Skip to main content

The Father of Pakistan

By Michael Fathers

Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Pakistan's founder and Quaid-i-Azam, or great leader, was the exact opposite of Gandhi. Cosmopolitan, a successful and wealthy barrister, a fastidious dresser, alone and aloof, speaking mostly English, Jinnah dismissed his great rival as "that Hindu revivalist." He was appalled by Gandhi's mass agitation campaigns because they were illegal and unconstitutional, appealed to popular emotion and, in Jinnah's eyes, led only to chaos and division. His personality demanded a cool, cerebral response, working through legal and constitutional channels to bring about an end to British rule.

His icy determination galvanized a community into following him toward his goal, Pakistan. It was the same determination, seen this time as obduracy, that so infuriated Gandhi, Nehru and Louis Mountbatten, Viceroy of India, who eventually accepted the division of Britain's greatest imperial possession into two sovereign countries--Pakistan and India. "Failure is a word unknown to me," Jinnah once commented.


That steely resolve took him from self-imposed and prosperous exile in Britain in 1935 at the age of 58 to leadership of a new country 12 years later. One year after the partition of India and the birth of Pakistan, he was dead from cancer at age 71. He reshaped the Muslim League, a moribund organization of establishment figures, into a personal instrument, a highly politicized and disciplined party machine covering all parts of India's Muslim community. Its sweep of Muslim constituencies in the 1946 election, fought on a campaign of partition, ensured the creation of Pakistan when Britain quit the subcontinent.

Jinnah distrusted Nehru, whom he described as a "busybody." Nehru told Mountbatten that success had come to Jinnah late in life, giving him a "permanently negative attitude." His relationship with Gandhi was formal, but their exchanges were often petulant and facetious. "You have mesmerized the Muslims," Gandhi said to him once during the last years of British rule. To which Jinnah retorted, "You have hypnotized the Hindus."

Jinnah was not always a separatist, but throughout his life he was a passionate defender of the rights of Indian Muslims. After the 1937 elections, when the majority Congress party refused to share power with the Muslim League, Jinnah concluded that under its leadership Muslims would become second-class citizens. From then on the road led only to Pakistan. "Think 100 times before you take a decision," Jinnah said at the Muslim League's historic 1940 Lahore Conference, which came down in favor of partition. "But once that decision is taken, stand by it as one man." He obeyed his own diktat and refused to be deflected by political expediency. There was no force to back him. He created Pakistan out of sheer will and against enormous odds.


Source: TIME 100: AUGUST 23-30, 1999 VOL. 154 NO. 7/8

Popular posts from this blog

Quaid-e-Azam's advice to students

Quaid-e-Azam addressing a group of students 1. My young friends, I look forward to you as the real makers of Pakistan, do not be exploited and do not be misled. Create amongst yourselves complete unity and solidarity. Set an example of what youth can do. Your main occupation should be in fairness to yourself, to your parents, in fairness to the State, to devote your attention to your studies. If you fritter away your energies now, you will always regret. 2. Develop a sound sence of dicipline,Character,Initiative and a solid Academic Background.You must devote yourself whole-heartedly to your studies, for that is your first obligation to yourselves, your parents and to the State.You must learn to obey for only then you can learn to command. (Islamic College, Peshawar - 12th April, 1948) 3. Pakistan is proud of her youth, particularly the students, who are nation builders of tomorrow. They must fully equip themselves by discipline, education, and training for the arduous task l

Mohammad Ali Jinnah & Pakistan [Urdu article]

  ! ملت کا پاسبان محمد علی جنا ح  

Why The Quaid-e-Azam Left Congress

In 1913 the Quaid-i-Azam joined the All India Muslim League without abandoning the membership of the Congress of which he had been an active member for some years. But this membership of the two organizations ended in December 1920. On the occasion of the special session at Nagpur the Congress adopted a new creed which permitted the use of unconstitutional means and decided to resort to non-violent non-co-operation for the attainment of self-government. The new policy and programme in essence envisaged withdrawal of the students from schools and colleges, boycott of law-courts by lawyers and litigants as well as the impending elections to the legislatures under the Government of India act 1919 either as voters or as candidates.1 The new philosophy of the Congress had been shaped almost entirely under the influence of Gandhi who had, by then, emerged as a commanding figure in Congress politics. Although there were many prominent Congressmen such as C.R. Das and Lala Lajpat Rai who did n