Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah
A visionary Leader of South Asia
Our great leader and national hero, known as “Quaid-i-Azam,” the Founder of Pakistan, lives not only in the memory of all Pakistanis but also in their hearts and souls. In fact, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had become, in his own life time, the symbol of Muslim unity and centre of hopes of the Muslim nation during 20th century. He received utmost love and respect of the Muslim nation throughout his life. His unblemished character and complete faith in the righteousness of the cause made the creation of the largest Muslim state in the South Asian Sub-continent on 14th August 1947 possible.
In the modern history of Sub-continent, some ninety-five million Muslims who were living here since hundreds of years ago achieved independence in 1947 as a result of their relentless efforts and sacrifices under the fabulous leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a model leader who had hatred for violence and anti-constitutional measures as a means to achieve political objectives. His large number of speeches, statements and sayings, which he delivered on different occasions from time to time, are pearls of wisdom as these set out his views and thoughts not only on the Muslims of South Asia but also for the entire Muslim Umma. At the time of partition some ninety-five million Muslims lived in the Subcontinent, about eighty million in British India and the remaining in the princely States. History reveals that Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah proved himself the sole spokesman of the millions of Muslims living not only in Subcontinent but also in other parts of the world.
While much has been written on the political achievements of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah towards Pakistan but his contribution for the independence and freedom of other Muslim countries of the world remain unrecognized.
It is very rightly acknowledged that Quaid-i-Azam was a universally recognized leader of the 20th century and, in this context, the geographical boundaries did not stop him from making persuasive efforts for needy and deserving people. He started taking interest in politics and made his debut in 1906 when he attended Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress. During his entire political life, Quaid-i-Azam not only led the Muslims of India in their struggle for independence but also advocated the cause for the Muslims strongly and eloquently. He was fully aware and conscious of the problems faced by the Muslims living in the countries such as Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iraq, Egypt, etc. On the Palestine problem, the All India Muslim League clearly declared it as a problem of the Muslims of the whole world. The League in its session, held in December 1938 declared that:
“This session of the All India Muslim League warns the British government that if they persist in trying to give practical shape to the idea prevalent among certain sections of the British and Americans that Palestine be made the national home of the Jews, it will lead to a state of perpetual unrest and conflict.”
The All India Muslim League continued to express its increasing apprehension about the Palestine question in the following years. Then, again in October 1945, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said that over half a million Jews had already been accommodated in Jerusalem against the wishes of the people. The valuable efforts of Quaid-i-Azam were fully recognized by the Muslim nations and a number of Muslim leaders as well.
On another occasion, Quaid-i-Azam, while delivering presidential address to the Sindh Muslim League conference, held at Karachi, clearly said:
“With regard to the tragedy of Palestine that is going on at present and the ruthless repression that is practiced against the Arabs because of their struggle for the freedom of their country, I need hardly tell you that we had most convincing proofs demonstrated all over India….”
Quaid-i-Azam visited Cairo on 22nd of December 1945 to exchange views with the world leaders. Later on, the President of the Muslim Brotherhood, in his letter of May 29, 1947, wrote to Quaid-i-Azam in the following notable words:
“We have taken the occasion of the meeting of the conference as an opportunity to enable our representative who is one of the most loyal and true Muslim Egyptians to enter India, and to express not only in writing but also verbally the sincere sentiments of Egypt towards the blessed Pakistan movement.”
When the Netherlands forces landed in Indonesia, the All India Muslim League, in a resolution, expressed its solidarity with the people of Indonesia “for their struggle for freedom against heavy odds” and assured them of the “sincerest sympathy and support of the Muslim nation of India for their just and patriotic causes.”
The cordial relations between the people of Indian Muslims and Indonesian Muslims find their reflection from the letter of the President of Indonesia which he wrote to Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, on 15th of March 1947. In this letter, the foundation of liberal relations was laid down between Pakistan and Indonesia.
In reply to Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s appeal for contributions for the relief of the helpless people of Bengal and Bihar tragedies, the Indian Muslims of Zahidan (Iran) collected a sum of Rs 10,000/- and sent to the Relief Fund. The Quaid-i-Azam replied promptly on April 2, 1947, by thanking the voluntary contribution made by the Iranian Muslims and expressing desire that in future we shall work together and establish closer and closer relationships.
The relations between the Muslims living in India and Saudi Arabia were made during the early period of Islam. The relations strengthen more in the later period especially during the movement of independence of Pakistan. When Pakistan was created on 14th of August 1947, on the world political map as a new Muslim sovereign state, profound greeting messages were received by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah from King Abdul Aziz Ibne Saud. Quaid-i-Azam responded with equal spirit in these words to King of Saudi Arabia through a telegram:
“Extremely grateful to your good wishes and greetings to Muslims of India on a historical occasion of establishment of Pakistan. I joint you in your prayer that the Almighty may guide our steps in the cause of peace and help us to cement bonds of Muslim brotherhood and we may stand on solid rock of Islam.”
During 1945, the people of Syria as well as of other Muslim countries were struggling hard against the European invasions. Quaid-i-Azam was fully aware of thee movements and delivered a statement on this issue in the following words:
“On behalf of the Musalmans (Muslims) of India, I whole-heartedly and deeply sympathesise with the people of Syria and Lebanon and those who have fallen and have suffered for their nation, and, I hope the Arab League, which meets on 4th of June, will accord their complete and whole-hearted support to Syria and Lebanon and resist any attempt or terms that may be suggested by France or anybody else which are calculated to be detrimental to the sovereignty or the interest of these two states, and that they would resist any such attempt at all cost.”
Similarly, the Muslims living in Subcontinent had a great affection for the people of Turkey. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, while speaking on the occasion of 8th session of the League at Bombay in 1915, said:
“There are four hundred million Muslims in the world bound together in brotherhood; their feelings and sentiments should not be ignored in any settlement which may be arrived at.”
During the year 1919, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland. This representation was on behalf of the Muslims and it dealt with the question of Khilafat in detail. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had great regard for Kemal Ataturk and was deeply shocked at his death. Quaid-i-Azam requested all the provincial, districts and primary branches of Muslim League all over India to observe Friday, the 18th of November, as ‘Kemal Day’, to express deepest feelings of sorrow and grief of the Muslims of India.
Suffice is to say that Quaid-i-Azam played a massive and important role towards the solidarity of Muslim brethren of the world. His contribution towards the freedom of Muslim countries is worthy of mention as he advocated the causes of Muslims very strongly and eloquently.
The Lahore Resolution of 23rd March 1940, which was later known as the Pakistan Resolution, was a result of the total disillusionment of the Muslims with the mortal constitutional experiments tried in the Subcontinent over a period of many years. The idea of partitioning India reached its final destination in historic resolution passed on 24th of March 1940, at Lahore under the superb leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. During his presidential address, the Quaid explained the background of the demand of a free homeland for the Muslims. He further said that the nature of the Hindu-Muslim problem in India was not inter-communal but an international one. The coming seven years led to the partition of India and emergence of Pakistan under the perceptive leadership of Jinnah.
Quaid-i-Azam was a great protagonist of democracy and social justice. His faith in democratic dispensation in a Muslim society was unfettered and unshakable. For him, democracy carried two shapes in the subcontinent. The first shape was the internal administration of the country which should be in the hands of Indians and Muslims. The second shape of democracy, according to him, was that the British being themselves the founders of parliamentary democracy should allow free criticism of their policies. He was not in favour of violence on political issues or other matters. He always condemned violence and urged upon his followers, especially young students, to remain within the limits of law when agitating their political rights. The incidents occurred in Calcutta during ‘Direct Action Day’ caused a lot of pain to the Quaid-i-Azam and he condemned these with all the force at his command.
Today, instead of just observing the Quaid’s birthday just as an anniversary, we should study the life, character and the golden principles of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah which we have forgotten. We all, as a nation, should remember that the best mark of respect and homage that we can pay to the soul of Quaid-i-Azam is to build Pakistan into a great and prosperous Muslim state as per his dreams and philosophy.
The writer is a Lahore-based legal consultant.