Pakistan Post Office has issued two Commemorative Postage Stamps in the past to commemorate the first and 16th death anniversaries of the Father of the Nation and this is the third of the series which is being issued on the occasion of his 25th Death Anniversary. The Quaid-i--Azam (the greatest leader) occupies a prominent place amongst the great leaders of the world as he changed the course of history in ASIA and successfully led the hundred million Muslims to establish a separate Muslim State in the South Asian Sub-continent.
Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah was born on the 25th December, 1876 in a middle-class family living in a three-storied old-fashioned house known as Wazir Mansion in the old city of Karachi. Wazir Mansion, situated on New Neham Road is in the custody of the Archaeological Department and forms part of the National Archives. The Child grew up to be a fair tall boy and studied at various schools but his longest stay was at Sind Madresah where he made his mark as a disciplined and serious stu-dent and passed his Matriculation at the age of 16. Impressed by his talents and noticing his bent of mind, an English friend of the family persuaded his father to send the boy to England to study law. From his boyhood he was found to be brilliant and promising, zealously devoted to his studies with a burning desire to do something great. He joined the famous Lincoln’s Inn in 1892 and passed all his examinations within two years but had to wait for two years more to reach the age of twenty years when he was called to the bar. Mr. Jinnah returned to India in 1896 and overcoming initial difficulties established a very successful law practice.
He began to take part in the country’s political activity in his early twenties. In 1910 he was elected to the Imperial Legisla-tive Council to which he remained associa-ted for over thirty years. In 1913 he joined the Muslim League, an organisation formed in 1906, to safeguard the legitimate interests of the Indian Muslims.
At the 1916 session of the Congress, Mr. Jinnah helped in persuading the Congress to agree that “in certain pro-vinces” in which the Muslims were in a minority, they should be guaranteed a pro-portion of seats in the future Legislative Council in excess of the number they could otherwise hope to win. This “Lucknow Pact” between the Congress and the Muslim League was the culmination of Mr. Jinnah’s career as the ‘Ambassador of Unity” bet-ween the Hindus and the Muslims.
Mr. Jinnah resigned from the Imperial Legislative Council in 1919 as a protest against the passage of Rowlatt Act, which gave power to the government to try cases of sedition without a jury. Immediately thereafter, the tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh took place in Amritsar in which several hundred peaceful demonstrators were brutally massacred under the orders of General Dyer, British Army Commander, after being surrounded by the troops. In August, 1920, the Treaty of Sevres was signed by which the Allies decided to dis-member the Ottoman Empire and to reduce the powers of the Caliph of Turkey. The Muslims of Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent were indignant, and the Congress joined hands with the Muslim League in launch-ing a violent agitation against this step and against the new political reforms pro-posed under the Montagu-Chelmsford proposals. The proposals declared that the Indians were backward and not fit for self-rule and that Hindu-Muslim anta-gonism was a great stumbling block in the way of freedom.
In 1928, Mr. Jinnah, pleaded for am-endments in the constitutional proposals, to safeguard the interests of the Muslims and to maintain Hindu-Muslim unity, but his suggestion fell on deaf ears. He was utterly disgusted with the intolerance of the Hindu politicians. In 1930 and 1931 he attended the Round Table Conference call-ed by the British Government to arrive at some agreed solution of India’s constitu-tional problems. When these also proved futile as a result of the intransigence of the Hindus, Mr. Jinnah decided to settle in England, away from the fury of Indian politics.
In 1934 he returned from England to lead the Muslims again. He was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly by the Muslims of Bombay as an Independent member, even without his prior consent. In the following year, the Government of India Act of 1935 was passed. The Mus-lim League began preparations to fight the coming elections, and Mr. Jinnah was chosen President of the Central Election Board at the Muslim League Session of 1936 at Bombay. Mr. Jinnah made a cla-rion call to the Muslims, “Organise your-self and play your part. The Hindus and the Muslims must be organised separately, and once they are organized, they will understand each other better.”
In March 1940, the Muslim League held its session at Lahore in which the historic “Pakistan Resolution” was passed. Henceforth the political ideal of the Mus-lims of India was the attainment of a se-parate homeland where they could live according to their distinct way of life. Mr. Jinnah was now proclaimed by the Mus-lims as their “Quaid-i-Azam” (the greatest leader).
In the years that followed Quaid-i--Azam negotiated with the Cripps Mission on behalf of the Muslims. The result was a failure but it was for the first time that the British acknowledged the demand of the Muslims for a separate state. The Congress was alarmed and after the failure of the Cripps Mission, they launched the violent ‘Quit India’ movement against the British in 1942. As this movement worked against the establishment of a separate Muslim State, Quaid-i-Azam kept the Muslims clear of all these disturbances. Next he had to match his wits with Mr. Gandhi during the talks in 1944. When the Great War ended in May 1945, the Congress leaders were freed from prison and the British Government again started negotiations for constitutional changes in India. First came the Wavell Plan, then the more important Cabinet Mission Plan. Before the latter, an important event was the new elections held in India in January 1946. The victory of the Muslim League at the polls was overwhelming both in the provinces and in the Central Assembly. It was a measure of the Quaid’s glorious success in his mission of organizing the Indian Muslims. Well could he declare “No power on earth can prevent Pakistan now.”
Thereafter, the achievement of Pakistan as a separate homeland became Quaid-i-Azam’s dominant aim which he steadfastly pursued, and by dint of his exceptional statesmanship, constitutional acumen, and intelligent advocacy, he ultimately succeeded in getting the Pakistan idea accepted by the Indian National Congress -a predominantly Hindu political organisation as well as the British Government.
Quaid-i-Azam was seventyone and already very weak when he took over as first Governor-General of Pakistan. For forty years he had worked untiringly round the clock denying himself the pleasures of world at his command and much needed relaxation. As the head of a new born State, he had to work day and night ignor-ing medical advice. He had only one thought uppermost in his mind to make Pakistan a strong and respected nation in the comity of the nations of the World. The continuous hard work finally took its toll and the Quaid-i-Azam died on 11th September, 1948 in Karachi mourned by a grateful nation, but as one of the great immortals of history.