Modern Asian Studies


Jinnah and the Pakistan Demand

R. J. Moorea1

a1 Flinders University of South Australia

In an age sceptical of the historic role of great men there is universal agreement that Mahomed Ali Jinnah was central to the Muslim League's emergence after 1937 as the voice of a Muslim nation; to its articulation in March 1940 of the Pakistan demand for separate statehood for the Muslim majority provinces of north-western and eastern India; and to its achievement in August 1947 of the separate but truncated state of Pakistan by the Partition of India. Subcontinental judgements of Jinnah are bound to be parti pris and to exaggerate his individual importance. While Pakistanis generally see him as the Quaid-i-Azam, Great Leader, or father of their nation, Indians often regard him as the Lucifer who tempted his people into the unforgivable sin against their nationalist faith. Among distinguished foreign scholars, unbiassed by national commitment, his stature is similarly elevated. Sir Penderel Moon has written:

There is, I believe, no historical parallel for a single individual effecting such a political revolution; and his achievement is a striking refutation of the theory that in the making of history the individual is of little or no significance. It was Mr Jinnah who created Pakistan and undoubtedly made history.