Mohammed Ali Jinnah, also called Quaid-i-Azam (Arabic: “Great Leader”), (born December 25, 1876, Karachi, India [now in Pakistan]—died September 11, 1948, Karachi), Indian Muslim politician, who was the founder and first Governor-General (1947–48) of Pakistan.
Creator of Pakistan
Jinnah had originally been dubious about the practicability of Pakistan, an idea that the poet and philosopher Sir Muhammad Iqbal had propounded to the Muslim League conference of 1930, but before long he became convinced that a Muslim homeland on the Indian subcontinent was the only way of safeguarding Muslim interests and the Muslim way of life. It was not religious persecution that he feared so much as the future exclusion of Muslims from all prospects of advancement within India, as soon as power became vested in the close-knit structure of Hindu social organization. To guard against that danger, he carried out a nationwide campaign to warn his coreligionists of the perils of their position, and he converted the Muslim League into a powerful instrument for unifying the Muslims into a nation.
At that point, Jinnah emerged as the leader of a renascent Muslim nation. Events began to move fast. On March 22–23, 1940, in Lahore, the league adopted a resolution to form a separate Muslim state, Pakistan. The Pakistan idea was at first ridiculed and then tenaciously opposed by the Congress Party. But it captured the imagination of the Muslims. Pitted against Jinnah were many influential Hindus, including Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. And the British government seemed to be intent on maintaining the political unity of the Indian subcontinent. But Jinnah led his movement with such skill and tenacity that ultimately both the Congress Party and the British government had no option but to agree to the partitioning of India. Pakistan thus emerged as an independent state in 1947.
Jinnah became the first head of the new state. Faced with the serious problems of a young country, he tackled Pakistan’s problems with authority. He was not regarded as merely the governor-general. He was revered as the father of the nation. He worked hard until overpowered by age and disease in Karachi, the place of his birth, in 1948.
[Researched by: Ahmad Makhdoom Chishti, Contributor: Mahmud Husain, , Vice-Chancellor, University of Karāchi, Pakistan. Editor of History of the Freedom Movement.