Friday, September 11, 2009

Founder of the nation.......Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Born: 25 December 1876
Birthplace: Karachi, India (now Pakistan)
Died: 11 September 1948
Best Known As: Founder of Pakistan

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a lawyer and politician who fought for the cause of India's independence from britain, then moved on to found a Muslim state in Pakistan in 1947. Jinnah entered politics in India in 1905 and by 1917 his charisma and diplomacy had made him a national leader and the most visible supporter of Hindu-Muslim unity. His strong belief in gradual and peaceful change was in contrast to the civil disobedience strategies of Mohandas Gandhi, and in the '20s Jinnah broke from the Indian National Congress to focus on an independent Muslim state. In 1940 he demanded a separate nation in Pakistan and by 1947 he somehow managed to get it from the British and India. Through civil wars, a rotten economy and millions of displaced refugees, Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah ("great leader") pretty much built a country from scratch.

Jinnah was educated at the Sind Madrassa and Lincoln's Inn, London, where he qualified as a barrister. The future founder of Pakistan was first known as the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. Indeed Jinnah only resigned from Congress in 1920 when he became disillusioned with the violence and communal passions unleashed by Gandhi's Congress-Khilafat civil disobedience campaigns. The division widened in 1928 when the Nehru Report rejected Jinnah's "fourteen points" constitutional proposals.

During 1921 – 35, Jinnah's political career was in the doldrums. He returned to India in October 1935 after a five-year British exile to reorganize the Muslim League. It nevertheless lost heavily in the 1937 provincial elections. The Congress ministries' insensitivity to Muslim demands rescued it from oblivion, although Jinnah's leadership was equally crucial to its dramatic transformation. From 1940 onwards, he propounded the two-nation theory justification for Pakistan and increasingly embodied the aspirations of the Indian Muslim community which acclaimed him as the Quaid-i-Azam, the great leader. Within the fractious politics of the Muslim League, he exerted an unquestioned moral authority which underpinned his formal power as President. Simultaneously he deployed his forensic skills in the complex constitutional negotiations with the British and the Congress.

Through the 1940s, Jinnah suffered from tuberculosis; only his sister and a few others close to him were aware of his condition. In 1948, Jinnah's health began to falter, hindered further by the heavy workload that had fallen upon him following Pakistan's independence from British Rule. Attempting to recuperate, he spent many months at his official retreat in Ziarat. According to his sister, he suffered a hemorrhage on September 1, 1948; doctors said the altitude was not good for him and that he should be taken to Karachi. Jinnah agreed, but he died in Quetta on September 11, 1948 (just over a year after independence) from a combination of tuberculosis and lung cancer.

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