From All India Muslim League to creation of Pakistan– Jinnah’s journey

Posted by Bharvi Dasson
August 28, 2017


In Karachi on 25 December 1876 was born a son to Mithibai and Jenabai named Mohammed Ali Jennabai, later known as Mohammad Ali Jinnah of Kathiawar. Mohammed Ali’s primary education was not formal, a teacher came to his house in Karachi to teach him Gujarati his mother tongue. He completed his rest of schooling at the Church Mission School of Karachi. According to the customs then followed, Ali was married to Emi Bai. She was eleven and he was sixteen in the year 1892.

In the first week of November 1892, Ali left for London to pursue his higher studies, initially to learn the intricacies of shipping but later he developed an interest in Law. The Karachi born – Kathiawari youth felt greatly alone in the strange land, troubled by the cold weather and stammering amidst the fluent English speaking men. He sat for his Bar admission test in 1893 and enrolled in Lincoln’s Inn, England.

In London, Dadabhai Naroji became Jinnah’s inspiration and a benefactor. Jinnah became a regular audience of House of commons’ proceedings, as Dada Bhai was elected  to the House of Commons in 1892. Fatima Jinnah his sister recalling the days said “My brother said to me, when I learnt that Lord Salisbury in one of his speeches had ridiculed Dada as a ‘black man’, furiously he replied if Dadabhoy was black I was blacker.”


After completing his education in 1896, he returned to India and not Karachi. He enrolled in the High Court of judicature in Bombay on 24 August 1896. At the age of 20, his litigation career marked its inception with hundred difficulties. Syed Pirzada has said in a film in part of Jinnah’s life that ‘Jinnah used to say, I had a very bad time, I did not have enough money to travel by bus or tram so I used to walk for most of the time’.

Jinnah’s professional legal career had begun and soon he became unsurpassable at the Bombay Bar. His great dedication and interest in law was marked by irreproachable integrity. His political life began along with his legal practices.


The Bombay congress was dominated by the Parsi groups as they had benefit of English language education despite the supremacy, Congress banked upon Goapl Krishna Gokhale and Jinnah to counter balance leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, whose nationalism was then considered to be Hindu centric.

Jinnah entered politics in 1906 session of the Indian national congress held in Calcutta.  In which the party began to split, where Muslims were petioning for a share in the power, which was later caused by Simla delegation and others were advocating for Indian independence.

By the beginning of the 20th century Muslims planned and started demanding a separate electorate to preserve the Muslim identity rather than amalgamation in the  Indian nation. This demand was only criticized by one British officer, Harcourt Butler- deputy commissioner in Lucknow. British political necessity became to keep Muslims placated and away from Congress.

On 30 December  1906 members of the Mohammedan educational Conference changed to All India Muslim League (AIML). AIML remained a feedable infant for several years after being baptized, financially dependent on nawabs and princesses. Jinnah remained aloof from it. In the initial years, AIML failed to prove its effective existence in the 1910 elections.

With increasing politicization, democratization and the trend becoming more participatory, it became important that the national level political leader be connected to local political trends too. In 1913 Jinnah joined AIML when authoritatively assured that league was as devoted as the Congress party to the political emancipation of India.

Jinnah earned the title of the “best ambassador of Hindu – Muslim unity” an epithet coined by Gopal Krishna Gokhale. By 1914 Jinnah’s reputation as an all India leader had been fully established. At this juncture Jinnah aimed not only to maintain harmony between extremes and moderates but also Hindus and Muslims. It was his efforts that Congress and Muslim League began to hold their annual sessions together, 1915 session in Bombay and 1916 session in Lucknow.

In 1916 Jinnah was elected as the president of the Muslim League. Meanwhile, the Indian freedom and solidarity struggle witness a new force, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Both home rule and congress came under his sway. Opposed to Gandhi’s non cooperation movement and his Hindu approach towards politics, Jinnah left Muslim League and Congress in 1920.

The Calcutta Congress session of 1920 heralded the arrival of Gandhian era in Indian politics. Jinnah was clearly and adamantly advocating the ideas of Indian independence when his colleagues were not even ready for freedom of India. The role of judiciary, civil services and executive were all explained by Jinnah, lucidly in detail.

With the failure of Non-cooperation movement and the emergence of Hindu identity led to antagonism and Hindu – Muslim riots. At this stage Jinnah and Muslim league was overshadowed by Congress and the muslim leaders started curating their own parties.

Jinnah’s failure to bring about minor changes in the Nehru committee proposals (1928) over the separate electorate for Muslims, one third representation for Muslims in central legislature and the separation of predominantly Muslim Sindh region from rest of Bombay province. Many muslims became suspicious of his intentions and believed that he cannot safegaurd the Muslim interests. Indeed, the Muslim League was a house divided against itself.

Due to frustration and disappointment, on 17 March 1928 Jinnah withdrew from Muslim league delegation and conference and by May 1928 he left for England. Till 1934 he devoted himself to Privy Council.            When the constitutional changes were in process, Jinnah was persuaded to return to head the Muslim League.

The government of India Act 1935 opened the doors for the first general elections in 1937. The elections came as storm for the Muslim League as well as Congress. Congress was torn by internal dissensions at the top, Nehru’s European import of socialism worried the party and the principal lieutenants of Gandhi threatened resignation from working committee. Jinnah still believed a cooperation between Hindu and Muslims, but elections proved to be a turning point. Congress won the elections with absolute majority in six provinces  and League could not manage anything substantial. Congress members were hit with a stark reality, they did not win a single Muslim seat.

They decided not to include League’s members in formation of governments and all-Congress government were the result. Eventually the Hindu-Muslim ties worsened and Muslim discontent became boundless.

In his Transfer of Person in India, V.P Menon wrote: “The congress decided to have homogenous ministries on its own and chose Muslim ministers from among those who were members of the Congress party. This was the beginning of a serious rift between the Congress and the League and was factor which induced neutral Muslim opinion to turn to support of Jinnah.”


In 1940 Muslim league session Lahore the first hand demand was partition of the country and creation of Muslim nation named Pakistan. Jinnah always believed in harmony of Muslims and Hindus, he himself was dubious about the idea of Pakistan, but reluctantly he accepted the truth that partition was the last resort to safeguard the Muslim interest. During Muslim League conference in 1930, Sir Muhammad Iqbal-poet and philosopher propounded the idea a spate land for Muslims.

On Jinnah’s insistence through negotiations and inflexible decisions, British government came up with partition plan. Pakistan was curated on 14 August 1947.

The subcontinent was partitioned in two independent nations, Hindu majority- India and Muslim majority-Pakistan. The greatest migration in human history began, with millions of Muslims, Hindu and Sikhs trekking in opposite directions. This terrifying outbreak of sectarian violence with Hindus and Sikhs and one side and Muslims on the other- a mutual genocide as unexpected as it was unprecedented.

The British scholar Yasmin Khan, in her acclaimed history “The Great Partition,” judges that Partition “stands testament to the follies of empire, which ruptures community evolution, distorts historical trajectories and forces violent state formation from societies that would otherwise have taken different—and unknowable—paths.”

By 1948 the great migration was about to end, the communal storm uprooted 15 million and two-three million died. The brutalities were worst women were raped, pregnant women had their breasts chopped off and babies hacked out of their bellies. Partition is a traumatic part of the Indian subcontinent, as the Holocaust is among Jews.

Jinnah a tough determined negotiator became the chief architect for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.