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The Hindu Origin of MA Jinnah: Founder of Pakistan

Updated on January 17, 2020
emge profile image

A senior Air warrior and a graduate of the Staff College is well qualified to write on history and contemporary India


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 as a national leader. He looked at him as a leader of Hindus only. Jinnah was not the rabid communalist that he became later. He started his career as a secularist. Earlier 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. Gandhi was a shrewd man and he realized that the only way to take the leadership of India was by showing his love for Hinduism. He thus started his meetings with recitations of the Gita.and took over the leadership of the Congress party. Jinnah was sidelined. As he was an ambitious man and realization dawned on him that he had been upstaged by Gandhi, he joined the Muslim league.

Jinnah decided that he could only move forward as the leader of Indian Muslims. This led to his transformation from a 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 and position. Jinnah realized that the only way he could survive against Gandhi was by becoming the leader of the Muslims.

Jinnah embraced the concept of the 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 ?

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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 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 Punjab. It does not gel with the man's character.

The psychology of Jinnah

One fact which is the 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 in areas of the Muslim majority.

Personally, Jinnah was a secularist, but when he appealed to the masses, he became a rabid communalist. He was also fond of meat and whiskey. This trait is well known but not publicized. He became Governor-General and realized his dream, but it was a short-lived dream as he died within 6 months of independence. His two-nation theory crashed inside two and a half decades of his passing away.


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    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you Souradip for commenting

    • SouradipSinha profile image

      Souradip Sinha 

      4 years ago from Calcutta

      Welcome Sir.

      Politics and religion are two dangerous aspects of our country.

      Which brings us back to Netaji Subhash! Only if he was present in independent India!

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you Souradip for commenting. Nice of you to have spared your time. Muslims are not happy to discuss the family ancestry of Jinnah

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you lions for commenting. Yes conversions to Islam were quite common earlier, but now there is a break

    • SouradipSinha profile image

      Souradip Sinha 

      4 years ago from Calcutta

      If you carefully see, most Muslims in India are converts spanning over a time period of a thousand years.

      I knew this. There are so many sensational things in Indian Politics.

      Great article as always.


    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      4 years ago from Auburn, WA

      I'm stunned that he was a convert. I was not aware of that. Is that rare in India? And it is also surprising that he gained such a following during that time. Fascinating topic. Voted up.


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