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Jinnah, Mohamed Ali (1876–1948)

Indian lawyer, Pakistani nationalist, founder of Pakistan, and first governor-general (1947–1948). Born on 25 December 1876 in Karachi, Mohamed Ali Jinnah was sent to Bombay to receive his primary education at the Gokul Das Tejpal School. He then attended the Church Mission High School and passed the matriculation examination to Bombay University. In 1892 he elected to travel to England where he studied law, becoming in 1896 the youngest Indian ever called to the bar. He returned to India that same year and worked as an attorney until 1906, when he was appointed advocate of the Bombay High Court. In 1908 he supported the future constitution of India as proposed by the Indian National Congress. He soon came to occupy a unique position as both an important lawyer and ardent nationalist.

In 1909 Jinnah was elected to represent the Muslims of Bombay in India's Supreme Legislative Council. In 1916 he was again elected by the Muslims of his province to the Imperial Legislative Council. Eschewing Mohandas Gandhi's approach of boycotting all aspects of British rule in India as a way to effect independence, Jinnah advocated a moderate approach of cooperation with the British to bring about a gradual transfer of power.

In December 1920 Jinnah resigned from the Indian National Congress to protest Gandhi's call for noncooperation, which Jinnah warned was bound to be counterproductive. Ultimately, he was proven right. For several decades, he labored to unite colonial India's Hindu and Muslim populations into a working democratic union. He was not successful, and he finally became convinced that there was no alternative other than the creation of a separate Pakistani entity.

On 14 August 1947 Pakistan became an independent state, and Jinnah became the nation's first governor-general. At the time, Pakistan was the world's largest Muslim country, with a population of nearly 80 million people. On 15 August, Jinnah outlined his principles of Pakistani governance. They included the preservation of peace and the right of all peoples to live with dignity and honor. Although he was dying from tuberculosis, as governor-general he gave some fifty-five speeches, many of which outlined the future constitution of Pakistan and its policies. After less than a year in office, Jinnah died in Karachi on 7 August 1948.

Nilly Kamal


Further Reading
Saiyid, Matlubul Hasan. Mohammad Ali Jinnah: A Political Study. Karachi: Elite, 1970.
 

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