From an early age Jinnah displayed a remarkable interest in the life and conditions around him. The small world around him was the object of his interest and public events were the books he studied. At the young age of 16, he left for England to establish commercial connections in London but later he enrolled himself at the Lincolns Inn and began preparing for the Bar. He was called to the Bar at 21 and in the same year he returned to India.
As a barrister and advocate, Jinnah holds a place which is unique in the subcontinent. Great lawyers and men many years his senior acknowledged him as a master in the art of advocacy. He had the remarkable ability of making the most complex of facts look simple and obvious. He could be furiously aggressive or almost boyishly persuasive as the occasion demanded.
He possessed a remarkably clear mind and an abundance of commonsense, which is the most uncommon of qualities. Even those who disliked or disagreed with his convictions acknowledged and applauded him for maintaining the highest traditions at the Bar. He always kept away from the heat of controversies, intrigues and squabbles.
The abilities which led him to success in the legal world also suited a political career. Being endowed with qualities, such as a heart fired up by great fervour and sincerity, a clear vision and intellect, he was destined to play a prominent part in politics. With unusual powers of persuasion, luminous exposition, searching arguments and a sound judgment, he earned for himself an enviable reputation as a great debater.
Jinnah has often been referred to as brilliant and arrogant, and there is no denying the fact that he made no effort to socialise with those with whom he had little in common. He was formal and reserved in his dealings and never gave into emotions or sentiments. The overall picture of Jinnah as reflected by leaders of the subcontinent reveals that he was a man of unquestionable integrity, honesty, honour and unwavering belief in principles. His commitment to a cause he took up was definite and permanent. He spoke openly and fearlessly against discrimination, communalism, sectarianism, parochialism and believed in the separation of religion from the affairs of the state.
Advice to students
Jinnah placed great importance on the youth and gave his advice to students on several occasions. At a public meeting in Dhaka on March 21, 1948, he said:
“My young friends, students who are present here, let me tell you as one who has always had love and affection for you, who has served you for ten years faithfully and loyally, let me give you this word of warning: you will be making the greatest mistake if you allow yourself to be exploited by one political party or another…. Your main occupation should be — in fairness to yourself, in fairness to your parents, in fairness to the state – to devote your attention to your studies.”
Leaders of tomorrow
Addressing the Punjabi Muslim Students Federation at Lahore on October 31, 1947, Jinnah said:
“Pakistan is proud of her youth, particularly the students who have always been in the forefront in the hour of trial and need. You are the nation’s leaders of tomorrow and you must fully equip yourself by discipline, education and training for the arduous task lying ahead of you. You should realise the magnitude of your responsibility and be ready to bear it.”
In a message to the All Pakistan Educational Conference in Karachi on November 27, 1948, Jinnah said that the education policy in Pakistan must be moulded on lines suited to our people, consonant with our history and culture, and having regard to modern conditions and vast development that has taken place all over the world. He said:
“What we have to do is to mobilise our people and build up the character of our future generation. In short, this means the highest sense of honour, integrity, selfless service to the nation and sense of responsibility, and we have to see that our people are fully qualified and equipped to play their part in the various branches of economic life in a manner which will do honour to Pakistan.”
Jinnah always spoke in favour of equality, fraternity, human rights, rights of minorities, justice, freedom, integrity and fair play. He very clearly stated that Pakistan was not going to be a theocratic state as Islam demands from us tolerance of other creeds and we welcome the closest association of all those who are willing and ready to play their part as true and loyal citizens of Pakistan.
A moral and intellectual achievement
Jinnah called Pakistan a moral and intellectual achievement. He called upon Pakistanis on August 31, 1947, to build, reconstruct and re-generate our great nation. He said:
“It is in your hands, we undoubtedly have talents, Pakistan is blessed with enormous resources and potential. Providence has endowed us with all the wealth of nature and now it lies with man to make the best of it.”
Discipline and unity
In his speech at the Dhaka University in 1948, Jinnah said: “Freedom which we have achieved does not mean licence. It does not mean that you can behave as you please and do what you like irrespective of the interest of other people or of the state. A great responsibility rests on you and now more than ever, it is necessary for us to work as a united, disciplined nation. What is required of us all is a constructive spirit and not a militant spirit. It is far more difficult to construct than to have a militant spirit. It is easier to go to jail or fight for freedom than to run a government. Thwarted in their desire to prevent the establishment of Pakistan, our enemies turned their attention to finding ways to weaken and destroy us but they have been disappointed. Not only has Pakistan survived the shock of the upheaval but it has emerged stronger and better equipped than ever.”
We are all Pakistanis
In a reply to the civic address presented by the Quetta Municipality, Jinnah said:
“We are now all Pakistanis – not Baloch, Pathans, Sindhis, Bengalis, Punjabis and so on, and as Pakistanis you must feel, behave and act and you should be proud to be known as Pakistanis and nothing else.”
Pakistan, with its strategic geographical location and an impressive population of 170 million people, a large majority of this being the youth of Pakistan waiting to be moulded in the right direction to peace, progress and prosperity, has been battling for its survival for quite some time. We need to develop leadership in Pakistan in the role model of Jinnah at all levels in the country.
Nations that forget or ignore the teachings and guidelines of their founding fathers are often doomed to disaster and end up as failed states. There is urgent need for our youth to read and understand the principles, ideals, values and vision of our founding father, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and ensure that we achieve and have for all times to come “Jinnah’s Pakistan”.
The author is a grand-nephew of Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He is the author of several publications on Jinnah, and was conferred Sitara-i-Imtiaz for public service in education and health.