It was the turn of the century. Great Britain was at the height of its imperial glory, Queen Victoria reigned majestically supreme, the lords, the ladies and the sahibs who ruled on her behalf in India saw not a speck of cloud obstructing their imperial vision. Not a single troublesome dot. How in such a scenario socially very far from nawabs of India, not the inheritor of family wealth, standing or name, etch his name so boldly and so indelibly on the social and political firmament of India? That was Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
Jinnah was a source of power. Gandhi … an instrument of it… Jinnah was a cold rationalist in politics— he had a one track mind, with great force behind it. Then: Jinnah was potentially kind, but in behavior extremely cold and distant. Gandhi embodied compassion. Jinnah did not wish to touch the poor.
For Jinnah, a secondary status was galling, what he had always sought and mostly attained was the centre stage.
(Page # 78)
Both (Jinnah & Gandhi) born of Kathiawari trading communities… One shaped religion to his political ends; the other shunned it on grounds of principle. Gandhi, in a very real sense was deeply under the influence of Tolstoy. Jinnah recognized the political impress only of Dadabhai and Gokhale. Gandhi led his personal publicly. Jinnah led even his public life close to his chest.
(Page # 99)
Nehru himself set the tone with his haughty remark in March 1937. “There are only two forces in India today, British imperialism and Indian nationalism as represented by Congress.” Jinnah was quick to retort: “No, there is a third party, the Musalmans.” History was to bear him out.
Gandhi admitted failure in his quest… He (M. A. Jinnah) won Pakistan with the help of just a typewriter and a clerk. (Chapter # 2)
We went always to Europe not to those great cities, the great centres of civilisation, our historical and cultural kin: Baghdad, Istanbul/Ankara, Cairo, Tehran.
(Page # 153)
Answer to letter of Nehru;
When you said that “I am afraid I must confess that I do not know what fundamental points in dispute are”, I am only amazed at your ignorance.”
(Page # 247-248)
The celebration of 23 March as “Pakistan Day” did not start before 1956. It was first celebrated as “Republic Day” to mark the passage of the first constitution and the emergence of Pakistan as an independent republic similar in importance as “26 January” for India. However when General Mohammad Ayub Khan abrogated the constitution and established martial in 1958, he was faced with a dilemma. He could not let the country celebrate a day commemorating the constitution that he had himself torn apart, nor could he cancel the celebration altogether. A way-out was found by keeping the celebration, but giving it another name: “the Pakistan Resolution Day”.
(Page # 272)
Notes from Lord Wavell’s Diary:
August 27, 1946: “Gandhi said that if a blood bath was necessary, it would come about in spite of non-violence.”
August 28, 1946: “During the morning I received an abusive and vindictive letter from Gandhi… It confirmed the view I have always held of Gandhi, that his professions of non-violence and saintliness are political weapons against the British rather than natural attributes.”
(Page # 391)
On 7th August, with Ahsan, the Naval ADC, Miss Jinnah, and the Quaid, we flew from Delhi to Karachi, in Mountbatten’s white Dakota. There were only a handful of people to see him off. Before leaving the house Jinnah had given me a cane basket full of documents to take to the aircraft. Before we took off, he went out to be photographed, but he did not speak. As we taxied out he made only one remark; he murmured, “That’s the end of that”, meaning, I supposed, the end of the struggle on Indian soil.
He was perfectly dressed, as eve, in a white sherwani, and his Jinnah cap. Dark glasses. Miss Jinnah sat in the front and I sat opposite the Quaid. He had an immense bundle of newspapers which he read immediately and during the entire flight. Only once, he spoke. He handed me some of the newspapers and said, “Would you like to read these?”
This was his only remark during a journey of 4 hours – all he said in what one might describe as the greatest hours of his life… We reached Karachi in the evening, and as we flew over Mauripur, Jinnah looked down and saw thousands of people waiting for him, including many women – waiting on the sand, to greet him… Even then there was no change in his expression and he did not say a word. He was the first to emerge from the aircraft, followed by Miss Jinnah. All the Muslim big guns were waiting for him. He shook hands with a few o them, and then got into the motor-car.
The thousands of people were cheering, “Pakistan Zindabad!” “Quaid-i-Azam Zindabad”, still he showed no signs of pleasure. He was very tired and he entered Government House, for the first time, without a word. After two or three days he changed his apartment from the left to the right side of the house.
Retrospect by Jaswant Singh;
Pakistan and its citizens have doubtlessly suffered grievously in the six decades of an independent existence. A break-up into two, in the emergence of Bangladesh; four military dictatorships during these decades; on top of which came the civilian governments that did not exactly serve the land, all this has inflicted upon the citizens of Pakistan untold hardships. There were then these several conflicts with India, each draining the land of resources. Whereafter arrived extremism. The country is now ravaged by all varieties of sectarian and provincial divisions, extremism, violence. And yet, it demonstrates a great vitality, enormous natural creativity and exuberance and, of course, always an outgoing heart-warming hospitality. In comparison so much of the past pales, for Pakistan has overcome many near impossible obstacles. However, the dream of the late Quaid and the current reality do not entirely harmonize, which is a saddening comment for the lad, for its people, in trust, merit so much more.
(Page # 522)
Note: Page numbers are according book’s edition of 2009 by Rupa Publications, New Delhi.