Jinnah : The Maverick Autocrat
Jinnah was born in a khoja Ismaeli Shia family in the western province. He married a Parsi lady much to the chagrin of both communities. Yet, he opposed his daughter’s decision to marry a Parsi, insisting that she choose a Muslim.
Despite being the first Muslim barrister, he was never among the higher echelon of the congress leadership after the death of G. K. Gokhale & Lokmanya Tilak. Gandhiji picked up that mantle easily. In the 1920s, Jinnah became isolated in the congress, as the other Muslim leaders such as Maulana Azad & Khan brothers from the Northwest frontier gained prominence.
Jinnah’s personal experience led to his final conviction that Indian Muslims required a separate homeland. Jinnah insisted on being the sole representative of Muslims, even as he avoided grassroots contact. When partition became a certainty in early 1947, he insisted on being the Governor General of Pakistan, to the chagrin of the viceroy lord Mountbatten, who had hoped to hold the same position in both states – India and Pakistan to ensure a smooth power transition.
Since Pakistan had no constitution in 1947, almost all the powers of the new states were vested in the Governor General, which suited Jinnah. According to Stanley Wolpert, Jinnah was Pakistan’s king and emperor. An impression exists that Jinnah, given his lifestyle, was a secularist at heart and not a true believer. Jinnah gave a speech at the Pakistani constitution Assembly in 1948, he says I am sure that the constitution of Pakistan will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam.
American historian Stanley Wolpert concluded, few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Jinnah did all three.