2. Political Struggle and Achievements
Twentieth Century 1906-1948:
Great Leader Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress in the first two decades of the 20th century. In 1906, Jinnah joined the Indian National Congress, which was the largest Indian political organization. Like most of the Congress members at that time, Jinnah did not favour outright independence, considering British influences on education, law, culture and industry as beneficial to India. Jinnah became a member on the 60-member Imperial Legislative Council that had no real power, and included a large number of un-elected pro-Raj loyalists and Europeans. Jinnah had initially avoided joining the All India Muslim League, founded in 1906, regarding it as too Muslim oriented. However, he decided to provide leadership to the Muslim minority. Eventually, he joined the League in 1913 and became the president at the 1916 session in Lucknow. Jinnah was the architect of the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the League, bringing them together on most issues regarding self-government and presenting a united front to the British. In 1924, Jinnah reorganized the Muslim League, of which he had been president since 1916, and devoted the next 7 years attempting to bring about unity among the disparate ranks of Muslims and to develop a rational formula to effect a Hindu-Muslim settlement, which he considered the precondition for Indian freedom. 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 All-India Muslim League. Jinnah became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League, and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims. He attended several unity conferences, wrote the Delhi Muslim Proposals in 1927, pleaded for the incorporation of the basic Muslim demands in the Nehru report. In 1920, however, Jinnah resigned from the Congress when it agreed to follow a campaign of satyagraha, which he regarded as political anarchy. It was the time when the Congress leader, Mohandas Gandhi, launched a Non-Cooperation Movement against the British, which Jinnah disapproved of. Jinnah criticized Gandhi’s support of the Khilafat Movement, which he saw as an endorsement of religious zealotry. Jinnah quit the Congress, with a prophetic warning that Gandhi’s method of mass struggle would lead to divisions between Hindus and Muslims and within the two communities. Becoming president of the Muslim League, Jinnah was drawn into a conflict between a pro-Congress faction and a pro-British faction. By 1940, Jinnah had come to believe that Indian Muslims should have their own state. In that year, the Muslim League, led by Jinnah, passed the Lahore Resolution, demanding a separate homeland. During the Second World War, the League gained strength while leaders of the Congress were imprisoned, and in the elections held shortly after the war, it won most of the seats reserved for Muslims. Ultimately, the Congress and the Muslim League could not reach a power-sharing formula for a united India, leading all parties to agree to separate independence of a predominantly Hindu India, and for a Muslim-majority state, to be called Pakistan. In 1937, Jinnah further defended his ideology of equality in his speech to the All-India Muslim League in Lucknow where he stated, “Settlement can only be achieved between equals.” He also had a rebuttal to Nehru’s statement which argued that the only two parties that mattered in India were the British Raj and Indian National Congress. Jinnah stated that the Muslim League was the third and “equal partner” within Indian politics. In 1941, Muhammad Ali Jinnah founded Dawn, a major newspaper that helped him propagate the League’s point of views. Jinnah felt that the state of Pakistan should stand upon true Islamic traditions in culture, civilization and national identity rather than on the principles of Islam as a theocratic state. He became president of its constituent assembly. As the first Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah worked to establish the new nation’s government and policies, and to aid the millions of Muslim migrants who had emigrated from the new nation of India to Pakistan after independence, personally supervising the establishment of refugee camps. Jinnah died at age 71 in September 1948, just over a year after Pakistan gained independence from the United Kingdom. A magnificent mausoleum in Karachi was built to honour Jinnah. He left a deep and respected legacy in Pakistan. According to his biographer, Stanley Wolpert, he remains Pakistan’s greatest leader. Without a doubt, Pakistanis view Jinnah as their revered founding father, a man that was dedicated to safeguarding Muslim interests during the dying days of the British Raj. Most of the Pakistanis take Jinnah as hero for their personal lives. • Twenty First Century Year 2007 being the 60th anniversary of Jinnah’s speech of 11 Aug 1947 prompted the Pakistani religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus and Sikhs to hold a large rally to celebrate Jinnah’s legacy at the Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore calling for the implementation of Jinnah’s vision in letter and spirit. L K Advani, Indian politician, visited Pakistan in June 2005. He created a scandal in India, by referring to Jinnah as a great leader and described his speech to the Constituent Assembly as a truly secular charter, worthy of emulation. At Jinnah’s Mausoleum, he wrote:
“There are many people who leave an irreversible stamp on history. But there are few who actually create history. Qaed-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was one such rare individual. In his early years, leading luminary of freedom struggle Sarojini Naidu described Jinnah as an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. His address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August 1947 is really a classic and a forceful espousal of a secular state in which every citizen would be free to follow his own religion. The State shall make no distinction between the citizens on the grounds of faith. My respectful homage to this great man.”
Advani came under intense criticism from his own party, the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has long blamed Jinnah for being solely responsible for India’s partition along communal lines. Ultimately, Advani was forced to quit as party chief, despite vindication from the media. In his Memoirs, the Aga Khan remarks:
“Of all the statesmen that I have known in my life – Clemenceau, 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.”
Jinnah outlined his vision of Pakistan in an address to the Constituent Assembly, delivered on 11 August 1947. He spoke of an inclusive and impartial government, religious freedom, rule of law and equality for all. He opened by saying the Assembly had two tasks: Writing a provisional constitution and governing the country meantime. He continued with a list of urgent problems: Law and order, so life, property and religious beliefs are protected for all, Bribery, Black-marketing, and Nepotism. Next he discussed at length the partition, saying many were dissatisfied with the details but a united India would never have worked. He urged forgiveness of bygone quarrels among Pakistanis, so all can be “. . . first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights . . .”. Pointing out that England in past centuries had settled its fierce sectarian persecutions, he proposed 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.” He concluded by quoting a friendly, official message from the United States. Two articles below will clearly give you an idea about what the great leader thought of, consequently we, the nation under exploitative claws of massive corruption for the last ten years, can compare as to where we are heading to, just after seven decades of independence. Thanks to Mr Hussain H Zaidi and Dr. Amir Butt, published Aug 16, 2009 and Dec 25, 2015 respectively.