In memory of indomitable Quaid-i-Azam
26 December, 2014
By Asif Haroon Raja
We celebrated 138th birth anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Founder of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Muslims of India were fortunate to have him as their guide. His Herculean efforts saved them from permanent bondage to the Hindu majority after the departure of the British. Despite his acute illness, he struggled day and night to not only stave off never ending intrigues and machinations of the British-Hindu combine, but also removing all the impediments put in the way of creation of Pakistan. His truthfulness, strength of character and unflinching resoluteness helped him in achieving his goal of creating Pakistan. The Last British Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten rightfully admitted when he said: “I tried every trick I could play to shake Jinnah’s resolve. Nothing would move him from his consuming determination to realize the dream of Pakistan.”
R.G Casey, the Australian Governor of Bengal from 1945 to 1946 eulogised him as “a man of iron disciple”. Beverly Nicholas in 1943 judged Jinnah as the most important man in Asia because he could sway the battle this way or that as he chose. He opined, “His (Jinnah) 100 million Muslims will march to the left, to the right, to the front, to the rear at his bidding, and to nobody else’s. It is not the same in Hindu ranks. If Gandhi goes there is always Nehru, or Raja Gopalachari, or Patel or dozen others; but if Jinnah goes, who is there”. Hector Bolitho in his book ‘Jinnah Creator of Pakistan’ wrote, “He (Jinnah) made a forlorn scattered multitude into a nation. He added. “Unlike the creators of other nations, such as Washington, Cavour and Bismarck, Jinnah had achieved his aim without the support of an Army”.
The Quaid lived all his life by a strict code of personal ethics and never compromised on principles. Sir Francis Mudie, Governor of Punjab who knew him since 1936 observed, “Jinnah impressed me more, I think than anyone else I have ever met, and I was very fond of him. He never, if could help it, compromised officially”. He further commented, “In judging Jinnah, we must remember what he was up against. He had against him not only wealth and brains of Hindus, but also nearly the whole of British officialdom and most of Home (England) politicians, who made the great mistake of refusing to take Pakistan seriously. Never was his position really examined”.
Besides contending with the British and the Hindus, Quaid had to struggle against his contemporaries in the Muslim community, some of whom later on enjoyed the fruits of his labor. The Quaid was a man who could be trusted upon without an iota of doubt. Beverly Nichols at another place in his book described Quaid in these words; “The difference between Jinnah and the typical Hindu politician was the difference between a surgeon and a witch doctor. Moreover, he was a surgeon you could trust, even though his verdict was harsh”.
Regarding his leadership qualities, even his harshest critics had to acknowledge that he was among the best this world has produced. He was an unequalled leader of the freedom movement. Jawaharlal Nehru wrote disparagingly about the Quaid and the Muslims of India, yet he conceded that, “Mr. M.A. Jinnah himself was more advanced than most of his colleagues of Muslim League. Indeed, he stood far above them and therefore became the indispensable leader” and eventually “he became the Muslim League”.
The core principle he had stood for was that of clean, honest and unstained politics. The intrinsic strength of his leadership was based on honesty, incorruptibility, sense of justice and a deep commitment to Pakistan. He remained firm like a rock in his principles, he meant what he said, and did what he intended. His personal sense of discipline was legendary and he tried to instill this quality into the Muslim League and the Muslim masses that he was able to influence. His sharp intellect and a quick grasp of an unfolding situation were astounding. This unique gift enabled him to battle single-handed on the chessboard of politics against a powerful coalition of adversaries and win. Achieving Pakistan in the face of stiff opposition from the protagonists of united Bharat and the foot dragging by the British on the issue of freedom was in itself a brilliant feat.
The Quaid’s unrelenting effort in creating Pakistan has been explained by H.V. Hodson in his book ‘The great Divide’, “Of all the personalities in the last act of the great drama of India’s rebirth to independence, M.A. Jinnah is at once the most enigmatic and the most important. …. It is barely conceivable that a new nation state of Pakistan would have been created, but for the personality and leadership of one man, Mr. Jinnah. Stanley Wolpert in his book ‘Jinnah or Pakistan’ described Quaid in these 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. M.A. Jinnah did all the three. Hailed as a ‘Great leader’, Quaid-e-Azam of Pakistan and its first Governor General, virtually conjured that country into statehood by the force of his indomitable will”. S. Sharifuddin Pirzada summed up the profile of legendary Quaid in these words; “Jinnah possessed Ataturk’s astuteness, Bismarck’s boldness, Churchill’s charisma, De Gaulle’s dignity, Lincoln’s liberalism, and Mao tse Tung’s magnetism. Jinnah was incorruptible, candid, consistent and undoubtedly a colossus”. E.H. Enver projected him as “the modern Moses”, while Agha Khan rated him a statesman superior to Lloyd George, Churchill, Clemenceau, Curzon and Gandhi.
The Quaid had not been keeping good health. The fatal lung disease had begun to take a toll of him and he had become frail and weak. It was indomitable spirit, will power and singleness of purpose to create Pakistan that kept him moving. Despite his illness, he did not reduce his tempo of work and never complained of his indisposition. In fact he kept his ailment hidden, for he well knew that he was the symbol of hope for the teeming millions. He had assumed a mythical image for the Muslims. His presence was a matter of strength and solace for them. Well knowing that he had very little time at his disposal, he worked feverishly to make Pakistan stand on sound footing and to frustrate the evil designs of the enemies. Lord Mountbatten revealed his intentions after the demise of the Quaid that “if he had been aware of Jinnah’s hidden illness and his short life expectancy, he would have deferred the partition of India for some years and awaited his death. After him, there was no one else who could compel him to allow partition of India”. Creating a new Nation had taken all the character, foresight, faith and energy of the Quaid. It was the pains of partition and the massive burden of daunting problems that were loaded upon his frail body that he eventually collapsed while being transported in a rickety ambulance from Karachi airport to the hospital on the fateful day of 11 September 1948.
Sudden death of the beloved father and founder of the nation was a bolt from the blue. It left the nation petrified with grief. Feeling orphaned and forlorn, the grief stricken people in utter dejection sought another Quaid who could remove the fog of gloom and steady the rocking boat. His departure was a monumental loss that added to the travails of the country. The cruel hand of fate took him away at a time when he was needed the most. Having achieved the miracles of the miracle, his absence was direly felt when Pakistan was caught in the midstream fighting the battle of survival.
However, despite the utterly short spell of a little over one year that he steered the ship, he had given explicit policy guidelines to the members of constituent assembly for the future. Jinnah firmly believed in Islam as a ‘dynamic religion and a way of life’. He identified the nature of constitution based on Islam, political structure of the state, broad parameters of foreign policy together with the role of the civil and military. He set an example of austerity to tide over financial difficulties.
No one could think of squandering public money on personal comfort and political activities. To him politics was to serve the people and the country and not to amass power and pelf. He abhorred dynastic politics. His slogan was “unity, faith and discipline’. He was a firm believer of rule of law, maintenance of law and order, social justice and accountability for all. His numerous speeches before and after creation of Pakistan were the manifestation of his vision. He wanted to turn Pakistan into a truly Islamic welfare state.
In another context, the great Quaid remarked: “The test of greatness is not the culture of stone and pillar and pomp but the culture of humanity, the culture of equality. Only a man who is dead to all the finer instincts of humility and civilization can call a religion based on exploitation a heritage.” He always condemned reactionary elements which generated negative tendencies. Dealing with the contribution of Pakistan movement towards eradication of fundamentalism, the great Quaid said: “We have to, a great extent, free our people from the most undesirable reactionary elements. We have in no small degree removed the unwholesome influence and fear of a certain section that used to pass off as Islamic fundamentalists”.
He also championed the cause of women asserting they are the prime architects of the character of the youth who constitute the backbone of the state. He said, “I know that in the long struggle for the achievement of Pakistan, Muslim women have stood solidly behind their men. In the bigger struggle for the building up of Pakistan that now lies ahead let it not be said that the women of Pakistan had lagged behind or failed in their duty.”
Having given the guidelines, it was now for his successors to give practical shape to his blue print. Alas! His successors have utterly failed and have brought Pakistan to the brink of a failing state.
The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors Thinkers Forum Pakistan. email@example.com