Remembering the Quaid

.. by Raza Muhammad Khan
Every year, the nation commemorates the birth of the Quaid, on 25 December to remember, admire and thank him for his unparalleled endeavors for creation of Pakistan. For this, prominent historians, biographers, Quaid’s contemporaries and even his foes have also paid glowing tributes to him. One apt and inclusive compliment was paid to the Quaid in 1984 by the American author and historian S. Wolpert in his book, “Jinnah of Pakistan”: ‘Few individuals alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation –state–Jinnah did all three… by his indomitable will’.

Earlier in 1925, Mrs. Naidu Sarojini, President of the Indian National Congress and later the Governor of the United Provinces in 1947, described the Quaid in these words : ‘– the true criterion of Jinnah’s greatness lies not in the range and variety of his knowledge and experience, but in the faultless perception and flawless refinement of his subtle mind and spirit; not in the diversity of aims and challenge of a towering personality, but rather in a lofty singleness and sincerity of purpose and the lasting charm of a character animated by a brave conception of duty and an austere and lovely code of private honour and public integrity.’

In 1927, Carim Chagla, an Indian jurist, diplomat and cabinet minister, said: ‘Jinnah was a superb advocate. What impressed me most was the lucidity of his thought and expression.” Rao Bahadur Raja, a Hindu leader and law maker, (revered by Dalits and India’s ‘untouchables), paid this homage to the Quaid on his birthday in 1940. “I regard Mr. Jinnah as the man who—can correct the wrong ways into which the people of India have been led by the Congress… I admire him because in advocating the cause of the Muslims, he is championing the claims of all classes, who stand the danger of being crushed under the steamroller of a caste, Hindu majority acting under the inspiration– of Mr. Gandhi–.’ In 1941, Sir Kawasji Jehangir, a Parsi, opined: ‘He has never put self or his own interest above that of the country’. 1n 1943, Mr. Nichols, author of “Verdict on India”, stated: ‘the difference between Jinnah and the typical Hindu politician as the difference between a surgeon whom you could trust and a witch doctor’. Post Partition accolades include: Vijay Lakshmi Pundit, Nehru’s sister’s proclamation: ‘If the Muslim League had 100 Gandhis and 200 Azads and Congress had only one Jinnah, then India would not have been divided!’

Mountbatten acknowledged that Jinnah had a “consuming determination to realise the dream of Pakistan and he remained focused on that till his death’. Patrick Spens, the last Chief Justice of undivided India felt that: ‘There is no man or woman living who imputes anything against his honour or his honesty. He was the most upright person that I know’. Quaid’s biographer, Hector Bolitho, observed this in his book “Jinnah- Creator of Pakistan” in 1954: ‘Four months before the partition, the Quaid was 70 and very sick; Nehru was 57 and Mountbatten 46 years old. But the Quaid’s single mindedness and persistent integrity still sustained him, so that in the end, he was able to enjoy considerable victory over his adversaries, both British and Hindu’. He further wrote: ‘ Jinnah believed that democracy was in the blood of Muslims and he himself gave this example to prove his point: Very often, when I go to a mosque, my chauffeur stands side by side with me—as Muslims believe in fraternity, equality and liberty’.

The Quaid was the youngest Indian student ever to be called to the Bar at Lincoln Inn and he informed the Karachi Bar Association, in 1947, that ‘the reason he chose Lincoln’s over the other Inns of Court was that it included the name Muhammad (PBUH) among the world’s great lawgivers, inscribed at its Main Hall’. British economist and editor, H.V. Hudson eulogized the Quaid in his book, “Great Divide–”, in 1969 as follows: ‘Not even his political enemies ever accused Jinnah of corruption or self-seeking. He could be bought by no one and for no price—-He was steadfast, idealist and a man of scrupulous honour’. Nelson Mandela during his visit to Pakistan in 1992 insisted on visiting the Quaid’s mausoleum as he considered Jinnah as “a constant source of inspiration for all those who are fighting against—discrimination’. In 2005, former Indian PM, Mr. Vajpayee stated: ‘Jinnah fought for his country’s freedom and wanted to found a nation where people of all religions could live’.

Former Indian FM, Jaswant Singh opined in his 2009 book, that Jinnah ‘ was moderate—and a pragmatic politician’ To honor the Quaid, roads and streets in Ankara, Tehran, Riyadh, Amman, UK (Birmingham, Bradford and Worcestershire), USA (Chicago- Devon Avenue and a section of Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, New York) are named Muhammad Ali Jinnah. As Pakistan owes its existence to the monumental and immeasurable drive, tenacity, and judgment of the Quaid, the title of Baba-i-Qaum (Father of Nation) was appropriately bestowed upon him through a resolution, proposed by PM Liaqat Ali Khan in Pakistan’s first Constituent Assembly, which was passed on 15 August 1947. But surely the most befitting way to express our gratitude to the Quaid is to follow his counsel like : ‘Honesty in public life and dealing is more important than private life, as the former could affect millions while the latter usually affects a few’; ‘I prefer defeat to winning elections by dishonest and corrupt practices’; ‘Do not criticize others unless you yourself have learned to respect the sanctity of the law’; ‘Freedom does not mean that you can behave as you please, irrespective of the rights of others–; ‘I have no doubt that with unity, faith and discipline, we will compare with any nation of the world’.
.. The writer is a former President of the National Defense University 

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