Mohammad Ali Jinnah was born in Karachi in undivided India under the British empire on 24 December 1876. He was the son of a rich merchant belonging to the Muslim community.
If the power of a statesman is the measure of changing the course of a nation’s history, Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah deserves to be mentioned in his own capacity in the Indian sub-continent. He belongs to that few powerful leaders who have carved out a new State by their own political genius and strategy.
He received his early education in the local Madrasah. He was then sent to a Missionary School, and therefrom he passed his Entrance Examination. In 1892 he was sent to England to qualify for the Bar. Four years later he returned to India and joined the Bombay Bar, and recognition came to him in due course. From 1906 he secured his place not only among the leading lawyers of his province but among the political leaders of the country.
In those days he was a member of the Congress. He was then far above the communal bias and believed that if India had to be liberated, it must be by the joint efforts of the Hindus and Muslims, and questions of religion must not be allowed to influence political life in any way. At that time he was sternly aloof from the Muslim League, and he passionately pleaded for a United India.
But gradually a change occurred in his outlook and in the field of politics. Gandhiji accepted the leadership of the Congress in 1919. Events took place which convinced Jinnah that cooperation with the Gandhi group was impossible. It was difficult to bring the Hindus and Muslims together on a common platform. In sheer hopelessness, Jinnah decided to retire from Indian politics and resolved to settle down in England and practise at the English Bar.
In 1931 a pamphlet advocating the establishment of a separate homeland for the Muslims of India was published in London by a young Cambridge Muslim. Jinnah thought it a real solution of the communal problem in India. Since the desired unity between the Hindus and the Muslims was impossible, why not strive for freedom from the British yoke by agreeing to separate amicably? He hoped that if the Hindus and Muslims once accepted the idea of a partition of the country, they would be able to live in a friendly spirit.
It was in these years that Quaid-e-Azam showed his mettle. Having once accepted the idea of Pakistan, he threw himself in the struggle to gain it with irresistible passion. He manoeuvred for position with a generalship which had no parallel. The majority of Muslims stood behind him, and his endeavour bore fruit at last. In 1947, Lord Mountbatten hustled the Congress politicians off their heads, and they accepted from the British what they had denied to the Quaid-e-Azam. And on the 15th of August in 1947, the Quaid-e-Azam assumed power in Karachi as the first Governor-General of Pakistan.
But Jinnah was already broken in health. He toiled tremendously for the newly-formed government for the few months remained to him. He outlined to his comrades the line of policy for the development of the new State. He received to the end of his days the unquestioning obedience and devotion of his followers. When death came to him on 11 September 1948, he prayed, “Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace.”