Born on December 25, 1876, in a prominent mercantile family in Karachi Pakistan and educated at the Sindh Madrassat-ul-Islam and the Christian Mission School, the Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's achievement as the founder of Pakistan dominates everything else he did in his long and crowded public life spanning about 42 years. Yet, by any standard, his achievements in other fields were many, if not equally great. Indeed, several were the roles he had played with distinction: at one time or another, he was one of the greatest legal luminaries India had produced during the first half of the century, an `ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, a great constitutionalist, a distinguished parliamentarian, a top-notch politician, an indefatigable freedom-fighter, a dynamic Muslim leader, a political strategist and, above all one of the great nation-builders of the time.
What makes him so remarkable is the fact that while similar other leaders assumed the leadership of traditionally well-defined nations and espoused their cause, or led them to freedom; he created a nation out of an inchoate and down-trodden minority and established a cultural and national home for it.
For over three decades before the successful culmination in 1947, of the Muslim struggle for freedom in the South-Asian subcontinent, Jinnah had provided political leadership to the Indian Muslims: initially as one of the leaders, but later, since 1947, as the only prominent leader of Pakistan - the Quaid-i-Azam means the greatest leader. For over thirty years, he had handled their affairs with due diligence; he had given expression, coherence and direction to their legitimate aspirations and cherished dreams, formulated these into concrete demands and above all, he had striven all the while to get them conceded by both the ruling British and the numerous Hindus (the dominant segment of India's population). For over thirty years he had fought, relentlessly and inexorably, for the inherent rights of the Muslims for an honourable existence in the subcontinent. Indeed, his life story constitutes, as it was the story of the rebirth of the Muslims of the subcontinent and their spectacular rise to nationhood.
For about three decades since his entry into politics in 1906, Jinnah passionately believed in and assiduously worked for Hindu-Muslim unity. Gokhale, the foremost Hindu leader before Gandhi, had once said of him,
"He has the true stuff in him and that freedom from all sectarian prejudice which will make him the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity: And, to be sure, he did become the architect of Hindu-Muslim Unity: he was responsible for the Congress-League Pact of 1916, known popularly as Lucknow Pact- the only pact ever signed between the two political organisations, the Congress and the All-India Muslim League, representing, as they did, the two major communities in the subcontinent."
By 1917, Jinnah came to be recognised among both Hindus and Muslims as one of India's most outstanding political leaders. Not only was he prominent in the Congress and the Imperial Legislative Council, he was also the President of the All-India Muslim and that of the Bombay Branch of the Home Rule League. More important, because of his key-role in the Congress-League entente at Lucknow, he was hailed as the ambassador, as well as the embodiment, of Hindu-Muslim unity.
In subsequent years, however, he felt dismayed at the injection of violence into politics. Since Jinnah stood for "ordered progress", moderation, gradualism and...