So who exactly was Jinnah?

Published: December 25, 2012

All the people of Pakistan want is their original father of the nation back as an upstanding visionary. PHOTO: AFP

We sat in the proverbial 22nd row of a small theatre room in Badar Commercial. My eyes were moist with emotion, when Talat Hussain turned around and said “Quaid-e-Azam zindabad!”

It was the end of the movie, Jinnah, and we were at its re-launch. How does one explain such feelings for one who is more important than all other humans, barring a handful?

Yet he died a decade before I was born. Moreover, our understanding of Jinnah, the man, comes down to us as various personalities, depending upon the times, the government and the filters of the individuals describing him.

Across the border in India, he was the breaker of a nation; a man who committed sacrilege by dividing a religious piece of land.

Further afield, six thousand miles away in the confines of Whitehall, he is considered cold, arrogant and a stubborn protagonist.

The man is solely responsible for creating the first idealist country, within a decade carving out of ‘almost nothing’ such passion, which has not been emulated in history and to boot, causing one of the great upheavals of all time.

Jinnah stands atop a pedestal admired by many, but also decried by a lot. Even his own nation does not know which mould to cast him into. So like a pinball, his persona has rebounded from place to place over the last 60 years.

Events that go back 75-80 years still affect us, it is quite fascinating. How does it happen, that what was said in a small room in London by Muslim League leaders to a quiet, slim and confident man in 1933, is part of our lives today?

This happened around the time my late father was born, to put it in perspective. My father lived a full life in the shadow of these events and departed, the jigsaw still unsolved. He believed that the man, who carved our country for us, was a one in a billion, nay one in several billions.

There was the Pakistan of the 50s, with a relatively harmonious people. Yet, these same people allowed the mace to be passed into the hands of those who destroyed Jinnah’s vision. Ghulam Mohammad, Justice Munir and General Azam of the Lahore Martial Law; subsequently, this distortion of Jinnah’s view of Pakistan was used by Iskandar Mirza and Ayub Khan.

We were told that the man desired a Pakistan which was efficient and self fulfilling. Yet most forgot that Jinnah was evolutionary in nature. His struggle for freedom lasted a lifetime and his struggle for Pakistan 13 years. Never once, did he take the wrong route, never once a short cut.

By enforcing two martial laws in the 50s, the short cut ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ was carved out for subsequent times. Jinnah’s Pakistan was strangulated that day in 1953, when General Azam swore he would bring peace to Lahore in a couple of hours. That peace has cost us four Martial Laws and still limited our nation.

What about the Bengalis? Their earlier father of nation was replaced by a later version of Shaikh Mujib. The comparison is like chalk and cheese – and not to judge, either varied personality.

Would they hold Jinnah accountable for the lack of ownership they were given in their Pakistan? To the extent that the language should have been Bengali for them, I suppose yes. But even in that, Jinnah’s thinking was nation building and his fear that regional languages would have surfaced. Perhaps the answer was no action.

Leave the language as English; neutral for all. Sadly not to be and that became a source of inequality, which festered and fermented into larger problems.

Subsequent years saw Bhutto use the socialist Jinnah. The socialist doctrine and Mahboob-ul-Haq’s concept of nationalisation were rampant in our 70’s world. Mao was supreme dogma. Only Jinnah was no socialist. Yet quotes popped up on media of how he espoused Islamic Socialism. Socialism was anathema to the man. He just wanted fairness and justice for all. The very basic argument of Pakistan hinged on Jinnah’s fear, that the Muslim in undivided India would not get a fair deal.

Later years saw Zia, the master orchestrator taking a damaging turn. Suddenly, Jinnah became a religious figure and was forever driving Islam. One cannot judge Zia’s motives, but what he did has led to the schism in society today and Pakistan is now a serving nation to the US and we are a fragmented society.

Bhutto destroyed the economic belief and Zia destroyed our social harmony.

Lastly the puppet, Musharraf! The darling of the West espousing “enlightened Islam” and an “enlightened father of the nation”. Jinnah would have despised the hypocrisy of it. To live nationhood in servitude, to survive on blood money given by the West, to play a role of a lota! There cannot be any good coming out of this.

We have taken an upstanding man and cast him into a soothsayer’s role. Wherever a ruler required help, they have rolled Jinnah out in a new garb. In marketing parlance it’s called brand stretching and subsequent image of Jinnah is now suitably garbled and fuddled.

But all the people of Pakistan want is their original father of the nation back as an upstanding visionary, who fought with courage on their behalf and no ideological caps please, just the plain old Jinnah cap.

Read more by Sarfaraz here or follow him on Twitter @sarehman

Sarfaraz Rehman

Sarfaraz Rehman

The author has worked with large scale organizations like Unilever, Pepsi and Engro Foods in his 28 year career. He has now started an education initiative and writes on various subjects. He tweets as @sarehman

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ovais

    The next Cowasjee… Sir you are nailing it every time :)Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    We as a nation used our founding father as a mascot, never as the Ideal. so here we stand 180 degree south. The man who said to us
    My message to you all is of hope, courage and confidence. Let us mobilize all our resources in a systematic and organized way and tackle the grave issues that confront us with grim determination and discipline worthy of a great nation.” Will be sadden to see we took shortcuts, back channel, and ran ourselves away from hard work…
    This day of his Birthday and in coming years and years someone like the author and me the”commentator” will just say..will we do?? will I do..?? Recommend

  • Satish

    A good question by the author, though left unanswered. Who was Jinnah? Let’s look at Jinnah’s own words.
    Two speeches.
    First, the Presidential Address at the All-India Muslim League, Delhi, April 24, 1943. “..there is not the slightest doubt, that the 100 million Mussalmans are with us. When I say 100 million Mussalmans, I mean that 99 per cent of them are with us – leaving aside some who are traitors, cranks, supermen or lunatics…”
    Second, at Dhaka, March 21, 1948. “… what is the use of saying “we are Bengalis, or Sindhis, or Pathans, or Punjabi”. No, we are Muslims. Islam has taught us this, and I think you will agree with me that whatever else you may be and whatever you are, you are a Muslim. You belong to a Nation now; you have now carved out a territory, vast territory, it is all yours; it does not belong to a Punjabi or a Sindhi, or a Pathan, or a Bengali; it is yours….”
    So what is Jinnah saying in the first speech? Any Indian Muslim who did not agree with his political program — Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, for instance, who publicly opposed the Partition — was a “traitor, crank or lunatic”. The most important point here is that it is impossible to imagine Nehru or Gandhi speaking in such terms. To label someone who disagrees with your political program a “traitor, crank or lunatic” is what hardly any politician would ever say.
    In the second speech, one in four “East Pakistanis” in the audience were not Muslims. They were Hindus (or Buddhists or Christians, the afterthoughts of the two-nation theory) For the supposed Baba-e-Qaum, the father of their new nation, to speak in terms of national unity as defined by Islam cannot have been very heartening. If I was a Bengali Hindu in that audience, I would have got up, left, and prepared to move to Calcutta.

    Lastly, what I’d say is that this proves that the August 11 semi-“secular” speech, which Pakistani liberals (and some foolish Indian liberals) love to cite, was the aberration. It was not the rule. “Minorities” in Pakistan, and specifically Hindus, were always relegated to second-class status rather than full, free and equal citizenship, by the very nature of the two-nation theory. You can’t spread a message of hatred, intolerance and division for years, achieve a Partition on the basis of religious divisiveness, and then except to wave a magic wand and say we’ll all live happily ever after. I’ll let Pakistanis answer the question of who Jinnah was, but I hope the context I’ve provided will be helpful. And, perhaps an even more important question that “Who exactly was Jinnah?” is “What exactly is Jinnah’s legacy?” As an Indian, I know what my answer is, but today is not the day for it. Let’s just say I don’t think it’s a very positive legacy.Recommend

  • Salman

    I am still unable to understand that why the top brass of Muslim league mainly comprised of Feudal lords which later turned out to be fatal for us…….

    These League ppl never said a word against the actions of Gen Ghulam Muhammad.. They saved their money.

    If Muslim League would have included people representatives, they would have taken on streets against these actions in 1950s… From very start (even in Jinnah’s presence) we were toys in hand of feudal lords

    Even the last days of Jinnah , They were counting number of days left in Jinnah’s life (reference the book of Qudratullah shahab)..Recommend

  • Muhibullah

    Jinnah was an Ismaili born westernized secularist. The people of Pakistan reject Ismailism, westernization and secularism. Successful advocacy of certain aspects of the Shari’ah (Waqf laws) in the British colonial courts earned him the title ‘Quaid-e-Azam’ from a popular scholar (Maulana Ahmad Sa’eed Dehlawi). Filled his party with ‘Sirs’, Nawabs and other British cronies. He and his party explicitly promised Muslims an Islamic state (see Jinnah’s letter to Peer Sahib Manki Sharif) but never really intended to fulfil his promise, as is obvious from the August 11 speech. On the whole a completely unsuitable ‘founding father’ for a Muslim nation.Recommend

  • The Only Normal Person Here.

    We miss you, Baba.

    Beautifully written.Recommend

  • gp65

    Jinnah was against one person one vote and also chose to become the Governor General of Pakistan. HE also dismissed the first elected government i Pakistan i.e. the NWFP government. Can such a man be called a Democrat?

    Jinnah established and led the Pakistan movement for 10 years which was a highly divisive movement that sowed hatred in the hearts of people on the basis of religion. Ahatred that led to neighbour turning against neighbour and a million people dying on both sides during partition. . As @Satish says even in 1948 after the fabled 11th August speech he made speeches that implied that non-Muslims were unequal citizens of the nation. Can such a man be called secular?

    Jinnah and the other Muslim League members did not spend a single day fighting British occupation. He did however call for the Direct Action Day where 5000 people died. Can such a man be called a constitutionalist or even peace loving?

    Jinnah imposed Urdu on Bengalis effectively making the majority of the country illiterate with the stroke of a pen. Can such a man be considered as appreciating diversity?

    Pakistan today is just what you would expect based on the legacy left by Jinnah. As Kabir said ‘Jab boya ped babool ka aam kahaan se khaay’.Recommend

  • Parvez

    What I enjoy is your clear thought process and your ability to put that into print so that the reader has little difficulty in understanding you. Possibly I’m just biased in your favour because you do mirror my thoughts.Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    In a personal sense, he was an egotist a rank opportunist.
    Historically, he was the greatest benefactor of sub-continent Hindus.Recommend

  • sarfaraz

    Yes I think so…:)Recommend

  • harsh

    Give the man some credit; we got a Muslim homeland, didn’t we ?Recommend

  • Afzaal Khan

    Mr. Jinnah led the fight for subcontinent muslims, a land which muslim can call as their own. This was and remains the only truth about Quaid-e-azam. He didn’t fight for christians, hindus, or any non-muslims he fought for muslims. Anyone who had a problem with this had every right to stay in india or migrate, anyone who has a problem with this is free to migrate. He was and remains founder of nation who is still loved by millions and millions of Pakistanis who have only seen his picture or read superficially about him. Anyone who has an issue with jinnah can take the hatred and stay out of Pakistani website.

  • ss

    for me he is an epitome of integrity and dedication.Recommend

  • Ali S

    I think at this point it’s a futile exercise to argue over the supposed fallacy of Quaid-e-Azam’s two-nation theory – even if the arguments against it are worth exploring, there’s not much that they’re going to do. What we should be focusing on is looking ahead and taking whatever steps are necessary for a tolerant, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan, instead of pegging everything to the Quaid and the many different interpretations of “Jinnah’s Pakistan”. M. Ali Jinnah gave us this nation and now he’s gone, now it’s just Pakistanis’ Pakistan and it’s up to them to make it a better place for themselves.Recommend

  • jahandad

    i think jinnah was a straight forward, hardworking egoistic,sincere,determined,and devoted for his vision and thinkings,he was a beautifully organized character ,who stood upto very nausty and clever[foxy] rivals,his opponents were unable to match his personality and character[ all of them including ghandi and nehru and the tru muslim hater mr.patel.he fought against the hated ideology of extremist hindus like sardar patel and many others.HOWEVER HIS colleages were oppertunistics and some of them very selfish and irritating to him,the british government was compeled by his determinations to accept his vision,,,HOWEVER THE MUSLIG LEAGE of that time failed to regain the complete punjab, [undivded] plus the kashmir and hyderabad jonaghar plus delhi,,,,because of lack of interest in forced and resistant[peacefully plus voilently] which was needed at that time,.THIS is the second theory which i can not understand ,and i point for answer to the QUID, the first one beingTHE VERY PHILOSPHY OF SEPERATION AND INCONSISTANCY IN FAILURE OF IMPOSING COMPLETE RELIGOUS LAWSRecommend

  • Raj Kafir

    He is the single most saviour of Hinduism in the last millennium. Without him and his vision, Hinduism would have been extinct by now. India would have been reduced to a greater Pakistan like Islamic country. Thank you Jinnah Saab for making India for minorities like me to prosperous. Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Jinnah is not a historical personality. He’s the Pakistani Mirror of Erised in whom you see whatever you most desire.

    As it is a national obligation to love him, we recreate him in a form we desire the most to makes the task easier. That’s how he gets portrayed simultaneously as a religious leader sans beard and a Westernized friend of the minorities.Recommend

  • Peer Sain

    Qaed e Azam all his life never fought for land. He fought for the Muslims so that they get a fair deal after independence. He was never ever selfish nor ever regional minded. He was an honest and a fair man.

    With the Cabinet Mission Plan there were sufficient guarantees available for Muslims and The Muslim League was content and agreed with the plan. It was Mr. Nehru who reneged on the Cabinet Mission Plan and upturned an agreement to keep the country united with reasonable guarantees for Muslims. So in fact it was Nehru who made Pakistan.

    Pakistan was created for Muslims as a refuge. But after his demise the day Pakistan blocked Muslims from making Pakistan their home its foundations shook and are not stable today.

    Because the foundation was the two nation theory. When the foundation is shaken the building shakes and collapses. It has been shaking for 65 years and is on the verge of collapse. If we have to save Pakistan and make it the Pakistan of M.A.Jinnah then we have to go back to the basics.

    The constitution has to reflect the two nation theory and not stop Muslims from entering Pakistan. 54% of our land mass that is Baluchistan is un-inhabited. If you have to develop it you have to habitate it. When we accept this principle we can ask Muslims from India to come over and habitate it. This may not go down well with the land lords, sardars and vaderas but it will be in accordance with the Quaed’s Vision.

    Only two countries in modern history have been created on the basis of a two nation theory. One is Pakistan for Muslims in 1947 followed by Israel for Jews in 1948. In Israel no body can stop entry of Jews into Israel. And here we as Muslims stop Muslims getting into a country that was made by their sacrifices. We blocked our comrades from coming to Pakistan.

    If we want to honor Qaed e Azam we have to honor his wishes and the purpose for which he made Pakistan and it was never for any regional consideration. Beside Muslim there was no other consideration and he gave full space and place for minorities be it Hindu, Christians or Sikhs.Recommend

  • Riaz Haq

    Clearly, Pakistanis have not lived up to Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s vision of a tolerant and democratic Pakistan where the basic rights of all of its citizens, including religious and ethnic minorities, are fully respected. I do think, however, that all of the available and credible data and indicators confirm the fact that Muslims in Pakistan are not only much better off than they are elsewhere in South Asia, they also enjoy higher economic and social mobility than their counterparts in India and Bangladesh.

  • sarfaraz

    I have tried to answer that in my previous blog on Jinnah, in an imaginary interview. You can see the link and photo of that blog on this page above right…that is picking up from information from various historical analysis available.Recommend

  • Historian 1

    Personally Jinnah was a secular, but he had to use religion to achieve success. As a continuation all Pakistani leaders have used religion to obtain their personal goals. Religion is a tool which all Islamic leaders have used throughout the history to rule the Muslim masses. In this context Jinnah was no different.Recommend

  • Shahzad

    The Mullah, ( by the way Iqbal named them so ) blackmailed secular leaders to concede in the name of fear and for retaining their office, Liaqat Ali Khan (objective clause), Bhutto ( declaring Ahmedis non Muslims and certain other conditions, Nawaz Sharif ( declaring blasphemy a capital offence. The only two leaders who stood up to the Mullah was Jinnah and Ayub ( see his family laws). With present law on who can be elected to parliament see definition of Amin . The Mullah because of the foregoing finds it easier to stay outside parliament and play a negative role armed by all these laws as judge jury and executioner. I say lets kill the objective clause which as someone said, is the dead dog contaminating the well. And let the Mullah face the trials of democracy and win the elections and impose Shariat if he can find consensus. I beleive our system which he calls western I agree is derived from the Magna Carta but as Maudoodi Sahib, who hated Jinnah for being Kafir, said was derived from the Islamic system of governance.
    In the post Khulfah ee Rashdeen period a third institution of ulema was created other then caliph and judiciary, this may work in Iran and Saudia Arabia because of lack of deviance amongst ulema there it will not in Pakistan.
    As Amber Darr pointed out in her article ” The Elusive Rule of Law”and I quote”This theory, with its necessary permutations, became particularly relevant for countries like Pakistan and India that went constitution-shopping in the afterglow of the British Empire. Perhaps, it was the idealism of our Western-trained founding fathers or, perhaps, it was to avoid re-enactment of the carnage witnessed at our birth that we, like most post-colonial countries, chose to make the law, rather than an individual, group or religion (at least in pre-Objectives Resolution days), the primary regulator of society. In the constitutional model that followed, the parliament was entrusted with making the law, the executive with implementing it and the judiciary with ensuring that both the parliament and the executive exercised their powers within constitutional limits.

  • Humaira

    1) Jinnah was the grandson of Jinnahbhai Poonja who converted to Islam. Descended from a long line of Hindu Bhatia Rajputs, he suddenly proclaimed that Hindus (like his grandpa) and Muslims were two different peoples who could not inhabit the same land (!)

    2) Jinnah helped impose Urdu/Hindi, a language native to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (now in India), on the Sindhi, Seraiki, Bengali, Pushtoon, Baloch, Sindhi, …. and succeeded. Well, partly, as Bengalis would have none of it. Nehru tried the same thing on the other side of border but multi-cultural India would have none of it, and he slowed rolled back his Hindi policy and buried it forever.

    3) Jinnah fought for the creation of country for Muslims but also occasionally spoke of religion being a private affair and not relevant to said country. This has caused much confusion. But if actions speak louder than words, make your own conclusions here….

    Just some new perspectives, as we Pakistanis should judge history objectively to make progress, and not keep drinking the same state-sponsored Pakistan Studies type of history.Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    Jinnah was the most patriotic pre-partition India. He really wanted to save India from all the future ills of religious bigotry. So he separated Pakistan first. Then he wanted to save Bengal, So he incited the Bengalis with “Urdu” as the only national language and got them separated from Pakistan as well. Now the genie is bottled in Pakistan. Can anyone find fault with Jinnahji.Recommend

  • Jay Khan

    @harsh: No it was the Muslim Bengalis who created land for Muslims get your facts right. You can no longer hide history anymore.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Faraz Talat: Very perceptive statement.Recommend

  • jahangir khan

    @ Satish and gp65

    i am a pakistani. ever since my childhood, my elders have been telling me stories of partition they experienced first hand, stories of partition which turned my peaceful small city town in KPK into a roman amphitheater where muslims proudly slaughtered hindus reacting to tales of similar crimes against muslims on other side of the border. sometimes i wish to bring those events to life in some work of fiction. for me partition brought death and destruction for the people of the subcontinent. jinnah played a dominant role in setting muslims against hindus, paving the path for the partition bloodbath in which more than a million got killed.

    when i turn to the writings and speeches of abul kalam azad, i m so impressed with his great wisdom that could see beyond the fog of confusion brought by growing communalism in the 1940’s.

    i wish to assure you that a considerable number of pakistanis believe that the true representative of indian nationalism and the spirit of islam was maulana azad,a greater leader and human being than jinnah.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Riaz Haq: “I do think, however, that all of the available and credible data and indicators confirm the fact that Muslims in Pakistan are not only much better off than they are elsewhere in South Asia, they also enjoy higher economic and social mobility than their counterparts in India and Bangladesh.”

    Well first of all the country that Qaid created included present day Bangladesh and Pakistan. So the average socio-economic indicators of those should be compared with India.
    Secondly, Pakistan was made to allow Muslims freedom of worship and i Pakistan, Ahmadis cannot even call their place of worship a mosque, their graves are desecrated and their mosques are actually broken by the police itself. Moharam processions of SHias are also attacked in Pakistan as also the ongoing target kiling of Shias. So do Pakistani Muslims have greater freedom to worship?Recommend

  • Dee Cee

    Although I agree with Satish and gp65 (Boya ped Babool ka etc.), I think truth is not the only thing one is looking at when we are trying to create national heroes, especially in a country like Pakistan. Since Pakistan is a self-declared ideological state, the ideology needs to be defined, and it better be a benign ideology so that its citizens and neighbours do have a peaceful life. Every nation chooses to not focus on aspects that they consider inimical to the portrayal of its heroes. Similarly, let Pakistanis (and everybody else) fashion Jinnah in a manner that is sustainable for its citizens and its future. Let the hair-splitting about Jinnah’s motivations and actions continue in history seminars. But the popular mythology around him should be benign. Pakistan is never going to be secular, and the rest of the world will have to accept that. The most we can expect it be is a moderate Islamic welfare society, and let Jinnah be fashioned in that mould. Let him offer guidance to Pakistan through that realistic prism, which is way better than an unrealistic secularism (howsoever desirable it might be) ! Let’s create the heroes we like to worship and celebrate our freedom and autonomy. As people say, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. Let not past pull you down Pakistan. Best wishes from an Indian! :)Recommend

  • Dee Cee

    @jahangir khan: Jahangir bhai, ab jo huwa so huwa! The past cannot be undone. But the future is you and us. We can make it better. :)Recommend

  • gp65

    @jahangir khan: “i wish to assure you that a considerable number of pakistanis believe that the true representative of indian nationalism and the spirit of islam was maulana azad,a greater leader and human being than jinnah”
    I share your respect for Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
    Maulana Azad was a proud son of India and the first education minister under whose stewardship institutions such as IIT and IISC were set up . He was posthumously awarded Bharat Ratna in 1992 – which is the highest civilian honour in India,Recommend

  • Anoop

    Let me ask you one simple question:

    In India, or anywhere in the world, leaders like Gandhi and Nehru are never confusing, their legacy clearly defined, what they wanted never in doubt. They are clear, concise and never contradictory. In 66 years, you still have to write a whole columns and books explaining what Jinnah stood for and yet the debate about what he stood for never ends.

    Just today there is a report in ET, talking about “Jinnah’s Legacy”. Compared to your secular understanding of Jinnah, former Justices of Pakistan, claim he stood for an Islamic state.

    One of them quotes Jinnah thus:

    “I could not understand a section of
    people who deliberately wanted to
    create mischief and made a propaganda
    that the constitution of Pakistan
    would not be made on the basis of

    Isn’t this a completely contradictory statement from his Aug 11th speech?

    “To live nationhood in servitude, to survive on blood money given by the West, to play a role of a lota! There cannot be any good coming out of this.”

    Are you completely unaware the kind of relationship Jinnah wanted from the Americans? Do you want me to quote him addressing the American Ambassador to Pakistan?

    His speech would hint at something which sounds a lot more like servitude than even what Zardari said at the ‘Friends of Pakistan’.

    Its surprising how much cherry picking is done when it comes to Jinnah in Pakistan..

    “His struggle for freedom lasted a lifetime and his struggle for Pakistan 13 years.”

    Are you serious? People have spent years in Jail or have been hung fighting for India. Jinnah didn’t spend a day in jail. The people he criticised, Nehru and Gandhi, spent 9 and 11 years in jail, respectively. THEY are freedom fighters, not people who call for Direct Action day against their own countrymen.

    Calling people who didn’t spend a minute in jail as Freedom Fighters is an insult to people like my former neighbour, who passed away when I was little, who spent months in jail, was beaten by the Police at every opportunity, but never wavered from the path of non-violence set by Gandhi. Please, for God sakes, don’t call Jinnah a Freedom Fighter. Creator of Pakistan, yes, not a Freedom Fighter.Recommend

  • Midhat

    Everything we know about Jinnah has been summed up by Stanley Wolpert in these lines: “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”

    We realize Indians dont like him, but looking beyond the biased opinion one cannot disagree that if a man can create a nation state against the combined efforts of the celebrated leaders of that time, he was no ordinary leader! My Grandparents left behind everything they owned just on the words of this Man! Such was Jinnah!Recommend

  • Anoop

    @jahangir khan:

    Maulana was a great man. He opposed the creation of Pakistan because he felt that would hinder the progress of Islam, aka, changing the demographics of India in favour of Muslims. Pakistan put a stop to that.

    He was a kind man, but a Islam in the heart.

    He actually supported the Cabinet Mission Plan, which Nehru rightfully rejected, which would have divided into 3 major parts and allow the parts to declare independence after 10 short years. Considering the same 2 parts went their own way – East and West Pakistan – this was a wise decision by Nehru.

    But, yeah, compared to Jinnah, the Maulana was clear, concise and was reasonable. But, at the same time I am glad Pakistan was formed.

    Wrote a post about it to explain my position in detail.

  • Anoop


    Jinnah himself admitted Pakistan was his “biggest mistake” to Liaquat Ali Khan on his deathbed. His Physician who was present in the same room quotes him saying so in a book he wrote.

    This was apart from the fact that Time Magazine quoted Jinnah saying the same exact words. Recommend

  • Anoop


    Sir, you seem like a Gentleman, but your article is full of Historical inaccuracies and false conclusions.

    Jinnah was secular, but the word to describe him is communal. Direct Action is one such event which will laid bare his communal credentials.

    He played to the gallery is evident to anyone who reads Jinnah’s speeches. Aug 11 is oft quoted among the liberals, but I can show you plenty of speeches where Jinnah called for Sharia, Islamic law and talked about Quran and Islam in laudatory terms.

    Just read this article where a case is made for an Islamic Society by present for former Justices from Pakistan, who quote Jinnah.

    In your last blog I’ve also talked about how Jinnah himself admitted he was wrong. You have conveniently ignored my point.

    There are many more points I wish to talk about but I am afraid of getting censored.

    If Jinnah is right, then Gandhi and Nehru are wrong. I will not anyone harm their legacy like this.Recommend

  • Prakash

    Mr. Jinnah was a clearly opportunistic leader who want power at any cost .As Jinnah understood that in congress he will never fulfill his ambition so he created the bogey of Pakistan . Unfortunately Muslim Ummah never produced a leader who can be accepatable to both for both Hindus and Muslims like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru etc alongwith another reason contributing for creation of Pakistan is highest level of inferiority complex of Muslims which exist till date. Jinnah never had a clear vision other then to grab power , .he hoodwinked majority sunni Muslims by converting in to sunni sect from Ismaily and declaring a Islamic state . Within short time he also tried to become secular which was totally contrasting and unfortunately as on date we all are debating his vision .
    By doing all this mess called pakistan he also creator of the Problem of Kashmir . If he had some sane thinking he never attack on the Kasmir and try to solve problem through dialogue in 1947 itself even Nehru and Gandhi were favorable to solve this issue on liberal side. Recommend

  • Anoop


    Great nations have been swayed by terrible people, example – Hitler. So, the argument that people were convinced of Jinnah’s Righteousness and hence followed him is very loose.

    Just ask yourself – To people around the world Gandhi and Nehru inspire passion, love of non-violence. Be it Einstein, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, or even as recent as Barack Obama, are in awe of Gandhi. Great men, some the smartest ever men, with great ideas(barring the exception of Obama) invoke Gandhi. Why not Jinnah?

    Jinnah talked of division and violence to achieve that idea. Gandhi/Nehru talked of non-violence and peace and of unity. The world wants the latter, never the former.Recommend

  • Sarfaraz


    you are quite welcome to your pov. When you say “if Jinnah is right then Nehru and Gandhi are wrong. I wont let anyone harm their legacy like this”., I am not harming anyones legacy. not concerned with your heroes at all. Last blog someone asked me to write about them and I refused, because I do not feel qualified to do so. Thank you for your notes. Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma

    @jahangir khan: ” … i wish to assure you that a considerable number of pakistanis believe that the true representative of indian nationalism and the spirit of islam was maulana azad,a greater leader and human being than jinnah. … ”

    Maulana Azad, in reality was not the great secular leader that leftist Indian historians make him out to be. He was a closet Islamist. Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma

    @author: “…So who exactly was Jinnah?…”

    You mean you do not know ? Is this an identity crisis or what ?Recommend

  • Hassan


    Very NiceRecommend

  • FAhmed

    The intensity is strong in some cases. Amazing how after 65 years it generates such feeling. I love Jinnah and what others think of him is entirely their problem. And I agree I want my upstanding Father of Nation and wish others wont make him all sorts of things.Recommend

  • Anoop


    When I talk about events like Direct Action day and the call to violence against non-Muslims, I was not stating my Point Of View. I was stating FACTS!

    When I quote Jinnah, I am not stating my POV, but again facts. Irrefutable facts.

    POV is when I take those quotations and events and form an opinion. The opinion I formed is also pretty clear and very obvious to any neutral observer. Why are you refusing to acknowledge them?

    Nehru and Gandhi are not the topics now. Jinnah is.

    Jinnah said,

    “We shall have India divided or we
    shall have India destroyed.”

    This is a quotation, a fact. There can be only one conclusion which can be drawn from the above quote(along with a variety of them). Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma

    @Anoop: ” ...Jinnah himself admitted Pakistan was his “biggest mistake” to Liaquat Ali Khan on his deathbed …”

    Paraphrasing what an elderly gentleman said about Mr. Jinnah:

    The real powers that created Pakistan were the Muslim elite of Central India and Bengal. They used Mr. Jinnah to further their agenda and once Mr. Jinnah started riding the “Pakistan” horse, he could not dismount, even if he wanted to. Recommend

  • ranjit


    Anoop, we Indians always make the mistake of evaluating Jinnah in hindsight…… the 1940s, who could have predicted how India would turn out?……….the Congress promised democracy, secularism and equality to muslims………what was the guarantee that it could deliver and sustain such a system?…………many other countries formed during that time such as African countries and Yugoslavia have failed…….the Soviet Union completely broke up……India had almost no economy in the 1940s with famines everywhere……..there were huge differences of caste, religion and language…..there was grinding poverty…….the only jobs were government jobs……… such an environment, can you really blame the muslims for being apprehensive of joining India as a permanent minority?………..especially when hindu-muslim relations were lukewarm at best, and bitter at worst……….

    The Congress was unwilling to give anything beyond a one man one vote…………that and the previous history of hindu-muslim coexistence were the only things count on……in spite of that, a large number of muslims stayed back in India and did not buy the Pakistan vision……..but can you really blame the ones who did not buy into a united India?…….

    I am sure that if Jinnah somehow had known that India would grow into a vibrant secular democracy with a robust, growing free market economy, he would have never called for partition…… lets keep the historical context in perspective when we evaluate him………he did what he thought was least risky to ensure the future for his community……..Recommend

  • Anas Tanveer

    Well, Let me put things , as I have read and heard. Quaid never supported the slogan, Pakistan ka matlab kia…. La illaha Ill Allah
    He was struggling for a seperate nation because of the reason that Muslims were supressed Economically and socially. Muslims were more happy practising their religion in Great India, than today’s Pakistan. The Pakistan ka matlab kia, slogan owners were the ones, who initially opposed Pakistan, later came here and tried to take the charge in the name of religion. That was the point where things got off track.
    And one more fact, which is important to state, that Jinnah was not a supporter of seperate nation till 1946, As He was supporting the Cabnit Mission, it was Nehru who rejected that idea, resulting Jinnah struggle for a seperate nation.
    And a friend up there, just asked why Jinnah supported the Feudal lords, who later rule us till date. My friend, at that time the Feudal lords were the one to decide either to go with Pakistan or India, so there was not any other option, he would have gone for, Recommend

  • Anoop


    Your comment seems you are under the impression that I think creation of Pakistan is wrong. I am merely busting myths that Jinnah is secular.

    You are right, India was written off at the time of Partition as a viable state. There are Time articles which repeatedly spell doom for the newly born Country.

    “The Congress was unwilling to give anything beyond a one man one vote”

    That is the idea of a Democracy, isn’t it! That has been the tried and tested system of Governance all over the world for many years before Partition, wasn’t it.

    The people who asked for such a biased system, failed to give it to their own minorities after they got their Pakistan. Creation of Pakistan was certain. Either through Cabinet Mission Plan, when Muslim Majority areas had the option of going their separate ways after 10 years. I am not such a fan of Gambling, especially when you are doing it with a country of 300 Million.

    “I am sure that if Jinnah somehow had known that India would grow into a vibrant secular democracy with a robust, growing free market economy, he would have never called for partition”

    You asked a few hypothetical questions and in this instance have talked for Jinnah. Jinnah knew how secular and non-violent Gandhi-Nehru were. it was his ambitions which was driving him. You can hardly expect him to see logic and concede the intellectual space to these greats.


  • Usman

    Shame on those who are trying to abuse Jinnah that he was not historical leader. Very very Bad time on Pakistan. Recommend

  • Kaalchakra

    Dear Humaira

    That makes no sense. The Great Quaid e Azam said that religion should have nothing to do with the state, but Islam is not a religion. It is a deen. Quadeazam would have been very upset had someone mentioned that Pakistan would have la-deeni governance!Recommend

  • Kaalchakra

    Anoop, ranjit has two points, one for the each of the two Hindu votes that would have been necessary and fair for a single Muslim vote. Recommend

  • Nasir Imam

    A historical correction: It was not Muslim league leaders who were meeting Quaid-i-Azam in a London living room in those cold London nights in 1933. It was a Muslim missionary belonging to the much maligned Ahmadiyya community called A. R. Dard who was the imam of the London mosque at the time. Mr. Dard met Jinnah several times, for hours at a time, and finally convinced him to return to Pakistan and lead the struggle for independence. JInnah made the announcement that he was returning to India at the London mosque at a reception arranged by Mr. Dard and this was reported in the London Times. In the opening sentence of his speech, Jinnah acknowledged the role Mr. Dard had played in convincing him to return. The Quaid said that “the eloquent persuasion of the imam left me no escape”.

    I have never understood why our pseudo-historians insist on ignoring this admittedly inconvenient fact despite overwhelming evidence that it was Mr. Dard who succeeded before others had even tried.Recommend

  • Anoop


    Then, Hindus and Christians of Pakistan today must get 5 votes for every Muslim vote. That would be only fair since they are so under represented!

    When that happens I’ll concede to your point.. Same principle really.

    Nowhere in the world is that principle accepted. Not even in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Irfan Ali

    Jinnah was a Shia Muslim. He was born in Jherruk area situated in Thatta district. Since Thatta was not a big city in 1876, people would write Thatta at Karachi. Historians should correct their record. Now, Pakistan has a Defence of Pakistan Council in which one party publicly declare Shia as non-Muslims so Jinnah is a non-Muslim in Pakistan nowadays, according to Ahl-e-Sunnat wal Jamaat, a terrorist outfit that was declared outlawed as Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The notorious LeJ terrorist is now vice president of Ahl-e-Sunnat wal Jamaat. Maulana Sami ul Haq, Sheikh Rasheed and Gen. Hameed Gul are key leaders of Defence of Pakistan Council to which ASWJ is a member. They sit together. So they should tell well who exactly Jinnah was? I clarify my position that I am sworn opponent of ASWJ ideology. Recommend

  • Kaalchakra

    Anoop, don’t be absurd. How can you apply the same rules on Hindus and Muslims when they follow such radically different religions? Please talk sense.Recommend

  • Kaalchakra

    Nasir bhai

    From reliable Ahmadi sources, you have it wrong. Mr Dard was not making any religious case to Jinnah. He was asking for the separation of and the rights of all people living in the North Western states of India – including Hindus, Christians, Ahmadis and so forth – not just Muslims. You are unwittingly giving a very communal color to Ahmadis, while Ahmadis love all and hate none. I would appreciate if you could correct that impression for yourselves and for others. Recommend

  • Anoop


    “How can you apply the same rules on Hindus and Muslims when they follow such radically different religions? ”

    I understand your point.. Just to make sure others get what you are saying, I’ll paraphrase it.

    2 Muslim votes to 1 Hindu vote is fair, but not 5 Hindu votes to 1 Muslim vote(even though they form only 1% of the population). Not because of the question of fairness but because the Hindus are Genetically or Religiously programmed to not abide by the promises of equality and fair play.

    I hope I am correct in reading your reasoning. :)

    I’ve got another question for you. Why did you allow the Bengalis who were in greater in number to be even represented equally? They were Muslims too, right? Why were they never allowed to form the Government?

    @ranjit, this is specially for your benefit. Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    Anoop : It is futile to argue with/convince water car inventors and their supporters which include the (de)famed AQKhan. For them, one litre of Pakistani water is equivalent of one litre of arab petrol.Recommend

  • Stop Blaming Other People for your Problems

    @Muhibullah: You can’t actually speak for the people of Pakistan when you say that they don’t support Westernization or secularism. I think the fact that so many Pakistanis are becoming so “westernized” is living proof that a significant portion of our population wants to be allowed to live free to practice their religion in any way they want.
    Yes, he promised a Muslim state, but his interpretation of the religion does not have to necessarily agree with your views, or even mine. The idea was for ANY kind of Muslim to be able to live here in any way they want.
    To practice Islam in any way they see fit, because, as you know, tolerance is the first lesson of Islam.
    If this nation is a mess right now, it’s because of us and our lack of integrity as Muslims.
    Don’t blame the Quaid. He delivered, we dropped the ball.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Would like to quote historian / writer 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. Recommend

  • aaaaa


    Jinnah is way more complicated than you so simplistically make him out to be, while labeling liberals the exact same thing. Why are you starting at 1943? Go all the way back, to the 20’s when he was persuaded to return to India. Or ideally even before that. It then becomes a much more complicated picture, but of course would not fit your narrative, therefore it is conveniently left out. And that semi secular speech, go read all of it, not just the bit everybody loves to cite. The message is perfectly clear. His mistake was that pakistanis and subtlety do not mix. He should have bluntly stated what he meant.
    There is a duality about Jinnah. He certainly wasn’t perfectly secular, especially after the 1937 Congress victory. He used religion to get what he wanted, but didn’t realize it wouldn’t be so easy to put the genie back in the bottle. But such nuances require research beyond a simple google search that people like anoop so rely on. M.J Akbar says the exact same thing in Tinderbox, but you have to read stuff to know these things.
    Jinnah was not only a Shia, but a Khoja, a minority within a minority, yet people have the idiocy to suggest he wanted an Islamic Pakistan. He himself would not be a Muslim according to most religious parties in Pakistan today. Once when asked if he wanted an Islamic Pakistan, he replied, which islam are you talking about? That tells you all you need to know really.Recommend

  • I love Jinnah

    He was a Human too…
    Check this out on Jinnah:

  • Anoop


    “But such nuances require research beyond a simple google search that people like anoop so rely on. M.J Akbar says the exact same thing in Tinderbox, but you have to read stuff to know these things.”

    This is pretty funny for me. I’ll explain why.

    I am a fan of M.J.Akbar too!!

    My opinion of Jinnah is not different that of M.J.Akbar. In fact they have been shaped by reading M.J.Akbar’s books and articles. I believe Jinnah is secular, but communal as well.

    I’ll quote M.J.Akbar, as you like to read him.

    “Jinnah wanted a secular nation with a Muslim majority; Gandhi desired a secular nation with a Hindu majority. The difference was the geographical arc. Gandhi had an inclusive dream, Jinnah an exclusive one.”

    M.J. Akbar quotes Jinnah: “In 1928, he(Jinnah) thought he had lost the last chance for Hindu-Muslim unity; and as he watched the stricken Hindus twenty years later, he whispered, “They used to call me Quaid-e-Azam; now they call me Qatil-e-Azam.”

    Jinnah did his best to partition India further. Nehru and Patel saved India from anarchy by isolating a wound that would have infected the whole of India if it had not been cauterized and sutured. ”

    This is just from one article!

    Jinnah himself admitted his mistake and called Pakistan his “biggest mistake” in life. His Physician Ilahi Baksh, who also served Alama Iqbal, recalls an incident where Jinnah whispers to Liaquat Ali Khan that Pakistan has been his “biggest mistake”. The Doctor was in the room when Jinnah uttered those words.

    What is your point now? Jinnah is secular, I agree. Then his conduct only indicates he was communal. He used Religion, but was not Religious himself, you yourself have admitted to it. He also realises his mistake at the end. But, it was too late. Recommend

  • I-umaid

    @Usman: hye usman open your eyes, 99% of people commenting here are indians, !!!!!! Recommend

  • jahangir khan

    @Dee Cee:
    agreed stronglyRecommend

  • gp65

    @Parvez: “Would like to quote historian / writer 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.”
    The fact that Jinnah had an impact on the course of history is undisputed. Sheikh Mujib-Ur-Rehman left the exact same impact as Jinnah also. The only question is what kind of country did he seek to create. SInce he did not write any books and said different mutually exclusive things at different times, people see in Jinnah what they want to see as @Faraz Talat perceptively pointed out.

    Further there are quite a few nation states that have been created in the last 100 years and hardly anyone knows who the leaders of their nationalist movements were – East Timor was carved out of Indonesia, Singapore out of British Malaya, Sudan was split as was USSR, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. So splitting of a nation to establish a new nation state is not as rare a feat a Stanley Woppert made it out to be.Recommend

  • jahangir khan

    maulana opposed pakistan because he considered it harmful for all indians, not just muslims. both his words and deeds prove him to be a well wisher of all indians. you know the problem with both communalistmuslims and hindus is that they ignore hard historical facts when they argue about maulana azad. communalist muslims consider him anti+muslim who worked against their interests. communalist hindus believe azad was not sufficiently indian nationalist like patel and nehru. in fact communalists on both sides of the divide rightly oppose him because az\ad’d struggled against both.Recommend

  • jahangir khan

    @Arijit Sharma:
    could you mention any of maulana’s political actions that prove him non-secular? i believe secularism doesnt mean being nonreligious, does it?Recommend

  • Midhat

    I have read history, through the nonbiased narrations that just talk facts! A leader doesnt need to be popular among everyone to be genious! and these are not popularity contests. Its pretty understandable that Indiansdont like partition, but to demonize Jinnah and deny his extraordinary abiltities is unneccessay! His worst critics have admitted that British and Congress combined couldnt sway Jinnah! You see your Villan doesnt need to be ordinary. Good or bad in your dictionary, he was still the most genious..

    Your own leader Mr Jaswant Singh has in his promotional interviews said: “[Jinnah was a great man] because he created something out of nothing, and single-handedly he stood against the might of the Congress Party and against the British who didn’t really like him…Gandhi himself called Jinnah a great Indian. Why don’t we recognise that? Why don’t we see (and try to understand) why he called him that?”

    In the words of John Biggs-Davison, ” Although without Ghandi, Hindustan would still have gained independence and without Lenin and Mao, Russia and China would still have endured Communist revolution, without Jinnah there would have been no Pakistan in 1947.

    Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit – , sister of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru – stated “If Muslim League had 100 Gandhi , and Congress only had one MA Jinnah, then India would have never partioned.”

    Overcome your ego and recognize your enemies GeniousesRecommend

  • waqas

    In addition to the Leaders who harmed our Country, we should be very much aware of the corrupt systems which we accepted as a Nation and which ultimately lead to social and moral corruption, poverty, feeling of injustice etc among our people (mostly because we were Muslims). We accepted Paper Money system which acted as a vehicle for Ribah and Inflation. We accepted laws of the Secular state which never recognizes Allah’s Sovereignty, we accepted Education system based on class differences, we accepted Judiciary that gives decision based on a system having fundamental differences with Quran and Hadith and having no “Internal eyes”, we accepted social system that we promoted more outside the mosque rather than inside the mosque as it lacked moral values, we established an intuitive relation with Quran rather than spiritual, we showed more inlination towards the Ulamah who promoted sectarian violence etc. Had we been a Non-Muslim state, there was no issue in accepting all this because then the people might be in full harmony and would not be exhibiting such a vast variety of conflicts and emotional reactions. Infact we remained confused as a Nation and are still confused………….. and that is what our so called Leaders (and the leaders of our leaders) want Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    aaaaa, well said. The Great Quaid led the masses with great subtlety.Recommend

  • Nasir Imam


    I was commenting merely on the mis-information that is perpetuated by the Pakistan media and historians about what caused Jinnah to change his mind and agree to return to India to lead the Muslims in the struggle for independence. It is an undisputed fact that it was Imam Dard, the Ahmadiyya missioanry in London. Noted Pakistani journalist Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami stated on TV just yesterday that Imam Dard had met Jinnah several times in London and convinced him to return to India. It was refreshing to see that some honesty is still intact.

    As far as the question that what was the argument Imam Dard used to finally convine the Quaid, we do not need to speculate. He wrote about it in his memoirs and the history of those meetings and the outcome is well documented. You should read it.Recommend

  • Rishi

    @gp65: Yup. See, Riaz said Muslims were better off, blahblahblah. They don’t consider shias, ahmedis’ etc. Muslims. They probably don’t even consider them human.Recommend

  • Anas Tanveer

    Oh God. Everyone out here is trying to correct the history, as if we have witnessed that all. Come on people, lets just stop this habbit of putting the words in anyone’s mouth. In this case, we are trying to make history of our own interest, which is not right.
    So, it is humble request to all of those self proclaimed historians , that whenever you claim for a correction in history, come up with the references to support your argument.
    History would not change by my or your claims. It is something we call Read Only, in computer terms, so let it be read only as no one in this world have the time machine to go back to certain time and change the history to his/her ease.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Parvez: “Would like to quote historian / writer 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.”

    I suppose Sheikh Mujib-ur Rehman also comes in the same category then? Anyway if you create a new nation, you necessarily alter the map of the world, so why these are considered 2 separate accomplishments, I do not understand.

    Incidentally is a country splitting into multiple nation sates as rare as Stanley Wolpert made it to be? The concept of nation states itself is around 100-150 years. Some obviouls examples that come to mind is: creation of USSR. Breaking up of Ottoman Turk empire into multiple nation states including Iraq. for several decades a separate nation state called East Germany also existed – having been carved out of West Germany, Carving East Timor out of Indonesia. Singapore and Malaysia were in the exact same India/Pakistan situation with Singapore being formed for the Chinese minority in the Malaya state at the time of independence from Great Britain. Czechoslovakia being split into 2 countries, Yogoslavia split into multiple nation states, USSR splitting into multiple nation states, Sudan splitting into 2 nation states.Recommend

  • Midhat

    Gandhi called Jinnah a great Indian who advocated Hindhu Musim unity for the most of his career…What convinced Jinnah to take a U turn was the results of 1937 elections in which Muslim league lost all its representation, a glimpse of what the minority’s political status would be ..Your own leader Jaswant Singh admits that Jinnah was most concerned about the political status of Muslims and their representation post British rule and he did what seemed to be the best solution for his community..please read Mr.Singh’s book about Jinnah..Recommend

  • JSK

    Read Wolpert, Jaswant Singh, plenty more around. Watch the movie Jinnah. Amazing that for personal bias people try and demonize a great man – all who dealt with him were praise for his integrity and selflessness. Have some intellectual honesty please.Recommend

  • Anoop


    “A leader doesnt need to be popular among everyone to be genious! and these are not popularity contests.”

    A leader needs to be consistent, principled. If not the nation will keep asking question if he was Secular or Islam, even after 66 years. Do you see that happening with Gandhi, Nehru, Mandela, Martin Luther King? Is there a debate ever in India of what Gandhi represented? Never.. He was clear, concise and consistent; even willing to die for what he believed in.

    Your problem is you think you have read History and have the best interpretation. I am not only giving my interpretation, I am also giving reasons why I am interpreting so.

    I have given several examples where Jinnah talks like a Mullah and compared it with the completely contrasting Aug 11th speech. This is not consistency. This is lack of morals, to achieve an ambition.

    “Good or bad in your dictionary, he was still the most genious..”

    I have never said what he did was not extraordinary! He was brilliant, committed but not moral or principled. Its the question of ideas, here. Not who has better brains.

    Even if you take Genius into account, don’t you think it would require greater genius to unite people, to give them purpose to not only fight the British but build a Nation? Gandhi and Nehru did that. Jinnah divided people, raked up Islam to achieve his means. Nehru and Patel saw through that.

    Jinnah is secular guy, so that means he raked up issues to achieve his ambitions. Nothing more, nothing less.

    “Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit”

    You quote several people and they are entitled to their opinion. Jinnah was committed, a brilliant mind,etc, I’ve already admitted. But, the fact remains he was no Gandhi.

    Gandhi or Nehru would NEVER call for arms against their own people like Jinnah did with Direct Action day. Nehru especially would not settle for anything than a united, Democratic, Republic.

    This is NOT about who is smarter, who achieved greater things. its about morals, principles. Even if it IS about brilliance, I consider uniting diverse people to fight the Imperial Yoke and then establish a strong, secular, Democratic state is much, much harder than invoking communal passions, calling for murder and then blackmail his way into getting what he wanted.

    You yourself have admitted he invoked Religion to get his way. Whats the debate here?

    And, yeah. Pakistan is the best thing to have happened India. M.J. Akbar agrees with me too. Patel and Nehru prevented the chaos from spreading into India.

    I quote M.J.Akbar here,

    “The anarchy that is Pakistan today
    would have visited India six decades
    ago. ”

    Pakistan remains the best thing to have happened to India. Patel and Nehru were right. Not only right, they were principled and spawned a secular, democratic republic, whose electoral practices have been followed till date for the past 66 years, non-stop.Recommend

  • Anoop

    @jahangir khan:

    I have deep respect for the Maulana. I’ve read his speeches and writing. He does talk about India and Indian-ness. He was the Congress President, with Nehru and Gandhi around. That must count for something.

    In his Interviews to Muslims, especially, he keeps on making a point that its bad for islam if Pakistan is created and even once said it would hinder its “progress”.

    He is a kind man, but lets not fool ourselves. Recommend

  • Anoop


    Why don’t you point out what is so great about invoking communal passions and calling for murder of non-Muslims in the middle of Ramzan and name it “Direct Action”?Recommend

  • Sab33N

    @ Pakistanis:

    I understand Indians, their hate and thier biasness .. what I dont get is your response .. frankly speaking its pathetic. Out of 80 comments, majority are from Indians who have nothing better to do the comment on a Pakistani website and insult our nation’s founding father .. and the audacity of majority of Pakistani’s is that they are discussing what a great politician was Mr. Abul Kalam Azaad??? Are you kidding me? Instead of bashing Indians and rejecting their hateful propaganda aginst our country and what we stand for, some of us are actually contemplating whether partitian was actually a good idea? Are you all kidding me? Jis thali main kha rahay ho .. saalay ussi main chaid kar rahay ho? No wonder we are considered as a joke amongest global community .. who will respect us if we cannot even bring ourselves to respect ourselves and our history?

    Just because a few biased and hate mongering trolls quoted their one side analysis about the father of our nation does not mean that we should let them walk all over us .. There is a limit to everything .. If some of you do not accept Pakistan then you are free to leave this country ..

    @ Midhat

    Thank you for your comments. Highly appreciated.Recommend

  • Gujesh

    Jinnah’s speech of 11th August was a political speech. It was meant for a much larger audience i.e. international audience. Pakistan was a new nation and Jinnah knew that both the new nation and its leadership should be seen as progressive and secular to attract friends in international community. The reason why Pakistanis idolise Jinnah is that the country has failed to produce a single national hero in last 65 years. Who knows Jinnah outside Pakistan ?Recommend

  • hasan raza


  • Sarfaraz

    Filters play an amazing role in life. Here is what I wrote:
    I spoke about Jinnah and how his imagery has got muddled in Pakistan. I had no interest in the political environment. Just wanted the mans original imagery restored. Nor did I mention India’s leaders. I do not wish to compare anyone.
    So it is amusing where the discussions have gone. Some people seem to have taken mostly harmless words as a personal affront.
    A needless argument has been created and that was not my intention at all.
    There are too many problems in this world to also spend time arguing and fighting on a partition 65 years old. Its done and dusted and both lands should live happily ever after.Recommend

  • Muhibullah

    @Arijit Sharma:
    ‘Closet Islamist’? What ‘closet’? Azad was very openly an advocate of Pan-Islamic ideas. He pragmatically accepted secularism as a way of getting by in a multicultural society. This is all very clear from his works.Recommend

  • Anoop

    I’ve to take a moment to applaud the team of editors in ET blogs. They have approved all my comments, even which direct attacks their nation’s founder.

    Thank you for you unbiased-ness.Recommend

  • observer

    Across the border in India, he was the breaker of a nation; a man who committed sacrilege by dividing a religious piece of land.

    ‘Religious Piece of Land’?? Really?

    But they insist it is a ‘Secular’ piece of land.Recommend

  • observer

    There was the Pakistan of the 50s, with a relatively harmonious people.

    Perhaps because the ‘Pakistanis’ of 50’s had grown up as Indians. When a population growing up as Pakistanis took the mantle, it became a different story.

    Their earlier father of nation was replaced by a later version of Shaikh Mujib. The comparison is like chalk and cheese

    The ‘former’ being the ‘chalk’ and the ‘latter’ the ‘cheese’, perhaps.

    Lastly the puppet, Musharraf! The darling of the West

    Let me see. A President of the US refused to shake hands with the General, and Pakistanis voted 98% in the affirmative in the ‘referendum’. So whose ‘Darling’ was he, once again?

    Jinnah would have despised the hypocrisy of it.

    Including the ‘hypocrisy’ of a Saville Row gentleman being seen in a Sherwani, for certain purposes?Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    observer : You got it all wrong. India is a country full of religious people of all religions. The govt is secular, We dont mix religion and state. Got it?Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    “Including the ‘hypocrisy’ of a Saville Row gentleman being seen in a Sherwani, for certain purposes?”
    observer : This comment is the best of the lot.Recommend

  • observer


    Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state

    With Bangladesh in the background and Balochistan looming ahead and minority hunting being the favourite sport, no one is accusing Mr Jinnah of having created a ‘nation state’.

    A sectarian state, may be.Recommend

  • fAhmed

    Trolls and WUMs..all in bad taste..this isn’t a decent discussion now..Recommend

  • abhi

    Stanley Wolpert and Jaswant Singh are two great scholars, we should not question what they write.Recommend

  • ranjit


    ‘One man one vote’ is the principle of democracy…….but it holds well for a country that is homogeneous or where the different constituencies are on good terms……… pre-partition India, hindus and muslims were not on good terms……..they tolerated each other and had coexisted for centuries………but there was a lot of tension between them…… such an environment, a 70-30 population split meant that 30% people would be a permanent minority………..this meant that muslims would be at the mercy of hindus to get any political power at the center……at a time when the only jobs were government jobs, that would mean that muslims would have no economic opportunities to advance in an united India……this also meant that the security forces would be controlled by hindus…….this was the reason that muslims supported Pakistan…………although large numbers listened to the Congress and stayed back………I dont see how we can fault their line of thinking?…….if I was a muslim at that time and worried about my kid’s future, I would probably do the same………..

    The real solution was to provide special safeguards to the muslim community in addition to democracy…………the Congress did that with the Scheduled Castes when Gandhi made a deal with Ambedkar, which finally resulted in the system of reservations………..otherwise, Ambedkar did not buy the one man one vote formula either and would have walked out of the India……….however, the Congress was unwilling to extend the same principle to muslims, probably because the muslim community used to rule India once upon a time…….whatever may be the reason, the reality is that the Congress refused to make any special provisions to provide some insurance to the muslim community that a brute majority would not trample all over them……….there was never any proper negotiations to craft a deal, like what happened in South Africa between whites and blacks after apartheid…….that is why South Africa remained united, while India broke up…….

    Personally I think the muslim community made miscalculations as well………they did not realize that hindus were extremely fragmented by caste and language…… would have been possible for muslims to strike up alliances with backward castes and come to power……I think they saw the Congress and started believing that all hindus were united now and would dominate them………in my opinion, they should have kept Pakistan as a fallback plan and negotiated harder with hindus to get constitutional guarantees………in any case, all this is conjecture at this point in time………Recommend

  • ravi

    In short jinna was or is the
    pakistan of last 65 yrs.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Mr Jinnah was through and through an Islamist! By profession he was a jurist, trained to defend the perpatrator or the victim whosoever paid his fee. He was a populist but not a crook, a machiavillean politician but only in strategy nor did he mislead or decieve like the Bhuttos and zardaris and the military dictators before them. He was a man of consensus but failed to build one with leaders of Indian powerful congress, but his loyalty for his faith and sincerety did win him the Pashtuns support though they were previously loyal to the Cogress majority local Govt.

    He wanted to establish a modern Islamic state, where the power rested with the people but not a Khalifa state per say ruled by the clergy. Neither the military nor the Barons, land lords or the aristrocrats were his partners nor impressed him. People and people alone he trusted and relied on, competence and efficiency were the slogans of his 1st Govt. in place. He was the father of the Nation and acted as one.

    Above all he was a human and not above errors and weaknesses. And yet, no political leader has ever managed to fill the vacum caused by his early demise.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Midhat

    At least you me Gandhi and British alsoone thing in common. All agree to Jinnah’s brilliance:) and similary we dont deny Gandhi’s legacy..let me qoute your BJP’s minister Mr Singh once again..” there is no need to demonize Jinnah.Gandhi regarded hin as a great indian and he did what seemed to be the best solution for his community post British rule. As for principles and morals lets agree that we have different interpretations of direct action day..Bhagat Singh & his fellows were no Gandhians . and while they are documented as violent rebels in british books who took to action, we Indians regard them as heros and dont. doubt their course of action..Musluns were bot being gauranteed political representation and Jinnah did what any leader would do..
    Yes Jinnah was no Gandhi.. And Gandhi was also no Jinnah:)Recommend

  • Anoop


    I don’t know if you are not reading my comments entirely or choosing to ignore them.

    “All agree to Jinnah’s brilliance:) “

    2 points:

    1) Jinnah was a brilliant man, but so was Hitler. Brilliance doesn’t count for anything when not backed up with morals, principles and conviction to back them up. He was a secular guy, but spoke a Mullah’s language(if you want I can quote Jinnah). Thats opportunistic.

    2) Is practicing Communalism easy or uniting very diverse people? Which exhibits brilliance, a truly super Human abilities?

    Gandhi united India(when Jinnah was calling for “Direct Action” against Hindus), he went on Hunger fasts and where ever he went peace spread its wings. Nehru protected the Muslims of India AFTER partition, just like he promised and wanted BEFORE. He did what he promised. Nehru-Gandhi did the impossible. Jinnah’s task was very easy don’t you think?

    Dividing people is easy, especially in the name of Religion, especially in a time like the 1930s and 40s when communal tensions were running high. Heck, every single one of Pakistani Politicians has done it with great success! What makes Jinnah so special?

    “Bhagat Singh & his fellows were no Gandhians”

    Whom did Bhagat Singh kill? Did you even know that Bhagat Singh was not a follower of Gandhi, and unlike Jinnah, an atheist? Jinnah was directly responsible for the slaying for 1 Million people during Partition and 3 Million in 1971(All because the Genius in him wanted to make Urdu the main language, spoken by the tinniest minority)

    On his deathbed he admitted to Liaquat Ali Khan that Pakistan was his “biggest mistake”. His Physician Ilahi Bakshi, who had also served Alama Iqbal, quoted him admitting his mistake to Liaquat Ali Khan. He was in the same room, you see..

    When Jinnah himself has admitted his mistake, and we know him naming Urdu as the main language for the new nation of Pakistan was the primary reason of the issues between East and West Pakistan, what is your obsession in getting me admitting he was a smart man? Whats the use of the smart when you are directly responsible for the death of, literally, millions?Recommend

  • Anoop


    “but it holds well for a country that is homogeneous or where the different constituencies are on good terms”

    Tell me one country, which is very populous and has no Racial or Ethnic or Religious or Linguistic tensions. India is not a scientific subject to experiment your theories on it.

    Nehru was right. Democracy, in its truest form, under a secular, fair Constitution, under a strong centre. It was being practiced in many Western countries with great success, with a proven track record.

    If Pakistan practices what it preaches and grants 5 votes for every non-Muslim for a single Muslim vote and exhibits that its the right way to go, I’ll no concede my point.

    India was a nation of 80% poor, with ethnic, religious and linguistic tensions. You have to promote unity and respect diversity. You start with 2 nation theory, you end up with a dozen nations. Exactly like it has happened with Pakistan.

    “Congress did that with the Scheduled Castes”

    Do you even realise Ambedkar was the architect of our Constitution? He never asked for 2 SC/ST votes for every other vote. One man, one vote.

    He asked for reservations for education, for jobs. That too, for a period of 10 years, which is being extended. He didn’t ask for the division of India into Dalit majority areas and non-Dalit Majority areas, which had the power to declare Independence after 10 years. He asked for a tweak in the system, not to redesign the system like some scientific experiment and hope for the best.

    I’ve heard all arguments before. This is nothing new.

    “the reality is that the Congress refused to make any special provisions”

    Why should it? Muslims ruled India for centuries. Dalits have been trampled upon since time immemorial in India. How can they two be compared?

    Was there a single Feudal Dalit, for example? Muslims had power, money and numbers. Some Feudals wanted more and wanted to make sure Nehru is not going to bring in Land Reforms. They got that with Pakistan. Liaquat was a Feudal lord himself!!

    Just because you are a minority, you don’t get special treatment anywhere in the world.

    Even in Pakistan, Hindus, Christians and other non-Muslims don’t get ANY noticeable special privilege. Its really strange to see Pakistanis asking Indians to abide by the principles, they never seem to follow themselves!!

    The rest is ifs and buts. Recommend

  • Midhat


    if you know history, not Indian or Pakistani version, you will finds facts otherwise. Try reading accounts of famous critics, historians and even his apponents ( Gandhi, Indian leaders and many Britsih lords of that time) for thier actual words without interpretation and you will realize his morals and principles were held in highest regards. , The reason Gandhi called Jinnah a great Indian was that Jinnah was the greatest advocate of United India and worked for Hindu-Muslim unity . It was by 1930, Jinnah had begun to despair at the fate of minority communities in a united India and had begun to argue that mainstream parties such as the Congress, of which he was once a member, were insensitive to Muslim interests. As Mr. Singh argues if the blame for partion has to fall on others, Leaders of Congress and Nehru( with highest regards to him) were also responsible.
    As for what Jinnah’s morals were lets not talk about our interpretations as they are bound to be biased.. Read for what Congress leaders including Gandhi and other prominent leaders had to say.

    Gandhi’s words: “Jinnah is incorruptible and brave” [Interview with Louis Fischer]

    Sarat Chandra Bose (Indian Freedom Fighter):“Mr Jinnah, greatest of all as a man of action,”

    Nelson Mandela “Ali Jinnah is a constant source of inspiration for all those who are fighting against racial or group discrimination”

    Sir Patrick Spen (the last Chief Justice of undivided India): “There is no man or woman living who imputes anything against his honour or his honesty. He was the most upright person that I know, but throughout it all, he never, as far as I know, for one moment, attempted to deceive anybody, as to what he was aiming at or as to the means he attempted to adopt to get it”

    The Aga Khan“I have met many politicians in my life, like Churchill, Mesoleni, Kaizon, Gandhi; but Jinnah was different from all of them. There was no other politician with such a strength of character”

    As for if it was an easy task:

    Lord Lothian : “Though Jinnah’s scheme of partition was good, it would take at least 25 years to take shape. But great wars and great men shorten history, and Jinnah was such a man who could alter the history of a nation”

    John Biggs-Davison (Member of UK Parliament):“Although without Gandhi, Hindustan would still have gained independence and without Lenin and Mao, Russia and China would still have endured Communist revolution, without Jinnah there would have been no Pakistan in 1947.”

    As for Direct action day, it was a call for strike when Muslim league’s proposal for rejected outright. The riots that happned were never anticipated by either Congress Leaders or Muslims league’s. Just a proof of Cultural divide and identity demarcation that is even witnessed now. its shameful but true that the masses of Subcontinet throughout History and present have religious, cultural , lingual and regional superiority complexes that we try to impose..We still havent learnt to celebrate and respect the differences and discriminate against each other given any chances. eg. Gujrat riots, Bombay riots. Gojra in Pakistan. Balochistan etc..btw direct action day is documented in a different way in our interpretation of History but we need to get rid your or my interpreations and they are bound to be biased.

    As for Mr. Nehru’s promises, we still keep him in high regards.. He promised Kashmiries their right to self determination..its a sad state that Mr. Nehru’s followers have failed to fulfill his promises as of yet!! Recommend