Muhammad Ali Jinnah: The Founder of Pakistan

Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Born Mahomedali Jinnahbhai on 25th December 1876 in Karachi, Bombay Presidency, British India. He will be known as Quaid e Azam (Quaid-e-Azam, Qaid-i-Azam) or “Great Leader”, and Baba e Quam ( Baba-e-Qaum) “Father of the Nation”

Muhammad Ali 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. Muhammad Ali Jinnah did all three

Stanley Wolpert

Muhammad Ali Jinnah– a brilliant barrister, a shrewd politician, an adept statesman, and the founder and the first Governor-General of Pakistan- is a name no stranger to fame and honour. He was one of recent history’s most enigmatic and charismatic leaders, but least known personalities. His life had many shades: from an Indian Nationalist to a Muslim communitarian; from being called “more congress than congress” to be called “Frankenstein’s Monster”, from an “Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity” to “Sole spokesman of Muslims of India”; from demanding “separate electorates” for Muslims to founding a separate Muslim homeland-Pakistan, he traversed a long journey under the shadows of hope, agony, struggle and tenacity.

For Indians, he is a demon and for Pakistanis, an angel who saved them from being crushed as a minority lying before a Majority juggernaut.

Why the views about him are divided in antipodal opposition? How did his ideas change? How did a ‘secular to the core’ individual lay the foundation of a new country on the basis of religion? Why a standard-bearer of United India forced an event as cataclysmic as a partition?

This article will address such curious questions. So, let’s recapitulate the life of enigmatic M.A. Jinnah, for whom it is suggested that ‘He won Pakistan just with the help of a typewriter and a clerk’

Early Life

Born to Jinnahbhai Ponja, a merchant who rented the second floor of a three-story house (Wazir Mansion) in Karachi, Muhammad Ali Jinnahbhai was the first of the seven children born to JInnahbhai Poonja and his wife, Mithibai. Muhammad Ali Jinnahbhai, later in his life would claim 25 December 1876, as his birthdate.

However, the register preserved at the first such school Jinnah attended, the Sindh Madrasstul Islam in Karachi, notes 20 October 1875, as the birthdate of ‘Muhammad Ali Jinnahbhai”.

Assorted Images of Muhammad Ali Jinnah 'Quaid e Azam' during his life
Assorted Images of Muhammad Ali Jinnah ‘Quaid e Azam’ during his life

At birth, Mamad (his pet name in his house) was frail and weak as he weighed a few pounds less than normal. At the age of six, his father hired a tutor to start his son on alphabet and arithmetic but he proved ‘indifferent’ to studies.

At the age of 11, in early 1887, his only aunt, Manbai (Jinnahbhai Poonja’s only sister) lured him to Bombay and introduced him to the great city that was no less than a marvel for him. In Bombay, her auntie enrolled him in the Muslim Anjuman-i-Islam, or in the secular Gokul Das Tej Primary School, it is uncertain, but certainly, his inquisitive mind was rebelling against the trite and hackneyed lectures taught in these schools. 

It was no more than a six-month stay in Bombay when his mother called him back to Karachi because she could not live at peace without her ‘darling son’ and got him enrolled in Sindh Madrassatul Islam on 23 December 1887.

But his name was withdrawn from the ‘roster’ because of the ‘long absence’. He spent that time, with his friend Karim Kassim, venturing on adventures on Karachi’s barren sands. He loved horses as he did minarets and dooms. He also loved reading poetry.

Jinnah was never easy to control, even in his childhood. At last, in pursuit of a panacea for his restless nature, his parents got him admitted to Christian Mission High School on Lawrence Road, near his house.

An Opportunity

In the early 1880s, his father’s business flourished by leaps and bounds which enabled him to buy his own stables and some handsome carriages. His firm was closely associated with the leading British Managing Agency in Karachi, Douglas Graham and Company whose managing director named Sir Frederick Leigh Croft greatly influenced his life. Sir Frederick obviously liked Mamad, thinking highly enough of his potential to recommend the young man for an apprenticeship to his home office in London in 1892.

The Founder of Pakistan in his young days
The Founder of Pakistan in his young days

At that time, one in a million of such young men would enjoy the luxury of apprenticeship ‘abroad’. Millions of such were contending for such opportunity, all of whose parents tried to convince men like Croft to do as much for their sons. Karachi, however, had only one Jinnah!

His First Marriage

Having heard of his son’s plans, Jinnah’s mother strained every nerve to convince him not to leave for London. But before her was Jinnah who never was easy to control and he had made up his mind.

After so much persuasion, she capitulated on one condition. According to her, ‘England was a dangerous country to send an unmarried and handsome young man like her son. Some English girl might lure him into marriage and that would be a tragedy for Jinnah Poonja Family’. He accepted this as an obedient son.

Subsequently, he was married to Emibai, a fourteen-year-old girl from Paneli village. Only days after their marriage, he sailed from India, but he didn’t know at that time that he was sailing out of the life of his wife and mother because long before Jinnah returned from London, Emibai, like his mother was dead!

All Alone in London

In January 1893, Jinnah left for England unaccompanied and lonely. He kept no diary as Gandhi and Nehru did, neither he wrote any autobiography but the cold, uninspiring breeze of London made him declare that:

I was young and lonely. Far from home…Except for some employees at Grahams, I did not know a soul, and the immensity of London as a city weighed heavily on my solitary life…But I soon got settled to life in London, and I began to like it before long.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah

In a British Bank, his father had deposited money which could suffice for three years. In 1895, he moved into a modest three-story house at 35 Russel Road in Kensington which was owned by Mrs F.E Page-Drake.

35 Russel Road in Kensington, London
35 Russel Road in Kensington, London
Commemoration Plaque from the City of London to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, The Founder of Pakistan
Commemoration Plaque from the City of London to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, The Founder of Pakistan

Jinnahbhai Becomes Jinnah

In London, he changed everything from his name to his clothing.  “Muhammad Ali Jinnahbhai” anglicized his name to “M. A. Jinnah” which he first used to open his Royal Bank of Scotland account. His personality and attire were to be praised for the rest of his life.

Now, he wore smartly tailored Saville Row suits and heavily starched detachable-collared shirts instead of Sindhi’s long yellow suit.

As a proud barrister, he never wore the same tie twice. By the end of his life, his wardrobe closet was studded with 200-odd hand-tailored suits. From head to toe, the stylishness exhibited by M. A. Jinnah’s personality.

The Gamble of his Life

The restless nature of Jinnah couldn’t resist the lures of London. He didn’t take long to abandon the drudgery of Graham’s apprenticeship.

In February 1893, he arrived in London and on 25 April of the same year petitioned Lincoln’s Inn and was granted permission to be excused from the Latin Portion of Preliminary Examinations.

On 25 May 1893, he passed a relatively simple preliminary exam. It was a gamble that he had played because his father was not happy with his ’impulsive’ decision to abandon the apprenticeship and embark on the studies of the law neither Sir Croft could do more for ‘Impressive Mamad’.

He took a great risk as he himself removed any pillars of support which he could fall back upon and he was like this- uncontrollable and ungovernable.

Life at Lincoln’s Inn

On May 25 1893, he began his studies of law. Lincoln’s Inn had a most imposing list of graduates and dropouts, including Thomas More, William Pitt and half a dozen other Prime Ministers from Lord Canning to Asquith.

Lincoln's Inn, London
Lincoln’s Inn, London

One of the most brilliant liberals, the author of On Compromise and the then-elected bencher of Lincoln’s inn, John Morley (1838-1923) became the ideal of what Jinnah aspired to be.

Lincoln’s Inn provided the most congenial environment for the undergraduate Barristers. The students used to have dinners at the Great Hall of Lincoln’s Inn. The collegial environment of those dinners, where witty Barristers engaged students in healthy legal conversations was deemed an essential part of their training. Jinnah learned a lot from such discussions and the environment.

The most important aspect of his legal education was the time he utilized in ‘reading’ apprenticeship in a barrister’s chamber. The third place where Jinnah was fond to go was the Reading Room of the British Museum. On Sundays, when that haven closed, he went to Hyde Park to listen to the open oratory of anyone who had a place to stand upon and the courage to speak on any topic.

It was a fruitful experience for he learned and developed oratory skills by listening to speeches and by engaging speakers in arguments.

A Born Actor

An open secret was his obsession with theatre which he developed while living in London. His secret ambition was to play ‘The Role of Romeo at the Old Vic’.

His sister Fatima recalled that ‘Even in the days of his most active political life when he returned home tired and late, he would read Shakespeare”.

Even once a managing director of a theatrical company, after seeing his acting potential, offered him a job which he accepted but later abandoned when his father in his letter forced him to change his mind, otherwise, he would be committing ‘familial treason’.

On his theatrical obsession, Stanley Wolpert, commented, “Those who witnessed his dramatic interrogations and imperious asides, whether to Judge or Jury, often commented that he was a born actor. Many a political opponent made the mistake of believing, however, that Jinnah was only ‘acting’ when he was most serious

Rise as a Barrister

On May 11, 1896, ‘Muhammad Ali Jinnah Esquire’ petitioned the benchers of Lincoln’s Inn for a certificate attesting his admission call to the bar and of his deportment.

With that talisman, he would be welcome to join the bar of any court in British India. He was ready to go home but not Karachi. On 16 July 1896, he embarked on his journey on the gangway of the P & O liner that sailed east. Nothing was left for him in Karachi, his beloved mother and wife were no more.

He was back in India but this time in the hometown of his beloved auntie- Bombay. Nothing is known of his first three years of practice as a barrister.

By 1900, it is known that an influential friend of his, impressed by his professional promise introduced him to the acting advocate-general of Bombay, John Molesworth MacPherson. The charisma of his persona left the advocate-general really impressed and invited him to work in his office. His intelligence coupled with luck was expediting his journey and drove him out of the humdrum of the competition. MacPherson did for Jinnah’s career what Croft had done for his life.

Young Muhammad Ali Jinnah 'Quaid e Azam'
Young Muhammad Ali Jinnah ‘Quaid e Azam’

In MacPherson’s chambers, he found out that Bombay’s four magistracies were vacant. He reached Sir Charles, the then Judicial member of the provincial government of Bombay. Sir Charles found MacPherson’s young assistant so impressive that he hired him to serve as ‘temporary’ third presidency magistrate.

He worked as a magistrate for six months but it wasn’t appealing to his restless mind. It was probably out of boredom, not because he wanted to earn more money. With a permanent place on the bench, his starting salary was 1500 Rupees a month in 1901.

Jinnah declined, replying, “I will soon be able to earn that much in a single day.” And soon he did. The dawn of the Edwardian era, the beginning of the twentieth century found Jinnah a firmly established barrister. At this stage of his life, everything for him was his success in law which also didn’t remain impervious to his acting talent.

One of his fellow barristers said, “He was what God made him, a great pleader. He had a sixth sense: he could see around corners. That is where his talent lay…he was a very clear thinker…But he drove his points home- points chosen with exquisite selection-slow delivery, word by word.”

Another contemporary noted, “When he stood up in the court, slowly looking towards the Judge, placing his monocle in his eyes-with the sense of timing you would expect from an actor- he became omnipotent. Yes, that is the word-omnipotent.”

The Politician Jinnah

He was first intrigued by the world of politics while he was a law student in London. Jinnah idealized Parsi Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) who had a firm in London and Liverpool in 1855, and was elected to the House of Common from Central Finsbury on a liberal ticket.

Interestingly, Jinnah campaigned for Dadabhai in the election. Thanks to Dadabhai’s inspiring example, Jinnah entered politics as a ‘Liberal Nationalist’.

Dadabhai Naoroji - also known as the Grand Old Man of India and Unofficial Ambassador of India
Dadabhai Naoroji – also known as the Grand Old Man of India and Unofficial Ambassador of India

Then there was another Parsi barrister, Sir Ferozeshah Mehta, who was imperious, and a fierce advocate, hailed as the ‘Uncrowned King of Bombay’ and was more the Bombay model for Jinnah’s early career than Dadabhai.

Sir Pherozeshah Merwanjee Mehta featured on an Indian Postal Stamp
Sir Pherozeshah Merwanjee Mehta featured on an Indian Postal Stamp

Jinnah attended his first annual session of congress in December 1904. Indian National Congress, founded by Retired British Civil Servant A.O.Hume, was the first nationalist movement which emerged in the British Empire. It was formed on purpose to provide a platform for ‘civil and political dialogue among educated Indians’. This party represented all Indians including Muslims, Hindus, Parsis, Christians, Sikhs etc.

In this session, two members of congress were selected to lobby what observers of Britain’s politics correctly anticipated as what would be the new liberal government in Westminster and Whitehall. These two members were Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915) and the enigmatic M. A. Jinnah.

The Partition of Bengal

In 1905, Bengal was partitioned into two provinces: Dominant Hindu majority West Bengal and Poorer Muslim majority East Bengal. Bengal with an overwhelming population of 85 million was unwieldy to administer. Hindus protested vehemently against this action of Britain. They thought the partition of their motherland with a vengeance.

Map showing the partition of Bengal into the province of Bengal and the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam in 1905
Map showing the partition of Bengal into the province of Bengal and the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam in 1905

Jinnah was quiet on all occurrences but this event was to change his life as this partition was aimed to end the dependence of poor Muslims on Hindu Landlords. Hindus couldn’t tolerate the ‘equal status’ which was given to their ‘subservient’ Muslim province- East Bengal.

The partition of Bengal jolted the consciousness of Muslims of Bengal which led to the formation of the Muslim league which was to become the ‘sole Muslim representative party’

Formation of the Muslim League

On 1 October 1906, thirty-five Muslims of noble wealth and power gathered at Shimla’s palace of the Viceroy of India. They were welcomed by Viceroy Lord Minto.

The pleading of the Muslims was the backdrop of the initiation of Minto-Morley Reforms not to place our (Muslims) national interests at the mercy of an unsympathetic majority (Hindus).

Thus, Muslims were demanding special status or separate electorates so that they could hold a representative position in government.

Lord Minto, in reply, said ‘…The Mohammedan community may rest assured that their political rights and interests as a community will be safeguarded by any administrative re-organization with which I am concerned.”

All India Muslim League 1906
All India Muslim League 1906

They were satisfied with the remarks of Lord Mint and he too was able to pull back sixty-two million people (Muslims) from joining the ranks of seditious opposition (posed by Hindus).

However, for the purpose of safeguarding the rights of Noble Muslims, the ‘All-India Muslim League’ was founded on December 30, 1906. The Muslim nobility feared the devastation of their wealth and honour if Britain’s rule ended in India and it transferred to Hindus who were four times their strength, which was also reflected in their motto. Their motto was ‘the protection of the British empire is indispensable for the protection of our honour, wealth and faith’.

Muslim masses were not concerned because it was formed “without nationalist ambitions”.

Interestingly, Jinnah was the only well-known Muslim who was the doughtiest opponent of this act, the formation of the Muslim League, as he thought the demand for ‘separate electorates for Muslims’ would ‘divide’ the nation against itself.

The Minto-Morley Reforms

Lord Minto succeeded Lord Curzon (1845-1914), whose party got out of power in London for the next decade. As soon as he attained the Whitehall’s Helm, John Morley initiated parliamentary constitutional reforms intended to liberalize and expand the base of secular government throughout India.

Both of them, Morley and Minto, were doing it for the noblest of reasons but actually, they were planting the seeds of the religious divide in ‘united India’. They were digging a deep ditch for British Empire where it would fall with all its might and would never again stand as an imperial force in India!

These reforms provided for four separately elected Muslim members on the expanded Imperial council and six of such on the Central legislative council. Jinnah was the first of the six Muslims specially elected to sit on the Viceroy’s council in 1910.

Joining The Muslim League

Jinnah attended the annual session of Congress as well as of the Muslim League, both held in Bankipur in December of 1912.

He supported the League’s goals to include ‘the attainment of the system of self-government sustainable to India through constitutional means, a steady reform of the existing system of administration…by cooperating with other communities for said purpose’.

Jinnah was venerated and held in high esteem by all league members. And finally, irresistible appeals to join Muslim League made him join the Muslim league but on a prior condition that “Loyalty to Muslim league and the Muslim interest would in no way and at no time imply any shadow of disloyalty to larger national cause to which his life was dedicated”.

At this stage, he was in a unique position as nor did he belong to Congress and Muslim League, but he was also inside the government’s camps, both in London and Calcutta.

Joining the Muslim League
Joining the Muslim League

The Lucknow Pact

In 1916, the Lucknow Pact was a jointly agreed Congress-League proposal. The architects of this pact were Bal Gangadhar Tilak and M. A. Jinnah. But the ‘principal’ architect of this pact was Jinnah.

The major demand was to increase ‘Indian Autonomy’ by increasing their involvement in the Indian government’s affairs.

Through this pact, both parties allowed for the representation of religious minorities in provincial legislatures.

The title of ‘Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity’ was given to M. A. Jinnah in this joint session because he acted as a major enforcer of this agreement.

Signing of The Lucknow Pact in 1916
The signing of The Lucknow Pact in 1916

Actually, the Muslims were seething with anger because of the annulment of the partition of Bengal in 1911 because the government of India had capitulated to Congress agitators which forced the reversal of the partition.

Hindus’ demand to reverse the partition indicated that they were not ready to give Muslims rights equal to theirs. It was an attempt to mitigate the differences between Hindus and Muslims and to achieve their goal of ‘self-government’ or ‘self-rule’ with combined struggle.

Second Marriage

To Jinnah, who was by then a firmly established barrister working for the national cause, the future of India looked bright as his own future with Ruttie.

Ratanbai (or Ruttie) was the daughter of his friend and client Sir Dinshaw Manockjee Petit (1873-1933). The Petits were one of the wealthiest Parsi families in Bombay.

Sir Dinshaw was the owner of the Manockjee Mills complex in Tardeo. Ruttie was an enchanting, beautiful and lovely girl. She was so beautiful that she was called “The Flower of Bombay”. Jinnah, aged 42, married Ruttie, aged 18, on Friday 19 April 1918. She converted to Islam three days before her marriage.

Rattanbai "Ruttie"  Jinnah - Born Rattanbai Petit was known as 'The Flower of Bombay'
Rattanbai “Ruttie” Jinnah – Born Rattanbai Petit was known as ‘The Flower of Bombay’

For the first time in his life, a girl had absorbed Jinnah’s emotions… [he] fell in love with Rattanbai. Joy and laughter entered Jinnah’s life. The Malabar Hill house became brighter. She presented him with a daughter, Dina. But, ‘Alas the happiness was not destined to last.’ Sarojni’s veiled prediction of trouble came true.

Raj Mohan Gandhi in ‘Understanding the Muslim Mind

But unfortunately, their marriage began to crack in 1921 and she moved to London with her only daughter, Dina. Jinnah only came to know about her death when her father-in-law told him about the death of his daughter due to cancer. Ruttie died peacefully in her sleep on Feb 20, 1929, on her 29th birthday.

Jinnah and Ruttie
Jinnah and his daughter Dina 

It is said that Jinnah was broken twice. First, on the death of his beloved wife Ruttie and then when he, for the last time, visited the grave of Ruttie before departing for Pakistan.

When Ruttie’s body was lowered into the grave he was asked to be the first to throw earth into the grave. He did that and as he straightened up, he started to cry not just silent tears but with hands over his face he sobbed like a child for many minutes. He did not seek anyone’s hand or anyone’s shoulder; but in tune with his personality, he cried alone. And having finished he wiped his tears and with his face returning to stone walked back to his car.

Butt, A. The Nation: Jinnah and Ruttie: When love is not enough, 24 December, 2016

Jinnah Leaves Congress

In 1918, Mont-Chelmsford Reforms were introduced followed by the Government of India Act in 1919.


Since 1920, Gandhi- a prominent Congress leader- emerged as a commanding figure in Congress and was successful in convincing a majority of Congressmen to abide by a new policy which was brought forth- the policy of non-violence non-cooperation- to pressurize the British Government to submit to their demands.


Gandhi’s aim was to bring the goals of congress fully into line with his Satyagraha campaign- ‘to secure complete Swaraj (self-government) for India according to the wishes of Indian people’.


But Jinnah argued against this motion insisting that ‘Attainment of self-government with the British Commonwealth…by constitutional methods.


But two-thirds of the attendees of Congress were against this constitutional approach which compelled Jinnah to leave his first party-Indian National Congress. Now, Jinnah was merely the “Jinnah of The Muslim League” who was soon to re-organize and took over the Muslim League.

The 14 Points

During this era, the Indian subcontinent was subject to hasty vagaries with Congress and The Muslim League pressurizing British Government to increase their involvement in Indian Government Affairs, in other words, they wanted ‘Indians’ to control the affairs of India and attain ‘self-government’.

The British Government, after the Minto-Morley Reforms, brought reforms after reforms, sent mission after mission to India to make sure that their colony did not slip from the clenched fists of ‘Mighty Britishers’.

Meanwhile, The Khilafat Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement ended in 1924. Jinnah made another reconciliatory effort when he convinced his colleagues to renounce the right of separate electorates for Muslims, he did it to bridge a gulf between Congress and the League as the tensions between Hindus and Muslims were intensifying after 1922. Thus, he was the principal architect of the Delhi-Muslim Proposals in 1927.

After the arrival and failure of the Simon Commission in 1928, Motilal Nehru and his son, Jawaharlal Nehru-prominent Congress leaders- presented a report in 1928, known as Nehru Report.

In this report, they adopted anti-Muslim and anti-league stances. According to Mohammad Ali Jinnah, “The Committee has adopted a narrow-minded policy to ruin the political future of the Muslims. I regret to declare that the report is extremely ambiguous and does not deserve to be implemented.”

The Round Table Conferences
The Round Table Conferences

In response to this report, M.A. Jinnah presented his famous fourteen points, which addressed the demands of Muslims of the Subcontinent, in 1929.

The Fourteen Points consisted of:

  • The form of the future constitution should be federal, with the residuary powers vested in the provinces.
  • A uniform measure of autonomy shall be granted to all provinces.
  • All legislatures in the country and other elected bodies shall be constituted on the definite principle of adequate and effective representation of minorities in every province without reducing the majority in any province to minority or even equality.
  • In the Central Legislature, Muslim representation shall not be less than one-third
  • Representation of communal groups shall continue to be by separate electorates: provided that it shall be open to any community, at any time, to abandon its separate electorate in favour of a joint electorate.
  • Any territorial distribution that might at any time be necessary shall not in any way affect the Muslim majority in Punjab, Bengal, and NWFP provinces.
  • Full religious liberty shall be guaranteed to all communities.
  • One-third representation shall be given to Muslims in both central and provincial cabinets.
  • No bill or resolution shall be passed in any legislature if three-fourths of the members of any community in that body oppose the bill.
  • Sind should be separated from Bombay into a province.
  • Reforms should be introduced in the NWFP and Balochistan on the same footing as in the other provinces.
  • Muslims should be given an adequate share in all services, having due regard to the requirement of efficiency.
  • The Constitution should embody adequate safeguards for the protection of Muslim culture, education, language, religion, and personal laws, as well as for Muslim charitable institutions.
  • No change will be made to the constitution without the consent of the province.

The Round Table Conferences

It was an effort made by the British Government to hit a commonly agreed constitutional formula. Three Round Table conferences were conducted in the period between November 1930 and December 1932. Jinnah attended the First Round-table conference only. He wanted to keep himself out of politics.

The Round Table Conferences
The Round Table Conferences

Influence of Allama Muhammad Iqbal

It is aptly said, “Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality”, as was the case with Pakistan. Jinnah is known to make Pakistan come into existence but he didn’t envisage its formation.

It was Allama Iqbal, who in his famous Allahabad address, demanded the formation of a separate homeland for Muslims of India at least of Northern India. Jinnah embodied the vision of Iqbal. Not to exaggerate, but he was the ‘spiritual master’ of M.A. Jinnah and the ‘spiritual father’ of Pakistan.

He transmogrified Jinnah from a secular nationalist, reluctant to religion, into a Muslim communitarian establishing a state on the basis of religion. Mr. M. A. Jinnah issued the following condolence message on the death of Allama Iqbal:

“I am extremely sorry to hear the sad news of the death of Sir Muhammad Iqbal. He was a remarkable poet of worldwide fame and his work will live forever. His services to his country and the Muslims are so numerous that his record can be compared with that of the greatest Indian that ever lived. He was an ex-President of the All-India Muslim League and a President of the Provincial Muslim League of Punjab till the very recent time when his unforeseen illness compelled him to resign. But he was the staunchest and the most loyal champion of the policy and programme of the All-India Muslim League.

To me, he was a friend, guide and philosopher and during the darkest moments through which the Muslim League had to go, he stood like a rock and never flinched one single moment … My sincerest and deepest sympathy goes out to his family at this moment in their bereavement losing him, and it is a terrible loss to India and the Muslims, particularly at this juncture.”

And at one place he added:

“I live to see the ideal of a Muslim State being achieved in India and if I were then offered to make a choice between the works of Iqbal and the rulership of the Muslim state, I would prefer the former.”

Allama Iqbal played a major role in driving Jinnah back to India in 1934 after he had abandoned all political activities during 1931-1934 because he was disappointed by the attitude of Indian Leadership and lost hope of any good. Iqbal told him to come back to India as there was no one except him who could lead Muslims at such a crucial time in the history of the subcontinent. Due to his relentless efforts, Jinnah decided to come back to his homeland-India- in 1934.

The Turning Point

Under the Government of India Act 1935, elections were to be held in 11 provinces across the Indian subcontinent.

The Muslim League rejected this act because it was an attempt to ‘subdue’ democratic forces, however, except the provincial part.

Jinnah, after coming back from London, was occupied in the re-organization of the Muslim League. It was a painstaking task as he had to face resistance from local leaders and congress-paid nationalists.

He made all sorts of amends to initiate the process of transforming a small fragmented party into a mass movement with district branch volunteers assigned with duties to spread the League’s message.

He was unanimously elected as the President of the All-India Muslim League. The Elections of 1936-37 proved a nightmare for the All-India Muslim league as it was utterly routed and couldn’t make a government in any of the provinces, whereas, Congress won the majority of seats in 8 provinces.

The Muslim League could win only 25 seats reserved for Muslims whereas the majority of other seats were won by other regional Muslim parties.

As mentioned above, Congress formed a government in eight out of eleven provinces. The policies they adopted proved an eye-opener for scattered Muslims.

Muslim students were forced to recite Bande Matram aimed to strengthen Hindu Nationalism and it was recited even before the start of official business daily.

Wardha Scheme and Vidya Mandir Scheme were aimed to develop a respectful picture of Hindu heroes in the minds of youth including Muslims. Such schemes were introduced in all educational institutions with the purpose to convert Muslims to Hindus.

Hoisting of three-coloured flags with British union Jack- showing that only two powers exist in India: British and Congress, organized attempts to burn houses, properties of Muslims, and campaigns to win Muslims to convert to Congress were enough to wake Muslims up.

However, Congress ministries resigned in protest to the Viceroy’s announcement of India’s involvement in the Second World War without consulting its representatives. But the damage had been done. Muslim consciousness was jolted and they began to think that if ‘Hindus’ can wreak havoc on them in the presence of the British government then what will happen once the power is transferred to the Majority (Hindus) of India?

It was the turning point. To mark the end of oppressive congress rule, on the directions of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Muslim League observed ‘Deliverance Day’.

M.A. Jinnah was given the title of ‘Quaid-e-Azam’ by Maulana Mazharuddin Shaheed during the annual session of the Muslim League in 1938.

The Lahore Resolution

The tone was set, and the demand was right there on the dais, placed at a place where now stands ‘Minar-e-Pakistan.’

March 23, 1940, marked a great hallmark in the history of the formation of Pakistan because Lahore Resolution was adopted on this day.

Minar-e-Pakistan - The Tower of Pakistan
Minar-e-Pakistan – The Tower of Pakistan – The tower was built between 1960 and 1968 on the site where the All-India Muslim League passed the Lahore Resolution (which was later called the Pakistan Resolution) on 23 March 1940 – the first official call for a separate and independent homeland for the Muslims of British India, as espoused by the two-nation theory. The resolution eventually helped lead to the emergence of an independent Pakistani state in 1947.

Lahore Resolution was a resolute proclamation by Jinnah and the Muslim League that the only way forward is the creation of a separate state for Muslims. However, the demand for Pakistan was not explicitly mentioned in the text of the resolution.

Now, Jinnah- a secular, nationalist, and an ‘Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity’- was trekking a treacherous route which he never would have thought about.

This route led to partition or in Gandhi’s words, ‘vivisection’ of the Indian subcontinent. Jinnah didn’t use the word ‘Pakistan’ in his speech but the hostile ‘Hindu’ media called this resolution a ‘Pakistan’ resolution instead of a ‘Lahore Resolution’.

But this name was not new as it was earlier used by Chaudhary Rehmat Ali, a Cambridge graduate, who coined the term ‘PAKISTAN’. Then, virtually, Jinnah and his league started demanding ‘PAKISTAN’.

Meanwhile, the British made the last attempt to seek Indian support for the Second World War. For this purpose, they sent the Cripps Mission in 1942, headed by Sir Stafford Cripps. But this mission was unsuccessful as both major parties of India, Congress and League, refused to accept the Cripps proposal.

In 1944, Jinnah-Gandhi talks also failed because of the inflexibility of both leaders. In 1945, although, Britain had won the Second World War, it was enfeebled to its core, at least, its grip on its greatest possession, the Indian subcontinent, was weakening day by day.

The elections for the central legislative assembly in 1945 and for provincial assemblies in 1946 proved to be the last elections in ‘British India’.

Signing of the Lahore Resolution
The signing of the Lahore Resolution

Jinnah and its party had turned the tables. They emerged as ‘the sole representative party of Muslims of India’ in these elections.

They won all Muslim constituencies. It was a huge triumph for Jinnah as he succeeded in gathering the scattered pieces of the Muslim community. These elections gave Jinnah ‘the negotiation power’ because he was the representative of the second-largest community-Muslims- in India. It became crystal clear that there is no possibility to surface any proposal or implement any decision without the consent of Muslims of India.

The Foundation of Pakistan

After the failure of the Simla Conference in 1945, the Cabinet Mission plan proved the swansong of Englishmen. It was a sincere British effort towards the solution of constitutional problems.

The Muslim League decided to join the interim government, as proposed in the Cabinet Mission plan, but Congress refused initially.

The viceroy promised to form an interim government even if one of the two major parties the proposal. The Muslim League accepted, but in the absence of Congress, he refused to process it further.

Of this breach of trust, Muslim League decided to withdraw its proposal. Although, Congress initially rejected this plan but was invited by Viceroy to form a government and an interim government was installed with Pandit Nehru as the Prime Minister.

In response to this, Muhammad Ali Jinnah announced Direct Action Day on 16th August which proved the last nail in the coffin of ‘United India’. The Direct Action Day, also known as the Calcutta Killings, left 4,000 people dead and was enough to make those who called the shots realize that no government can be installed in India without the League’s consent.

Consequently, with the inclusion of a few League ministries, an interim government was installed on 26 October. Liaquat Ali Khan, the right-hand of Jinnah and the first PM of Pakistan took the charge of the Finance Ministry. His control over finance crippled the ministries held by congressmen. It proved the last straw on the camel’s back because it hit hard at the interests of money lords with whose financial assistance Congress was run.

Now, it was the time for Congress, who were the standard bearers of ‘United India’, to plead for partition. India was destined to be partitioned. The Third June Plan and the Indian Independence Act were the proclamations of the ‘vivisection’ of the Indian subcontinent.

On 15th August 1947, Jinnah was formally sworn in as the first Governor-General of Pakistan.

The partition, virtually, became inevitable for the survival of Muslims and Islam in India.

Newspaper Clipping - The Birth of Pakistan
Newspaper Clipping – The Birth of Pakistan

The Great Migration

History bears witness to the greatest migration of all times-it was the migration which happened on the eve of partition. Around 15 million people migrated to Pakistan and around 1-2 million people were killed in the ensuing violence.

Muslim People crossing to Pakistan
Muslim People crossing into Pakistan

Muslims reached Pakistan by crossing rivers of blood and reddish roads. Pakistan has its roots dipped in the blood of hundreds of thousands of Muslims. They sacrificed for one dream which was ‘PAKISTAN’ and Pakistan came into being on 14th August 1947.

Muslim People crossing to Pakistan -
Muslim People crossing into Pakistan

Quaid e Azam’s Death

Jinnah was the man who forced the mightiest empire of all time, the British Empire, to partition even the anti-partition majority of Hindus and Congress were not able to stop him.

After the formation of Pakistan, he was faced with many problems. He tackled the initial problems of a new state as an adept statesman.

Despite his failing health, he continued to work relentlessly to form a firm base for Pakistan. Jinnah was suffering from tuberculosis since the 1930s but he kept it a secret. He fought the freedom fight while suffering from a such fatal disease. In 1948, his health worsened and on the 9th of September, he also developed pneumonia.

Quaid-e-Azam is dead
Quaid-e-Azam is dead

On 11th September 1947, Pakistanis had to listen to the dreadful news of their leader’s demise: Jinnah was no more! He was buried the next day in Karachi, where a handsome doomed monument stands today, housing the remains of history’s most remarkable, enigmatic and tenacious figures.

Had there been no Jinnah, there would have been no Pakistan’

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13 thoughts on “Muhammad Ali Jinnah: The Founder of Pakistan in 1947

  1. Quaid Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the founder of Pakistan. He was a great leader and had a great vision for the future of Pakistan. He was a true patriot and will always be remembered as one of the greatest leaders of our country.

  2. Jinnah was a typical Indian nationalist at the turn of the century, aiming to get rid of the British from the subcontinent as fast as possible. He adopted two strategies: one was to try to operate within the British system; the other was to work for a united front of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Parsees against the British. He succeeded to an extent in both.

  3. Great Person ever in the History of INDIA before and after independence. No comparison with Muhammad Ali Jinnah.A lot of respect for our great leader. A brillant leader who was hundred years ahead of everyone and ahead of times. He was honest, brilliant and so very graceful. Thank you our beloved Quaid. May Allah reward you well. Good Example of A sincere and Capable Leader making a Bold but Controversial Statement.

  4. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, president of the Muslim League now in power in several provinces of India including Bengal, explained his Two Nation Theory in its final form in his presidential address at Lahore on March 22’23, 1940. However, the idea of ‘sovereign and sovereign states’ was amended in the Muslim League Conference in Calcutta in 1946 and resolved to establish a ‘sovereign state of Pakistan’ based on the Two Nation Theory.

  5. Jinnah was a typical Indian nationalist at the turn of the century, Great Person ever in the History of INDIA before and after independence. No comparison with Muhammad Ali Jinnah.A lot of respect for our great leader. A brillant leader who was hundred years ahead of everyone and ahead of time
    For Indians, he is a demon and for Pakistanis, an angel who saved them from being crushed as a minority lying before a Majority juggernaut.

  6. Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder and leader he was truly a great man for the Muslim nation one of the most respected men of the Indian history and Pakistani as well, will never be forgotten. May Allah reward you Muhammad Ali Jinnah!

  7. Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder and leader he was truly a great man for the Muslim nation one of the most respected men of the Indian history and Pakistani as well, will never be forgotten. May Allah reward you Muhammad Ali Jinnah!

  8. Muhammad Ali Jinnah.A lot of respect for our great leader. A brillant leader who was hundred years ahead of everyone and ahead of times. He was honest, brilliant and so very graceful.Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder and leader he was truly a great man for the Muslim nation one of the most respected men of the Indian history and Pakistani as well, will never be forgotten.

  9. I like this article, there is a lot of Islamic history that may not be known by young men or women, and I am lucky to know Muhammad Ali Jinnah even though it is only an article. God willing, I will recommend it for my friends

  10. I Know Ali Jinnah From Our 1971 War History.
    Ali Jinnah Was the Founder Of Muslim League in 1906 and After the Dividing of Hindustan the british govt made 2 different countries named India and Pakistan. Ali Jinnah Was a great leader of Pakistan.

  11. This information is helpful for me, as a pakistani and social stuies student, i get a lot of information about our great leader quaide azam. Every aspect of quaid e azam life is discussed in detail in this post. I hope you will share information about other political leader also. It would be helpful for everyone.