Allama Mashriqi, the Nationalist Muslim
Allama Mashriqi (Inayatullah Khan) who was born in Amritsar on 25th August 1888) was an Islamic scholar and founder of the Khaksar movement.
Mashriqi was a noted intellectual who became a college Principal at the age of 25, and then became an Under Secretary, at the age of 29, in the Education Department of the Government of India. He wrote a critical appreciation of the Qur’an which was nominated for the 1925 Nobel Prize. He was offered an Ambassadorship to Afghanistan at age 32 and Knighthood at the age of 33 years, but he declined all the honours. This showed his simplicity and sacrificing nature.
He subsequently resigned government service and in 1930 founded the Khaksar Movement, aiming to advance the condition of the masses irrespective of any faith, sect, or religion. As its leader, he was imprisoned several times. Through his philosophical writings, he stressed that the Science of Religions was essentially the science of collective evolution of mankind. He was thus a secular person, who was deadly against the partition of India.
In the beginning of 1939, he announced in Al-Islah (Khaksar weekly)1 that, by 1940, the Tehrik would achieve its final objective of freeing India from the British yoke. He also declared that if he failed, he would disband the Movement. To Mashriqi, ten years (referring to the start of the Tehrik in 1930) was more than enough for any Movement to attain its aim, or there would remain no justification to continue such an organization. Towards the end of 1939, Mashriqi ordered the Khaksars to enroll an additional 2.5 million members within the next six months, i.e. by June 1940. This was the time when the Khaksar Tehrik had already spread to every nook of India, and foreign branches had also been established. Mashriqi was very close to his goal.
The Government agencies had been monitoring Khaksar activities, and its growth had become a matter of concern for the British. This is evident from the Governor of Punjab’s (Sir Henry Duffield Craik) letter dated August 11, 1939 to the Viceroy of India (Lord Linlithgow): “This movement [Khaksar] is particularly prominent…I have sent the Premier [Sir Sikander Hayat Khan] a note on the subject.” In another letter (dated September 13, 1939) to the Viceroy, the Governor of Punjab considered the Tehrik to be “the most troublesome.” Further investigation of Government of British India’s official documents uncovers that the Government considered the Khaksar Movement to be threatening and most dangerous.
Actually, the Khaksar discipline, militant ability, and potential to bring down British rule was actually revealed to the authorities during the Khaksar Tehrik and the Government of United Provinces (U.P.)’s conflict over the Sunni-Shia riots in Lucknow in 1939.
Inadvertently, this confrontation took place around the same time as the start of World War II (WWII). The conflict resulted in the resignation of the Congress Ministry in U.P., and the Provincial Government had to sign an agreement on November 04, 1939 with Khaksar leaders on Khaksar terms to end the discord. This is evident from the Governor of U.P.’s (Harry Graham Haig) letter dated November 08, 1939 to the Viceroy of India:
“The Khaksar problem was also a great embarrassment. I telegraphed to you on November 2nd that the situation involved embarrassments and that I proposed to accept the resignation of the Ministers next morning… the Ministers felt their position and authority were being jeopardised and questioned …I had decided regretfully to accept the resignation of the Ministers… We also agreed to pay the fares of the men [Khaksars who had come to Lucknow from other provinces] back to their homes. I should have preferred to omit both these terms, but it was clear that if we wanted an immediate settlement we would have to accept something on these lines and I felt it was better to settle at once than to run the risk of long discussions with a possibly doubtful issue…”
Khaksar power can also be seen through the Viceroy of India’s secret letter (dated November 13, 1939) to the Governor of U.P, soon after the agreement between the two parties was reached. Linlithgow wrote “…I confess that I should be greatly relieved, as I regard it [Khaksar Tehrik] myself as having quite dangerous potentialities, to be free of it [Khaksar Tehrik].”
This revelation of Khaksar power and Mashriqi’s programme made the British enormously nervous. A few days (August 28, 1939) before WWII, J.C. Donaldson (Secretary to the Governor of U.P.) wrote a secret letter to Sir John Gilbert Laithwaite (Secretary to the Viceroy of India). He stated that the Khaksar Tehrik “has dangerous possibilities” and that the Government is wary of the Movement.
This changing dynamic in India coupled with the onset of WWII in 1939 made the Government of British India fearful of losing authority over the country. The Khaksar power and the war made the British position extremely vulnerable. Thus, it was considered imminent to ban the Khaksar Movement, and other prompt steps were also taken to eliminate this threat.
Mashriqi’s popularity and the Khaksar strength were also considered a threat to the growth and political aims of the All-India Muslim League’s leadership. Among the leaders, who felt threatened and were hostile towards Mashriqi, were Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Premier of the Punjab, Sir Sikander Hayat Khan (member of the Working Committee of the AIML). Jinnah’s hostility toward Mashriqi was indicative of his fear of being side-lined. The Viceroy’s letter (dated March 16, 1940) to the Governor of North West Frontier Province (Sir George Cunningham) explains what Jinnah thought of Mashriqi: “in the course of our discussion…I did not get the impression that Jinnah himself had any very high opinion of Inayatullah’s balance…” On the same day, the Viceroy wrote a secret letter to the Governor of Punjab (Sir Henry Duffield Craik); according to this letter, Quaid-e-Azam spoke ill of Mashriqi, referring to him as “rather
crackbrained.” These letters were written only days before the ban was imposed on the Khaksar Tehrik and atrocities were inflicted on the Khaksars and their leader. Quaid-e-Azam’s mindset can be further understood via the Governor of Punjab, Sir Henry Duffield Craik’s, letter to Linlithgow (dated March 25, 1940). Craik wrote a gist of his conversation with Jinnah, which he had had a few hours before the Pakistan Resolution was passed:
“Jinnah then went on to speak of his interviews with Inayatullah [Allama Mashriqi] at Delhi and admitted that he was hardly sane, extremely difficult to reason with and dangerously fanatical… He then went on to say that he hoped to be able to find sober and responsible men… to assume direction and control over it [Tehrik]… Actually I [Governor] fancy he [Jinnah] visualizes the Khaksars as a potentially powerful propaganda agency on behalf of the Muslim League. He [Jinnah] expressed the hope that if he was able to accomplish what he had in mind, my [Governor] Ministry would agree to rescind their order declaring the Khaksars an unlawful association. At the same time he admitted that the military side of the Khaksars’ activities, i.e., drilling, sham fights, &c, was a menace to the public peace and could not be permitted.”
By making such remarks, Jinnah paved the way to strengthen his own political position and made a tactful attempt to side-line Mashriqi. Quaid-e-Azam sought to remove Mashriqi from politics so as to remove a threat to his own political career. Moreover, he intended to bring the Khaksar Tehrik under the League’s flag to augment the League’s position. In addition to the letter above, the following offers proof in this regard. The Governor of North West Frontier Province’s Report dated April 09, 1940 stated “they [Muslim Leaguers] are attempting to bring the organisation [Khaksar Tehrik] more under the discipline of the [Muslim] League.”
It was not only Quaid-e-Azam who was against Mashriqi. Punjab Premier Sir Sikander Hayat Khan also considered Mashriqi a direct threat to his political career in Punjab. He detested Mashriqi and the Khaksar Tehrik’s popularity. Sir Sikander’s enmity is visible from what the Khaksar leader Raja Sher Zaman wrote in his book: Sir Sikander once said “I will crush the Khaksars within two days.” Sikander’s hostility can also be gauged from the antagonistic actions he took against Mashriqi and the Khaksar Tehrik on March 19, 1940 and thereafter.
The above offers proof that these leaders of the AIML were anti-Khaksars. It was in their vital interest to eliminate Mashriqi, who was a threat to them, and also seek British blessings for removing the Khaksar threat in the crucial time of WWII. Such circumstantial evidence substantiated by historical documents speaks of the All-India Muslim League’s behind the scenes desire for the ban against the Khaksar Movement.
Quaid-e-Azam was not part of the Government, and Sir Sikander Hayat Khan was delegated the authority to deal with the Khaksars. Sir Sikander was the right hand man of the British, as is evident from the Viceroy’s letter to the Governor of Bombay, written four days after the ban on March 23, 1940: Sir Sikander “is one of the best people we have.”
Soon after the green signal from the British, Sir Sikander started to prepare ground for imposing the ban. Non-Khaksar newspapers were encouraged to print articles against the Movement, and anti-Khaksar propaganda became a regular feature. An article even appeared in The Tribune which tried to link the Khaksar Tehrik with the German Nazis. Furthermore, members were prompted to raise questions in the Punjab Legislative Assembly about the activities of the Khaksar Tehrik. Sir Sikander himself stated in the Assembly that the Khaksar Movement was a communal Movement. It was widely propagated that their activities were dangerous for peace between Muslims and non-Muslims. The Movement was said to be communal, despite the fact that the Tehrik was open to non-Muslims, and there were Hindus, Sikhs and others in the Khaksar Tehrik. Anti-Khaksar elements were asked to issue anti-Khaksar press statements to further create a justification for the ban.
The groundwork for imposing a ban on the Khaksar Tehrik was set. On February 22, 1940, a police raid was ordered, Khaksar material was seized, and prohibition was imposed on the publishing of Al-Islah. Soon after this police raid, Mashriqi sought Jinnah’s help to resolve the tangle with Sir Sikander. Jinnah did not come forward and instead said “I wish Sikandar could be my man. If it had been so I would have ordered him.”
On March 19, 1940, 313 Khaksars marched in protest in Lahore against Government actions; Punjab police, under the command of a British police officer, open-fired on unarmed Khaksars, and a tragic massacre took place. On the day of this tragedy, the Khaksar Tehrik was banned in Punjab, and Allama Mashriqi (who was in Delhi at the time), his sons, and a very large number of Khaksars were imprisoned. A police raid was also held at the Khaksar headquarters in Lahore.
One of Mashriqi’s sons, Ehsanullah Khan Aslam, was injured during this police raid and later succumbed to injuries and died on May 31, 1940. Mashriqi remained in jail for a long time; the Government of British India failed to bring any charges against Mashriqi and he was kept behind bars without a court trial. In 1941, the Movement was also banned on an all-India basis.
Quaid-e-Azam also promised to the public to help the Khaksars, and during the Muslim League Session (March 22-24, 1940), he stated, “…I assure you and my friends of the Khaksar organisation that we will not rest until we have got full justice…” Regrettably, he did nothing serious for the release of Mashriqi or the Khaksars. Moreover, to the Khaksar circle, Quaid-e-Azam only appeared to be a supporter and well wisher of the Khaksar Tehrik in the public eye and not behind the scenes. In addition, one must not forget that Jinnah never mobilized the public or even visited Mashriqi in jail or his family, in order to avoid British resentment which might have jeopardized his political career. Quaid-e-Azam’s luke-warm efforts were meant to circumvent public pressure, rather than assist the Khaksars, and offer proof that he was in support of the actions against the Khaksar Tehrik.
After the March 19th Khaksar massacre, ban on the Movement, and the arrest of Mashriqi and the Khaksars, daily Khaksar protests and demonstrations against the ban began. Linlithgow gave top priority to the matter and took personal interest to ensure that the Tehrik was completely crushed; this is evident from his correspondence with Governors and Secretary of State for India in London, including a secret letter (dated April 02, 1940) to the Governor of Punjab in which he mentioned the situation in Lahore, the “potentially dangerous character” of the Khaksar Tehrik, and that he wanted to address the overall matter as a priority.
It is important to note that desperate efforts were made to wipe out the Khaksar Movement, yet it never died. In fact the more the Movement was suppressed, the more the demand for independence, in light of the ban on the Tehrik and Mashriqi in jail, was heightened. The political benefit of this was taken by AIML.
In fact, the above position shows that the British and the Muslim League leadership were among the leading proponents behind the ban on the Khaksar Tehrik. Vested interests lay behind this move — in the face of a powerful Movement that posed a threat to British rule and the Muslim League’s politics in India, both sought to secure their own control.
By putting Mashriqi behind bars and banning the Movement, the British averted the downfall of their rule in 1940. Instead they brought Jinnah to the frontline to start confrontational politics with all parties (Muslims and non-Muslims). This gave a lifeline to the British to continue ruling India, and they were able to maintain their stay until 1947.
Quaid-e-Azam too wanted to ban the Movement. His political position at the time had been very weak, and the Khaksar Tehrik and Mashriqi were a direct threat. With Mashriqi in jail and the Movement banned, Jinnah sought to capitalize on the wailing masses, bring the Khaksars under the Muslim League flag, and emerge as the sole Muslim leader. With these circumstances and support from the British, Jinnah did gain Tremendously0dously and emerged as a strong leader over time.
On the other hand, Sir Sikander, who had thought that by crushing the Khaksars he would secure his political career in Punjab, in fact suffered heavily. After the Khaksar massacre, he lost his popularity in the Muslim community, which Jinnah exploited to then secure his own power.
Mashraqi pointed out the role of the British and Quaid-e-Azam as well as the conspiracy against the Khaksar Tehrik. His press release issued on August 26, 1943 stated:
“19th [March, 1940] and the 26th July [1943, attack on Quaid-e-Azam] both were ‘well planned attacks’ on the Khaksar organisation, the one from the side of the Government and the other from the side of Mr. Jinnah.”
It is evident that the British and the All-India Muslim League were behind the ban on the Khaksar Tehrik, for their own vested interests. Because the AIML played in the hands of the British (as stated by Mashriqi and various nationalists) and because of the AIML’s wrong policies, Muslims were weakened, deprived of their homeland, and left with a moth-eaten Pakistan. The partition scheme resulted in the massacre of over one million people, the ruin of millions of lives, and ever-lasting hostility among people who had lived together for centuries.
Mashriqi is often portrayed as a controversial figure, a religious activist, a revolutionary, and an anarchist; while at the same time he is described as a visionary, a reformer, a leader, and a scientist-philosopher who was born ahead of his time.
He played a role in directing the Muslims towards the independence of British India.In Pakistan, Mashriqi was imprisoned at least five times: in 1950 prior to election; in 1958 for alleged complicity in the murder of republican leader Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan; and, in 1962 for suspicion on attempt to overthrow President Ayub’s government. However, none of the charges were proved, and he was acquitted in each case.
Mashriqi became ill with cancer of the rectum and died on August 27, 1963 in Lahore (Pakistan). Well over 100,000 people attended his funeral. Condolences were received from, among others, Ayub Khan and Khwaja Nazimuddin. Ayub Khan wrote that Mashriqi was “a great scholar and organiser who had given up a brilliant academic future to serve the people, as he thought right.”
Nazimuddin wrote that Mashriqi had been “a very interesting figure who took prominent part in the politics of the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent”.
Mohammad All Jinnah, the Communal Muslim
Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a Muslim politician and leader of the All India Muslim League who founded Pakistan and served as its first Governor-General. He is officially known in Pakistan as Quaid-e-Azam (“Great Leader”) and Baba-e-Qaum (“Father of the Nation”). His birthday i.e. 25th December is a national holiday in Pakistan.
Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress expounding ideas of Hindu-Muslim unity and helping shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact with the Muslim League; he also became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League. Then Jinnah joined the Muslim League and became a prominent leader. He proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims in a self-governing India. His proposals failed amid the League’s disunity, driving a disillusioned Jinnah to live in London for many years.
Several Muslim leaders persuaded Jinnah to return in 1934 and re-organise the Muslim League. Jinnah embraced the goal of creating a separate state for Muslims as per the Lahore Resolution. The League won most Muslim seats in the elections of 1946, and Jinnah launched the Direct Action campaign movement to achieve independence of Pakistan, the strong reaction of Congress supporters resulted in communal violence across South Asia. The failure of the Congress-League coalition to govern the country prompted both parties and the British to agree to independence of Pakistan and India. As the Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah led efforts to rehabilitate millions of refugees, and to frame national policies on foreign affairs, security and economic development.
Jinnah was born as Mahomedali Jinnahbhai in Wazir Mansion, Karachi, Sindh—then a province of the Bombay Presidency of British India. Although his earliest school records were to state that he was born on October 20, 1875, he himself later in life would give December 25, 1876 as his official date of birth. Jinnah was the eldest of seven children born to Mithibai and Jinnahbhai Poonja. His father, Jinnahbhai (1857–1901), was a prosperous Gujarati merchant who had moved to Sindh from Kathiawar, Gujarat shortly before Jinnah’s birth. His grandfather was Poonja Meghji, a Bhatia from Paneli village in Gondal state in Kathiawar. The family had moved there from Sahiwal near Multan. Some sources suggest that Jinnah’s ancestors were Hindu Rajputs from Sahiwal, Punjab.
The young Jinnah, a restless student, studied at several schools: at the Sindh-Madrasa-tul-Islam in Karachi; briefly at the Gokal Das Tej Primary School in Bombay; and finally at the Christian Missionary Society High School in Karachi, where, at age sixteen, he passed the matriculation examination of the University of Bombay.
The same year, 1892, Jinnah was offered an apprenticeship at the London office of Graham’s Shipping and Trading Company, a business that had extensive dealings with Jinnahbhai Poonja’s firm in Karachi. However, before he left for England, he married, at his mother’s urging, a distant cousin, Emibai, who was two years his junior. The marriage was not to last long: a few months later, Emibai died. Later, during his sojourn in England, his mother too would pass away. In London, Jinnah soon left the apprenticeship to study law instead, by joining Lincoln’s Inn. In three years, at age 19, he became the youngest Indian to be called to the bar in England. Around this time, Jinnah also became interested in politics. An admirer of the Indian political leaders Dadabhai Naoroji and Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, he worked, with other Indian students, on the former’s successful campaign for a seat in the British Parliament. Although, by now, Jinnah had developed largely
constitutionalist views on Indian self-government, he nevertheless condemned both the arrogance of British officials in India and the discrimination practiced by them against Indians.
During the final period of his stay in England, Jinnah came under considerable pressure when his father’s business was ruined. Settling in Bombay, he became a successful lawyer—gaining particular fame for his skilled handling of the “Caucus Case”. Jinnah built a house in Malabar Hill, later known as Jinnah House. His reputation as a skilled lawyer prompted Indian leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak to hire him as defence counsel for his sedition trial in 1905. Jinnah argued that it was not sedition for an Indian to demand freedom and self-government in his own country, but Tilak received a rigorous term of imprisonment test.
In 1896, Jinnah joined the Indian National Congress, which was the largest Indian political organisation. Like most of the Congress at the time, Jinnah did not favour outright independence, considering British influences on education, law, culture and industry as beneficial to India. Jinnah became a member on the sixty-member Imperial Legislative Council. The council had no real power or authority, and included a large number of un-elected pro-Raj loyalists and Europeans. Nevertheless, Jinnah was instrumental in the passing of the Child Marriages Restraint Act, the legitimization of the Muslim waqf (religious endowments) and was appointed to the Sandhurst committee, which helped establish the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun. During World War I, Jinnah joined other Indian moderates in supporting the British war effort, hoping that Indians would be rewarded with political freedoms
Jinnah had initially avoided joining the All India Muslim League, founded in 1906, regarding it as too Muslim oriented. Eventually, he joined the league in 1913 and became the president at the 1916 session in Lucknow. Jinnah was the architect of the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the League, bringing them together on most issues regarding self-government and presenting a united front to the British. Jinnah also played an important role in the founding of the All India Home Rule League in 1916. Along with political leaders Annie Besant and Tilak, Jinnah demanded “home rule” for India—the status of a self-governing dominion in the Empire similar to Canada, New Zealand and Australia. He headed the League’s Bombay Presidency chapter. In 1918, Jinnah married his second wife Rattanbai Petit (“Ruttie”), twenty-four years his junior, and the fashionable young daughter of his personal friend Sir Dinshaw Petit of an elite Parsi family of Bombay.
Unexpectedly there was great opposition to the marriage from Rattanbai’s family and Parsi society, as well as orthodox Muslim leaders. Rattanbai defied her family and nominally converted to Islam, adopting (though never using) the name Maryam Jinnah -resulting in a permanent estrangement from her family and Parsi society. The couple resided in Bombay, and frequently travelled across India and Europe. In 1919 she bore Jinnah his only child, daughter Dina Jinnah.
Jinnah’s problems with the Congress began with the ascent of Mohandas Gandhi in 1918, who espoused non-violent civil disobedience and Hindu values as the best means to obtain Swaraj (independence, or self-rule) for all South Asians. Jinnah differed, saying that only constitutional struggle could lead to independence. Unlike most Congress leaders, Gandhi did not wear western-style clothes, did his best to use an Indian language instead of English, and was deeply (Hindu) religious. Gandhi’s Hindu style of leadership gained great popularity with the Indian people. Jinnah criticised Gandhi’s support of the Khilafat Movement, which he saw as an endorsement of religious zealotry. By 1920, Jinnah resigned from the Congress, with prophetic warning that Gandhi’s method of mass struggle would lead to divisions between Hindus and Muslims and within the two communities. Becoming president of the Muslim League, Jinnah was drawn into a conflict between a pro-Congress
faction and a pro-British faction. In 1927, Jinnah entered negotiations with Muslim and Hindu leaders on the issue of a future constitution, during the struggle against the all-British Simon Commission. The League wanted separate electorates while the Nehru Report favoured joint electorates. Jinnah personally opposed separate electorates, but then drafted compromises and put forth demands that he thought would satisfy both. These became known as the 14 points of Mr. Jinnah. However, they were rejected by the Congress and other political parties.
Jinnah’s personal life and especially his marriage suffered during this period due to his political work. Although they worked to save their marriage by travelling together to Europe when he was appointed to the Sandhurst committee, the couple separated in 1927. Jinnah was deeply saddened when Rattanbai died in 1929, after a serious illness.
At the Round Table Conferences in London, Jinnah criticised Gandhi, but was disillusioned by the breakdown of talks. Frustrated with the disunity of the Muslim League, he decided to quit politics and practice law in England. Jinnah would receive personal care and support through his later life from his sister Fatima Jinnah, who lived and travelled with him and also became a close advisor. She helped raise his daughter, who was educated in England and India. Jinnah later became estranged from his daughter, Dina Jinnah, after she decided to marry Parsi-born Christian businessman, Neville Wadia (even though he had faced the same issues when he married Rattanbai in 1918). Jinnah continued to correspond cordially with his daughter, but their personal relationship was strained. Dina continued to live in India with her family.
Prominent Muslim leaders like the Aga Khan, Choudhary Rahmat Ali and Sir Muhammad Iqbal made efforts to convince Jinnah to return to India and take charge of a now-reunited Muslim League. In 1934 Jinnah returned and began to re-organise the party, being closely assisted by Liaquat Ali Khan, who would act as his right-hand man. In the 1937 elections, the League emerged as a competent party, capturing a significant number of seats under the Muslim electorate, but lost in the Muslim-majority Punjab, Sindh and the Northwest Frontier Province. Jinnah offered an alliance with the Congress – both bodies would face the British together, but the Congress had to share power, accept separate electorates and the League as the representative of India’s Muslims. The latter two terms were unacceptable to the Congress, which had its own national Muslim leaders and membership and adhered to secularism. Even as Jinnah held talks with Congress President Rajendra Prasad.
Congress leaders suspected that Jinnah would use his position as a lever for exaggerated demands and obstruct government, and demanded that the League merge with the Congress. The talks failed, and while Jinnah declared the resignation of all Congressmen from provincial and central offices in 1938 as a “Day of Deliverance” from Hindu domination, some historians assert that he remained hopeful for an agreement.
In a speech to the League in 1930, Sir Muhammad Iqbal mooted an independent state for Muslims in “northwest India.” Choudhary Rahmat Ali published a pamphlet in 1933 advocating a state called “Pakistan”. Following the failure to work with the Congress, Jinnah, who had embraced separate electorates and the exclusive right of the League to represent Muslims, was converted to the idea that Muslims needed a separate state to protect their rights. Jinnah came to believe that Muslims and Hindus were distinct nations, with unbridgeable differences—a view later known as the Two Nation Theory. Jinnah declared that a united India would lead to the marginalization of Muslims, and eventually civil war between Hindus and Muslims. This change of view may have occurred through his correspondence with Iqbal, who was close to Jinnah. In the session in Lahore in 1940, the Pakistan resolution was adopted as the main goal of the party. The resolution was rejected outright by the Congress, and criticised by many Muslim leaders like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Syed Ab’ul Ala Maududi and the Jamaat-e-Islami.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah founded Dawn in 1941, a major newspaper that helped him propagate the League’s point of views. During the mission of British minister Stafford Cripps, Jinnah demanded parity between the number of Congress and League ministers, the League’s exclusive right to appoint Muslims and a right for Muslim-majority provinces to secede, leading to the breakdown of talks. Jinnah supported the British effort in World War II, and opposed the Quit India movement. During this period, the League formed provincial governments and entered the central government. The League’s influence increased in the Punjab after the death of Unionist leader Sikander Hyat Khan in 1942. Gandhi held talks fourteen times with Jinnah in Mumbai in 1944, about a united front—while talks failed, Gandhi’s overtures to Jinnah increased the latter’s standing with Muslims.
In the 1946 elections for the Constituent Assembly of India, the Congress won most of the elected seats and Hindu electorate seats, while the League won a large majority of Muslim electorate seats. The 1946 British Cabinet Mission to India released a plan on May 16, calling for a united Indian state comprising considerably autonomous provinces, and called for “groups” of provinces formed on the basis of religion. A second plan released on June 16, called for the separation of South Asia along religious lines, with princely states to choose between accession to the dominion of their choice or independence. The Congress, fearing India’s fragmentation, criticised the May 16 proposal and rejected the June 16 plan. Jinnah gave the League’s assent to both plans, knowing that power would go only to the party that had supported a plan. After much debate and against Gandhi’s advice that both plans were divisive, the Congress
accepted the May 16 plan while condemning the grouping principle. Jinnah decried this acceptance as “dishonesty”, accused the British negotiators of “treachery”, and withdrew the League’s approval of both plans. The League boycotted the assembly, leaving the Congress in charge of the government but denying it legitimacy in the eyes of many Muslims.
Jinnah issued a call for all Muslims to launch “Direct Action” on August 16 to “achieve Pakistan”. Strikes and protests were planned, but violence broke out all over South Asia, especially in Calcutta and the district of Noakhali in Bengal, and more than 7,000 people were killed in Bihar. Although viceroy Lord Wavell asserted that there was “no satisfactory evidence to that effect”, League politicians were blamed by the Congress and the media for orchestrating the violence. Interim Government portfolios were announced on October 25, 1946. Muslim Leaguers were sworn in on October 26, 1946. The League entered the interim government, but Jinnah refrained from accepting office for himself. This was credited as a major victory for Jinnah, as the League entered government having rejected both plans, and was allowed to appoint an equal number of ministers despite being the minority party. The coalition was unable to work, resulting in a rising feeling within
the Congress that independence of Pakistan was the only way of avoiding political chaos and possible civil war. The Congress agreed to the division of Punjab and Bengal along religious lines in late 1946. The new viceroy Lord Mountbatten and Indian civil servant V. P. Menon proposed a plan that would create a Muslim dominion in West Punjab, East Bengal, Baluchistan and Sindh. After heated and emotional debate, the Congress approved the plan. The North-West Frontier Province voted to join Pakistan in a referendum in July 1947. Jinnah asserted in a speech in Lahore on October 30, 1947 that the League had accepted independence of Pakistan because “the consequences of any other alternative would have been too disastrous to imagine.”
Some say Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be a secular state and he mentioned it many times in his speeches, but his ideology never fully materialised because he died just after a year after independence of Pakistan in 1948.
Speaking to Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, he said “ If we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor… you are free- you are free to go to your temples mosques or any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state… in due course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to Muslims- not in a religious sense for that is the personal faith of an individual- but in a political sense as citizens of one state ”
Islamic parties at that time like the newly formed Jamat-e-Islami first opposed the creation of Pakistan. After the creation of Pakistan these parties joined in the political process and their agenda has been to make Pakistan an Islamic state.
As for his religious beleifs, so he was born in an Ismaili (Shia) family, but it seems, that later, he reverted from this to Sunnism. There are various proofs for this–One being that he trusted Mawlana Ashraf Ali al-Tahanawi (Sunni, Hanafi, Deobandi) as a renowned religious scholar.
Along with Liaquat Ali Khan and Abdur Rab Nishtar, Muhammad Ali Jinnah represented the League in the Division Council to appropriately divide public assets between India and Pakistan. The assembly members from the provinces that would comprise Pakistan formed the new state’s constituent assembly, and the Military of British India was divided between Muslim and non-Muslim units and officers. Indian leaders were angered at Jinnah’s courting the princes of Jodhpur, Bhopal and Indore to accede to Pakistan – these princely states were not geographically aligned with Pakistan, and each had a Hindu-majority population.
Jinnah became the first Governor-General of Pakistan and president of its constituent assembly. Inaugurating the assembly on August 11, 1947, Jinnah spoke of an inclusive and pluralist democracy promising equal rights for all citizens regardless of religion, caste or creed. He famously advised the highest body in the land:
If we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor… you are free- you are free to go to your temples mosques or any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state… in due course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims- not in a religious sense for that is the personal faith of an individual- but in a political sense as citizens of one state”.
This address is a cause of much debate in Pakistan as, on its basis, many claim that Jinnah wanted a secular state while supporters of Islamic Pakistan assert that this speech is being taken out of context when compared to other speeches by him.
On October 11, 1947, in an address to Civil, Naval, Military and Air Force Officers of Pakistan Government, Karachi, he said:
We should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play.
On February 21, 1948, in an address to the officers and men of the 5th Heavy Ack Ack and 6th Light Ack Ack Regiments in Malir, Karachi, he said:
You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of Islamic democracy, Islamic social justice and the equality of manhood in your own native soil. With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve.
The office of Governor-General was ceremonial, but Jinnah also assumed the lead of government. The first months of Pakistan’s independence were absorbed in ending the intense violence that had arisen in the wake of acrimony between Hindus and Muslims. Jinnah agreed with Indian leaders to organise a swift and secure exchange of populations in the Punjab and Bengal. He visited the border regions with Indian leaders to calm people and encourage peace, and organised large-scale refugee camps. Despite these efforts, estimates on the death toll vary from around two hundred thousand, to over a million people. The estimated number of refugees in both countries exceeds 15 million. The capital city of Karachi saw an explosive increase in its population owing to the large encampments of refugees. Jinnah was personally affected and depressed by the intense violence of the period.
Jinnah authorised force to achieve the annexation of the princely state of Kalat and suppress the insurgency in Baluchistan. He controversially accepted the accession of Junagadh—a Hindu-majority state with a Muslim ruler located in the Saurashtra peninsula, some 400 kilometres southeast of Pakistan—but this was annulled by Indian intervention. It is unclear if Jinnah planned or knew of the tribal invasion from Pakistan into the kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir in October 1947, but he did send his private secretary Khurshid Ahmed to observe developments in Kashmir. When informed of Kashmir’s accession to India, Jinnah deemed the accession illegitimate and ordered the Pakistani army to enter Kashmir. However, Gen. Auchinleck, the supreme commander of all British officers informed Jinnah that while India had the right to send troops to Kashmir, which had acceded to it, Pakistan did not. If Jinnah persisted, Auchinleck would remove all British officers
from both sides. As Pakistan had a greater proportion of Britons holding senior command, Jinnah cancelled his order, but protested to the United Nations to intercede.
Owing to his role in the state’s creation, Jinnah was the most popular and influential politician. In his first visit to East Pakistan, under the advice of local party leaders, Jinnah stressed that Urdu alone should be the national language; a policy that was strongly opposed by the Bengali people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Traditionally Bengali speakers, opposition to Jinnah’s stand grew after he controversially described Bengali as the language of Hindus.
Through the 1940s, Jinnah suffered from tuberculosis; only his sister and a few others close to him were aware of his condition. In 1948, Jinnah’s health began to falter, hindered further by the heavy workload that had fallen upon him following Pakistan’s independence from British Rule. Attempting to recuperate, he spent many months at his official retreat in Ziarat, but died on September 11, 1948 from a combination of tuberculosis and lung cancer. His funeral was followed by the construction of a massive mausoleum—Mazar-e-Quaid—in Karachi to honour him; official and military ceremonies are hosted there on special occasions.
Dina Wadia remained in India after independence, before ultimately settling in New York City. Jinnah’s grandson, Nusli Wadia, is a prominent industrialist residing in Mumbai. In the 1963–1964 elections, Jinnah’s sister Fatima Jinnah, known as Madar-e-Millat (“Mother of the Nation”), became the presidential candidate of a coalition of political parties that opposed the rule of President Ayub Khan, but lost the election.
Mazar-e-Quaid— the mausoleum of Jinnah in Karachi is a national monument of PakistanIn Pakistan, Jinnah is honoured with the official title Quaid-e-Azam, and he is depicted on all Pakistani rupee notes of denominations ten and higher, and is the namesake of many Pakistani public institutions. The former Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, now called the Jinnah International Airport, in Karachi is Pakistan’s busiest. One of the largest streets in the Turkish capital Ankara — Cinnah Caddesi —is named after him. In Iran, one of the capital Tehran’s most important new highways is also named after him, while the government released a stamp commemorating the centennial of Jinnah’s birthday. The Mazar-e-Quaid, Jinnah’s mausoleum, is among Karachi’s most imposing buildings. In media, Jinnah was portrayed by British actors Richard Lintern (as the young Jinnah) and Christopher Lee (as the elder Jinnah) in the 1998 film Jinnah.
Academy Award winning film Gandhi, Jinnah was portrayed adversely by Alyque Padamsee. In the 1986 televised mini-series Lord Mountbatten: the Last Viceroy, Jinnah was played by Polish actor Vladek Sheybal.
Some historians like H M Seervai and Ayesha Jalal assert that Jinnah never wanted independence of Pakistan —it was the outcome of the Congress leaders being unwilling to share power with the Muslim League. It is asserted that Jinnah only used the Pakistan demand as a method to mobilise support to obtain significant political rights for Muslims. Jinnah has gained the admiration of major Indian nationalist politicians like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani—the latter’s comments praising Jinnah caused an uproar in his own Bharatiya Janata Party.
Some critics allege that Jinnah’s courting the princes of Hindu states and his gambit with Junagadh is proof of ill intentions towards India, as he was the proponent of the theory that Hindus and Muslims could not live together, yet being interested in Hindu-majority states. In his book Patel: A Life, Rajmohan Gandhi asserts that Jinnah sought to engage the question of Junagadh with an eye on Kashmir—he wanted India to ask for a plebiscite in Junagadh, knowing thus that the principle then would have to be applied to Kashmir, where the Muslim-majority would, he believed, vote for Pakistan.
It is clear from the above that Pakistan has been founded on communal basis. However, its founder, Mohd. Ali Jinnah was a communal Muslim but not a devout Muslim as he did not pray five times a day and ate pork, particularly, sausages. He also smoked and drank alcohol, both of which are considered un-Islamic. He also had a habit of imposing his will on others while he defied the Islamic instructions. This was reflected when his daughter wanted to marry a Parsi gentleman, he told her that there were so many Muslims and she could marry any of them. His daughter retorted that there were so many Muslim women, then why he had married a Parsi lady. Jinnah was speechless.
There is no doubt that he was an eminent lawyer and used his wit to create Pakistan. However, if only Muslims had listened to Allama Mashriqi, Khizar Hyat Khan and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and resisted the partition of pre – Independence India and worked out some sort of solution with Congress leaders, things would have been different and much bloodshed could have been avoided and much misery could also have been avoided. Khizar Hyat Khan, the Unionist Chief Minister of undivided Punjab did not want Punjab to be divided but he was forced to see the Division of Punjab and left Pakistan in disgust. He went to London and died there.
Most of the Hindus are not that bad and even now 15 crore Muslims are living quite happily in India. In fact, in J&K, Muslim extremists had expelled Kashmiri Pandits from their homes. If 15 crore Muslims could live in India, 30 crore more Muslims of Pakistan and Bangladesh could have also lived here but Jinnah really made more than a million Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs die so that his ambition to become Governor General of Pakistan was fulfilled. He was really a rank communal Muslim who never followed the instructions given in the Quran in his personal life.
Satbir Singh Bedi