress, the party that called for dominion status and later for independence for India. Four years later he was elected to the Imperial Legislative Council — the beginning of a long and distinguished parliamentary career. In Bombay he came to know, among other important Congress personalities, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, the eminent Maratha leader. Greatly influenced by these nationalist politicians, Jinnah aspired during the early part of his political life to become “a Muslim Gokhale.” Admiration for British political institutions and an eagerness to raise the status of India in the international community and to develop a sense of Indian nationhood among the people of India were the chief elements of his politics.

But by the beginning of the 20th century, conviction had been growing among the Muslims that their interests demanded the preservation of their separate identity rather than amalgamation in the Indian nation that would for all practical purposes be Hindu. Largely to safeguard Muslim interests, the All-India Muslim League was founded in 1906. But Jinnah remained aloof from it. Only in 1913, when authoritatively assured that the League was as devoted as the Congress to the political emancipation of India, did Jinnah join the League.

Jinnah’s endeavors to bring about the political union of Hindus and Muslims earned him the title of “the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity,” an epithet coined by Gokhale.

 It was largely through his efforts that the Congress and the Muslim League began to hold their annual sessions jointly, to facilitate mutual consultation and participation. In 1915 the two organizations held their meetings in Bombay and in 1916 in Lucknow, where the Lucknow Pact was finalized.

Jinnah left the League in 1920, and for a few years kept himself aloof from the main political scene. He continued to be a firm believer of Hindu-Muslim unity and constitutional methods for the achievement of political ends. After his withdrawal from the Congress, he used the Muslim League platform for the propagation of his views. But during the 1920s the Muslim League, and with it Jinnah, had been overshadowed by the Congress and the religiously oriented Muslim Khilafat committee. When the failure of the Non-cooperation Movement and the emergence of Hindu revivalist movements led to antagonism and riots between the Hindus and the Muslims, the league gradually began to come into its own.

Soon preparations began for the elections under the Government of India Act of 1935. Jinnah was still thinking in terms of cooperation between the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress and coalition governments in the provinces. But the elections of 1937 proved to be a turning point in the relations between the two organizations. The Congress obtained an absolute majority in six provinces, and the League did not do particularly well. The Congress decided not to include the League in the formation of provincial governments.

Jinnah had originally not given much thought to the practicability of Pakistan, an idea that Sir Mohammad Iqbal had propounded to the Muslim League conference of 1930; but before long he became convinced that a Muslim homeland on the Indian subcontinent was the only way of safeguarding Muslim interests and the Muslim way of life.It was not religious persecution that he feared so much as the future exclusion of Muslims from all prospects of advancement within India as soon as power became vested in the close-knit structure of Hindu social organisation. To guard against this danger he carried on a nation-wide campaign to warn his coreligionists of the perils of their position, and he converted the Muslim League into a powerful instrument for unifying the Muslims into a nation.

At this point, Jinnah emerged as the leader of a renascent Muslim nation. Events began to move fast. On March 22-23, 1940, in Lahore, the League adopted a resolution to form a separate Muslim state, Pakistan. The idea was first ridiculed and then tenaciously opposed by the Congress. But it captured the imagination of the Muslims. Pitted against Jinnah were men of the stature of Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. And the British government seemed to be intent on maintaining the political unity of the subcontinent. But Jinnah led his movement with such skill and tenacity that ultimately both the Congress and the British government had no option but to agree to the partition of India. Pakistan thus emerged as an independent August 14, 1947.

Jinnah became the first head of the new state i.e. Pakistan. He took oath as the first governor general on August 15, 1947. Faced with the serious problems of a young nation, he tackled Pakistan’s problems with authority.

He was not regarded as merely the governor-general, he was revered as the Father of the Nation.

He worked hard until being overpowered by age and disease. He died on September 11, 1948 in Karachi.

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Source : http://www.dawn.com/weekly/yworld/archive/060909/yworld4.htm

By Syeda Mahwish Fatima Naqvi