Mohammad Ali Jinnah December 25, 1876 – September 11, 1948) was a 20th century lawyer, politician, statesman and the founder of Pakistan. He is popularly and officially known in Pakistan as Quaid-e-Azam ("Great Leader") and Baba-e-Qaum ("Father of the Nation").
Jinnah served as leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 till Pakistan's independence on August 14, 1947 and Pakistan's first Governor-General from August 15, 1947 till his death on September 11, 1948. Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress initially expounding ideas of Hindu-Muslim unity and helping shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress; he also became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League. He proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims in a self-governing India.
Jinnah later advocated the Two-Nation Theory embracing the goal of creating a separate Muslim state as per the Lahore Resolution. The League won most reserved Muslim seats in the elections of 1946. After the British and Congress backed out of the Cabinet Mission Plan Jinnah called for a Direct Action Day to achieve the formation of Pakistan. The direct action by the Muslim League and its Volunteer Corps, resulted in massive rioting in Calcutta between Muslims and Hindus/Sikhs. As the Indian National Congress and Muslim Leaguefailed to reach a power sharing formula for united India, it prompted both the parties and the British to agree to independence of Pakistan and India. As the first Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah led efforts to lay the foundations of the new state of Pakistan, frame national policies and rehabilitate millions of Muslim refugees who had migrated from India.
He died in September 1948, just over a year after Pakistan gained independence from British India.
Jinnah was born Mahomed Ali Jinnah bhai in, some believe, Wazir Mansion, Karachi District, of lower Sindh. This is disputed as old textbooks mention Jhirk as his place of birth. Sindh had earlier been conquered by the British and was subsequently grouped with other conquered territories for administrative reasons to form the Bombay Presidency of British India. Although his earliest school records state that he was born on October 20, 1875, Sarojini Naidu, the author of Jinnah's first biography, gives the date as ”December 25, 1876”.
Jinnah was the eldest of seven children born to Mithibai and Jinnah bhai Poonja. His father, Jinnah bhai (1857–1901), was a prosperous Gujarati merchant who had moved to Sindh from Kathiawar, Gujarat before Jinnah's birth. His grandfather was Poonja Gokuldas Meghji, a Hindu Bhatia Rajput from Paneli village in Gondal state in Kathiawar. Jinnah's ancestors were Hindu Rajput who converted to Islam. Jinnah's family belonged to the Ismaili Khoja branch of Shi'a Islam, though Jinnah later converted to Twelver Khoja Shia Islam
The first-born Jinnah was soon joined by six siblings, brothers Ahmad Ali, Bunde Ali, and Rahmat Ali, and sisters Maryam, Fatima and Shireen. Their mother tongue was Gujarati; in time they also came to speak Kutchi, Sindhi and English. The proper Muslim names of Mr. Jinnah and his siblings, unlike those of his father and grandfather, are the consequence of the family's immigration to the Muslim state of Sindh.
Jinnah was a restless student, he studied at several schools: at the Sindh-Madrasa-tul-Islam in Karachi; briefly at the Gokal Das Tej Primary School in Bombay; and finally at the Christian Missionary Society High School in Karachi, where, at age sixteen, he passed the matriculation examination of the University of Bombay.
In the 1946 elections for the Constituent Assembly of India, the Congress won most of the elected seats, while the League won a large majority of Muslim electorate seats. The 1946 British Cabinet Mission to India released a plan on May 16, calling for a united Indian state comprising considerably autonomous provinces, and called for "groups" of provinces formed on the basis of religion. A second plan released on June 16, called for the separation of India along religious lines, with princely states to choose between accession to the dominion of their choice or independence. The Congress, fearing India's fragmentation, criticised the May 16 proposal and rejected the June 16 plan. Jinnah gave the League's assent to both plans, knowing that power would go only to the party that had supported a plan. After much debate and against Gandhi's advice that both plans were divisive, the Congress accepted the May 16 plan while condemning the grouping principle. Jinnah decried this acceptance as "dishonesty", accused the British negotiators of "treachery", and withdrew the League's approval of both plans. The League boycotted the assembly, leaving the Congress in charge of the government but denying it legitimacy in the eyes of many Muslims.
Jinnah gave a precise definition of the term 'Pakistan' in 1941 at Lahore in which he stated:
Some confusion prevails in the minds of some individuals in regard to the use of the work 'Pakistan'. This word has become synonymous with the Lahore resolution owing to the fact that it is a convenient and compendious method of describing [it].... For this reason the British and Indian newspapers generally have adopted the word 'Pakistan' to describe the Moslem demand as embodied in the Lahore resolution. Jinnah issued a call for all Muslims to launch "Direct Action" on August 16 to "achieve Pakistan". Strikes and protests were planned, but violence broke out all over India, especially in Calcutta and the district of Noakhali in Bengal, and more than 7,000 people were killed in Bihar. Although Viceroy Lord Wavell asserted that there was "no satisfactory evidence to that effect", League politicians were blamed by the Congress and the media for orchestrating the violence. Interim Government portfolios were announced on October 25, 1946. Muslim Leaguers were sworn in on October 26, 1946. The League entered the interim government, but Jinnah refrained from accepting office for himself. This was credited as a major victory for Jinnah, as the League entered government having rejected both plans, and was allowed to appoint an equal number of ministers despite being the minority party. The coalition was unable to work, resulting in a rising feeling within the Congress that independence of Pakistan was the only way of avoiding political chaos and possible civil war. The Congress agreed to the division of Punjab and Bengal along religious lines in late 1946. The new viceroy Lord Mountbatten of Burma and Indian civil servant V. P. Menon proposed a plan that would create a Muslim dominion in West Punjab, East Bengal, Baluchistan and Sindh. After heated and emotional debate, the Congress approved the plan. The North-West Frontier Province voted to join Pakistan in a referendum in July 1947. Jinnah asserted in a speech in Lahore on October 30, 1947 that the League had accepted independence of Pakistan because "the consequences of any other alternative would have been too disastrous to imagine."
The independent state of Pakistan, created on August 14, 1947, represented the outcome of a campaign on the part of the Indian Muslim community for a Muslim homeland which had been triggered by the British decision to consider transferring power to the people of India.
Through the 1940s, Jinnah suffered from tuberculosis; only his sister and a few others close to him were aware of his condition. In 1948, Jinnah's health began to falter, hindered further by the heavy workload that had fallen upon him following Pakistan's independence from British Rule. Attempting to recuperate, he spent many months at his official retreat in Ziarat. According to his sister, he suffered a hemorrhage on September 1, 1948; doctors said the altitude was not good for him and that he should be taken to Karachi. Jinnah was flown back to Karachi from Quetta.
Jinnah died at 10:20 p.m. at the Governor-General's House in Karachi on September 11, 1948, just over a year after Pakistan's independence.