A Cultural Journal

    Reclaiming the Quaid's Vision

    Written by: The Editor - Posted on: December 25, 2014 | Post your comment here Comments | 中文 (Chinese)

    Google Translation: اُردو | 中文

    Reclaiming the vision of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah

    Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah

    Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born to an Ismaili Khoja family but later chose to join the Isna’ Ashari sect. However, religion was a private matter for him. His struggle for a homeland started with a demand for separate electorates for Muslims, what in modern day terminology is known as affirmative action. He felt that Muslims needed these safeguards in order to develop as a distinct community, and not be swamped politically and culturally by the majority community.

     His struggle was conducted purely along constitutional lines, and he eschewed more populist forms of civil disobedience, a weapon popular with Gandhi. Cognizant of the need to emancipate Muslim women of India, the Quaid was responsible for bringing them out of seclusion. His sister Fatima Jinnah, a trained dentist, was always at his side, a symbol of the new Muslim woman. He created a women’s section of the Muslim League at Patna in 1938, and women became important players in the Pakistan movement as they demonstrated on the streets of Lahore and traveled the length and breadth of the country in 1946/47. Not surprisingly, the Quaid was anathema to the orthodox and obscurantist Muslim parties who called him Kafir-e-Azam. A member of Khaksars, a semi-fascist anti-imperialist organization, made an attempt on his life in July 1943; Majlis-e-Ahrar, another obscurantist Muslim organization, tried in vain to pressurize him into not giving Muslim League tickets to the Ahmadis in the 1937 elections.  

    His speech of August 11, 1947 is clear and definitive, not only about the position of minorities, but more importantly, about the role of religion in the state of Pakistan: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed- that has nothing to do with the business of the State”.

    At this historical juncture, when Pakistan faces the most serious existential threat since its inception, and the ignominy and horror of 16 December is still fresh, it is not enough to recall our founder’s vision but to reclaim it.

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