Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah is one of the few great personalities who besides having many achievements to their credit, have changed the course of history. Much has been written about different dimensions of his personality and his political triumphs and successes.

Quaid-i-Azam began his career as a legislator in 1910, when the Muslims of Bombay chose him to represent them in the Imperial Legislative Council, set up under the Minto Morley Reforms of 1909. During the period from 1910 to 1947, he was reelected several times, from the same constituency. On a couple of occasions, he returned to the legislature unopposed. During the early period of his political life he supported the Nationalist views and policies as propounded by the Congress but afterward changed his plan of action when he left the Congress in 1920. With the establishment of Pakistan in August 1947 as an independent and sovereign state, he was elected as President of Pakistan’s first Constituent Assembly. He held this position till his death in September 1948, but didn’t take part in the proceedings of the Assembly in this capacity. As the Governor-General of Pakistan, nevertheless, he addressed the Constituent Assembly.

The dominating aspect of his personality was very much pronounced in his role as a parliamentarian. His speech on the Criminal Law Amendment Bill in 1913 clearly revealed his belief in constitutionalism.  In 1923, Jinnah’s decision to contest to the Imperial Legislative Council as an independent candidate is another example of his belief in constitutionalism in the face of the Congress’ decision to boycott elections as a part of the ‘non-cooperation’ movement.

He was a “cogent and convincing speaker,” and these qualities were rooted in the sincere and deep feelings of his convictions. Hector Bolitho remarked that; “his thoughts and words grew out of his proved experience.”

“I honestly and sincerely appeal to the Government: do you really think that education means sedition? I say, Sir, that a frank and independent criticism of the Government or the measures of Government is the duty of every member of the State. But let me tell you that you have no better friends in this country – than the educated class. But, it may say so, we love the British Government but we love our country more,” said Quaid-i-Azam.

His stand was always based on reason rather than emotions. He never allowed himself to show any sign of prejudice.

His desire to improve opportunities for Indians was reflected in his active participation in the recordings of the committee appointed by the Council on the subject of training of Indian officers for the commissioned ranks for the Indians Army and to attract educated Indians to the military career. He believed in the policy of gradual reforms and missed no opportunity to impress upon the Government that Indians should be given more representation in the day to day administration of the country and in other services.

He eagerly cooperated with the Government in formulating its polices in this regard both inside and out-sides the legislature. But this spirit of co-operation did not rob him of his sense of patriotism. He successfully proved that his “tiny minority voice” could be magnified enough to win the strategic support. In August 1932, the British Government published a scheme for future constitutional arrangements in India known as Communal Award, which retained separate electorate for the Muslims and all other minorities. The Congress leaders rejected the Award. Jinnah at that time was leading the Independent party, which occupied out of 127 only 22 seats in the Assembly.  Despite the numerical minority, Jinnah succeeded in getting the Assembly accept the Communal Award “until a substitute is agreed upon by the various communities concerned.” The victory, without any doubt, proved him the most brilliant parliamentarian in British India.

Courtesy Nazaria-i-Pakistan Trust

Published in Young Nation Magazine on August 12, 2017