KARACHI: It was the desire of the Muslims of India to have their own state as they had been galvanized by the Quaid from a scattered mask into cohesive block with one flag, one voice, one leader and one demand for a Muslim homeland where they could achieve political and economic independence and freely practice, and propagate their personal religious faith, be free from exploitation by British and domination by the majority Hindu population in India.
The Jinnah Anthology is an immensely valuable book which contains material and information on Jinnah and the partition of India which led to the creation of Pakistan.
This was traced by Liaquat Merchant, grand-nephew of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the guest speaker for an introduction on the now famous book “The Jinnah Anthology” which has been produced by him and Professor Sharif Al Mujahid, the current 4th edition being the last and final one.
This event was hosted by the prestigious organization Karachi Council on Foreign Relations (KCFR) now headed by Ikram Sehgal as Chairman and Admiral (R) Khalid Mir as Co-Chairman here at a local hotel.
Governor Sindh Imran Ismail graced the occasion as chief guest. Commodore Retd. Sadeed A. Malik, Secretary General KCFR, Mr. Wang Yu, Consul General of China in Pakistan, Mr. Thatree Chauvachata, Consul General of Thailand in Karachi, Consul General of Afghanistan and many other dignitaries also attended this houseful session.
Co-author Liaquat Merchant recalled that the struggle to achieve an identity for the Muslims of India and for a place for them under the Indian sun went on for decades starting even before the time of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and the establishment of Aligarh Muslim University in 1920, and the inspiring thought and poetry of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistan’s philosopher but it was left to Jinnah’s brilliant leadership to formulate the two-nation theory in his artistic language and to establish that the Muslims of India were a nation even before Pakistan became a reality on 14th August, 1947.
He quoted Jinnah’s response to Mahatma Gandhi when Gandhi said in 1944 that a body of converts could not constitute a nation. Jinnah replied; “We maintain and hold that Muslims and Hindus are two major nations by any definition or test of a nation. We are a nation of a hundred million people, and, what is more, we are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of value and proportion, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and traditions, aptitudes and ambitions – in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life.”
In 1946 after the Cabinet Mission Plan brought by Sir Stafford Cripps to keep India united on the basis of Muslim and Hindu majority provinces with their respective Governments was scuttled by Jawaharlal Nehru who claimed that parliament in India would be sovereign and could change the constitution left behind by the British.
Jinnah demanded complete separation of India into two states as Muslims desired most was freedom, fraternity and liberty which Jinnah said was “the life and blood of the Muslims”.
He said that Muslims of India would never agree to exploitation and domination by the British and Hindus of India and it was imperative that there should be two nations’ namely Hindu nation and Muslim nation of Pakistan.
Recent events in India after the shooting down of an Indian plane over Pakistani air space followed by the Indian government depriving Kashmiri of the special status given to them under the Indian Constitution clearly reflects the mind set of India that it intends to rule over the Muslims of India by oppression and force. This is what Jinnah warned us of in 1946, Liaquat Merchant referred.
When someone described The Jinnah Anthology as a beautiful Coffee Table model, Professor Sikandar Hayat of FC College who spoke at the launch of the book said that the book constitutes serious hard work and cannot be treated as a Coffee Table model.
A more apt description by Liaquat Merchant was “to understand the reasons behind the creation of Pakistan and why the idea of Pakistan will never die – you have to cross the bridge which is “JINNAH”. This is absolutely true and it is mainly for this reason why The Jinnah Anthology “which is presumably the best reference book on Jinnah in Pakistan, is so invaluable to Pakistanis living in the country and more particularly to Pakistanis who are non-resident in Pakistan as it provides a strong link between non-resident Pakistanis and Pakistan, their home country.
The other major beneficiaries of The Jinnah Anthology are and will continue to be the younger generation of Pakistanis who were born and will continue to be born in the Post-Partition Era. This book provides to them beautiful inspirational information and documents which will continue to make the younger generation proud of their country and the Founder of their country, he maintained.
The Jinnah Anthology has reached this final stage over the twenty years period started in 1999 when the first edition was brought out, the 2nd in 2009, 3rd in 2014 and the 4th in 2019. The book underwent editions and improvements through this process resulting in a beautiful presentation which now completed 4th edition for which the un-tiring efforts of Liaquat Merchant, Jinnah’s grand nephew and Founder President of The Jinnah Society and the truly remarkable Professor Sharif al Mujahid deserve the highest praise.
Their work is indeed commendable and The Jinnah Anthology 4th edition will continue to serve the needs of historians, scholars, authors, students, Jinnah’s admirers and citizens of Pakistan holding dual nationality or otherwise wherever there may be.
The Jinnah Anthology is not a book which one can pick up and read from cover to cover like other well written books on Pakistan and Jinnah. One has to dwelled into anthology to look for what you want to know and will find the answer. This does not mean that the anthology does not contain well written essays and articles on Jinnah because it does.
The book is divided into 14 sections. Section one contains original essays on Jinnah by different authors including Stanley Wolpert, S.M. Burke, Kuldeep Nair, Ayesha Jalal, Sharif uddin Pirzada, A.G. Noorani, Akbar S. Ahmed, Muhammad Ali Siddiqui, Jawaid Iqbal, Sheharyar Khan, Sharif al Mujahid and Liaquat Merchant.
Two perspectives of Jinnah Secular or Islamic and Protector General of minorities is an essay worth reading and so is the essay by Muhammad Ali Siddiqui entitle “The two saviors” Ata Turk and Jinnah and “Jinnah as seen by Sir Sultan Mohammad Shah, Agha Khan III by Liaquat Merchant.
The tribute perhaps the best ever paid to Jinnah as recorded in this chapter when the Agha Khan as stated in his memoirs published in 1954 stated: “The Quaid-i-Azam’s brilliant and epoch-making career, so untimely ended, reached its summit in these momentous years of 1946 and 1947. Now he belongs to history; and his memory. I am certain, is imperishable. Of all the statesmen that I have known in my life – Clemenceau, Lloyd George, Churchill, Curzon, Mussolini, Mahatma Gandhi – Jinnah is the most remarkable. None of these men in my view outshone him in strength of character, and in that almost uncanny combination of prescience and resolution which is statecraft.”
Section three contains excerpts from speeches and statement of the Quaid-i-Azam while section four deals with books on the Freedom Movement and section five covers impressions while section six reproduces personal recollections of Jinnah and section seven contains tribute paid to Jinnah by leading International personalities.
Section nine deals with The Jinnah Society and it focus on Jinnah’s ideals, principles and vision as a nation building exercise in Pakistan. The Anthology contains the Quaid’s will, the Dawn Trust which Jinnah established, Judgments of Jinnah’s personal faith and beliefs by the High Court of Karachi.
Section 13 deals with the Quaid’s last write while section 14 contains the Obituary and Editorials appeared in The Times (London) and The Hindu (India) when Jinnah passed away. The anthology contains truly historical and beautiful photographs of Jinnah on different occasions with different personalities including some personal photographs. There is also an Article by Ardeshir Cowasjee where he demands “bring back Jinnah’s Pakistan”.
The book also contains a group photograph of the Quaid’s family when a reception was hosted to felicitate the cast and crew of the film “Jinnah” and with members of Jinnah Society at the Governor House Karachi with Professor Stanley Wolpert when he specially came down for a lecture at the request of The Jinnah Society.
The Jinnah Awards conferred by The Jinnah Society on different leading personalities for outstanding services to Pakistan are shown in the Chapter dealing with The Jinnah Society but perhaps the most impressive content of The Jinnah Anthology 4th Edition is a full page devoted to Jinnah along with his signature on 18.04.1946 with a pen portrait of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah by Sarojini Naidu a former President of the Indian National Congress which truly sets out the greatness, stature and character of the one and only Mohammad Ali Jinnah the Founder of Pakistan known to all of us as “Quaid-i-Azam”.
The tribute by Sarojini Naidu is reproduced below:
“The casual pen might surely find it easier to describe his limitations rather than to define his virtues … But the true criterion of Jinnah’s greatness lies not in the range and variety of his knowledge and experience, but in the faultless perception and flawless refinement of his subtle mind and spirit; not in the diversity of aims and challenge of a towering personality, but rather in a lofty singleness and sincerity of purpose and the lasting charm of a character animated by a brave conception of duty and an austere and lovely code of private honour and public integrity.”
The famous tribute to Jinnah by the world famous Author Professor Stanley Wolpert a patron of The Jinnah Society, who recently passed away and his words will remain immortal as he spoke from the heart when he said “few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Few are still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a National State. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.”
In his remarks, Imran Ismail, Governor of Sindh said that Quaid-e-Azam presented two-nation theory and told that sooner there will not be any place for Muslims in India and at present we are witnessing it as true as lives and properties of Indian Muslims are not safe. Today, India government has left no way out for Muslims living there. During this event, I was asked by a diplomat that do you feel presence of Quaid-e-Azam at Governor House, in its reply I want to say that Yes, I do feel his presence. I used to see those pillars where Quaid-e-Azam used to stand with and those chairs used by him in Governor House as this historical placed used to be his office. We have preserved this all and I invite everyone who visits Governor House as this is our national asset, Imran Ismail offered open invitation.