one of the history’s most tenacious enigmatic figures
Every Pakistani knows quiet a bit about Muslim League History and final 10 years before partition. We have to. But there are many things we never hear. Quaid started as Muslim-Hindu unity ambassador. Was young, intelligent and a great believer of the constitution. He spent 24 years of his life struggling for Hindu Muslim unity denying all those who thought otherwise. Every effort was repudiated by the Congress and its leadership. It took 24 years of endless arguments, debates, conferences, dialogues and destruction of his marriage and loss of woman he loved to convince him that his endeavors were in vain. While reading this book i realized exactly how much humiliation he faced. How many doors were slammed on his face and how many time he was discarded, along with his opinions. Even after all that he kept his head high, he knew how to keep his composure and never to lose an argument, even though those arguments fell on deaf ears and he lost most of his early fights.
Than comes the second phase of his life, in which he appears as proud, vain, whimsical man. who remained adamant on his “crazy” demands as dubbed by the British viceroys, secretarys and governors of late 30s and 40s. Most Britishers thought of him as self indulgent man, who wanted glory. He was unreasonable, never had a valid argument and was most uncooperative. By this time Quaid had figured out that wasting his strained breath on people who would never actually listen to him even when they claimed differently was useless. He had already spent too much of his life arguing with them and had been utterly fruitless. He in 40s isolated himself, hiding his deteriorating health. Also he had lost complete trust in Congress and had grown a bit paranoid even of his own party leadership. He was a man who had been betrayed one too many times and was not about to lose this time around. And he did not. He lost his health, and his only daughter but did not lose this final fight. Many thought that Pakistan was his obsession one last attempt to show his rivals who and humiliated him, his true worth.
But people have known to talk and they will always, had always, would always, one thing is for sure a country can not be built on a man’s vanity and whim. It takes determination, will and loyalty to a true cause. All of which he had. Quaid was nothing if he was not, strategic, persistent and intent.
Mountbatten, the reason of the bloodiest partition of Punjab. Termed Jinnah as psychopathic man, who wanted nothing more than to be Governor General himself, Odd thing for him to say as he had shown strong desire to be GG of not one but two subcontinental domains at the same time!! Never the less Jinnah made his point with Battens multiple times. In being photographed at Battens Jinnah insisted that Lady Mountbatten should stand between him and the lord but the Lord and Lady insisted that Jinnah must stand between them. Which Quaid termed as a rose between two thorns what i would not give to see the expression on the faces of those insolent people, when Quaid made that pun.
There are few things i had problem on in this book. Number one whenever it comes to loss of the life of Hindus the writer gave figures but when it came to the massacre of Muslims the writer took great pains to keep the figures and religion of the deceased fuzzy. Many Muslim unfortunately and shamefully acted as hooligans but the crime against Muslims were 3 fold worse and organized and that was just the year of 47. There is no accounting before that and not to mention the horribleness in Calcutta the year before. And district of Gurdaspur, a Muslim Majority area given on purpose to India where Muslims were killed so extensively that they were whipped out.
Also the presidential address of Quaid
“You are free, you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to nay other place of worship in this sate of Pakistan…. you may belong to nay religion caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State, … we are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste creed or another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we all are citizens and equal citizens of the State …. all members of the Nation.”
The writer questions what was he thinking about, when he said this? was he pleading for united India? why would he talk about religious harmony equality and unity and freedom when millions were migrating towards a “Muslim” state. Well answer is this Pakistan was to be free place for Muslims a place where discrimination on the bases given above would not exist and be condemned. He was not pleading for united India he was pleading for the brutality taking place on the both sides of border to stop. He wanted a Muslim state that stood for everything which had been denied to Muslims in one way or another. A state which would not treat its minorities the way they had been treated before.
All and all it was good book. There is not much on Quaid’s personal life, he was a very private man. Also a man who worked from 14 to 18 hours and even went to office at 8:30 in morning at age of 71 with cancer in his body hard for him a have a personal life. He had many allies eve more followers and even greater number of admirers but he had very few friends. And one companion his sister. He is the least talked about leader, least studied and least admired leader. Never the less he was a single man who brought the most unlikely people to work together and made a weak party into the 2nd largest party of the India and placed Pakistan on the map. If that man was not one of the greatest leader of the modern world than i do not know who is.