Quaid –e- Azam: The Father of the Nation Paying Tribute to a leader with Extraordinary Brilliance

Born on 25th December 1876 Mohammad Ali Jinnah is remembered as one of the greatest leaders in the history of the Indian sub- continent. Jinnah’s father Jinnah bhai Poonja a young merchant moved to Karachi with his wife MithiBai and rented an apartment in a three storyed building namely Wazir Mansion. Jinnah was the eldest of the seven children of Jinnah bhai and Mithibai Poonja but was rather physically weak during his infancy. Jinnah began school at the age of 6 as his father enrolled him at Sindh Madrasatual- Islam. Some historic evidence suggests that Jinnah’s father wanted him to study arithmetic owing to its usefulness in business. However the young boy liked playing out door games with friends. In 1887 Jinnah moved to Bombay with his father’s only sister and started attending Gokal Das Tej primary school. It was Jinnah’s aunt who insisted that the young boy be sent to the Metropolitan Bombay city for better education. However after spending six months in Bombay with his Aunt Jinnah finally returned to Karachi and was once again enrolled in Sindh Madrasatual- Islam. Young Jinnah spent most of his time riding his father’s horses therefore he seldom attended his classes ,resultantly his name was struck off. Later he joined the Christian Missionary Society High School Karachi where he passed the matriculation exam of the University of Bombay at the age of sixteen. Jinnah during his adolescent years was very much inspired by William Shakespeare therefore at one point in time he wanted to be an actor.

Jinnah was offered apprenticeship by Sir Fredrick Leigh Croft in his office in London for his extraordinary brilliance. Sir Fredrick was the general manger of the Douglas Graham and company which was associated with Jinnahbhai Poonja’s firm. Jinnah moved to London in 1893 and started working at “Graham’s office.” He was initially upset because of the cold weather and later recalled “I did not know a soul and the fogs and winter in London upset me a great deal.” He abode in a room in a “three storyed house at 35 Russell Road in Kensington.” His father had deposited enough money in a British bank to meet Jinnah’s needs during his three years stay in London. Soon Jinnah became the youngest Indian to have graduated from the prestigious Lincoln’s Inn.

On his return from London he began his legal practice in Bombay and soon emerged as one of the leading lawyers of his time. Mr. Jinnah initially joined the Indian National Congress which promoted the Idea of autonomy from British rule. Jinnah joined the Muslim League as a member in 1913 as it promoted the interests of Indian Muslims and in 1916 he was elected as the League’s president. Mr. Jinnah resigned from the Indian National Congress in 1920 after the launch of its policy on “boycotting all aspects of British rule.” Mr. Jinnah married Miss Ruttie who hailed from a wealthy Parsi family at Jamia Mosque in Bombay in 1918. They both were blessed with a daughter Dina on 15th August 1919.

Mr. Jinnah was an extremely well off lawyer he had three houses one in London and the other two in Bombay and Delhi. His houses depicted his sense of décor and finest furniture. In London his English staff would take care of his house and his English driver drove his Bentley through the streets of London. Mr. Jinnah was an extremely well-dressed and stylish man he was never known to wear a neck tie for the second time. As stated in various writings on Jinnah he had a vast collection of 200 tailored suits in his closet.

Jinnah was a supporter of Hindu Muslim unity never the less he wanted the Indian Muslims to get equal rights. Jinnah said ‘The Mohammedan community should be treated in the same way as the Hindu community.’ There came a time when despite all his efforts to bring the Hindus and Muslims closer Jinnah was rather disappointed with the Hindu mindset. Resultantly he decided to move to London and settled there. Allama Mohammad Iqbal during his 1932 visit to London for the Round Table Conference convinced Jinnah to return to India and endorse the Indian struggle for freedom. Under Jinnah’s tremendous leadership the Indian Muslims united even those living in Muslim minority provinces such as Bombay, UP, CP and Madras also supported the Pakistan movement. Mr. Jinnah was given the title Quaid- e- Azam by Maulana Mazharudin Shaheed in 1938. In 1940 the first ever official demand for a separate homeland for Muslims was made at a Muslim League session in Lahore. On 14th August 1947 Pakistan emerged as an independent nation due to Quaid e Azam’s untiring negotiations with the British and his political prudence. Jinnah throughout the Pakistan movement claimed that religious freedom would be the cornerstone of the future state of Pakistan. Quaid e Azam in his speech said “You are free, you are free to go to your temples, and you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion cast or creed- that has nothing to do with the business of the State.” Authors of the Book Freedom at Mid Night suggest that Pakistan could not have been created had the British known the fact that Jinnah had Tuberculosis.

Furthermore he was warned by the doctors to reduce his work load as his failing physical strength would permit him to live for only a few years. However, Quaid –e- Azam by setting aside every obstacle including his ill health fulfilled his mission of creating Pakistan. Sadly Quaid –e-Azam passed away on 11th September 1948 as the first Governor General of Pakistan. A separate home land for the Muslims of India could have come into existence without the untiring leadership and political struggle of Quaid- e Azam. He shall always be remembered as the father of the nation.

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