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Q.4. Access the role of Quaid-e-Azam in the achievement of Pakistan.


The services and dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in the Pakistan Movement need no introduction. In this movement, the personality of Quaid-e-Azam and his immense struggle made the tough pall of the foundation of Pakistan easy and finally, the Muslims of India were successful in reading their destination for which they underwent a long journey under the Quaid.

Beginning of Political Career

If Jinnah’s stay in London was the sowing time, the first decade in Bombay, after return from England, was the germination session, the next decade (1906-1916) marked the vintage stage; it could also be called a period of idealism, as Jinnah was a romanticist both in personal and political life. Jinnah came out of his shell, political limelight shone on him; he was budding as a lawyer and flowering as a political personality. A political child during the first decade of the century, Jinnah had become a political giant before Gandhi returned to India from South Africa.
(Aziz Baig: Jinnah and his Times)

Once he was firmly established in the legal profession, Jinnah formally entered politics in 1905 from from the platform of the Indian National Congress. He went to England in that year along with Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915), as a member of a Congress delegation to plead the cause of India Self-government during the British elections. A year later, he served as Secretary of Dadabhai Noaroji (1825-1917), the then Indian National Congress President, which was considered a great honour for a budding politician. Here, at the Calcutta Congress session (December 1906), he also made his first political speech in support of the resolution on self-government.

Member of Imperial Legislative Council (1910)

Three years later, in January 1910 Jinnah was elected to the newly-constituted Imperial Legislative Council. All through his parliamentary career, which spanned some four decades, he was probably the most powerful voice in the cause of Indian freedom and Indian rights, who was also the first Indian to pilot a private member’s Bill through the Council, soon became a leader of a group inside the legistature.
Mr. Montagu (1879-1924), Secretary of State for India, at the close of the First World War, considered Jinnah

Perfect mannered, impressive-looking, armed to the teeth with dialecties…

Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity

For about three decades since his entry into politics in 1906, Jinnah passionately believed in and assiduously worked for Hindu-Muslim unity. Gokhale, the foremost Hindu leader before Gandhi, had once said of him,

He has the true stuff and that freedom from all sectarian prejudice which will make him the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. And, to be sure, he did become the architect of Hindu-Muslim Unity, he was responsible for the Congress-League Pact of 1916, known popularly as Lucknow Pact- the only pact ever signed between the two political organisations, the Congress and the All-India Muslim League, representing, as they did, the two major communities in the subcontinent.

The Congress-League scheme embodied in this pact was to become the basis for the Montagu-Chemlsford Reforms, also known as the Act of 1919. In retrospect, the Lucknow Pact represented a milestone in the evolution of Indian politics. For one thing, it conceded Muslims the right to separate electorate, reservation of seats in the legislatures and weightage in representation both at the Centre and the minority provinces. Thus, their retention was ensured in the next phase of reforms.

For another, it represented a tacit recognition of the All-India Muslim League as the representative organisation of the Muslims, thus strengthening the trend towards Muslim individuality in Indian politics. And to Jinnah goes the credit for all this. Thus, by 1917, Jinnah came to be recognised among both Hindus and Muslims as one of India’s most outstanding political leaders. Not only was he prominent in the Congress and the Imperial Legislative Council, he was also the President of the All-India Muslim League and that of the Bombay Branch of the Home Rule League. More important, because of his key-role in the Congress-League entente at Lucknow, he was hailed as the ambassador, as well as the embodiment, of Hindu-Muslim unity.

Jinnah’s Differences with the Congress

Mohammad Ali Jinnah differed with Gandhi on the means of achieving self-rule. The League session reassembled at Lahore under Jinnah’s presidency and was attended by a number of Congressmen and leaders of the Khilafat Movement. The Quaid, despite his differences with Mahatma Gandhi and the Khilafatists, still enjoyed the trust and admiration of the Muslims of Bombay which can be seen from the fact that he won the Bombay Muslim seat for the Legislative Assembly that he had resigned in protest against the Rowlatt Act.

Delhi Proposals (1927)

However, because of the deep distrust between the two communities as evidenced by the country-wide communal riots, and because the Hindus failed to meet the genuine demands of the Muslims, his efforts came to naught. One such effort was the formulation of the Delhi Muslim Proposals in March, 1927. In order to bridge Hindu-Muslim differences on the constitutional plan, these proposals even waived the Muslims right to separate electorate, the most basic Muslim demand since 1906, which though recognised by the congress in the Lucknow Pact, had again become a source of friction between the two communities.

Quaid’s Fourteen Points (1929)

In 1928, Pundit Moti Lal Nehru presented a report which turned down all the Muslims demand. On the reply of Nehru report, Mohammad Ali Jinnah presented his famous fourteen points on March 28, 1929 to the Muslim League Council at their Session in Delhi. Since all the Muslims opposed the Nehru Report, these points were to counter the proposals made in the Nehru Report. This was the certainly the right answer to the Nehru report. The points were to recommend the reforms that would defend the rights of the Muslims of the sub-continent.

Reorganizatoin of Muslim League

Jinnah’s disillusionment at the course of politics in the subcontinent prompted him to migrate and settle down in London in the early thirties. While in England, the Quaid had been watching the events that were happening in India and was saddened to see how Muslim interests were being sacrificed by the chaotic situation within the Muslim League. The Muslim League was in the hands of rich, landlords or some middle class intellectuals with limited horizons, while the All India Congress was emerging as the leading party for Indian Independence. He was, however, to return to India in December 1933, at the pleadings of his co-religionists, and assume their leadership.

Jinnah realized that organizing the Muslims of India into one powerful and dynamic organization was badly needed. He performed two important tasks after his return from England, the first was to unite and activate the Muslim League as the sole representative body of the Muslims of India. The second was to continue the struggle for freedom of India on constitutional lines.

Undismayed by this bleak situation, Jinnah devoted himself with singleness of purpose to organizing the Muslims on one platforms. He embarked upon country-wide tours. He pleaded with provincial Muslim leaders to sink their differences and make common cause with the League. He exhorted the Muslim masses to organize themselves and joined the League He gave coherence and direction to Muslim sentiments on the Government of India Act, 1935. He also formulated a viable League manifesto for the election scheduled for early 1937. He was, it seemed, struggling against time to make Muslim India a power to be reckoned with. Despite all the manifold adds stacked against it, the Muslim League won 108 (about 22 percent) seats out of a total of 492 Muslim seats int the various legislatures. Though not very impressive in itself, the League’s partial success assumed added significance in view of the fact that the League won the largest number of Muslims and that it was the only All-India party of the Muslims in the country. Thus, the elections represented the first milestone on the long road to putting Muslim India on the map of the subcontinent.

Lacknow Session 1937

Jinnah utilized all his energies on revitalizing the League. With the assistance of the Raja of Mahmudabad, a dedicated adherent of the Muslim League, the Lucknow Session was a grand demonstration of the will of the Muslims of India to stand up to the Congress challenge. It was the Lucknow Session that Jinnah persuaded Sir Sikander Hayat Khan to join the Muslim League along with his Muslim colleagues. That development later became famous as the Jinnah-Sikander Pact.

This Session marked a dramatic change not only in the League’s platform and political position, but also in Jinnah’s personal commitment and final goal. He changed his attire, shedding the Seville Row suit in which he had arrived for a black Punjabi sherwani long coat. It was for the first time he put on the compact cap, which would soon be known throughout the world as Jinnah Cap. Ti was at that session that the title of Quaid-e-Azam (the great leader) was used for Jinnah and which soon gained such currency and popularity that it almost became a substitute for his name.

The great success was achieved the organization front of the Muslim League. Within three months of the Lucknow session over 170 new branches of the League had been formed, 90 of them in the United Provinces, and it claimed to have enlisted 1,00,000 new members in the province alone.

Day of Deliverance (22nd December, 1939)

The Second World War broke out in 1939 and the British Government was anxious to win the favor and co-operation of the major political parties and leaders in their war effort. The Viceroy made a declaration in October assuring the people of India that after the war, the constitutional problems of India would be re-examined and modifications made in the Act of 1935, according to the opinion of India Parties. The Congress reacted to that drastically, condemned the Viceroy’s policy statement and called upon the Congress ministries to resign by October 31, 1939. On the resignation of the Congress ministries, the Muslim League appealed to the Muslims and other minorities to observe December 22, 1939 as the Day of Deliverance.

Demand for Pakistan (23rd March, 1940)

Quaid-e-Azam said in the ever eloquent words,

We are a nation with our own 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 calender, history and tradition, aptitudes and ambitions, in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life. By all canons of international law, we are a nation.

The formulation of the Muslim demand for Pakistan in 1940 had a tremendous impact on the nature and course of Indian politics. On the one hand, it shattered for ever the Hindu dreams of a pseudo-Indian, in fact, Hindu Empire exit from India: on the other, it heralded an era of Islamic renaissance and creativity in which the Indian Muslims were to be active participitants. The Hindu reaction was quick, bitter and malicious.

Cripps Scheme (1942)

Sir Stafford Cripps was sent by the British Government to India in March 1942, to discuss with Indian leaders, the future Indian Constitution. His proposal was rejected by both the Congress and the League. The Congress characterized them as a post-dated cheque on a failing bank. Jinnah in his presidential address to the Allahabad session of the League, analyzed the Cripps proposals and expressed the disappointment that if these were accepted Muslims could become a minority in their majority provinces as well.

Divide and Quit (1942)

The failure of the Cripps Mission, though unfortunate in many ways, resulted in strenghtening of the Muslim League case of Pakistan.The Congress decided to launch its final assault on British imperialism in the movement that came to be known as the Quit India movement. Gandhi called upon the people to take initiative and to do or die in a last struggle for freedom, throwing of the initial pretences of non-violence. He did not consult the Muslim League or any other party and went ahead with his plans in the hope that the momentum of the mass movement would take violent forms and would involve all parties and sections of the people of India. To the Congress slogan of Quit India, the Quaid’s answer was Divide and Quit which meant Muslims do not only want freedom from British but also from Hindu Raj.

Jinnah – Gandhi Talks (1944)

The two leaders also differed with regard to the boundaries of Pakistan and how the issue of whether India should be divided at all, was to be determined. Gandhi was adamant on the question of partition and although he appeared to be conceding the possibility of partition he did everything he could to persuade the Quaid to give up his demand of the establishment of two sovereign states.

The British had been watching with anxiety the progress of the Jinnah-Gandhi talks and were making plans to meet the situation if the Congress and the League arrived at an agreement. The failure of these talks spurred the Viceroy to make renewed efforts to break the political deadlock in India.

Though the Gandhi-Jinnah negotiations failed to achieve the avowed goal of the Hindu-Muslim unity, they brought to Jinnah and the Muslim League two important political gains. Firstly, the leadership of the Congress had now offered to discuss the questions of Pakistan seriously — before that, the Congress and Mahatama had kept the door to that subject uncompromisingly shut. Secondly, the Congress could no longer justifiably claim that it stood for all the communities in India including the Muslims. Louis Feisher wrote

The wall between Jinnah and Gandhi was the Two Nation Theory.

Simla Conference (1945)

As per the provisions of the Wavell Plan, the Executive Council would be reorganized and Hindus and Muslims would equally represent in the Viceroy’s Executive Council and the Council would work as Interim Government till the end of war. Lord Wavell called a conference at Simla in June 1945 to give a practical shape to this plan. The Quaid-e-Azam insisted that the right to appoint five Muslim members in the Executive Council should entirely rest with the Muslim League. The was not acceptable to the Congress as the Congress claimed to represent both the Hindus and Muslims. The conference failed to achieve any purpose due to one-sided attitude of Lord Wavell. In this conference, Quaid-e-Azam made it crystal clear that only the Muslim League can represent Muslims of India.

General Elections (1945-46)

Elections for the central and provincial assemblies were held in 1945-46. Muslim League managed to win all the 30 seats reserved for the Muslims in central legislative and 427 seats out of 495 Muslim seats in the provincial legislative. Election results were enough to prove that Muslim League, under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam, was the sole representative of the Muslims of the region. Quaid-e-Azam said on this occasion

I have no doubt now in the achievement of Pakistan. The Muslims of India told the world what they want. No power of world can topple the opinion of 10 crore Muslims of India.

Delhi Convention (1946)

On 19th April 1946, soon after the elections, Jinnah called a convention at Delhi of all the newly elected League members in the central and the provincial legislatures. In this convention the word States of 1940’s Lahore Resolutoin is transformed into the word State and the legislators signed pledges solemnly declaring their firm conviction that the safety, security, salvation and destiny of the Muslims lay only in the achievement of Pakistan.

Cabinet Mission Plan (1946)

The most delicate as well as the most tortuous negotiations began with the arrival, in March 1946, of a three-member British Cabinet Mission. The crucial task with which the Cabinet Mission was entrusted was that of devising in consultation with the various political parties, constitution-making machinery, and of setting up a popular interim government. But, because the Congress-League gulf could not be bridged, despite the Mission’s prolonged efforts, the Mission had to make its own proposals in May 1946.

The Muslim League accepted the plan on June 6, 1946. The Congress accepted the plan on June 25, 1946, though it rejected the interim setup. The Viceroy should now have invited the Muslim League to form Government as it had accepted the interim setup; but he did not do so because he did not want to make Congress angry. So in this situation Cabinet Mission went back to England on June 29 without deciding anything.

Direct Action Day (16th August, 1946)

The Council of the All-India Muslim League met in Bombay and on July 27, 1946 it finally sealed its rejection of the Cabinet Mission Plan, and decided to launch its famous Direct Action for the achievement of Pakistan, which it could not achieve by peaceful means due to the intransigence of Congress on the one hand and the breach of faith with the Muslim by the British Government on the other. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said

Never have we in the whole history of the League done anything except by constitutional methods. But now we are forced into this position. Today we bid good-bye to constitutional methods. Today we have forged a pistol and are in a position to use it. We mean every word of it. We do not believe in equivocation.

Direct Action Day was celebrated on 16th August 1946. There was a strike in all over the country that they. Direct Action Day was observed peacefully throughout India, except in Calcutta, where riots broke out.

Partition Day (1947)

By the close of 1946, the communal riots had flared up to murderous heights, engulfing almost the entire subcontinent. The two people, it seemed, were engaged in a fight to the finish. The time for a peaceful transfer of power was fast running out. Realizing the gravity of the situation. His Majesty’s Government sent down to India a new Viceroy Lord Mountbatten. His protracted negotiations with the various political leaders resulted in 3 June (1947) Plan by which the British decided to partition the subcontinent, and hand over power to two successor States on 15 August, 1947. The plan was duly accepted by the three Indian Parties to the dispute the Congress, the League and the Akali dal (representing the Sikhs). However Pakistan became constitionally independent at midnight between 14th and 15th August 1947.

Leader of a Free Nation

In recognition of his singular contribution, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was nominated by the Muslim League as the Governor-General of Pakistan, while the Congress appointed Mountbatten as India’s first Governor-General. Pakistan, it has been truly said, was born in virtual chaos.

The problems which the Quaid-e-Azam had to face as Governor General of Pakistan were not only due to the happenings in East Punjab, and to provide shelter for the millions of refugees. What immensely increased the difficulties of the new state was the fact that it had yet to organize itself.

Death of the Great Leader

It was due to immense hard word for the Muslims that his health failed. The great leader breathed his last on 11th September 1948 and was buried in Karachi. His demise was mourned not only by Pakistan but by the whole world.
It was, however, given to Surat Chandra Bose, leader of the Forward Bloc wing of the Indian National Congress, said on his death in 1948.

Mr. Jinnah was great as a lawyer, once great as a Congressman, great as a leader of Muslims, great as a world politician and diplomat, and greatest of all as a man of action, By Mr. Jinnah’s passing away, the world has lost one of the greatest statemen and Pakistan its life-giver, philosopher and guide.

Such was Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the man and his mission, such the range of his accomplishments and achievements.

Fahim Patel

By Fahim Patel

Fahim Patel is the Content Manager of guesspapers.net. A graduate from Karachi University, he has intensive experience in content production.