11th September 2011 marks the 73rd death anniversary of Pakistans founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Born in the Kharadar neighborhood of Karachi in 1876, Mr. Jinnah did most of his schooling in several schools in Karachi, finally culminating in matriculation from the University of Bombay in 1892. He soon moved to England, initially taking up an offer of apprentinceship at the London office of Grahams Shipping and Trading company, and ultimately to study law at Lincolns Inn.
Jinnah returned to India in 1896, and started practicing law. But it was not until 1906 that he decided to join Indian National Congress as a proponent of a United India. He eventually joined the All India Muslim League in 1913, and spent the next decade trying to organize disparate Muslim groups under his party.
He grew differences with the Congress, and eventually left Congress to in 1920. But it took several years, before his efforts and beared and the All India Muslim League emerged as a significant political force in the 1937 elections.
The Two Nation Theory was put forth, and along with this colleagues Muhammad Iqbal, Choudhry Rehmat Ali, and Liaquat Ali Khan the idea of a separate Muslim state by the name of "Pakistan" was proposed at a resolution in Lahore in 1940. Jinnah continued working selflessly towards this cause resulting in the Muslim league winning the majority of the Muslim electorate seats in the 1946 elections for Constituent Assembly of India.
The following coalition government between the Muslim League and the Congress failed to work, and the need for separate homelands for the Muslims and Hindus grew evident. Lord Mountbatten, the new viceroy, proposed a division of India along religious lines in West Punjab, East Bengal, Baluchistan, and Sindh. The North-West Frontier Province later joined Pakistan in a referendum in July 1947. And thus, the independent state of Pakistan came into being on 14th August 1947.
Jinnah had been suffering from tuberculosis through the 1940s, but only his close accomplices were aware of his illness. In 1948, Jinnahs health began to deteriorate amid his new position as the Governor-General of Pakistan.
He went to Ziarat to recuperate from his illness, but finally passed away on 11th September 1948 in Karachi. Jinnah had devoted his entire life fighting for the rights of people, and later for Muslims as a community.
A testament to his selfless leadership and hardwork are the wonderful tributes paid to him by his peers, and even those who held opposing views to him.
The Aga Khan considered him "the greatest man he ever met".
Beverley Nichols, the author of Verdict on India, called him "the most important man in Asia", and Dr. Kailashnath Katju, the West Bengal Governor in 1948, thought of him as "an outstanding figure of this century not only in India, but in the whole world".
While Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, called him "one of the greatest leaders in the Muslim world", the Grand Mufti of Palestine considered his death as a "great loss" to the entire world of Islam.
It was, however, Surat Chandra Bose, leader of the Forward Bloc wing of the Indian National Congress, who summed his personal and political achievements succinctly. "Mr Jinnah", he said on his death in 1948, "was great as a lawyer, once great as a Congressman, great as a leader of Muslims, great as a world politician and diplomat, and greatest of all as a man of action, By Mr. Jinnahs passing away, the world has lost one of the greatest statesmen and Pakistan its life-giver, philosopher and guide".
Such was Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the man and his mission, such the range of his accomplishments and achievements.
"Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three."
Stanley Wolpert, Jinnah of Pakistan (1984)