Bahri Karam Khan
For Muslims of South Asia, M.A. Jinnah achieved a separate and sovereign state out of the yoke what otherwise would have been Akhund Bharat __ an extremely difficult task that could be accomplished by none other than him. For that reason, he is great leader or ‘Quaid-i-Azam’ for dwellers of this land of pures.
Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, his critics may say, had aristocratic outlook and manners. He spoke English, wore English dress and chose a non-Muslim girl as his better half ___ worth noting she had embraced Islam. But, why should we concern with these things? And, to be more frank, we shouldn’t even germane with his being a lawyer as profession. What actually matters for us is his dynamic and unprecedented leadership that saved us from facing the conditions exactly what Muslims in India are facing today at the hands of Hindu zealots of the hardcore organisations like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Shiv Sina with active support of the present ruling elite that has, beneath the visor of secularism, the traditional Hindu mindset or ‘Hindu chauvinism’.
Jinnah stepped in Indian politics by joining Congress. His political career spread over a long span of four decades. However, it was indeed his last decade’s stormed politics reflecting courage, wisdom, far sight, wit, sincerity and even more that caused him to emerge as the most outstanding personality and unchallenged leader of the Muslims. Because of these qualities, he awakened the Muslims of subcontinent from deep slumber and gathered them on one platform to strive for a separate abode.
But the task was not easy to be accomplished because none of the two major powers in India __ the Hindus and British colonial rulers __ were ready to let India divided on religious or ethnic basis. Prior to this, all such efforts had proved mere cries in the wilderness. Eminently, Hakeem-ul-Ummat Allama Mohammad Iqbal, through historic ‘Khutba-e-Allahabad’ he delivered while presiding over annual session of All India Muslim League in 1930, proposed establishment of independent Muslim state in Muslim majority areas. Then, in 1933, Chaudhri Rehmat Ali, a Cambridge student invented name ‘Pakistan’ for the state so proposed by Allama. The proposal however didn’t go beyond the status of a dream. And, for the same reason, Allama is regarded as ‘dreamer of Pakistan’. It even failed to inspire the Muslims themselves as the result of 1937’s elections envisaged that reflected defeat of the Muslim League even in the Muslim majority provinces.
True, the 1937’s election caused Muslim League to face humiliation but, in fact, it proved as blessing in the disguise for the Muslims. By then, M.A. Jinnah was stern supporter of the Hindu-Muslim Unity. According to a British writer “if Mr. Jinnah had died in 1937, he would have been recognised as one of the greatest Indian nationalist”. However, during the Congress ministries formed consequent to its victory in the elections, the Congress exhibited extremely hostile attitude towards the Muslims. It was at this stage that Jinnah changed his mind and got convinced that a Muslim state in the subcontinent was expedient. “Between 1937 and 1940, there occurred a remarkable change for not only did Jinnah reversed his whole life’s work of Hindu-Muslim unity, but for the first time, at the age of 60, he became a popular figure ‘the Quaid-i-Azam’ __ Great Leader” says Richard Simon in his book ‘The Making of Pakistan’.
The sudden change in Quaid’s mind abruptly changed the political scenario in India. He reorganised the League and, consequently, it gained popularity with every passing day. Jinnah had now become apple of the eyes for the Muslims. That’s why, on the eve of 27th annual session of All India Muslim League at Minto Park, Lahore under his chair on March 23, 1940 __ merely after three years of the Leagues’ defeat in the elections __ the mammoth ever crowd of Muslims gathered to see and listen to their beloved leader. On this occasion, the historic ‘Pakistan Resolution’ was passed which is termed as a milestone in the struggle for Muslims’ independence.
The clarion call of Quaid for Pakistan Movement in the shape of ‘Pakistan Resolution’ gained massive support. Muslims of all walks of life responded to it and joined their voice with that of Quaid for achieving a separate Muslim state. Apparently, it was Quaid’s wisdom and high spirit of leadership that united the scattered Muslims on this single point agenda. Ultimately, both the Congress leadership and British government bowed before their demand and, on August 14, 1947, the largest Muslim state of Pakistan emerged on the global map.
The nuts and bolts what Iqbal had determined for ‘Meer-i-Caravan’ embodied in Quaid. Like Iqbal’s ‘Uqqab’, he saw his destination far in the sky and to achieve the same flew very high. Quaid-i-Azam thus converted the impossible into possible only with the courage and fighting spirit he was endowed with, sense of devotion and dedication he embodied, highest calibre of polity he displayed and the unique leadership he provided to the Muslims. None of his contemporary leaders possessed such qualities. Truly speaking, had Quaid-i-Azam’s leadership not been available to Muslims, the creation of Pakistan would have been a mad man’s dream.
The Quaid’s personality can be looked into another perspective as well. In the pre-independence Indian political arena, there existed two main freedom fighters __ Mahatma Gandhi and Jinnah. Gandhi Jee’s fighting was against division of India on religious basis or, in plain words, he sternly opposed to creation of Pakistan. Jinnah, on the other hand, struggled for making of Pakistan. Apparently, ones success meant the other’s failure and Quaid’s achievement of his goal was Gandhi Jee’s defeat. Thus, it is abundantly clear that Quaid’s polity dominated over Gandhi Jee’s.
—The writer, retired officer of Provincial Management Service, researcher is freelance columnist based in Swat.