Published on Thursday, February 13, 2014

I don't know how many Bangladeshi still remember Mr M A Jinnah who took the then East Bengal out of British India as a part of Pakistan. Jinnah was the major architect of 'two nation theory' on the basis of religion. From my perspective Mr Jinnah was actually a victim of his own theory. In the brief article below I have tried to highlight some of my views about Mr Jinnah.

The history of modern Indian sub-continent is not complete without Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Jinnah's political stature, particularly among Muslims, was as high as Gandhi's among Hindus. From 1939 to the time of partition of India in August 1947, Jinnah relentlessly and forcefully fought for a separate nation for the Muslims of undivided India. He almost single handedly took away Pakistan from the jaws of Congress. He was a very hard bargainer in political arena also and Congress leaders understood that very dearly. A thoroughly Westernized person, he preferred to be addressed as Mr. Jinnah.

However, if we look at the life of Jinnah very closely, the picture of a very sad and melancholy person comes before our eyes. He was a loser in many other aspects of his life. Unwittingly, Jinnah played in the hands of Ulema and aristocrats Muslims of Punjab in particular. These two important constituencies of Muslim League simply allowed Jinnah to do the dirty job (of creating Pakistan) for them.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the fountain head of Muslim League, was a citizen of undivided India before August 1947. After partition of India, he became a Pakistani citizen. His daughter (only child) was a British citizen by birth. Jinnah suffered 'emotional humiliation' when his daughter married an Indian Parsi (industrialist) and her son, i.e. Jinnah's grandson (Nusli Wadia: DOB- 15.02.1944; POB- Mumbai) became Indian citizen by birth. Wadia family had no reason to migrate to Pakistan after partition and become minority non-Muslim there.

Quaid-i-Azam suffered 'personal humiliation' when he had to change his attire from much loved three piece suit to Sherwani and Fez Tope before giving opening address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August 1947. He suffered 'political humiliation' when Ulema (Maududi et al) of Pakistan were pressing him hard for imposition of Sharia in the newly born country. Jinnah hated the religious bigots. But most of these Pakistani Ulema gave Jinnah a very difficult time. After Jinnah's death Nehru rightly told, "He succeeded in his quest and gained his objective, but at what a cost and with what a difference from what he had imagined".

Jinnah was a strong believer in constitutional means of agitation. He consciously distanced himself from Gandhian style of Independence Struggle involving masses. To him, Independence Struggle was to be made within Assemblies and in other constitutional institutions. The distaste for Gandhian approach gradually made him closer to Muslim League. The big brother like attitude of Congress also pushed Jinnah to the core of Muslim League. Ironically Jinnah became the epitome of Muslim mass agitation (sometime violent). Jinnah fought unintentionally for the cause of Islamists and suffered 'intellectual humiliation'.

Mr. Jinnah was not a practicing Muslim. During his fight for Pakistan, Jinnah spoke of Islamic democracy without knowing what Islam stands for. He even talked of equality and justice preached (supposedly) by Islam. Some time he spoke like an Alim who could find all positive attributes of human beings and human society in Islam and its teachings. In fact Jinnah did not know what Islam really is. He never had any opportunity to learn about Islam thoroughly. He knew about Islam from what was told to him by different people for political purpose. In other words, Jinnah was deceived by the Islamist zealots. One may call it 'religious humiliation'.

Jinnah suffered 'mental humiliation' when power brokers of infant Pakistan started showing their greed and treachery. His legacy suffered 'ideological humiliation' when East Pakistan broke out from Pakistan as independent Bangladesh. Jinnah's mausoleum is in Pakistan but his direct blood line (non-Muslim Parsi) is in India. What a 'biological humiliation' for the preacher of religion based politics?

Many feel that but for his failing health, Jinnah would have worked like Kemal Ataturk who was his hero. However, it is not clear as to how would have Jinnah acted? Among other changes, Kemal Ataturk closed Madrasas, banned specific headgear of Ulema and Azan was made in Turkish language. The situation of Pakistan in 1947-48 was totally different than that of Kemal's Turkey and it was impossible on the part of Jinnah to push such ideas in nascent Pakistan. Thus, in the question of following the path of his hero (Kemal Ataturk), Mr. Jinnah suffered from 'quixotic humiliation'.

Jinnah was a Shia Muslim. The way things are moving, a day may come when Sunni militants (Laskar-e-Jhangvi et al) of Pakistan may even destroy his grave tomb; Jinnah will face 'ultimate humiliation' on that day. And the circle of religion-based politics will become complete on that day.

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