Muammad Ali Jinnah

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Muhammad Ali Jinnah's (a.k.a. Father of the Nation or Quaid-e-Azam) achievement as the founder of Pakistan, dominates everything else he did in his long and crowded public life spanning some 42 years. Yet, by any standard, his was an eventful life, his personality multidimensional and his achievements in other fields were many, if not equally great. Indeed, several were the roles he had played with distinction: at one time or another, he was one of the greatest legal dignitary India had produced during the first half of the century, an 'ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, a great constitutionalist, a distinguished parliamentarian, a top-notch politician, an tireless freedom-fighter, a dynamic Muslim leader, a political strategist and, above all one of the great nation-builders of modern times. What, however, makes him so remarkable is the fact that while similar other leaders assumed the leadership of traditionally well-defined nations and advocated their cause, or led them to freedom.

He created a nation out of an undeveloped and down-trodden minority and established a cultural and national home for it. He had done that all that within a decade. For over three decades before the successful pinnacle in 1947 of the Muslim struggle for freedom in the South-Asian subcontinent, Jinnah had provided political leadership to the Indian Muslims: initially as one of the leaders, but later, since 1947, as the only prominent leader- the Quaid-i-Azam. For over thirty years, he had guided their affairs; he had given expression, coherence and direction to their legitimate aspirations and cherished dreams; he had formulated these into concrete demands; and, above all, he had striven all the while to get them conceded by both the ruling British and the numerous Hindus, the dominant segment of India's population. And for over thirty years he had fought, relentlessly and necessarily, for the inherent rights of the Muslims for an honorable existence in the subcontinent. Indeed, his life story constitutes, as it were, the story of the rebirth of the Muslims of the subcontinent and their spectacular rise to nationhood, phoenix like.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born in Karachi on December 25th, 1876, in a building known as Wazir Mansion. Since his childhood, he always wanted to be in the profession of law. His dream came true when he practiced law in England?s Lincoln?s Inn. After his return to India, he joined the All India National Congress in 1906. He later joined the All Indian Muslim League in 1913. Initially, he remained working with the Hindu leaders of Congress. He was given the title of "Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity" by prominent politicians. With the passage of time, he realized that the Hindu majority had other means meaning only a separate state for the Hindus and not the Muslims.

Jinnah broke with the Congress in 1920 over Mohandas Gandhi's policy of non-cooperation with the British. Still committed to settling Hindu-Muslim differences, he articulated his 14-point compromise proposal (1929) and attended three round-table conferences (1930-32) in London. Frustrated in his efforts, he then remained in London to practice law, returning to India only in 1934, when elected permanent president of the Muslim League.

Jinnah?s motivation was the dream of one man. He was Sir Muhammad Iqbal. He dreamed of Muslims rejoicing in a land they called Pakistan. He had told Muhammad Ali Jinnah about this dream and Muhammad couldn?t resist. It soon became his dream and with constant struggle, the dream of many Muslims.

In the general elections of 1937 the Congress, led by Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, won a majority in 7 of 11 provinces and refused to form coalition governments with the Muslim League as Jinnah had proposed. This proved to be the final Hindu-Muslim break. When World War II began in 1939, and the Congress governments resigned to protest India's participation in the war without British commitment to the country's freedom, Jinnah declared it a "Day of Deliverance" for the Muslims. The following year the league passed the Pakistan resolution, demanding a separate state for Indian Muslims.

Jinnah accepted a 1946 British plan guaranteeing regional autonomy to the Muslims within a territorially united India, but the plan failed, and the British were forced to create a separate Pakistan (August 14, 1947). Jinnah was revered as Qaid-i-Azam ("Great Leader"). He was elected as the first governor general on August 15, 1947. His constant effort ,struggle, and courage to create a nation thus gave him the name "father of the nation". He died in Karachi on September 11, 1948.