“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, 1945 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 of 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