Remembering 9.11.1948

Posted on September 11, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, History, People
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Adil Najam

Today is 9/11. Much will be written and much discussed on the 5th anniversary of the cruel attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, on what has happened since, on all the ways in which the world changed, and on all the other ways in which it did not. Today is a sad day, and at ATP our hearts and prayers go out to the dear ones of the victims of this tragedy, and to the loved ones of all who have lost their lives in the events that were unleashed by it.

While 9.11.2001 will be much debated elsewhere, we here at ATP want to recall the events of 9.11.1948.

For Pakistanis, 9/11 has always been a sad date. A date on which – barely a year after the nation’s birth – its founding leader, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, died. Here is a short (50 sec) newsreel video clip with a report by Gaumont British News on Mr. Jinnah’s death (made availabel on the Internet by the GandhiServe Foundation):

Like every year, APP has announced in advance how the “nation” will mark this occasion, and every newspaper (e.g., Dawn) has printed this “news” on its front page:

ISLAMABAD, Sept 10: The nation will observe Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s 58th death anniversary on Monday with a pledge to transform Pakistan into a vibrant, progressive and enlightened country as envisioned by the great leader.

I am glad that the APP has he psychic power to know exactly how this “nation” will observe the anniversary, even before the occasion. They have been making the same stale prediction every year for as long as I can remember. Maybe, we as a “nation” do actually make that “pledge” every year. Its just that we have not been very good at keeping the pledge.

Some might argue that the “nation” had already begun to let Mr. Jinnah down even in those brief 13 months that he lived in the country he had founded. Others like to believe that Pakistan’s history might have taken a very different path had he lived longer. It may well have. I am just not sure what that path might have been given that tensions between him and those who were running day-to-day Pakistan had begun to appear even while he was alive.

His death, and the circumstances of his death, was itself not without controversy (see, for dramatic effect, the opening scenes of the movie, Jinnah, here). But today, September 11, should not only be a sad reminder of his untimely death. It should also be a moment to reflect on his life. And, maybe, it should be a moment to reflect on what lessons that life might have to offer for the future.

From its very inception, ATP has had an ongoing discussion on the legacy of Mr. Jinnah and the various meanings it has for different people. Today seems to be an appropriate day to continue that discussion; to think, yet again, about the meaning of the life and death of Mr. Jinnah.

Related ATP Posts:
- Read about the Other Side of Mr. Jinnah
- Watch Jinnah: The Movie
- Read about Jinnah’s first message to the nation
- Watch historic footage from August 1947
- Read about the Jinnah-Gandhi relationship
- Listen to and watch Mehdi Hassan’s classic, “yeh watan tumhara hai”, which is in many ways Jinnah speaking to the rest of us.

91 Comments on “Remembering 9.11.1948”

  1. Daktar says:
    September 11th, 2006 3:32 am

    Thank you for reminding us of this significance of 9/11. We seem to have forgotten it even more than usual in this world defined by the other 9/11.

  2. September 11th, 2006 5:44 am

    South Asia’s Clarence Darrow
    Yasser Latif Hamdani
    August 13, 2005

    Jinnah a portrait

    57 years since his death and he still ends up on the front page of every major newspaper in India for several days repeatedly. I think it is about time the subcontinent came to terms with one of its most illustrious sons and certainly the most interesting.

    An anglicized barrister who ended up founding a separate Muslim majority state is an apparent paradox but not really so, because had this urbane lawyer been any more religious he would have been unable to maintain unity amongst the ranks of his constituents, the deeply fractured and disjointed millions in the Muslim community. He would either be denounced as a Sunni or Shia or Barelvi or a Deobandi or something else.

    Throughout his struggle for the Muslims, he maintained a very deliberate distance from them, for had he fraternized with one section, the other section would be alienated. Jinnah had to be quintessentially aloof and isolated, in an unapproachable ivory tower of impartiality. This, which was his greatest strength, is often presented as a paradox i.e. the paradox of a Bond street gentleman with no apparent hint of religiosity leading the unwashed and deeply religious masses of the subcontinent.

    Indeed this was his solution to the deep divisions between Indians and India that had been his first and most important love. The young Lincoln`s Inn returned Barrister, perhaps the youngest to be called to bar, could not find any reason why a United India could not work. He had opposed his co-religionists on the issue of separate electorates. Walking in the footsteps of Dadabhoy Naoroji and Gokhale, he saw himself as an Indian first, second and last. Such was his unwavering faith in this national goal that he made it a pre-condition to his joining the Muslim League in 1913 while remaining
    simultaneously a Congressman.

    His advocacy of Hindu Muslim Unity won him the accolades of his countrymen and he was widely hailed as the Best Ambassador of “Hindu Muslim Unity.” At the height of his legal career he represented Tilak against the sedition charges leveled by the British government. It was around this time that he led a successful protest against Lord Wellingdon, which the British broke up by sending the police. In his honor there stands the Jinnah Memorial hall and education trust even today, serving each and every community equally and fairly, in the city that he loved the most – Bombay.

    What was the nature of his relationship with the British rulers?

    He was their harshest critic but never a rebel. While the Indian nationalist movement increasingly cried out “Free India or sink to our level”, Jinnah said “Free India or raise us to your level”. His vigorous campaigning got Indians the right to serve in army as officers and equals of the British.

    Mahomed Ali Jinnah was by nature and role a lawyer and a legislator. He was instrumental in passing of such monumental bills as the restraint of child marriages, which he did so against the will of the obscurantist elements within the Muslim community, declaring forcefully as he had always done that legislation had nothing to do with religion and this certainly wasn`t a religious matter. On several occasions he rose to defend some Indian dissident or the other, none more famous than Bhagat Singh, the young Sikh revolutionary who had been left high and dry by the so called national leadership.

    In what was in my estimate his finest speech, he castigated the British for ignoring the long held standards of British justice and what he considered tyranny of the worst kind.

    And what of his most famous rival, the one the world considers one of the greatest ever? Jinnah respected Gandhi as a man of conviction but was uncomfortable with his style of mass politics. Gandhi had the finger on India`s pulse. He gave up his western dress and law practice to become the “Mahatma” of the masses. He became one with them and in doing so he released, perhaps inadvertently, those dark forces that Jinnah had always feared.

    Not only did Gandhi appeal to religious superstitions of the Hindu masses who were ready to worship him like a God, but he also encouraged Muslim divines to topple secular leadership like Jinnah and take matters into their own hands. Perhaps the approach would have worked, but the benefits were short lived as soon the dark forces turned on each other.

    It was not out of some temporary irritation or annoyance that Jinnah, this secular and nationalist Congressman, turned to separatism, as some would have us believe. Nor was it some opportunism. H V Hodson ruled it out by saying that even his doughtiest opponents acknowledged his incorruptibility and steadfast idealism. He was supremely a man of honor and integrity, prompting Dr. Ambedkar to say that there was no other politician in the whole of South Asia to whom the word “incorruptible” more fittingly applied.

    In the mid 1930s when a group of Muslim students visited Jinnah in London with their “Pakistan scheme”, he is supposed to have told them to “stay away, before I think of you as stooges of British imperialism”. Then what changed? Why did Jinnah become the separatist mass politician that he himself had once despised? This question awaits its historian, but Woodrow
    Wyatt offers a simpler explanation. In an interview with Christopher Mitchell, the producer of a documentary on the life of Mr. Jinnah, Wyatt said that Jinnah was a lawyer brought up in England and lawyers brought up in England have a funny habit of fighting for justice.

    Having taken up the case of the Muslim salariat and nobility in 1937, Jinnah slowly broadened the base of his litigants to include the entire Muslim community. This he was forced to do after the Congress party had refused to share power with the Muslim League in places where it had won all Muslim constituencies. In what was to seal the fate of a United India, Jawaharlal Nehru had taunted the Muslim League and its leader challenging them to find their own inherent strength.

    It was then, that for the first time Jinnah had concluded that the Muslim minority of South Asia could no longer depend on small mercies by the majority. Like any good lawyer, and he considered him exactly that, he thus set out to win the case but what was the brief? The nuanced idea of a secular state with a Muslim majority is not always easy to relate to. Even harder is the idea of such a demand being a bargaining counter for ironclad safeguards within the union. It is here that Jinnah is cut down to size by occam`s razor into a Darth Vader like figure, which he never was.

    “My father never wanted separation,” declared Dina Wadia famously. Recent discoveries seem to favor her assertion. Jinnah`s idea was of a loose federal union of India constituting Hindu majority and Muslim majority areas, which was to many a logical solution to a communal problem that had existed for centuries and a problem that Jinnah certainly did not invent or ascribe to at any point in his life.

    But one thing is clear. Throughout his agonizing last few years, dying of Cancer and Tuberculosis, he was forced to take on not just the Congress Party or the British but also the Mullahs, who in large numbers opposed the Pakistan demand using the most humiliating and disgraceful language against him. There was pressure from within to declare an Islamic state based on Quran and Sunnah which he resisted tooth and nail, even expelling from the party his close friend the Raja of Mahmudabad. The impetuous Raja later repented and was allowed back in.

    As Pakistan became certain, he showed his hand. His vision of Pakistan, which he repeated on numerous occasions, was one where sovereignty rested unconditionally with the people regardless of religion, caste or creed. On 11th August 1947, speaking to the constituent assembly he made plain that a person`s religion was a personal matter and would have nothing to do with the business of the state. Citing the example of Catholic and Protestant conflict in England, Jinnah spoke of a modern nation state which would rise up above these differences and work towards the betterment of the people of Pakistan without distinction.

    As if to cement his words, he appointed a Hindu Law minister to undertake the task of law-making in the new state. Sadly today every dictum laid down by him has been ignored as Pakistan is an avowed Islamic Republic.

    What did he imagine Pakistan`s relations to be with India? He certainly did not foresee a nuclear arms race. He once told a young lady, who happens to be author Tariq Ali`s mother, that he wanted open borders between Pakistan and India. Kuldip Nayyar, the Indian writer and parliamentarian, recalls often how Jinnah had told him that Pakistan would stand side by side India in the common defense of the subcontinent against all foreign invasions. On the eve of his departure from India he had appealed to let bygones be bygones and start afresh, an appeal no one has paid any heed to.

    Many tributes have been paid to the life and times of Mr. Jinnah in the past. None greater than Saadat Hassan Manto`s famous “Mera Sahab” or M N Roy`s obituary for him, which are two of a kind because Manto was not the kind of person who wore his political opinion on his sleeves and M N Roy was a secular humanist of international stature.

    He has been described as Pakistan`s George Washington, its King Emperor, its arch bishop of Canterbury, its Prime Minister all rolled in one, but I have a feeling he would have settled for much less. Nay he would have preferred to be called South Asia`s Clarence Darrow, for like Darrow, Jinnah too had been a champion of unpopular causes, like the Suffrage movement with which he was deeply associated in England in the 1890s.

    Jinnah too had championed reason and logic over superstition and he too had taken on a figure like William Bryan Jennings, said to be the greatest figure in American history since Thomas Jefferson. In the end Jinnah wanted to be acknowledged as a lawyer above all and he was, for his portrait today graces the most hallowed hall of British legal tradition i.e. the Great Hall of Lincoln`s Inn, where he stands with some of the finest legal minds produced in 500 years.

  3. Asma says:
    September 11th, 2006 6:05 am

    Pledges … pledges and pledges … its like a dose being injected into us … I wonder but more than it … pray that we become atleast able to make the country 25% as our forefathers … Quaid wished it to be … fought for it to be..!

  4. Qudsia Alam says:
    September 12th, 2006 3:22 pm

    I am greatful that you highlighted the Quaid’s death anniversary. This picture from Roshan shows how much we have forgotten. I thought the video was very moving. You should make a page here with all these old videos. They are a great resource.

    Samdani, I think Mr. Jinnah will be disappointed at some things (like, no democracy) but overall happy at others, like some development, lesss poverty, but also sad that even more was not done.

    Abrar, I woudl also liek to get a link to the article in Dawn you mention.

  5. Samdani says:
    September 11th, 2006 3:54 pm

    That is a dashing picture of Jinnah that you have found. Also the video was moving to see. ou are right, we have become routine in saying things about him and making these pledges that we never intend to keep. What would Jinnah think of the country he created if he were to come back today?

  6. Roshan Malik says:
    September 11th, 2006 9:24 pm

    Rightly said about the pledges, sometimes we forget to half mast the flag on Quaid’s death anniversary. Have a look at
    “Mocking mourning”\12\story_12-9-2006_pg13_6

    P.S. 9/11 was a great tragedy against humnanity in USA like
    7/7 in London and 3/20 in Iraq.

  7. Roshan Malik says:
    September 11th, 2006 10:22 pm

    Sorry folks. The above link won’t open to “Mocking mourningâ€

  8. September 11th, 2006 11:35 pm

    Hey Adil

    A little off-topic but I just read Dawn’s 9-11 article and saw you were quoted in it. Good stuff. Spotting your name in Foreign Policy articles related to US-Pakistan issues is becoming quite exciting and regular. Gets me excited everytime. I hope seomedya I could reach your level.


  9. Rabia Bashir says:
    September 11th, 2006 11:43 pm

    Roshan, I tried to open the link but it didn’t work. I was able to see it on the home page of the Daily Times (Under Lahore section). The hoarding in the picture and the flag flying high seem contradictory. Quite dismaying!

    @Samdani: If Quaid were to come back today? Personally, I don’t think he would want to. It’s not that everything went terribly wrong, but in general we have failed to fulfill his vision of Pakistan and his basic principles – Unity, Faith, Discipline.

    Tragedies all over the world leave an impact on our lives, directly or indirectly. Being a part of a global village, we can’t simply turn a deaf ear to any one of them. An interesting article:

    “September 11 continues to shape our lives”
    By James J Zogby

  10. September 12th, 2006 2:42 am

    Abrar give me the exact link!

  11. September 12th, 2006 7:44 pm


    Frankly, a full post on the legacy of Jinnah is needed. I am still not clear on how his legacy is perceived in Pakistan- there would surely be different schools of thought.

    Personally (and possibly because I have not seen the other side of the argument) I do not see his legacy positively- and I think that in this I represent the left- liberal Indian perspective.

    In essence my criticism is based on the fact that it was a strategic mistake to call for a division based on religion- Yasser Hamdani is very right in establishing why a cosmopolitan, anglicized lawyer in uniting the Muslims in India, in reality there is no monolithic Muslim community.

    Having established a nation based on religion, Jinnah’s call for a secular state was at best an honest but unrealizable dream, and Zia ul Haq’s Islamization drive a conclusion of the logic that created Pakistan.

  12. September 13th, 2006 5:49 am

    Dear Bhupinder,

    Occam’s razor would imply that you are right… but history cannot be seen in those terms.

    Just to mix things up… you’d be interested in knowing that Zia-ul-Haq’s main supporters in 1977 Mufti Mahmood, Maududi and the ANP were all either Pro-Congress or at the very least anti-Pakistan. I am sure you know that religious parties were against Pakistan. I don’t know your perspective essentially represents the left liberal point of view… in India. It is well known that Communist Party of India had then endorsed the Muslim League point of view.. and that M N Roy, probably the greatest leftist produced by your country, wrote a very moving obituary in which he defended Jinnah.

    However… to cut the long story short… Khilafat Movement, encouraged by Mohandas Gandhi, made the question of Islamic identity a non-negotiable factor in Indian politics… and this movement sidelined secular Muslims like Jinnah… Jinnah and ML represented the counter-coup of the Modernist Muslim camp …

    What was his legacy… first and foremost… Jinnah’s contribution is to the Muslims who he forced to modernise, study commerce and allow women in all spheres of life.. but in Pakistan, he is also the symbol the country’s religious minorities rally around…

  13. September 13th, 2006 6:52 am

    Very interesting insights, Yasser.

    A couple of minor corrections- Dr Adhikari’s thesis was withdrawn by the CPI before the partition/ creation of Pakistan, after due “self- criticism”. MN Roy is disowned by the Indian Communist movement and is largely perceived as an anti- communist after 1929 once he broke with the Communist International.

  14. September 13th, 2006 8:13 am

    Thanks for the correction on CPI.

    Partition of India doesn’t necessarily equal Pakistan btw.. Muslim League’s terms of agreement (12 May 1946) envisaged two autonomous federations in one Confederation of United India…

    Muslim League’s demand as is was based on federating units realigning themselves around new center.. therefore Congress’ insistence partition of Punjab and Bengal opened a pandora’s box… because it raises, logically, the question of Muslim districts in India…

    Point being that partition as it happened was not really along the lines the ML wanted it…

  15. September 13th, 2006 11:53 am

    PS: Another thing that bothers me… and I will raise this issue here because Bhupinder Singh sounds like a reasonable fellow… is the willingness by certain Indian idealogues… never historians… to distort Jinnah’s life by adding to Jinnah’s life.

    For example… Jinnah never said “We’ll have India divided or we’ll have India destroyed”. Patrick French conclusively proved that he never said it … in his fine book on India’s partition but every Indian repeats this unsourced statement (apparently the source is a misquote which refers to a speech that doesn’t contain it) as an article of faith.

    It unnecessarily poisons the whole atmosphere.

  16. saima nasir says:
    September 13th, 2006 12:49 pm

    Jinnah was a focussed, disciplined and honest and achieved what he wanted to….but was he a great leader and a visionary is something I would want to read more about. I have read beautiful quotes about him and numerous praises for being a determined man, but never an account where he touched someone’s heart and left an unforgetable impression….like Gandhi or Nelson Mendela…… I really would want to read an account where someone has a written a piece about him from the bottom of one’s heart…….I wonder if he really believed in a two nation theory or was it pure politics to change the balance of power in the sub-continent…..will someone help me in achieving some clarity on the topic

  17. Sridhar says:
    September 13th, 2006 12:50 pm

    Here are some simple principles that may help in this discussion.

    1. Judge the character of humans by their actions and the consistency of these actions, not by their words.

    2. Great leaders do not change their values and core principles because of circumstances. Rather, they mould the circumstances in pursuit of principles they claim to hold dear.

    3. Visionaries look at future consequences, including unintended (but yet predictable) consequences of their actions, before proceeding on a course of action.

    On a different note, it is significant that September 11th signifies three different events. The launch of “Satyagraha” as a tool of non-violent struggle by Indians across religious communities in South Africa in 1906, led by Gandhi. The passing away of Jinnah in 1948. And the killing of thousands of innocents in New York in 2001. I wonder which of these events the day will be most remembered for several centuries down the line (if humankind has not destroyed the world by then).

  18. September 13th, 2006 1:16 pm

    Dear sridhar,

    Good to see you here.

    I suppose your suggestion that great leaders don’t change because of circumstances is a needless attack on Jinnah… It seems to me that if Indians like you see something good about Jinnah you must interject with trying to prove how great Gandhi was…. Jinnah did not change his principles and character for one minute. Infact.. he became even more steadfast… as for his actions, the solution that he had suggested was remarkable… two federations in one confederation of India… this vision was shattered by Congress Party’s insistence on “Our way or the high way”…

    As far as Gandhi’s concerned… for all that is said about that complex human being, I produce for your benefit Gandhi’s writings in South Africa… especially about native black people- writings which have been glossed over by those who’ve deliberately promoted this myth of “Saint Gandhi”:

    From Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi

    On What Gandhi wanted

    The last week has been very busy. We have not had a moment’s leisure. We saw Mr. Theodore Morison of Aligarh and the well-known Mr. Stead of the Review of Reviews. Mr. Stead has boldly come out to give us all the help he can. He was therefore requested to write to the same Boer leaders that they should not consider Indians as being on the same level as Kaffirs

    Indian Opinion, 15-12-1906, CWOMG Vol. 6, pg 183

    private delete

    October 4, 2005

    On What Gandhi wanted (3)


    The cell was situated in the Native quarters and we were housed in one that was labeled ‘For Coloured Debtors’. It was this experience for which we were perhaps all unprepared. We had fondly imagined that we would have suitable quarters apart from the Natives. As it was, perhaps, just as well that we were classed with Natives. We would now be able to study the life of Native prisoners, their customs and manners. …Degradation underlay the classing of Indians with natives. The Asiatic Act seemed to me to be the summit of our degradation. It did appear to me, as I think it would appear to any unprejudiced reader, that it would have been simple humanity if we were given special quarters. …the Governor of the gaol tried to make us as comfortable as he could…But he was powerless to accommodate us beyond the horrible din and the yells of the Native prisoners throughout the day and partly at night also. Many of the native prisoners are only one degree removed from the animal and often created rows and fought amongst themselves in their cells.

    Indian Opinion 7-3-1908, CWOMG Vol. 8, pg 120

    Apart from whether or not this implies degradation, I must say it is rather dangerous. Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilizedâ€

  19. September 13th, 2006 1:22 pm

    Saima Nisar,

    Unlike Gandhi, Jinnah was not given to dramas… because unlike Gandhi, Jinnah was supremely a man of principles and character… those who met him were profoundly affected by his honesty and integrity… However I produce below a comment from a person who claims Jinnah saved his life…


    THERE has been quite an uproar over Mr L. K. Advani’s statements while in Pakistan about Mr M. A. Jinnah’s secular outlook. I wonder if what I had witnessed in Karachi during the riots in the first week of January 1948 would throw some light on the subject.

    I forget the exact date â€

  20. September 13th, 2006 1:32 pm

    My Sahib
    August 14, 2001

    An English translation of Saadat Hasan Manto’s ‘Mera Sahib’

    “It happened in 1937. The Muslim League was in its juvenility. I, too, was a young man. I wanted to do something. Anything. Besides, I was healthy and strong, and wanted to engage in a rumble. I wanted to look for trouble and pick fights. I was at an age when one longs to do something. By something, I mean to say, if not a great adventure than something!

    “After this brief intro I return to the time when Ghalib was young. Don’t know if he ever participated in any political movements or not, but Yours Truly was a very active member of the Muslim League. Ghazi Corps was comprised of youths like me, and I was a sincere member of it. I stress ‘sincere’ because in those days I had nothing else.

    “It was in those times that Mohammad Ali Jinnah came to Delhi. The Muslims took out a huge and a wonderful procession in his honor. Obviously, Ghazi Corps participated in this procession with full vigor. Our leader was Anwar Qureshi sahib. He was a strong young man who has been given an honor of, and is now known as, ‘Poet of Pakistan’. Our Corps’ youths were singing an anthem written by him. I don’t know if we sang in tune with each other or not, the only thing I remember is nobody cared about singing in synch.

    “This historical procession started from Delhi’s historical Jamia Masjid and, roaring, passed through Chandni Chowk, Lal Kewan, Hoz Qazi, and Chawri Bazar and ended at its destination, meaning at the Muslim League office. In this historical procession people yelled “Qaid-e-Azam,â€

  21. Sridhar says:
    September 13th, 2006 2:38 pm


    I am sorry – I was not saying what you have interpreted my comment as. I said nothing about Gandhi and nothing about Jinnah either, for that matter. If there was scope for misinterpretation in my comment, I readily offer my apologies.

    Let me only say that Jinnah will be remembered by history as a great leader and it will be well deserved. I may not agree with all of his political actions (and do not agree with all political actions of any other leader either). But I have no hesitation in saying that he was a great leader of the freedom struggle. A reassessment of how history in India treats him is also necessary, in my opinion.

    Finally, I do believe that it is not necessary to put down Jinnah in order to prove that Gandhi was a great leader, just as I think it is not necessary for you to put down Gandhi in a commemmoration of Jinnah’s greatness. Greatness is not a mutually exclusive thing, that it can be accepted for one only at the cost of the other.

    P.S. Thanks for your welcome. But I don’t think we have interacted before. I say this in case you are mistaking me for some other Sridhar you might have interacted with.

  22. September 13th, 2006 3:57 pm

    Yasser- glad to see that I came across as reasonable :-)

    My intention was not to open the history books, but just see what elements in Jinnah’s legacy are seen as relevant by the present generation of Pakistanis. Perhaps, it is a topic for another post- or a series of posts.

    It is sad but true that ‘borders of the mind’ have been created over the years on both sides- and opening them is not as easy as opening the physical borders between the two countries. Patient and persistent exchange is the only way out.

    I must admit that commenting on this forum gives me an enriching perspective that is much different from one I grew up with.

  23. saima nasir says:
    September 14th, 2006 10:36 pm

    yasser Latif Hamdani,

    Thanks for this piece of Writing on Jinnah (i’m still reflecting) but in Monto’s story a line says that jinah would never say sorry and monto deduces that this characteristc defines Jinah….well i feel regrets are part of evolution and why would an intelligent man be reluctant in accepting his mistakes????or was it that he felt he was always right?????
    On the other hand gandhi comes out as a man who constantly evolved….he had baises about blacks but he didn’t hide it….instead he tried to overcome it, he felt he was more civilised then them and yet tried to understand their situation……i don’t see how you would call his actions a drama….he evolved and didn’t hide his weaknesses behind a fine lifestyle……..Jinnah had a good aesthetic sence and liked fine things which is alright and if gandhi is disturbed by the kaffirs for the uncivilsed behavior its drama….I am thinking out loud… as i said earlier there are fine pieces of writing about him but nothing that comes from the heart, even manto’s story paints a picture of a man who was generous with money but never related to a common man on emotional and human level….I will read this piece again….until then!!!!!

  24. September 15th, 2006 1:04 am

    Dear Saima,

    I have no evidence of Gandhi changing his views on black people… but surely you have to be kidding me when you say that good aesthetic sense should be considered a crime equal to racism.

    It is not about being “uncivilised”. Mr Gandhi gives a very clear “genetic reason” for black inferiority. If you read the comments, he feels that they are not of Indo-Aryan stock. Please refer to comments above.

    Gandhi also believed- despite the impression that is given to the contrary- in caste system. To quote his article in “Niya Jawan”:

    (3) A community which can create the caste system must be said to possess unique power of organization.

    (8) To destroy caste system and adopt Western European social system means that Hindus must give up the principle of hereditary occupation which is the soul of the caste system.Hereditary principle is an eternal principle. To change it is to create disorder. I have no use for a Brahmin if I cannot call him a Brahmin for my life. It will be a chaos if every day a Brahmin is to be changed into a Shudra and a Shudra is to be changed into a Brahmin.

    This is the core of Gandhi’s world view in my opinion.


    I can honestly say that I have never come across anything about Gandhi that has touched my heart either… because I always knew the context- the underlying philosophy. But I suppose that is a relative thing…

    However… most people who have read Manto’s sketch of Jinnah have been moved to tears… just like the protagonist Azad at the end. Similarly… the teary welcome from the common people, Jinnah’s daughter Dina Wadia and her son Nusli got when they came to Pakistan in 2004 shows the depth of feeling for Jinnah… Just because something doesn’t touch you doesn’t mean its the same for everyone… don’t you think?

    Adil… I quoted Saadat Hassan Manto’s article in full for the effect that it has. Other than that… all that I say usually has a primary hardcopy source… so I can’t produce a link.

  25. Sridhar says:
    September 15th, 2006 1:37 am

    If one really wants to find racism in Jinnah, it is very easy to find it. What is really the point of such an exercise, however? (which is why I refuse to give any examples). Jinnah and Gandhi were complex individuals, with long careers. There is really no point setting them up against each other. Each of them had great achievements, each of them had great moments of weakness and each of them had great failures. The best approach one can take is to see the life of each in its totality, get inspired by positive aspects of their lives and learn from their weaknesses and failures.

  26. September 15th, 2006 1:47 am


    I am afraid that is an erroneous point of view.

    Jinnah- being associated with John Morley Liberals and the Quakers and Suffragists- in England was known for taking an anti-racial line … during the famous Dadabhoy Naoroji campaign. It must be remembered that England had legally abolished slavery way before the US … and in the legal tradition, Jinnah took the left liberal point of view ala Morley… so it is not possible I am afraid to find instances of racism in his life. I didn’t set Gandhi and Jinnah up against each other- if you note, your first post did, but you later distanced yourself from it.

    I will be more than interested if you produce examples of it instead of insinuating something which is not true.

  27. Sridhar says:
    September 15th, 2006 2:03 am

    As I said, I refuse to be drawn into a discussion of Jinnah’s racism here since I don’t think this is the place for it and I find it a pointless exercise.

    As to what I said in my first post, any person who reads it (other than perhaps you) can see that there is nothing in it about Gandhi/Jinnah comparisons. There was no reference to Gandhi and none to Jinnah either, for that matter, in the first part of the post. In the second half, I referred to the fact that the Sept. 11th is associated with three events, one of which happens to be related to Gandhi and another to Jinnah. That is the only place where the words Gandhi and Jinnah appear in my post. There was no Gandhi/Jinnah comparison anywhere in the post.

    Incidentally, for the record, your first reference to Gandhi (and implicit/explicit comparisons with Jinnah) precedes my first post by two full days.

    I have no wish to enter into a slanging match about Gandhi/Jinnah, which seems, from seeing your internet participation elsewhere and also here, to be a thing that you enjoy. Therefore, please accept my goodbye, along with good wishes, for the purpose of this thread.

  28. September 15th, 2006 2:08 am


    Let us get this straight once and for all or as Jinnah would say: “Lets call a spade a spade”.

    As a left liberal of the Suffragist camp and later an avid member of the Fabian Society who fought against racial discrimination in England, there is no question of racism when talking of Jinnah.. You know it full well.. which is why you have failed to back up your assertion with any facts.

    The only discussion that is possible is Gandhi’s racism… which is an accepted fact and reality-refer to quotes from his collected works. However I have no desire to waste my time on Gandhi and his racist and casteist views either… so I accept your good bye in good nature.

  29. Sridhar says:
    September 15th, 2006 2:40 am

    While I said my goodbyes a few minutes ago, I will just interject one last time to say that my desire not to be drawn into a debate here does not mean that I don’t have facts to back up what I say. It just means that I don’t want to be drawn into that discussion on this thread and for the reasons I have already stated.

    Let me add that I am amused at your repeated second-guessing of my thoughts and intentions and attempts to put words in my mouth. I am also amused when you say that you do not wish to waste your time on “Gandhi and his racist and casteist views” given that about half the content of this thread suggests precisely the contrary.

    In any case, goodbye and good wishes once again.

  30. September 15th, 2006 2:58 am

    Dear Sridhar,

    Good of you to come back for a post script. The fact of the matter is I am free to interpret your refusal to back up your insinuation any which way. There isn’t any basis for your insinuation that if Gandhi can be proved a racist so can Jinnah… it flies in the face of facts. Jinnah’s record in England as liberal of the John Morley camp… along with his membership of the left liberal British Fabian society (Stanley Wolpert “Jinnah of Pakistan”) some time later- suggests that Jinnah was in his time in England a radical leftist- and it was as a radical leftist Jinnah fought against racial discrimination meted out to the grand old man of India Dadabhoy Naoroji.

    I was not interested in a discussion on Gandhi’s racism and casteism.. but you first post on this thread had a very specific intent- to say that in a few centuries only his “Satyagraha” in South Africa would be remembered… why must you react badly when I point out that around this time Gandhi was saying and doing things that would brand him in a certain way.

  31. September 15th, 2006 3:25 am

    I must confess that I am now at a loss about the direction of this two-way discussion; so let me at least try to make it 3-way and hopefully nudge it in a new direction. I have just re-read the fascinating comments above, but remain unclear why Gandhi Ji’s ‘racism’, even if it were so, is at all relevant to Jinnah Sahib’s legacy? Maybe I missed something, but I did not see anyone claiming that Jinnah was a racist and Gandhi was not, and thereby see no need to prove otherwise.

    Both men were complex individuals, neither was without faults, even if their faults might have been different, ultimately both were politicians who earnestly believed in the causes that they championed. Ironically, the stated vision of neither has yet been fulfilled.

    I do reject the suggestion (Saima Nasir above) that one might have been a ‘great’ and ‘visionary’ leader and the other not; simply because it is not a provable proposition except through popularity polls. I am also not convinced that “Great leaders do not change their values and core principles” (Sridhar)… they do; rigidity is not greatness. However, Sridhar adds “because of circumstances”. The meaning we apply to that clause could in fact be relevant to this, but since that was not elaborated let me not jump the gun to assume that his intention was to claim that the circumstances in which Gandhi ji changed his views (and his changes were much more dramatic than Mr. Jinnah’s) were honorable while the circumstances of Mr. Jinnah’s change of views were political expediency. Since I do not see that being said, I will assume it is not implied. Great men, and even us ordinary mortals, should evolve and change our views when we find that we were wrong. It seems to me that both these men did. Each man evolved in response to the situations and circumstances around them, and this ability to evolve was part of their greatness (the same could be said of Mr. Mandela, who was also mentioned). On this one, like Sridhar I do not see the need or the point of Jinnah and Gandhi being “up against each other.” Each has to be gauged in his own right.

    In relating this to Bhupinder’s early comment about exploring Mr. Jinnah’s legacy (which is what this post was about), I do feel that we need to make a distinction between Jinnah’s legacy as it applies to Pakistan’s future; as opposed to his legacy as it applies to India’s past. The two are, of course, related; but remain distinct. I realize that the historian’s sensibilities are more nuanced, but for me it is the political scientists focus on the present and the future that is more relevant. Both are, certainly, influenced by the past; but neither can be held hostage to it. From an Indian perspective, I assume, the most important thing that Jinnah did was to ‘break up’ India; from that view partition can only be viewed as a destructive act, and Jinnah’s legacy can only be seen as a negative one. From the Pakistan perspective, Jinnah’s achievement was that he ‘created’ Pakistan. Partition, from this perspective, was an act of birth, and its hurt was birth pains, not death pangs. This distinction, it seems to me, is fundamental in explaining why Jinnah is, and has to be, very differently viewed on the two sides.

    Our focus here at All Things Pakistan, is very clearly on Jinnah’s legacy to Pakistan today and into tomorrow.

  32. Yasser Latif Hamdani says:
    September 15th, 2006 3:57 am

    Dear Adil sahab,

    Brilliant and balanced. This is why you are an admired household name in this part of the world.

    Let me add few points to this:

    1. In my view, Sridhar’s insinuation was unmistakable, but you may disagree… in my considered opinion, it is a simple issue of balance of probabilities… and the balance of probabilities tilts, in my view, that there was a specific intent at play behind that unfortunate post.

    2. If Sridhar is trying to attach importance to Gandhi’s “Satyagraha” movement in South Africa… should there not be a counter elaborating on the same “Satyagraha” movement.

  33. Sridhar says:
    September 15th, 2006 4:23 am


    It seems that your post will not have its desired effect of steering the discussion towards topic and away from a discussion of what “intentions” of people here were and away from long-winded rants that attempt to demolish non-existent strawmen. Of reading the words rather than some assumed intent behind them. Thanks for the attempt at bringing in some sanity anyway.

    Since you have specifically referred to my post, I would only request you to read the first post together with the second. There will be much more clarity then. Even perhaps of the intent, though I do not believe in second-guessing intent in a discussion in the first place.

    I would also like to say again that my reference to three events that Sept. 11th is associated with was not meant to compare the legacy of Gandhi and Jinnah or to compare their characters. I wondered then, and continue to wonder now, which of these events will be most associated with the day long after we are all gone. I don’t have an answer to this question and in fact don’t even have a preference for which of these “ought to be” associated with the day. It is a question and not a statement.

  34. Sridhar says:
    September 15th, 2006 4:40 am

    One minor clarification (since it seems to be the season for misinterpretations) – when I refer to “desired effect” in the above post, the desire I am refering to is my own.

  35. Yasser Latif Hamdani says:
    September 15th, 2006 4:57 am

    Dear Sridhar,

    First of all I feel a lot of tension and hostility from you. Calm down yaar and see that it is an academic discussion and nothing more…

    Please- I am not doing anything but attaching a valid interpretation to your own post.

    [quote comment="2551"]On a different note, it is significant that September 11th signifies three different events. The launch of “Satyagraha” as a tool of non-violent struggle by Indians across religious communities in South Africa in 1906, led by Gandhi. The passing away of Jinnah in 1948. And the killing of thousands of innocents in New York in 2001. I wonder which of these events the day will be most remembered for several centuries down the line (if humankind has not destroyed the world by then).[/quote]

    Would you mind answering this question yourself- I mean this is what you wanted… didn’t you- for others to have discussion around the parameters that you defined? Here is the problem- the different note was not a different note was it… it was really an adjunct to the rest of your post… the only reason you chose to add the words “on a different note” was because you were being clever by half- sorry to have to be so blunt.

    What I don’t understand is your reaction and attitude following the bursting of the metaphorical bubble? Is it not my right to point out the inconsistencies in the great “Satyagraha” idea of Mohandas Gandhi. You came back with that the same could be said about Jinnah. Well I am rebuking your assertion- no it can’t be. But you keep saying you don’t want to be goaded into a discussion and good bye (only to the same thing again).

    Lets be honest and forthright… lets make those comments that we can defend- how about that? I think it is a fair offer. You on the other hand are hell bent on poisoning the whole thing, because I called your bluff.

    Please don’t take this personally- none of this is meant to be personal and the “beef” between us is hardly of a personal nature.

  36. saima nasir says:
    September 15th, 2006 10:04 am

    Dear Mr. najam,
    I never suggested or in any way implied that while Gandhi was a visionary , Jinnah was not….niether did I compare their leadership style…all I said was that I would want to understand Jinnah more on a human level and not on a pedestal he is always placed upon…… a child I always read great things about him, in the pak-studies books and some real nasty stuff about Nehru and Gandhi and the baises they held against the muslims……but as I grew up and read more and more about these three leaders, my opinions and views changed, I felt that not every thing that Jinnah did was right and selfless and in the same way Gandhi and Nehru did some great work which was never mentioned in the Pakistan history books……now as an adult who has experienced a lot in life and is capable of forming opinions on the basis of that knowledge and experience, I just felt that I would want to see him in a new light as I have read more about other leaders of the world and the impact their work had on their people and region, the way they connected to their people and also because I would not want to narrate an incorrect version of history to my kids….especially when my kids live and study in a place where history is dicussed and not devoured and personalities are analysed instead of being idolised.

    The concept of two nation theory failed with the partioning of Bangladesh and the way things are at the moment in pakistan it is rather important that we look back and analyse the decisions our leaders took…..whether they were successful in predicting the future and we should follow the same path or do we need to change our direction……
    If in this day and age we cannot discuss our history and leaders and their dicisions in a civilised and an objective way without being defensive of our past then I feel we have a lot to learn ……and probably don’t belong to this era of information.

    I am still reading and I may find something about Jinnah which would make me fall in love with him but then I would want to read and reflect and not love him out of a sense of duty or patriotism.

  37. Sridhar says:
    September 15th, 2006 11:14 am

    [quote comment="2672"]Dear Sridhar,

    First of all I feel a lot of tension and hostility from you. Calm down yaar and see that it is an academic discussion and nothing more…


    Please don’t take this personally- none of this is meant to be personal and the “beef” between us is hardly of a personal nature.[/quote]

    Quite to the contrary, it would be plain to any observer on this thread that all the hostility has been from your side. Even in this last post, you are the one taking it to a personal level, even while saying in the end that this is not personal. For instance, the reference to the “too clever by half” nature of my first post , based on your own twisted interpretation of that post.

    I have no problems in a discussion, if the person I am discussing with wants to participate in a “dialogue” and is civil about it. Unfortunately, I don’t see evidence for either of these and hence I have no motivation to participate in a discussion with you. If you wish to interpret this as my running away from the discussion due to lack of facts to support my arguments, be my guest.

  38. September 15th, 2006 12:35 pm

    Dear Saima, if I misinterpreted your original comment, I apologize. I think that despite everything we are heading towards a surprising (for me heartening) consensus that all leaders ought to be understood as the complex (often conflicted) being that they tend to be. Certainly Jinnah should. I share your interest in Mr. Jinnah’s personal side (see here); at least for me, the more human he becomes, the more interesting he is.

    On this and related issues, I think my colleague Ayesha Jalal’s ‘The Sole Spokesman’ is a very insightful book and Wolpert’s ‘Jinnah’ remains an authoritative biography. I also find Fatima Jinnah’s unfinished work (linked in the above post) very helpful in getting to the complex picture of Jinnah the person.

    Personally, I do not think that we have done Jinnah or Pakistan any favors by placing him on a pedestal on infallibility. In the immediate term it has led people to assume (and often state) that we need a ‘super-leader’ like Jinnah and that, by implication, ordinary mortal leaders are never going to do anything. I personally find Jinnah so much more inspiring when I view him as an ordinary, in many ways flawed, person who was able to move the intent of a great Empire nearly all alone.

    The creation of Bangladesh was the culmination of many failures in Pakistan, but I am not convinced that it was a failure of the two-nation theory. The original two-nation theory had actually not advocated a single ‘state’; that was thrust upon Jinnah by Mountbatten and his boundary commission (i.e., the ‘moth eaten’ Pakistan that Jinnah found himself forced to accept). Bangladesh was a result of bigger failures on Pakistan’s part. But all of that for a different time.

  39. September 15th, 2006 12:48 pm


    Your original question about which of the three events 9/11 will be remembered by in the future is interesting. Of course, it can only be answered hypothetically or aspirationally, and not empirically.

    I personally wish that the idea of Satyagraha would become a dominant view if not in the world then in our region and countries at least. The world would be a better place if it did. Unfortunately, I find little evidence of that happening anywhere and the trends globally as well as within our countries seem to be against it. I wish, with even more passion, that Jinnah’s political legacy could become the defining variable in Pakistan’s future. It will nearly certainly make Pakistan a better place. I am not entirely confident on this either; but I intend to – with ATP and elsewhere – at least keep the dream alive ;-)

    Unfortunately, I think it is 9.11.2001 that will define the world our children will inherit, although it is not clear in what form. I wish, I wish, I wish, that time will prove me wrong but at this particular moment in history it seems that 14 guys with a willingness to blow things up can move the world more dramatically than two guys and their millions of devotees talking about gentleness and principled politics, respectively.

    History, however, has a habit of keeping on happening and of surprising us again and again; on this one I hope it surprises us again and proves me wrong.

  40. Sridhar says:
    September 15th, 2006 1:36 pm


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on what September 11th might be remembered for.

    I wish to discuss further on the issue of unchanging values. I don’t think I meant that people’s views must remain unchanged. Or their actions. However, by a value, I am referring to something that is more deeply held than a view or a belief about an issue. Something like honesty in the case of Jinnah and truth in the case of Gandhi. I think if one thinks at that level, both of them emerge, in my view, to be great people. Both of them changed views and even deeply held beliefs, but such changes were consistent with their values nevertheless. For instance, when Jinnah’s views about the politics of Hindu-Muslim relations changed, it was still consistent with his belief in justice. When Gandhi changed his views about races and caste, overcoming his inherited biases and prejudices, he himself wrote that it was a result of his quest for truth.

    On the question of whether they were visionaries, I don’t think either of them emerges as a visionary by my test. Both of them undertook actions that had unintended and sometimes horrible consequences, that could have been foreseen by men of their intellect and experience and were in fact foreseen by some of their own contemporaries.

    In the end, like I said, and like you reiterated, they were complex individuals, with great impact on the course of history. Like Saima said, we need to analyze them rather than idolizing them. Or demonizing them. In the case of Jinnah, I can certainly say that in India, we need to re-evaluate his legacy.

  41. September 16th, 2006 12:03 am

    Based on the discussion on this post, I cannot but help concluding: Mohammad Ali Jinnah was the last Congressman in Pakistan !

    If I am not mistaken, no other major leader in post- Jinnah Pakistan was deeply rooted in the Indian National Congress.

  42. September 16th, 2006 1:33 pm

    Saima Nasir,

    I hope you will read the whole post…

    Could you please point out which Pakistan Studies books say nasty stuff about Gandhi and Nehru because there isn’t any and I have actually researched it. There is a problem with Pakistan studies books that is very clear: They try and present an essentially political movement for a minority claiming to be a nation as something else… something quite unlike what Jinnah imagined it to be. The Pakistan Studies books are wrong because they wish to ascribe an Islamised and Mullahized version of Jinnah and the Pakistan movement which has no roots in reality.

    My own apathy for Gandhi (not Nehru who I admire for many other reasons even if I am critical of his role in the final phase of partition) started when I read Gandhi’s collected works. Before that, I looked at him as the founding father and a great man of a neighbouring nation. When I read his works, I found what I have already quoted above… and then I read the views of Dr. B R Ambedkar, the principal author of the Indian constitution, whose description of Gandhi was much unflattering than any Pakistani’s… For reference read B R Ambedkar’s “What have Congress and Mr Gandhi done to the untouchables” and “Gandhi or Gandhiism”…. I found these books in my alma mater’s library in the US.

    We should draw the right conclusions for the right reasons.
    How does Bangladesh’s creation undo say Two nation theory for example… when Bangladesh’s creation reaffirms the Lahore resolution. Bhupinder has called Jinnah the “Last Congressman in India” … barring Ghaffar Khan, he was. The very fact that Jinnah… the only politician hailed in the history of the subcontinent as the Best Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity

    Ayesha Jalal’s Sole Spokesman is a great book… but better than this book is H M Seervai’s “Partition of India Legend and reality… H M Seervai, a parsi, was one of the greatest Indian jurists ever and is well respected as India’s greatest constitutional lawyer. He has conclusively proved that it was Gandhi’s manipulation that left Jinnah no choice but to opt for partition. An earlier book “Jinnah and Gandhi: Their role in India’s quest for freedom” by S K Majumdar, a Bengali Indian Barrister… argues similarly.

    You are right when you say that you should not instill in your children a blind admiration and idolisation… very good… but that is exactly what you are NOT doing. Your objection so far to Jinnah is that he doesn’t warm up your heart (presumably because Jinnah was quintessentially a victorian barrister and parliamentarian unconcerned with “warming hearts” and making people fall in “love” with him) …

    Unlike Gandhi who announced every good deed he did and used it to market himself as the “Mahatma”… Jinnah did most things out of a sense of duty. How many people know that he left most of his wealth to leading educational institutions of India and Pakistan.. including the renowned “Bombay University” … how many people know that there is still a trust fund in Bombay called “Jinnah Memorial Trust” which helps poor students from all communities and backgrounds to get an education? There were countless things that Jinnah did which he could have used to market himself… but he didn’t. Even the people he saved (and in Karachi, he saved as many if not more Hindus as anyone in India vis a vis Muslims) …

    No one is asking you to fall in love with Jinnah … far from it… Jinnah’s greatness is not dependent on people falling in love with him because of gimmickery… what is great about Jinnah is his honesty, integrity, sense of fair play and justice… and above all his sense of duty… all habits and ideas that he imbibed from the British legal tradition which defined him essentially and where he is honored on the hallowed hall of British legal history…

    However… what is required is you live up to your own words and stated objective : Not to admire people or idolize them because of emotional reasons … but to analyse them impartially and without pre-conceived notions and/or goody lets sing kumbaye unrealism.

    On another note… a great documentary by Christopher Mitchell’s “Mr Jinnah and the Making of Pakistan” (not to be confused with Jinnah the movie which is almost as ridiculous as Gandhi the movie) does a great job explaining Jinnah’s life … and I am sure you’ll find an emotional angle or two.


  43. September 16th, 2006 1:44 pm


    I still believe I accurately interpretted your failed attempt which you have since aborted…

    Also- the point specifically remains. Jinnah’s record in England as a radical liberal suffragist in alliance with the quakers, steeped in British legal tradition which by then had very strongly ruled out racial consideration in matters of state, and his association- however brief- with the British Labour Party and his membership of the Fabian Society (endorsing Fabian socialism), rules out the possibility of there being any views that he held which were analogous to those of Gandhi quoted hereinabove.

    Lets also not forget that while the “Mahatma” Gandhi denounced the suffragists as “workers of satan”… Jinnah was a very proud suffragist fighting ror the rights of women to vote …

    Sadly – Pakistan has given up Jinnah’s ideals and therein lies the greatest irony… India shaped by Dr. B R Ambedkar’s constitutional ideas and Nehru’s secularism resembles more closely Jinnah’s vision than Pakistan.

  44. saima nasir says:
    September 17th, 2006 3:36 am

    Dear YLH,

    I have read your whole post and have done that in the past also……infact i have read those posts twice or thrice at times to understand and find information which i did not have about Jinnah…..but you write more about your dislikness for Gandhi than about your admiration for Jinnah. i have read Wolpert’s and Ayesha Jalal’s work and would Try to get Mitchell’s documentry that you have mentioned in your post.

    You said, “No one is asking you to fall in love with Jinnah … far from it… Jinnah’s greatness is not dependent on people falling in love with him because of gimmickery… what is great about Jinnah is his honesty, integrity, sense of fair play and justice… and above all his sense of duty… all habits and ideas that he imbibed from the British legal tradition which defined him essentially and where he is honored on the hallowed hall of British legal history…”

    I had agreed with all these qualities in my very first post and had inquired to know more about him….on a different level… the way..

    I am pretty proud to be an emotional being as it is the awareness of my emotional state which makes me understand other human beings and also pushes me to bring in a positive change in myself when required.

    what is written about about Gandhi and Nehru in pakistan studies books and the level of mistrust Indian muslims were shown to have against the Hindu leaders can be seen on this link

    yet so many muslims decided to stay back in India and are leading as good or bad a life as any muslim in Pakistan…..then…..when you say, “Nehru’s secularism resembles more closely Jinnah’s vision than Pakistan”, I am left perplexed ……where does that leave the two nation theory which is the ideological basis for pakistan????? thats why i would want my children to use thier HEADS and HEARTS when reading and analysing history ….whether ours or some one elses.

  45. September 17th, 2006 4:26 am

    Dear Saima Nasir,

    First of all- I hope you will acknowledge that story of Pakistan for what it is worth is not a Pakistan Studies book … Pakistan Studies curriculum doesn’t mention Gandhi or Nehru much. The problem with Pakistan Studies syllabus is that it tries to Islamise Jinnah. I infact remember reading a chapter praising Gandhi as a man of non violence in one of these books.

    First of all, with all due respect…let us not make strawman fallacies in the name of the two nation theory. Two Nation Theory was a consociationalist interim solution. As the only politician to be known as the Best Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity Jinnah had spent a life tme trying to infuse Hindus and Muslims into one Indian nation but at fair and equitable terms…

    Two Nation Theory did not till the very end suggest that Hindus and Muslims could not live together, but that since there were two distinct identities (given the disproportionate growth of bourgeoisie in both societies)and should have adequate constitutional safeguards which should ultimately evolve into one Indian identity. After 1940, Jinnah came to the conclusion that a strong all India center and one Indian federation was itself a idea that was a British concoction and that India could work better as a confederation of two or more federations with one army and one foreign policy. He realised that if there was to be a federation that would be Hindu majority, shaped (as all states are) by the ethos of its majority, then why not have another federation or two federations with Muslim majority.

    This was the essence of the Pakistan resolution. It was the Congress that rejected this idea… it was the Congress that insisted on partitioning Punjab and Bengal.. which is the real cause of bloodshed. Jinnah’s vision of the state was of a constitutional state which would treat all its citizens and communities impartially and equally. Constitutionally, India has done that better than Pakistan… is India then not closer to Jinnah’s vision, even if marginally- However… the problems Jinnah saw and was afraid of in the 1930s are still there… Vande Mataram is still a contentious issue… Hindu Muslim violence still occurs… however the fact that Pakistan’s record is nothing to write home about goes without saying, which is why I consider India to be closer to Jinnah’s vision. (Your suggestion that Bangladesh was created and two nation theory was debunked is also fallacious. Jinnah and the Muslim League had agreed to an independent Bangladesh in 1947 under a coalition of Suhrawardy and Sarat Bose – brother of Subhas Chander bose… it was Nehru who had vetoed the idea.)

    Your suggestion that any Muslim in India is living as good or bad as a Muslim in Pakistan also flies in the face of facts. It has been acknowledged that the Muslims as a community did not have an industrial base untill Pakistan was created. Sumit Sarkar a famous Indian historian credits Pakistan for creating the Industrial base for bourgeoisie… sure you’ll find a token example of a successful Muslim here and there, but the whole class of bourgeoisie that Pakistan’s existence created … forcing the hitherto agricultural and/or “martial” Muslims to adopt such professions like Banking, commerce, education etc (which were till then the exclusive domain of the Hindu Bourgeoisie given Muslims’ lack of interesT) … Pakistan in essence, despite its faults, did for the community as a whole what Aligarh had done educationally. This is primarily why the biggest supporters of the Muslim League were the Communist Party of India… and the biggest supporters of the Congress were the Mullahs who saw in Pakistan an erosion of their clerical authority.

    Also you can’t analyse anything wit your “heart” because it denotes biases and we are all victims of our emotions when judging things… you can only use your head. I totally endorse your suggestion of looking at history critically, but don’t you agree that your contention that A B or C doesn’t warm your heart is hardly a basis for critical analysis.

    Your suggestion that I am writing more about why I dislike Gandhi … please note the few references I made to Gandhi were entirely in response to your assertions. My own ideas about Jinnah maybe found in the article I wrote on him which is quoted in the second post on this board.

  46. September 17th, 2006 6:16 am

    YLH Brother,I really like and admire your knowledge about particular topic.Good going and Keep it up.

    I have experienced ms.Saima nasir on my space as well where he thrown similar things aginast Jinnah.Since you and few others seem more knowledgeable about JInnah sahab.Saima claimed on my blog that Jinnah took alcohol therefore he cant be a visionary leader.She also said tht Mr.Pirzada had made such statment about Jinnah Sahab.Now could you say anything about that.

    Saima Nisar gave a URL to back her statement that Pak.Studies represent Gandhi as a bad person.On other hand she claims she spent her life in Pakistan.Now I am also surprised like you to learn which kinda Pak.Studies book potrayed Gandhi a bad man?I doubt whether the lady really studied in Pakistan.I would rather say that I talked with Indians who blame Gandhi for the partition and dont like them.What I know that both Gandhi and JInnah used to admire each others skills.Speaking of Pakistani text books that they preach haterd against Gandhi.Like Saima i can also quote few links of famous Indain online discussion forum Sepia Mutiny which present Jinnah as a pork and wine lover.

    [quote post="301"].but you write more about your dislikness for Gandhi than about your admiration for Jinnah.[/quote]

    Saima,I thinkyou shouldnot blame to YLH.Your own several posts reflecting dislikeness against Jinnah so its all about ‘mind game’ rather reality.

  47. saima nasir says:
    September 17th, 2006 8:25 am

    Dear Adnan Siddiqui,

    Don’t twist my discussion with you into a malicious campaign on this forum. Anyone can go on your blog and read my views over there and can see that i never said anything about “visionary being connected to consuming alcohol”… were portraying Jinnah as a staunch muslim in one of your posts, who dreamt of pakistan with islamic laws (which for you is huddod ordinance)and I corrected you, that for Jinnah ,religion was a personal matter and gave you examples of secular states where muslims like me live a safer live as compared to present day islamic pakistan…..which you seem to have made fun of… and these were two different posts ,which you in your zealousness seems to have combined.
    i had asked you that why you liked jinnah so much, the same question which i asked on this forum and got links and information and insight into what people like or admire about him…..
    If you had taken time to read my post i had admired jinnah for his integrity and righteousness and for all his achievements…..but you, who was beaten on the same forum for your support of huddood ordinance and dislikenes for the liberals and seculars have returned with a lies and want Mr.YLH to help you in your juvenile attempt to distort facts….who apparently is pretty liberal and secular in his views and …
    i stand by my claim that
    Nehru and Gandhi are portrayed as bad guys in the Pak.studies book and …that hitory is distorted in those books.
    I like jinnah for the qualities he had but am in no way in awe of him……
    I didn’t mention Gandhi only in my first post but Nelson mendala as well …..

    If you have anything serious to talk about do so but don’t put words in my mouth as i can convey my point of view very well and hardly need an interpreter like you.

  48. saima nasir says:
    September 17th, 2006 8:53 am

    Dear YLH,
    you said ,”Your suggestion that I am writing more about why I dislike Gandhi … please note the few references I made to Gandhi were entirely in response to your assertions. My own ideas about Jinnah maybe found in the article I wrote on him which is quoted in the second post on this board. ”

    In my first post i mentioned Gandhi and Nelson Mendela together…but this discussion turned towards the comparison of Gandhi and Jinnah only and not any other leader of the world.

    Sridhar in one of his reply post to Mr. Najam answered my query pretty well when he wrote, “Something like honesty in the case of Jinnah and truth in the case of Gandhi. I think if one thinks at that level, both of them emerge, in my view, to be great people. Both of them changed views and even deeply held beliefs, but such changes were consistent with their values nevertheless. For instance, when Jinnah’s views about the politics of Hindu-Muslim relations changed, it was still consistent with his belief in justice. When Gandhi changed his views about races and caste, overcoming his inherited biases and prejudices, he himself wrote that it was a result of his quest for truth.

    On the question of whether they were visionaries, I don’t think either of them emerges as a visionary by my test. Both of them undertook actions that had unintended and sometimes horrible consequences, that could have been foreseen by men of their intellect and experience and were in fact foreseen by some of their own contemporaries.”

    Although,I won’t end my search for answers here and will keep reading and researching but I still hold my views about using ones heart along with a balanced head in analysing a situation whether in present or historical.
    Iam reading this book called “The Shadow of the Great Game : The Untold Story of India’s Partition, written by Narendra Singh Sarila.”
    Maybe then, we can discuss the two-Nation theory and the creation of pakistan…until then… all the best.

  49. saima nasir says:
    September 17th, 2006 10:49 am

    Dear Adnan Siddiqui,

    Since you have begged yasser to help you in your pathetic attempt to create misunderstanding in this discussion…first go on the following links and read his views…they are closer to mine than yours ave&threshold=1&layout=0&order=0&start=60&end=69&page=1

    and as for misquoting me on Shariffuddin Pirzada ( whose association with Jinnah is a mystery to you, so here is a link to find out who he is: i wrote on your blog that pirzada made an absurd accusation that because Jinnah consumed alcohol, he was not a visionary….seems even more pathetic an attempt to gain respect on this forum….anyone can read my posts on your blog and see the context in which i used pirzada’s name… rejected Stanley wolpert’s account and i said people who knew him closely can vouch for it…..which for you is an offence and a disqualification…..because of your holier than thou views …… Jinnah never tried to hide himself behind the islimc lifestyle . My religion and patriotism is my own and i don’t need a degree or approval from you for that.
    I live abroad and yet am proud of my Pakistani identity and my green passport which i haven’t exchanged for anyother colour and niether i have any intentions of doing so….but i reserve my right to call spade a spade.

  50. September 17th, 2006 12:31 pm

    Dear Saima Nasir.

    My own personal view of the Sarilla book is that it is written with an agenda which is clearly Indian nationalist. His view that partition was basically affected to create a buffer against Soviet Russia is a regurgitation of an old theory which has since been debunked, as it is ex post facto trying to reinterpret the past. In my view the balanced judicial perspective is H M Seervai’s “Partition of India: Legend or Reality”.

    On your vision of Pakistan and your understanding of Jinnah’s views vis a vis the role of religion in the state, you are absolutely correct… and I must disagree with Adnan Siddiqui, as much as he has risen to aid me… but this is not a battle… except that of ideas. There is, in my view, a need to drive home Jinnah’s constitutional vision of the state, impartial and above all divisions and considerations.

    My objection continues to be Gandhi and his Mahatmafication after reading his collected works. I personally don’t have any evidence of his view…

    Now… I normally don’t like testimonials but Nelson Mandela famously said about Jinnah:

    ‘Ali Jinnah’s museum is a constant source of inspiration for all those who are fighting against racial or group discrimination.’

    He made it a point to visit Jinnah’s mazar and his museum where he put these words into writing .. and at a few ANC meetings he mentioned Jinnah alongside Gandhi and Nehru… as inspiration South Asian figures…

    But to me- testimonials and affirmations mean little. We should instead resolve to read more of history and understand the complex history our land.

  51. September 18th, 2006 1:56 am

    [quote post="301"]Don’t twist my discussion with you into a malicious campaign on this forum[/quote]

    I am just sharing with this forum what you said on my space.

    [quote post="301"]that i wrote on your blog that pirzada made an absurd accusation that because Jinnah consumed alcohol[/quote]

    Intresting Saima.You didnt even think of that if one really reads your thoughts about Jinnah then certainly would advise you to take rest.Since you claimed that I am making a pathetic attempt to offend you,why not I just copy your words from my blog here so that readers can handly you accordingly.From this post.

    Said said:

    ..Jinah by the way was hardly a muslim….if alcohol consumption is a crime then the founder of the nation committed that crime openly….so where does that leave us

    then in Sept 11 post

    i gave you the name sharifuddin pirzada who worked with jinah and knew him and there are others as well who would tell you the same.No one in pakistan will write in a news paper about jinah’s nack for a drink

    Saima if bullying could prove someone right and other wrong then earth could be a peaceful to live.


    p.s:I have backup of my posts,incase if you go and delete your entries from my blog.

  52. September 18th, 2006 2:05 am

    [quote post="301"]Nehru and Gandhi are portrayed as bad guys in the Pak.studies book and …that hitory is distorted in those books[/quote]

    And I am still curious of youe educational background whether it was in Pakistani schools or foriegn.Atleast I am sure about Sind textbookx that neither Nehru nor Gandhi was potrayed bad anyway.I am not sure about other provinces text books.Speaking of Gandi,I would recommend you to make a study abot Cripps mission,Quit India movement by Gandhi and auto biography of Qudratullah Shahb,”Shahab Nama”.Shahab shab has revealed that how ‘peaceful’ Gandhi was and what kinda conspiracies was being built against Jinnah and how clevery he handled it.

  53. Yasser Latif Hamdani says:
    September 18th, 2006 2:43 am

    Adnan Siddiqui,

    I have my objections against Gandhi which I have quoted above, but to quote Shahab Nama, essentially a fictional treatise and a product of an overactive imagination to prove any points against anyone will not do us any good.

    As for Jinnah’s drinking habits… he was like all great barristers in the British tradition… fond of a little scotch and had red wine with dinner. I am not sure why either of you are making a big deal about it.

    Now I have gone to the said links and I haven’t found anything that suggests that Saima Nasir was saying anything offensive per se about Quaid-e-Azam, eventhough critical analysis is her god-given right. She certainly did not call Jinnah an alcoholic from the looks of it.

  54. September 18th, 2006 6:07 am

    dear YLH

    [quote post="301"]suggests that Saima Nasir was saying anything offensive per se about Quaid-e-Azam[/quote]

    Saima said:
    [quote post="301"]Jinah by the way was hardly a muslim….if alcohol consumption is a crime then the founder of the nation committed that crime openly….so where does that leave us[/quote]

    My only objection is that she was trying to convince me[if I am wrong then she can clarify] that since jinnah took wine because she read somwhere thefore he was hardly a muslim thus Pakistanis shoudnt potray him a ‘good muslim’ anyway and shoudn’t be respected as hes respected by Pakistani becasue as she said

    [quote post="301"]No one in pakistan will write in a news paper about jinah’s nack for a drink[/quote]

    thats what the point she made in her comment and created doubts about him and made him secular which I disagree and disliked as a Pakistani.If such doesnt appear offensive then pope is innocent too.

    [quote post="301"]I am not sure why either of you are making a big deal about it.[/quote]

    I already explained she built a theory on basis of some attribute which really can’t be used to analyze jinnah’s mind set.

    Speaking of making it an issue,I wonder you didn’t go thru Indians do make this an issue against Jinnah.

    [quote post="301"]eventhough critical analysis is her god-given right[/quote]

    Offcourse thatswhy I never banned her to say anyting on my site and will never do as long as she or anyone doesn’t call names.

    quote post=”301″]Shahab Nama, essentially a fictional treatise and a product of an overactive imagination to prove any points against anyone will not do us any good.[/quote]

    Have you really read Shahab nama or read few pieces of it in Jang and other urdu magazines?Do you deny that Q.U.Shahab was not an ICS before partition and never particpiated in freedom movement?

    [quote post="301"]the British tradition… fond of a little scotch and had red wine with dinner. [/quote]

    What is your source?I did make few searches on Google and mostly indians sites cameup and then site about Ibn-e-Warraq who even made stories against Muhammad(SAW) so that guy is not credible for me anyway like Rushdie.I also found a link of shia website which claimed he was a shia ;),same site says he used to eat pork.If such sources are considered *reliable* then I would ignore it like I read and ignore Bush’s claim to carry on ‘War on terror’.

    But since your statment wouldbe based on some other source then I would really like to know about it.


  55. September 18th, 2006 6:09 am

    what will you guys say why he cutt of his relationship with his beloved daughter when she married a parsi?

  56. Yasser Latif Hamdani says:
    September 18th, 2006 9:48 am

    Dear Adnan,

    Here are some points.

    1. I have read Shahab Nama and I have the book. I stand by my views on the book and the man who wrote it. Yes he was an ICS officer… so by the same token… how could he have participated in the “freedom movement” and/or “Pakistan movement”? Was he ever a member of the Muslim League or the Congress or any other party? He was a loyal ICS officer.

    2. If Saima Nasir thinks Jinnah is secular, to her (and to me) that is a positive thing. So you may argue on the merits of such a claim but this is not the basis for claiming what you are claiming.

    3. Jinnah was born into an Ismaili household and was later an ithna ashari shiite in his personal life. You may consult any book and you’ll find the same answer… Jinnah’s shia credentials are beyond question.

    4. That Jinnah ate pork and drank whisky is claimed by many sources. Amongst the most reliable sources is “Roses in December” by M C Chagla and “Jinnah of Pakistan” by Stanley Wolpert. In any event this was his personal business and hence outside the purview of this discussion.

    5. Your question about Dina Wadia is also misplaced. Dr. Akbar S Ahmad has conclusively proved that Jinnah did not cut off ties with Dina Wadia… that infact Dina Wadia remained in touch with her father… the fact Dina (married in 1939) was there with her father in the aftermath of an assassination attempt on Jinnah’s life… shows that this is propaganda later invented. Also look at the link “A personal side of Mr Jinnah”… the picture where he is leaning on Dina is most probably from after Dina’s wedding. It is well known that Jinnah used to carry his grandchildren’s photographs in his wallet… this is recounted in Begum Jahanara Shahnawaz’s autobiography. While Jinnah was upset about his daughter’s decision initially (primarily because he suspected that his mother in law Lady Petit was getting back at him for marrying her daughter) and this was the time the mullahs had already taken to calling Jinnah “kafir-e-Azam”… but the way the matter was hushed up shows that things were quite different from what is presented to us naively.

  57. Mast Qalandar says:
    September 18th, 2006 10:40 am

    Brother Adnan Siddiqui, A.O.A.(W.R.W.B.H)

    Much as I would like to read your comments at lenght I cannot because they tend to be too lengthy and not easy to read. May I suggest a few tips that might help:

    1. Keep your comments to within 300 words or 30 lines in the space provided for typing your comment.

    2. Before hitting the Submit button go over what you have typed and edit the spelling and other obvious mistakes. Such mistakes negatively affect the credibility of your message. Also, edit out the anger from your message. It doesn’t help the reader.

    3. Don’t make every discussion a battle between “good” and “evil” or “kufr” and “Islam”.

    4. You often use the terms “liberal” and “secular”. Liberal does not mean ‘drinking and dancing’ as most Pakistanis tend to interpret it. Liberlism relates to basic freedoms: economic, political, religious and of speech. Similarly, secualrism does not mean absence of religion or “la-deeniyat”. It means non-interefence of state in religious matters.

    Now to the topic under discussion, all credible accounts of Jinnah’s life indicate that he was a liberal and a secular person. And that, were he alive today, the article 62 (?) of the constitution would not allow him to be a candidate for the National Assembly or the senate.

    P.S: This comment of mine is a longish comment but I have only used about 260 words.

  58. Adnan says:
    September 18th, 2006 12:49 pm

    dear bro MQ,walikum salam!

    1-I know this thing ,I am always sorry for that.

    2-I know you are not wrong about spelling mistakes but they are not intentional.Also I don’t feel shame that my written english is not as good as others herere or around the world so one would have to bear that or if proper english is a core requirment then I happily surrender to comment here.

    3-No you took me wrong here.I just despise that if some x person is potrayed in form other than its orignal to justify statements.This is what I always disagree and I am not ashamed of it.

    4-The definition you provided is not what Islam never touched.I’m sure you didn’t mean that Islam don’t comply all attributes you mentioned above.Usually I met people who calls themselves liberals are far away from basics of Islam[e.g; Namaz] so I use my experience to give any such statment.

  59. Mast Qalandar says:
    September 18th, 2006 11:30 pm

    Brother Adnan,

    Re your point number 4.

    Being a liberal and a good Muslim are not mutually exclusive. One can be both. Similarly, in my view, one can be secular and Muslim at the same time.

    Regarding Mr. Jinnah, the subject of this post,I suggest you read, if you find time, Ardeshir Cowasjee’s column in Dawn (Sunday, Sep. 17). It removes a lot of cobwebs from one’s mind about Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan.

  60. September 19th, 2006 1:31 am

    dear MLQ I already answered here .Christianity and Islam are not same religion and those who think are same and hence required sepration are actually betraying themselves.

    [quote post="301"]so by the same token… how could he have participated in the “freedom movementâ€

  61. Yasser Latif Hamdani says:
    September 19th, 2006 3:08 am

    Dear Adnan Siddiqui,

    I can’t do anything if you deliberately choose to be blind to the facts.

    1. Bhagat Singh was never in the Indian Army. Please go check your facts. Same goes for Chanrashehkar Azad.

    2. That Jinnah was an Ismaili Khoja Shiite is well known and historically proved.

    3. Whether he ate pork or not is his personal business.

    4. The Islamic principles that Jinnah defined were Equality, Fraternity and Justice for all. Nothing non-secular about that either.

    5. About Qudratullah Shahab, I have read the book several times and find it the most ridiculous piece of nonsense ever to come out of Pakistan.

    Your problem is that you are so utterly unable to accept any point of view that contradicts your own that you will reject everything as a grand zionist conspiracy.

    This is why we are where we are.

  62. saima nasir says:
    September 19th, 2006 8:14 am

    Dear Adnan Sisddiqui,
    As much as I wanted to stay away from this discussion (after your distortion and mis-interpretation of my views on your blog), I feel compelled to clarify a few things for you , as you yourself confessed to be “kinda confused”.
    You need to realise that Jinnah was not an angel, niether was he an evil….he was a human being and a mortal with positive and negative qualities….His integrity, honesty righteousness, quest for social equality and justice were his strengths, which made him a remarkable leader, but if we start analysing him for his personal choices and what we did in his private life….especially when that life had no impact on the future of this country or the policies he adopted…..then it would be an injustice to him and to our sensibilities.
    Your dilemma(I maybe wrong here in my assessment) is that you can’t accept the fact that a man who was not a staunch muslim(as you believe a leader has to be) and believed in religious and personal freedom can be a good leader also.
    For years the books in our schools have taught us to be judgemental and to be in denial about the good deeds of people who are not muslims….now when the reality hits home….it is confusing, unacceptable and humiliating…..
    It is not a coincidence but a an organised effort on part of the govt. to prepare a generation which is misinformed and ignorant….just reading different versions of bible is not enough to compare christians or muslims or hindus or muslims…..our actions speaks louder than word….we need to prove that we are worthy of being a free citizen of a free country, where people’s life and honour are safe and sacred.

  63. Sridhar says:
    September 19th, 2006 12:38 pm


    You asked for a reference that might help in your original quest for understanding Jinnah as a person. There aren’t very many personal portraits of his and he did not write very much either. One is forced to piece together his persona from his public speeches, interviews etc., but it is hard to see him as a person from these sources.

    One exception is an account by Margaret Bourke-White, which is a chapter in her book, “Halfway to Freedom”. Bourke-White was a correspondent for the Life magazine and became very famous for her photoessays for the magazine. She worked for Fortune and Life for several years and was a war correspondent during World War II. Some of her most famous images are those of the survivors of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp at the end of the war – these images have often been used since then to define the holocaust.

    She wrote a book, “Halfway to Freedom”, based on her travels through India and Pakistan just after independence in August 1947. The book consists of personal portraits of people across the subcontinent, from famous people like Jinnah and Patel and Gandhi to child labourers to Maharajas to merchants to a survivor of the Direct Action Day violence in Calcutta.

    The chapter on Jinnah is given below. The book also has photographs of Jinnah in his house, but they are not in this link. If you are interested, I can scan them from my personal copy of the book and post them.

    and here is the a Life cover photograph of Jinnah, taken by Bourke-White.


  64. Sridhar says:
    September 19th, 2006 12:58 pm

    A fleeting view of Jinnah as a person can also be seen in this chapter, though it is not primarily about him.

    One caveat is that this is Jinnah seen through the eyes of one person, albeit an outsider.

  65. saima nasir says:
    September 19th, 2006 1:57 pm

    Thanks Sridhar. I’ll try to get my hands on a copy, I’m sure I would find one at the library, or at Borders.
    Such accounts always leave one heart broken!!!!

  66. Sridhar says:
    September 19th, 2006 2:16 pm

    Library, perhaps – if it is a good academic library. Border – no, since the book is out of print for a long time now. I obtained my copy second hand and I was lucky to get one in good condition at a reasonable price. It can be quite expensive usually. Your best bet is a good library.

  67. September 20th, 2006 1:08 am

    Saima bibi you should really join politics because you have all qualities that can make you a Pakistani politician.First of all commenting about me by saying:

    [quote post="301"]as you yourself confessed to be “kinda confusedâ€

  68. September 20th, 2006 1:23 am

    Dear YLH!

    [quote post="301"]Bhagat Singh was never in the Indian Army. Please go check your facts. Same goes for Chanrashehkar Azad[/quote]

    My mistake I mixed Mangal Panday with Bhagat Singh.Now do you accept panday as a freedom fighter or will comeup with your logic to deny it as well?

    I think you dont look credible to say me this:

    [quote post="301"]that you will reject everything[/quote]

    while you say this

    [quote post="301"]About Qudratullah Shahab, I have read the book several times and find it the most ridiculous piece of nonsense ever to come out of Pakistan[/quote]

    *grin*.No difference between you and me.I respect whatever you have words about his bio but whoever has *actually* read his biography which is not ONLY about his religious concepts but everything from his childhood to death will certainly reject you.Again your thoery that all freedom movement supports were part of ML doesnt hold any water and I already refuted this.I was big supporter of MQM in 90s but was not part of MQM party as a member.Mangal Panday whichI mixed with Bhagat was part of BNI British east India company company.So why cant QU Shahab be part of Pakistani movement while he was serving as ICS?

    [quote post="301"]For years the books in our schools have taught us to be judgemental and to be in denial about the good deeds of people who are not muslims[/quote]

    Again another baseless statment. As I was part of several millions student who have studied Pakistani books about History of India.Yes history was changed in both countries I dont deny like kashmir is Maqboza kashmir for Pakistanis ad J&K for Indians but since my memory is not failed yet I have not read any such textbook in which Gadhi or Nehru were potrayed as bad boys.Yes i was told iNndian text books did talk crap(some on same site gave a URL too) about Jinnah but I dont believe this because some anti-Indian leaders would have comeup with such content like some anti Pakistani cameup with content about Pakistani books which you *innocent* people accepted blindly.Only an Indian student and a Pakistani student are credible for any such claim rather some outsider.I myself was a Pakistani student therefore I dont believe wht some outsider says about our textbooks

  69. Yasser Latif Hamdani says:
    September 20th, 2006 2:01 am


    Since our friend has quoted the one outside source, I must refer you to Beverley Nichols “Verdict on India” and its chapter on Jinnah. Unlike Bourke-White, Nichols was not associated or attached with any party. Also heartbreak should not happen simply based on one point of view. I have studied the Jinnah portions of Bourke-White’s book through the same links given above, in detail and have found glaring inconsistencies in Bourke-White’s account… which I have enumerated below.

    Dear Sridhar,

    Other than the caveat, it would be pertinent and honest to point out Margaret Bourkewhite’s view which is entirely based on her own personal and emotional association with Gandhi. She was a regular at Gandhi’s ashram and naturally her views were entirely shaped by him. Bear with me as I show you just how deliberately she distorted the facts…

    But first let us discuss this direct action day business. Muslim League announces that it will resort to civil disobedience… direct action means civil disobedience.. and it was intended to be peaceful… which it was all over India, but things went wrong in Calcutta… however, the final conclusion that Wavell drew after considering all the evidence was:

    “I’ve found no evidence of muslim league involvement in calcutta killings and appreciably larger number of Muslims died than Hindus”

    (Mansergh Volume IX TOPP Page 879)

    But let us leave this aside…. let us impartially consider some of the evidence that is on display from Margaret Bourkewhite’s book…

    Here are three observations I made regarding her account of the July 29th 1946 meeting:

    Please note these….

    1. It is highly unlikely “Fezzes” were thrown up into the sky… because for one thing Fez was replaced by the Karakul cap and hats… if you see the pictures Muslim League meetings from 1940s onwards… you will hardly find any fez wearing leaguer… clearly like a good writer, Bourke-White was adding twist and masala to what had been narrated to her… her story sounds more like a high school graduation in the Mid West… then a meeting of the League… which was … as is not a “jalsa” but a meeting of the working committee in a board room under a roof. …

    2. Also… another discrepancy that you’ve produced is that there were “large” pictures of Jinnah on the “stage”. Once again I ask you to produce a single meeting of the Muslim League with these large Jinnah portraits … Again… since Margaret Bourke-White was writing this much later… her memory seems to be playing tricks on her. None of the Muslim League meetings ever had Jinnah’s posters or portraits… nor was it the normal politicking style at the time.

    3. There was no “stage” as there was no “public meeting”. It was the meeting of the Central Working Committee .. in a boardroom on a large table.

    Also I have looked through and tried to find this “We’ll have divided India or destroyed India” through primary sources and Jinnah’s speech of July 1946 does not have any such mention of such India being divided or destroyed. As it turns out this entire thing was fed to her by the Congress Party and it is clear that she wasn’t there at the meeting herself (she would have known it was not a public meeting)…

    Now proceeding on the premise that indeed Bourke-White was spinning the whole issue to her own liking let us consider her messiah bit:

    a. Jinnah’s statement about Zakat was much deeper than she could appreciate. Zakat was never “charity”. In the Medinan/Meccan Arab State, Zakat was a state wealth tax, which was collected by the state and for which the head of the state was accountable to the consultative body called Majlis-e-Shura, which represented the people of Medina and Mecca essentially but also tribes of Arabia… thus there was a system of financial accountability. Under the westminster model of democracy- in which Jinnah was schooled as a lawyer and parliamentarian- democracy essentially means above all else the people’s power to regulate the finance bill. Thus you have to take Bourke-White’s statement with a pinch of salt.

    b.The statement which is of note is that despite her antipathy to the Pakistan movement, Bourke-White is forced to grudgingly admit that Jinnah was no bigot when in essence that would be the conclusion of what she was trying to prove…

    Taken in this light… I am afraid Bourke-White’s account could at most be seen as the account of an unsympathetic wide-eyed westerner who was ignorant of the complexities and the various interplays and chose to take the simplest impression. There are several other accounts by westerners, including writers, historians and politicians who paint a different picture and I wil produce each of these in due course of time.

  70. Sridhar says:
    September 20th, 2006 3:03 am

    As I mentioned earlier, I do not have any interest in a discussion with you on this thread for reasons already stated, so please excuse me from it.

    Please read the book and others suggested on this thread and draw your own conclusions. I would like to say, however that the suggestion that “Bourke-White was associated with or attached to a party” is blatantly dishonest.

    Every human being has biases and sympathies and this is true of everybody including Wolpert, Jalal, French, Nichols and surely of Bourke-White as well. But the suggestion that “her views are entirely based on her personal and emotional association with Gandhi” is speculative at best. I will leave it at that.

    What makes her account different from (though not necessarily “superior to”) those of most other authors is that hers is a first-person account and the personal portrait she presents is not based on the deconstruction of speeches or interviews or of others’ writings or in one case, “British intelligence reports”, but on spending a considerable amount of time with the person, interviewing him, talking to him informally and observing him go about his business as she took his photographs.

  71. saima nasir says:
    September 20th, 2006 3:09 am

    Thanks Y.L.Hamdani- I will definitely want to read the book and when I said “heart broken”, it didn’t mean, that there was any particular leader responsible for the events of partition….it is just that at my age , ambitions, aims and goals look smaller and less precious than human life and dignity-thats all-nothing personal.

  72. Yasser Latif Hamdani says:
    September 20th, 2006 3:15 am

    Dear Sridhar,

    Despite the fact that I have been most respectful to you, you keep hiding behind some excuse while continuing to discuss the issue with other people. It is not only downright insulting, but only fortifies my view that you were here only to drive home an esoteric point and then found yourself in an unsavoury situation. As with your earlier comment, the only reason you are not interested in discussing this issue is because you can’t defend your assertions. I asked you earlier to produce some evidence to back up your claim and you failed. Now you’ve done the same with this one.

    Margaret Bourke-White’s comments have been dissected enough. As I showed above, the glaring inconsistency in her statement vis a vis the 29th July 1946 statement… It is well known Margaret Bourke-White did a lot to promote Gandhi’s and the Congress’ cause abroad… and therefore her view can only be seen as partisan and her statements where she grudgingly admits Jinnah’s lack of bias and his honesty and integrity …

    Here are three observations I made regarding her account of the July 29th 1946 meeting:

    Please note these….

    1. It is highly unlikely “Fezzesâ€

  73. saima nasir says:
    September 20th, 2006 3:19 am

    Dear Adnan Siddiqi,

    you have a lot to learn about Islam and muslims, until then carry on with your aim —and here, I quote you from the above post,—”if someone says any crap about Jinah infront of me then I will atleast hit between his legs in reaction.”

  74. Yasser Latif Hamdani says:
    September 20th, 2006 3:25 am

    Saima Nasir,

    Adnan Siddiqui represents the mentality which has till now hindered Pakistanis from effectively

    a- reassessing their own identity and national discourse

    b- doing justice to Jinnah’s life as a complex historical figure whose vision of a modern democratic and pluralistic Pakistan is the only vision compatible with modernity in Pakistan.

    I shudder to think of where we are heading… but suffice to say, with friends like Adnan Siddiqui, who needs enemies.

    On Margaret Bourke-White’s book… it is a rather interesting book to read and I would want you to read this book amongst others. It is always good to know all points of view before coming to a conclusion. I love reading Gandhi’s collected works for the simple reason that they give me new insights on what he was thinking.

    As you will read the book and then compare it to primary source facts, no doubt you will discover that the objections, about the veracity of the account that I have raised above, are wholely true… and dent Margaret Bourke-White’s credibility as an objective interactor … which she admittedly was not. Infact that is what makes her grudging statements reaffirming Jinnah’s honesty and integrity and his lack of bias more truthful.

  75. Sridhar says:
    September 20th, 2006 3:37 am


    I made no assertions in my posts to Saima pointing her to these links so there is nothing to defend in my last post. Even in the case of what you think as “assertions” in the earlier instances, a re-reading of those posts will show that that there were no assertions there either, including in the posts related to “racism”. The only “assertions” I have made are about Jinnah being a great leader, albeit not a visionary in my opinion.

    Yet, if it entertains you to first build strawmen and then to demolish them, please feel free to do so. Feel free to play your personal games – just don’t expect me to participate in them.

  76. Yasser Latif Hamdani says:
    September 20th, 2006 3:49 am

    Dear sridhar,

    Let us look at this calmly.

    If that were indeed the case then you would have wanted dialogue. Instead you have unleashed a plethora of personal attacks on my person – the latest being that I play “personal games”- instead of academically discussing point by point whatever it is that has caused you such angst (in so much as making you react on a personal level).
    My friend… since I do not ascribe Adnan Siddiqui’s view of resorting to violence instead of arguments, I welcome debate instead.

    As a rule if you make an assertion on a public forum, others have the right to cross examine it. If you can’t defend them and then are going to resort to personal attacks, the better option is to refrain from posting. I stand by my comments and your latest comments have just fortified my views. Please also note that the issue of racism was raised vis a vis Gandhi as a counter argument to your claim that his South African Satyagraha was an epoch-making event. Nothing else. To this you declared that similar allegations could be levelled against Jinnah as well but when I asked you to do so, you were not forthcoming.

    I can’t help it if you choose the hit and run method of arguing which says more about your honesty than mine- don’t you think?

  77. Sridhar says:
    September 20th, 2006 4:14 am

    Yasser: The posts on the thread are available for everybody to see. I do not wish to add anything to what is there in them. I have never said that you don’t have a right to comment on my posts. Please do by all means. However, please don’t expect me to participate in the way you want me to or to respond to things I don’t want to respond to. It is not your right to expect that of me.


    A further fact related to this latest discussion.

    On page 101, line 1 of her book, Bourke-White refers to Jinnah’s cap in the Life cover picture I posted a link earlier for as a fez, though it is technically a kakul. She may not have full knowledge of the precise names of various caps (and I must admit, neither do I), but she is internally consistent. It is clear that she refers to the Jinnah cap (whatever its technical name) as a fez.

    P.S. The picture of Jinnah’s posted in Adil’s original post at the top of the page is also incidentally from Bourke-White’s book.

  78. Yasser Latif Hamdani says:
    September 20th, 2006 4:54 am

    Dear Sridhar,

    Please see how you continue to carry yourself in a manner that can only be conceived as deliberately hostile. While you say you are not interested in discussing any issue, you are now raising a new issue regarding another picture… as an aside. Therefore please note that defacto you are doing exactly what you claimed with a lot of bravado that you won’t. So why not drop the hostility and the pretence and simply argue on facts…

    Now admittedly you did not read my arguments as much as to admit that my argument did not rest on the distinction between Fez and Karakul… but whether such an object would be thrown up in the air in what was a working committee meeting inside a meeting room.

    Let me reproduce the objections once again- amended for the time for your claim that to Bourke-White Fez and Karakul was the same thing:

    1. Clearly like a good writer, Bourke-White was adding twist and masala to what had been narrated to her… her story sounds more like a high school graduation in the Mid West… then a meeting of the League… which was … as is not a “jalsaâ€

  79. Sridhar says:
    September 20th, 2006 9:56 am

    Every comment of yours is self-evident that you wish to twist and turn anything that is said to turn it into a strawman and destroy it.

    The P.S. was not meant to make any point. It was merely a reflection of the fact that I saw the book after a very long time. I did not recognize the picture in Adil’s post as Bourke White’s earlier, but happened to see it now. I just pointed out that fact.

    But you will twist it and spin it. Your choice.

    The point regarding the Fez was a fact that I again happened to notice in the book and merely brought to the attention of everybody. I do not wish to and will not do a point by point rebuttal of your points. I do not have a case to make. I merely think that saying that Margaret Bourke-White was “associated with or attached to” the Congress Party is a dishonest attempt to damage the credibility of her source. To say that she sympathized with the Congress point of view is different. And that would be like saying that Patrick French sympathized with the Jinnah point of view. That is fine. That is something I pointed out to Saima. But I do not have the case that hers is an authoritative or necessarily perfectly accurate picture. I merely pointed to the fact that hers is a different one, given that it is based on a first-person account, while pointing out that it does not make it necessarily a superior account. Beyond that, I don’t have anything to say.

    The hostility you are seeing from me is all imagined and in fact anybody can see that you are the one being deliberately hostile on this thread, while maintaining a facade of civility.

  80. September 20th, 2006 10:16 am

    We are getting very concerned about the degeniration of this and some other threads into mud-slinging matches which violate the spirit of civil dialogue that we cherish at ATP. Please review ATP comment policy carefully before posting. Meanwhile, we will elevate system moderation.

  81. Sridhar says:
    September 20th, 2006 10:25 am

    Given that you have pointed out some “inaccuracies” in Bourke-White’s account, I am interested enough in going back to the primary sources – the newspapers of those days – to see what the facts are regarding the following

    1. The nature of the meeting – public meeting or not.

    2. What exactly is reported about that meeting.

    I do not go into this with preconceived notions about what the result of this search would be. And it is not with the intention of refuting any of your points or to, as you might well spin this, “to find support for my case” as I do not have a case to make in the first place. I merely want to find the facts for myself.

  82. Adnan says:
    September 20th, 2006 4:05 pm

    Dear saima and YLH.

    When someone’s ideology is hit severly then the only option is left is “personal attacks”.*grin*. I’m loving it.I will certainly not opt the tone you have just chosen for me.

    Saima I thankyou for your advice.I always try to learn every moment from circumstances and people.I have learnt many things from you as well and will definately try not to follow your path.I always thank God for disproportional forces.

    P.S:Dear sridhar give these guys a break and better enjoy other intresting entries made by Adil bhai in last two days.

  83. Yasser Latif Hamdani says:
    September 21st, 2006 1:41 am

    My point remains:

    1. Margaret Bourke-White’s account is suspect because the meeting took place in a board room.
    2. Primary Source show that her narration of Jinnah’s words is at considerable variance to what he actually said.
    3. There were no large Quaid-e-Azam photographs on stage.

    Therefore it goes without saying that Margaret Bourke-White’s recollection was rather fictional. This is the only
    I accepted your point about the Fez for the time being (even though that in of itself is indicative of Margaret Bourke-White’s ignorance)… but it does not change my view that Margaret Bourke-White’s statement is not truthful.

  84. hashim says:
    September 29th, 2006 11:01 pm

    too bad this conversation got so heated, but reading it now, I am amazed at just how informative this is. I am impressed by everyones knowledge and for thsi blog to give them platform. but ther anger also disturb me.

  85. September 26th, 2006 4:57 am


    The Lord Wavell comment above attributed to Page 879 Volume IX are actually found on Page 274 Volume VIII

    Please make the relevant correction.

  86. Amir Aziz says:
    October 23rd, 2006 1:05 am

    Hi Saima:

    I wonder if you attended PAF Inter College. If you did I wuould love to chat with you. My e mail address is Take care.

  87. Baber says:
    February 13th, 2007 5:02 pm

    There are still people alive who have seen Jinnah otherwise the mullahs would have stated that he had a long beard. And on the back of the school books would be a picture of Qaid with beard.

  88. YLH says:
    February 14th, 2007 1:27 am

    Well said Baber…

    In addition to the speeches that I quoted on the JUI Verdict board, I also investigated the quote by Adnan Siddiqui. He is quoting Quaid-e-Azam’s speech to Baloch Jirga of tribal elders at Sibi Darbar on February 14, 1948 … exactly 59 years ago today. This can be found on Page 206 of the Jinnah Papers Volume VII

    The Quaid is invoking the ideals of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to convince the Baloch tribals that Modern democracy was not in any way a contradiction to Islam…

    But if at all, we were to humor Adnan Siddiqui and accept that by referring to Islamic principles (of Equality, Fraternity, Justice and government by people’s participation), he was contradicting his own earlier words promising an inclusive and pluralistic, I daresay, secular democracy … which should be more authentic… the speeches he made to the constituent assembly and from his governor house or those he made to Baloch tribal jirga convincing them of democracy ?

    People come up with some inane arguments… but the argument that by praising the Holy prophet and speaking of Islamic Principles of Equality Fraternity Justice and democracy … Jinnah contradicted his firm stance on secular democracy … takes the cake.

  89. Zainab says:
    February 23rd, 2007 9:00 pm

    it took me 3 hours to go through this entire page, crammed with valuable information, heated yet very interesting arguments backed with even more valuable information and in the end, a great sense of acheivement to realize that Yasser Latif Hamdani stole the show all the way from top to bottom! no one could match his caliber of the enormous flood of insight he has provided all of us with regarding our 2 great leaders of the subcontinent. i’m really impressed. YLH, with ppl like you as part of our nation, we can never lose hope! 2 ppl today have awakened the patriot in me, one is Mr. Shahid Malik (a britsh parliament member, pakistani by origin, i watched his interview on ARY middle east on the programme: The Forum) and second is you ofcourse. all i can say to you both is, Thank You.

  90. May 14th, 2007 10:53 am

    The content is awesome !

  91. Tariq Ahmed says:
    July 7th, 2010 7:41 am

    I have gone through the discussion between Saima Nasir and Adnan Siddiqui… I, am a profesional Lawyer… and i would observe the above discussion be a futile now… beside that I do fully support the claims and allegations of Saima Nasir, she is true while saying that Mr. Jinnah is fond of eating PORK & DRINK, because this is undeniable history and its also true that such publications are banned in our country. Secondly Adnan Siddiqui is denfending a historical truth unnecessarily….in my humble opinion we should stop this discussion now and for ever.. the person accused is no more with us to reply allegations against him…we have to avoid making allegations in public (may be true) but which can cause to create unrest among the massess….Thanks & regards–Tariq Ahmed

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