Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Quaid-e-Azam/Baba-i-Qaum)


Early Life

Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah also known as Baba-i-Qaum was born on 25th December, 1876 at Wazir Mansion in Karachi. At the time of his birth, his official name was Mahomedali Jinnahbhai. He did not born as a healthy baby but his mother was remarkably fond of him and insisted he would grow up to be an achiever.  The name of his father was Jinnahbhai Poonja and he was a merchant by profession. Mithibai was his mother. His parents had seven children and he was the eldest among them.

At the age of 6, his father enrolled him in school, Sindh Madarsat-ul-Islam. Jinnah was not a good student and preferred playing outdoors with his friends than studying. Arithmetic was his most hated subject though his father wanted him to focus keenly on it as the subject was the part of his business that involved trade of goods.

When Jinnah was 11 years old; then, his only paternal aunt came to see him and his family from Bombay, India.  Jinnah and his aunt were fond of each other. She offered Jinnah’s parents to take him to Bombay so that he would get better education there. Despite Jinnah’s mother resistance, Jinnah accompanied his paternal aunt back to Bombay where she enrolled him in Gokal Das Tej Primary School though he did not last more than 6 months there due to his unruly nature and returned to Karachi.     After Jinnah’s return to Karachi, he joined Sind Madrassa due to his mother’s insistence but his name was struck off as he frequently cut classes in order to ride his father’s horses. Jinnah also enjoyed reading poetry at his own leisure. As a child, he was not easy to control; therefore, his parents enrolled him in the Christian Missionary Society High School hoping he would be better able to concentrate on his studies there.

Sir Frederick Leigh Croft, a business associate of Jinnah’s father and the general manager of the company, Douglas Graham and Company had a great influence over Jinnah. He offered Jinnah an apprenticeship at his office in London that Jinnah accepted eagerly. When Jinnah’s mother heard of his plans of going to London, she objected strongly. After much persuasion by obstinate Jinnah, she consented but with the condition that Jinnah would marry before going to England.

Wedding At an Early Age

Jinnah’s mother arranged his marriage with 14 years old girl named, Emibai from the Paneli Village. The parents of Jinnah and Emibai made all wedding arrangements and the young couple quietly accepted the arranged marriage. The wedding ceremony took place in February, 1892 in the home town of Emibai.

Jinnah studied in the Christian Mission School until the end of October in order to improve his English before his voyage to London that was planned by November 1892, though some argue that he sailed in January 1893. His young bride died a few months after his departure. Devastatingly, Jinnah’s mother also died during his stay in London.

Jinnah in London

Jinnah on his own was befriended by a kind Englishman who engaged in conversations with him and gave tips to him about life in England. Jinnah’s father had deposited enough money in his son’s account to last him the three years of the intended stay which Jinnah used wisely. When Jinnah arrived in London, he rented a modest room in a hotel. He lived in different places before moving into the house of Mrs. F. E. Page-Drake as a houseguest at 35 Russell Road in Kensington.

On March 30, 1895 Jinnah applied to Lincoln’s Inn Council for the alteration of his name from Mahomedali Jinnahbhai to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, which he anglicized to M.A. Jinnah. This was granted to him in April 1895. At first, he found it difficult to adjust in cold winters and gray skies in London but soon adjusted to those surroundings.

After joining Lincoln’s Inn in June 1893, he developed additional interest in politics. Although his father was furious when he learnt of Jinnah’s change of plan concerning his career, there was little he could do to alter what his son had made his mind up for. At that point in life, Jinnah was totally alone in his decisions with no moral support from his father or any help from Sir Frederick Leigh Croft.

Jinnah often visited theatre during his stay in London. He was hypnotized by the acting, especially those of Shakespearean actors. It was Jinnah’s dream to play the role of “Romeo” at the theatre, ‘Old Vic’.

Jinnah’s Second Marriage

Jinnah had no interest in living in Karachi after the demise of his wife and mother. He chose Bombay for his residence and his father joined him there. Jinnah’s father died on April 17th, 1902 that was soon after Jinnah had started his political career. In the next two decades, Jinnah established himself first as a lawyer and then as a politician.

Jinnah vacationed in the North in Darjeelin in 1916, staying at the summer home of his friend, Sir Dinshaw Manockjee Petit where he met Dinshaw’s only daughter Ratanbai. He was enamored by her beauty and charm. Jinnah put forth his offer of a marriage proposal for Ratanbai that was refused bluntly by Dinshaw and it was the day when Jinnah’s friendship ended with Dinshaw.

In February 1918, Ratanbai turned 18 and was free to marry. On April 18th, 1918, Ratanbai converted to Islam at Calcutta’s Jamia Mosque and adopted the name, Maryam Jinnah. On April 19, 1918 Jinnah and Maryam Jinnah married at a quiet ceremony at Jinnah’s house in Bombay. The Raja Sahib of Muhamdabad and a few friends of Jinnah attended the wedding. The wedding ring that Jinnah presented to Maryam Jinnah was a gift from the Raja. Nobody from Maryam Jinnah’s (Ratanbai) family attended the wedding.

The first few years of marriage were joyous and satisfying for both Jinnah and Maryam. Jinnah became very busy in 1922 due to his heavy work schedule that didn’t allow him to spend time with his young and vibrant wife. It engulfed Maryam with feelings of desolation. In September, 1922 she packed her bags and took her only daughter, Dina to London with her.

When Maryam returned from England; then, both Jinnah and his wife tried to save their failing marriage but their efforts were in vain; therefore, the couple separated in January, 1928. On February, 1929 Maryam Jinnah died. She was buried two days later in Bombay according to the Muslim rites.

Jinnah’s Only Daughter

Dina, the daughter of Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born on August 14th, 1919 at midnight. Dina was a charming young girl with dark eyes. Jinnah and his daughter together spent a blissful time in London. Jinnah’s sister, Fatima Jinnah took care of Dina after the death of her mother. Jinnah later became estranged from Dina after she decided to marry a Parsi-Born Christian, Neville Wadia. Jinnah tried to convince his daughter to marry a Muslim boy but for nothing. Dina married Neville and lived in Bombay. They had two children, a boy and a girl. Shortly after that they separated.

As a Lawyer

Jinnah left for England in January 1893, landed at Southampton, catching the boat train to Victoria Station. He worked at Douglas Graham and Company for a while surrounded by stacks of account books that he was expected to copy and balance.

He arrived in London in February 1893 and after 2 months; he left Douglas Graham and Company on April 25 of that year to join Lincoln’s Inn, one of the oldest and well reputed legal societies that prepared students for the Bar. On June 25, 1893, he embarked on his study of the law at Lincoln’s Inn.

His quest for general books especially on politics and biographies led him to apply to the British Museum Library and he became a subscriber of the Museum Library. The 2 years of “reading” apprenticeship that he spent in barrister’s chambers was the most important element in Jinnah’s legal education.

Apart from Jinnah’s upbringing according to the traditions and ethics of a religious family, the Victorian Moral Code not only colored his social behavior but also greatly affected his professional conduct as a practicing lawyer.

Jinnah completed his formal studies and also made a study of the British Political System by frequently visiting the House of Commons.

Jinnah left London for India in 1896. He decided to go to Bombay after a brief stay in Karachi. He selected Bombay because it offered scope for the exercise of his legal faculties and ground for his political ambitions. He was enrolled as a barrister in Bombays’ High Court on August 24, 1896.

Jinnah’s career as a lawyer was full of marvelous legal victories. Either it was the Sapru-Jinnah encounter in Bhopal High Court or the famous Bawla Murder Trial of 1925; a legal case against the great Hindu Leader, Bal Ganghadhar Tilak or his last case in 1945 where he defended Bishen Lal at Agra; Jinnah always proved to be the most enviably popular counsel.   

As a Statesman  

Jinnah had developed a growing interest in politics during his visits to House of Commons. Jinnah started politics as a liberal nationalist. He was particularly interested in the politics of India. He became inspired of it when Dadabhai Naoroji became the first Indian to earn a seat in the House of Commons.            

In 1904, Jinnah attended a meeting of the Indian National Congress and he joined the Congress himself in 1906. In 1912, Jinnah attended a meeting of the All India Muslim League, prompting him to join the league the following year. After joining the All India Muslim League, Jinnah joined another party, All India Home Rule League and became a key leader of that party. As a key leader of All India Home Rule League, Jinnah proposed a Fourteen-Point Constitutional Reform Plan to safeguard the political rights of the Muslims.

As a member of Congress, Jinnah at first collaborated with the Hindu leaders as their Ambassador of the Hindu Muslim Unity, while working with the Muslim League simultaneously. Gradually, Jinnah realized that the Hindu leaders of Congress held a political agenda that was incongruent with his own. After realizing the political agenda of Congress, Jinnah left Congress and dedicated himself fully to the Muslim League. In 1930, Jinnah attended the Anglo-Indian Round Table Conferences in London and led the reorganization of the All India Muslim League.

Demand for Separate Homeland for the Muslims of India

Jinnah realized in 1939 that the concept of Hindu-Muslim Unity no longer seemed realistic, so he was convinced that there should be separate homelands for both the Hindus and the Muslims of India. Jinnah was certain that it is the only way to protect the rights of the Muslims of India. Therefore, in 1940 in a meeting of the All India Muslim League at Lahore, he proposed the partition of India for 2 separate homelands, one where the Muslims constitute a majority and other for the Hindus majority.

On March 22-24th, 1940 All India Muslim League adopted the resolution that was known as Pakistan Resolution or Lahore Resolution to form a separate Muslim state. The idea of separate homeland for Muslims was at first laughed at and stubbornly opposed by the Congress. Pitted against Jinnah were men of the stature of Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. The British government seemed to be intent on maintaining the political unity of the Muslims and the Hindus in India.

But Jinnah led his movement with such skill and tenacity that ultimately both the Congress and the British Government had no option but to agree to the partitioning of India. Pakistan thus emerged as an independent state in 14th August, 1947. Jinnah took oath as the First Governor General on August 15, 1947. Faced with the serious problems of a young nation, he tackled Pakistan’s problems with authority.

Death of Jinnah

On September 11, 1948, just a little over a year after Jinnah became Governor-General, he died of Tuberculosis at his home in Karachi. He was buried on September, 12th 1948 in a large marble mausoleum, Mazar-e-Quaid, in Karachi

Famous Quotes of the Great leader, Quaid-e-Azam:

  1. “Think 100 times before you take a decision, but once that decision is taken, stand by it as one man”.
  2. “Come forward as servants of Islam organise the people economically, socially, educationally and politically and I am sure that you will be a power that will be accepted by everybody”.
  3. “Expect the best, Prepare for the worst”.

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