We are celebrating the birthday of a remarkable man; Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a lawyer, politician and the founder of Pakistan. A person who founded the biggest Muslim country in the history of Muslims. This is a remarkable achievement when one considers the poor situation of the whole of the Muslim world at that time! He is revered and with affection we call him ‘leader of the nation’ (Quaid-i-Azam) and ‘father of the nation’ (Baba-i-Qaum)
Many question different aspects of his life, from his dress code, to being arrogant, and divisive. Some even go to the extent to question whether or not there was the need to have a separate Pakistan?
Taking the question of creating Pakistan, the truth is that Quaid-e-Azam advocated Hindu–Muslim unity, helping to shape the 1916 Lucknow pact. The agreement, containing 14 points for India to move forward, was rejected by the Congress leadership. He wanted to safeguard the political rights of Muslims. It is only after it became clear that the Congress leadership was only interested in Hindu domination and were not willing to give any protection to minorities that in 1940, Quaid-e-Azam had moved for Indian Muslims to have their own separate state, hence the passing of the Lahore Resolution demanding a separate nation or what some call ‘two-nation theory’. In a very short period of seven years he succeeded in making Pakistan a nation, which even today is seen to be the castle of the Muslim world!
In the struggle against the British rulers of India, he always stood for fairness and unity. He championed all minorities’ rights, not just Muslims. He promoted freedom from all sectarianism. He is said by non-Muslims to be the best ambassador of unity.
His political voting success can be measured from the fact that in 1937, Muslim league only secured 4.4% of the vote, yet in the 1946 election they secured 75% of the vote. A remarkable turn around that many world leaders would love to achieve in such a short time!
In his legal career, he worked hard and aimed high. When offered a job for 1,500 rupees per month, he refused by stating that he wants to earn 1,500 per day. In a very short time, by building his legal business he was able to earn this considerable amount of money! However, when you look at his public life you will find a different person. Someone who is democratic, transparent, willing to be held to account and championing minority rights. He was against the wasting of public funds and when appointed Governor General of Pakistan he agreed to his wage of one Rupee PM!
He was a remarkable individual, in the word of American academic Stanley Wolpert stated ” Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation state. M Ali Jinnah did all three”
There are so many examples from Qaid’s life that we can all adopt to help us achieve great things in our life too. Many writers have written so much about Quaid-e-Azam´s achievements, for me perhaps the golden saying of Qaid is ‘Faith, Discipline and Unity’. These three words alone are enough to guide any individual or state through the journey of life!
Current political leadership would be well advised to study Quaid’s life to learn from it. If Pakistani political leadership followed on Qaid’s footprint, then Pakistan would not be what it is today. Qaid-e-Azam remains Pakistan’s greatest leader and not surprisingly the people of Pakistan love him so much.