Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mohammad Ali Jinnah
Mohammad Ali Jinnah (referred to in Pakistan as Quaid-e-Azam, or "Great Leader", which is a legally defined title) (December 25, 1876 - September 11, 1948) was an Indian Muslim nationalist, who led the movement demanding a separate homeland for Muslims in South Asia and served as Pakistan's first Governor-General.
Early Life and Family History
Jinnahs birthplace and date of birth are disputed; however, it is generally believed that he was born in Wazir Mansion , Karachi, and raised in Bombay. His father was Jinnahbhai Poonja , from Gujarat (the younger Jinnah dropped 'bhai' from his name, in 1894). Jinnah's father lived from 1857-1901. Jinnah's family had Hindu, Ismaili, Shia and Sunni ancestry; and the family was primarily Ismaili. Jinnah was educated at the Sind Madrasatul Islam and the Christian Society High School , in Karachi. In 1893, he went to London to work for Graham's Shipping and Trading Company , which his father did business with. He had been married to a 16-year old (distant) relative named Emibai; but, she died shortly after he moved to London. Around this time, his mother died as well. In 1918 he would marry Rattanbai Petit and they had a daughter, Dina. In 1929, his second wife died.
He had 3 sisters, Fatima Jinnah, Shirin Bai, and Rehmat Bai.
In 1894, Jinnah quit his job in order to study law at Lincoln's Inn; from which he became the youngest Indian to graduate (1896). It is believed that Jinnah decided to study there as he was impressed by a mural in the main dining hall,one which depicted Moses and Muhammad. Jinnah would briefly work with MP Dadabhai Naoroji. By the end of 1896, Jinnah was a member of the Indian National Congress and practicing law with the Bombay bar (as the only Muslim barrister). There he earned a reputation regarding his lack of respect for the British Empire. In one incident, a judge kept interrupting Jinnah by saying, "Rubbish!" Jinnah eventually responded by saying, "Your honour, nothing but rubbish has passed your mouth all morning." Shortly after this incident, in 1901, Sir Charles Ollivant offered to hire Jinnah at 1,500 rupees per month. Jinnah refused, believing he could earn that much on a daily basis. (By the early 1930s, Jinnah was earning about 40,000 rupees a month.) In 1906, Jinnah served as secretary to Naoroji, who was then serving as president of the National Congress. In 1906, Bal Gangadhar Tilak would ask Jinnah to represent him, during his trial for sedition.
A "Secular" Jinnah?
A common view, especially in India, is that it was Jinnah who was responsible for "the division of India", creating Pakistan. The portrayal is that of a religious leader completely committed to his community having a country of its own. Jinnah himself, however, was a very secular person. Most of his career till about 1930 was spent trying either to bring the Indian National Congress and the All-India Muslim League to work together or getting mainstream parties like the Congress (of which he was a member much longer than the League) to be sensitive to minority priorities. When the League was founded in 1905, he was probably the only major Muslim personality to refuse to join. (This was a time when it was common for people to be active members of more than one party.) He played a prominent role in getting the Lucknow Pact in place and in the League and the Congress holding a Joint Session in Allahabad in 1916.
Personally, he always advocated what today would be described as secular views. In his first speech in Pakistan he expressed an outlook that was not of a fundamental Islamic Republic. It is widely known he was a non-practising Muslim, he had a non-muslim wife and was definitely not a symbol of an ideal muslim. On the other hand, others have pointed out that he changed his confessional identity from that of an Ismaili Khoja to that of an Ithna Ashari (the dominant Shi'a ideology), which given his uncompromising character, was not something he would have done lightly or without a strong belief one way or the other.
As described below, by 1930-31, distressed with relations between the Congress and the League and despairing of ever getting them to see eye-to-eye, Jinnah despaired of Indian politics, and moved to England to practice law.
Right uptil 1946, the definition of Pakistan as demanded by the League was so vague that it could have been interpreted as a sovereign nation or a nation within a nation. Many historians believe that this was Jinnah's doing and that he used Pakistan as a pretext to get the maximum in bargain for Muslims rather than a nation itself, and it was the intransigence of his interlocutors that made Pakistan an inevitability.
On January 25, 1910, Jinnah became the "Muslim member from Bombay" on the 60-man Legislative Council of India . In 1913, Jinnah joined the Muslim League and, in 1914, would support Indian participation in World War I. In 1916, Jinnah became the president of the Lucknow Muslim League session and again in 1920; and later, from 1920-30 and from 1937-47, would serve as the League's president. Jinnah was initially hailed as the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity but later events forced him to change his stance. He disagreed with Mohandas Gandhi over the policy of noncooperation and later over the proposal that Hindu and Muslim communities hold separate elections in any future state. By 1921, Jinnah had resigned from the Indian National Congress and voiced his support for separate Muslim negotiations with Britain over the future of India. "We maintain", he wrote to Gandhi, "that Muslims and Hindus are two major nations by any definition or test of a nation. We are a nation of a 100 million. We have our distinctive outlook on life and of life. By all the cannons of international law, we are a nation". He added that he was "convinced that the true welfare not only of the Muslims but of the rest of India lies in the division of India as proposed in the Lahore Resolution".
Jinnah participated in the Round Table Conference (1930-1931) but was frustrated at the failure to achieve any tangible results; he announced his retirement from politics. By then, however, he was a leader of the local Muslim population, and despite his ostensible retirement, he was voted as President for Life of the League in 1934.
Adopting what some have interpreted as a "divide and conquer" policy, the British initially supported Jinnah, hoping that he would be a powerful counterbalance to the Hindu nationalist movement. Jinnah was more amenable to British interests: he supported Indian participation in World War II while the Indian National Congress opposed the war.
Jinnah first raised the issue of partition at the Lahore Conference (1940). He was the first to declare that Hindus and Muslims constituted two distinct peoples, adding that if partition was not achieved the subcontinent would erupt in civil war. On July 26, 1943, a member of the Khaksars attempted to assassinate Jinnah by stabbing; Jinnah was wounded.
Though the notion of partition was originally rejected by the British, both Jawaharlal Nehru and Lord Mountbatten eventually came round to accepting the idea. The idea was formally accepted on June 3, 1947, and two months later, on August 14, the Dominion of Pakistan was created. Jinnah was the new nation's first Governor-General and president of its legislative assembly. He put forward a clear vision for a modern democratic Islamic state, saying in his speech opening to the Constituent Assembly:
- ...in the course of time, Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.
The whole speech, interestingly enough, is quoted by both sides in the argument over a secular versus an "Islamic" state. The democratic experiment, too, has had a troubled history in Pakistan, with the country being under military rule for half or more of its history.
Despite partition, the Subcontinent was engulfed in conflict; struggles with India over Kashmir and other assets, and a growing refugee crisis. Jinnah attempted to play a significant role in strengthening the new nation-state. He worked out an economic policy for Pakistan, established an independent currency, the Pakistani Rupee, created the State Bank for Pakistan, and set Karachi as the nation's capital. However, he did not live very long to see the new country take further shape. He died on September 11, 1948, from tuberculosis. A mausoleum was built to honour Jinnah in Karachi.
- Stanley Wolpert on Jinnah -- "Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three."
- 1942 -- "I have lived as plain Mr. Jinnah and I hope to die as plain Mr. Jinnah. I am very much averse to any title or honours and I will be more than happy if there was no prefix to my name."
- "We have to hope for the best, but be ready for the worst."
- "Unity Faith and Discipline should be followed in Pakistan"
- One of the largest streets of Ankara, the capital of Turkey, is named Cinnah Caddesi after him.
- Jinnah's famous portrait appears on the Pakistani rupee denominations of 10 and above.
- Jinnah was portrayed by the British actor Christopher Lee in the 1998 film of the same name...
- by Akbar S. Ahmed (1997)
- Jinnah of Pakistan by Stanley Wolpert Oxford University Press (2002)
- Liberty or Death by Patrick French, Harper Collins, 1997
- The Most Influential Asians of the Century by TIME
- Jinnah Pakistan Embassy,Washington D.C.Website
- Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah Official Government of Pakistan Website]
- Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on itsPakistan
- Chronicles Of Pakistan
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details