IN the 20th Century the leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah was the recipient of devotion and loyalty seldom accorded to a man”. This was the glowing tribute that President Truman of the United States paid to the Quaid-i-Azam. According to Dr Allama Iqbal (national poet of Pakistan), Jinnah was the “only Muslim in India to whom a community had a right to look up for safe guidance”. In the history of Indian Muslim life and thought, he is one of the most striking and distinctive figure. At one time or other, he was one of the greatest legal luminaries India had ever produced during the first half of the 20th century. An ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity in subcontinent , a great constitutionalist, a distinguished parliamentarian, a brilliant and strategist politician, a tireless freedom fighter, a gifted debater and orator, consummate master of logic, a profound lawyer, a sound statesman, a dynamic mass leader and above all, one of the great nation builders in modern times. He stood for justice, for freedom, for equal rights, for the rule of people, for an open society and for a noble Pakistan. Through ‘Unity, Faith and Discipline’ (UFD) he converted Muslim nation into a dynamic force which swept the sub-continent and altered the destinies of a human race by laying the foundation of the Pakistan, an achievement without parallel in the annals of civilization.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah lived through remarkable times — a tremendous period of upheaval and struggle in modern history. He saw two world wars and freedom’s triumph over the forces of fascism. He was part of the epic battle to end colonial domination and liberate Asia and Africa from the stifling hold of imperialism. He watched the rise of socialism with its promise of peace, justice and equality. It was inevitable that his political beliefs should have been shaped by these momentous events and to have led him unerringly to his commitment to democracy and liberal humanism. The Quaid tried, in the short time he was given to run the affairs of Pakistan, to pass on this commitment as his legacy to the leadership and citizens of the new nation.
Mr. Jinnah was something more than Quaid-i-Azam, supreme head of the state, to the people who followed him; he was more than even the architect of the nation he personally called into being. He commanded their imagination as well as their confidence. In the face of difficulties which might have overwhelmed him, it was given to him to fulfill the hope foreshadowed in the inspired vision of the great Iqbal by creating for the Muslims of India a homeland where the old glory of Islam could grow afresh into a modern state, worthy of its place in community of nations. A few statesmen have shaped events to their policy more surely than Mr. Jinnah. He was a legend even in his lifetime.
With his unusual powers of persuasion, luminous exposition, searching arguments and sound judgment, the Quaid was able to win the battle for Pakistan. His ability for counter-argument was on display even at the formal ceremony on August 14, 1947. When Lord Mountbatten made a speech to the Constituent Assembly in which he offered the example of Akbar the Great as the model of a tolerant Muslim ruler to Pakistan. The Quaid, however, was equal to the task. In his reply to the speech, he immediately presented an alternative model; that of the Holy Prophet Hazrart Muhammad (SAW). “The tolerance and goodwill that the great Emperor Akbar showed to all the regional people is not of recent origin. It dates back thirteen centuries ago…” Quaid thundered back.
Since 1937, Quaid-i-Azam steered the ship through stormy and rough seas. He had to create and unite a nation and remove the wave of pessimism that was overwhelming the minds. He had to remake men and furnish them with fresh emotional equipment. Renan – the French philosopher rightly says “Man is enslaved neither by his race nor by his religion, nor by the course of rivers, nor by the directions of mountain ranges. An aggregation of man, sane of mind and warm of heart, creates a moral consciousness and infuses in the masses the idea of reasserting their hegemony, and prepares them for achieving their lost empire”. How beautifully poet of the East, Iqbal, defines the conception of true leader “By leader, I mean men who by divine gift or experience possess a keen, a perception of the spirit and destiny of Islam along with an equal keen perception of the trend of modern history. Such men are really the divine forces of people, but they are God’s gifts and cannot be forced to order”.
H.V. Hudson in his ‘The Great Divide’ eulogizes Quietus character in these words “Not even his political enemies ever accused Jinnah of corruption or self-seeking. He could be bought by no one, and for no price. Nor was he in the least degree weathercock, swinging in the wind of popularity or changing the times. He was a steadfast idealist as well as a man of scrupulous honour”. Even Lord Mountbatten for all his hostility towards Pakistan and Quaid-i-Azam made the admission that “If it could be said that any single man held the future of India in his palm, that man is Mohammad Ali Jinnah. To all interests and purposes, Jinnah was the Muslim League and if the dream of Pakistan ever did come true, it could be Jinnah who brought it to life and fashioned it”. Once Sir Stafford Cripps described Quaid-i-Azam as “A man of the highest probability and honour, difficult to negotiate with; for the very reason that he was so determined in his purpose”. He further added “It was the honesty of his conviction and the clarity of his purpose that marked him as a great leader of his people”.
As a true man and sincere individual, Quaid-i-Azam paid great stress on dignity and strength of character. It was the aspect of his personality that marked him out as the leader of undisputed influence and power. To him character was not a thing to talk about; it was the basis of all human conduct. Addressing the Muslim Youth’s League at Aligarh in 1942, he said “Build your character that is more important of all degrees and no character is mere waste of time. You should also develop keen sense of honour, integrity and duty”.