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A Charismatic leader: Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Updated on December 5, 2015
Young Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Young Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a lawyer, politician, statesman, wise witted, charismatic leader and a true hero for millions of people of sub-continent. Jinnah played an historic role in freedom from British rule and dominating Hindu majority and thus building a separate homeland Pakistan for Muslims of India.

Pakistan got independence in 1947 from the British rule under his visionary, dynamic, intelligent, vibrant and courageous leadership.

Jinnah rules the hearts of not only Pakistanis but people around the world as well and is popularly and officially known as Quaid-e-Azam (Great Leader) and Baba-e-Qaum (Father of the Nation).

His guidelines and principles set forth for the progressive country will remain serving as a light house for the future generations of the country he built.

Early Life of Jinnah

Jinnah was born on 25 December, 1876 in Karachi. His father was Jinnah Bhai Poonja and mother was Mitthi Bhai Poonja. His grandfather, Poonja Gokuldas Meghji, was a Hindu from Paneli village in Gondal state in Kathiawar who had converted to Islam later on. Jinnah’s father was a prosperous merchant from Gujrat (India). He had 3 sons and 3 daughters and Jinnah was the eldest among them.

In early student life, Jinnah was considered good but restless student who kept on changing schools one after the other perhaps searching for the better one to saturate his thirst of knowledge. At the age of 16, he passed the matriculation examination from the University of Bombay.

Emibai - First wife of Jinnah
Emibai - First wife of Jinnah

Teenage marriage

Jinnah was married to his distant cousin Emibai Jinnah when he was 16 years and she was only 14. The marriage was forced by Jinnah’s mother as she was afraid that Jinnah would end up marrying English girl when would go to England. This relation did not last long as Mrs. Emibai Jinnah passed away only few months after the marriage.

An outstanding figure of this century not only in India, but in the whole world.

— Dr. Kailashnath Katju, the West Bengal Governor

Youngest indian bar at law in England

Jinnah left India for apprenticeship in England in 1892. During his stay in England, Jinnah also has get into the sad moments of his life when he heard the sad news of the demise of his beloved mother.

Later on Jinnah gave up apprenticeship and instead joined law studies at Lincoln’s Inn. Within next three years he became the youngest Indian to be called at bar at law in England.

During these years in England, Jinnah was exposed to the idea of democratic nation and progressive politics under the spell of 19th-century British liberalism.

Successful Lawyer of India

In 1897 Jinnah returned to Bombay and started law practice. Jinnah worked hard & soon he became one of the most successful lawyers in India.

In 1900 Jinnah was elected as Mumbai presidency magistrate. He was unanimously selected as member of central law council body of Mumbai in 1909.

Love marriage of Jinnah

In 1916, Sir Dinsha Petit (member of rich Parsi family and a close friend of Jinnah’s client) invited Jinnah to Darjeeling to spend some summer days on hill-station. There Jinnah met Ratti who was only daughter of Sir Dinsha Petit. Jinnah and Ratti fell in love with each other just after few meetings and decided to marry.

Jinnah got views of Sir Dinshaw on inter-communal marriages. Sir Dinshaw emphatically expressed his opinion that it would be an ideal solution to inter-communal antagonism. Jinnah could not have hoped for a more favorable response than that and immediately asked his friend for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

M. C. Chagla, colleague of Jinnah was at his chambers in those days. Later on recalled the moments when Sir Dinshaw was taken aback by the Jinnah quick wisdom. He had not realized that his remarks might have serious personal repercussions.

He was most indignant and refused to support any such idea which appeared to him absurd and fantastic.

Maryam Jinnah Rattan bai
Maryam Jinnah Rattan bai

Jinnah pleaded his case, but to no avail. This incident not only finished the friendship between the two men but Sir Dinshaw also forbate Ruttie to meet Jinnah.

Shortly after her eighteenth birthday, Rattan bai converted to Islam and she was named as Mariam. On April 19, 1918, Jinnah got her love and both married. The couple later on spent part of their honeymoon at the Mahmudabad palace.

The couple both loved each other till death but continuous participation of Jinnah in politics and scarcity of time for loved one resulted in weakening of relation among the couple. By mid 1922, excessive participation of Jinnah in politics further deepen the pain of scarcity of time and Ritta decided to let Jinnah pay attention for the freedom movement and allowed the link between both couple break down. Ritta went to Bombay where later on she said good bye to the world on her 29th birthday.

Jinnah sat like a statue throughout her funeral ceremony, he went into tears when was asked to throw soil on her grave.

Later, Chagla said, That was the only time when I found Jinnah betraying some shadow of human weakness.

It is an unfortunate reality that a love story that started like a fairy tale ended as a haunting tragedy.

Political Journey

Jinnah has an interesting and dynamic political journey which resulted in creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of India.

The involvement of Jinnah in practical politics began In 1906, when Jinnah joined the Indian National Congress, which was at that time, the largest Indian political organization.

Indian National Congress and All India Muslim League 1930
Indian National Congress and All India Muslim League 1930

In early days, like other congress leaders, Jinnah did not favor the outright independence as he considered British education, law, culture and industry as beneficial to the India. In 1910 Jinnah became member of ILC (Imperial Legislative Council).

Jinnah avoided joining the Muslim League (ML) as he considered it too Muslim oriented however later on Joined it in 1913 after sensing that his leadership is required for Muslim minority to attain legal rights. Jinnah became president of ML in 1916.

Jinnah was the architect of the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the Muslim League, the idea was to bring both political parties together on most issues regarding self-government and presenting a united front to free the country from the British rule.

In 1938 editor of "Al Aman" Delhi Mr. Maulana Mazhar Ud Din suggested "Quaid e Azam" (Big Leader) title for Mr Jinnah keeping in view of Jinnah's popular leadership representing millions of Muslims of India.

[He was] the originator of the dream that became Pakistan, architect of the State and father of the world's largest Muslim nation. Mr. Jinnah was the recipient of a devotion and loyalty seldom accord to any man

— Harry S Truman, US President
in 1940.
in 1940.

Mr. Jinnah broke with the Congress in 1920 when the Congress leader, Mohandas Gandhi, launched a Non-Cooperation Movement against the British, which Jinnah greatly disapproved of saying that we should adopt legal ways to fight for the rights.

Jinnah with sister and daughter
Jinnah with sister and daughter

Jinnah actively participated in several unity conferences, wrote the famous Delhi Muslim Proposals in 1927. He pleaded for the incorporation of the basic Muslim demands in the Nehru report

In 1941, Mr. Jinnah founded a newspaper "Dawn", that greatly helped him propagate the League's point of views.

Jinnah is one of the most extraordinary men in history

— Jawaharlal Nehru, first prime minister of India
jinnah at partition conference
jinnah at partition conference

Jinnah considered that Hindus and Muslims have equal rights and both can not live together as their ideology are different, their religion is based on different school of thought. Muslim believe on God whereas Hindus don’t and worship their hand made gods.

In 1937, Jinnah further defended his ideology of equality in his speech to the All-India Muslim League in Lucknow where he stated, "Settlement can only be achieved between equals." And there are three parties those matter in India which are British, Indian Congress and Muslim

Jinnah stated that the Muslim League was the third and "equal partner" within Indian politics and not only two as advocated by Nehru.

jinnah with lord mountbatten and his wife
jinnah with lord mountbatten and his wife

After getting "Quaid e Azam" title for truly representing the wishes of millions of Indian Muslims for a separate homeland, Jinnah devoted more time for safeguarding the Muslim rights which Congress leaders were trying to snatch and keep Muslim minority as deprived one.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Jinnah with Gandhi in good mood (1944)Indian National Congress & All India Muslim League 1930jinnah at partition conferencejinnah with lord mountbatten and his wife in indiaJinnah sees off Gandhi at his Bombay homeJinnah and NehruMuslim Political Convention New Delhi 1943Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah: uninhibited laughter
Jinnah with Gandhi in good mood (1944)
Jinnah with Gandhi in good mood (1944)
Indian National Congress & All India Muslim League 1930
Indian National Congress & All India Muslim League 1930
jinnah at partition conference
jinnah at partition conference
jinnah with lord mountbatten and his wife in india
jinnah with lord mountbatten and his wife in india
Jinnah sees off Gandhi at his Bombay home
Jinnah sees off Gandhi at his Bombay home
Jinnah and Nehru
Jinnah and Nehru
Muslim Political Convention New Delhi 1943
Muslim Political Convention New Delhi 1943
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah: uninhibited laughter
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah: uninhibited laughter

Mr. Jinnah was one of the handsomest men I have ever seen; he combined the clear cut, almost Grecian features of the West with oriental grace and movement

— Lord Wavell, Viceroy of India

Jinnah is Incorruptible and Brave

— Gandhi - Interview with Louis Fischer

An outstanding figure of this century not only in India, but in the whole world.

Dr. Kailashnath Katju, the West Bengal Governor

quaid e azam funeral procession
quaid e azam funeral procession | Source

Jinnah fought for the inherent rights of his people all through his life and he was paid attribute to his leadership qualities by the most notable person in the history.

Due to his round the clock hard work and devotion to formulate homeland for his fellows, Jinnah neglected his health and consequently became ill. And on 11 September 1948, one year after creation of Pakistan, Jinnah passed away leaving behind millions of people in tears. Funeral ceremony was held in Karachi and he was buried in Karachi.

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    Maham 2 years ago

    Mr Jinnah, was great as a lawyer, once great as a Congressman, great as a leader of Muslims, great as a world politician and diplomat, and greatest of all as a man of action, By Mr. Jinnah's passing away, the world has lost one of the greatest statesmen and Pakistan its life-giver, philosopher and guide...

    Chandra Bose

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