Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the voice of one hundred million Muslims, fought for their religious, social and economic freedom. Throughout history no single man yielded as much power as the Quaid-e-Azam, and yet remained uncorrupted by that power. Not many men in history can boast of creating a nation single handedly and altering the map of the world but Jinnah did so and thus became a legend.
"Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.", Stanley Wolpert
In the words of John Biggs-Davison, " Although without Ghandi, Hindustan would still have gained independence and without Lenin and Mao, Russia and China would still have endured Communist revolution, without Jinnah there would have been no Pakistan in 1947."
Lord Mountbatten had enormous confidence in his persuasive powers. But as far as Jinnah was concerned, he felt that though he tried every trick, he could not shake Jinnah’s resolve to have partition. Mountbatten said that Jinnah had a " consuming determination to realize the dream of Pakistan." And he remained focused on that till his death.
Lord Lothian had said that though Jinnah’s scheme of partition was good, it would take at least 25 years to take shape. But great wars and great men shorten history, and Jinnah was such a man who could alter the history of a nation.
The lessons he taught his countrymen were worth remembering for the life time, especially the lesson of equality. Always a worker for Hindu Muslim unity, he served a political apprenticeship in the Congress. He said: "Whatever you may be, and whatever you are, you are a Muslim , you have carved out a territory, a vast territory . It is all yours. It does not belong to a Punjabi or a Sindhi or a Pathan. There is white too in the lovely flag of Pakistan. The white signifies the non- Muslim minorities."
An upright man who always kept his word, he thought well before he spoke. If he made a promise he made sure he kept his word. In his last days when he was suffering from extreme illness, he went to the meetings and dinners he was invited to and made it to the inauguration of the State Bank of Pakistan because he had promised he would be there. He advised, " if ever you make a promise, think a hundred times, but once you make a promise, honor your promise."
Quttabuddin Aziz remarks that Muslim India was beset by socio-economic frustration. At such a time Jinnah guided a virtually rudderless Muslim League. Aziz refers to Jinnah as the greatest Muslim leader of the 20th century who was able to turn a dream state of Pakistan into a reality.
Saleem Qureshi refers to him as a messiah in the restricted sense, that he revived the spirit of nationhood among the Muslims of India and secured a homeland for them. He wanted partition to be a peaceful one because he believed in non-violence and practiced and preached it.
Director, Center of South Asian Studies, Gordon Johnson said rightly of Jinnah: "He set a great example to other statesmen to follow by his skill in negotiation, his integrity and his honesty."
In March 1940 after laborious attempts at Hindu-Muslim unity failed, Jinnah proposed the idea of an independent nation for the Muslims of India in areas where Muslims were numerically in majority. He was then given the title of Quaid-e-Azam (supreme leader) by the Muslims of India. Yet Jinnah was more than Quaid-e-Azam for the people who followed him and more than the architect of the Islamic nation he called into being. He commanded their imagination and their confidence. He was not bogged down by the daunting task of creating a home for Muslims in which they would be able to live in the glory of Islam. Few statesmen have shaped events to their policy more surely than Jinnah. He was a legend even in his lifetime.
Pakistan became constitutionally independent at midnight between the 14th and 15th August 1947. The Quaid assumed charge as the Governor General of Pakistan on August 15, 1947.
Soon after that Jinnah riveted himself to work. The colossal task of building Pakistan from scratch needed his immediate attention. Since the Lahore Resolution of 1940, he never rested even for a moment. But he surpassed himself after becoming the first head of the biggest Muslim State. From the day he arrived in Karachi on August 7, till he breathed his last, is a tale of self abnegation, exemplary devotion to duty and intense activity.
Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah with Liaquat Ali Khan
Even at the hour of triumph, Jinnah was sick and in pain. He had little or no appetite; he had lost his gift of being able to sleep at will and he passed many sleepless nights; also, his cough increased and with it his temperature. The harrowing tales of the sufferings of the refugees affected him deeply.
Of the numerous disputes with India and domestic worries,evidently the unsolved problem of Kashmir, his inability to complete the Constitution of the new state of Pakistan, and the plight of the millions of refugees who had arrived in their new homeland utterly destitute affected him the most.
The scale of the refugee problem and the depth of the tragedy were indeed heart rendering. For Pakistan the problem of coping with the refugees was proportionately far more serious than it was for India. Her territory and resources were much smaller and her administration was still in its infancy.
It was not only the plight of the Muslim refugees who had arrived from India that grieved the Quaid-i-Azam deeply. The sad condition of the Hindus in Pakistan hurt him no less.
Apart from Kashmir, there were two Princely states Junagarh and Hyderabad that formed the subject of disputes between India and Pakistan. All the states in the subcontinent except these three had acceded either to India or Pakistan by 14th August 1947. It so happened that all these three were ruled by princes whose own religion was different from that of the majority of their subjects.
Speech on the Opening Ceremony of the Bengal Oil Mills on 2nd February, 1948.
It has given me great pleasure to come here today to perform the opening ceremony of the Bengal Oil Mills. Every new mill or factory means a step forward on the road to the economic stabilization of our country and the prosperity of its people. Millions of our brethren have been displaced by the cataclysm that attended the birth of Pakistan. Most of them have lost all their worldly belongings as also their means of livelihood. Their rehabilitation presents a problem of colossal magnitude, the successful solution of which would require the concerted efforts of the Government and the people. The response to the Quaid-i-Azam’s relief Fund has been magnificent and the munificence of people of the stricken but gratuitous relief and doles are only palliatives and do not provide a satisfactory solution of the refugees’ problem. We do not want merely to keep these unfortunate people alive as a drag on society –we want them to live as self-respecting, self-relying and useful members of Society. All the refugees are not agriculturists and even all the agriculturists cannot be settled on land without fragmenting the available arable land into small uneconomic holdings. The only way in which these people can be put on their feet again is the rapid industrialization of the country which would provide new avenues of employment for them. Nature has blessed us with plenty of raw materials and it is now up to us to harness our resources to the best advantage of our State and its people.
You have mentioned the trials and tribulations of the Muslims of Kathiawar during the last few stormy months. While I fully sympathize with them in their suffering, I am sure they will not be overwhelmed by these temporary setbacks. Their resilience will enable them to weather these storms with equanimity and by their resourcefulness and spirit of enterprise they would soon retrieve their lost fortunes.
I thank you once again for your generous contribution to the Relief Fund and I wish your venture all success and prosperity and hope that it may prove a precursor to many more enterprises for which there is so much scope in Pakistan.