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The Hindu Origin of MA Jinnah: Founder of Pakistan
Muhammad Ali Jinnah (December 25, 1876 – September 11, 1948) is a well-known political figure of the sub-continent. He considered himself as the leader of all Indian Muslims and never recognized Gandhi more than a Hindu leader. Jinnah was not the rabid communalist that he became later and started his career as a secularist. He was a prominent figure in the Congress party much before Gandhi came back from South Africa.
When Gandhi came back from South Africa, Jinnah treated him with disdain as his Hindu approach did not gel with him. He was also against Muslim orthodoxy and projected himself as a modern secular leader.
Unfortunately for Jinnah, the entry of Gandhi into the Congress party resulted in him being marginalized. He was an ambitious man and realized that he had no place in the Congress party. He thus joined the Muslim league. Jinnah realized that the only way he could move forward was to become the leader of Indian Muslims. This led to his transformation as secularist to a communalist. He began to champion the Muslim cause and in 1942 accepted the concept of Iqbal for a separate homeland for the Muslims. The British eager on dividing India encouraged him and thus Jinnah could get the Muslim state of Pakistan.
Jinnah and Two Nation Theory
Jinnah was an ambitious man and he longed to make an impact on history in the sub-continent. With Gandhi having usurped his role as and position as the great leader of the sub-continent. Jinnah realized that the only way he could survive against Gandhi was by becoming the leader of the Muslims.
Jinnah embraced the concept of a two-nation theory and went about stating that Muslims could not live under a Hindu majority. He was clear that a separate Muslim state was a necessity. He willingly took British support and coined the two nation theory. But it must be appreciated that he opted for being a leader of the Muslims after the arrival of Gandhi and his marginalization in the Congress part
Was Jinnah a rank communalist ?
Gandhi and Jinnah had similar roots
Gandhi and Jinnah are the two larger than life figures in the politics of the sub-continent. Gandhi claimed he was the leader of both Hindus and Muslims, but most Muslims never accepted him as their leader. Jinnah had no pretense and claimed he was the leader of the Muslims.
Both these leaders had one thing in common. Both had similar roots as both were from Saurashtra, (old Kathiawar) Gujarat. A fact not much publicized is that both Gandhi and Jinnah had Hindu roots. While Gandhi remained a Hindu, Jinnah’s grandfather converted to Islam. Thus Jinnah belonged to a Hindu family. He was the grandson of Premjibhai Thakkar (Gondal) who was a Hindu. Premji Thakkar was a fish trader who resided in the coastal town of Veraval and regularly visited and prayed at Hindu temples.
Hindu Roots of Jinnah
The Hindu roots of Jinnah are a fact of life. His grandfather had taken up the profession of a fish trader out of dire necessity as no other profession was open or available for him. The profession of a fish trader did not go down well with his community. His community was the Lohana and they were all vegetarians They did not like that a member of their own community should trade in fish.
The community asked him to give up his profession and a clash became inevitable. The Lohan's ostracized him from the community. Premji continued with his fish trade and became rich. Once he had the money he gave up trading in fish and petitioned that he be taken back into the community fold. Unfortunately for Premji, the elders of the Lohana community refused to accept him back. This was something Premji had not bargained for and he decided to rebel against his community and part ways with them completely. In this way, he expected to get his back to them
Conversion to Islam
The rejection of Premji into the fold of the community hurt him badly. He decided the best way to have his own ego satisfied was to visit the Madrasa's, Muslim schools. His son ( Jinnah's father) named Punjalal Thakur was so enraged that he went a step forward and converted to Islam. He also converted his sons to Islam and gave them Muslim names. However, he continued to use his old surname Zino or Jinno. In all aspects, he became a believing and practicing Muslim.
Punjalal Thakur's eldest son was Mohammed Ali. He was born a Hindu but as his father converted too Islam he also embraced the Muslim faith. Considering the background of Jinnah, it is difficult to imagine that a man who was born a Hindu became so rabid a communal man and engineered anti-Hindu riots in the Punjab. It does not gel with the man's character.
The psychology of Jinnah
One fact that is the absolute truth is that India was a Hindu Rashtra before the advent of the Muslims. After the arrival of the Muslims, about 35% of the population converted to Islam, some by inducement and some by the sword. A few lower castes also converted to Islam. All the Hindu who converted became fanatical Muslims. Jinnah was also part of this ilk and he became a rabid communalist. His call for “direct action" in 1946 saw a great massacre of Hindus and Sikhs take place in areas of the Muslim majority.
Personally, Jinnah was a secularist, but when he appealed to masses he became a rabid communalist. He was also fond of meat and whiskey. This was a peculiar trait that came to the fore. He became Governor General and realized his dream, but it was a short-lived dream as he himself died within 6 months of independence and his two nation theory crashed inside two and half decades of his death.