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Friday, August 28, 2009

Quaid-e-Azam Birth Centenary 1876-1976 (December 25, 1976)

To commemorate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad All Jinnah Pakistan Post Office is issuing a Commemorative Postage Stamp on 25th December 1976 The stamp has been printed by famous printers de Cartor SA, Paris, (France) by the special silk screen process (Serigraphy). Each stamp contains 25 mg. of 23/24 Carat Gold, has a size of 40X60 mm and l2 1/2 perforations.
The quantity of stamps printed is 500,000 in sheets of 10 stamps.
The stamp is vertical in format. The monocle profile of the Quaid-i-Azam is embossed in the middle in gold powder against a dark green background, which is enclosed by a golden border. The words ‘Centenary 1976’ are embossed on the golden border at the top and the words ‘Quaid-i Azam Mohammad All Jinnah’ appear in emboss at the bottom golden border. The words ‘Pakistan’ and ‘Postage’ appear along side the vertical border on the left and right respectively. The denomination Rs. 10 appears in reverse below the portrait in the bottom left corner of the dark green background.
The people of Pakistan are celebrating this year the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation, ‘Quaid-i-Azam’ Mohammad All Jinnah.
Exactly one hundred years ago on 25th December 1876 a child was born in a prominent mercantile family of Karachi who was destined to change the course of history in South Asia and to carve out a homeland for the Muslims of India where they could pursue their destiny according to their faith and ideology.
Quaid-i-Azam invites comparison with some of the greatest names in modern history. Yet, in the galaxy of nation-builders, he holds a unique position in as much as while others assumed the leadership of traditionally well defined nations and led them to freedom and prosperity, he created a nation out of a dis-organised and backward minority and established a national home for it.
After receiving early education in Karachi he sailed for England in 1892 and was called to the Bar from the Lincoln’s Inn in 1896. He returned to India the same year and started legal practice in Bombay High Court. The city of Bombay saw a tall, thin, finely groomed, meticulously dressed young man, with sharp penetrating eyes, a long face and thin lips, whose words were measured and whose tone was firm. He showed an unshaken determination in pursuing an argument and making a point. Even in those early days one could discern in him the making of a leader at the Bar and a leader in the country. He had courage, he had concentration, he had character, and he had perseverance and, notwithstanding a few years of early struggle, failure to him was unknown. In a very short time he established himself firmly in his profession and remained one of its leading luminaries till he gave it up finally to devote himself completely to the emancipation of the Muslims of India.
The political career of Quaid-i-Azam spanned a period of over four decades; but never once during all these forty and odd years did he lose his bearing or falter in the pursuit of his goal. Politics with him was a mission, not a profession or a pose. Regardless of all consequences to his personal fame or fortune he pursued the course of action he considered to be right with unrelenting vigour and determination. He Joined active politics in 1906 from the platform of the Indian National Congress. Four years later he was elected to the newly constituted Imperial Legislative Council. For about two decades he remained a confirmed nationalist and Gokhale, the foremost Hindu leader of his time while paying tribute to him said, he has true stuff in him and that freedom from all sectarian prejudice which will make him the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity”. And in fact he did become the architect of Hindu-Muslim unity when he succeeded in bringing the two major communities together through the famous Lucknow pact of 1916. By 1917 he had established his reputation as one of the outstanding poli-tical leaders of India. He was playing a prominent role in the Congress and the Imperial Legislative Council while at the same time he was the President of the Muslim League and the Bombay branch of the Home Rule League. Political activities in the sub-continent became intense after the close of the first World War. The Rowlatt Act which gave wide powers to the executive was followed by a countrywide agitation and Quaid-i--Azam resigned from the Imperial Legislative Council as a protest against the passage of this bill. Next followed the tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh. In August 1920. the Treaty of Sevres was signed through which the Allies tried to dismember the Ottoman Empire and to reduce the Caliph to a non-entity. Sentiments against the British Government were running high and the Congress and the Muslim League Joined together in launching a violent agitation against the dismembe-rment of the Caliphate. Quaid-i-Azam who was a great constitutionalist and detested the use of violence in politics was averse to rousing the masses through emotional appeals. In his speech at the Calcutta Session of the League and the Nagpur Session of the Congress he tried to dissuade the people from the extremist course and to bring sanity into their counsel but he was silenced by the extremists. Consequently he resigned from the Congress and the Home Rule League and dissociated himself from active politics during the next few years, although he retained his membership of the Muslim League. Although he had left the Congress. he continued his efforts toward bringing about Hindu-Muslim entente. However, because of the deep distrust between the two communities and the failure of the Hindus to meet the genuine demands of the Muslims, his efforts did not succeed. His disillusionment at the course of politics in the subcontinent prompted him to settle down in London in early thirties. In 1934 he returned to India to lead the Muslims again and started the re-organisation of the Muslim League as a mass organisation with a concrete and progressive political programme. In 1935 the Government of India Act was passed and the Muslim League began preparation to fight the coming elections. Quaid-i-Azam was chosen the President of the Central Election Board at the Muslim League Session of 1936 and he called upon his people to organise and play their part. “The Hindus and the Muslims”, he said, “must be organised separately and once they are organised they will understand each other better”. As a result of the elections held in 1936, the Congress emerged as the majority party in most of the provinces in India and took office in July 1937 in seven out of the eleven provinces. Its policy while in office convinced the Muslims that in the Congress scheme of things, they could live only as “second class” citizens. The Congress Gove-rnments had embarked upon a policy and programme in which the Muslims did not feel their language, religion and culture safe. Muslim consciousness was stirred to a new pitch and a hundred million Muslims who had till then been dismissed as a backward minority, discovered under the Quaid-i-Azam’s inspiration, their soul and destiny. From a mere rabble, they were transformed into a united, strong and self-conscious nation. And in March, 1940, the Muslim League in its Session held at Lahore passed the historic Pakistan Resolution and launched the demand for a Muslim homeland in the Muslim majority areas of the subcontinent. During the next six years the Muslims of India had to carry on a hard and bitter struggle for the achievement of their goal and through their leader’s deep—rooted strength of conviction, indomitable courage, political tact and tenacity of purpose they finally succeeded in securing a homeland for themselves and Pakistan came into being on the 14th of August 1947.
The Quaid was seventy-one when Pakistan was born. He was spared by God only for one year to set the ship of the new state on its keel. Even during the brief period of his Governor-General-ship he strove hard to lay down correct precedents for the growth of a democratic tradition in Pakistan. In spite of his immense prestige and popularity he conducted himself strictly as a constitutional head of the state and never deviated from democratic conventions and constitutional propriety. Indeed he was always anxious to uphold people’s sovereignty against any constitutional ambiguity.
He died on September 11,1948, mourned by a grateful nation but as one of the great immortals of history.
What the Quaid-i-Azam achieved for the Muslims of South Asia deserves to be written in letters of gold. To express the nation’s gratitude to such a revered leader on the occasion of his 100th birth anniversary the Pakistan Post office has produced a postage stamp with the effigy of the Quaid-i-Azam in real gold powder, each stamp containing 25 milligram of 23/24 carat gold. The stamp has been printed by de Cartor SA of France by Serigraphy process and it is the first Postage Stamp in the manufacture of which this new process has been used.