Quaid-E-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born Mahomedali Jinnahbhai; 25 December 1876 – 11 September 1948).He was a lawyer, politician, and the founder of Pakistan. Jinnah served as leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan’s independence on 14 August 1947, and as Pakistan’s first Governor-General from independence until his death. He is revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader) and Baba-i-Qaum (Father of the Nation). His birthday is observed as a national holiday.
By 1940, Jinnah had come to believe that Indian Muslims should have their own state. In that year, the Muslim League, led by Jinnah, passed the Lahore Resolution, demanding a separate nation. During the Second World War, the League gained strength while leaders of the Congress were imprisoned, and in the elections held shortly after the war, it won most of the seats reserved for Muslims. Ultimately, the Congress and the Muslim League could not reach a power-sharing formula for a united India, leading all parties to agree to separate independence for a predominately Hindu India, and for a Muslim-majority state, to be called Pakistan. As the first Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah worked to establish the new nation’s government and policies, and to aid the millions of Muslim migrants who had emigrated from the new nation of India to Pakistan after the partition.
As a boy, Jinnah lived for a time in Bombay with an aunt and may have attended the Gokal Das Tej Primary School. He gained his matriculation from Bombay University at the high school. In his later years and especially after his death, a large number of stories about the boyhood of Pakistan’s founder were circulated: that he spent all his spare time at the police court, listening to the proceedings, and that he studied his books by the glow of street lights for lack of other illumination.
Soon after his arrival in London, Jinnah gave up the apprenticeship in order to study law, enraging his father, who had, before his departure, given him enough money to live for three years. The aspiring barrister joined Lincoln’s Inn, later stating that the reason he chose Lincoln’s over the other Inns of Court was that over the main entrance to Lincoln’s Inn were the names of the world’s great lawgivers, including Muhammad.
During his student years in England, Jinnah was influenced by 19th-century British liberalism, like many other future Indian independence leaders. Dissatisfied with the law, Jinnah briefly embarked on a stage career with a Shakespearean company, but resigned after receiving a stern letter from his father. In 1895, at age 19, he became the youngest Indian to be called to the bar in England. Legal and early political career:
Barrister: Aged twenty, Jinnah began his practice in Bombay; the only Muslim barrister in the city. English had become his principal language and would remain so throughout his life. His first three years in the law, from 1897 to 1900, brought him few briefs. In 1900, P. H. Dastoor, a Bombay presidency magistrate, left the post temporarily and Jinnah succeeded in getting the interim position. After his six-month appointment period, Jinnah was offered a permanent position on a 1,500 rupee per month salary.
Jinnah politely declined the offer, stating that he planned to earn 1,500 rupees a day—a huge sum at that time—which he eventually did. As a lawyer, Jinnah gained fame for his skilled handling of the 1907 “Case”. One of Jinnah’s fellow barristers from the Bombay High Court remembered that “Jinnah’s faith in him was incredible”; he recalled that on being admonished by a judge with “Mr. Jinnah, remember that you are not addressing a third-class magistrate” Jinnah shot back “My Lord, allow me to warn you that you are not addressing a third-class pleader.” Another of his fellow barristers described him: He was what God made him, a great pleader. He had a sixth sense: he could see around corners. That is where his talents lay … he was a very clear thinker … But he drove his points home—points chosen with exquisite selection—slow delivery, word by word. Return to Politics:
Jinnah (front, left) with the Working Committee of the Muslim League after a meeting in Luck now, October 1937. Beginning in 1933, Indian Muslims, especially from the United Provinces, began to urge Jinnah to return to India and take up again his leadership of the Muslim League, an organization which had fallen into inactivity. He remained titular president of the League, but declined to travel to India to preside over its 1933 session in April, writing that he could not possibly return there until the end of the year.
Among those who met with Jinnah to seek his return was Liaquat Ali Khan, who would be a major political associate of Jinnah in the years to come and the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. At Jinnah’s request, Liaquat discussed the return with a large number of Muslim politicians and confirmed his recommendation to Jinnah. In early 1934, Jinnah relocated to the subcontinent, though he shuttled between London and India on business for the next few years, selling his house in Hampstead and closing his legal practice in Britain. In the next two years, Jinnah worked to build support among Muslims for the League.
He secured the right to speak for the Muslim-led Bengali and Punjabi provincial governments in the central government in New Delhi (“the Centre”). He worked to expand the league, reducing the cost of membership to two annas (⅛ of a rupee), half of what it cost to join the Congress. He restructured the League along the lines of the Congress, putting most power in a Working Committee, which he appointed. By December 1939, Liaquat estimated that the League had three million two-Anna members.
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