The Quaid: A Brilliant Statesman

Pakistan, the beacon of hope for the Muslims of South Asia and beyond, was created under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He was not a traditional politician but a great leader, brilliant statesman and a master strategist, who fought the case for Pakistan so well that he did not only frustrate the designs of the British that wished to see the subcontinent united at one form or another till the last moment, but also made the brute Hindu majority believe that division of the subcontinent had saved it from some bigger catastrophe. He had united the Muslims of the subcontinent and waged struggle for a separate homeland for Muslims to rid them of brute majority’s exploitation and repression and also to enable them to lead their lives according to their faith and culture. This twin-objective is, in fact, is the ideology of Pakistan.

Our leaders should emulate Quaid-i-Azam who had united the people who were earlier divided on the basis of sects and ideologies. The Muslims of the subcontinent had reposed full confidence in him and accepted his concept and perception of the new state – Pakistan. Today, the myriad political and religious parties, intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals have variegated views and perceptions, and there is ongoing debate for the last 62 years about the purpose and rationale behind the creation of Pakistan. Different schools of thought interpret Quaid-i-Azam’s speeches to serve their ends, but Quaid-i-Azam had envisioned Pakistan to be a modern progressive state, rooted in the eternal values of Islam, and at the same time responsive to the imperatives of constant change.

In his presidential address at the All India Muslim League session at Delhi on April 24, 1943 he outlined his vision about Pakistan: “I have visited villages; there are millions and millions of our people who hardly get one meal a day. Is this civilisation? If that is the idea of Pakistan I would not have it”. In the same speech he said: “A lot of mischief is being created. Is it going to be Islamic Government? The constitution and the government will be what the people will decide”. He envisaged a free, progressive, humane, and modern Pakistan, ruled by just laws, where everybody irrespective of religion, colour, creed or caste would be equal before law.

Unfortunately, efforts were made to distort his speeches even when he was alive, and the vested interest had tried to remove his August 11, 1947 speech before the Constituent Assembly from the record. By going through the full text of speeches of the Quaid delivered on April 24, 1943, and August 11, 1947, one could find the guidelines and the parameters within which constitution of Pakistan was to be framed by the representatives of the people. He had made it absolutely clear that it was not going to a theocratic state because he was aware of the fact that every sect would come out with its own interpretation of the Holy Quran and Sunnah. And the ensuing clashes between the sects could have been used by anti-Pakistan forces to prove that Pakistan was not a viable proposition.

Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was no doubt one of the most charismatic leaders in the recent history that happened to be there at the right moment when Muslims of the undivided India were facing ugly challenges of life. Before partition, Muslims were not allowed to lead their lives according to their faith and culture; they were deprived of their basic rights, and were not provided equal opportunities in education, services and business fields. But beauty of the Quaid’s leadership was that there was hardly any instance in the annals of history whereby a leader got independence and created a sovereign state without a shot being fired.

There is no denying that initially Quaid-i-Azam was ambassador of Hindu Muslim unity, and in the presence of foreign domination he did not wish to exacerbate the contradictions between the Muslims and the Hindus. He stood for the rights of the Muslims even when he was member of the Congress. In 1916, Lacknow Pact was the result of his efforts whereby Congress accepted the rights of the Muslims for separate constituencies, and it was willing to give constitutional guarantees to them. Many Jinnah’s biographers blame Jawaharlal Nehru and Valbhbhai Patel for not addressing the reservations of the Muslims.

After the Roundtable Conference, Quaid-i-Azam was convinced that Muslims could not expect a fair deal from the Congress. He tried to get the rights of Muslims secured by accepting Cabinet Mission Plan in 1946. No sooner did Gandhi claim that Congress alone represented India than the Quaid made up his mind that at an opportune time he would not accept less than a separate homeland for the Muslims.

Indian leadership, pseudo-intellectuals and even some misguided elements in Pakistan thought that Quaid-i-Azam was a tool in the hands of the British, and that Pakistan was created as a result of an intrigue. William Rushbrook, a British official, who later joined the Time as a leader-writer, was the witness to the negotiations held between Muslim League and the Congress. He wrote in his book ‘The state of Pakistan’: “Anybody who knew Mr. Jinnah would vouch for that he could never become a tool in anybody’s hands”. People in general are not aware that Congress was created by a British retired civil servant. Hector Bolitho in his book ‘Jinnah’ quoted Mr. Gandhi having expressed his joy over the idea of creation of Congress in the mind of a retired Secretary of Indian government Allen Octavian Hume, who laid the foundation of Indian National Congress in 1885 – a fact nobody could deny.

Those who criticize Jinnah for not supporting the “Quit India movement” launched by Congress should go through the memoirs of former Congress President Abul Kalam Azad who wrote: “The scheme in my mind was that as soon as the Japanese reached Bengal, and the British forces withdrew towards Bihar, the Congress would step in and take over the control of the country”.

This is enough to vindicate Quaid-i-Azam’s position and his decision to accept nothing short of an independent country. Those who consider creation of Pakistan as an intrigue of the British and Quaid-i-Azam should read personal report of the last Viceroy Lord Mountbatten sent to the British government vide Report No. 3 dated April 17, 1947, in which he passed derogatory remarks about the Quaid, labeling him “stubborn and a psycho-pathetic case”. Friends do not pass such unwarranted and rude remarks for the friends.

But Quaid-i-Azam was a man of principles and a trendsetter who introduced a new style in politics, and set very high standards and values. He never compromised on principles but as matter of strategy he showed flexibility on less important issues with a view to achieving broader objective. It was in this context that he considered each and every proposal whether coming from the British or the Congress in the form of Lucknow Pact, Roundtable Conference or Cabinet Mission, and wished to use every opportunity, including his Fourteen Points for securing the rights of the Muslims. But once he knew about the Britain’s decision of leaving the subcontinent, he single-mindedly focused on a separate homeland for the Muslims, and did not care about the ‘last wish’ of the British to keep India’s unity in one form or another. The Quaid – a charismatic leader inspired the people and accomplished what would otherwise look like a wishful thinking.

Source: Mohammad Jamil, The Nation

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