Biographical Studies 8
Miss Fatima Jinnah is a constant source of help and encouragement to me. In
the days when I was expecting to be taken as a prisoner by the British
Government, it was my sister who encouraged me, and said hopeful things when
revolution was staring me in the face. Her constant care is about my health. -
Quaid-i-Azam, 9 August 1947.
Published by Quaid-i-Azam Academy
297 M.A. Jinnah Road, Karachi-5, Pakistan
Copyright (c) Quaid-i-Azam Academy 1987 First
Typed & printed by Sa'ad Publications, Karachi Colour
Printing by Saad Publications, Karachi Jacket Design by
Layout by Ghulam Mohiuddin
The views & opinions presented here do not reflect those of the Quaid-i-Azam
Academy, or any other authority but are solely those of the author and the editor.
Preface. , Vii
1. A Nation is Orphaned
2 From Kathiawar to Karachi
3 A Businessman Becomes a Barrister -
1 Extract from the Register of Sindh Madressah-tul-Islam, 1887
2 Extract from the Register of Sind Madressah-tul-Islam, 1891
3 Extract from the Register of Christian Mission School, 1892
4 Jinnah's Library Card from the British Museum, 10 February [1896?]
5 Jinnah's Petition to the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn, 25 April 1893 6
Lincoln's Inn's Notification,
25 April 189.3
7 Jinnah's Preliminary Examination Certificate, 25 May 1893
8 Lincoln's Inn's Notification about alteration in Jinnah's Name,
14 April 1896
9 Lincoln's Inn's Notification granting Jinnah a Certificate of his Admission Call to
the Bar, 11 May 1896
10 Certificate Awarded by the Lincoln's Inn
11 Certificate from Sir Howard W. Elphinstone, 5 March 1896
12 Certificate from W. Douglas Edwards, 6 March 1896
13 Jinnah's Petition to Registrar, Bombay High Court, 18 August 1896
14 Character Certificate from P.V. Smith, Chancellor of the Diocese of
15 Extract from the Bombay Civil List
OF the seven brothers and sisters of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Miss
Fatima Jinnah (1893-1967), his third sister, resembled him the most. In his
personal life as well, no one was so close to him. Their father, Jinnah Poonja,
having died in 1901(?), Jinnah became her guardian. He also took a keen interest
in her education. It was his steadfast support that saw her join the Bandra Convent
in 1902, and later enrolled in Dr. Ahmad Dental College at Calcutta in 1919,
despite the strident family opposition to the very idea of a Khoja girl joining the
Convent as a boarder, or launching upon a professional course. And when she
finally qualified, Jinnah went along with her idea of opening a dental clinic in
Bombay, and helped set it up in 1923.
Miss Jinnah had first lived with her brother, for about eight years - till 1918,
when he got married to Ruttenbai. Upon Ruttenbai's death in February 1929, Miss
Jinnah wound up her clinic, moved into Jinnah's bungalow, and took charge of his
house. Thus began the life-long companionship, which lasted till Jinnah's death on
11 September 1948.
In all Miss Jinnah lived with her brother for about twenty-eight years,
including the last nineteen years in his life, which, by all accounts, were the more
critical, the more trying, years in all his life. During these years,
The Quaid emerged, slowly but dramatically, from almost political isolation
(especially during his self exile in England during 1931-34) to an almost
universal acceptance of his leadership of the newly proclaimed Muslim
nation of a hundred million, when he snatched victory out of the jaws of
defeat, when he struggled long and hard to wrest for Muslims nationhood and
statehood by finding ambre rational and a more equitable framework for
power-distribution between India's two major nations, culminating in a
startlingly new ordering of the sub-continental cosmos.
Miss Jinnah, who not only lived with her brother but also accompanied him
on his numerous tours, had developed and displayed a keen sense of the
heroic struggle he was waging. There- is also evidence to show that he
discussed various problems with her, mostly at the breakfast and dinner
table; he also confided in her. On Miss Jinnah's part, she was, to quote the
Quaid, "a constant source of help and encouragement" to him, saying
"hopeful things when revolution was starting" him in the face.
The thought of doing or sponsoring a biography of her illustrious brother, it
seems, came to Miss Jinnah about the time when Hector Bolitho's Jinnah
was first published in 1954. Although a good biography, anchored as it was,
for the most part, on the personal recollections of Jinnah's professional
colleagues, political companions and observers, as well as contemporaries
who had something or the other to do with him during his long professional
and public career, it was yet generally felt that Bolitho's Jinnah had somehow
failed to bring out the real Jinnah in terms of his political life and
Shortly afterwards, Miss Jinnah began looking for a suitable Pakistani author
to do a biography of the Quaid, since she believed that only a Pakistani,
especially one supremely endowed with a sensitized view of the evolution of
Muslim politics during the epochal decade of 19.3747, would be able to
reconstruct the complex scenario of that decade, and do justice to the
Man and his mission. Her first choice was Professor Itrat Husain Zuberi, formerly
Principal, Islamia College, Calcutta, and later Vice-Chancellor, Rajshahi Univer-
sity. When for some reason Professor Zuberi had' to leave Pakistan for the
United States in 1958/59, her choice fell on justice M.R. Kayani. But he died
rather suddenly, on 15 November 1962. Then she chose Mr. G. Allana for the
assignment. For some eighteen months, Mr. Allana assisted Miss Jinnah on the
biography, but late in 1964, about the time when she was persuaded to contest
the presidential election against Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan as the
Opposition's nominee, they parted company, due to reasons, which have
remained undisclosed. Interestingly, the termination of their collaborative venture
dampened neither Miss Jinnah nor Mr. Allana. While the former continued with
her quest for a suitable author or co-author for the biography till her death on 8
July 1967, the latter remained steadfast to the cause of doing a biography,
producing one after Miss Jinnah's death under the title, Quaid-i-Azam jinnah: The
Story of a Nation. To date it remains the best biography of Jinnah by a Pakistani.
The present Ms., recovered along with the Quaid-azim Papers from Mohatta
Palace after Miss Jinnah's death, and preserved in the National Archives of
Pakistan at Islamabad, was presumably written during 196364. This is indicated
on its title page, which says that it was done by "Fatima jinnah with the
assistance of G. Allana".
Clearly, Miss Jinnah was the source of information contained in the Ms. with Mr.
Allana's contribution being for the most part limited to improving the original write-
up, and making it readable. This assumption is based on two material facts,
which are within the knowledge of the present editor. First, Mr. Allana, while
discussing with him the biography project in some detail, late in 1963, informed
him, inter alia, that he was doing, in collaboration with Miss jinnah, a biography of
the Quaid, and that the first two chapters
On his family background and early years, which had been dictated by Miss
Jinnah, would be in quotes, denoting her authorship of them. Second, there are
several long passages (without quotes, of course) in Mr. Allana's biography of
Jinnah, which are almost identical with those in the Ms.
The Ms. comprises three chapters. The first one concentrates chiefly on
the last year of the Quaid's life, especially his devotion to Pakistan despite his
failing health; the second one delineates his family background and early life; and
the third one his days in London and the early years in Bombay when he was
struggling to set up his practice. Though somewhat fragmentary, the second and
the third chapters contain a good deal of hitherto unpublished material while the
second half of the first chapter confirms Ilahi Baksh's account of Jinriah's last
illness as delineated in his With the Quaid-i-Azam during His last Days 1949).
The Ms. represents an important source of information for the early years
of Jinnah, and has figured in the literature on him since the time it was made
accessible to researchists. In particular it has been extensively quoted and cited
by Stanley Wolpert in his much-acclaimed Jinnah of Pakistan (1984). An edited
and somewhat abridged version of the Ms. was included in Pakistan: Past and
Present (1977) under the title, "A Sister's Recollections"; but it has received
scant notice in scholarly works.
The present "volume has been edited according to, the accepted norms,
and except for an extremely controversial passage, it truthfully reproduces the
contents of the Ms. However, what has been told about the Quaid in these pages
was presumably reconstructed by Miss Jinnah on the basis of her memory
without the aid of any diaries or any other written accounts; hence it should not
be too surprising if sometimes dates, events and places get mixed up in the
narrative. The factual position in respect of such inadvertent "errors" has been
explained in footnotes, wherever necessary. Excerpts from Quaid's speeches
included in the narra-
tive have been compared with his speeches published in various compilations
and the correct version (along with documentation) has been given in place of
those in the original Ms. Excerpts from Ilahi Baksh's account of Jinnah's last
illness have been included (in footnotes), wherever necessary, in juxtaposition to
Miss Jinnah's account.
Appended to the 'present memoir are fifteen documents which have a direct
bearing on Jinnah's early life. These are: (i, ii & iii) relevant pages from the
registers of Sind Madressah-tul-Islam, and Christian Mission School; (iv) Jinnah's
library card from the British Museum, dated 10 February [1896?]; (v) his petition
dated 25 April 189.3 to the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn to excuse him of
the Latin portion of the Preliminary Examination; (vi) the Inn's notification of the
same date acceding to his petition; (vii) the certificate (dated 25 May 189.3) of his
having passed the Preliminary Examination; (viii) the Inn's notification (dated 14
April 1896) granting his petition "to have his name altered on the books of the
Society to Mohamed Ali Jinnah"; (ix) the Inn's notification (dated 11 May 1896)
ordering that "a Certificate. . . be granted him of his Admission Call to the Bar";
(x) the certificate awarded to him by the Lincoln's Inn which indicates that he was
admitted to the Inn on 5 June 189.3 and called to the Bar on 29 April 1896; (xi &
xii) two certificates from his tutors, Sir Howard W. Elphinstone and W. Douglas
Edwards, dated 5 and 6 March 1896 respectively; (xiii) his petition dated 18
August 1896 to the Registrar, Bombay High Court, seeking admission as an
advocate; (xiv) a character certificate from P.V. Smith, Chancellor of the Diocese
of Manchester; and (xv) an extract from the Bombay Civil List which indicates his
admission as an advocate. Regrettably though, our efforts to get the missing
portions of two documents (xii and xiv) have proved fruitless. These documents,
except for the first five, are published here for the first time. It is hoped that they
would help researchists, as would Miss Jinnah's
x i i
M Y B R O T H E R
account, in reconstructing the story of Quaid's student and early professional life.
Now it remains to thank those who have helped me in various ways in, producing the present
volume. I am indebted to the National Archives of Pakistan and its Director, Mr. Atique Zafar
Shaikh, for providing us with a legible photocopy of the Ms. and several photographs; to the
National Documentation Centre, Lahore, and to Mr. Nazir Ahmad in particular for making available
to us a microfilm of documents (vi) to (x); and to Mohammad Ahmad and Khwaja Razi Haider for
helping me in the production of the volume. Above all, I am beholden to my nephew, Muhammad
Akbar, whose perseverance finally procured for us the last five documents from the Bombay High
Court. Most of the photographs included in this volume come from the collection of my late
lamented friend, Jamil-ud-Din Ahmad, to whom all of us who now specialize on the . Quaid and the
Pakistan Movement owe so much for his pioneering work on these two subjects, dating back to the
middle 1940s. I am also most grateful to his widow for donating his valuable collection of photo-
graphs to the Academy.
Sharif al Mujahid
2 7 December 1986
A Nation is orphaned
AS I see the mausoleum in Karachi go upward, inch by inch, to shelter the mortal
remains of my brother, poignant memories come rushing into mind of that day, a
Saturday, the 11th of September 1948, when I lost my elder brother, and my
nation became an orphan. Before embarking on this venture to project his life as
I saw it, having been his constant companion for more than forty years,' I thought
it fit to go to his grave this morning, to offer my prayers, to lay some flowers, and
to shed a tear. For, after all, what else can one give to those that one loved, and
who have departed to the Great Beyond. He has become a part of history, and
the pages of this book will endeavor to unfold his fife and work, his years of
struggle, his days of frustration, his moments of triumph, and the concept,
philosophy and ideology which were the basis of his demand for Pakistan.
Nature had gifted him with a giant's strength in so far as his determination to
achieve the tasks that he had set for himself were concerned, but it had clothed
that will in a frail body, unable to keep pace with the driving force of his restless
mind and will. It was bitter to be afflicted with health that
could not stand the rigours of a tumultuous life in the face of overwhelming odds,
and to be gifted with a tenaciousness that wanted to. triumph over all obstacles
to lead his people to their ultimate destiny.
His political activities and responsibilities had increased manifold during the last
ten years of his life, when he had already entered the morning [?] of his old age.
Despite the advice of ,his doctors and the pleadings of a younger sister, he did
not spare himself, refusing to take rest or respite. Work,work and more work. He
drained away the last reserves of his energy like a spendthrift child of nature.
Alarmed at his poor health, when I sometimes begged of him not to work such
long hours and to give up for some time his constant and whirlwind tours that
carried him from one end of India to another, he would say, "Have you ever
heard of a General take a holiday, when his army is fighting for its very survival
on a battlefield?" He had the reputation of demolishing a well-built up case with
one sentence, and what match could I be for him when it came to arguments?
On such occasions I abandoned logic for sentiment, "But your life is precious;
and you must take good care of it." With a distant look in his eyes, he said, "What
is the health of one individual, when I am concerned with the very existence of
ten crore2 Muslims of India? Do you realise how much is at stake?" This was
enough to silence sentimentalism, and he plunged himself deeper and deeper
into the stormy ocean of political struggle to the utter neglect of his health.
When the general elections under the newly enacted Government of India Act,
1935, were being held in February 1987 all over India, the Muslim League for the
first time put up its own candidates. At that time the League was neither well
organised, nor had its message yet reached the Muslim masses. The brunt of the
burden of organisation, of rallying
A NATION IS ORPHANED
public opinion in favour of the League, fell on his shoulders. The more he travelled,
addressing mass meetings, the more were the demands made on his time. He
was flooded with requests inviting him to visit cities, towns and villages, to carry
the message of the League to the Muslims, who were gradually becoming more
and more conscious that unless they stood together, their political future was not
Wherever he went, I was with him. It was a heartening sign to see that the Muslims
were getting over their lethargy; and the increasing number of people that turned
out to listen to him indicated the growing hold the Muslim League was beginning to
have over their minds, as well as of his growing personal popularity. As he spoke
of the gigantic strength that the Muslims had in their hands, which could become
decisive in determining the shape of any scheme of political reforms in the future, if
they all stood united, loud and prolonged applause would rend the air. He
thundered with the voice of an inspired leader, saying, "Let everyone realise the
Muslim League has come to stay. All attempts to subotage the growing popularity
of the Muslim League are doomed to failure. The Muslims are marching forward,
and no power on earth can suppress their determination to succeed." As he ended
his speech on the soaring crescendo of promise and hope, the huge gatherings
would shout, "Muslim League Zindabad," "Mohamed Ali Jinnah Zindabad."
Ever since the League session in Lahore in 1940 passed the resolution, which has
come to be known as the Pakistan Resolution, he whipped his failing health to
make it keep pace with his increasing work. With a scattered and disorganised
following as his only strength, he decided from that year onward to translate the
demand for Pakistan into a heroic chapter of human history. Incessant travelling,
long and arduous hours of work, and the worries, that are the only reward that a
political leader recei-
ves during his days of struggle, were taking a heavy toll, but he paid the price with a smile. His
5'101/s"' body that normally weighed around 112 lbs, was losing its weight ounce by ounce, but
he showed supreme indifference to such private matters as his personal health. That should not
interfere with his work. I was once again arguing and pleading with him to put himself in the
hands of competent doctors and to pay at least some attention to his physical fitness. But I never
succeeded in stopping the onward rush of the mighty ocean of his will that wanted to sweep away
all obstacles that stood as hinderances in the path of his people.
In addition to his duties and responsibilities as the President of the Muslim League, he had also to
shoulder the burden of the office of leader of the Muslim League Party in the Central Legislative
Assembly. We left Bombay sometime in [early November] 1940 to attend a session of the
Assembly in Delhi that was being held there, inspite of slight temperature that he had been
running for the previous few days. He had his dinner, and the train was racing onwards to its
destination under a clear sky, studded with innumerable twinkling stars. As he lay in bed, he
suddenly shouted out loud, as if some body had pierced him with a red hot iron. I was soon by his
side, and inquired the reason of his shouting. The severity of the pain had benumbed his power of
speech, and all that he could do was to point with his finger to a spot a little below the spinal
chord and to the right side of it. It was obvious the pain was unbearable, and it was clear that
medical aid could not be obtained on a moving train. In the hope of relieving his pain, I gently
massaged the part of his body that was causing him so much pain. But finding that it only
aggravated it, I gave up the attempt in despair, hoping that the train would stop soon at some
station, so that 1 could arrange to get a hot water- bottle for fomentation. The minutes
passed on heavy feet, and then I heard the screeching noise of the brakes, and
the train came to a final stop.
the guard and':: asked him to immediately arrange for a hot water
bottle to be brought to our compartment. Wrapping the bottle in a napkin, I gently
applied it on the painful spot, and was relieved to see that the pain somewhat
The train steamed into Delhi station in the early hours of the morning and we
were soon at 10, Aurangzeb Road, which was our Delhi residence. I supported
my brother from the car to his bed and immediately called his doctor on the
telephone to come and examine him. After a thorough examination, the doctor
pronounced that it was an attack of pleurisy and that he must stay in bed for
about a fortnight. As soon as the doctor left, my brother said to me, "What bad
luck. It is an important session. My presence is so essential there. And here I am,
enjoying the luxury of an enforced confinement in bed." He remained in bed for
two days and was again at his work. His was a restless spirit, born in a restless
period of his nation's history.
It was a momentous session of the Central Assembly, and on him fell the task to
explain the stand of the Muslim League on India's participation in the war efforts.
As I watched him from the distinguished visitors' gallery rise in his seat to take
the floor, ¢ I wondered if he could at all muster strength to speak for more than a
few minutes. He started his speech with a voice that betrayed fatigue, but as he
progressed with his arguments, all trace of wearing disappeared. He was soon in
his element, ridiculing the Government for their insidious propaganda to beguile
the Muslims of India, and indicting the Government for it, saying, "Of course, you
can do a lot by propaganda; but there are certain things which you cannot carry
out by inspiring fear alone.... 5 " . . . it has become a fashion [he continued] to give
a lecture to the weaker party, and you can
afford to lecture the weaker party. . . . But we cannot really possibly vote
supplies in the expenditure of which we have no lot, no share, no controls
Warming up, he continued, . . , if the Congress succeeds in defeating the
Government, it is not my fault; it is the fault of your constitution; and you have
enacted this constitution; you have been carrying it on-this wooden, antediluvian
Government for decades now, and you cannot have it both ways. It is your
constitution, it is of your making.
. . . I say this on the floor of this House that the reason why there has not been a
settlement between the Hindus and the Musalmans is thatthe Congress leaders
will pardon me for saying this-the Congress is a Hindu organisation, whatever
they may say - that the Hindu leaders and Congress leaders have had always at
the back of their head the basis that the Musalmans have to come within the ken
of the Congress and the Hindu raj, that they are a minority, and all that they can
justly press for is merely safeguards as a minority, whereas let me tell the
gentlemen of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party members that the
Musalmans always had at their back the basis -and it has never been different
during the last 25 years - that they are separate entity. 8
At this Mr. M.S. Aney started to heckle him, "At least that was not the view of Mr.
Jinnah before 1920". The Quaid-e-Azam retorted, "Since 1916, since the
Lucknow Pact was passed, on the fundamental principle of two separate
entities". Mr. Aney was not satisfied, and he angrily shouted, "I was there." The
Quaid-e-Azam stood unruffled; in a cool voice he said, "My friend may have been
there, but he was not even heard of at that time". 9 That devastating sentence
silenced the otherwise irrep-
ressible Mr. Aney.
He had spoken for about one hour,and he was still on his legs. I was
apprehensive about his health, which was far from satisfactory. Luckily he
concluded his speech, saying,
Bhulabhai Desai throughout his speech only emphasized two things:
Democracy, democracy, democracy and a national government! What is the
use? Whatever that cabinet may be, it will be responsible to this Legislature -
in which Mr. Bhulabhai Desai can command two-thirds of the elected
members. I will pity the man who happens to be in that cabinet and does not
obey the Congress command and the Congress mandate! I o
As we drove home in our car from the Assembly, I saw his hands were
shivering, and his fingers could hold his cigarette with difficulty_ Qn reaching
home, he straight away went to bed, without so much as changing his
The attack of pleurisy, in my opinion, was the beginning of the sickness that
ultimately claimed his life. He could have got over it, if he had taken proper
care, if he had kept regular hours, if he had given up exposing himself to
wind and rain, as he toured the_ subcontinent, almost :uninterruptedly.
Thereafter he was always allergic to colds, and the slightest attack of even a
mild cold would soon deepen into agonising days of fever and coughing.
A few months later, to be exact in April 1941, we were on our way from
Bombay to Madras, where he was to preside over the Madras session of the
All India Muslim League." When our train was a few hours from Madras, he
left his seat to go to the toilet. I was shocked to find that he walked only a
few steps and then collapsed on the wooden plank flooring of the train. I
rushed to his side and asked,"Jin, what is wrong?" He smiled, a worn out
smile, "I feel very weak, exhausted". He put his hand on my
shoulder, lifted himself up, and wobbled towards his berth. Fortunately, within a
few minutes the train came to a halt at an important junction, and thousands of
enthusiastic Leaguers were on the platform, shouting, "Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad".
I opened the door of our compartment slightly and shouted, "Don't shout. The
Quaid is in bed, down with fatigue and fever. Run, get a doctor." Within a few
minutes, the doctor came, examined him and said, "Sir, you have a nervous
breakdown, very mild. Nothing serious. But I would not advise you to move about
for at least one week. You must confine yourself to bed for a week."
We were in Madras, where thousands of delegates had gathered to attend the
All-India Muslim League Session. The Quaid was too weak to address the open
session on the first day, but on the following day he insisted he would deliver his
presidential address. I advised him against it, but finding that he was adamant,
begged of him to make a brief speech. "Yes, it will be very brief", he assured.
A hushed silence descended on that vast gathering as he rose to address them.
He spoke extempore, without notes. He built each point with clarity of thought,
and clothed them in a language that was easily intelligible even to the uninitiated
in the intricate complexities of Indian politics of the time. He spoke with the voice
of a leader that knows not only his mind, but was fully aware of the sentiments of
his own following. The address was far from being brief, for he continued to
speak for over two hours. 12 This leader, who had left a sick bed to be amidst
his people, boldly elucidated the goal of the Muslims of India. He said,
Let me tell you as clearly as I can possibly define it that the goal of the All-India
Muslim League is this: We want the establishment of completely independent
states in the NorthWest and Eastern Zones of India, with full control finally of
defence, foreign affairs, com-
munications, customs, currency, exchange, etc. We do not want in any
circumstances a constitution of an All-India character with one government at the
Centre. We will never agree to that. If we once agree to that, let me tell you, the
Muslims will be absolutely wiped out of existence. We shall never be tributaries
of any power or any government at the Centre so far as the North-West and
Eastern zones of our free national homelands are concerned.I 3
I was proud of his performance, but behind that justifiable pride there arose the
lurking shadow of the fear of a set-back in his health. The unbounded
enthusiasm of that mammoth gathering, however, had injected a powerful tonic in
his worn out body. He forgot his weakness, exhaustion, and fever in the mad
rush of work into which he had willingly plunged himself.
The seven years before the establishment of Pakistan were the busiest and
stormiest that he encountered in all his life. He toiled ceaselessly for the Muslims
of India, and they gave him their support and loyalty ungrudgingly. They had
endearingly named him, Quaid-e-Azam, "The Great Leader." and he was now
more conscious than ever before of his role in the struggle for the emancipation
of the Muslims of India. To me, who was always with him, it was a common sight
to see him get up from a sick bed with difficulty, looking worn out and exhausted,
inspite of the smart clothes that he wore. We would sit in our car on our way to
address a huge gathering of Muslims, and all along the route he maintained strict
silence, not to marshal his thoughts, but to preserve every ounce of his energy.
He entered the ranks of his admiring followers, wearing a grim look, bowing
slightly to this side and then to that, saluting and returning the tumultuous
greetings of his party men. His step was firm, his eyes gleaming with hope. He
mounted the dais, and after recitation of some verses from the Holy Quran and
speeches by local
leaders, he would walk to the mike. As he surveyed the seething mass of
humanity that sat in their tens of thousands on bare earth to listen to him, he
would speak to them in a voice that showed no trace of age or ill-health. At every
pause they would shout, "Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad." He kept on raising his voice
to a higher and higher crescendo of hope and cheer to his people, who seemed
to be trapped in a dreary darkness under a cloudless sky. Little did his people
know how tired, worn out, exhausted, and how sick he was. He was their hero,
and how can one blame a hero for being heroic?
Back home, in the sanctified solitude of his room, he lay prostrate in the bed,
breathless with fatigue, gasping for breath. Like many heroes of history, he was
at home with solitude. But his radiating fire warmed the hearts of his people from
Fortunately, he had the capacity of sleeping at will, and so the worries and cares
of the day stood on the side-lines of his sub-conscious, even though they did not
completely melt in the warmth of a sound sleep. With the approach of dawn
came fresh letters, fresh requests, new problems, and weighty decisions to be
made. His was a soul that thirsted for service in a body that was worn out by
work and ill-health. He kept up this feverish tempo of life for a number of years,
inspite of the recurring bouts of fever that emaciated his body.
The demand for Pakistan had been accepted, and Pakistan was established on
[14-15] August 1947. As we drove through cheering crowds on the streets of
Karachi to the Governor General's House, little did they know how sick the
Quaid-e-Azam was. To his nation it was the day of their independence, to him it
was the moment of fulfilment. The destination had been reached, but the journey
was not yet over. A new State that emerged on the political map of the world had
to face many problems of gigantic magnitude. As the Head of the State, the task
of steering the ship of Pakistan's
destiny to a safe harbour fell to his hands that were worn out with work.
I watched with sorrow and pain that in his hour of triumph the Quaid-e-Azam was
far from being physically fit. He had little or no appetite at all, and the best of
delicacies, prepared with love and care, could not tempt him. His life-long habit of
sleeping when he willed had gone, and he passed many sleepless nights, tossing
on restless pillows. His cough increased and, with it, his temperature. From
beyond the borders of Pakistan came the harrowing tales of massacre of
Muslims, of rape and arson and loot, and these had a damaging effect on his
As he discussed with me these mass killings on the breakfast table, his eyes
were often moist with tears. The sufferings of Muslim refugees that trekked from
India into Pakistan, which to them had been the Promised Land, depressed him.
Then there was the Constitution of Pakistan to be framed, to which he applied his
mind as often as he could find time to sit in his study, surrounded by books
dealing with constitutions of various countries of the world. The problems of
Kashmir Muslims, who had been betrayed by an alien and tyrannical ruler,
weighed heavily on his mind. Pakistan had taken its place on the map of the
world, but it had yet to take its roots in its own soil. These were the problems of
which he talked, morning, noon and night. These were the phantoms that
disturbed the peace of his mind, and snarled at him like phantoms in a
A few days after our arrival in Karachi, he said at a dinner in his honour at the
Miss Fatima Jinnah is a constant source of help and encouragement to me. In
the days when I was expecting to be taken as a prisoner by the British
Government, it was my sister who encouraged me, and said hopeful things when
revolution was staring me in the face. Her cons14
tant care is about my health.
Little did his listeners realise how bad was the health of their leader.
It is a truism that complete success is more fatal to heroic inspiration than
complete failure. His life's work had been accomplished, and he had been re-
warded with the fullest measure of success, but it did not dampen his enthusiasm
and zeal for more work in the service of his people. His physical strength had
been sapped by the demon of ill-health, but his irrepressible spirit raised its head
high, braving the challenges that independence brought to his nation. He wanted
to face them courageously, to grapple with them, and to find solutions for them.
He totally neglected his health, and his coughing and slight temperature were
beginning to worry me more and more. On my insistence he agreed to be
examined by Dr. Col. Rahman, his personal physician. He had an abnormal
aversion for doctor's medicines, and I was never able to find out the reasons that
were at the basis of this life-long habit. Col. Rahman, after examining him, said
he had a slight attack of malaria and he wanted to treat him on the basis of that
diagnosis. Quaid-e-Azam put his doctor a number of questions, as if he was
crossexamining a witness in a courtroom. Not satisfied with the doctor's
explanation, he refused to take the medicines prescribed. - "I don't have malaria.
I am run down due to over-work." Rest was obviously the best medicine in such a
case, but that he would not take; there was so much to be done. He said to me, "I
will dig the mine of my physical strength to the last ounce of that metal to serve
my people. And when that is exhausted, my work will be done, for life will be no
Refugees were pouring into Pakistan from the Khokraparl5 border, and he
wanted to be in Lahore to see refugee camps and other arrangements that were
being made for them. The choice that lay before him was between dereliction of
duty to a cause that he had always held dearer than life and the
loss of health that alone could sustain his life. He chose to listen to the voice of
duty and to turn a deaf ear to the advice of his doctors. The individual in him had
surrendered all its rights to the leader in him. So we were on the move, from
Karachi to Lahore, in September 1947, about a month after our arrival in Karachi.
After a few days at Lahore, we came back to Karachi; and we had hardly re-
mained in Karachi for three weeks, when once again we went to Lahore towards
the end of October. Achievement of Pakistan had meant for him only the end of
one phase of his life and work and the beginning of another phase, equally
important, of consolidating Pakistan and ensuring its stability. He was not going
to desert his place at the period of crisis through which his nation was passing
,and he did not spare himself. There were clouds of despondence hovering over
the skies of Pakistan, and he wanted to infuse cheer and hope to dispel ;my
feeling of frustration and desolation. Addressing a mammoth rally at the
University Stadium in LahorF on 30th October 1947, he said,
Some people might think that the acceptance of the June 3rd plan was a mistake
on the part of the Muslim League. I would like, to tg11 them that the
consequences of any othr 41tFrnative would have been too disastrous to
imagine. On our side we proceeded to implement this plan with a clean
conscience and honest intentions. Time and history will prove that. On the other
hand, history will also record its verdict on those whose treachery and
machinations let loose forces of disorder and disruption in this subcontinent
causing death of lakhs, enormous destruction of property and bringing about
suffering and misery to many millions by uprooting them from their homes and
hearths and all that was dear to them. The systematic massacre of defenceless
and innocent people puts to shame even the most heinous atrocities,
committed by the worst tyrants known to history. We have been the victims of a
deeplylaid and well-planned conspiracy executed with utter disregard of the
elementary principles of honesty, chivalry and honour. We thank Providence for
giving us courage and faith to fight these forces of evil. If we take our inspiration
and guidance from the Holy Quran, the final victory, I once again say, will be
As he proceeded with his speech his voice trembled with emotion, and I heard
him speak of death for the first time
Along with this, keep up your morale. Do not be afraid of death. Our religion
teaches us to be always prepared for death. We should face it bravely to save
the honour of Pakistan and Islam. There is no better salvation for a Muslim than
the death of a martyr for a righteous cause. . . . Do your duty and have faith in
God. There is no power on earth that can undo Pakistan. It has come to stay.l 7
He had done what he could as the Head of the State in the interest of the
incoming refugees and, satisfied that they would receive all necessary attention,
we returned to Karachi. The emotion of the occasion, aggravated by the
sufferings of his people, had worn out not only his body, but also his spirit and
soul. He was once again in bed, laid up with exhaustion and a mounting fever. In
the meantime, the pace of work of the Government of a country that had just
emerged, and that was starting its work from scratch, went on increasing from
day to day. Files were pouring in, ministers and secretaries came to seek his
advice, and peace and rest were impossible.
He oscillated between weeks of work and days of rest. He had promised the
people of the Frontier Province that he would visit Peshawar to personally
express his gratitude to them for the wonderful work they had done in the
referendum the previous vear
by which they decided to accede to Pakistan. He would not let them down and, in
order to fulfil a promise that he had made, we went in April 1948 to Peshawar,
where a heavy programme awaited him. In his address to the students of Islamia
College on 12th April, he said,
On this occasion the thought that is naturally uppermost in my mind is the
support and help that the movement for the achievement of Pakistan received
from the student community, particularly of this Province. I cannot help feeling
that the unequivocal and unmistakable decision of the people of this Province to
join Pakistan, which was given through the referendum held last year, was
helped considerably by the contribution made by the students. I take particular
pride in the fact that the people of this province have never and in no way lagged
behind in the struigle for freedom and achievement of Pakistan. 8I
The next day we drove to Risalpur, where he had to address the officers and
men of the Royal Pakistan Air Force. India had retained military equipment that
according to understanding arrived at the time of partition had to come to
Pakistan, and our Air Force was without adequate aircraft and equipment. On
that occasion, he said,
I know also that you are short of aircraft and equipment, but efforts are being
made to procure the necessary equipment and orders for modern aircraft have
also been placed.
But aircraft and personnel in any numbers are of little use, unless there is a team
spirit within the Air Force and strict sense of discipline prevails. I charge you to
remember that only with discipline and self reliance can the Royal Pakistan Air
Force be worthy of Pakistan.I9 On 14th April, he called a meeting of Civil Officers
at Government House in Peshawar. He met
many of them, mixed freely with them, and in an informal talk to them he said,
The first thing that I want to tell you is this, that you should not be influenced by
any political pressure, by any political party or individual politician. If you want to
raise the prestige and greatness of Pakistan, you must not fall a victim to any
pressure, but do your duty as servants to the people and the State, fearlessly
and honestly. Service is the backbone of the State. Governments are formed,
Governments are defeated, Prime Ministers come and go, Ministers come and
go, but you stay on, and, therefore, there is a very great responsibility placed on
your shoulders. You should have no hand in supporting this political party or that
political party, this political leader or that political leader - this is not your
business. Whichever Government is formed according to the constitution, and
whoever happens to be the Prime Minister or Minister coming into power in the
ordinary constitutional course, your duty is not only to serve that Government
loyally and faithfully, but, at the same time, fearlessly, maintaining your high
reputation, your prestige, your honour and the integrity of your service. If you will
start with that determination, you will make a great contribution to the building up
of the Pakistan of our conception and our dream - a glorious State and one of the
greatest nations in the world.
While impressing this upon you on your side, I wish also to take the opportunity
of impressing upon our leaders and politicians in the same way that if they ever
try to interfere with you and bring political pressure to bear upon you, which leads
to nothing but corruption, bribery and nepotism - which is a horrible disease
and for which not only your Province but others too, are suffering - if they try and
interfere with you in this way, I say, they are doing nothing but disservice to
Pakistan. . . .
May be some of you may fall victims for not satisfying the whims of Ministers. I
hope it does not happen, but you may even be put to trouble not because you
are doing anything wrong but because you are doing right. Sacrifices have to be
made and I appeal to you, if need be, to come forward and make the sacrifice
and face the position of being put in the blacklist or being otherwise worried or
troubled. If you will give me the opportunity of your sacrifices, some of you at
least, believe me, we will find a remedy for that very soon. I tell you that you will
not remain on the blacklist if you discharge your duties and responsibilities
honestly, sincerely and loyally to the State. It is you who can give us the
opportunity to create a powerful machinery which will give you a complete sense
of security. . ..You should try to create an atmosphere and work in such a spirit
that everybody gets a fair deal, and justice is done to everybody. And not merely
should justice be done but people should feel that justice has been done to them.
A few days later, he addressed [the staff and] students of the Edwards College at
Peshawar, where he recalled the day when he was "literally dismissed from this
Province in 1937". He recalled the days of defeat of the Muslim League in the
Frontier, and then spoke of the change that came over the Province during the
last two to three years. He expressed his gratitude to the brave Pathans, who
gave an overwhelming verdict in favour of Pakistan. He concluded,
I want you to keep your heads up as citizens of a free and independent sovereign
State. Praise your Government when it deserves.
Criticise your Government fearlessly when it deserves. . . . Certainly criticise
fearlessly, when a wrong thing is done. I welcome criticism. . . . By that method
you will improve matters more quickly for the benefit of our own people.21
While attending one of the open-air meetings held in Peshawar, the skies were
overcast with foreboding and dark clouds. As the meeting proceeded, it began to
drizzle. But thousands of people that had gathered there continued to keep their
seats, undeterred by the threat of rain. My brother could not disappoint them,
although, sitting next to him, I advised him that we must leave. He was drenched
to the bone, but he sat throughout the meeting, braving the inclement weather.
That night he had a running nose, cold and chill, cough and high temperature. He
turned down my advice to call for a doctor, "It is nothing. Just cold. I-will get over
But he never got over it. When we returned to Karachi, he continued to cough
constantly, and when a doctor was forced on him, he learnt that he was in for a
mild attack of bronchitis. Although he kept in bed for a few days, he regularly
attended to his files that were brought to him.
After about six weeks he was feeling a bit better; weakness, however, continued
to persist. I was constantly pleading with him to leave Karachi and to go
somewhere else in Pakistan, to give a chance to his health to recoup. My
arguments were supported by his personal physician, Dr. Rahman, who warned
him in no unmistakable words that unless he gave up work completely for at least
two months and took complete rest, he would only be doing irreparable damage
to his health. I was relieved when one day in June he yielded and suggested that
we should get away from the oppressive heat of a Karachi summer, and go to the
cool heights of Quetta.
N A T I O N
O R P H A N E D
Within a few days of arrival in Quetta, I found there was a marked improvement
in his health. He was able to sleep well, and eat well; the coughing had subsided,
and the temperature was normal. Only very important files that required his
immediate attention were brought to him, and it was for the first time in many
years that he appeared to enjoy a prolonged rest.
Occasionally he accepted to attend public functions that were sought to be
arranged by different sections of the citizens of Quetta. He used them as
occasions to make his views known on important problems that Pakistan was
facing at that time. For instance, while replying to a welcome address presented
to him by the Quetta Parsi community, he said, "In the very nature of things it will
take eighteen months to two years before the new constitution of Pakistan is
ready. . . . "2 2 As he said these words, I. recalled many occasions after
independence when he spoke to me about his anxiety that a new constitution
should be framed, which would be liberal, and ensure fundamental freedoms to
the people of Pakistan, and that he hoped to complete this task in about two
years. "It will be a constitution", he would say, "that will be worthy of a free people
of a free country." It was very irritating to his sensitive mind that this all-important
task was being delayed due to his recurring illness.
Continuing his reply to the address, he dwelt on the problems of minorities of
You know that it is the policy of my Government and myself that every member of
every community irrespective of caste, colour, creed or race shall be fully
protected with regard to his life, property and honour and that there should be
peace in Pakistan and law and order should be maintained at any cost.2 3
The following day he addressed the officers of the Staff College, Quetta, and in
an emphatic voice, he said,
One thing more, I am pursuaded to say this because during my talks with one or
two very high ranking officers I discovered that they did not know the implication
of the Oath taken by troops of Pakistan. Of course, an Oath is only a matter of
form; what is more important is the true spirit and the heart.
But it is an important form and I would like to take the opportunity of refreshing
your memory by reading the prescribed Oath to you:
I solemnly affirm, in the presence of Almighty God, that I owe allegiance to the
Constitution and the Dominion of Pakistan (Mark the words Constitution and the
Government of the Dominion of Pakistan) and that I will as in duty bound
honestly and faithfully serve in the Dominion of Pakistan Forces and go within the
terms of my enrolment wherever I may be ordered by air, land or sea and that I
will observe and obey all commands of any officer set over me. . . .
As I have said just now, the spirit is what really matters. I should like you to study
the Constitution which is in force in Pakistan at present and understand its true
constitutional and legal implications when you say that you will be faithful to the
Constitution of the Dominion 2 4
On 15th June in his reply to the Civic Addre: presented to him by the Quetta
Municipality, h said it pained him to find the curse of provincialisi holding sway on
every section of Pakistan, and h advised them to forget that they were Baluchi
Pathans, Sindhis, Punjabis, Bengalis, but to loo upon themselves as Pakistanis
first and last. Towarc the end of his reply he said,
Representative government and representative institutions are no doubt good
and desirable, ,
N A T I O N
O R P H A N E D
but when people want to reduce them merely to channels of personal
aggrandizement, they not only lose their value but earn a bad name. Let us avoid
that and it is possible only if, as
I have said, we subject our action to perpetual scrutiny and test them with the
touchstone not of personal or sectional interest but of the good of the State. 2 5
He had accepted to perform the opening ceremony of the State Bank of Pakistan
in Karachi on 1st July 1948. Afraid that if he undertook the journey to Karachi for
this purpose and returned to Queeta after a day or two, he might have a relapse
in his health, I tried to dissuade him from undertaking the journey , and
suggested to let some one else on his behalf read the speech he had prepared
for the occasion. He replied,
You know, the Congress and the Hindus prophesied that Pakistan would be a
bankrupt State, that our people would not know how to run its commerce,
industry, banking, shipping, insurance. We must prove that we have the talent to
run our country not only in the field of politics, but also in finance and banking. So
my presence is necessary. And then we will return to Quetta in a few days. Why
worry about my health. This is a duty I have to perform. I can't put it off, and say I
am afraid to take risks.
This air journey between Quetta and Karachi laid him low, and on the day of the
opening of the State Bank he was confined to bed. He was too weak, yet he got
up, dressed for the occasion, and was reading his address before a distinguished
gathering. His very first sentence explained his presence inspite of his bad
The opening of the State Bank of Pakistan symbolizes the sovereignity of our
State in the financial sphere.... As you have observed, Mr.
Governor, in undivided India banking was kept a close preserve of non-Muslims
and their migration from Western Pakistan has caused a good deal of dislocation
in the economic life of our young State. In order that the wheels of commerce
and industry should run smoothly, it is imperative that the vacuum caused by the
exodus of non-Muslims should be filled without delay. . . . The abnormal rise in
the cost of living has hit the poorer sections of society including those with fixed
incomes very hard indeed and is responsible to a great extent for the prevailing
unrest in the country. The policy of the Pakistan Government is to stabilise prices
at a level that would be fair to the producer, as well as to the consumer. . . . The
economic system of the West has created almost insoluble problems,for
humanity and to many of us it appears that only a miracle can save it from
disaster that is now facing the world. It has failed to do justice between man and
man and to eradicate friction from the international field. On the contrary, it was
largely responsible for the two world wars in the last half century. The Western
world, inspite of its advantages of mechanization and industrial efficiency is today
in a worse mess than ever before in history. The adoption of Western economic
theory and practice will not help us in achieving our goal of creating a happy and
contented people. We must work our destiny in our own way and present to the
world an economic system based on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood
and social justice. We will thereby be fulfilling our mission as Muslims and giving
to humanity the message of peace which alone can save it and secure the
welfare, happiness and prosperity of mankind. Every one present must have
realised that the Quaid-e-Azam was in bad health, his voice being
scarcely audible, pausing, coughing, as he proceeded with the text of his speech.
When we returned to the Governor General's House after the ceremony, he went
to his bed with his clothes and shoes on. Within that emaciated body that lay in
bed there burnt the dazzling flame of genius.
He had accepted for that evening an invitation to attend a reception at the
American Ambassador's house. His ill-health was not to keep him away from
discharging his official duties. He was soon dressed for the occasion and we
were at the Ambassador's party. He showed no trace of fatigue or weakness; he
chatted with the guests that were brought to him; his jovial spirit belying his
extremely poor health. He had to pay the price that an exalted position demands
on such occasions and he paid it with a smile.
After five days' stay at Karachi, where he attended to some very important files
and work, we returned to Quetta by air. Although he stood the air journey well,
the next day he showed signs of weariness and fatigue. A slight fever persisted,
adding to his discomfiture and to my anxiety. Once again at Quetta requests
b*egan to pour in from various institutions, and demands were made from so
many individuals and leaders, who were anxious to see the Quaid-e-Azam. He
felt dejected that his health could not permit him to oblige them, and one day he
decided that we move up to Ziarat, a few miles from Quetta, where it would be
cooler than Quetta and decidedly more restful.
The Residency at Ziarat, where we stayed, was a picturesque, old, double-
storied building, standing like a watchful sentry on a rising hillock. It has spacious
lawns and gardens, where the birds sing their morning hymns and their evening
vespers. A cluster of fruit trees and beds of flowers add to the scenic beauty of
the place, and the Quaid-e-Azam fell in love with its quiet and charm.
I was informed by Mrs. Khan, wife of the Cominis-
sioner of Quetta division, that Dr. Riaz Ali Shah was on a visit to Ziarat to
examine one of his patients, and she thought it would be a good idea to have the
Quaid-e-Azam examined by Dr. Riaz. When I made the suggestion to my brother
he turned it down with an emphatic, no, saying he was sure there was nothing
seriously wrong with him; only if his stomach was able to digest food a little
better, he would soon be on his legs. His life long aversion to being ordered
about by doctors what to do, what to eat, how much to eat, when to sleep, how
long to rest, kept on asserting itself.
Up to this time he had refused to undergo a thorough medical check up and to
put himself entirely in the hands of doctors, thinking he could will his way to
health. He had by now realised that his attempts had proved futile, and for the
first time his health began to give cause for alarm to his own self. I was very
happy one early morning when he agreed that he should take no more risks, that
he really needed good medical advice and attention. I wasted no time, and asked
Mr. Farrukh Amin, Private Secretary to the Quaid, to telephone Chaudhri
Mohammad Ali, who was at the time Secretary General of the Cabinet, that Dr.
Col. Ilahi Bux, an eminent physician of Lahore, should be immediately flown out
to Ziarat. This was on 21st July 1948.
The message had been sent and we waited anxiously the arrival of Col. Ilahi
Bux, as the condition of the Quaid-e-Azam was getting worse every hour. Inspite
of his physical disabilities, his mind was active and alert, his spirit undampened
and undaunted. He had won many battles in life; he faced his struggle against ill-
health with confidence. He had spent all his life treading the fiery path of struggle
and defiance, and he did not want to end it in the ashes of complacency. He
continued to talk to me frequently about the new constitution, about Kashmir,
about the refugees; and I could see in his words the agony of a soul that wanted
to do so much and who had so
little time and strength left to do it. Nonetheless, he believed the candle should go
on shedding its light until the dawn had taken over its task.
Late in the afternoon of Friday, the 23rd -July 1948, I was relieved to learn from
Farrukh Amin that Col. Ilahi Bux had arrived in Ziarat, and was waiting
downstairs to e..amine the Quaid-e-Azam. I gave the happy news to my brother,
and he said in an unenthusiastic voice, "Ask the doctor to see me tomorrow
morning. It is late in the evening now, and I don't want to be disturbed." The non-
challant manner in which he received the news shocked me, and I cajoled him to
allow the doctor to examine him, as it was not wise to play with one's life. All that
I received from him by way of an answer was a sweet smile that completely
The following morning I took Col. Ilahi Bux to the Quaid-e-Azam, and before the
doctor could ask any questions from his patient, he said, "I hope, doctor, you had
a good journey ".
The doctor was now asking him what the trouble was and the history of his
sickness and complaints. The Quaid-e-Azam gave faithfully a brief account of all
his ailments since 1934, his emphasis being that he was alright, and that he
would soon be able to work normal hours and keep his scheduled appointments,
if his stomach could be set right. He continued,
I have been working fourteen hours a day for the last fourteen years. I have
never known what sickness really is. However, for the past few years I get
frequent attacks of fever and coughing. A few days rest enables me to get over
them. Recently they have become more exacting and more frequent and they
have laid me low.
These few sentences had completely exhausted him; the doctor took hold of his
left arm to check his pulse, and the patient was coughing frequently. "A few
weeks ago", he continued,
I had an attack of cold and chill and I have been taking penicillin lozenges. There
is nothing organically wrong with me, I am sure. It is my stomach, that is the root
cause of my troubles. About fifteen years ago some doctors in London advised
me to undergo an abdominal operation. But when I consulted doctors in
Germany they said my stomach was alright. My Bombay doctor at that time told
me I had heart trouble. So, you see, doctors don't agree among themselves.2 7
After Col. -Ilahi Bux had thoroughly examined him, he said,
Sir, your stomach is alright, but I am not sure about your chest and lungs. I will
get your blood and sputum examined; I will, therefore, ask for the necessary
equipment and apparatus and for some doctors to assist me in this task.2 8
Quaid-e-Azam listened to the doctor in silence.
"Sir, you must take nourishing diet in sufficient quantities", the doctor advised.
For breakfast you must take porridge, eggs, butter, bread, coffee and plenty of
milk. For lunch, minced chicken, vegetables, and custard or jelly; for dinner,
grilled fish, with sauce of your choice, vegetables and fruit, pudding and coffee.
"That is a lot, doctor. Do you think my weak stomach can stand all that?"
"Sir, you need a high caloric diet. It is very essential in your case. "2 9
The following morning Dr. Siddiqui, the Civil Surgeon of Quetta, and Dr.
Mahmood, the Clinical Pathologist, came with the necessary equipment. They
took samples of his blood and sputum, and that afternoon I learnt the fateful
news that the result was positive. The world seemed to be slipping from under
my feet. What could I do? I thought it best
that Col. Ilahi Bux should inform him, as it appeared to me to be the only way of
obtaining his fullest cooperation in the matter of diet, rest and treatment. When
he stepped into his presence, Dr. Ilahi Bux, in a voice that betrayed no undue
anxiety, said, "Sir, I am afraid results of the clinical tests show that you have an
infection of the lungs".
He heard the news quietly, and after a few minutes said, "This means that I am
suffering from tuberculosis".
Col. Ilahi Bux did not reply. "Tell me, doctor, since how long do you think I have
"I think, Sir, at least two years. But I would like to have an X-ray examination of
the chest, before I could express any definite opinion on that point. But, Sir, I
assure you it is not very serious. We will do our best, and if your system
responds well to the treatment, you will soon be alright again."
"Does Miss Jinnah know, of this? Did you tell her?" "Yes, Sir, I have."
"I think it was a mistake. She is a woman, after all. "3 o
Just then I entered the room, and the Quaid asked the doctor, "How long do you
think I will be in bed? You know I have so many responsibilities and I have so
much to do."
"It is too early to answer that question, Sir. But everything possible will be ciorne
to put you right as soon as possible."
I was all alone with my brother, inspite of his pale face, that spoke loudly of
fatigue and exhaustion. He smiled and said,
Fati, so you see, you were right ...... I should have consulted specialists
earlier...... But I am not sorry. Man can only struggle . . . . . . the tongue of destiny
is always dumb . . . . . . I will stand my post as long as I can . . . . . . you know, my
principle has always been . . . . . . never to blindly accept . . . . . . the advice of
MY BROTHER others .
. . . .
I have always followed . . . . . . my own will ...... and learnt by hard knocks. Only a
few months earlier he had said in his address to the students of Islamia College
at Peshawar, "You will learn from your costly experience and the knocks that you
shall have received during your life time". To go his own way and to learn by hard
knocks, that had been the dominant keynote of his character throughout his life.
It was heartening to see that he could eat more than he had done for many
weeks, and in order to tempt his appetite, I engaged as our cook, Amanat Ali,
who had learnt the culinary art at the Ritz Hotel in Paris and had been for some
time chef of the Maharaja of Kapurthala. Dr. Ilahi Bux engaged a lady
compounder to take the Quaid's temperature. For the first time, he asked her,
"What is my temperature?" She replied firmly, "Sir, I can only say that to the
Doctor". He insisted, `But I must know my own temperature". She was adamant,
"Sorry, Sir, I can't tell it to you".
As soon as the lady compounder left, he smiled and said to me, "I like people like
that. . . . . . . People, who can be firm . . . . . . and refuse to be cowered down."
No visitors were allowed to see the Quaid-e-Azam, but when Mr. Hassan
Ispahani, our Ambassador in Washington, visited our home in Ziarat, the Quaid
was happy to see Mr. Ispahani, who had been his close associate for a number
of years. As he came down after seeing his leader, Mr. Ispahani broke down in
tears. He could not bear to see that veteran of many fights lay helpless in bed,
struggling feebly for his life. He assured Dr. Ilahi Bux that he would be only too
happy to fly out specialists and medicines from America that may be needed. He
was informed they would gladly ask for it, if it was necessary.
In the meantime, on Dr. Ilahi Bux's request, Dr.
Riaz Ali Shah, Dr. Alam, the X-ray specialist, and Dr. Ghulam Muhammad, the
Clinical Pathologist, arrived from Lahore, with the X-ray apparatus and
equipment. Their examination and tests confirmed the opinion and findings of Dr.
Ilahi Bux. They decided it was necessary to have a night nurse to attend on the
Quaid. At first he refused, saying he was being well looked after, and that it
would be sheer waste of money to engage a night nurse, but ultimately he
agreed, saying, "My sister has been by my bedside, day and night ...... for so
many weeks ...... she must' be tired...... Yes, you can engage a night nurse".
"And so sister Phyllis Dunham, who was working in the Civil Hospital, Quetta,
came to Ziarat. She proved to be an efficient nurse, and the Quaid liked her for it.
Dr. Ilahi Bux was told by Sister Dunham that the Quaid was- wearing silk
pyjamas, which had been his life long habit, and that at night he often shivered
with cold. On this the doctor ordered viyella [?] from Karachi and I had some
pyjamas made for him. It gave us reason for hope, when we found that he was
more restful, slept long hours, and was able to take sufficient food. His
temperature was normal, his coughing had almost subsided, and his blood
pressure gave no cause for anxiety.
Towards the ends of July, without prior notice, Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, the Prime
Minister, arrived in Ziarat accompanied by Chaudhri Mohammad Ali. He asked
Dr. Ilahi Bux about his diagnosis of Quaid's health. The doctor said that as he
had been invited by me to attend to the Quaid, he could only say what he thought
of his patient to me. "But, as Prime Minister, I am anxious to know about it." The
doctor politely answered, "Yes, Sir, but I can't do it without the patient's
permission ".3 2
As soon as I was told, as I was sitting with the Quaid, that the Prime Minister and
the Secretary General wanted to see him, I informed him.... After a few minutes
he said, "Go down....... Tell the
Prime Minister ...... I will see him."
"It is late, Jin. Let them see you tomorrow morning."
"No, let him come now. . . . "
The two were together for about half an hour, and as soon as Liaquat Ali Khan
came down, I went upstairs to my brother. I found him absolutely tired, and he
wore a sickly look. He asked me to give him. some fruit juice, and then said,
"Send Mr. Mohammed Ali......... The Secretary General of the Cabinet was with
him for about fifteen minutes, and when he was once again alone, I went into his
room, I asked him if he would have juice or coffee, but his mind was too
preoccupied to answer me. By now it was dinner time, and he said, "You better.
...... go down....... Have dinner . . . . . . with them."
"No ...... that is not correct. . . . . . . They arc ...... our guests here....... Go....... Eat
14th August, when our nation was to celebrate its first anniversary of
Independence was drawing near and against his doctor's advice, he was thinking
about the message that he wanted to address the nation on that occasion. He
was busy at it, inspite of his failing health. The message to be released on the
Independence Day said,
Remember, that the establishment of Pakistan is a fact of which there is no
parallel in the history of the world. . . . I have full faith in my people. . . .
Disappointed in their efforts by other means to strangle the new State at its very
birth, our enemies yet hoped that economic manoeuvres would achieve the
object they had at heart. With all the wealth of argument and detail, which malice
could invent or ill-will devise, they prophesied that Pakistan would be left
bankrupt. And what the fire and sword of the enemy could not achieve, would be
about by the ruined finances of the State. But these prophets of evil have been
thoroughly discredited. Our first budget was a surplus one: there is a favourable
balance of trade, and a steady and an all-round improvement in the 33
A few days later the doctors found that his blood pressure was very low; there
was swelling on his feet; and his urinary output had considerably decreased.
After a prolonged conference the doctors said to me that he was suffering from
weakness of the heart and kidneys. Ziarat was not good for him in his present
condition of health. The Quaid agreed with their suggestion, but insisted he
should be shifted to Quetta after 14th August, on which day the First Anniversary
of our Independence was to be celebrated. The doctors were not prepared to
wait until then, and so ultimately we made ready to leave Ziarat for Quetta on
He insisted that he would not travel in pyjama suit, saying he had never done that
in his life. I was happy that he continued to show signs of interest in life, and I
brought out a brand new suit, which he had never worn before, a tie to match, put
the kerchief in his vanity pocket, and made him wear his shining pump shoes. He
was brought down on a stretcher and was put in a semi-reclining posture in the
back seat of the big Bumber car, in which we undertook the journey to Quetta. I
sat next to him and sister Dunham in the extra chair, and his A.D.C. sat in front
with the chauffeur.
The car moved slowly to avoid jerks and bumps, and on our way we stopped
twice, when I had him tea and biscuits. It took us four hours to reach Quetta, and
I was apprehensive every minute whether he would be able to stand the strain of
the journey. As soon as we reached the Residency in Quetta,, where we were to
stay, the doctors examined him, and they assured me that he had stood the
well. He told his doctors after a few hours. "I feel ...... better here....... At Ziarat
...... it was difficult to breathe."3 5
He began to improve and Dr. Illahi Bux suggested he should start attending
about an hour a day to his files, as he thought it better to divert his active mind
to some work to prevent it from brooding all the time about his health. He was
very happy, and he enjoyed this liberty with great relish. After a few days the
doctors asked him to leave his bed and to walk a few steps every day in his
room with their help, so that it may help the circulation of his blood. He
accepted the suggestion with a smile, happy that once again after many
weeks he would be able to stand on his legs, instead of lying in a sick bed. It
was heartening to see that he still showed signs of fight, a hope that was
confirmed, when he told the doctors the following story,
You know, doctor, I will tell you a story. There was a woman who told her
doctor she could not walk, as she had been ill and had been in bed for
many months. The doctor said she had recovered and it was necessary
she should leave her bed and start walking. She refused, inspite of
doctor's pleadings. Another doctor came, examined her, and gave the
same advice. He paused, tired, breathless. Then another doctor came.
He put a flaming stove under her bed, without her knowing it. She
realised her bed would soon be in flames . . . . . . She rushed out of her
bed ...... screaming ...... We all laughed. "Doctor, do you want to do that
with me ?"36
After a little,pause, he said, "Doctor, I like smoking ...... f haven't smoked
for days . . . . . . Can I smoke?"
Dr. Ilahi Bux said assuringly, "Yes, Sir, begin with only one a day. But
don't inhale." I brought out a tin of his favourite brand of
cigarettes, Craven A. He had always been a heavy smoker, smoking about
fifty cigarettes a day.3 7
In the evening, the doctor came again; seeing five cigarettes butt ends in the
ashtray he looked at his patient inquiringly and the Quaid said with a smile,
"Yes, Doctor, I smoked five . . . . . . But I didn't inhale." And he laughed,
happy as a child.
Eid-ul-Fitr was to fall that year on 27th August, 38 and he was busy
preparing his Eid day message to the nation. This proved to be the last of
hundreds of speeches he prepared during the course of his long political
career. In this message, he wrote, It is only with united effort and faith in our
destiny that we shall be able to translate the Pakistan of our dreams into
reality. . . . ss
For us the last Eid-ul-Fitr which followed soon after the birth of Pakistan was
marred by the tragic happenings in East Punjab. The blood bath of last year
and its aftermath - the mass migration of millions - presented a problem of
unprecedented magnitude. To provide new moorings for this mass of drifting
humanity strained our energies and resources to breaking point. The
immensity of the task very nearly overwhelmed us and we could only just
keep our heads above water. The brief span of 12 months was not sufficient
to see all the Mohajareens settled in profitable employment in Pakistan.
Considerable progress has been made in resettling them but a good many
remain to be rehabilitated. We cannot rejoice till every one of them has been
put on his feet again. I am sanguine that by next Eid this formidable and
intractable problem will have been solved and all the refugees absorbed in
PakiFtan's economy as useful members of society.40
Continuing his message he wrote: My Eid message to our brother Muslim
St4tes is one of friendship and goodwill. We are all passing
through perilous times. The drama of power politics that is being staged in
Palestine, Indonesia and Kashmir should serve an eye opener to us. It is only by
putting up a united front that we can make our voice felt in the counsels of the
Let me, therefore, appeal to you - in whatever language you may put, when the
essence of my advice is boiled down, it comes to this - that every Musalman
should serve Pakistan honestly, sincerely and selflessly. 41
These turned out to be his last recorded words. ¢ 2 Towards the end of August
the Quaid-e-Azam suddenly became apathetic, and one day looking intently into
my eyes, he said, "Fati, I am no more interested ...... in living ...... The sooner I go
. . ... . . the -better." These were omnious words. I was shocked, as if I had
caught a live electric wire. I managed to keep calm and said, "Jin, you will be
soon alright, Doctors are hopeful." He smiled, a deathly smile, "No. . . . . . . I don't
want to live."
On 1st September Dr. Ilahi Bux in a depressed voice said to me. "The Quaid-e-
Azam has had a haemorrhage. I am worried. We must take him to Karachi. The
altitude of Quetta is nog good for him." His health began to deteriorate, and on
the 5th the doctors on examining his sputum found there were signs of germs of
pneumonia and his blood showed evidence of acute infection. He was feeling
suffocated and out of breath and doctors started giving him oxygen. On the 7th I
sent a cable to Mr. Ispahani in Washington to fly out American specialists, whose
name had been suggested by Dr. Riaz and the following day I telephoned Dr.
Mohammad Ali Mistry of Karachi to come immediately to Quetta. There was
another conference among his doctors, and after weighing the pros and cons of
the situation, they decided it was necessary to remove him to Karachi at once, as
of Quetta was bad for his weak heart. They broke the news to me with a heavy
heart that there was little hope, and that only a miracle could save his life. When I
informed my brother about the advice of his doctors to go to Karachi in order to
avoid the altitude of Quetta, he said, "Yes . . . . . . take me to Karachi ...... 1 was
born there . . . . . . I want to be buried . . . . . . there. His eyes closed, and I stayed
by his bed side. I could hear his thoughts ramble in the realm of his
unconsciousness. He whispered in his sleep, "Kashmir . . . . . . Give them ...... the
right ...... to decide ...... Constitution ...... I will complete it. . . . . . soon. . . . . .
Refugees . . . . . . give them ...... all assistance ...... Pakistan. . . ."
The Viking of the Goxernor-General was ordered to fly immediately to Quetta,
and the doctors decided on 11th September that we should be at the airport at
two in the afternoon on our way back to Karachi. As he was being taken on a
stretcher into the cabin of the Viking, the pilot and the crew had lined up to give
him a salute. He raised his feeble hand with difficulty and returned their salute.
We laid him comfortably in the seats that had been converted into an improvised
bed in the front cabin, and with him sat myself, Dr. Mistry and sister Dunham.
The pilot had warned us that he would have to fly at about 7,000 feet for some
time, and as soon as he had crossed the mountains of Baluchistan, he would fly
at about 5,000 feet. Oxygen cylinder and gas mask were ready, and I was to give
him oxygen when we were flying at high altitude. We were air-borne and the
Viking, ascended higher and higher. The Quaid found it difficult to breathe, and I
put the gas mask to his mouth. He took oxygen for some time, and then brushed
it away, as if to say to me, "It is useless. It is all over." I asked Dr. Mistry to call
Dr. Ilahi Bux, and I was happy to see that Dr. Ilahi Bux succeeded in induc-
ing him to take oxygen. I have never had a more anxious air journey in all my
After about two hours' flying, we landed at Mauripur Airport at 4.15 in the
afternoon. Here he had landed about a year ago, full of hope, full of confidence
that he would build Pakistan into a great nation. Thousands had thronged to
welcome him, including cabinet ministers and members of the diplomatic corps.
But that day, as instructed in advance, there was no one at the airport. Colonel
Geoferry Knowles, the Military Secretary of the Governor-General, was the first
to receive us as we got out of the plane. The Quaid was carried on a stretcher to
a military ambulance that had been kept ready to drive him to the Governor-
General house. Sister Dunham and I sat with him in the ambulance, which was
being driven at a very slow speed, while other members of our party left in cars,
only Dr. Ilahi Bux, Dr. Mistry, and the Military Secretary were following our
ambulance in the Governor-General's Cadillac.
After we had covered about four miles, the ambulanced coughed, as if gasping
for breath, and came to a sudden stop. After about five minutes, I came out of the
ambulance and was told that it had run short of petrol. The driver started
fidgeting with the engine, but it would not start. As I entered the ambulance
again, the Quaid's hands moved slightly, and his eyes looked at me in an
inquiring manner. I bent low and said to him, "There is a breakdown in the engine
of the ambulance."
He closed his eyes.
Usually there is a strong sea breeze in Karachi, which keeps the temperature
down, and relieves the oppressiveness of a warm day. But that day there was no
breeze, and the heat was unbearable. To add to this discomfort, scores of flies
buzzed around his face, and his hands had lost strength to raise themselves to
ward off their attack. Sister Dunham and I fanned his face by turns, waiting for
ambulance to come, every- minute an eternity of agony. He'could not be shifted
to the Cadillac, as it was not big enough for the stretcher. And so we waited,
hoping ... . . . .
Near by stood hundreds of huts of refugees, who went about their business, not
knowing that their Quaid, who had given them a homeland, was in their midst,
lying helpless in an ambulance that had run out of petrol. Cars honked on their
way, buses and trucks screamed to their destinations, and we stood there -
immobilised in an ambulance that refused to move an inch, with a precious life
ebbing away, drop by drop, breath by breath.
We waited for over one hour, and no hour in my life has been so long and
painful. Then came another ambulance. He was carried on the stretcher to the
newly arrived ambulance, and we proceeded, after all, to the Governor-General's
house. When he was gently put into his bed, Ilahi's watch told me that it had
been more than two hours after we had landed at Mauripur airport. Two hours
from Quetta to Karachi, and two hours from Mauripur airport to the Governor-
The doctors examined him and said he had been none the worse for the air
journey and the irksome incident of the ambulance. He was soon fast asleep,
and the doctors left the Governor-General's House, saying they would be back in
a short while. I was now alone with my brother who slept so peacefully. I
intuitively felt it was like the last brilliant flicker of the candle-flame before it has
burnt itself out. In my silence my mind seemed to commune with him
Oh, Jin, if they could pump out all my blood, and put it in you, so that you may
liveAf it would will God to take away all my years and give them to you, so that
you may continue to lead our nation, how grateful I would be to Him.
He slept for about two hours, undisturbed. And then he opened his eyes, saw
me, and signalled with his head and eyes for me to come .near him. He made
one last attempt and whispered, "Fati, Khuda Hafiz. ...... La Ilaha Il Allah ......
Mohammad ...... Rasul ...... Allah." His head dropped slightly to his right, his
I ran out of the room, shouting, screaming, "Doctor, doctor. Be quick. My brother
is dying. Where are the Doctors?"
In a few minutes they were there, examining him and giving him injections. I
stood there, motionless, speechless. Then I saw them cover his whole body,
head to foot, with a white sheet. I knew what it meant. Death had come to take
him away from this life that must end to a life which is Eternal; Immortal.
Col. Ilahi Bux walked on heavy feet towards me, put his right palm over my left
shoulder, and wept like a little child. Those tears, in a language without words or
voice, conveyed to me the fatal news. I searched for tears, but the well where
one finds them had dried up. I wanted to scream and cry, but my voice had sunk
into the abyss of speechlessness. I dragged myself to his bed side, and flung
myself like a log of wood on the floor.
The news of his death must have spread far and wide. The huge iron-gates of
the Governor-General's House, where normally strict security measures prevent
unauthorised entry, opened themselves wide, and endless streams of peoples
came from all directions.
Soon many of them were in the room, where he lay, undisturbed, in a sleep that
was beyond awakening. I sat there, oblivious of my surroundings. I lost count of
time, I had completely lost myself in my irreparable loss.
I do not know how long I sat there, staring at the white sheet that covered my
But I remember that an elderly lady, whom I had
never seen or known put her arms round my neck, and quietly whispered into my
ear a verse from the Holy Quran:
From God he came, To God he returned.
1. Miss Jinnah moved into Jinnah's bangalow on Malabar Hills after the death of
Ruttenbai on 20 February 1929, since when she was his constant companion.
2. One crore equals 10 million. 3. Jinnah was 5'11'/s".
4. He spoke on 19 November 1940.
5. Jamil-ud-Din Ahmad (ed.), Speeches and Writings of Mr. Jinnah (Lahore:
Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 7th edn., 1968), I: 199; hereafter referred to by its title.
6. Ibid., p. 207. 7. Ibid., p. 208. 8.Ibid., p. 210. 9.
Ibid., p. 220.
11.The Muslim League session was held during Easter holidays, 12-15 April
12.On 12 April 1941, the first day of the session, after the welcome address by
Abdul Hameed Khan, Chairman, Reception Committee, Jinnah responded
briefly, first in Urdu and then in English. Because he was still unwell, his
presidential address was postponed to 14 April. On that day, he spoke for one
hour fifty-four minutes at a stretch, indeed a feat for a person who had suffered a
nervous breakdown barely three days before. In the procession and at the flag-
hoisting ceremony on 11 April, he was deputised by Amir Muhammad Khan, Raja
of Mahmudabad, who was Treasurer of the AIML at the time. The editor was
present throughout the session. See also the account by Hasan Reyaz, Editor,
Manshoor (Delhi), the official mouthpiece of the All-India Muslim League, in
Manshoor, 17 May 1941.
13. Speeches and Writings of Mr. Jinnah, 1: 262-63.
14. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah: Speeches as Governor-General of
Pakistan (Islamabad: Directorate of Research, Reference and Publications,
n.d.), p. 5 ; hereafter referred to as Speeches as G.G.
Another version of the above abstract (given by Mrs. Rafia Shareef in her article
on Miss Jinnah in Freedom, Karachi, 4 March 1949) is as follows: "During all
these years of worry and hard work my sister was like a bright ray of light and
hope, whenever I came back home and met her. Anxieties would have been
much greater and my health much worse but for the restraint imposed by her.
She never grudged - she never grumbled. Let me reveal to you something that
you probably do not know. There was a time when we were face to face with a
great revolution. We were ready and prepared to face bullets and even death.
She never said a word but on the contrary she encouraged me. For solid ten
years she stood by me and sustained me."
15. It should be read as Wagah border since Wagah, and not Khokrapar, is near
16. Speeches as G.G., pp. 29-30.
17. Ibid., pp.30-31.
18. Ibid., p. 114.
19. Ibid., p. 120.
20. Ibid., pp. 126-28.
21. Ibid., p. 137.
22. Ibid., p.152.
23. Ibid., p. 153. _
24. Ibid., pp. 154-155.
25. Ibid., p. 158.
26. Ibid., pp. 159-61.
Ilahi Bakhsh's version of his interview with Jinnah is as follows:
is nothing much wrong with me," he told me, "except that I have got stomach
trouble and exhaustion due to overwork and worry. For forty years I have worked
for 14 hours a day, never knowing what disease was. However, for the last few
years I have been having annual attacks of fever and cough. My doctors in
Bombay regarded these as attacks of bronchitis, and with the usual treatment
and rest in bed, I generally recovered within a week or so. For the last year or
two, however, they have increased both in frequency and severity and are much
"About three weeks ago I caught a chill and developed fever and a cough for
which the Civil Surgeon of Quetta prescribed penicillin lozenges. I have been
taking these since; my cold is better, the fever is less, but I feel very week. I don't
think there is anything organically wrong with me. The phelgin which I bring up is
probably coming from my stomach and if my stomach can be put right I will
recover soon. Many years ago I had a rather bad stomach trouble for which I
consulted two or three London specialists, but they failed to diagnose my illness,
and one of them even advised operation. . . . " Ilahi Bakhsh, With the Quaid-i-
Azam During His Last Days (Karachi: Quaid-i-Azam Academy, 1978), pp. 4-5.
11ahi Bakhsh's version is as follows: ". . . . Now tell me all about it. How
long have I had this disease? What are the chances of my overcoming it? How
long will the treatment last? I should like to know everything and you must not
hesitate to tell me the whole truth." I replied that I could not give a definite opinion
until I had guaged the extent of the disease process by means of an X-ray
examination but felt confident that with the aid of the latest drugs there should be
a fair chance of a considerable improvement. What I had told him did not appear
to have disturbed his composure unduly and I was greatly impressed by the
manner in which he had taken the grave news." ibid., p. 8.
Ilahi- Bakhsh's version is as follows: " For breakfast, I allowed him
porridge, half-boiled or scrambled or poached eggs, thin slices of white bread
with butter followed by coffee with plenty of milk; fruit juice at 11 O'clock; minced
chicken or steamed or boiled fish with white sauce, mashed potatoes and green
peas followed by baked custard or fruit jelly with cream for lunch; biscuits and tea
in the afternoon; and for dinner, minced chicken or grilled fish with some
appetizing sauce, mashed potatoes, green peas or boiled marrow, followed by a
light pudding and coffee. . . ." Ibid., p. 6.
Bashkh's version is as follows: "While I was telling him the grave
news I watched him intently, all the time uncertain whether I had not made a
mistake. He, however, remained quite calm and all he said after I had finished
was, "Have you told Miss Jinnah?" I replied, "Yes, Sir. Since I thought it proper to
conceal the nature of the illness from you, fearing it might have an adverse effect
on you, I had to take her into confidence." The Quaid-e-Azam interrupted me and
said, "No, you shouldn't have done it. After all she is a woman." I expressed
regret for the pain caused to his sister, but explained that there had been no
other course. . .. "ibid., p.8.
31. See ibid., p. 9.
32. Ilahi Bakhsh's version is as follows: ". . . . Downstairs in the drawing room I
met the Prime Minister, who had come to Ziarat that day with Mr. Muhammad Ali
to see the Quaid-eAzam. He anxiously enquired about the Quaid-e-Azam,
complimented me on leaving won the first round by securing the patient's
confidence, and expressed the hope that it would contribute to his recovery. He
also urged me to probe into the
root cause of the persistent disease. I assured him that despite the Quaide-
Azam's serious condition there was reason to hope that if he responded to the
latest medicines which had been sent for from Karachi he might yet overcome
the trouble, and that the most hopeful feature was the patient's strong power of
resistance. I was moved by the Prime Minister's deep concern for the health of
his Chief and old comrade." Ibid, p. 11.
33. Speeches as G.G., pp. 162-63.
34. See also Ilahi Bakhsh, op, cit., pp. 14-15.
Bakhsh's version is as follows: "Yes I am glad you have brought me
here. I was caught in at Ziarat". Ibid., p. 19. 36. See also ibid., p. 25.
37. See also ibid., p. 26.
Eid-ul-Fitr fell on 7 August that year. The error may be due to the fact that
Quaid-e-Azam Speaks (Karachi: Pak. Publicity, 1950?) had erroneously
placed the 'Eid message on 27 August 1948, and following this work, later
publications have repeated this error. Miss Jinnah and Mr. Allana must have
obviously consulted one of these works.
39. Speeches As G.G., p. 166. 40. Ibid., p. 165.
-l I . Ibid., p. 166.
Because of the error pointed out in note 38 above, Jinnah's Independence
Day message on 14 August 1948 represented his last recorded words.
From Kathiawar to Karachi
W ITH the dawn of the second half of the nineteenth century, the sun of British Raj in India was
inexorably climbing towards its meridian. The foreigners who had started their life on this
subcontinent as merchants, seeking concessions, begging for friendly and favourable treatment,
had ended by becoming rulers of this country, setting up an empire that became the most
dazzling jewel in the Imperial Crown. On the surface was the calm that precedes a storm. The
alien rulers believed their civilizing mission had sobered the fiery temper of the disgruntled and
that pax Britannica had cooled down the smouldering cinders of `native' revolt and defiance. The
subterranean rumblings of hatred against foreign rule escaped their notice, until in the year 1857
a calculated spark ignited a mighty flame of rebellion that spread far and wide, and its enactment
came to be recorded as the first chapter in the book of India's long and tortuous struggle for
freedom from foreign domination. It was a stormy period of our history; many of our patriots lost
their lives on the battlefields, and they came to be looked upon as martyrs in the cause of our
country's freedom. It left a lasting impact on the minds of our people
practically all over India.
There were, however, some parts that continued their placid life, unconcerned about the
political conflagration that raged all around them. Gondal, a princely State in Kathiawar in the
Bombay Presidency, was one such spot, the Thakur Saheb of Gondal, in return for his unstinted
loyalty to the British Crown, continued to rule in all his splendour over his subjects. It paid him to
keep the shadow of revolt against the British out of his State, lest it should darken the glamour
and glitter of his own undisputed sway over his people. Under the protecting umbrella of the
Thakur Saheb, the people of Gondal State went about their daily round of life, undisturbed by the
political upsurge that had engulfed India.
Agriculture was the mainstay of Gondal's economy; the main crop being cotton, wheat, jowar and
bajri. Among the agricultural produce of Gondal, the one that gave Gondal a special reputation
was chillies, and even to this day Gondal chillies are famous. This may explain the reason why in
our house, in the earliest days that I can remember, our dishes always contained plentiful
sprinkling of chillies, and those of us that found the food not strong enough to our taste, could add
an additional dosage from a plate that was always on the table containing a handful supply of
Gondal, being the capital, was the biggest town in the state; but by far and large the people of this
principality lived in countless villages, leading a simple but contented life. Theirs was a narrow
world, whose horizons remained confined within the geographical boundaries of their State.
Paneli was one such village, which had a population of less than one thousand, around the time
the 1857 rebellion was sowing the seeds of organized political opposition to the British rule in
India. In this little village lived my grandfather, Poonja,
and there had lived and died his forefathers. My grandfather was one of the few citizens of
Paneli, who was not an agriculturist. He owned a few handlooms, on which he worked long
and tiring hours and with the help of a few hired hands he produced coarse hand-woven
cotton cloth, by the sale of which he made enough money to entitle his family to be ranked
among the well-to-do families of that small village.
He had three sons, Va1ji, Nathoo and Jinnah, the last named being his youngest son and a
daughter, Manbai. Jinnah was more _dynamic and more ambitious than his two elder
brothers, and he was born around 1857, the historic year of _ the first Indian rebellion. To
his youthful and ambitious mind, Paneli appeared not only a sluggish and sleepy village,
but also a place where life revolved round the gossip of the village bazar and the village
well. He had heard that Gondal was a big city, where life was brisk and business was big.
What could he do in Paneli? The prospect of working with his two brothers on the family
handlooms did not attract him. That was too small a venture. His eyes were set on the big
city, where the spirit of adventure beckoned him.
His father gave him little cash but much advice that before he invested his money in any
business he should make a thorough study as to which would be the best business to
enter. Having an analytical and cautious mind and a meagre purse, my father was not a
man to rush into a venture in a hurry. It did not take him long to find a few profitable lines in
which he could do quick buying and selling. His flair for business and hard work soon
helped him to make sufficient profits, enabling him to add substantially to the original
capital. When he returned from Gondal to Paneli after some months, his father was happy
to find that his son had made good in a big city. Believing as they did in the old traditional
values of life, they were afraid that temp-
46 MY BROTHER
tations in Gondal might allure their youthful son and distract his mind from a lucrative business
that he had succeeded in establishing in such a short time. Moreover they were getting on in
years; their other two sons and daughter had been married, the only parental responsibility that
remained was to get their youngest son married to a good girl, from a decent family of their own
Ismaili Khoja community.
They began to search for a suitable match for him, being eager to get him married before he left
Paneli to settle down permanently to a new life in Gondal. Their search took them outside Paneli,
and in Dhaffa, a village about 10 miles from Paneli, they _decided Mithibai, a girl from a
respectable family, would be a suitable spouse for their youngest son. The parents of the girl
were approached through a matchmaker, and they agreed to give their blessings to the proposed
match. And thus my father, Jinnah, and my mother, Mithibai, came to be married in Dhaffa
The business of my father prospered, and he seemed to have an assured future. Urge for hard
work and ambition to do bigger and bigger business, however, flowed in his veins. He believed in
putting his shoulder to the wheel, in order to go forward on whatever path he chose to tread.
Indolence and complacency he considered as hinderances; consecration to duty and long and
laborious toil were the price one must willingly pay in order to succeed in life. He considered
Gondal too small a place for his soaring dreams and ambitions.
He heard of that big city, Bombay, which was bursting with prosperity, where enormous fortunes
were being amassed by big business families. He also heard encouraging reports of a lesser city,
Karachi, which had during the last few years developed into an important seaport and a
flourishing centre of trade. He began to ponder in his mind whether he
should migrate to Bombay or to Karachi, leaving Gondal behind for good. While greater chances
of business in Bombay tempted his mind, destiny made a decision for him, a decision which
resulted in my father and mother migrating from Kathiawar to Karachi.
He had never seen a city as big as Karachi, although at that time all that it could boast of was
Khadda, where sailing boats daily brought big catch of fish to be dried in the open spaces under
the sun and to be stocked in fish-godowns that littered the coast line; Kharadar which, as its
name implies, was a cluster of houses, where the saltish waters of the Arabian Sea wriggled
themselves on streets, lanes and by-lanes; Mithadar, where the sweet waters of Lyari and Malir
rivers could be obtained by digging knee-deep wells; and Saddar, where British troops had their
Cantonment and barracks. My father rented a modest two room apartment on Newnham Road in
Kharadar, a locality which was the business heart of the city. Here lived numerous business
families, some of them having come from Gujrat and Kathiawar.
The building was of stone masonary and lime mortar; its roof and floorings being of wooden
planks. The apartment taken by my father was on the first floor, where a spacious wooden and
iron balcony projected above the pavement, providing a cool and airy place for sitting during the
day and to spread a charpoy to sleep at night. The balcony and the rooms faced West, which is
the best direction in Karachi to face in order to ensure a full blast of cool sea breeze practically
throughout the year.
The young Mr. Jinnah at first found it difficult to hit upon a trade that offered an easy opening to
set up a lucrative business. He tried his hand at different businesses by turns, and steadily went
on adding to his modest pile. He seemed to have the
48 MY BROTHER
golden touch; whatever business he handled, it brought to him rich dividends. There were at that
time in Karachi a few British firms, which exported the produce of Karachi and the hinterland to
Europe and the Far East, and imported consumer goods from England. Grahams Trading Co.
was one such firm, and it was one of the leading import and export houses in Karachi. Although
my father had not had regular education at school in English, his diligence and natural aptitude
had enabled him to be fairly conversant with the English language. This was then considered as
quite an accomplishment, few of the merchants in Karachi being able to converse in English. It is
likely that it was his ability to speak English that brought him close to the General Manager of
Grahams Trading Co., and this proved to be a great blessing for the rapid expansion of his
Many years later, when our family came to be settled in Ratnagiri for a short while, my father
would collect me and my two sisters at night and teach us to read and write English. He was a
strict disciplinarian, and we had to behave in his presence during that tuition hour as if we were at
school in our class-room. In our childish eyes father appeared a big man, one who could speak
English so well. We envied him for it, and how we wished we could speak English as well as he
did. Sometimes when we three sisters met and were in a playful mood, we would imitate father's
English. One of us would say to the other, "Ish, Phish, Ish, Phish, Yes"; and the other would reply,
"Ish, Phish, Ish, Phish, No." We took this game so seriously, feigning we were at last on the
threshold of learning English, if we had not already mastered that language.
In those days many Afghans from Kandhar came to Karachi for business, and my father had
extensive business dealings with them also. It was by constant conversation with them over so
many years that he had been able to make himself conversant with spo-
ken Persian, and I found him speak that language quite fluently. Being from Kathiawar, the
language spoken in our house was Gujrati, but after settling down in Karachi, the members of our
family became quite at home with Cutchi and Sindhi also.
With business contacts established with Grahams Trading Co., my father started doing business
in isinglass and gumarabic, in addition to his various other business interests. He had by now
business relations with a number of countries, in particular with -England and Hongkong. As
correspondence with these countries had to be carried on in English, my father taught himself to
read and write English.
In those days some of the merchants of Kharadar acted not only as businessmen, but also as
bankers. The entire trade of the hinterland of Sind, Baluchistan and the Punjab passed through
the port of Karachi and, in the absence of adequate banking facilities, monetary transactions and
transfers were usually conducted with the assistance of these firms. Many families deposited on
trust their private savings with those merchants, using their offices as we use banks in our times.
Of course, all the modern paraphernalia that goes with modern banking did not exist then, but
these merchants were scrupulously honest, and their word was as good as a bond. Jinnah
Poonja and Co., my father's firm, was one such concern, doing a big and flourishing trade, and
enjoXing the trust and confidence of the people and of the business community.
My mother was now with child, and father devoted all his attention and care on his young wife;
both excited at the expected happy event. There was hardly any maternity home worth the name
in Karachi, and the few good midwives that had established their reputation in their profession,
were in great demand. Anti-natal treatment and care was unknown, and it was only at the time of
actual delivery that the midwife was summoned to the house. Being a rich locality, there lived in
50 MY BROTHER
Kharadar a midwife who was considered to be among the best in the city, whom mother engaged
in advance, and it was her hands, trained in the medical college of every day experience, that
brought into the world my mother's first child, a boy; the day was a Sunday, and the date was
25th of December in the year 1876.
The baby boy was weak and tiny, having slim, long hands, and a long, elongated head. The
parents were seriously worried about his health, this little baby that was underweight by quite a
few pounds. They had him examined by a doctor, who said that, except for his weak appearance,
there was nothing physically or organically wrong with him and that his health should give the
parents no cause for concern. But a doctor's reassurance can scarcely set at rest _a loving
mother's fears and anxieties.
There arose the question of naming the child. So far, living in Kathiawar, names of the male
members of our family had been so much akin to Hindu names. But Sind was a Muslim province,
and the children of their neighbours had Muslims names. The two were agreed that Mohammad
Ali would be an auspicious name for their first born, and this was the name they gave him.
My mother was intensely fond of Mohammad Ali, and inspite of the fact that six other children
were born to her, she continued to the end of her life to look upon Mohammad Ali as her favourite
child. Rahemat, Maryani, Ahmed Ali, Shireen, Fatima, and Bundeh Ali were to be her other
children, in all, three sons and four daughters.
Cares of a flourishing business weighed heavily on my father's shoulders, but my mother insisted
that the two take Mohammad Ali to the durgah of Hassan Pir in Ganod, ten miles from our village,
Paneli, for the agiga ceremony. As a child, my mother had heard miraculous tales concerning
devotees that believed in the supernatural powers of this Pir, who was buried at that durgah. Her
intuition made her believe that a great future awaited her Mohammad Ali and she wanted to take
him to Hassan Pir's durgah, where iri the traditional manner of those days his head would be
shaved ceremoniously and the mother would make a wish, invoking the blessings of the saintly
Pir for its fulfilment. At first my father tried to get himself excused, saying he could ill-afford to be
away from Karachi for over a month, but his, obduracy melted in the warmth of his young wife's
pleadings. And so, with their baby boy, a few months old, the father and mother booked seats by
a sail-boat that would carry them from Karachi to Verawal, a port in Kathiawar, braving the rain
and winds that might be encountered on the voyage.
The frail boat with a plentiful load of passengers ran into a storm and tossed about like a plank of
wood in mid-ocean. There was concern and anxiety among the people on board, and panic under
such conditions is always infectious. While my father looked at the skies above, wondering when
the storm would blow over, giving the boat a calm passage, my mother held her little boy close to
her heart praying for the safety of her fellow-voyagers among whom was her darling, Mohammad
Ali. After the storm a strange calm descended on the ocean, and the boat sailed on merrily to its
destination. Days later my mother told father that in those anxious moments she had made a vow
that if they reached their destination without mishap, she would stay a day longer in Ganod,
praying and thanking God for His mercy at the shrine of Hassan Pir.
When the boat put anchor at Verawal port, and they had set foot on terra firma, they hired a
bullock cart to take them to Ganod, a distance of a few miles. So after a stormy voyage across
the Arabian Sea and after a jerky jolty bullock cart journey, my baby brother, Mohammad Ali, sat
in the arms of my mother, surrounded by our numerous relatives,
52 MY BROTHER
ready to have his head shaved at the durgah of Hassan Pir, in fulfilment of the vow made by my
The facts about the life of Hassan Pir are so intricately mixed-up with legend that it is not
possible to extricate the one from the other. However, it is established that the Pir came from Iran
as an Ismaili missionary, through the overland route from Baluchistan and for a while lived in
Multan. His saintly and exemplary life won him an admiring following, and many non Muslims
accepted Islam at his hands. The wandering missionary then trekked into Sind, continuing his
missionary work, crossed into Cutch, and finally came to a place near Paneli, where he pitched
his tent and devoted all his time propagating [preaching] Islam among the non-Muslims of that
Legend has it that he had supernatural powers; many are the stories that are attributed to him,
and this is the usual image that is woven round such figures, whose authentic life and work
cannot be vouchsafed on historical and documentary evidence.
Hassan Pir is said to have followed in the foot-steps of those Muslim sufis, who devote their days
to the teaching of the Quran and the message of Islam and their nights on the mystic shores of
meditation. It was his practice to sleep early, to wake up around two in the morning and to sit in
meditation outside his tent on the bank of Bhadhar River, until he had said his morning prayers.
One night as he sat lost in communion with the Unknown, a huge tidal wave lashed the banks of
the river, penetrating far beyond the precarious embarkments. The sudden onrush of the river
waters dragged Hassan Pir, who was lost in meditation, into mid-river, and death by drowning
ended his earthly life. His corpse floated leisurely under the cover of darkness from Paneli to the
banks of the river near a village called Ganod, where majority of the people were non-Muslims of
the Rabari caste, their ancestral occupation being
breeding of cows.
As some of the Rabaris came early morning on the banks of Bhadhar River, they found the dead
body of Hassan Pir that had been washed on to the shores by the receding waters of the river. They
at once recognised the saintly person, whose reputation had spread beyond the geographical
boundaries of Paneli village. A conference of their elders, seeing that chance had gifted the dead
body of the saint to them, decided to accord him a solemn and befitting burial and to build a
mausoleum over it, believing that his durgah would bring prosperity to their village.
And so it was that Hassan Pir came to be buried in Ganod. Lapse of many years has not dampened
the devotional enthusiasm of the people of Gondal State and even to this day every year there is an
Urs (anniversary celebrations) of the saint at his durgah where both Hindu and Muslim devotees
After the agiga ceremony at Hassan Pir's durgah, my father and mother took their bald little boy to
their native village, Paneli, making the journey again by bullockcart. My father's boyhood friends and
relations had heard glowing tales of his financial success in Karachi, and success adorned him with
a dimension that inspired respect in the eyes of his village community. My mother decided to
celebrate the birth of her darling son by arranging a feast, inviting the entire village population to join
in a community dinner. In the days when I was still a child, I heard from my elders, "On that day in
Paneli not a single family had lit fire in their homes; their cooking utensils and eating plates sat on
the kitchen shelves, as if relaxing in their resting places in celebration of the arrival of tiny little
Mohammad Ali, the son of a villager of Paneli ".
After staying in Paneli and Gondal for a few weeks, my father and mother made the journey back to
Karachi, with their baby boy, whose little mind could not comprehend that his arrival in Ganod and
Paneli had been the occasion of so much festivity
and celebration. They were back in Karachi, and my father got absorbed in his
business preoccupations, while my mother gave all her time and attention to her
new born baby.
Inspite of the occasional outbursts of extravagance, particularly when my mother
so desired, my father was frugal in his living and careful with his money. A
businessman, who was struggling to establish and expand his business in a new
city, had to be careful with his pennies. The family lived a simple life, what they
lacked in ostentatiousness being made up by the warmth of a happy family life.
So that although my father had quite a flourishing business, the habit of not
spending money unnecessarily persisted. Fortune is a capricious deity; it may
smile on you today, but who knows what will be her mood tomorrow. It was on
this principle that my father ran his family budget. This had a lasting impression
on our minds as we grew up, and this was a trait in the Quaid-e-Azam's character
that lasted throughout his life.
Mohammad Ali was now about six years old, and my parents engaged a teacher
to teach him Gujrati at home. They thought he was still too young to be sent to
school, and the nearest school was at quite a distance from our house, a
distance which they thought was too much to be covered on foot by a boy of six.
He was indifferent to the reading lessons that he was made to do, but positively
loathed to enter the realm of addition and subtraction, passing his hour with his
tutor as an unwarranted infliction. He was more at home when he was playing
with the boys of his age in the neighbourhood, among whom he established
reputation as being proficient at games. They in their childish minds looked upon
him as their leader, and he intuitively felt that he was their superior. However,
when he was about nine, he was put in a primary school, where he had to
compete with his classmates at the time of examination.
He was disappointed to find that other boys defeated him, securing more marks than he did. He,
who had always looked upon himself as superior to other boys at play, found that he could not be
the first in his class. On the one hand, he had to abandon his play for so many hours a day to
attend school, and on the other hand these hours at school did not yield to him the honour of
being the topmost pupil. He developed a childish aversion for books and school, to the horror of
my father, who was anxious to give his son a sound education in order to enable him to join his
own business after he had passed his matriculation examination. My mother, who had a blind
faith in the destiny of her son, frequently saying, "My Mohammad Ali is going to be a big man; he
will be very clever; better than the other. boys", found her dreams tumbling down to the ground.
Mother cajoled him to be regular at school and to give serious attention to his studies, saying that
way alone he would rise in life and be a big man, standing head and shoulders above the others.
Inspite of grave provocation, father was patient with him, asking him why it was that he did not
devote sufficient time to his books. "Father", said little Mohammad Ali, "I don't like to go to
"What would you like to do, then?"
"Father, I would like to sit with you in office, and learn to do business."
"But you are too young for that, Mohammad Ali." "I would do better in your office than at school."
My father was a tactful person, and he tried to tempt him, saying, "Mohammad Ali, in my office
there is strict discipline. You will have to go with me to office early in the morning at eight, return
for lunch from two to four, and then again to office from four to nine in the night."
"I will do that, father."
"But that will give you no time at all for play." "I don't mind."
And so young Mohammad Ali, after oscillating in the borderland between his father's office and
the class-room, started going with my father to office. He soon found he could not do anything in
office. Everything depended on reading and writing, monies received and paid had to be entered
into accountbooks; and he did not know either to read or write or to keep accounts. All that he
could do in the office was to do little odds and ends of jobs, which were not to his liking. And then
decisions for buying, selling and regarding other important matters were done by his father with
the assistance of his business executives. No body bothered to consult him or to obtain his
approval. The most irksome disadvantage was that he was absolutely cut away from his games,
which had such fascination for him.
Within about two months, he was fed up with office work, and he one day surprised my father,
"Father, I don't like office work".
"What would you do then, Mohammad Ali?" "I would like to go back to school."
My father was very happy, but he tried to conceal his pleasure by maintaining an unruffled
appearance. "You see, my boy", he said, "there are only two ways of learning in life."
"What are they, father."
"One is to trust the wisdom of your elders and their superior knowledge; to accept their advice;
and to do exactly as they suggest."
"And what is the other way, father?"
"The other way is to go your own way, and to learn by making mistakes; to learn by hard knocks
and kicks in life."
The boy Mohammad Ali listened attentively. This incident explains the characteristic of the Quaid,
who upto the last days of his life preferred to go his own way.
Back at school, he was a completely transformed child, no more inattentive, indifferent, and
lagging hehind his classmates. He wanted to make up for the
lost time, as boys of his age and even younger than him had gone ahead of him. He took to his
lessons with a vengeance, studying into the late hours of the night at home, [and] determined to
forge ahead. My father was very happy to see Mohammad Ali take seriously to his studies. One
day he encountered his boy's class teacher on the road and asked him how his son was faring at
the school. The teacher said, "He is coming up. But I must tell you the boy is horrible in
This completely disappointed my father, who already knew that his son was not a child prodigy,
as the boy's mother fondly believed, nor would his son prove to be a precocious young man. He
had already failed to impress his tutors as a pupil of great promise; they thought that with hard
work he would manage to pass his examinations, possibly to be devoured in the anonymous
ranks of office-clerks. But my father wanted him to be good at mathematics, as accounts were the
back-bone of business, and he wanted the firm of Jinnah Poonja & Co., to keep on forging ahead
as a going concern, when his son took over business from him. "Poor at mathematics", my father
mused. "I wonder what the boy will be!"
But my mother's faith in Mohammad Ali was not to be shaken. She said, "You wait. My
Mohammad Ali will do well, and many people will be jealous of him."
My father decided he should be guided by what appeared to him to be in. the best interest of my
brother, rather than by the intuition of his wife. He thought it better to put him in a school far from
their house, as his classmates in the primary school at Kharadar had a disturbing influence on his
attendance at school, tempting him always to abandon books for marbles, tops, gilli danda and
cricket. Sind Madrasah-tul-Islam, a high school about a mile from our house on Newnham Road,
the only one that Muslims of Sind could boast of, founded
by Khan Bahadur Hassanali Affendi, was the school he decided his son should
Mohammad Ali was about ten years old, when my father got him admitted
in Sind Madrasah as a student in fourth standard Gujrati. Records of the school
show that he was in serial order the 114th boy to be admitted. But change of
school effected no change in his attitude to his studies, and he continued to woo
success and victory on the play field rather than at school.
Around this time my father's only sister, Manbai, happened to be on a visit to
Karachi from Bombay, where she had been married and where she lived with her
husband. Manbai Poofi, as we called her, was a vivacious person, full of wit and
humour,.and wise beyond her academic education. My father was very fond of
his sister, and Manbai was devoted to her youngest brother, Jinnah. There was
great attachment between the two, and it continued unimpaired until their last
days. As I look back on about four decades of my constant companionship with
the Quaid-e-Azam,' I am reminded of the strong bonds of friendship and devotion
that persisted between my father and his sister. I recall that when Manbai came
with her husband many years later to settle down in Karachi, she constantly
visited our house.
She was a great story-teller, and I wonder to this day how she was able to
remember hundreds of tales by heart, as she had never gone to school and
therefore, could not have read them from books. Manbai Poofi would gather me,
my sisters and my cousins round her after sunset. She was the centre of our
eyes and ears, and we listened to her, enraptured by the bewitching way in which
she would narrate her stories, night after night. She told tales of fairies and the
flying carpet; of jins and dragons; and they seemed to our childish minds to be
wonderful tales, stories out of this world.
My father, mother and Manbai Poofi sat in conference, discussing what to do with
who simply refused to be serious about his studies. He was almost ten years old and he had not
yet passed fourth Gujrati. Manbai suggested that she take him with her to Bombay, in the hope
that change of environment might help in inducing the boy to be more regular with his studies. My
mother was persuaded to agree to this proposal and she reluctantly gave consent. And so
Mohammad Ali was on his way to Bombay with Manbai Poofi.
She got him admitted in Anjuman-e-Islam School in Bombay, and for a while Mohammad Ali
showed signs of taking to his books seriously. He passed his fourth Gujrati, entitling him to be
admitted in first standard, English. The mother felt miserable at the absence of her darling son. A
mother's love and affection triumphed over a father's sense of logic, and Mohammad Ali returned
to Karachi from Bombay.
My father got him admitted once again in Sind Madrasah, and the records of the school show that
this time his serial number of admission was 178, and the date of admission 23-12-1887, the
school previously attended being Anjuman-e-Islam School, Bombay.
By now Mohammad Ali had. developed a great fascination for horse-riding. My father owned a
number of carriages, which was the aristocratic way of transportation in those days, the era of
combustible engine motor cars being still far away. In the stables of my father were a number of
fine horses, and Mohammad Ali was quick to learn horse-riding a sport he immensely enjoyed.
He had a school friend, Karim Kassim, son of another merchant at Kharadar, and the two boys
would go horse-riding for long distances every day.
He loved his horses; they stood so erect, holding their heads high, indicative of strength and
confidence. He saw in all nature, life mould itself on. Vertical lines. Horses stand erect, and so do
the trees, as also flowers on the bough; man walks upright, as
must birds and beasts; minarets and domes aspire to the skies. He made it a
principle in life not only to look ahead, but also to keep his chin up. He would not
allow difficulties to bend him, he would rather accept their challenge and
overcome them. He would be like a giant pine, whom storms may toss, but
He spent his days at school, managing to pass his examinations, and his
evenings he devoted to horseriding.
His inclination for change once again asserted itself; and he asked his father to
get him admitted to another school. After some argument, my father agreed, and
the records of Sind Madrasah reveal that while he was in English fourth standard,
he left that school on 5-1-1891. The next school he joined was C.M.S. High
School on Lawrence Road in Karachi. But he does not seem to have liked the
latter school. Once again, he asked my father to get him re-admitted to Sind
Madrasah; accordingly on 9-2-1891, one month after he had left it, he was on the
rolls of Sind Madrasah, studying in fourth English.
He was now fifteen, and my father began to despair about the future of his son.
What would this boy be, he wondered.
The General Manager of Grahams Trading Co., an Englishman, who had now
become a great friend of my father, offered to get young Mohammad Ali admitted
in his Head Office in London [as] an apprentice for three years, where he would
learn practical business administration, which would best qualify him to join his -
father's business on return from London. The General Manager was sure that the
young man could then be a great asset to his father, helping- him to further
expand his business. This tempted the heart of a flourishing businessman, who
was convinced that after such rich experience in London, his son would surely
add quite a few new and lucrative lines to the family business.
But he wondered how much it would cost him in this venture, which may yield dividends to the
family in the long run, but it definitely had no prospects of giving immediate returns. My _father
discreetly asked him what would be the cheapest way of transportation from Karachi to London,
and how much he would have to spend each month for the upkeep of his son in England. The
figures were worked out in detail and with great care; although the total amount involved for three
years was quite substantial, my father decided he could afford to deposit the sum with Grahams
in London, in order to ensure continuity to his son's training. After all, he thought business'
success is as capricious as a wind; it can change its direction without notice. As it turned out
subsequently, the prudence of a businessman, who had come up the hard way, proved to be
highly beneficial, and without it my brother's career in London might have terminated abruptly.
But my mother was adamant. How can she allow her darling Mohammad Ali to be away from her
for three years. Father explained to her that it was in the best interest of the boy's own future, as
also of their family business, Jinnah Poonja & Co. And after all, three years would soon be over.
Mother agreed after days of pursuasion, but she put her own condition for her consent. England
was a dangerous country to send an unmarried young man to, particularly a young man who was
as handsome as her Mohammad Ali. She was afraid he might get married to an English girl, and
that would be [a] tragedy for the Jinnah Poonja family. Father agreed with her reasoning, and the
question arose where they would get Mohammad Ali married to.
My mother had a ready answer to this; she knew of an Ismaili Khoja family of Paneli who were
distantly related to her, and they had a girl of marriageable age, Emi Bai; surely she would be a
good match for Mohammad Ali. My father had no objection to this, but the two parents thought it
advisable to inform
their son. In those days it was the parents that arranged marriages of their
children, the boy and girl had no option but to believe in the superior wisdom of
their parents. Of course, the parents knew what was good for their children.
It is probably the only important decision in the life of the Quaid-e-Azam that he
allowed to be made by others. He loved his mother so much, he could not refuse
her. He trusted his father's wordly wisdom so much, he was sure that his father
could hardly make a mistake. As was the custom in those days, he acted as an
obedient son, accepting the decision of his parents, and he thus came to be
engaged to Emi Bai of Paneli.
This young man, who had a mind and will of his own, who was determined to go
his own way and learn by hard knocks, showed some reluctance on this
occasion. His initial objection against marrying a girl he had never seen or
spoken to vanished like thin 'mist in the sunshine of the assurances of his
mother, who made her son believe that a mother's blessings in such matters
prove propitious and such marriages turn out to be happy and auspicious.
As a result of this engagement, to be followed by marriage, before his departure
for Paneli he left Sind Madrassah on 30-1-1892, while he was studying in fifth
English, and the school records show the entry, "Mohammad Ali Jinnahbhai left
school to go to Cutch on account of marriage".
In his first speech as Governor-General designate of Pakistan, on 9th August
1947, he fondly recalled, Yes, I am Karachi-born and it was on the sands of
Karachi that I played marbles in my boyhood, I was schooled in Karachi.
He had a consuming hunger for experience gained through his own efforts and
he, therefore, refused to be ordered about by others as to what to do and what
not to do, as to what was good for him and what was not. This trait, developed as
a child, was to
be his compass and guide even during the most turbulent periods of political evolution of his
mind. But, paradoxically enough, he submitted completely in the matter of choice of a wife to the
decision of his mother.
My father, mother, Mohammad Ali, Manbai Poofi and some other relatives left Karachi by sea for
Verawal, and from there the marriage party proceeded by bullockcart to our village, Paneli.
Distance lends enchantment, and the village-folk of Paneli in their unsophisticated minds.
believed that Jinnahbhai had become a multimillionaire in that big city, Karachi, doing business
with Europe and the Far East, sending his goods to' these distant lands by big ocean going ships
that made voyage without sails. And then he had a big house, carriages and horses. Oh, yes,
they gossipped, Jinnahbhai had made a big fortune. The Poonja *family was proud that a big
barat or marriage party was coming to Paneli.
My fatheY knew all this and he was not going to disappoint his family or the people of his village.
He had brought with him a large number of presents, which were to be given as marriage gifts to
relatives, friend's, and to the head of each family of Paneli. A tally of such names and the
presents brought showed that they were less than what would be needed. He sent out his cousin
to buy more presents, from Gondal to make up the deficit. They were .also to bring with them
firecrackers in plenty, so that sleepy Paneli would thunder with their booming, and their dazzling
light would light up the skies for miles around. In those days there were no bands that could
parade the lanes and bazars of Paneli, proudly proclaiming that the son of a rich man was to be
married. So from Gondal were invited professional nakara beaters, who played on a big semi-
circular drum with two thin sticks, without any musical instrument accompanying them. But their
noise was enough to make . its echoes and reechoes reverbrate beyond the boundaries of
The women-folk of the family were busy for days, carrying presents, clothes, jewels,
sweets to the bride's house, the nakara beaters leading the procession, while the ladies slowly
wended their way to the bride's house, singing wedding songs, sprinkling rice on the way, as was
the custom then.
The entire people of the village were invited to participate in community dinners and lunches for a
week. Unadorned and unattractive Paneli wore the garment of festivity, as if the village had
suddenly woken one morning to find itself a bride among the villages of Gondal. My father did not
mind the expense; after all, it was the wedding of his first born child and, who knows, his other
children may be married in Karachi, or, may be, in Bombay. This ostentatious wedding
tremendously impressed his own village-folk. At least they would remember, when he had gone
back to Karachi, the Jinnahbhai who , as a child, played in the lanes of Paneli, indistinguishable
from other children of the village, had become a big businessman in a big city.
One can only imagine what must have been the thoughts of the bridegroom in the midst of all this
festivity. He was hardly sixteen, and he was embarking on the uncharted waters of the
matrimonial ocean. He had never spoken to a girl of his age outside the circle of his own sisters
and cousins; he had never seen the face of his bride, with whom he was expected to share his
life; he had never spoken to her. All he must have been aware of was that he had made a
departure from the way of life he had chalked out for himself - to go his own way, to make his own
decisions. He was powerless before Destiny that, in the person of his mother, had decreed that
he should marry Emi Bai.
Decked from head to foot in long flowing rows of flowers, strung in invisible white threats, he
marched in a procession from his grandfather's house to that of his father-in-law, where sat
fourteen year old Emi Bai, dressed in expensive new clothes, heavily
bejewelled, her hands spotted with henna, her face and clothes heavily sprinkled with costly
ittar. The village moulvi performed the nikah ceremony, recited a few verses from the Holy
Quran, and the two became husband and wife.
My father had been already away from Karachi for about four weeks, and communication in those
days being what it was, he was beginning to worry as to how his business affairs would be
running in his absence. He showed signs of impatience, and made his decision known that he
would have to leave Paneli as early as possible for Karachi. But social customs had powers all
their own, particularly in an out of the way village in those far off days, and it was considered as
almost sacrilegious to offend or break them. My brother's in-laws were the type of people that
make a fetish of tradition, and they let it be known to jinnahbhai, politely but firmly, that their
newly-wed daughter must stay in their house for at least a month, if not for three months, before
they could agree to her being taken by her bridegroom to Karachi. It was not possible for my
father to stay in Paneli that long, and he was busy making arrangements for his departure. My
mother would not allow her husband to go alone to Karachi. He was so busy, he worked so much
and for so many hours. She should be there to prepare food for him, and serve it fresh and hot.
Who can trust servants? They would not be so clean; they could not make good meals; and they
would not bother to keep awake till a late hour, until her husband returned from work, and serve
him freshly prepared chapatis. No, she would not stay behind. Of course Mohammad Ali could
wait in Paneli, until his inlaws agreed that he take his bride with him to Karachi. But my brother
was also eager to go with his parents to Karachi.
The two families, newly joined in marriage, began to argue heatedly the point under dispute.
Although the two families sat in conference for a
number of days, the differences remained unsolved. It seemed to them as if they
had reached an impasse. For the time that negotiations were being carried on,
young Mohammad Ali remained silent, keeping on the sidelines of the field where
the family dispute was being thrashed out. But once he came to know that
negotiations had broken down, he took charge of the situation.
Without informing my father or mother, Mohammad Ali went to see his father-in-
law and mother-inlaw. They welcomed their newly married son-in law with
warmth and ceremony that such an occasion demanded, and overwhelmed him
with hospitality. He sat with them for quite some time, without letting them know
the reason why he had come to see them. What a nice, quiet, docile son-in-law
he is, they must have thought. But after warm greetings and formalities were
over, Mohammad Ali spoke in a firm tone. He said that his father and mother
could no longer stay in Paneli and they must return to Karachi, and that he would
go with them. He would like to take his bride with him, and he hoped her parents
would have no objection. But if they decided otherwise, in deference to village
custom and tradition, they could have their own way. He had come to tell them
that in that case they could keep their daughter with them, and send her to
Karachi, whenever they wished. The parents of the bride were astonished to hear
a young man talk to his parents in-law with such insolence, and they looked at
their son-in-law with wide open eyes, too stunned by the unexpected firmness
and outburst of this young man. Mohammad Ali, however, continued and said
that he would be soon leaving Karachi for Europe, and he would be gone for
three years. May be, the parents of his bride would like to send her to Karachi in
his absence, and she would have to wait for three years until his return from
The young son had succeeded in clinching the issue, where his father and
mother had failed. The
following day, the father and mother-in-law of Mohammad Ali came to see my father and mother,
solicitiously asking when they would like to take Emi Bai with them to Karachi, so that they might
make the necessary arrangements. Cordiality was restored between the two families, dispute and
acrimony were forgotten;
According to the custom prevalent in our family, Emi Bai would conceal her face with her head-
covering or orni, whenever she came in the presence of her father-in-law. This was as a sign of
respect that one wished to manifest towards the elders of one's husband's family. But
Mohammad Ali had his own views on such matters. His wife was like a daughter of his parents, a
full member of the family, and it was unnecessary to cover one's face, just becuase one's great-
grand-mother had been doing it. My father supported the views of his young son, and from that
day Emi Bai discarded the ageold custom, which had been running in the family for generations.
My mother was moved to her depths on the prospects of being away from her son for three years.
Oh, that was a very long time. But it was for Mohammad Ali's good that she had agreed to give
her consent. She said to him, "My son, I hate to be away from you. But I am sure this visit to
England will help you to be a big man. This has been my dream all my life." Her son listened to
his mother in silence, and she continued, "Mohammad Ali, you are leaving now on a long journey.
I have a feeling I will not live to see you come back from England." And she sobbed. Mohammad
Ali embraced his mother, overcome with choking emotion. My mother bade him her farewell,
"Mohammad Ali, God will be your protector. He will make my wish come true. You will be a big
man. And I will be proud of you."
1 At the time, Sind, though predominantly Muslim, was not an autonomous province,
which it became on 1 April 1936, under the Government of India Act, 1935.
2 Sachedina Nanjiani, Khoja Vartant (? 1892), p. 230. Nanjiani was at one time
Assistant Revenue Commissioner of Cutch.
See above, Chapter 1, note 1.
Speeches as G.G., p. 4.
A Businessman Becomes a Barrister
WHILE the ship carrying him across the seas to England kept its course with the help of charts,
compass and stars, my brother was embarking on the uncharted ocean of a new life in a country
that was completely unknown to him. Except for a few children that were accompanied by their
parents, he was the youngest passenger on board the ship. The presence of this boy of sixteen,
unaccompanied and unchaperoned, in those far off days of the early 1890s, when voyage to
England was an out of the ordinary event in the life of an Indian, aroused the curiosity of many of
his fellow passengers, most of whom were Englishmen. One of them took kindly to this lonely
young man, who had the appearance of a lad but the self-confidence of a person much beyond
his years. The Englishman asked him the purpose of his visit to England, whether he knew any
one there, where he would stay, and what he wanted to be in life. The young man favourably
impressed the elderly Englishman, who took to him like his own son. Every day, he would spend
much of his time talking to my brother, giving him such information about London as he thought
might be useful to him.
Those were the days when it took three weeks for ships to reach England from Bombay, stopping
enroute at some ports, where passengers would avail the opportunity of landing on shore for
sight-seeing. When the ship berthed at Port Said, the Englishman advised my brother to be
careful with his valet, in which he carried money, saying, "You must be careful at Port Said.
People here have nimble fingers and they may pinch your purse, without your being aware of it."
As a precaution, he carried only a small amount of money on his person, but he took the advice
of his English friend as a challenge to his sense of responsibility and alertness. He went on his
own, alone, on the streets of Port Said, nonchallant on the surface, but deep down in his
consciousness, very wary and careful at every step he took. Returning to the ship late in the
evening, he narrated to the Englishman his impressions of Port Said, its peoples, and the winding
bazars, concluding by saying, "You see, Sir, my valet is still safe with me. I was very careful."
"That's it, my boy. It is best to be very careful with everything in life."
The Englishman, before disembarking at Marseilles, gave my brother his London address and
asked him to see him occasionally. During the next four years, whenever this Englishman came
back to his native land from India, he would call my brother to his house and ask him to have a
meal with him and his family.
Mohammad Ali disembarked at Southampton to catch a train for London. This sprawling
metropolis impressed the youthful mind of my brother, as he drove in a horse-carriage on its
spacious roads to a hotel that the cabby recommended to him; inexpensive, and yet offering the
comforts and food of a private home. He walked to the reception desk and asked for a modest
room. The receptionist carefully surveyed this young Indian from head to foot, and in a tone that
betrayed incredulity, asked, "Young
A BUSINESSMAN BECOMES A BARRISTER
man, will you be able to afford the charges?"
"Oh, yes, oh, yes," he replied firmly. "But I hope they will be reasonable."
His baggage was soon deposited in a cosy room of the hotel.
He was given two letters of recommendation by my father, so the first thing he did was naturally
to get in touch with them but to his surprise and horror both of them were out of London at the
Winter was in full blast, and Mohammad Ali found life in London rather depressing. He was not
used to such severe weather. He could not afford the luxury of a cab ride to go from this hotel to
his work, at the office, having to cover the considerable distance daily in the damp winter of chilly
London. Years later he said to me,
It was quite an experience. I was young and lonely. Far from home; far from my parents. I was in
a new country where life was so different from the life I had known... in Karachi. Except for some
employees at Grahams, where I worked, I did not know a soul, and the immensity of London as a
city weighed heavily on my solitary life. The severe cold and the heavy downpour of rain chilled
my muscles and bones, and I felt so miserable. But I soon got settled to life in London, and I
began to like it before long.
The Grahams Shipping and Trading Co., which had its office near Threadneedle Street, took
charge of this young apprentice, the son of one of their business friends in Karachi. He was given
a small table and a chair in one of the rooms where he sat with a number of office-hands, learning
the ropes of business administration.
He had brought with him some money in cash and my father had asked Grahams to transfer
more money from Karachi to their London office, so that his son might have enough funds to
period of apprenticeship. Inheriting the family trait of being careful with his money, my brother de-
posited his monies in the Royal Bank of Scotland, 123, Bishop Gate Street. He soon realised that
as he was to stay in London for at least two years, it was not economical to stay in a hotel, and
that it would cost him much less if he could find a good family, which would be prepared to accept
him as a payingguest. Scanning the brief advertisement columns of the daily newspapers, he
jotted down addresses of a few families, who were willing to accept paying guests. After visiting a
number of such families, he ultimately decided to stay with Mrs. F.E. PageDrake, on 35 Russell
Road, .Kensington, opposite the present imposing Olympia building, on High Street, Kensington,
built much later than 1892. Even now it is in a reasonably good residential quarter of London,
overlooking numerous sections and cross-sections of railway lines, and centrally located in
Kensington area. But in the 1890s, it must have been among the much sought after residential
localities of London. The London County Council a few years back put up a plaque on this
building, which reads, "Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah 1876-1948 - Founder of Pakistan,
stayed here in 1895".
His eager mind was keen to benefit by his visit to England at a time when the spirit -of British
Liberalism) was making such a profound impact on the minds of its people. He adopted the
typically English habit of reading carefully his morning paper as he awoke and to complete
reading it before finishing his breakfast. He read with admiration of the triumphs of great leaders
that dominated the political scene of England, and their speeches in and outside Parliament,
which millions read with undisguised adulation. Wherever he went, he heard conversation revolve
round the latest utterances of these political leaders, whom the people looked upon as men of
destiny of that period of their his-
A BUSINESSMAN BECOMES A BARRISTER
tory. And here he was buried under the drudgery of office-routine at Grahams near Threadneedle
Street, from morning to evening, and the only prize that might in the end crown his patience,
industriousness, and devotion would be to join his father's business and make it more prosperous
and flourishing than when he took it over. This appeared to him to be such a sordid and narrow
prospect. Yes, money was important in life, but then he could never become a leader of men, a
hero in the cause of betterment of the lot of his countrymen. As this thought cast doubts in his
mind about the appropriateness of a career for which he was equipping himself, a career that
would begin and end with himself, he began to study and discuss about the lives of the great con-
temporary and past leaders of English public life. He discovered that many of them had studied
for the Bar, and that a sound knowledge of law had stood them in good stead in their public life.
He began to waver between two alternatives - to continue to work as an apprentice with
Grahams, or to qualify himself for the entrance examination in order to obtain admission to one of
the Inns in London and become a Barrister. "It did not take me long to decide that I should
prepare myself for the Bar", he said.
Fortunately for me, that year was the last when one could obtain admission by passing the
examination known at that time as "Little Go".The following year regulations were to be changed,
and it would take me two additional years to be called to the Bar. So I decided to give up my
apprenticeship with Grahams and to study hard to get through the "Little Go".
There is no doubt this was one of the most momentous decisions that he took for himself, a deci-
sion that was to change the entire course of his life. His young mind had been ignited by the
spark of ambition to carve out for himself a worthy place in
the public life of his country, and to that end he devoted all his time and energy. A complete trans-
formation seems to have come over him, and he sat glued to his books. His diligence was
rewarded and he passed his `Little Go' with credit and joined the Lincoln's Inn. Explaining to me
the reason why he decided to join the Lincoln's Inn, he said,
It was during the days that I was busy studying for my "Little Go". I was determined to pass. I may
say I was confident I would pass. I thought of seeing the various Inns in London and meeting
students studying there in order to make up my mind in advance. My inquiries and discussions
made me decide for another Inn than Lincoln's. But then I had seen the name of our great
Prophet engraved on the main entrance of Lincoln's Inn among the greatest law-givers of the
world. So I made a sort of Minnat or vow that I would join the Lincoln's Inn after getting through
the ".Little Go".
I have in my possession to this day his bank passbook for the period 1892-1896 on which he has
written with his own hands his name, "MAHOMEDALLI JINNAHBHAI ESQ". In this pass-book of
the Royal Bank of Scotland there is an entry, which shows that he gave a cheque for £138.19 to
the Lincoln's Inn on 7th of June 1895 as his entrance fee. Thus at the age of 17 he was studying
for the Bar, while my father in Karachi was hoping his eldest son would return from England soon
to help him manage and expand his business.
As soon as he learnt from his son that he had joined the Lincoln's Inn and that it would take him
three years to be a full fledged Barrister, my father wrote to him to give up this unprofitable pursuit
and to return home immediately. Inspite of a strongly worded letter, the Quaid wrote back in
pleading tone and words to my father to allow him to remain in England and to complete his stu-
A BUSINESSMAN BECOMES A BARRISTER
dies for the Bar. He further assured that he would not ask my father to send him any more
money, for, he would work in England while studying, and spend as little as
possible so that
he would be able to stagger his two years' allowance that father had given him to last for four
years. Although my father was not happy at the decision of his headstrong son, he reconciled
himself to the situation and hoped and prayed for the best.
Not long after the Quaid had left Karachi for England, his wife, Emi Bai, died. He had not lived
long enough with his child-wife, whom he had married at the dictates of parental authority, so he
was not much grieved by her death. But when he received the news, while still studying at
Lincoln's Inn, about the death of my mother, who died in child-birth, when my youngest brother
Bundeh Ali was born, the shock was unbearable for him. He wept and sobbed for hours for his
departed mother, whom he loved more than anything else in the world. He had a sensitive nature
that felt intensely sad and, therefore, he suffered intensely. Far away from home, lonely, and
having missed being with his mother in her last days, the shock laid him low, overcome by a
violent fit of fainting. After all, the premonition of his mother had come true; she died before the
return to Karachi from London of her beloved Mohammad Ali. He fondly recalled the forecast she
had made about his future, saying that he would one day be a great man. Tht3 obscurity of his
existence as a young man made him wonder if that would ever come true. For the present he
passed his days in utter anonymity, not knowing what the future held in store for him.
After the death of my mother, the business of my father went on suffering one reverse after
another. He was by now a prematurely old man, a widower with six children, some young and
some still babies, to look after. Mohammad Ali, who alone of his children could be a support to
him, was reading for
the Bar in London. Without the knowledge of my brother, my father had started
doing separate susiness in the name of his eldest son. These business ventures
were ending up in heavy losses, and my father was really worried. He wrote
pathetic letters to my brother, who replied that my father need not worry at all,
for, as soon as he returned to India, he would be able to face the situation and
save the reputation of my father and of our family.
The Quaid was about 18, when he had already lost his mother, his wife, and was
aware that the prosperous family business, so painstakingly built up by his father,
was on the verge of collapse. Sometimes heavy reverses in life draw out
untapped and unknown resources in certain individuals. The Quaid faced these
disasters and losses with the courage of a Stoic, determined to succeed, to add
lustre to his family name; and he now changed his name to "M.A. Jinnah Esqr.".
His bank pass-book shows that he was paying £10 a month to Mrs. F.E. Page-
Drake, with whom he was staying as a paying guest. In later years he recalled
that Mrs. Drake was a very kind old lady, having a large family, and that she was
particularly fond of him and treated him as her own son. She had an attractive
daughter, who was about the same age as the Quaid at the time he stayed in
their house. The pretty Miss Drake was deeply attached to my brother, but he
was not the type who would squander his affections on passing fancies. While
Miss Drake showered her special attentions on him and assiduously
endeavoured to win him, he kept her at a respectful distance. Miss Drake would
sometimes arrange- mixed parties in her house, and among the various games
she would run for her guests would be the typically-Western game in which the
penalty for being found, in one's hiding place, would be a kiss. Inspite of her
persistent inducements, the Quaid always stood out of this kissing game. "It was
Christmas Eve", he said to me,
and the Drake family was celebrating the event. As is customary among Christian families, there
were mistletoes hung on door-tops, under which it is permissible for them to kiss one another.
Miss Drake caught me as I was standing under a mistleto without myself being aware of it,
embraced me, and asked me to kiss her. I reprimanded her and said that this was not done nor
was it permissible in our society. I am glad I behaved; that way with her. For, after that day I was
saved the daily embarrassment of her coquettishness.
While studying at Lincoln's Inn, the Quaid widened the horizons of his interests. He obtained a
reader's ticket for the Library of the British Museum2 and devoted his time to enriching his mind
with intensive and comprehensive reading. He would sometimes go on a Sunday morning to the
famous Hyde Park corner to listen to the demogogy and eccentricity of the soap-box orators that
have made that corner into a world-famous institution. As he listened to the rash and incoherent
utterances of these irresponsible speakers, who often attacked their own government in the most
scathing terms, he realized the importance and necessity of freedom of speech as the exhaust-
pipe of a nation, without which the voice of a people becomes stifled. He was a constant visitor to
the- House of Commons, where he listened with unabated admiration to the speeches of such
liberal statesmen of the day as Mr. Gladstone.s Lord Morley, Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, Mx.
Balfour, and that great Irish patriot, Mr. T.P. O'Connor. Those frequent visits to the Commons
enabled him to acquaint himself with the art of parliamentary eloquence, which was to be his
strongest weapon in later years.
By sheer dint of hard work he passed his examinations at the Lincoln's Inn in two years, and at
the age of 18 he came to be the youngest Indian student
ever to be called to the Bar. But he had still to wait in England for some time to
obtain his cap and gown,, as he had to complete the formality of attending a
prescribed number of dinners.
He was not one who would spend all his time browsing over his study books to
pass an examination. As a student, he plunged himself into the whirlpool of
activitie§ centering round Indian students in London. In the very first year of his
arrival in London, there was great excitement among Indian students, as
Dadabhoy Naoroji,4 a veteran Parsee leader from Bombay, who had settled
down in London for the last many years as a businessman, was seeking election
to the House of Commons from the Central Finsbury Constituency. He was the
first Indian ever to attempt this, and it was only natural that Indian students were
eager to enthusiatically work for his election. Quaid-e-Azam threw himself heart
and soul into this election campaign, and thereby caught the eye and won the
esteem of Dadabhoy Naoroji, the Grand Old Man of India. Recalling these
electioneering days, my brother said to me,
When I learnt that Lord Salisbury in one of his speeches had ridiculed Dadabhoy
as a `black man', thereby warning Finsbury constituency not to elect him, I was
furious. If Dadabhoy was black, I was blacker; and if this was the mentality of our
political masters, then we could never get a fair deal at their hands. From that
day I have been an uncompromising enemy of all forms of colour bar. I worked
for the Old Man with a vengeance. Fortunately, he won by a majority of three
votes. However, thin the majority, jubilation among Indian students in London
was tremendous. As I sat in the galleries, listening to the maiden speech of the
Old Man in the Commons, I felt a new thrill within me.
A BUSINESSMAN BI;CO
He said he admired the British institution of free speech; and there he was, an
Indian, who would exercise the right of free speech and demand justice for his country
men. He was quite right. Without free speech a nation is like a rose-bush that is planted in
a place where there is neither sun shine nor air.
The Quaid-e-Azam developed great respect and admiration for Dadabhoy Naoroji, who was
to exert such a great influence on his political individuality in the years to come. He
remained a devout friend of the Old Man, though much younger than him in years, and the
two together were to render yeoman service to the Indian National Congress in the early
years of its existence.
His days in England as a student made him realize the lack of close and frequent contacts
among Indian students, without which, he felt, they could not organize themselves
effectively to support their own or their country's cause. If only Indian students could
organize themselves into an Association, offering a meeting place and a forum, he thought
it would be of immense benefit to the students. He pioneered this idea and approached a
number of students in this connection, only to meet with opposition on the ground that this
idea was too big to be shouldered by such a young and inexperienced student. However,
this thought persisted in his mind, and when he visited England in 1913, no longer an
unknown person, but an Indian leader of eminence, Indian students besieged him for
guidance and advice. They arranged a meeting of Indian students at Caxton Hall in
London, where the Quaid was asked to address them. He advised them to take a keen
interest in the political events and developments both in England and in India, but he
warned them not to take active part in politics, while they were yet in the midst of their
studies. They should learn to be academic political thinkers, so that when they entered'"
politics actively, they could act as missionaries of enlightenment and
progress. He appealed to them to organise themselves into a well-knit body,5 and as a result the
Central Association of Indian Students was formed in London.
His catholic and extensive readings had made him acquainted with the works of many writers and
poets in the English language, some of whom he continued to read and enjoy till late in life. But
the one who had the greatest fascination for him was Shakespeare. He was fond of the London
Theatre, but he could not afford to frequent it. He had to resist the glittering, but expensive, night-
life of the theatrical world to save his money, invest it in books, and to prepare patiently for the
prosaic studies at Lincoln's Inn.
Living on a tight budget, any job that he could find to augment his funds would be welcome to
him. He sometimes went to see Shakespearean plays at the Old Vic, where he fell under the spell
of the great Shakespearean actors of those days. For some time he toyed with the idea of taking
to the stage seriously, but the only offer he got was to work in a minor capacity with an
unimportant theatrical company that sometimes put Shakespearean plays on the stage. His
ambition in those days was to play the role of Romeo at the Old Vic, a dream that remained
unfulfilled not only in the limited field of the stage, but also in the wide arena of the stage of life.
Even in the days of his most active political life, when he returned home late, tired after a
gruelling day's work, he would take a play of Shakespeare and quietly read it in his bed.
Sometime, when the two of us would sit in the drawing room after our dinner, he would read out
to me aloud his favourite passages from the plays of Shakespeare. I still remember whenever he
recited Shakespeare, his voice would take on the richness and correctness of tone and the
proper intonations that are characteristic of people who have undergone some training in the art
A BUSINESSMAN BECOMES A BARRISTER
His young mind in those four formative years of his life had been making, imperceptibly, mo-
mentous decisions that were to influence his life. Nature had gifted him with rich talent. He
decided it did not suit his genuis to prepare himself for a business career, where the highest
ambition in life was to see that from year to year one's assets exceed one's liabilities, enabling
one to gradually amass a big fortune. He did not want to lose himself in the narrow lanes of that
sordid world; he wanted to discover himself on the highways of eminence and fame. Inspite of his
predilection for a career on the stage, he rejected it as too small for his soaring ambitions. The
actor on a stage could win the applause of only the limited audience in the theatre; he would be a
hero on a much bigger platform, where he could be the acclaimed leader of millions of his people.
The formalities of dinners at the Lincoln's Inn were over; and he was now preparing, after a stay
of about four years, to leave England to join his family in Karachi. In the inner cover of his pass-
book of the Royal Bank of Scotland are the last four cheques that he issued in London. One was
issued on 14th JWy 1896 to Mrs. F.E. Page-Drake for £3, this would probably be the amount that
he had to pay to finalize his outstanding accounts with her -as a paying guest of the family. On
the 15th of July he had drawn three cheques. One is a cheque for; £71.1.10 in favour of National
Bank of India Ltd., Bombay, indicating that he had already decided, while in London, to settle
down in Bombay and not in Karachi. The other is to Thomas Cook and Sons for £42.18.12, his
passage money for his trip back from London to Karachi. The last is a self cheque for £10.9.8, to
finally close his bank account. During the period of about three and a half years that he stayed in
London his bank account shows on the credit side a total of approximately £.800. As he was in
the habit of invariably depositing his cash with a bank, it may be safely assumed that this was the
approximate amount he spent during his stay in England, a commentary on the
simple mode of living of a student whom change in family fortune had denied
liberal remittances from home, and who had therefore to be careful with his
He was on his way back home, once again on one of those ships that did the
voyage in three weeks, his future as inscrutable as the deep ocean. He was only
aware of the cares and worries of a large family that had fallen on the enfeebled
shoulders of his father, who hoped his eldest son would soon partly shift the
responsibility on himself. His homecoming had for him a melancholic touch; for
as he moved his searching eyes on the crowd that stood waiting on the pier at
Karachi harbour as his ship sluggishly glided- to cast anchor, he could see his
father, brothers and sisters, and few relatives, but he missed his mother. How
cruel the fate had been to him. Only if she were there, now that he had returned
from England, a Barrister, with a bright future, how proud she would have been of
her Mohammad Ali.
On reaching home, my father was soon in conference with him, explaining to him
that the family business was in ruins, and that he had to pay large sums of
money to a number of business houses, some of whom had filed cases in law
courts. This was true also of those business deals that my father had done in the
name of Mohammad Ali Jinnahbhai & Co, hoping that by the time his son
returned from England he would take over, besides the family business, a
business of his own, already well established and prosperous. That business
also proved a flop, and there were a number of cases pending against the firm of
Mohammad Ali Jinnahbhai & Co. Here was a young Barrister, whom the gloomy
prospect of defending cases against himself stared in the face. "My son", father
said, "all my dreams have come tumbling down and I don't know what will
happen to you and your young brothers and sisters. I am already broken down in
health and I
A BUSINESSMAN BECOMES A BARRISTER
don't know how long I will live."
"Father", Mohammad Ali replied in a faltering voice, "don't worry, I will work hard and look after
you and our family. I am young and my whole life is before me. I will make money and I will pay
up all the debts that our family has to discharge."
My father thought it best to get him fixed up as a junior in the Office of a flourishing advocate of
Karachi, and in this connection he spoke to two firms who were also his lawyers, Harchandrai
Vishandas and Co., and Lalchand & Co. The heads of both these firms were only too willing to
take this young Muslim Barrister, newly returned from England, into their firms. After all, in those
days, there were only a few Muslim Barristers in the Muslim province of Sind, and the young
Mohammad Ali, they were, sure, would be an asset to them. But my brother's mind was already
made up. Instead of practising in Karachi, where the bitter shadow of business failure of his family
would darken his path, he had decided to try his luck in Bombay, a city that he thought offered
greater opportunities to one who was willing to work hard. My father wanted very much that his
son should set up his practice in Karachi, where his family had already made friends with a
number of families, and the prospect of cutting away his roots from Karachi and to venture on a
new life in Bombay did not appeal to him. He asked his personal friend and neighbour, Mr.
Ramjibhai Pethabhai, to dissuade his son. Inspite of Ramjibhai's best efforts, the young Barrister
was adamant. He had made up his mind; he would go his own way; as usual, he wanted to learn
the hard way - by kicks and hard knocks in life.
Little did he know at the time that his decision to migrate to Bombay was to be an important
milestone in his life and that it would profoundly influence his future. And so, bidding good-bye to
his father, his brothers and sisters he set sail for Bombay.
He took a room on a long term basis at the Apollo
Hotel in Bombay and got his name enrolled in the Bombay High Court. These were mere
formalities and easily disposed of. The real difficulty was to set himself up in an office, to secure
briefs, and to have his reputation established as a dependable Barrister. These proved to be a
heart-breaking ordeal. It was like scaling a steep and difficult mountain, the grip of his feet
slipping at every step. This young man, with a proud look in his eyes, walked up and down the
corridors of many courts, giving one the impression of being a leading legal luminary, but, in fact,
desparately in need of his first brief. He lived in majestic isolation on the roof of the castle that he
had built for himself, while into the office of people of lesser talent in his profession poured in
clients, ready to pay the fees that were demapded from them. He sat in his small one-room office
that he had hired in the Fort area, waiting for chance to usher in a client, browsing and brooding
over his scanty stock of law books.
It was bad enough to be enrolled as a Barrister in the Bombay High Court, to go round the courts
daily, as if it were a religious routine, and to return to his cramped up room in the Apollo Hotel in
the evening without having earned a single rupee for months. But when the irksome months
lengthened into three agonising years, he felt.really miserable. Then there was his father and his
family in Karachi facing litigations and difficulties, and he could not be of any help to them,
contrary to his expectations when he left Karachi for Bombay. Disappointed and frustrated, he
showed a stiff chin to the world outside, but within his heart there gnawed the rancour of an
Inspite of the difficult times through which he was passing, he kept up social contacts, frequenting
some of the best clubs of Bombay, and very often a guest at parties in the homes of the elite of
Bombay. In his early twenties, he was an extremely attractive young man, tall, of commanding
A BUSINESSMAN BECOMES A BARRIS'T'ER
of small but , penetrating eyes that bespoke of a shrewd intellect, a face with a
sharp Grecian profile, long limbs, impeccably dressed, with the bearing and poise of a born
leader of men. Nature had endowed him with charm and personality, but society had refused to
supply him the wherewithal that could enable him to make a comfortable living. While those that
rubbed shoulders with him in the days of his struggle recognised in him a young man full of
promise, little did they know how empty his pockets were.
But, inadvertently, these social contacts proved to be a blessing and were to prove to be
responsible for a break through. A friend of his, who held his talent and ability in high esteem,
introduced him to Mr. MacPherson, who was at that time the acting Advocate-General of
Bombay. The latter was impressed with the young Barrister, and he invited him to work under
him, extending to him the privilege of utilising his well-stocked library and of reading in his
Chambers. My brother never forgot his magnanimous gesture on the part of Mr. MacPherson,
particularly as in those days it was very rare for an Englishman to extend such courtesies to
Mr. MacPherson, soon discovered that the new recruit to his office was a young man of great
charm, ability, perseverance, and integrity, and he was not slow to pass on some cases to the
young Mr. Jinnah. At this time my brother flirted with the idea of taking a government job, so that
he could be reason-. ably assured of continuous financial security, the uncertainty of success at
the Bar being too dreadful to contemplate. When he placed this idea before Mr. MacPherson, he
was only too willing to strongly recommend him to Sir Charles Ollivant, the member in charge of
the judicial Department, and within a couple of weeks my brother was appointed a temporary
He felt that success, which had so far eluded him,
was now firmly in his grip. His exemplary conduct as a Magistrate won him praise from his
superiors, and when the period of the temporary appointment that he was holding was over, Sir
Charles Ollivant offered him another and better judicial appointment on Rs. 1,500 a month, a
princely salary then. "No, thank you, Sir", he replied. "I will soon be able to earn that much in a
single day", was his firm retort.
As soon as he resigned his post as acting Presidency Magistrate, he was approached by a
number of people to act as their lawyer. He gave up his small room in the Apollo Hotel and took a
modest apartment in the Apollo Bunder area, got it tastefully decorated and furnished, and
opened a new office in a building, where some leading lawyers had their offices. He spared no
money within his limited income, in converting his office into an elegant and attractive Chamber,
which any lawyer would be proud to own. His feet were now set firmly on the ladder of success,
and he sent letters and telegrams to my father to come over to Bombay with the family.
My father had lost his wife in Karachi; the business that he had assiduously built up in the hope
that it would be passed on to his sons had crashed; and he was led to the conclusion that his stay
in Karachi would only revive bitter memories in his mind. Moreover, now that his son was getting
well settled in Bombay, he decided it was better for his family to move to Bombay. And so, we
came [went] to Bombay and rented a small two room tenement in Khoja Mohalla at Khadak,
where my brother often came to visit us. He was now making enough money in his profession to
live well and to support his family, taking upon himself the responsibility of bearing all the
education expenses of his brothers and sisters.
A hard and heart-breaking struggle had not dimmed the brilliance of his self-confidence, nor had it
shaken his belief in pursuing a life of complete
A BUSINESSMAN BECOMES A BARRISTER
independence, unbending and unyielding to patronage from his superiors and bullying from his
seniors. It was for this reason that Sir Chimanlal Setalvad wrote, "Jinnah had always, even in his
junior days, shown considerable independence and courage. He never allowed himself to be
overborne either by the judge or the opposing Counsel ".s
My father was often told that his young son was overshooting his mark, and that his seeming
arrogance and quick temper with the senior people at the Bar and the Bench would hinder his rise
and progress. But the earlier scepticism about Mohammad Ali had vanished, and it had yielded
place in his mind to a growing belief in the brilliant future that awaited his eldest son.
Mr. Strangman, an Englishman, was a senior and respected member of the Bar in Bombay. He
and my brother were briefed together in a case, and on one occasion my brother had to go to
Strangman's Chamber for joint consultations. In thQse days it was not unusual for Englishmen to
behave in an overbearing manner towards their Indian colleagues. Strangman talked to the Quaid
in a tone and temper, which he interpreted as insulting and derogatory. From that day, he. never
went to Strangman's Chamber, and even broke off exchanging greetings with him, whenever he
met him in the Courts or outside.
As a freshly enrolled member of the Bombay Bar, he was appearing once before justice Mirza,
and the opposing Counsel was Sir Chimanlal Setalvad. While he was developing his arguments,
justice Mirza interrupted him and snubbed him. The Quaid resented it, and thereafter began to
address the judge in a manner which justice Mirza felt was insulting. The judge pulled up the
young Barrister and said, "Your tone and words could be held to be a contempt of Court". Turning
towards Setalvad, he asked "Don't you agree with me, Mr. Setalvad?" Referring to this incident,
Sir Chimanlal Setalvad wrote in his book,
It was indeed stupid of the judge to have put such a question to me. I answered, 'it is not
for me to give an opinion whether Mr. Jinnah has committed contempt or not. It is your
privilege to determine that. But I can say this that knowing Mr. Jinnah as I do, he would
have never intended to insult the court.' 99
Recalling this incident in later years, the Quaid
said, "After that day I decided never to appear before
1 Speaking of his student life in London, Jinnah, reportedly told Dr. Ashraf, "The
liberalism of Lord Morley was then in full sway. I grasped that liberalism which became part of
my life and thrilled me very much." Hector Bolitho, Jinnah: Creator of Pakistan (London: John
Murray, 1954), p. 9.
2 For a facsimile of his reader's ticket, see Appendix.
3 Gladstone, William Ewart (1809-98), a famous British statesman and politician, and
leader of the British Liberal Party; Prime Minister, 1868-74, 1880-85, 1886 and 1892-94; tried to
breathe a measure of liberalism into the Indian administration. Appointed Lord Rippon as
Viceroy of India, 1880-84.
Morley, John Viscount (1838-1923), a Gladstonian Liberal, and Member, British
Parliament, 1883-95 and 1896-1908, who, as Secretary of State for India (1905-10), was in part
responsible for the Morley-Minto Reforms, 1909.
Chamberlian, Joseph (1836-1914), Member, British Parliament, 1876-1914.
Naoroji, Dadabhoy (1825-1917), often called "the Grand Old Man of India", and the most
important leader of the Congress in its early phase, who expounded the goal of selfgovernment
at the Calcutta Congress (1906); Congress President, 1886, 1893 and 1906; permane Alv i i i
led in England; elected Member of the House of Cai,,muns from Finsbury constituency, 1892; f.
British India bociety in England; participated in Swadeshi movement, 1906-11; liberal states-
man who greatly influenced Jinnah in his early politio 1 career.
Power, O' Connor Thomas (1848-1929), prominent Irish Nationalist and journalist;
Member, British Parliament, 1880.
A BUSINESSMAN BECOMES A BARRISTER
Balfour, Arthur James (1848-1930), a British statesman and politician;
Leader of the House, and first Lord of Treasury, 1891-92; Leader of
Opposition, 1892=95; leader of the House 1895-96; Prime Minister, 1902-05;
Foreign Secretary, 1916-19; Head of British Mission to America, 1917.
4 Jinnah's participation in Dadabhoy Naoroji's election is contested by
Rizwan Ahmad who puts his departure date some time in January 1893,
Rizwan Ahmad, Quaid-e-Azam: Ibtidai Tees Saal (Karachi: Markaz-i-
Tahrik-i-Pakistan, 1976), pp. 85-86.
5 Jinnah moved a resolution for the formation of the London Indian
Association at a public meeting at Caxton Hall, Westminister, on 2 June
1913. His speech on the occasion is included in Sarojni Naidu, Mohammad
Ali Jinnah: An Ambassador of Unity (Madras: Ganesh & Co., 1918), pp.
6 Jinnah told Dr. Ashraf that, "during the last two years in London", his
time was "utilized for further independent studies for the political career" he
already "had in mind". Bolitho, op. cit., p. 7. Some of the books he acquired
during the period, which are still available in the Quaid-i-Azam Literary '
housed in the Karachi University Library, are: (i) The, Works of Rt. Hon'ble
Edmund Burke: Writings and Speeches, 12 Vols.; (ii) Thomas Caryle,
Past and Present (1894) and (iii) The French Revolution: A History
(1888), (iv) Andrew Long, The Politics of Aristotle (1880); (v) John Stuart
Mill, Principles of Political Economy (1893); (vi) W.M. Torrends, Empire in
Asia: How we came by it (1872); (vii) J. G. Marisso, Gibbon (1887); (viii)
Isaac Disraeli, Literary Character of Men of Genius; (ix) Mazzini, Essays;
and (x) Sir Walter Scott, On Morality (n.d., but 1895). Some of these are
signed by him. He has signed the last-named title at two places, and on its
last page is inscribed the following:
This book is mine till I am dead. Steal not this for
fear of shame. So here's the owner's name.
10 September 1895.
8 See above, Chapter II, note 1.
9 Chimanlal H. Stalvad, Recollections and Reflections: An
Autobiography (Bombay: Padma Publications Ltd.; 1946), p. 66.
10 Ibid., p. 67.
1 Extract from the Register.of Sind Madressah-tul-Islam,, 1887
2 Extract from the Register of Sind Madressah-tul-Islam, 1891
3 Extract from the Register of Christian Mission School, 1892
4 Jinnah's Library Card from the British Museum, 10 February [ 1896?]
5 Jinnah's Petition to the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn, 25 April
6 Lincoln's Inn's Notification,
25 April 1893
7 Jinnah's Preliminary Examination Certificate, 25 May 1893
8 Lincoln's Inn's Notification about alteration in Jinnah's Name,
14 April 1896
9 Lincoln's Inn's Notification granting Jinnah a Certificate of his Admission Call
to the Bar, 11 May 1896
10 Certificate Awarded by the Lincoln's Inn
11 Certificate from Sir Howard W. Elphinstone; 5 March 1896
12 Certificate from W. Douglas Edwards, 6 March 1896
13 Jinnah's Petition to Registrar, Bombay High Court, 18 August 1896
14 Character Certificate from P.V. Smith, Chancellor of the Diocese of
15 Extract from the Bombay Civil List
Lincolns Inn 5 March 1896
I have much pleasure in stating that from what I have seen of Mr. M.A.
Jinnah Bhai who attended my lectures and classes in 1894 and part of 1895 and
from the result of the examinations, he is an able man and likely to do well in any
thing that he turns his attention to.
[Sir] Howard Elphinstone
Mr. M.A. Jinnah Bhai was a pupil of mine during part
of the year 1894, and while he was studying Roman
and English Law in preparation for the examinations
for the Bar held by the Council of Legal Education.
Mr. Jinnah Bhai, .while under my tuition, displayed much
diligence, quickness and intelligence in the . . . examinations
after a comparatively short course of work. I was thus led to
form a decidedly favourable opinion as to his intellectual ability
and as to the probability of his success in any persuit in which
his talents can be profitably employed. W. Douglas Edwards
Barrister at Law 6th March 1896.
18th August 1896
I beg to inform you that I am desirous of being admitted to
the High Court of Bombay as an advocate. I have kept
twelve terms and was called to the Bar on 29th April 1896.
I intend practising at the above court and herewith enclose two certificates of
ability one from Sir Howard W. Elphinstone
and the other from Mr. Douglas Edwards which please find.
As to the certificate of character, not being aware of the
rule I cannot produce; but if the Honourable Chief justice
and the judges will be good enough to. admit me
permanently I shall be pleased to undertake to produce
the same from a Barrister in England with whom I was
reading, within three months.
Hoping you will submit the application and awaiting your
Yours faithfully, M.A. Jinnah. Affixed under my
superintendence in accordance with Gov. Resolution No.
5927 dated 1st October 1877.
Registrar24th August 1896.
May be permanently admitted. G.F.F. .. .
Appendix 13 : Transcript
Mr. M.A. Jinnah, who has been called to the Bar in Lon
don this year, was introduced to me by a friend in India
who knew him and his family and recommended him to
my notice, when he came over to England to study law.
I have been acquainted with him during his stay in
England, and, so far ... while in this country has been
irreproachable. P.V. Smith
sd/ -LL.D, Barrister at Law - Chancellor of the Diocese of
I think that this will suffice. G.F.F.