Issues

Was Quaid-e Azam Jinnah the only founder of Pakistan?

Many – both friends and foes of the Quaid-e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah take him to be the sole founder of Pakistan, whereas, a close scrutiny of the research material on the subject reveals that this is not a fact. The title ‘Quaid-e Azam’ [great leader] was at first bestowed on him by one Mian Ferozuddin Ahmed. It became an official title on the 11 August 1947, when Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan moved a resolution to that effect in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. It is also said that Gandhi, his bitterest political opponent, gave him that title.

Jinnah commenced his political career as a Congressman. It was the out and out pro-Hindu policies of the Congress and the haughty and unreasonably stubborn attitude of Congressmen (and Congresswomen) which made him quit the organization and become a leader of a Muslim Party which opposed the Congress tooth and nail.

The Quaid-e Azam, as a leading figure in the Congress Party, strove to bring about a fusion of Hindus and Muslims into one political community, united in the common aim of achieving Independence. The “Lucknow Pact” of 1916, adopted both by the Muslim League and the Congress was indeed a landmark in India’s political history and it was a remarkable achievement of Quaid-e Azam.

Jinnah opposed, tooth and nail, the “Swaraj Constitution” which the Congress decided on in its Madras sessions in 1927 because it was based on Pandit Nehru’s recommendations in favour of a “Dominion Status” whereas he was for “Total Independence”.

With a view to forging unity amongst the two powerful political bodies, Quaid-e Azam came out with a “Fourteen Points’ proposal but the Congress unceremoniously rejected it.

At one stage, Quaid-e Azam went to the extent of agreeing to ‘Joint Electorates” in the larger interests of the country. The Round Table Conferences failed only because of the unreasonably rigid attitude of the Congress which, instead of coming forward with a just, fair and reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the “Hindu-Muslim problem”, declared haughtily that if and when India achieved freedom, the so-called problem will get automatically solved.

The Congress rejected the “Communal Award” which the British Government announced in 1932 for the one and only reason viz., the Muslim League, under the Quaid-e Azam’s leadership accepted it.

Apropos of the genius and the sagacity of the Quaid-e Azam and the stupidity of the Congress displayed by them respectively during the General Elections which were held under the Government of India Act of 1935. Prof. Coupland Reginalds says in his The Constitutional Problem In India that “stupidity of the Congress was the cause of the growth of the Muslim League and its growing power. In fact, the Congress made the Muslim League a great power. After the elections in 1937, drunk with victory, the Congress went for complete power and decided to smash the Muslim League in U.P. It gave an ultimatum to the League to merge itself with the Congress threatening that there would be only a Congress Government in the Province.”

Pandit Nehru’s statement at a Press Conference in July 1946 as the President of the Congress, regarding the Cabinet Mission’s Plan, that his organization was “completely unfettered by agreements and free to meet all situations as they arise” widened the gulf between the two Parties and consequently between the two communities. This last straw broke the camel’s back. Even when the League decided to join the Congress in the formation of an “Interim Government” the Congress raised all sorts of silly and unjustified objections over the allotment of portfolios.

Thus, if the Quaid-e Azam, was the de jure founder of Pakistan, the Congress and its leaders were its de facto cofounders.

S.M.Pasha, Chennai
syedmuhammadpasha[@]yahoo.com

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2011 on page no. 2

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