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Thread: About Quaid-e-Azam.....

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    About Quaid-e-Azam.....


    Winding down
    Ardeshir Cowasjee | Opinion | From the Newspaper

    TODAY, we in Pakistan observe the birthday of the man who founded and made Pakistan just over 64 years ago. It is the official 135th anniversary of the birth of Mohammad Ali Jinnah.



    For much of the rest of the world, celebrations are afoot for the assumed 2011th birthday of Jesus of Nazareth, the second in Trinity. And in the ranks of the PML-N no doubt congratulations are being bandied about on the declared birthday of the Mian of Raiwind, two-time prime minister of this `hard` country, who never manages to cease being politically controversial.

    As for Jinnah, what it was he decreed for the country he made was laid out in his seminal speech of Aug 11, 1947, too well known and quoted to bear repetition by us few who wish to abide by his creed.

    For those who wish to interpret it their own way, it conforms merely to narrow expedient government vision; and to the bigots and the intolerant who sadly make up the majority of the 180 million it has been discarded or distorted into wishing what they wish it to mean.

    His creed is nationally long gone. `Secular` is almost a treasonous word, tolerance an equally treasonous practice as bigotry is largely the order of the day. Jinnah`s Pakistan became virtually moribund on his death and received the final fatal blow in 1949 when his trusted lieutenants brought in the Objectives Resolution.

    From then on, it was a steady downhill dive to where this truncated country now finds itself — isolated and distrusted by much of the world which is concerned about its erratic policies and practices.

    The tragedy is that Jinnah, over the tumultuous years, has become more and more irrelevant to the youth of the country, and the elders tend to relegate him to whatever brand of history is convenient.

    In February 2010, a columnist writing on this page made a remark directed at me. She informed me that while I search in vain for Jinnah`s Pakistan we are threatened with losing Pakistan`s Jinnah. “We shouldn`t be surprised,” she wrote, “if in a few years time we come across a doctored photograph of the founding father in a turban and beard…”

    Jinnah`s person and his narrative are being “tinkered with”. A liberal Jinnah is unpalatable. In short, too many Pakistanis have denied and are denying that the man is his own person, that he was what he actually was. A false piety has been forced upon him by the leaderships we have suffered.

    He has been kidnapped by those who under no circumstances wish to live in a pluralistic state with a multi-polar polity where religion, in the words of Mr Jinnah, “has nothing to do with the business of the state”.

    The columnist ended with a plea that I “do something about getting the founding father back”. Well, it seems to be, at least in my lifetime, an impossible task. All our politicians, in and out of khaki, have blithely and meaninglessly trotted out their intent to restore Jinnah`s Pakistan and then done and accepted the exact opposite in the interests of expediency and their shaky chairs.

    Now to the tie up with the title of this column. For 22 years I have written for this publication. I started off in 1989 with letters to the editor after Ziaul Haq was taken away by his mangoes, when my old friend Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro was appointed caretaker information minister and removed the stringent Zia press laws.Then at the urging of a couple of Dawn staffers, I started submitting columns to that fine editor, Ahmad Ali Khan. He and his team gave me full cooperation and we had an amicable relationship, as I have had with all subsequent editors, down to young Zaffar Abbas who continues to maintain Dawn as the premier newspaper of the land. I must thank them all.

    Thanks also must be extended to those who have helped me in my research and in providing input — to Roland deSouza`s involvement with all environmental subjects and issues, and to Amina Jilani who has for the 22 years seen to it that I have made no major blunders as far as the English language is concerned.

    On this last Sunday of this year, this is my final column in this space. Now, old at 85, tired, and disillusioned with a country that just cannot pull itself together in any way and get on with life in this day and age, I have decided to call it a day.

    To quote Winston Churchill (without at all making any even vague comparison) “I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter”. The weekly writing has been a long and rewarding haul, and the column can record a few incidents where it has made a difference. I must also thank all those readers who have responded, generally favourably and with common sense.

    Bernard Levin who wrote columns with wit and erudition in The Times (London) from 1970 to 1997 once likened columnists to bakers. Bakers bake bread every morning, it is consumed, digested and forgotten. So is it with our daily columns, they are read, maybe digested, and the newspaper discarded.

    This may not be a final farewell as Editor Abbas has most generously told me that in the future should any issue crop up on which I feel I would care to comment, Dawn will carry my column — though few and far between.

    So, to all my readers, my best for the festive season and to you all, to Pakistan and Karachi, city of my birth, my wishes that the coming year will be more peaceful, more tranquil and that those that pretend to lead may at least be imbued with a modicum of common sense.

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    About Quaid-e-Azam.....‘Failure’ was a word unknown to him


    ‘Failure’ was a word unknown to him
    DAWN.COM Ayesha Jalal

    Mohammad Ali Jinnah envisaged Pakistan as a modern democratic state. Threatened by a deadly insurgency in the northwestern tribal areas linked to the American-led war in Afghanistan, and rent by conflict between and within the elected and non-elected institutions, Pakistan today could not be further away from its founder’s vision.

    The disregard shown to the rule of law by successive governments, military and civil, is an unconscionable blot on the legacy of the great constitutionalist lawyer, whose memory is invoked with ritualistic fervour.

    With recurrent derailments of political processes, deteriorating educational standards and curbs on the press, the public discourse on Jinnah’s vision has been open to widespread political manipulation and distortion.

    Instead of realising professed ideals, Pakistanis are mired in a sterile debate between so-called ‘Islamic fundamentalists’ and ‘secular modernists’, the latter defined incorrectly as la din or anti-religion.

    To pose the problem in such terms leaves little scope for a satisfactory resolution of the central question Pakistanis face at this vital juncture in their history: what sort of Pakistan do they want—an inward looking, orthodox religious one or a modern, enlightened and progressive country?

    To try and find approximate answers to this crucial question requires going beyond the debate pitting religion against secularism. The focus instead has to be on the disjunction between ideals and realities in Pakistan.

    More than six decades after independence, the celebrated homeland for Muslims in the subcontinent has been unable to extend the elementary rights of citizenship, not just legal but also social and economic, to the vast majority of its people. Many Pakistanis are worried that their country has lost its moorings.

    Some believe that the solution lies in reinstating the moderate and progressive vision of their founding father while those in power mechanically claim ownership of Jinnah, if not quite his ideals. Contestations over Jinnah are the most important sign of his continued relevance.

    An appreciation of how his ideals are applicable for today’s Pakistan requires an understanding of the historical context in which they were formulated and articulated.

    Pakistanis can build upon Jinnah’s vision only by accepting some stark truths about their own history and make the tough decisions that are needed. At this critical moment when the country is engulfed by grave internal and external threats, Pakistanis have to make a hard choice.

    They can seize the opportunity and take the necessary steps to shoulder their responsibilities alongside other nations in the world or they can join those who in defiance of global trends advocate isolationism in pursuit of their own narrow visions of Islam.

    The Islam that the Quaid-i-Azam embraced was neither reactionary nor bigoted, but one ‘based on the highest principles of honour, integrity, fair play and justice for all’. He hailed the example of the Prophet (PBUH), who was successful in all walks of life, and ‘laid the foundations of democracy’.

    Acknowledging the compatibility of Islam and democracy did not mean consigning the constitutional future of the country to historical ideas purportedly dating back to the inception of Islam. Nor was there any question of the seasoned constitutionalist allowing autocracy, whether of the civilian or the khaki variety, to substitute the rule of law.

    ‘Pakistan is now a sovereign State, absolute and unfettered, and the Government of Pakistan is in the hands of the people’, Jinnah had told a gathering of civil servants in February 1948.

    As servants of a state they had ‘a terrific burden’ on their shoulders that he likened to a ‘sacred trust’. It was imperative in Jinnah’s view that the constitution and ‘the fundamental principles of democracy’ not bureaucracy or autocracy or dictatorship, must be worked’.

    While Pakistan has taken a dramatically different course, few have ventured so far as to publicly disavow the vision of a creator they revere more than heed. This is cause for cautious optimism. Can Pakistan renew its commitment to the ideals it professes but shuns in practice?

    Not without real determination, individual and collective, to correct course. Jinnah’s memorable statement—‘failure is a word unknown to me’—ought to be inspiration for Pakistanis as they grapple with the daunting challenge of saving their country from chaos and disintegration.

    ‘We …have a State in which we c[an] live and breathe as free men and which we c[an] develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice c[an] find free play.’ The Quaid was endorsing the notion of a state of temporal and spiritual union presiding over regions with shares of sovereignty and citizens with multiple identities.

    It was an idea of freedom where Pakistanis in all their diversities and differences could live the lives they value with dignity, responsibility and a sense of security.

    The tragedy is that a nation-state, which was supposed to be the embodiment of Muslim aspirations and distinctive culture in the subcontinent, has not only departed from the vision of its main architect but also made a travesty of the federal and constitutional principles on the basis of which he ultimately won his case for Pakistan.

    –The writer is the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University, US, and the author of The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan (1994)

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    About Quaid-e-Azam.....India, Pakistan and the Quaid-i-Azam


    India, Pakistan and the Quaid-i-Azam
    DAWN.COM By Jaswant Singh

    When I was invited to contribute a piece for Dawn commemorating Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s birthday, I readily agreed, principally because the Quaid, amongst others, moulded the history and geography of our subcontinent.

    What then was Jinnah’s dream of ‘after Partition’? What also therefore, of the present state of affairs in Pakistan; or of Indo-Pak relations?

    Space does not permit a detailed examination of the full canvas, just a fragment must suffice.

    In a press meet on 14 November, 1946, in New Delhi, Jinnah when asked about the future of the ‘communal situation’ in a yet to be born Pakistan, said: “This tension which exists – that one nation is going to rule the other – will cease. These minorities will then settle down as minorities. They will realise minorities can live only as minorities and not as a dominant body’. …then I think you will have really a stable and secure government in Pakistan… Why should there then be a national quarrel?”

    He further added: “Unless you say we are reduced to bestiality I do not see any reason why the Muslim(s) in Pakistan should not deal with the minorities in a most generous way”.

    Jinnah then also dismissed ‘Pan-Islamism’ as an “exploded bogey” and declared, “whatever others might say, I think that these two states of Pakistan and Hindustan, by virtue of contiguity and mutual interests will be friends in this subcontinent… They will go to each other’s rescue in case of danger and will be able to say ‘hands off’ to other nations. We shall then have a Monroe Doctrine more solid than in America…”. Adding thereafter: “Pakistan and Hindustan alone will mean freedom to both Hindus and Muslims”.

    Sounds sadly ironic today, does it not? For this unquestionably was the dream, the hope; reality, alas, has turned out to be so starkly different. The central need, however, has remained constant, in 1947 as now: for a little more understanding, some grater accommodation of the other’s viewpoint; accepting the limitations of imported concepts, notions and transient ‘isms’; for all these have in reality been ground to dust by time; indeed by the very experience of living as neighbours; by failing to respect the dictates of geography, at our own cost.

    And here I do wish to share with readers in Pakistan only some portions of a memorable speech that late Maulana Abul Kalam Azad delivered in Jama Masjid, Delhi, on 23 October 1947: He said: “There is no use recounting the events of the past seven years, nor will it serve any good… (This) gloom cast upon (our) lives is momentary; I assure you we can be beaten by none save our own selves. I repeat… again today; eschew… your mistrust… “Where are you going and why? Raise your eyes. The minarets of Jama Masjid… ask you a question. Where have you lost the glorious pages from your chronicles? Was it not only yesterday that on the banks of the Jamuna, your caravans performed wuzu? …Remember, Delhi has been nurtured with your blood. Brothers! Create a basic change in yourselves. Today, your fear is as misplaced as your jubilation was yesterday…”

    That is why I add that we are, India and Pakistan are both integral to South Asia, irremediably; as parts of it, though, now not as conjoined twins; and to paraphrase Churchill, “We are linked but not compromised, we are interested and associated” but as separates.

    The nature, the structure and the economic context of Pakistan is and will always remain in South Asia; that too is an unalterable dictate of our common history and a united yet separate geography. Neither Pakistan nor India can be a mere spectator to events in this subcontinent, they partner them.

    Isn’t that what Jinnah meant when he spoke of the ‘virtue of contiguity’?

    –The writer a member of Indian Parliament, former Finance, Defence & External Affairs Minister, and the author of Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence (2009)

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    About Quaid-e-Azam.....Quaid’s Perspective


    Quaid’s Perspective
    by Faiza Mirza on December 25th, 2011

    “The change in the world is always brought by one man, whom we call “the leader”. Who has the vision and the force not only to make people dream, but to reach and live that dream. He is intelligent enough to foresee tomorrow. He is selfless and courageous to the extent of being ready to scarifies everything and express truth even if it defames him. People follow him where he takes them. He is the one who accelerates history and for whom nature proclaims itself. “What a man”?”

    True to his words, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was truly a devout leader who fought for his rights and the rights of many people living in India. He put aside all his grievances and led peace talks with his formidable opponents, he organised sessions to support the suppressed youth, he led the change and undertook the responsibility to channel the youth’s energy into the right direction. Indeed he was the man who transformed the sub-continent, hence creating a history which remains yet to be repeated.

    Jinnah was a great leader who believed in freedom and sanctity of the Indian citizens. His political agenda encapsulated the religious autonomy of people belonging to various religions and faiths. Being the first politician, to establish an independent state on the basis of religious grounds, he was cognizant of the repercussions of religious repressions. The vision of the state he aimed to establish was entirely unambiguous and awarded religious freedom to all its citizens. He laid ample emphasis on the importance of minorities and stayed abreast of their issues by addressing them appropriately. His stance to promote the minorities and equality can be gathered from his interview conducted by Reuters’ Duncan Hooper on October 25, 1947:

    “Minorities DO NOT cease to be citizens. Minorities living in Pakistan or Hindustan do not cease to be citizens of their respective states by virtue of their belonging to particular faith, religion or race. I have repeatedly made it clear, especially in my opening speech to the constituent Assembly, that the minorities in Pakistan would be treated as our citizens and will enjoy all the rights as any other community. Pakistan SHALL pursue this policy and do all it can to create a sense of security and confidence in the Non-Muslim minorities of Pakistan. We do not prescribe any school boy tests for their loyalty. We shall not say to any Hindu citizen of Pakistan ‘if there was war would you shoot a Hindu?”

    His emphasis on “Unity, Faith and Discipline” was aimed at people representing different castes and sects. He strongly advocated the rights of his fellow citizens and believed in the unity amongst many people on the basis of humanity. Unity amongst people, faith on their respective religion and living well-disciplined lives were the traits he desired to foster in the people representing his country.

    He believed in building strategic alliances maintaining cordial relationship with the neighboring countries, as he believed that this helped countries in strengthening their global position and safeguarding their sovereignty. He believed that peace can only be reached if aggression and desires to take military actions against one another can be contained. On June 18, 1985 Jinnah was found saying:

    “Our object should be peace within and peace without; we want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations with our immediate neighbors and with the world at large. We have no aggressive designs against anyone. We stand by the United Nations Charter and will gladly make our full contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world.”

    He believed in women empowerment and encouraged them to excel in life. He believed that women laid the foundations of the society by ensuring proper upbringing and nurturing moral/ethical values amongst the youth. He said that, “In the great task of building the nation and maintaining its solidarity, women have a most valuable part to play, as the prime architects of the character of the youth that constitutes its back bone.”

    Jinnah’s political and ethical perspective was extremely robust, in which he covered all the points pertaining to the welfare of mankind and society at large. He strived strenuously to inculcate the sense of freedom, political/religious autonomy and mutual respect and regard for people practicing various faiths and religions. Quaid was true to his very last word and performed commendable feats in order to instigate a behavioral change amongst the people of his country.

    Jinnah’s political mandate was simple and easily decipherable by the citizens of Pakistan. His ideology to build a country on religious grounds, without instigating religious provocation amongst his people, was evident in his agenda to govern the country. His role in the development of constitutional rights protecting the interests of various ethnic groups living in Pakistan was admirable.

    Jinnah’s perspective and vision for Pakistan was very different from the Pakistan that we live in today. Violations of human rights, racial discrimination and terrorism in all forms have penetrated deeply into our roots. Eradication of the aforementioned evils is highly necessary as they are persistently damaging our perspective a better and harmonious Pakistan. Intolerance specifically religious intolerance has tarnished our ideology to cater to each other’s perspectives and beliefs.

    Contemporary Pakistan is ideologically different from the country Jinnah intended to create. The religious manifestations that he indicated clearly have been misconceived and have given rise to political and racial upheavals across the country. Unity, Faith and Discipline are rare concepts which are unfathomable by a common man. They have become restricted to books and course work, with no positive connotation in real life. His penchant to strive for the well being of his people is disregarded frequently and is taken for granted by all the policy makers. Positive reinforcement of his ideas and perception of Pakistan are needed to be inculcated in our socio-political system to address the core issues hampering our growth as a nation.

    The writer is a Reporter at Dawn.com
    * photo courtesy Dawn Library

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