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JINNAH, MOHAMMAD ALI (1876-1948), Quaid-i-Azam (“Great Leader”) and first governor-general of Pakistan. Born in Karachi, the eldest child of well-to-do Khojas, young Jinnah was sent to London in 1893 and apprenticed to a British managing agency. He was bored by business, however, and turned to the study of law at Lincoln’s Inn and also aspired to acting. Jinnah helped the ” grand old man” of India’s National Congress, Parsi Dadabhai Naoroji, win a seat in the and with Dadabhai’s joined the Indian National Congress in 19o6. By then a successful Bombay barrister, Jinnah also joined the Muslim League in 1913 and was instrumental in drafting the jointly adopted Congress-League Lucknow Pact of 1916. As the brightest ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, Jinnah seemed destined to lead a united Indian dominion after World War I, but Mohandas K. Gandhi returned from South Africa to revolutionize the Congress Party and become its postwar leader. Jinnah tried his best to dissuade Congress from following Gandhi’s “dangerous” and “radical” lead, but he failed in 1919 and withdrew.


Jinnah then focused on his legal practice and served as an independent Muslim member, elected from Bombay, on the Viceroy’s legislative council in Calcutta and New Delhi. In 193o he sailed back to London to attend the first Round Table Conference on Indian Constitutional Reforms, just when Allamah Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) was presiding over the Muslim League in Allahabad. The latter called for “a consolidated NorthWest Indian Muslim state” for the first time from any League platform, a decade prior to the Lahore “Pakistan Resolution.” Jinnah and Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto managed in London to win separate provincial status for their home province of Sind, which in 1935 became the only Muslim-majority province of British India (Eastern Bengal and Assam having been reunited with West Bengal in 191o). Liaquat Ali Khan (1896-1951) lured Jinnah back from London to become permanent president of the Muslim League. But Congress won most of the provincial contests in 1937 and refused to admit any League leaders to its provincial cabinets. Outraged by Congress arrogance, Jinnah now appealed to India’s Muslim masses, transforming himself at his League’s Lucknow session of 1937 into their Quaid-i-Azam. By March 1940, when the League met in Lahore, Jinnah insisted that British India’s Muslims were no longer a “minority,” but a “nation.” The Lahore Resolution’s demand for a separate, single Pakistan became his sole platform and a goal to which he devoted the rest of his life and fast-failing energies. He survived long enough to preside over his Dew nation’s birth in mid-August 1947, but expired of lung cancer before he could bring to fruition his fondest dream of firmly establishing in Pakistan a secular and democratic polity free of corruption and internal conflicts.

[See also All-India Muslim League; Pakistan; and the biography of Iqbal.]


Hasan, Khalid Shamsul, ed. Quaid-i-Azam’s Unrealised Dream. Karachi, 1991.

Mujahid, Sharif. Quaid-i Azam Jinnah: Studies in Interpretation. Karachi, 1981.

Pirzada, Syed Sharifuddin, ed. The Collected Works of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (19o6-1921). Vol. 1. Karachi, 1984. Saiyid, Matlubul Hasan. Mohammad Ali Jinnah (A Political Study). Lahore, 1945.

Wolpert, Stanley A. Jinnah of Pakistan. New York, 1984. Standard biography of Jinnah.


Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/jinnah-mohammad-ali/

  • writerPosted On: July 12, 2014
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