Remembering 9.11.1948

Posted on September 11, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, History, People
91 Comments
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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 on Mr. Jinnah’s death :

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 responses to “Remembering 9.11.1948”

  1. Correction.

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

    Please make the relevant correction.

  2. hashim says:

    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.

  3. Yasser Latif Hamdani says:

    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.

  4. Adnan says:

    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.

  5. Sridhar says:

    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.

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