Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Quaid-i-Azam

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Contents

Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah

Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah

April 15, 2007

Judging Jinnah

Dawn

Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah
Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah

A compilation of previously unpublished portions of Jinnah: Creator of Pakistan, the Quaid-i-Azam’s first biography by Hector Bolitho. The book also includes the author’s notes, correspondence and interviews with those who knew the founder of Pakistan.

Jinnah the man was very different from the stereotyped cardboard portrait that has been fed to us over the years, writes Prof Sharif al Mujahid.

THE portrait of Jinnah that emerges from Bolitho’s interviews is rather a mixed one, with several interviewees contradicting each other. However, the bare bones of the Jinnah story, backed by solid evidence, are as follows:

Jinnah was born into a reasonably affluent family for the time, his father being engaged in profitable business. The story about his studying school texts under the light of a street lamp, current for a long while, is utter nonsense. Nanji Jafar, six years his junior, tells us that he “went to school in a carriage while the other boys walked”. Jinnah’s father gave him a cricket set while he was in school, which Jinnah gifted away to Jafar on the eve of his departure for England in 1892. Not only did Jinnah shun playing marbles, then in vogue throughout the subcontinent, but he also urged other boys in the neighbourhood to “stand-up out of the dust and play cricket”. So passionately was he possessed of this idea that he even taught other boys to play cricket, but without being a bully.

His father had the foresight and the resources to send him to England to study law, recalls Dina Wadia, Jinnah’s only child. Actually, he was sent to study business management but he developed a penchant for politics after listening to the great British Liberal stalwarts in the House of Commons during the initial months of his four-year stay (1892-96) in London, and got himself bathed in the Liberalism of Lord Morley which was then in full sway. The Liberals had come into power under Gladstone in August 1892, and as Jinnah told Dr Ashraf, “I grasped that Liberalism, which became part of my life and thrilled me very much”. That penchant, which stayed with him till the end, led him to opt for law, abandoning his initial business-training plans. This, inter alia, highlights his independence and decision-making power, even at this initial stage.

When Jinnah began his professional life in Bombay, he had three or four years of struggle without briefs, but would not give up on his predetermined ambition. By about 1900, he was, however, a success, and a member of the prestigious Orient Club in Bombay where Sir Cowasjee Jehangir met him in 1901. “He was even more pompous and independent during those lean years,” recalls Sir Cowasjee. A good many of his friends and acquaintances thought that Jinnah was “no lawyer [but] a brilliant advocate,” but Major Haji, Secretary to the Aga Khan III, dismissed this assertion, arguing that:... he was the only Mohammedan lawyer of consequence in his time. There were one or two other Muslims practicing [law] but they were insignificant. It is not fair to say that Jinnah was merely a good advocate. This opinion is held by Hindus, who will not credit a Muslim with the facility to ‘know’ law, and how to interpret law. As an advocate, Jinnah outshone his fellows. His appeal to the judge and jury was dynamic, but he certainly also knew the law.

Others have also testified that Jinnah outshone everyone else as an advocate, and they usually attribute this to his remarkable clear headedness.

One of his prime ambitions was to become the highest paid lawyer in India, and this he achieved: his daily fee in 1936 was Rs1,500, computed from the day he left Bombay to the day he returned. His stockbroker, Shantilal L. Thar, puts his fortune at Rs6-7 million in 1947 (equivalent to Rs120 million today), a fabulous sum he had earned mostly through his practice, with his investments yielding but a fraction of it.

Jinnah was a political animal from the very beginning. He talked of nothing but politics, all the time, but “with all the differences and bitterness of political life, he was never malicious. Hard may be, but never malicious,” says Sir Cowasjee. Jinnah talked of politics even with his stockbroker, but there was no bitterness in his tone and tenor. Thar recalls that “he propounded his faith in Pakistan, but without ever being bitter against the Hindus. By nature, he was not anti-Hindu ...” This aspect of his politics is confirmed by Jamshed Nusserwanjee, former Mayor of Karachi. Nor was there any “ill-feeling” between Jinnah and Gandhi, or any dislike for each other. Thar also recalls Jinnah’s estimate of the Indian princes in 1946: he extolled the late ruler of Baroda as being “head and shoulders above all the other rulers”, the late Maharaja of Mysore as a “great gentleman” the late ruler of Gondal as “all head and no heart” and the Nawab of Bhopal as having “both head and heart”. It is rather interesting (and surprising) that the Nizam, the nawabs of Rampur and Bahawalpur, the major Muslim princes, or even the Khan of Kalat, with whom he had personal relations, do not figure in his list, and that when it comes to evaluation, Jinnah’s choice cuts across the Hindu-Muslim divide. This is because, in raising the Pakistan banner, he was not launching a crusade against the Hindus as such, but proclaiming Hindus and Muslims as separate nations, so that they could acquire power in their respective demographically dominant regions. To claim substantial or absolute power for Muslims in their regions by no means entailed antagonism or enmity towards the Hindus. Unfortunately, however, this was precisely what the Congres protagonists, propagandists and publicists harped upon, ad nauseum, damning and decrying Jinnah as the arch villain in the Indian political drama.

Jinnah has often been accused of being vain, arrogant and cold. He was hard, but not harsh. What some people considered arrogance was essentially his aggressive self-confidence.


Inter alia, this also highlights his overriding sense of impartiality, attested to by Major Haji, on the basis of his personal experience. His father took him to Jinnah, in Bombay, in 1920, and said, “Make him as brilliant as you are.” Jinnah replied, “He can come and work in my chambers but he must shine with his own brilliance.” Jinnah never used his influence to gain him a favourable position. He “was impartial, and did not give favours”, recalls Haji.

Jinnah has often been accused of being vain, arrogant and cold. He was hard, but not harsh. What some people considered arrogance was essentially his aggressive self-confidence, since he believed in himself all the way. Also, as a politician he kept his distance especially with his equals, lest he should be obliged to give in on some point or another. Yet incredibly perhaps, he talked freely with his stockbroker, his physician (Dr D.K. Mehta), and even with Sir Cowasjee. Actually, one had to come close to Jinnah, both to gain his confidence and to discover his virtues, as Sir Francis Mudie, former governor of Sindh and the Punjab — who “probably knew Jinnah better than any other British Officer in India” and who was “certainly the only British civilian who knew him at all well” — found out after August 1947. “I always found him very pleasant socially ... Officially until near the end ... I found him open to reason or at least to argument. In the end I got to know that I could trust him completely”, recalls Mudie.

Nor was Jinnah cold to all. He “loved talking to people who were not Muslims”, says Thar. Mazhar Ahmad, his naval ADC, adds a new dimension: as he “grew old, he liked to have young men about [around] him. His secretaries and ADCs were all young. He came to enjoy the stimulus of young people and seldom refused to speak to them in audiences, no matter how busy he was.” Hashimi found that he “relaxed with younger people who were not directly related to him and who had no political axes to grind”; he also loved them. That is precisely what a 14-year-old Tahira Hayat Khan (later Tahira Mazhar Ali Khan), though not a Muslim Leaguer, discovered when she cycled her way to Mamdot Villa, where Jinnah was staying, sometime around 1940 and asked the chowkidar to inform Jinnah that she was there. “He was very nice to me and told me that he knew the stance of the Communist Party. I showed him a pamphlet I was carrying in which the Communist Party had declared its support for an independent country. He said we did not need to fear because he would be able to see our friends just as he was going to visit Bombay regularly ...”

According to Mudie, Jinnah was not really cold, and he gives a capital instance of the great emotional strain under which he had been living under the cold exterior:

In judging Jinnah, we must remember what he was up against. He had against him, not only the wealth and brains of the Hindus, but also nearly the whole of British officialdom and most of the Home politicians, who made the great mistake of refusing to take Pakistan seriously. Never was his position really examined ... No man who had not the iron control of himself that Jinnah had could have done what he did. But it does not follow that he was really cold. In fact no one who did not feel as Jinnah did, could have done what he did.

To this may be added Nusserwanjee’s remark: “He was emotional and affectionate, but he was unable to demonstrate it. All was control, control!”

“He kept his thoughts, his emotions, to himself,” recalls Rabbani, his Air ADC, but his gardener testified that he was always kind to servants.

Jinnah also cared for those who worked for him. When he was staying at Sir Cowasjee’s country house, K.H. Khurshid (Secretary to Jinnah, 1944-47) recalls:

Jinnah [was] worried lest I was bored. He asked, “Do you read Shakespeare?” I confessed, “Not since school”. He went into town and brought back a whole set of Shakespeare, Shelley and Keats, for me to read.

He was also loyal and faithful to friends and colleagues who stood by him through thick and thin, despite what Habibullah says. Jinnah told Ahsan, his naval ADC, in Fatima Jinnah’s presence at the Amir of Bahawalpur’s palace, in Malir:

“Nobody had faith in me, everyone thought I was mad — except Miss Jinnah”. He then paused and added, “But, of course, if she hadn’t believed in me all along she would not be sitting here now.”


Excerpted with permission from In Quest of Jinnah: Diary, Notes, and Correspondence of Hector Bolitho Edited by Sharif al Mujahid Oxford University Press Plot # 38, Sector 15, Korangi Industrial Area, Karachi Tel: 111-693-673 ouppak@theoffice.net www.oup.com.pk ISBN 978-0-19-597901-5 221pp. Rs495


Prof Sharif al Mujahid, a scholar of the Pakistan Movement and the Quaid-i-Azam, is Distinguished National Professor, Higher Education Commission, Pakistan. His other books include Ideology of Pakistan and Quaid-i-Azam and His Times: A Compendium.

Mr Jinnah’s marriage

Nayantara Sahgal , Power and passion “India Today” 12/6/2017

Ruttie as a teenage bride , India Today
Ruttie at age six, with brothers Fali (L) and Manek , India Today
Jinnah with daughter Dina , India Today


Sheela Reddy's book is a sumptuous read, starting with vivid descriptions of early 20th century Bombay. The British empire is firmly in place and Bombay is awash with Parsi enterprise and Parsi millionaires - of whom Sir Dinshaw Petit is one. In his luxurious home, Petit Hall, with its French furniture and Persian carpets, all is well. His children are brought up by English governesses, and his cosmopolitan lifestyle takes him and his family on vacations to Europe. At home, hospitality is never-ending. An army of servants serves lavish meals to an unending flow of visitors. Sarojini Naidu is a close friend and frequent guest. Mohammed Ali Jinnah is a frequent visitor. A successful barrister and member of the Viceroy's Imperial Legislative Council, he is a rising star in politics whom Sir Dinshaw greatly admires. He has been a familiar figure in Ruttie Petit's home since her childhood. She is still in her teens and Jinnah, aged 43, is just three years younger than her father when they marry in secret and she converts to Islam, creating a scandal that engulfs both their communities. This unlikely love story plays out against the social and political scene of the time. There are personality problems. Unable to cope, Ruttie runs away from her marriage and later comes back, but there is no repairing the mismatched relationship. Disowned by her father and her community, cut off from her family and all contact with her convivial home and carefree past, she turns to Sarojini Naidu for understanding and companionship and to Padmaja Naidu, her closest friend, for unfailing support. Ruttie tries to make a life for herself in a variety of ways-from unbridled shopping to theosophy and seances - but slides into a state of despair, into drug-induced illnesses and death at the age of 29.

"She was a child and I should never have married her," confessed Jinnah years later. "The fault was mine." Sarojini Naidu's was the more perceptive epitaph: "What a tragedy of unfulfilment Ruttie's life has been - she was so young and so lovely and she loved life with such passionate eagerness, and always life passed her by leaving her with empty hands and heart."

The marriage appeared to have been flawed from the very beginning. "She yearned to break through the veils of his many self-repressions and discover for herself the real man but the real J kept eluding her, hidden behind his cool and rational mind, never giving himself up to even a single display of deep emotion. Worse, sex with him was not thrilling, even before the initial novelty wore off." Nothing could have been more disillusioning for the adoring 18-year-old whose beauty, sparkling vivacity and hero worship of him had captivated Jinnah. Ruttie had associated marriage to this handsome, distinguished man with high romance - that he would prove a passionate lover who would sweep her off her feet. She was too young and inexperienced to realise that his lack of demonstrativeness during their courtship was a sign of his habitual forbidding reserve, or that in his struggle for professional success, intimate relationships had apparently played little or no part. Intimacy was not his style. He was also rigidly bound to his routine and almost fanatically focused on his legal work and political career. He comes across as a man set and fixed in his habits - reading several newspapers from beginning to end (including the advertisements) first thing in the morning and disliking interruptions of any kind. I found myself wishing he had occasionally put down a newspaper and spared a moment for a quick cuddle before going to work. It might have made all the difference to his marriage. His love for Ruttie fell far short of the needs of her physical and emotional nature, and they had no tastes in common except horseback riding.

This did not deter Ruttie from trying to coax him out of his fortressed reserve, and she fully shared his public life. She not only adapted to her role as a leading politician's wife, but had an absorbing interest in the field herself and was proud of his eminence. She believed in his political mission of eventually freeing India from British rule and took part in the public events that claimed him-sitting on the platform with him and listening to hour-long political speeches with fortitude. But their personal life had no such glue to bind them. Ruttie was widely read, wrote poetry and had a poetic way with words. In an era of letter-writing, her exuberant and highly literate letters to her friends reveal her as a young woman of intellectual capacity and rare sensitivity. In a letter she wrote while at Mahabaleshwar, to Padmaja Naidu, who was a 16-year-old like herself, Ruttie wrote, "All nature seems to be astir with song birds and little insects, and often while you are feasting your soul on the exquisite and fierce grandeur of the ghats, the mist will rapidly and almost suddenly veil the scenery as though it were jealous. A few days ago while returning from Bombay Point, the delicate strains of a shepherd's flute caught my ears." A year later, in 1917, puzzled about Jinnah, then her secret fiance being so restrained toward her, she wrote to Padmaja: "I revel in the storming passions that burn and tear at the fibres of my being till my very spirit writhes in an agony of excitement." Later, as a newly married woman, she wrote to Padmaja's younger sister Leilamani, about forgiving Jinnah his stiffness and inflexibility, and said she still nursed the dream of "pouring love on parched unlighted souls and through sympathy and understanding" hoped to let her "passionate desire grow into a fair and fragrant flower - so beautiful that it shall draw and command love through its own loveliness". These are remarkably mature letters, a striking contrast to the illiterate, abbreviated and misspelt texts that pass for communication among the young today. Sheela Reddy acknowledges that the book owes much to the treasure trove of letters she had access to from Padmaja Naidu's rich collection of her family's correspondence. Certainly nothing illuminates Ruttie's personality more vividly than her own words. In contrast, Jinnah's is a severely curtailed personality, concentrated on his career and lacking the lightness and humour of ordinary give-and-take. The political scene he dominated during World War One centred on his leadership of the Muslim League and the Congress. The latter had been founded by an Englishman in 1885 as a loyal opposition to His Majesty's Government, and Congress sessions were well-dressed events attended by the English-speaking political and industrial elite and their families, to pass resolutions petitioning the British government for a greater role for Indians in the governing of India. Its approach was gradual, legal and constitutional, eminently suited to Jinnah's training and frame of mind. He disapproved of Tilak's ultimatums demanding freedom without delay.


The most radical demand until then had been Annie Besant's, for Home Rule. Into this 'correct', westernised political climate came Gandhi, whom Jinnah was immediately disposed to dislike as a rank outsider, who insisted on speaking in Gujarati and Hindi, dressed Gujarati-style (before he took to the langot), and preached civil disobedience. Indian politics had had no greater shock than the arrival of Gandhi, and it was a sign of Jinnah's distance from Indian realities that the man whom Tagore hailed as a Mahatma and the masses as their deliverer from suffering, was to Jinnah a virtual gate-crasher on the political scene.

The difference between these two men made the partition of India inevitable. Gandhi had sought to keep India together, looking upon this composite civilisation and culture as the very meaning of 'India'. Jinnah had worked to divide it, as had the British, into religious identities that suited Britain's intention to divide and quit. But I am thinking of the sheer human difference between them, which must have contributed to India's partition in the way that all historic events reflect something of the character of the humans who bring them about. Gandhi, before he became a crank about sex, was, according to his own autobiography, thoroughly acquainted with lustful love, delighting in a fulfilling sex life with his wife in a marriage that produced four sons and a devoted lifelong partnership dedicated to the fight for freedom. Kasturba Gandhi died beside her grieving husband while she was imprisoned with him in Poona. Jinnah's married life is bleak, one in which sex is more absent than present. His only child, a daughter unnamed for years until her grandmother took charge of her after Ruttie's death, was ignored by both parents who went their own ways, leaving her to servants. I like to think (and maybe Freud would have agreed) that Jinnah would have been a more relaxed and open-minded negotiator if he had a normal sex life. The high priests of religions are never accommodating men. Asceticism does not make for human give-and-take.

It remains something of a mystery why an anglicised Khoja Muslim who belonged to the Ismaili sect, who ate pork, enjoyed his whisky and was unfamiliar with the Koran, came to be the founder of a Muslim nation based on its religious identity. But this is a contradiction that seems to repeat itself in history. Napoleon was a Corsican, not a Frenchman. Hitler was Austrian, not German and both made their mark through imagined identities.

This is an important book. As the title indicates, it is primarily the story of a relationship, but is also interesting for its portrayal of Jinnah the Indian nationalist, before there was thought or talk of Pakistan. Ruttie's friend and admirer, Kanji Dwarkadas, firmly believed that had the marriage endured, her influence on Jinnah might have kept his politics from taking a communal turn.

Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah and Javid Iqbal

The Quaid and I’

By Shehar Bano Khan


Dawn

Mr Mohammad Ali Jinnah

It was in the summer of 1936 that Allama Mohammad Iqbal asked his 12-year-old son Javid to have a word with him. He was told by his father to keep his autograph book ready as a very important person was coming to visit them. Javid took one look at his father’s expression to realise that the visitor must be someone very special to have made him think of imprinting the guest’s signature on his son’s autograph book.

“I asked Abba Jan who it was. His only reply was, musalmanon kay leader a rahay hain (leader of the Muslims is coming),” grants Justice (retd) Javid Iqbal, son of Allama Mohammad Iqbal. “It was then I thought to myself that my father must respect this person very much. He knew I kept an autograph book but had never asked me specifically to take down anyone’s autograph. I really didn’t know what to say and couldn’t probe any further.”

With his autograph book in one hand, the 12-year-old Javid Iqbal rushed into the drawing room of his home, Javid Manzil, at 4pm on Allama Iqbal Road in Lahore to see the person who merited signature on his autograph book. He stopped in his tracks, unable to hide his surprise.

The guest dressed in a cream-coloured, silk suit, seated beside his sister in a white sari, was the omnipresent Mr Mohammad Ali Jinnah — the man he had been brought up or rather ‘conditioned’, as Mr Javid Iqbal puts it, to idolise. “I could barely conceal my surprise. I was face to face with the one man whom my father believed could change the fate of the Muslims of India. I don’t recall the colour of his tie but can vividly remember staring at his dual-coloured brown and white shoes. It was very fashionable to wear shoes with two colours and among other attributes Jinnah was always partial to impeccable fashion awareness,” says Mr Javid Iqbal amusingly.

Mr Jinnah took out a pen from his pocket and after signing asked the young boy if he too wrote poetry. “I answered, no sir. His next question came like a cross examiner. He asked me what I was going to do when I grew up. I stood there tongue tied, not knowing what to say.”

The young boy’s silence prompted Mohammad Ali Jinnah to turn towards Allama Iqbal. “He said laughingly that ‘the boy doesn’t answer’. I remember my father replying that ‘he won’t answer and is waiting for you to tell him what to do’,” says Mr Javid Iqbal.

Years later, when Javid Iqbal took up Master’s in English Literature, he wrote two articles in the daily English newspaper, Dawn, in 1946, translating his fascination for the leader of the Muslims by ascribing to Mr Jinnah Johnson’s concept of the ‘over man’ in them. “I was also studying Islamic philosophy and imagined Jinnah to be the ‘perfect man’, the ‘unique man’ and Nietzsche’s ‘superman’. I compared all the qualities those characters had and put them on the scale next to Mr Jinnah. His side would always turn heavier because I believed that he was much higher than all of them put together,” chuckles Mr Javid Iqbal while rationalising his admiration for Mr Jinnah.

The admiration did not go unnoticed. A few days after the articles’ publication, Javid Iqbal received a letter from Mr Matloobul Hassan, Mr Jinnah’s secretary, to inform him that the Quaid-i-Azam had read and appreciated them.

The next time Javid Iqbal saw Mr Jinnah was on September 11, 1948 to participate in his funeral. “I was at the Karachi Gymkhana when news of his death came. Lights were switched off and suddenly the entire club was plunged into darkness,” recalls Javid Iqbal.

Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah: The other side of Jinnah

Reviewed by Ashfak Bokhari

Dawn


Once Jinnah had himself frowned upon the efforts by some zealots to deify his person and told Ispahani: ‘I am an ordinary person, full of sin’.

TO most of us Mohammad Ali Jinnah is the Quaid-i-Azam. We have been tutored to look at him as the most revered icon of our country’s short history, which he is, but also as a paragon of virtue and someone not prone to faults that ordinary mortals usually suffer from.

That he could be as much a human being as anybody else with certain weaknesses has been difficult to swallow for the establishment and hence not allowed to be publicly projected. That was one reason why Stanley Wolpert’s biography of him, rated the best so far, had to suffer a ban in 1980s during the Zia regime.

That taboo seems to have been broken in a subtle way by this volume titled In Quest of Jinnah. It is a collection of a myriad of anecdotes and opinions, both amusing and provocative, most of which tend to present the other side of the Quaid’s person — the human side. And it falls perfectly in the scheme of things that nowhere in the book Jinnah has been addressed as the Quaid-i-Azam. Jinnah remains Jinnah, even in the introduction. Once Jinnah had himself frowned upon the efforts by some zealots to deify his person and told Ispahani: ‘I am an ordinary person, full of sin’.

This project became possible because of a changed environment, freer media and a gradual shift in Pakistani society towards glasnost and rationalism. Credit goes to its editor Sharif al Mujahid, who, although in possession of Hector Bolitho’s papers since 1984, waited for what he calls ‘arrival of a fair weather’ to get them published. Bolitho, one may recall, was commissioned by the government of Pakistan to write the first biography of Jinnah (Jinnah: Creator of Pakistan, 1954). He was an Auckland-born British journalist, novelist and historian and by the time he took this task he had already authored some 46 books. That he was a difficult person to deal with, had a colonial mindset and harboured contempt towards Pakistanis is another story. Ms Fatima Jinnah didn’t like his writing the biography of her brother.

The book consists of papers left behind by Bolitho after the biography project was over. These included the original manuscript, its expunged passages, correspondence between him and the then principal information officer Majeed Malik over what was to be deleted, retained or changed, the author’s confidential diary and notes relating to the period November 1951 to May 1953, conversations with important figures regarding their opinion of Jinnah and contemporary reviews of the biography. The notes were made by the author during his search for information about the father of the nation but they could not be used for certain reasons. The papers have been published in the form of a book because they constitute a rare treasure of oral history about the Quaid and need to be preserved. The book reveals that a good number of Bolitho’s respondents considered Jinnah arrogant, proud and aloof but not really rude. When he was really rude, he meant to send out a message loud and clear. For instance, while attending a luncheon hosted by the Governor of Bombay Lord Willington, he noted that the governor’s wife was trying to play smart with Mrs Jinnah who was dressed very daringly with a low neckline and all. Lady Willington asked an ADC to bring a shawl for Mrs Jinnah ‘for she must be feeling cold’. Jinnah rose in anger from the table and said that if his wife felt cold she would ask for a wrap herself. Then he stormed out of the party and never went to the Government House again.

The Aga Khan, himself an aristocrat, considered Jinnah ‘instinctively and essentially an aristocrat.’ The fact remains that for most of his life Jinnah had lived in fabulous, spacious, high-walled houses with tidy gardens. In 1916, when Jinnah arrived in Lucknow to preside over an important meeting of the Muslim League, the party secretary saw him stepping off the train wearing an English suit, an English hat and a malacca stick. He told Jinnah that he could not possibly face the crowd in such apparel. He kept Jinnah waiting while he hurried to the market and brought a tarbush for him to wear.

A note dated January 5, 1952 quotes Jinnah’s naval ADC Mazhar Ahmed as saying that the usual Hindu criticism of Jinnah has been that he was ruthless, intolerant and not a good Muslim. Ahmed says he soon learnt that this was not true: ‘Jinnah did not say his prayers, but I never saw him drink socially. All I ever saw him drink was one double whisky at night; I believe that his doctor ordered this.’

Sir Robert Francis Mudie, the former governor of Sindh and Punjab, told Bolitho in a letter that ‘Jinnah was cold — at least that is the impression he gave — but he never found him harsh. He was, of course, hard.’ His impression of Jinnah was that he was vain, arrogant, cold though he always found him very pleasant socially. Mudie, referring to ‘attempts to trap Jinnah into some difficult position’ says, ‘no man who had not the iron control of himself that Jinnah had could have done what he did. But it does not follow that he was really cold… there was another side to Jinnah’s character than that generally presented.’


In Quest of Jinnah: Dairy, notes, and correspondence of Hector Bolitho Edited by Sharif al Mujahid Oxford University Press, Karachi ISBN 978-0-19-597901-5 221pp. Rs495

Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah: on World Affairs

October 28, 2007


Sincerely,

Reviewed by Muhammad Ali Siddiqi

Dawn

JINNAH’s political career spanned a cataclysmic era not just for South Asia but for the world. He saw World War I, the inter-war period, the rise of fascism in Europe and Japan, World War II and its aftermath that included the epic struggle of the people of South Asia for freedom. As the recognised leader of the subcontinent’s Muslims, his concerns were confined not to the Muslims of South Asia but Muslims worldwide. This aspect of his political career has not received due attention for the obvious reason that the focus of scholars has been on his struggle for Pakistan.

That explains why Z.H. Zaidi’s Jinnah Papers and W. Ahmad’s The Nation’s Voice dwell largely on those aspects of Jinnah’s speeches, statements, press conferences, interviews and letters which mostly relate to the constitutional and political battles he waged for carving out a sovereign Muslim state in South Asia. The utility of the book under review, however, is that it focuses solely on the Quaid’s views on world affairs.

A glance through the book, compiled with painstaking efforts by Prof Mehrunnisa Ali, reveals the stunning variety of international issues on which Jinnah articulated his position, first as the undisputed leader of the Muslims of South Asia and later as Pakistan’s head of state.

The letters he wrote range from protests on the condition of Indians in South Africa, Kenya and Congo to ‘Prussian militarism’, Turkey and the Caliphate issue, the Palestinian question in its various phases, leading finally to its partition, the Indonesian people’s struggle for freedom, the situation in Malaya, Egypt’s fight for full statehood, the French atrocities in post-war Syria, the use of Indian Muslim troops against Islamic countries, the British-Russian occupation of Iran, his cautious attitude toward Russia during the war and a host of other issues which he thought would affect Pakistan when it would finally emerge on the world map.

The variety of statesman and leaders he corresponded with is amazing both before and after independence. They included Palestinian leader Amin al-Hussaini, Ahmad Sukarno, Attlee, Chiang Kai-shek Churchill, Harold Macmillan, Ibne Saud, Nihas Pasha, President Truman and others. These letters were not merely of a formal nature, say, thanking world leaders who greeted him when Pakistan came into being and he became governor general; the greater part of his letters, statements, telegrams and the interviews he gave to a variety of foreign journalists before and after partition relates to issues vital to Pakistan’s security. In some cases the letters touched upon Pakistan’s defence problems even when it had not yet emerged on the world map.

Going by the contents of the letters and their sheer numbers, one is overwhelmed by the fact that this task should have been undertaken by a man who was so close to death. No one in that state of health could perhaps have undertaken the task he did without having the kind of will-power Jinnah possessed. The documents, arranged in chronological order, show on the one hand the determined attempts that Congres leaders, especially Nehru, made with full support from Mountbatten to destroy Pakistan at its very inception and, on the other, the moves Jinnah made to frustrate those conspiracies.

Visualise this scenario: the Maharajah of Kashmir is conspiring with New Delhi with a view to managing the Muslim-majority state’s accession to India, Afghanistan votes against Pakistan for a UN membership and expresses reservations about the NWFP becoming part of Pakistan, Radcliffe and Mountbatten steal Ferozpur from Pakistan, New Delhi refuses to abide by the terms of the transfer of power agreement and declines to hand over Pakistan’s share of ordnance to it, India is massing troops on Junagadh’s borders and preparing for military action in Kashmir, the Khan of Kalat dithers over accession to Pakistan, Burma expresses concern over Pakistan’s possible claim to a piece of territory adjacent to East Pakistan, while millions of refugees pour into the country as religious frenzy engulfs the subcontinent. It was then that Jinnah, his health falling, proved himself to be a man of indomitable courage and energy, for without the presence of this ‘giant’ — Beverly Nichols’s word — it is doubtful Pakistan would have survived the conspiracies launched by its enemies to destroy the newly created state in the first few weeks or months of independence.

The book amply shows that saving Pakistan from collapse during the 13 months that he lived after 1947, building the new state’s administrative infrastructure and placing Pakistan on the world’s diplomatic map constituted as great an achievement on his part as that of creating Pakistan. This aspect of Jinnah’s life has not received the attention it deserves.

Prof Mehrunnisa Ali, who compiled and edited the 521 documents, and Dr Syed Jaffer Ahmed, Director of the Pakistan Study Centre of the University of Karachi, deserve compliments for making a valuable contribution to the Jinnah studies by publishing this book.

Jinnah on World Affairs (Select documents: 1908-1948) Edited by Mehrunnisa Ali Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi ISBN 969-8791-11-6 728pp. Rs800

Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah: on World Affairs II

October 28, 2007

EXCERPT: Jinnah’s correspondence

Dawn

Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah
Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah
Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah
Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah
Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah

The work brings to light Quaid-i-Azam’s perspectives on the issues confronting the world in general and India and Indian Muslims in particular, reflecting the convictions he held and the principles he followed and fought for.

Memorandum presented by the All-India Muslim League delegation led by M. A. Jinnah to British Prime Minister Lloyd George expressing the Indian Muslims’ concern over the occupation of Turkish territories and the position of Turkish Sultan, August 27, 1919.

Sir, We the undersigned Members of the All-India Muslim League Deputation, beg to place before you the following representation on behalf of the Musalmans of India.

Many memorials and representations from various bodies have already been sent to you, we will not therefore so far as possible, repeat the same grounds but confine ourselves to the feelings and sentiments of Muslims in India, regarding the future of the Ottoman Empire.

Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah

For generations past the Muslims of India generally have recognised the Khilafat of the House of Osman and Constantinople as Darul-Islam and Khilafat (the seat of Islam and the Khalifa). For many centuries the Sultan of Turkey has been recognised as the Servant of the Holy Places of Islam and their custodian by all the Muslims of the world, including the Shareef of Mecca. Whenever Turkey has been in trouble a reaction of it has been felt in India, and the Muslims have done all to help the Sultan of Turkey as the head of Islam to maintain his spiritual and temporal honour and position. More than once the Government of India itself encouraged the Muslims in that sympathy. The greater the danger for Turkey the more concerned Muslims have felt. So much so that in modern times during the Balkan Wars, Muslims of India organised the Red Crescent fund for Turkey at a very great cost...

We have the honour to be Sir, Your most obedient servents, M. A. Jinnah, Hasan Imam, E.M. Bhurgari, Yaqub Hasan

Press statement of M. A. Jinnah condemning brutality committed by De Gaulle and his associates against Muslims in Algeria, Syria and Lebanon and calling for the withdrawal of French, British and other foreign forces from the areas, June 3, 1945.

I am glad that Great Britain and America have intervened and given an ultimatum to General De Gaulle to ceasefire and withdraw the troops to their barracks. But this is not enough, although the intervention might have been earlier and more timely and in that case the loss of life and property would have been saved. France must be asked to withdraw completely and so must Britain and other foreign forces from Syria. According to the solemn principles for which this war has been fought, negotiations and understanding may be brought about between Syria and Lebanon and other powers on a footing of equality and freedom. If might is going to be right, then this war is fought for nothing and millions have died in vain. It seems that General De Gaulle and his associates have learnt nothing although not long ago France was lying prostrate with gaping wounds under the Nazi regime for nearly four years and in spite of its boasted motto of Equality, Fraternity and Liberty, has not yet dropped the vice of imperialistic republic and lust to exploit other countries and other people, and forgotten their own Christian Commandment ‘Do unto others what you would have done to you.’

On behalf of the Musalmans of India, I wholeheartedly and deeply sympathise with the people of Syria and Lebanon and those who have fallen and have suffered for their nations.

Extracts from M. A. Jinnah’s speech at a public meeting in Bombay denouncing the British and American policy of allowing the entry of 1,000,000 Jews into Palestine in violation of the pledges given to the Palestinian Arabs, November 8, 1945.

‘We, Mussalmans of India, are one with the Arab world and the Arabs all over the world on this issue. It is not a question of national home for Jews in Palestine. It is a question of Jews re-conquering Palestine, which they had lost 2,000 years ago, with the help of British bayonets and American money.

I have no enmity against Jews I know they were treated very badly in some parts of civilised Europe. But why should Palestine be dumped with such a large number of Jews? Why should the Arabs be given a threat which will wipe them out of Palestine? If the Jews want to reconquer Palestine, let them face the Arabs without British or American help.’

Mr Jinnah said, ‘Here comes the President of a great country thinking entirely of Jewry and the interest of Jews. President Truman had the effrontery to put pressure on the British Government to allow 1,000,000 Jews into Palestine, while he has agreed after a long period of vacillations to allow only 100 Indians to migrate in United States of America.’

When a section of the audience shouted ‘shame, shame’, Mr Jinnah turned round and exclaimed ‘It is not shame, it is criminal. There is no justice, no principle for fair play. It is monstrous and criminal.’

Why does not President Truman take 1,000,000 Jews in the United States, asked Mr Jinnah ‘why not send these Jews to Canada or Australia, if they want to treat them with charity and generosity? The reason is that the Jews do not want a national home in Palestine. What they want is to reconquer Palestine which they lost 2,000 years ago, with the help of British bayonets and American money.’

Letter from Pethick-Lawrence to Wavell concerning the American requirements for military bases in British-controlled territory particularly at Karachi and Calcutta, December 14, 1945.

Private and top secret India Office, My dear Wavell,

I think I should let you know for your personal information that an approach has recently been made to us by the United States Secretary of State for assistance in obtaining American requirements regarding military bases in British and other territory. The approach primarily concerns various islands in the Pacific some of which are our own or under Empire mandate and other[s] of which the sovereignty is disputed between us and the American. It also concerns Iceland and the Portuguese Atlantic Islands, but in addition they have included a request that the United Kingdom should keep herself or get under United Kingdom control two existing bases in India, one at Karachi and the other outside Calcutta.

The Americans consider that these two bases are strategically important and apparently contemplate concluding arrangements in advance of the establishment of an International system of security under the United Nations Charter, though all bases acquired would be available to the Security Council on its call.

There are grave objections both political and military to any action taken now which would tend to prejudice the establishment or success of the World Organisation and we have expressed our apprehensions to the Americans on that score and are awaiting their reply.

Extracts from the statement made by the Afghan Representative before the UN General Assembly on the question of Pakistan’s admission to the United Nations, September 30, 1947.

Mr Hosayn Aziz (Afghanistan): Afghanistan heartily shares in the rejoicing of the peoples of Pakistan in their freedom. We have profound respect for Pakistan. May Pakistan prosper.

The Afghanistan delegation does not wish to oppose the membership of Pakistan in this great Organisation, but it is with the deepest regret that we are unable at this time to vote for Pakistan. This unhappy circumstance is due to the fact that we cannot recognise the North-West Frontier as part of Pakistan so long as the people of the North-West Frontier have not been given an opportunity free from any kind of influence and I repeat, free from any kind of influence to determine for themselves whether they wish to be independent or to become a part of Pakistan.

The reasons which compel our present action will be given in a statement which I shall make at a later date to the General Assembly.

As the position of my delegation is different with respect to Yemen and to Pakistan, I propose that the application of each be voted upon separately.

M. A. Jinnah’s letter to Attlee regarding the Congres leaders’ efforts to bring about the collapse of Pakistan, October 1, 1947.

Dear Mr Attlee,

Many thanks for your letter of September 25 which I received yesterday, and I am extremely grateful to you for your sympathy and good wishes. Let me assure you that the Dominion of Pakistan has no other objective but they fervently hope and pray that they may be allowed to live their lives in security and peace, and build up the new Dominion, although we are starting from scratch, in a manner which will lead to the prosperity and the happiness of all the inhabitants of Pakistan irrespective of the question of caste, creed or colour. But I regret to have to say that every effort is being made to put difficulties in our way by our enemies in order to paralyse or cripple our State and bring about its collapse. It is the case of the wolf and the lamb. I know that it may be a foolish dream and a futile objective of those who are pursuing this policy of disrupting Pakistan, and I also feel that ultimately it is impossible to break Pakistan, but if things are allowed to go on as they are and the situation is not immediately taken in hand, the results we are now witnessing will pale into insignificance…

Yours sincerely, M. A. Jinnah Right Honourable Mr Clement Attlee, Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, Whitehall, London.

Letter from M. A. Jinnah to Nizam of Hyderabad thanking for his donation, 15 October 1947.

Your Exalted Highness,

Many thanks for your telegram dated October 11. I was very pleased indeed that you have been good enough to send another handsome donation of two lakhs maintaining equality between Hindustan and Pakistan.

Your Exalted Highness knows that the resources of the Dominion of India are very vast whereas Pakistan is starting from scratch and is certainly poorer in finance and economic resources. Besides Pakistan has a special claim on Hyderabad as after all Your Exalted Highness is a Muslim Ruler and Muslims therefore naturally expect more from Hyderabad having regard to your historic position. It seems that you are trying to hold the scales even without due regard and consideration to the special factors which constitute a strong tie between you and Musalmans particularly those of Pakistan which now stands as an independent sovereign State of great magnitude and power among the nations of the world. Don’t you therefore think that this meticulous holding of scales so strictly even is calculated to proclaim your neutrality whereas there are special ties and affinities which exist between Your Exalted Highness and the Muslims. Please do not think that I am trying to get more money. God is great, and we shall go through this dire calamity which has overtaken us. But I have drawn your attention to the position taken up by you which seems to me somewhat unnatural.

Thanking you again for your generous donation.

Yours sincerely, M. A. Jinnah His Exalted Highness Nawab Sir Mir Usman Ali Khan, Bahadur, GCSI, GBE Nizam of Hyderabad & Berar.

M.A.H. Ispahani’s letter to M. A. Jinnah concerning his meeting with the US President and Mir Laiq Ali’s negotiations with US officials, October 15, 1947.

My dear Quaid-i-Azam,

In continuation of my letter of yesterday, I have to inform you that the steering of the Cadillac cannot be changed. As for the colour, the factory at Detroit has been contacted telephonically and if the painting has not been finished, the change will be effected.

The Secretary of our Delegation to the United Nations sends to the Foreign Office summaries generally, and also full reports on questions in which we are interested or we figure.

Sir Zafrullah has made a big hit over the Palestine case and has put Pakistan in the front row. He is wanted back, to represent Pakistan before the Assets and Liabilities Tribunal. He shall have to leave long before the UN session ends. His work has just begun. We shall miss his company and his guidance. We are very short staffed both in the UN and in Washington. Unless proper provision is made soon for Washington and a proper secretariat is sent out with the next delegation, our work cannot but suffer. One Secretary is grossly inadequate.

Everyone is working himself to a standstill only to find that large portion remains still unfinished.

The newspapers are not flashing for the last four days any ‘killing’ news from East and West Pakistan and Delhi. Does silence mean good news? When I saw the President, I utilised my 12 minutes fully in giving him a picture of Pakistan. He wanted it. I told him how anxious we were to balance our economy, to industrialise our country, to improve our health and education and to raise the standard of living. He replied very sympathetically saying that it was the aim and desire of the United States to render every assistance possible to countries who had noble aims like ours. The negotiations for which Laik Ali has come have advanced somewhat. They will, I hope, proceed further when he meets Mr Clayton of the Finance Section of the State Department. We are hopeful of results.

With kind regards, Very sincerely yours, HASSAN

Letter from M. A. Jinnah to M.A.H. Ispahani about Mir Laiq Ali’s activities abroad and refugee relief fund, October 22, 1947.

My dear Hassan,

I have received your letter of October 14, and two letters of the 15th and thank you very much for them.

With reference to your letter of the 14th, I do not mind the leftdrive, but please try as to the colour and get me the sample I have sent you, namely the picture of the Cadillac 60 Special.

I note that you are pursuing your efforts about the aeroplane and Lincoln.

I was really very happy to hear from you, although I had very good reports of the way in which our delegation not only acquitted itself, but distinguished itself

I have noted your difficulties about the staff, and I can quite understand how hard you must all be pressed, but I hope that you do realise that we are starting from scratch. I will, however, forward your request to the Foreign Office.

I am very glad that you are making effort to help us in our refugee relief fund. That is an enormous problem and we need all the help that is possible for us to get.

As regards Zafrullah, we do not mean that he should leave his work so long as it is necessary for him to stay there, and I think he has already been informed to that effect, but naturally we are very short here of capable men, and especially of his calibre, and every now and then our eyes naturally turn to him for various problems that we have to solve.

With regard to the situation in India, there is a lull but we are not out of the woods yet.

I have noted what you say about Laik Ali. He is keeping us in touch with his activities.

I was very pleased indeed to read your speech and the reply of Truman, when you presented your credentials to him as the Ambassador of Pakistan. So far so good, but the real thing is how America will, in fact, react for the benefit and the mutual advantage of both.

Thanking you, Yours sincerely, M. A. JINNAH


Excerpted with permission from Jinnah on World Affairs (Select Documents: 1908-1948) Edited by Mehrunnisa Ali Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi, Karachi ISBN 969-8791-11-6 728pp. Rs800

Mehrunnisa Ali, a professor of Political Science at the University of Karachi, has contributed numerous research papers to national and international journals and is the author of Politics of Federalism In Pakistan, which was published in 1996.


Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah: books about

The letters of Phillips Talbot (1938-1950)

Moment in history

Reviewed by Muhammad Ali Siddiqi/ February 03, 2008

Dawn

Mohammad Ali Jinnah


Phillips Talbot's book An American Witness to India’s partition perhaps has a wrong title: more appropriately it should have been An American’s Tribute to Jinnah. It is indeed astonishing that Phillips Talbot wrote in the late ’40s, when he was in his 20s, what Stanley Wolpert would say about Jinnah some 40 years later.

'Constitutionally and by long habit a very cold-blooded logician’

Note these remarks: ‘Jinnah organised and hastened the development of Muslim solidarity with master strategy. By shrewd, brainy bargaining, cold-blooded astuteness, an absolute refusal to be panicked and perceptive recognition of the strengths and weakness of both himself and his opponent(s), he has turned every opportunity to the advantage of the League. In negotiations he has consistently proved a match for the Congres high command with all its talent.’ And when Jinnah said o f himself that ‘I am constitutionally and by long habit a very cold-blooded logician’, Talbot said ‘no one could have analysed him better’.

As for Jinnah’s handling of the various constitutional proposals and political traps, Talbot says, ‘Mr Jinnah’s navigation through these shoals was a parliamentary masterpiece’ and ‘the League came out of the affair unscathed, then, and full credit for that goes to Mr Jinnah’

He calls Jinnah ‘a slender-fingered, patrician, brainy, bull-headed man’ who has ‘never accepted an honour from the British government; the prospect of personal or favour seems hardly to have affected his policy’.

An observer of his times

The book consists of letters which Talbot wrote for the Institute of Current World Affairs, which had sent him to India on a fellowship at a time when the freedom struggle was heading toward its culmination, and the issue was not whether the British would leave but whether there would be one country or two. In his foreword Talbot seems to regret that the letters (written between 1938 and 1950) as finally published in this book have been neither ‘updated nor amended’. This exactly is the value of the book, for subsequent amendments or ‘editing’ to update them would have meant spoiling the originality of the comments, which were characterised by on-spot spontaneity.

From a Pakistani’s point of view, there was another danger. If allowed, his editors might have edited or pruned the letters to conform to a tradition in American writings in which Gandhi, Nehru and the Congres leadership are assumed a priori to be correct, and Jinnah and the Muslim League consequently denounced. While the former were supposedly fighting for the noble task of helping the British keep India united, Jinnah and his League were the villains because they stood for a separate Muslim entity.

His travels across India and his meetings with the leaders and personalities and visits to institutions cut across ethnic and religious divides and enabled him to have an understanding of the mammoth problems involved in the transfer of power and the partition of what indeed is a subcontinent with stunning social, political and geographical diversities. He visited the Aligarh Muslim University, attended a mushaira, noted the ‘vah, vah’ and ‘bahut khub’, met Jinnah and other Muslim League leaders, was at Lahore when the Pakistan Resolution was adopted and seemed to have grasped the underlying idea behind Muslim separatism.

He wrote in one of his letters ‘… I fear the Congres dream of governing the second most populous state on earth and the Muslim vision of creating the greatest Islamic state of the world are too opposed, too grandiose to coalesce at this moment in history’. He noted Jinnah’s contempt for Nehru — ‘that busybody… (who) seems to carry the responsibility of the whole world on his shoulders and must poke his nose in everything except minding his own business.’

As for Ghaffar Khan, Talbot says his ‘burning resentment against everything British... is matched only his devotion to Gandhi... probably the central Gandhian ideal has few more devoted supporters than the man who himself came to be called the Frontier Gandhi’

After visiting Kashmir and western parts of India Talbot predicted seven years before independence that ‘the coming generations will see terrific and perhaps violent changes’. He went to riot-torn areas when partition had still not taken place, the Congres and Muslim League had failed to come an understanding, and any event was good enough to unleash communal frenzy. He remarks that Gandhi ‘must bear part of the blame for rousing profound suspicions among Muslims during the last 10 years. More than once he has torpedoed a prospective inert-party agreement by declaring a partisan view’.

He was in Karachi when Jinnah took his oath as Governor General on Aug 14, 1947, and noted, ‘Jinnah did this job almost single-handedly’.

Some of his observations about what the future held for Pakistan were profound. While the Pathans, Punjabis and the Baloch were ‘vigorous racial types’, Sindhis and Kashmiris would ‘lend their qualities’ to Pakistan if and when it came into being. He predicted that Pakistan would be better off than India in terms of food, but after a visit to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly NWFP) he remarked that the there would be a serious conflict in Pakistan between the conservative elements of society and modernisation.

During the Second World War, Talbot served in the US Navy, but returned to India in 1946 to report for Chicago Daily News. His years in South Asia helped him in this task for it was a time when negotiations for the partition of India were heading toward the denouncement. His involvement with the subcontinent continued when in 1961 President Kennedy chose him to be the Undersecretary of State for Near-Eastern and South Asian Affairs.

Talbot returned to Pakistan in 1950 and noted ‘a buoyant mood among its leaders and most people.’ By their standards, he said, ‘1949 was kinder than 1948 and even farther above the level of 1947’. I wish any foreigner who returns to Pakistan after a long gap could say the same thing about us today.

An American Witness to India’s partition By Phillips Talbot Sage Publications, India ISBN: 978-0-7619-3618-3 440 pp. Indian Rs720

A summation of the various books written about Jinnah

COVER STORY: All the world’s a stage

By Mamun M. Adil/ March 23, 2008

Dawn

Jinnah’s personality

In 1940 the Quaid-i-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah declared the need for two separate countries at the All India Muslim League’s annual session in Lahore, thereby dispelling any thoughts for a United India.

According to Stanley Wolpert, author of Jinnah of Pakistan, this was the moment when Jinnah, ‘the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity had totally transformed himself into Pakistan’s great leader. ’

The books

Jinnah’s personality

Sadly, while there is a plethora of books on Jinnah and the creation of Pakistan, there aren’t too many that focus on Jinnah’s personality. In fact, when it came to reading books about Jinnah and Pakistan’s history, my initial reaction was an inward groan. At least initially.

After all, I thought, what could be interesting about a man whose main mantra that we have all heard is ‘kaam kaam aur sirf kaam…’? I mean, talk about all work and no play…

Having had to read at least half a dozen books on the history of Pakistan, and Mr Jinnah’s life, and flipping through another dozen of late, I realised the problem was that most of them were, — dare I say it? — rather boring. Mainly because most of them portray Mr Jinnah as a rather grim old man, working tirelessly, with no interest other than the creation of Pakistan.

And, for the most part, while most of the books that are available are comprehensive in their accounts of Jinnah’s adult life, not many delve too deep into Jinnah as a young boy and a young man. The accounts about his foray into politics, are detailed, and sometimes, rather exhausting (not just exhaustive) to read.

Even some of the books that I went through that detailed his childhood went as far as to state that as a young boy, Jinnah worked under the street lamp’s light, toiling away until he fell ill, saying things like, ‘I cannot achieve anything until I work hard.’ (I mean, really! Talk about martyrising the dead — a practise we have followed to the hilt with Benazir Bhutto’s tragic recent assassination, although that is an entirely different story.)

His married life in books

Only a couple of books that I came across actually brought Mr Jinnah the man to life — as opposed to the solemn Quaid — delving into his reasons for working tirelessly towards the creation of Pakistan, (rather than doing it), his idealism, shedding some light on his enigmatic personality, his drive, his brashness, his arrogance, his determination and even his romantic side.

Cricket

Some of the books that have managed to delve into Jinnah’s earlier years, with an emphasis on his personality rather than his accomplishments include Jinnah of Pakistan by Stanley Wolpert, Jinnah Creator of Pakistan by Hector Bolitho and Jinnah and his times by Aziz Beg. The Green Titan by Ahmad Saeed and The Great Leader by S. Abdul Lateef are also noteworthy in this aspect.

In some of these books, an anecdote about a 14-year-old Jinnah convincing his school friends to stop playing marbles and play cricket instead is told. (This anecdote has been used by the Dawn Media Group in the first episode of what promises to be an inspiring comic series showcasing landmark events from Mr Jinnah’s life, making his life and ideals more accessible to younger audiences in the process.)

In Beg’s biography of Jinnah, this anecdote is further elaborated upon: ‘When later, he (Jinnah) was tied up in knots with the Congres he used to say, ‘The Congres plays marbles, I want them to play cricket.’

Beg further elaborates that while in Bombay, ‘on many an occasion, when a cricket test match was on in Bombay, as he (Jinnah) entered his senior’s room after lunch, one of his first questions used to be: “what’s the score?”’

Shakespeare

Another interesting aspect of the young Jinnah’s life that is often overlooked is the fact that throughout his life, Jinnah was enthralled with Shakespeare. So much so, that he was even hired by a theatrical company (after he was called to the bar) to read out passages by Shakespeare on stage. However, his life as an orator was not to be, since his father wrote to him telling him to rid his mind of such ideas, and not ‘be a traitor to the family.’

In Jinnah my brother, Fatima Jinnah admitted that Jinnah ‘even in the days of his most political life, when he returned home tired and late, he would read Shakespeare, his voice resonant…’

Other accounts also state that Jinnah nursed the ambition to play Romeo, while some state that he actually did play Romeo, although these aren’t substantiated too well.

Bolitho’s anecdotes mention many of Jinnah’s contemporaries stating that he was a natural born actor when he was in court, thoroughly convincing, and having the power to capture his audience’s attention.

‘Jinnah’s arrogance would have destroyed a man of lesser will and talent. Some of us used to resent his insolent manner — his overbearing ways and what seemed a lack of kindness. But no one could deny his power of argument. When he stood up in court, slowly looking towards the judge, placing his monocle in his eye — with the sense of timing you would expect from an actor — he became omnipotent. Yes, that is the word — omnipotent.’

Interestingly enough, Jinnah, despite his love for Shakespeare, didn’t have patience for fanciful passages. He is said to have told many of his speech writers, ‘I don’t care for beautiful language; I only wish to see my idea come through.’

In fact, the only time that Mr Jinnah is said to have quoted Shakespeare in the course of his adult life was during a conversation with none other than Mahatma Gandhi.

Bolitho states: ‘When Gandhi asked Jinnah how he wished to be addressed, Jinnah answered: ‘I thank you for your anxiety to respect my wishes in the matter of the prefix you should use with my name. What is a prefix after all? ‘A rose by another name would smell as sweet.’

But while there is ample proof of Jinnah’s love for the Bard, perhaps the most interesting anecdote that I have read so far took place when Gandhi and Nehru were in jail in India. A friend said to Jinnah: ‘All the leaders have been arrested at some time or other except you.’

Impishness

Impishness

Jinnah responded, betraying a hint of a sense of humour: ‘Oh I have also had my friction with the police. It was on Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race Night when I was a student in London. I was with two friends and we were caught up with a crowd of undergraduates. We found a hand cart in a side street, so we pushed each other up and down the roadway, until we were arrested and taken off to the police station. But I am afraid we were not imprisoned. We were left off with a caution.’

It is these anecdotes perhaps that I will remember more than facts about the Lucknow Pact, his disenchantment of Congres, the details of his many inspiring speeches. Not because they are not important — far from it — but because these anecdotes bring to life Mr Jinnah — the man, who like us, had flaws, made mistakes, gave way to his temptations (in terms of his eating and drinking habits) and yet, despite it all, he managed to change the map of the world.

In Wolpert’s words, ‘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 the three.’

The Quaid's personality

A Leader’s Life Reviewed By Naseer Ahmed

Jinnah

The book on the life of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, starts with the poem ‘Millat Ka Pasbaan’ by Mian Bashir Ahmed, which was recited at the Pakistan Resolution on March 23, 1940 during the annual session of the Muslim League highlights almost every aspect of the leader’s life.

With its 21 chapters and four appendixes, the book provides us with authentic material on all aspects of the Quaid’s life including politics.

The book shuns the notion that he was rude or a dry person. A handsome agglomeration of his anecdotes and funny statement dipped in the witty tinge are presented which reflect the acuity of the great leader.

The religious side of the Quaid has been shrouded by clouds of doubts, mostly created by his contemporaries-cum-opponents, in order to distort his towering person, but the writer has provided ample proof to bring forth the strong faith the Quaid had and practiced throughout his lifetime. As his character was immaculate, his religious approach too was orthodox and immaculate.


Another topic, which has been portrayed as the most controversial topic — which actually is not — is Quaid an English toady or a rebel? This topic logically proves that the abysmal propaganda spread by his opponents is not more than a hue and cry; and that the Quaid was a man of integrity, not only in the eyes of the Muslims of the India, religious circles, common masses, but also in the eyes of unprejudiced observers and distinguished persons of the world. Of course there were people who termed him as a traitor and an English toady but these were just biased opinions.

The Quaid was not only a political but a man of faith as well. In this connection, the dream of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, renowned religious scholar and veteran leader of the Pakistan Movement, has been recorded as an eye opener and provides excellent supporting material for the removal of fog which, sometimes, shrouds the persona of the Quaid.

In addition to the writer’s narrative, the valued opinion of Ashfaq Ahmed (late) the famous literary giant of Urdu at the back leaf of the hard binding, also adds savour to its flavour.


Quaid-i-Azam: Bemisaal Shakhsiyat, Darakhshan Kirdaar Ki Jhalkiyan

By Saleem Chaudary

Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore.

ISBN 969-35-0694-4

291pp. Rs210

India’s unity and the Quaid

He never wanted a united India: Ishtiaq Ahmed

Manimugdha Sharma, September 13, 2020: The Times of India

For quite some time now, a view has been taking root in India that puts the blame for Partition at the door of Congress, with Jinnah coming off favourably even as Jawaharlal Nehru is painted as the man who wanted to be prime minister by any means even if that meant dividing India on religious grounds. Now, a new book by Ishtiaq Ahmed, Swedish political scientist of Pakistani descent, has rubbished this theory, arguing that Jinnah, who is venerated as Quaide-Azam in Pakistan, was adamant about partitioning India even though the Congress led by Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru tried till the very last moment to change his mind and keep India united.

“Jinnah spared no opportunity to communally attack Congress as a ‘Hindu party’ and Gandhi as a ‘caste Hindu’ and a ‘totalitarian dictator’,” Ahmed, the author of ‘Jinnah: His Successes, Failures and Role in History’, told TOI. “I have shown that from March 22, 1940, when Jinnah delivered his presidential address in Lahore, followed by the March 23, 1940 resolution passed on March 24, not even once did Jinnah or the Muslim League ever suggest their willingness to accept a united India, even with a loose federal system with most powers vested in the provinces.”

This new perspective challenges Pakistani-American historian Prof Ayesha Jalal’s theory that has held since the mid-1980s that Jinnah did his bit to come to a power-sharing agreement with the Congress. “From the late 1930s his main concern was the arrangements by which power at the centre was to be shared once the British quit India,” Jalal wrote in her 1985 book, The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan.

But Ahmed claims Jinnah did no such thing, and there isn’t a shred of evidence to support this theory. “There are ad infinitum speeches, statements and messages of Jinnah explicitly demanding the partition of India to create Pakistan. Also, Jinnah on scores of occasions said that it is was nefarious Congress propaganda that he and the Muslim League were using the demand for Pakistan as a bargaining chip. He rejected such an insinuation saying he wanted the partition of India to create a separate and independent Pakistan,” Ahmed says.

Ahmed also accepts the theory that says that the British agreed to partition India as they feared a Congress-led India wouldn’t further the British imperialist cause, which a Muslim League-led Pakistan would. He has relied on primary sources, including Transfer of Power documents, to show that the British really feared that with so many socialist leaders, including Nehru, Congress-led India might ally with the Soviet Union.

Eventually when Partition happened, Jinnah complained about having received a “motheaten Pakistan”. But it appears that he wanted further division of India with a separate state for the Sikhs comprising the princely states in East Punjab and a separate Dravidistan in South India.

The Stockholm University professor emeritus also rejects the claim that Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be a secular state: a view that arose from his August 11, 1947, speech to the Pakistan constituent assembly. “My theory is that the speech was to convince the Indian government not to expel the 35 million Muslims who were in India because Pakistan would prevent Hindus and Sikhs from leaving too by protecting them,” Ahmed says.

This was in keeping with the Muslim League’s ‘hostage theory’.


In 1946, he did

Saurabh Banerjee, June 23, 2022: The Times of India


As tributes go, Stanley Wolpert’s praise for Mohammad Ali Jinnah was gushing. ‘Few individuals,’ wrote Wolpert in his biography of Jinnah, ‘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.’ Except, in June 1946, Jinnah agreed to a plan which would neither have modified the map, nor created a nation-state.


The Muslim League had largely been an elitist party but all that changed in 1940. The other change that year was Jinnah’s increasingly shrill pitch for the creation of Pakistan. On March 25, 1940, at the end of the Lahore session of the League, Jinnah gave a press conference. ‘The declaration of our goal,’ he said, ‘which we have definitely laid down, of the division of India, is in my opinion a landmark in the future history of the Mussalmans of India…. I thoroughly believe that the idea of one united India is a dream.’ 
Later that year, he told the Delhi Muslim Students’ Federation: ‘The Hindus must give up their dream of a Hindu raj and agree to divide India into Hindu homeland and Muslim homeland. Today we are prepared to take only one-fourth of India and leave three-fourth to them. Pakistan was our goal today, for which the Muslims of India will live for and if necessary die for. It is not a counter for bargaining.’

But in 1946, the same Jinnah was willing to accept a united India — minus Pakistan. How did that happen? 
The War had ended. The last great imperialist, Winston Churchill, had been swept out of office in a Labour landslide. It was clear that Britain would have to leave India. So, Clement Attlee, then the British PM, cleared a three-member Cabinet Mission to visit India and try and hammer out a solution. Maybe it was already too late, but this would be the last attempt at an orderly withdrawal.


Secretary of State for India, Lord Freddie Pethick-Lawrence, was the nominal head of this mission. But the heavyweight was Sir Stafford Cripps, whose earlier mission to find a solution in 1942 had come to nothing. This time round Cripps was determined to go down in history as the person who had finally found the Answer to the ‘India Question’. To balance out these two public-school socialists, Attlee picked as the third member, the First Lord of the Admiralty, AV Alexander, a working-class Labour leader and a Chelsea supporter who loved beer and poetry.

The mission left Britain on March 19, 1946. This would be Cripps’ third visit to India. For Pethick-Lawrence, it would be the second. For years, he had written a weekly column for Annie Beasant’s ‘New India’. His wife, a suffragette, was a member of the India Conciliation Group, set up on Gandhi’s advice after the Second Round Table Conference. Cripps’ stepmother, too, was a member of this group. To the optimist, it might have seemed a solution was in the offing.


For Britain one thing was very clear. India should remain united. Because to divide India would be to divide its armed forces. How would one do that, without a very weak Pakistani army which would not be able to defend its western frontier?


By April 10, the mission had drawn up its plans. There would be two schemes. Scheme B would be the choice of the last resort, if there was absolutely no way of getting Indian players to accept Scheme A.

Broadly, Scheme A was a plan for a loose federation of Hindu-majority, Muslim-majority and princely states. It would be a three-tier system of government. At the top would be a small central ‘union’ government, which would look after communications, defence and foreign affairs. There would be equal representation of Hindus and Muslims at the centre. At the bottom would be the individual provinces. In the middle would be a grouping of provinces with a large degree of autonomy and power to secede from the union in the future. One group was to comprise Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and the North-West Frontier Province. Another, Bengal and Assam. And the third was the rest of India. 
Scheme B was to divide India into ‘Hindustan’ and a truncated Pakistan, a plan which Britain wanted to avoid at all cost.


The mission spent about three and a half months in India. Pethick-Lawrence managed to faint in the summer heat when the mercury touched 46 degrees Celsius, and then apologised for his ‘terrible weakness’. Cripps came down with colitis and spent some days in hospital. Alexander struck up a friendship with viceroy and governor general, the one-eyed Archibald Wavell, and bonded over poetry and piano. Hectic meetings took place in the summer heat and Wavell suspected Pethick-Lawrence and Cripps were being soft on Congress. In fact, he was appalled when Gandhi asked for water during a meeting, Pethick-Lawrence himself got up to fetch water, and when he was taking some time to return, Cripps went out to get water for Gandhi. 


And then in May, they all escaped to Simla where Cripps, Pethick-Lawrence, Alexander and Wavell met the Indian politicians separately in batches. Gandhi, too, reached Simla in a special train. The stage was set for hard negotiations.


But there was far too much animosity between the League and the Congress. At the opening session, Jinnah refused to shake hands with Abdul Kalam Azad, calling him a ‘stooge’ of the Hindus. By May 12, Pethick-Lawrence declared the Simla session closed. Little progress had been made. 
But the mission issued a statement. They declared the creation of a constituent assembly of elected representatives from 11 provinces who would frame a new constitution. They also outlined Scheme A, which explicitly opposed the creation of Pakistan, and made it clear that Pakistan, if created, would be a truncated version of Punjab and Bengal. The ball was now in the court of Jinnah and Congress. 
On June 6, 1946, Jinnah agreed to Scheme A. This was his best bet, even though it would lead to speculation that Pakistan had, after all, been a bargaining chip for him, never mind what he had told students in November 1940. While this would not give him Pakistan now, it would not leave him with a ‘moth-eaten’ state to inherit. Besides, there was always the provision to leave the union in the future. He couldn’t have known that he would be dead in two years’ time.


Initially, Gandhi seemed willing to go along with this scheme. It would, he said, ‘convert this land of sorrow into one without sorrow and suffering’. But then Congress changed tack and refused to play ball. What did it have to lose? Jinnah could get his truncated lands, and India would be a strong, united country, with a powerful Centre, have its own constitution, its own secular philosophy.

After that both sides hardened their stance. On August 16, Jinnah gave his call for Direct Action. One riot led to another, and then by mid-August 1947, two countries were born.

Wolpert’s superman, MA Jinnah, a Khoja Shia by birth, a London lawyer in Saville Row suits puffing away at his Craven A cigarettes, a man who had seduced the young daughter of his Parsi businessman friend and then married her, a man who built his politics around Islam but loved his ham sandwiches, a man who once talked of Hindu-Muslim unity, thus ended up being the father of a Sunni nation-state.

Sources: Jinnah: His Successes, Failures And Role In History by Ishtiaq Ahmed, Keeping The Jewel In The Crown by Walter Reid, Liberty Or Death by Patrick French

Saurabh Banerjee is Associate Editor, The Times of India. He is usually not as rude when you meet him person

More from the author

Religion and the Quaid

An Islamic cultural relativist or a brown sahib?

Yasser Latif Hamdani | Who was Jinnah, an Islamic cultural relativist or a brown sahib? | June 8, 2016 | The Express Tribune, Pakistan


There are two bar rooms in the Lahore High Court. One is considered the bar room of left liberals and progressives. The other bar room, much bigger of the two, is the favourite haunt of those with a tinge of religious right wing. The left leaning bar room has a photograph of an emaciated Mr Jinnah in a suit. The other one has a sombre portrait of him in a black sherwani and karakul cap. Next to his portrait is an equally serious portrait of Allama Iqbal.

In a poignant piece for Granta sometime ago New York Times journalist Jane Perlez pointed out that one’s choice of Jinnah portrait could tell a lot about one’s ideological affiliations in Pakistan. But what was Jinnah’s own ideology? Was he a liberal or a conservative? Which of the two bar rooms would he sit in if he were here today?

His background and training gives us a clue. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Quaid-e-Azam and the founding father of Pakistan, was born into an Ismaili household as Muhammadali Jinnahbhai, though he became a Khoja Ithna Ashari Shia in 1901 after the Agha Khan refused to bless his sister’s marriage outside the Ismaili community.


Earlier he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali Jinnah while at Lincoln’s Inn in 1892 arguing that the suffix “bhai” was rudimentary because in his view “bhai” and “mister” were interchangeable. Like all barristers, however, he was most commonly referred by his peers as “Jinnah” or “Mr Jinnah” depending on who addressed him.

His time at the Bombay bar suggests that young Mr Jinnah identified himself first and foremost as a modern Indian. To him most religious practices were either meaningless rituals or useless superstitions. Dietary restrictions were summarily rejected by him. From all accounts he ate and drank at Bombay’s finest eateries like Cornaglia’s Restaurant. These eateries did not serve halal food and that did not seem to bother him in the least. Indeed he was the embodiment of Macaulay’s ideal Indian, an Indian by skin and name but an Englishman in tastes and habits. From his time in London, he also imbibed the best that British liberalism had to offer, rejecting racial distinctions and tribal associations as relics of the past.

His commitment to this British brand of liberalism was so strong, that he was amongst the earliest supporters of the Suffragette Movement in Britain.


For a decade and a half, Jinnah was Bombay’s most eligible bachelor and its leading politician. In 1918 he, in the immortal words of Sarojini Naidu, plucked the blue flower of his desire. Ruttie Petit, the daughter of Parsi magnet Dinshaw Petit, had to convert to Islam. This had to do with the law which required, in the event of an inter-communal marriage, either renunciation of faith by both parties or conversion by one.

Jinnah, by now elected on a Muslim constituency, had to retain his religious identity. It was well known, however, in Bombay’s circles that Ruttie Jinnah’s conversion to Islam was merely in name. Instead of becoming a Muslim wife, Ruttie freely dabbled in theosophy and even delivered lectures on it in Duke University in the US.

Meanwhile her strapless dresses often created scandals. On two separate occasions, Jinnah walked out with his wife, after a host chided Ruttie for wearing strapless dresses. Once was at a dinner with Lord and Lady Wellingdon. The second was when the Begum of Bhopal told Ruttie that she was a Muslim now and that she should dress accordingly. Jinnah’s reaction on both occasions is instructive.

Politics often decides its own course. Jinnah’s politics continuously evolved from 1906 when he joined the Congress to the time he took office as Pakistan’s first Governor General. Much has been written about it. There is no dispute, even amongst his worst critics, that from 1906 right up to 1937, Jinnah’s politics were completely secular.

During this period he saw himself as an Indian first, second and last and was unwaveringly committed to the ideal of a united and independent India. It was only after 1937, after failing to secure an equitable power sharing arrangement with the Congress in UP, that Jinnah turned his attention to consolidating the Muslim community as a voting bloc. It is a fact that even when Jinnah took up the Muslim cause, his idea of Islam was informed not by the religious orthodoxy, but by a modernist interpretation of Islam.

This was a time, when the modernists in the Muslim intelligentsia far outnumbered the religiously orthodox. The binary of secular versus religious just did not exist for the modernist Muslims of the Muslim League. This is why for Jinnah there was no contradiction in speaking about Islamic principles of justice and fair play in one speech and speaking of religion as a personal matter in another.

Laws; whether religious or secular, in Jinnah’s estimation could only be drafted, discussed and enacted by modern men and women elected through the ballot. All citizens of Pakistan regardless of their religion or gender would be equal citizens of the new state.

Jinnah made it absolutely clear that Pakistan would not be a theocracy to be run by priests with a divine mission. There was no space for a Council of Islamic Ideology and the Federal Shariat Court in this vision. Nor could he have imagined that one day Pakistan’s National Assembly would decide whether a particular sect is Muslim or not.


Was he a liberal or a conservative?


General Ziaul Haq’s Islamising government in the 80s actively censored his photographs in suits, his photographs with dogs, and him smoking cigars. Instead the Zia government tried to project him as an Islamic cultural relativist, which was the farthest from what he was.

Take it or leave it but Jinnah was the embodiment of the term “brown sahib”. He smoked, drank and ate as he pleased, all the while dressed in immaculate three piece suits and two tone shoes. As a politician trying to mobilise the masses, he did don the sherwani and karakul for select public occasions but that was an exception, not the rule. When the Islamists and conservatives try to find a puritan and a fundamentalist in Jinnah they are sorely disappointed. This is why they insist on elevating Allama Iqbal, the true cultural relativist as his equal as a founding father.

Nor should left liberals and secularists expect to find a consistent and an ideologically pure secular position in Jinnah’s politics post 1937. He was a great advocate and a master politician but never an ideologue. Jinnah was essentially a liberal and modern man who nevertheless was a pragmatist catering to the idiom of his people.

We must therefore study Jinnah holistically as a great practitioner of the art of politics. We should refrain from retrofitting our own ideologies on him.


Yasser Latif Hamdani: The writer is a lawyer based in Lahore and the author of the book Mr Jinnah: Myth and Reality. He tweets as @theRealYLH (twitter.com/therealylh)


Vignettes

Ajeet Jawed’s anecdotes

Ishtiaq Ahmed, April 18, 2022: The Times of India

In this excerpt, the professor emeritus of political science at Stockholm University cites a book that claims how the founder of Pakistan began pining to return to his Mumbai house after Partition and wanting to be ‘friends’ with Nehru again

[Scholar and author of Secular and Nationalist Jinnah ] Ajeet Jawed narrates that when Mohammad Ali Jinnah heard that the Indian government was thinking of requisitioning his Malabar Hill house, he was shocked. In desperation, he pleaded with the first Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Sri Prakasa:


“Tell Jawaharlal Nehru not to break my heart. I have built it brick by brick. Who can live in a house like that?... You do not know how I love Bombay. I still look forward to going back there.” 
Sri Prakasa asked in amazement, “May I tell the Prime Minister that you are wanting to be back there?” Jinnah replied, “Yes, you may.” 
Ajeet Jawed does not tell us if Sri Prakasa informed Nehru and what his response was. We learn that the high commissioner felt that after the assassination of Gandhi, Jinnah realised that it was pointless wanting to return to Bombay. Such a conversation must have taken place shortly before the assassination of Gandhi.


To express such longing for his beloved house in Bombay [now Mumbai] when millions of people had lost family and friends and been uprooted violently from their ancestral abodes provides some idea of Jinnah’s complete disconnect — in fact, dissonance — with the traumatic experience of ordinary folks. There can be no denying that Jinnah was the principal protagonist of the partition demand: others reacted to it.

Another alleged statement of Jinnah that Jawed quotes is: “I have committed the biggest blunder in creating Pakistan and would like to go to Delhi and tell Nehru to forget the follies of the past and become friends again.”


At another place she mentions that Jinnah told the Muslim League Council that he was still an Indian citizen: “I tell you I still consider myself to be an Indian. For the moment I have accepted the Governor-Generalship of Pakistan. But I am looking forward to a time when I would return to India and my place as a citizen of my country.”


That sounds incredible, and if anything of the sort was uttered by Jinnah, it must have been with a view to maintaining his right to property, because the Malabar Hill house had not been sold, although a deal with the industrialist Dalmia was discussed, according to rumours.


The meeting of the Muslim League Council was held on December 17 in Karachi. From the excerpts which we have quoted earlier Jinnah persuaded the Muslim delegates from India not to dissolve the Muslim League and join the Indian National Congress as Maulana Azad had advised them. Such a decision would mean the end of distinct Muslim political identity in India.


Moreover, on December 19, in an extended interview to Robert Stimson of the BBC, Jinnah had outright rejected the suggestion of the BBC correspondent that since Pakistan had been achieved the Muslim League could be opened for membership to all Pakistanis and given a new name, the Pakistan League. Jinnah had argued that such a drastic change of name and membership would not be accepted by Pakistani Muslims.

MA Jinnah longed to return to his house in Malabar Hill, Mumbai

Continuing with other such remarks she mentions the more familiar claim of Jinnah: “Who told you that the Muslim League brought in Pakistan? I brought in Pakistan with my stenographer.” Now, if he said that, then the supposition that he was sceptical about the creation of Pakistan, let alone wanting to dissolve it, becomes extraordinarily questionable.


Having said that, one cannot discount altogether that Jinnah had confided in Sri Prakasa a human longing for Bombay and all the associations that Malabar Hill represented. 


Jawed also informs that Jinnah allegedly wrote to Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. She quotes the letter: 
Khan Sahib I know that you are a man of character and integrity. It is honest men like you whose help I need to build up Pakistan. As it is I am surrounded by thieves and scoundrels and through them I can do little for the poor Muslims who have suffered so much [...] I am a very much misunderstood man. I never wanted all this blood-shed. I want peace, believe me so that I can do something for the masses [...] I am myself anxious to convert the League into National League, open to every loyal citizen of Pakistan. But I am being attacked by mad Mullahs and extremists who are out to create trouble for me. That is exactly why I want you and your colleagues to join the League and help me oust these dangerous elements. 
In all the collected works of Jinnah’s speeches, statements and messages, this speech does not figure. The reference to bloodshed, thieves surrounding him, his being under pressure from mad mullahs and extremists to declare Pakistan an Islamic state and his desire to change the name of the Muslim League to National League all means that Pakistan had come into being, with rioting and mounting pressure to declare Pakistan an Islamic state.

That could be any time after the August 11, 1947 speech, probably more towards the end of 1947 or early 1948. The problem is that on August 22, 1947, the NWFP (North-West Frontier Province) ministry headed by Dr Khan Sahib, the elder brother of Ghaffar Khan, was dismissed by Jinnah, who arbitrarily acquired such powers.


As noted earlier, even his hand-picked governor of the NWFP, Sir George Cunningham, found that the dismissal contravened the powers he had been granted as governor-general. Jinnah had already, in March 1947, demanded that Dr Khan Sahib should resign and again in July 1947 after the referendum was won by the Muslim League.


Such demands had been followed by the decision to dismiss the ministry in complete contravention of the parliamentary system. In such circumstances, writing such a conciliatory letter to Ghaffar Khan, in which he described his close colleagues as thieves, makes little sense.


It is to be noted that Ghaffar Khan did join the Pakistan Constituent Assembly on February 23, 1948 but a meeting between him and Jinnah never took place and both remained estranged. The several statements and the letter to Ghaffar Khan are not to be found in the collected works of Jinnah. Ajeet Jawed alleges that they have been expunged by the Pakistan government.


Excerpted with permission from Jinnah: His Successes, Failures and Role in History (Penguin Random House).


Agreeing to a united India

Saurabh Banerjee, August 22, 2021: The Times of India


In 1946, Jinnah accepted the Cabinet Mission’s plan of an undivided India. Had that happened, the history of the subcontinent could have been very different..

As tributes go, Stanley Wolpert’s praise for Mohammad Ali Jinnah was gushing. ‘Few individuals,’ wrote Wolpert in his biography of Jinnah, ‘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.’ Except, in June 1946, Jinnah agreed to a plan which would neither have modified the map, nor created a nation-state.


The Muslim League had largely been an elitist party but all that changed in 1940. The other change that year was Jinnah’s increasingly shrill pitch for the creation of Pakistan. On March 25, 1940, at the end of the Lahore session of the League, Jinnah gave a press conference. ‘The declaration of our goal,’ he said, ‘which we have definitely laid down, of the division of India, is in my opinion a landmark in the future history of the Mussalmans of India…. I thoroughly believe that the idea of one united India is a dream.’


Later that year, he told the Delhi Muslim Students’ Federation: ‘The Hindus must give up their dream of a Hindu raj and agree to divide India into Hindu homeland and Muslim homeland. Today we are prepared to take only one-fourth of India and leave three-fourth to them. Pakistan was our goal today, for which the Muslims of India will live for and if necessary die for. It is not a counter for bargaining.’

But in 1946, the same Jinnah was willing to accept a united India — minus Pakistan. How did that happen?


The War had ended. The last great imperialist, Winston Churchill, had been swept out of office in a Labour landslide. It was clear that Britain would have to leave India. So, Clement Attlee, then the British PM, cleared a three-member Cabinet Mission to visit India and try and hammer out a solution. Maybe it was already too late, but this would be the last attempt at an orderly withdrawal. 
Secretary of State for India, Lord Freddie Pethick-Lawrence, was the nominal head of this mission. But the heavyweight was Sir Stafford Cripps, whose earlier mission to find a solution in 1942 had come to nothing. This time round Cripps was determined to go down in history as the person who had finally found the Answer to the ‘India Question’. To balance out these two public-school socialists, Attlee picked as the third member, the First Lord of the Admiralty, AV Alexander, a working-class Labour leader and a Chelsea supporter who loved beer and poetry.

The mission left Britain on March 19, 1946. This would be Cripps’ third visit to India. For Pethick-Lawrence, it would be the second. For years, he had written a weekly column for Annie Beasant’s ‘New India’. His wife, a suffragette, was a member of the India Conciliation Group, set up on Gandhi’s advice after the Second Round Table Conference. Cripps’ stepmother, too, was a member of this group. To the optimist, it might have seemed a solution was in the offing.


For Britain one thing was very clear. India should remain united. Because to divide India would be to divide its armed forces. How would one do that, without a very weak Pakistani army which would not be able to defend its western frontier?


By April 10, the mission had drawn up its plans. There would be two schemes. Scheme B would be the choice of the last resort, if there was absolutely no way of getting Indian players to accept Scheme A.

Broadly, Scheme A was a plan for a loose federation of Hindu-majority, Muslim-majority and princely states. It would be a three-tier system of government. At the top would be a small central ‘union’ government, which would look after communications, defence and foreign affairs. There would be equal representation of Hindus and Muslims at the centre. At the bottom would be the individual provinces. In the middle would be a grouping of provinces with a large degree of autonomy and power to secede from the union in the future. One group was to comprise Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and the North-West Frontier Province.

Another, Bengal and Assam. And the third was the rest of India. 
Scheme B was to divide India into ‘Hindustan’ and a truncated Pakistan, a plan which Britain wanted to avoid at all cost.


The mission spent about three and a half months in India. Pethick-Lawrence managed to faint in the summer heat when the mercury touched 46 degrees Celsius, and then apologised for his ‘terrible weakness’. Cripps came down with colitis and spent some days in hospital. Alexander struck up a friendship with viceroy and governor general, the one-eyed Archibald Wavell, and bonded over poetry and piano. Hectic meetings took place in the summer heat and Wavell suspected Pethick-Lawrence and Cripps were being soft on Congress. In fact, he was appalled when Gandhi asked for water during a meeting, Pethick-Lawrence himself got up to fetch water, and when he was taking some time to return, Cripps went out to get water for Gandhi.


And then in May, they all escaped to Simla where Cripps, Pethick-Lawrence, Alexander and Wavell met the Indian politicians separately in batches. Gandhi, too, reached Simla in a special train. The stage was set for hard negotiations.


But there was far too much animosity between the League and the Congress. At the opening session, Jinnah refused to shake hands with Abdul Kalam Azad, calling him a ‘stooge’ of the Hindus. By May 12, Pethick-Lawrence declared the Simla session closed. Little progress had been made.


But the mission issued a statement. They declared the creation of a constituent assembly of elected representatives from 11 provinces who would frame a new constitution. They also outlined Scheme A, which explicitly opposed the creation of Pakistan, and made it clear that Pakistan, if created, would be a truncated version of Punjab and Bengal. The ball was now in the court of Jinnah and Congress.


On June 6, 1946, Jinnah agreed to Scheme A. This was his best bet, even though it would lead to speculation that Pakistan had, after all, been a bargaining chip for him, never mind what he had told students in November 1940. While this would not give him Pakistan now, it would not leave him with a ‘moth-eaten’ state to inherit. Besides, there was always the provision to leave the union in the future. He couldn’t have known that he would be dead in two years’ time. 


Initially, Gandhi seemed willing to go along with this scheme. It would, he said, ‘convert this land of sorrow into one without sorrow and suffering’. But then Congress changed tack and refused to play ball. What did it have to lose? Jinnah could get his truncated lands, and India would be a strong, united country, with a powerful Centre, have its own constitution, its own secular philosophy.

After that both sides hardened their stance. On August 16, Jinnah gave his call for Direct Action. One riot led to another, and then by mid-August 1947, two countries were born.

Wolpert’s superman, MA Jinnah, a Khoja Shia by birth, a London lawyer in Saville Row suits puffing away at his Craven A cigarettes, a man who had seduced the young daughter of his Parsi businessman friend and then married her, a man who built his politics around Islam but loved his ham sandwiches, a man who once talked of Hindu-Muslim unity, thus ended up being the father of a Sunni nation-state.

Sources: Jinnah: His Successes, Failures And Role In History by Ishtiaq Ahmed, Keeping The Jewel In The Crown by Walter Reid, Liberty Or Death by Patrick French

Saurabh Banerjee is Associate Editor, The Times of India. He is usually not as rude when you meet him person

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