In the history of Indian Muslim life and thought, Mohammad Ali Jinnah is one of the most striking and enigmatic figures. The perceived notion of Jinnah in India is one of great ambiguity and thus of great interest. All those who preach and follow Islam have great reverence for Jinnah, but interestingly Jinnah was one Muslim leader whose adherence to Islam traditions was at best fickle. Yet he developed an abiding interest in the problems and issues faced by the Indian Muslim community at large.
Jinnah was no product of a madarsa, infact he was a product of western education system and went to London at the age of 16. This is what enabled him to stand in the council and deliberate upon affairs of our nation. Jinnah was of the view that democracy is not to be bestowed upon the Indians as a gift by the British but we ought to get it as a matter of right. He emphasized that religion should be separated from politics and the two should never be mixed with each other. But it was extremely unfortunate that the orthodoxy and conservatism of the Muslim league did eventually play a huge role in the intellectual make up of one of Pakistan’s greatest ever leaders.
A twist in Indian colonial politics with the elections of 1937 and introduction of provincial autonomy led Jinnah to the renunciation and denial of all that he previously stood for. He was destined to become the greatest ever propounder of the popular two nation theory and rendered the Muslims in India the greatest service of creating a separate home for them. The democratic goal that was pursued by the nationalist movements and the attitude after the land slide congress victory in the 1937 elections indicated to the conceptions of a ‘hindu raj’ which would mean subordination of the Muslims in India. This ideology took a strong grip over Muslim minds and dominated their political goals thereafter. This development also helped to justify the fact that Muslims in India are a separate nation and they must preserve their cultural identity. This also over emphasized the cultural and religious differences between the Hindus and the Muslims.
Jinnah was a victim of the reactionary forces of the Muslim society and reasons of personal and political ambition. Jinnah’s consummate political skill lay in the manner in which he harnessed the existing forces under his personal direction for personal glory and granted a political identity to a community.
These few facts have been brought to light in the above paragraphs in order to clear popular misnomers about Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He was in actuality a liberal democratic thinker who condemned fanaticism and Muslim rule being carried out in the name of Islam. But the turn of events of the Indian polity and the attitude of some of the Hindu leaders drastically changed Jinnah’s outlook.
Thus it is factually incorrect to blame or hold one man responsible for the partition of India. It has many complex and varied reasons rooted deep in the complex history of colonial India. Nehru and Jinnah were stalwarts in their own rights but somewhere down the line, political ambitions coupled with ego clashes and affected the polity in more ways than one……