In remembrance: At Quaid’s alma mater, historic photos shed light on Jinnah’s life

But lack of evidence about primary schooling puzzles many.

Our Correspondent December 24, 2012
Muhammad Ali Jinnah in a group photo dated June 21, 1943 with other dignitaries (Pir Ilahi Bux to his left) at the Sindh Madressatul Islam College. Jinnah was back at his alma mater to inaugurate college classes at the institution, which was founded in 1885 by Hassanally Effendi. PHOTO: COURTESY SMI UNIVERSITY

KARACHI: At an exhibition showcasing Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s educational records, what is conspicuously missing is the early school life of the founding father of Pakistan.

The vice chancellor of Sindh Madressatul Islam (SMI) - Quaid’s alma mater now a university - believes Jinnah’s early life is shrouded in mystery as there are no records anywhere about his primary education.

Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh was delivering a lecture on “Quaid-e-Azam’s Education and his Educational Records” at the university’s Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto Auditorium on Monday. The lecture was followed by an exhibition on Quaid’s educational records at the Jinnah Museum.

Supported with documentary evidence, Shaikh’s lecture covered Jinnah’s entire academic life, starting from his school days to the period when he was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in London.

Further expanding on Jinnah’s primary education, he said one school of thought believes Jinnah went to a primary school established in 1870 by the British in Jhirrak - a small town about 80 miles northeast of Karachi. The other group of people believes the Quaid was tutored at home. “But both the claims are unverifiable,” he added.

“At this stage, there is no documentary proof available with us amid claims that the record was present but went missing in the ‘70s,” he asserted.

Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh

The SMI only has the record of Quaid-e-Azam’s secondary education, when he got admission in the first standard on July 4, 1887. Jinnah left the school when he moved to Bombay where he received education at Anjuman-e-Islam School for about 6 months. He joined the SMI again, however, on December 23, 1887, and remained at the school till 1891. During Jinnah’s years of studies at SMI, teaching and learning English language was one of the top priorities under the supervision of education inspectors in Sindh.

The SMI university vice chancellor highlighted another important dimension of studying at the madressah: The students’ frequent exposure and interaction with prominent and illustrious personalities. Jinnah’s initial exposure with the Western culture was therefore during his studies at the SMI, the influence of which remained visible on his attire, manner and lifestyle throughout the rest of his life, contended Shaikh, though Jinnah also received his education from Church Mission School in 1893 and then moved to Lincoln’s Inn, from where he received Bar at Law degree on April 29, 1896, aged 21.

Shaikh added Quaid-e-Azam was at the SMI when its founder Hassanally Effendi was himself managing the institution. “Jinnah remembered his services for the institution even half a century later,” he said. Quoting Jinnah from his speech on June 21, 1943, when he came to the SMI to inaugurate college classes, Shaikh said: “After the death of Effendi, there is nobody to look after his creation with the care it deserves.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2012.


Syed | 8 years ago | Reply

Jinnah was a secular man. Pakistan needs a secular leader badly.

Supariwala | 8 years ago | Reply

All of them look like wealthy elitists who wanted to make friends with the British against the Congress....

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