Maryam Gilani  -  Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's achievement as the founder of Pakistan, dominates everything else he did in his long public life spanning some 42 years. Yet, by any standard, his was an eventful life, his personality multidimensional and his achievements in other fields were many, if not equally great.

Indeed, several were the roles he had played with distinction: at one time or another, he was one of the greatest legal luminaries India had produced during the first half of the century, an `ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, a great constitutionalist, a distinguished parliamentarian, a top-notch politician, an indefatigable freedom-fighter, a dynamic Muslim leader, a political strategist and, above all one of the great nation-builders of modern times.

What, however, makes him so remarkable is the fact that while similar other leaders assumed the leadership of traditionally well-defined nations and espoused their cause, or led them to freedom, he created a nation out of an inchoate and down-trodden minority and established a cultural and national home for it, and all that within a decade.

For over three decades before the successful culmination in 1947, of the Muslim struggle for freedom in the South-Asian subcontinent, Jinnah had provided political leadership to the Indian Muslims: initially as one of the leaders, but later, since 1947, as the only prominent leader- the Quaid-i-Azam.

For over thirty years, he had guided their affairs; he had given expression, coherence and direction to their legitimate aspirations and cherished dreams; he had formulated these into concrete demands; and, above all, he had striven all the while to get them conceded by both the ruling British and the numerous Hindus the dominant segment of India's population. And for over thirty years he had fought, relentlessly.

 The history of mankind shows that the people who change the course of events by shaping the destiny of their nation are taken as heroes and leaders. One can therefore define “national political leadership as the power exercised by an individual to push members of the polity towards action in a particular direction.” Haiman explains leadership as an effort on the part of a leader to direct the behaviour of others towards a particular end.

He further adds: “the qualities, characteristics and skills required in a leader are determined to a large extent by the demands of the situation in which he is to function as a leader.”

Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah excels the criterion of a national hero and leader by dint of his intellectual capacity, a deep understanding of the political situation in the then British India and his excellent leadership qualities, which enabled him to lead a movement that transformed the Muslim Community of South Asia into a Pakistani nation.

He was truly a leader of stature who left a strong imprint on the course of history. One can identify three distinct phases of his leadership career. The first phase was conterminous with period of his association with the Congress i.e. from 1906 to 1920. The second phase, which ended in 1937 and marked the beginning of his confrontation with Congress, was the main feature. The third phase, the epoch-making one, had changed the destiny of the nation, lasted from 1937 to 1947.

In the first phase, Jinnah worked for the national freedom through Hindu-Muslim unity, with the belief that the two major communities would share the power after freedom. The nationalist Jinnah with firm Muslim identity was the main feature of this phase.

The second phase comprises of two main features, the rights and interests for self-determination, and getting recognition from Hindus of the Muslim entity and individuality in Indian politics. His quest for Hindu-Muslim unity, through a national pact continued all through the second phase and even in the beginning of the third one, it ended finally in about 1937-38.Freedom still remained the core aim but there was a dramatic change in the perception. Now the struggle was based on the idea of a separate nationalism and the partition of India. His success can be explained in terms of the combination of his drive and authority, his integrity and ability to inspire loyalty in the lieutenants, with exhilaration of the call for Pakistan. However in seeking power for Muslims and taking up the demand for Pakistan he took up a charismatic goal--a goal which had not only lying close to their (Muslims) hearts, ever since they had lost political power to the British, but had also haunted them.

Iqbal projected the vision of a ‘New World’, for the Muslims of Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. He was the pioneer to see the vision of separate homeland for the Muslims-Pakistan. It was he who convinced the Quaid to do his best for the Muslims. Jinnah, however, with his own political genius and his expert views on politics, partition issues, on economics, industry, and on the manifold problems of state carried the torch of wisdom to the culmination of this great vision. He himself was Pakistan and he put his heart and brain into the ideology!

 

Maryam Gilani