Naseer Ahmed Rind
"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by the sign that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him,"
EEven as a eophyte in the turbulent political area, Jinnah having given pledge a word to don the mantle of a solicitor of Hindu-Muslim unification, realized that he had risked his neck as it was tantamount to incurring the wrath of Muslims as well as the Hindus.
Yet he remained unflustered in the teeth of wind and in the Presidential address at Lucknow session of Muslim League in 1916 he pleaded with the Muslims to cultivate amicable relations with the Hindus. "Towards the Hindus, our attitude should be (of) good will and brotherly feelings. Cooperation in the cause of our motherland should be our guiding principle."
Though it looked that Hindu-Muslim fraternity could only materialize in a month of Sundays, he, in the formative years of his association with Congress, altered the parochial law of Medes and Persians by bringing about a metamorphosis in the political outlook of the sub-continent through the epoch making Lucknow Pact of 1916.
Gokhale, the veteran Indian Leader pelted Jinnah with roses, showering plaudits on him. "He has true stuff in him and that freedom from all secratarian prejudice which will make him the best ambassador of Hindu Muslim unity."
In spite of the fact that Muslim intelligentsia harboured scepticism regarding the fate of Joint, Electorates, Mohammad Ali Jinnah risked incurring the wrath of the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker by agreeing to waive the inherent Muslim demand for separate electorates. In his presidential speech at Lucknow session of Muslim League, Jinnah iterated. "The demand for separate electorates is not a matter of policy but a matter of necessity. I would appeal to my Hindu brethren that in the present state of position, they should try to win the confidence and trust of the Muslims who are after all in the minority in the country.
It was a magnanimous gesture on M A Jinnah's part because he held out the olive branch yet again to ameliorate the Hindu Muslim relations. Congress top brass was thrilled to the bits and endorsed Mohammad Ali Jinnah's viewpoint. Later, however, they stood convicted of their own mouths back paddling and retracting form their promise much to the disconcertment of Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
The Nehru report was on tapis at all Parties Congress Convention held in December 1928, which Jinnah also attended. Hindus were unyielding in their stance, while the Muslims were in favour of separate electorates. When it looked that both parties were wandering away from the point, Mohammad Ali Jinnah in a bid to break the impasse, stepped in and agreed yet again to join electorates, subject to weightage given to the Muslims in the minority provinces, 33% seats for Muslims in Central Assembly, introduction of reforms in NWFP and separation of Sindh from Bombay.
With the solitary exception of introduction of reforms in NWFP, all other Muslim demands were brushed aside relentlessly. While Jinnah was straining every nerve to bring about a rapprochement. Congress mentally was seen in its naked absurdity. Jinnah who had not braced himself for the shock was now visibly getting disillusioned with Congress. When Gandhi preached the Gospel of non-cooperation. Jinnah opposed it by saying, "If we are going to regulate everything in our country by the doctrine of non-violent, non-cooperation, then I am afraid we are forgetting human nature."
In Feb 1935, Mohammad Ali Jinnah negotiated with Congress for an alternate plan to the communal award with Congress president Babu Prasad and a workable strategy was formulated, in this regard. Ironically, Congress broke the promise as if it were made of piecrust and turned out to be a Trojan hero's in the eyes of Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Congress despotic rule served as a shot across the bows. The year 1937 was harbinger of the darkest aeon the chroniclers of the sub-continent. Even at that critical juncture Mohammad Ali Jinnah offered Congress innumerable opportunities to join hands with Muslim League to oust John Bull–the proverbial cuckoo in the nest. Before the Cabinet mission arrived in India in 1946. Jinnah was clearly crestfallen and prior to accepting it, he said rather dejectedly.
"It is very difficult to corner John Bull. If India has an overwhelming majority of Muslim here; we would have no difficulty in cornering John Bul. But the trouble is if I go to grapple John Bull, the Hindu came to its rescue and when Hindus go to corner him to force their demands, those are detrimental to us."
Congress hierarchy squandered another opportunity by not accepting the Cabinet mission and their ostrich belief that Mohammad Ali Jinnah would do the same did not materialise, for an elusive change. To their consternation, Mohammad Ali Jinnah bowed in the (Proverbial) House of Rimmons because had he not done that the Muslims demands would have been slaughtered in the abattoir of Congress. He was offered Hobson's choice and he accepted it.
The Congress arraigned him of compromising and striking a deal with the British. At this Jinnah remarked. "I am an Indian first and a Muslim afterwards. But at the same time I agree that no Indian can serve his country if he neglected the interest of the Muslims." Jinnah clearly saw the crock at the end of the rainbow while accepting the Cabinet Mission.
Count Cavour, the Italian premier, iterated before the unification of Italy. "Out of the mud of Crimea a unified Italy will emerge. "Jinnah was alert to every possibility, specially, after having witnessed Congress track record and its mentality–which was exposed to the odium.
Within a year of its acceptance the plan that was accepted in the darkest colours, had all the colours of the rainbow on 14th August 1947.
M R Jayakar said about Jinnah "If you want a case to be expounded to you, you are bound someday or the other to go to Jinnah. He possesses in him a remarkable manner of lucidity of phrase and clarity of vision."
Well, Mohammad Ali Jinnah gave ocular demonstration of both by accepting Cabinet Mission. Mr Frank Moracs described the legal craftsmanship of Mohammad Ali Jinnah in the following words. "Mr Jinnah is an artist in his craft. He likes to get down to the bare bones of a brief. In stating the essentials of a case his manner is masterly. The drab court room acquires an atmosphere as he speaks".
It is, therefore, not difficult to comprehend as to what coerced an eminent barrister put up the pedestal by the Muslims as well as the Hindus for adhering to his notion of an undivided India as if were a sacrosanct book of revelations, to crossing the Rebicon and becoming an emancipator.
In the decade preceding independence he was in the vanguard of a crusade culminating into a simmering desire to break the shackles and thereafter, every other option that put a spoke in the wheels was uncompromisingly brushed outside. He moulded himself like a wax in pursuit of his sought after ideals.
Hindus damned him with faint praise, after extolling his majesty to the skies and conferring upon him the coveted title of ambassador of Hindu-Muslim fraternity.
The truth of the matter is that ignominious Congress and British drove him to a point of no return – though it turned out to be a benison in disguise. It all happened in the twilight of 1937 when Muslim league was running out of steam and never ceased to happen, thereafter.
In 1938, Mohammad Ali Jinnah admonished his co-regionalists "Unless the Congress recognized the Muslim League on equal footing and is prepared as such to negotiate for a Hindu-Muslim settlement, we shall have to wait and depend upon our inherent strength which will determine the measure of importance or distinction it possesses."
The British stance can't be vindicated for making a futile effort to cutting down to size man not renowned for bowing in the house of Rimmons. Lord Reading offered Jinnah Law membership in Viceroy's cabinet and when he tried to confer upon M A Jinnah the coveted knighthood, Jinnah replied. "I prefer to be plain Mr Jinnah than to be Sir Mohammad Ali Jinnah.”
When Lord Mountbatten tried to persuade Mohammad Ali Jinnah to appoint him as the Governor General of Pakistan, he could not force Jinnah to follow the dictates of his heart.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah had no legion to fall back upon; he fought his battles with legal sinews. He was an Indian to the hit and remained so even to the every end, straining every nerve and exploring every avenue to break the shackles of colonialism. Jinnah wanted Tom, Cobberleigh and all breathing under the valut of heaven to escape the citadel of incarceration, which was a tribute to his altruist spirit. He was patterned after and became a personality cult in the sub-continent. But when he made concerted efforts to raise the Muslims from their knees, Congress and Hindus knocked him off the pedestal. He found himself between upper and neither millstone when he realized that India was being made a place too hot for the Muslims to breath. Things had come to such a sorry pass that his nationalism was looked at with skepticism. Jinnah lamented, "Some people have a dictionary of their own but within the honest meaning of the term. I still remain a nationalist".
In the beginning, he resisted the very notion of parcelling India into two different principalities. Later, when Congress tried in vain to tighten the noose around his neck and took a sledgehammer to crack a nut during its notorious role in 1937, he quickly sniffed the air like an old warhorse.
In fact, Congress itself inadvertently gave the very concept of a sovereign Muslim State in the Indian neighbourhood. With the passing of Pakistan Resolution on 23rd March 1940, Hindus fluttered the dovecotes. Jinnah even at that juncture preferred to tread on the eggshells and termed it as Lahore Resolution. Hindu yellow press and their closet strategists used provocative language to describe passing of the resolution, west termed it as an insane scheme. Gandhi called it a sin against the Holy Ghost and tantamount to slaughtering the holy cow in Muslim League's altar.
So with the revamping of Muslim League in the 1940 it appeared that it was rose, roses all the way on the political front. As a result of which in the 1946 elections, Muslim League won 100% Muslim seats. In February 1947 Attlee Government yielded to the demand of the natives and sent Lord Mountbatten for an inequitable transfer of power. How he abused to power vested in him is a tell tale sign in the annals of sub-continent and a slur on the name of British justice.
Under the false pretext of friendship an inch of cool iron was put in the back of Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Since Lord Mountbatten could not persuade Jinnah to bowing down in the house of Rimmons, he made a snap judgement and made the Muslims of the sub-continent suffer irrevocably by letting the sun down on his wrath.
Well, he looked more like the cat that swallowed the canary when he cheated his August office rather than a dignified naval office and a distinguished member of the British Royal Family.
Nehru and Gandhi called the tune and he danced to it till Gandhi continued to brandish his wooden stick like a magic wand. Muslims League nominated Mohammad Ali Jinnah as Governor General of Pakistan instead of Mountbatten. Mountbatten carved out two separate nations in record time of two months, ensuring that the nascent outfit would fall like house of Jericho.
Though Mohammad Ali Jinnah was not long for this world, he donned the mantle of Governor General of Pakistan so as to thwart the sinister designs of Congress and lord Mountbatten. He died on his last ditch but made it sure that his Pakistan came into being and his dream did not wither on the vine. n