Quaid-e-Azam’s 134th Birth Anniversary (25th December 2010)

Great people celebrate birthdays or observe death anniversaries of the Fathers of their nations not merely by pompous display of festivities but by strictly following the precepts and guidelines left by their founding fathers in letter and spirit.

Quaid-e-Azam cutting his Birthday cake on 25 December,1947 in Karachi
25 Dec. 1947: Quaid reading about the felicitations on his birthday in the 'Dawn'. The headline says '71 today'
The Nation will celebrate the 134th birth anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on Saturday, renewing the pledge to follow his guiding principle of Unity, Faith and Disciple, thus promoting prosperity, peace and harmony and consolidating democratic process in the country.

Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah whose word was law for his followers. But he never acted like a dictator. He derived his power from the people to whom he always considered himself accountable. At a time he was offered life presidentship of the All India Muslim League. He refused by saying that he would like to come before the Muslim League Council every year and get himself elected its president on the strength of his performance.

Prof Stanley Wolpret in his book ‘Jinnah of Pakistan’ says:

‘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.’

Jinnah had a firm faith in the democratic system of Government and throughout his life he continued to adhere scrupulousy to the democratic norms. Muslim League activist had assembled at a Muslim League General Council meeting under his presidentship. He invited participants to express their views. The councillors said “You are our leaders, you order and we-will follow.” The Quaid said what was fun of assembling people from every nook and comer of the country. If he was to order, he would have issued a statement in the press.

It was through the democratic process that he was able to spearhead the Muslim freedom movement. This was one of the biggest mass movement in the history of All India Muslim League. Later as Governor-General of Pakistan he acted strictly in accordance with, universally accepted rules of business. Such was his stature and so commanding was his hold over the Muslim rank and life that an ordinary man would have turned autocratic in attitude and dealings but not so the Quaid. He was a constitutionalist.

When he was Governor-General Pakistan Government placed an order for purchase of an aeroplane for his travelling. The plane construction company suggested that certain additional accessories would enable the Governor-General to work while flying. The Governor staff accepted the proposal. When the file went to the Finance Ministry the Finance Minister observed that prior approval should have been sought from his Ministry. The Government had no funds for the additional accessories. The Quaid agreed with the Finance Minister and cancelled the order.

Quaid would not deviate from the path of constitutional procedure even if it meant a delay in the achievement of his goal. He was in a position to take decision on his own but he never did so and always sought the approval of the Muslim League Working Committee. On the eve of independence British Viceroy sought an instant reply and threatened that otherwise he would not get Pakistan. The Quaid replied that he would answer only after the concurrence of the Muslim League Working Committee. Pakistan was achieved through the democratic process and it can progress only by pursuing the path of democracy.

Principle on which the Quaid laid great emphasis in his practice as well in pronouncements was that of democracy. Quaid-i-Azam in his presidential address at the session of the All India Muslim League in Delhi on April 24, 1943 envisioned the Government of Pakistan in the words:

“I have no doubt in my mind, that a large body of us visualise Pakistan as the people’s Government. Either you seize it by force or get it by agreement. You will elect your representatives to the constitution making body. You may not know how to use it This would be your fault. But I am sure, democracy is in our blood, It is in our marrow. Only centuries of adverse circumstances have made the circulation of that blood cold. It has got frozen and your arteries are not fimctioning. But thank God, the blood arculating again. Thanks to the Muslim League’s effort. It will be a people’s Government.”

For the Quaid, democracy and Supremacy of people’s will was the paramount political philosophy. It was through democratic process that Quaid-i-Azam guided the Pakistan movement and rallied 90 million Muslims of the sub-continent round the motto of “Unity, Faith and Discipline.” It was the democratic and dynamic leadership of the Quaid, that a large number of Muslims were united under one banner and at his beck and call. At a public meeting on March 21, 1948, the Quaid said:

"The Government can only have for its aim one objective-how to serve people, how to devise ways and means of their welfare, for their betterment What other object can the Government have and remember now, it is in your hands to put the Government in power. But you should not do it by mob methods. You have the power. You must learn the art to use it. Constitutionally it is in your hands to upset our Government and put other Government in power if you are dissatisfied to such an extent.”

Quaid-e-Azam was a great exponent of social justice. In this speech at Delhi, about capitalism and vicious designs of landlords who flourished at the expense of the common man, he said:

“Here I should like to give a warning to land lords and capitalists who flourished at our expense by a system which is so wicked, which is so vicious and which makes them selfish,, that it is ‘difficult to reason with them. The exploitation of masses have gone into their blood. They have forgotten the lesson of Islam. Greed and selfishness have overpowered ‘them. A lot of mischief is created. Is going to bit an Islamic State? Is it not a cause of begging a question? Is it not a case of passing vote of censure on yourself? The constitution of the government will be what the people will decide.”

Quaid was all for welfare of the masses. In his address to the Constituent Assembly at Karachi on August 11, 1947 he said:

“Now I want to make this State of Pakistan happy and prosperous and we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people and specially of the masses and the poor.”

After the establishment of Pakistan, the Quaid refused to continue as the President of the Muslim League because as, the head of State he could not function as the head of a political party. Combining the two offices in one person, he considered it was violation of the democratic principles.

The Quaid was a great champion of the freedom of the press and advocate of civil liberties. He always played the game of politics according to the established rules of democracy. He was indeed democracy personified.

Quaid could give to his countrymen a constitution on his own which would have been accepted without any hesitation but he left it to the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan to frame their own constitution. It was Quaid-i-Azam’s democratic temperament which did not like to dictate the Constitution he would have liked.

In a broadcast talk to the people of the United States of America in February, 1948, the Quaid said:

“The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be Framed by the Pakistan’s constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of the constitution is going to be, but I am sure it win be a democratic constitution embodying the essential principle of Islam, as Islam and its idealism has taught us democracy.”

In February, 1948, at the Sibbi Darbar, Quaid-i-Azam reiterated his belief that our salvation lies in following the golden conduct set before us by our great law giver the Holy Prophet of Islam (SAW). Let us lay the foundation of our democracy on the basis of Islamic ideals and principles. The breakup of East Pakistan in 1971 was the result of deviating from the democratic path. The absence of democracy had led to widespread sense of alienation among the very people who had struggled so hard for the creation of Pakistan.

Political instability started right after the early death of the Quaid. May be if he had survived for a few more years, Pakistan would be more politically strong and stable in the democratic form of government.

A befitting tribute has been paid to the Quaid by Mr. Lansrence Zining , Professor of Political science in Western Michigan University (NSA) in his article, “Quaid the indormittable democrat”, he said,

“ Jinnah had to overcome the British. He had to overcome Hindu dominated Congress Party. The burden of leadership hung very heavy on that thin and tall frame. He was very successful in his contest with the British. He was most successful in his contest with the Hindus, the only man to defeat Gandhi.”

‘Lord Mountbatten: I tried every trick I could play… to shake Jinnah’s resolve….Nothing would…move him from his consuming determination to realize the dream of Pakistan…

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