Leaders Who Inspired Mr. Jinnah

Posted in : General, Politics

(added few years ago!)
In his early political career, Mr. Jinnah was inspired by Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917), Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915), Sir Pherozeshah Mehta (1845-1915) and Surendranath Banerji (1848-1925); all liberals, democrats, moderates, constitutionalists, secularists and Indian nationalists in their political creed. Known as the ‘Grand Old Man of India’ and hailing from Parsi community, Naoroji was one of the founders of Indian National Congress. He was the first Asian to become a member of the British House of Commons in 1892. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had enthusiastically taken part in his election campaign. Naoroji was a very vocal critic of Britain’s economic policy in India which was draining away India’s wealth. Jinnah entered politics under the influence of Naoroji and joined the Indian National Congress in 1905. When Naoroji became President of the Indian National Congress in 1906, he selected Jinnah as his honorary private secretary.
Leaders Who Inspired Mr. Jinnah
Gokhale was a Hindu Brahmin from a relatively lower class, who rose to great prominence as a leader of the Indian National Congress. He was also the founder of the Servants of India society. A believer in reforms through existing institutions, Gokhale was an admirer of political philosophy of John Stuart Mill and Edmund Burke. In Gokhale’s opinion, Jinnah had “true stuff in him” and “freedom from all sectarian prejudices” would make him “the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity.”  Regarding Gokhale, Jinnah observed in a public meeting in 1915: “Personally I have had the honor of being one of the colleagues of Mr. Gokhale in the Imperial Council for some years, and to me it was always a matter of pride and pleasure to listen to him and often follow his lead.” Both Jinnah and Gokhale had been elected to the Imperial Legislative Council from Bombay in 1910; Jinnah from Muslim seat and Gokhale from general seat. Jinnah is on record to have said that he aspired to become “Muslim Gokhale”.
Sir Pherozeshah Mehta was a Parsi leader and a leading lawyer from Bombay. He was one of the founders of the Indian National Congress and became its President in 1890. He won election to Imperial Legislative Council in 1893. A proponent of self-rule for India, Mehta first became a Municipal Commissioner of Bombay Municipality in 1873. He was elected President of Bombay Municipal Corporation in 1884, 1885, 1905 and 1911 and served the city in a remarkable way. Mehta had complete trust in Jinnah’s capabilities and appointed Jinnah as his lawyer in the Caucus Case which arose out of efforts by a group of Europeans to oust Mehta from his position in Bombay Municipal Corporation. The case brought great fame to Jinnah as a lawyer. Surendranath Banerjee, a Bengali Hindu, was also a leader of the Indian National Congress. He was founder of the Indian National Association before he joined the Congress. He was lovingly called ‘Rashtragura’ by his followers. In a speech in the Indian Legislative Assembly, Jinnah remarked: “I might say that I learnt my first lessons in politics at the feet of Surendranath Banerjee.”
In his early political career, Jinnah always dreamed of a liberal democratic India free of communalism. He was architect of the Lucknow Pact of 1916 which brought the All India Muslim League and the Indian National Congress close to each other. Jinnah left the Congress in 1920 when it adopted the Non-Cooperation Resolution during the Khilafat agitation which he deemed harmful to Indian interests. He was disappointed when amendments proposed by him to the Nehru Report of 1928 were not accepted.  His dream of plural India was shattered when Jawaharlal Nehru placed harsh conditions for the formation of Congress-League coalitions in provinces after the provincial elections of 1936-37. Nehru ditched the last hope of maintaining some form of Indian unity when he grossly misinterpreted the Cabinet Mission Plan of May 1946, which had proposed a union government with Defence, Foreign affairs and Communications with necessary Finance.
Addressing the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August 1947, Governor-General Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah stated: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan . . . . You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State. . . . We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.”As he spoke, our liberal, democratic, moderate and secular Jinnah was at his best. The influence of Naoroji, Gokhale, Mehta and Banerjee was manifest. But now Jinnah was speaking for a pluralistic society in Pakistan. How sad that we have not come up to his expectations.
Blog post Written by Mahboob Popatia and you can visit the original article at http://www.pkhope.com/
Tags : Leaders, Inspired, Muhammad Ali, Jinnah, Quaid-i-Azam, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Pherozeshah Mehta, Hindu, Muslim, Politics, National, Congress, Policy, British, Members, Dreams, Pakistan, Parsi, Lawyer, Europeans, Association, Honor, Foreign, Affairs, Communication, Asian

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