Stop distorting Jinnah’s words

Published: August 13, 2013
The writer retired as a professor from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

The writer retired as a professor from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

It is a sad statement about Pakistan that 67 years after its founding, our education system and public culture continue to distort key ideas enunciated by Mohammad Ali Jinnah to govern the country. To make matters worse, even his words end up being mutilated.

In his landmark speech to the first Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, Jinnah laid out what he saw as the principles for a future constitution for Pakistan. The speech tackled the relationship between religion and the state. This has proved to be more controversial than he could ever have imagined. It has been subjected to distortion and censorship over the years and his words are once again under attack.

In perhaps, the most significant part of his address to the Constituent Assembly Jinnah said:

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed, that has nothing to do with the business of the state. … We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one state.”

It is clear from these words that the Quaid saw Pakistan as a state in which there would be a separation between state and religion and that Pakistan would be a country in which people of all faiths are equal citizens. There was to be no distinction between a Muslim and a non-Muslim in terms of rights, privileges and responsibilities.

There was an attempt to censor and then suppress the Quaid’s words from the very beginning. The August 11 speech was not discussed in public for decades. The founder’s vision was rediscovered in the 1980s when it was used to resist General Ziaul Haq’s attempt at turning Pakistan into a theocracy. Having failed to suppress Jinnah’s statements, today the supporters of theocracy in Pakistan are trying to distort them. The new assault on the Quaid’s vision is evident in the revised national curriculum of 2006. The national curriculum says one of the things teachers and textbooks must do is help children learn “the role of minorities in Pakistan with specific reference to Quaid-e-Azam’s speech of August 11, 1947, defining their status”. By focusing on ‘role’ and ‘status’ of religious minorities, the national curriculum rightly points students to the issue of religious equality. However, it misses out completely on requiring children to understand Jinnah’s statement in support of separating religion and state. This does a great disservice to Jinnah’s vision of a proper relationship between religion, state and citizens.

The new curriculum opens the door for public school textbook writers to misinterpret the Quaid’s vision and words. The words of his speech are being edited with abandon. In the English edition of the Pakistan Studies textbooks of Balochistan, his August 11 speech is reprinted in quotation marks as:

“You are free, whether you want to go to temples, mosques or other places of worship, you are absolutely free. Whatever your religion or caste may be, the affairs of the state shall not be affected. We are heading forward with the basic principle that we are equal citizens of one state. I believe we must adhere to this principle, and you shall see that that there would be no discrimination between the Hindus and the Muslims in terms of equal political rights.”

It is amazing that such a mutilation of Jinnah’s words can be printed in quotation marks. The reader may think at first sight that such a small change is not a big issue. But small changes can have long-lasting and important consequences. An entire generation of Pakistanis is familiar with the slogan “Faith, Unity and Discipline” that is attributed to Jinnah. This is, in fact, a distortion of his original words. The actual words of the Quaid were “Unity, Faith and Discipline” and were intended as a political slogan. The order was changed in the 1980s to give ideological support to the Islamist military dictatorship of General Zia. The change in order of the words was accompanied by a change in the meaning of the word ‘faith’. In the original meaning, the word faith was meant as ‘faith in oneself’, or self-esteem. Hence, the Urdu translation of this word until 1980 was Yaqeen-e-Mohkam (a firm belief in oneself). Under General Zia, and ever since, ‘faith’ has been translated as ‘iman’ (religious belief).

Can we, as a nation, be at least honest with the founder of the nation? People should be free to disagree with his words, but we should all know and agree on what his words were.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2013.

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (78)

  • MSS
    Aug 13, 2013 - 10:59PM

    The problem is with Jinnah himself. If he really wanted a secular Pakistan, why did he use religion to demand it?
    It was personal ambition, pure and simple.


  • Aziz bhatti
    Aug 13, 2013 - 11:04PM

    Excellent. We mixed religion into the State’s matters in 1974 when Z A Bhutto declared Ahmadis non-Muslims – state jumping into the private affairs of a common man and empowering the Mullahism – thus resulting in Zia’s barbaric 11 years that left Pakistan decades behind.


  • Babloo
    Aug 13, 2013 - 11:15PM

    I don’t know why secularists in Pakistan pay so much stress on Mr Jinnah’s one speech , while ignoring numerous other speeches, where he argued for a Islamic state. Here is quotes from one such historic speech, given by Mr Jinnah , as the president of the Muslim League in Lahore in 1940.
    “It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders; and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality; and this misconception of one Indian nation has gone far beyond the limits and is the cause of more of our troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, and literature[s]. They neither intermarry nor interdine together, and indeed they belong to two different civilisations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspects [=perspectives?] on life, and of life, are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, their heroes are different, and different episode[s]. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other, and likewise their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent, and final. destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state.”


  • Babloo
    Aug 13, 2013 - 11:33PM

    Here is another part of the speech where Mr Jinnah argues that ‘parliamentary democracy’ , which would result in in his words of a ‘Hindu majority’ government cannot work in India.
    If Hindu majority government cannot work in India how would muslim majority government work in Pakistan ?

    ” Muslim India cannot accept any constitution which must necessarily result in a Hindu majority government. Hindus and Muslims brought together under a democratic system forced upon the minorities can only mean Hindu Raj. Democracy of the kind with which the Congress High Command is enamoured would mean the complete destruction of what is most precious in Islam.”

    Today as many muslims live in India as in Pakistan and continue to freely practice their faith as they did in India before division. The opposite ironically cannot be said for Muslim majority Pakistan were the Hindu/Sikh minorities are practically now non-existent. Mr Jinnah obviously did not believe in a democratic secular state where Muslims could live as a minority. Would you call that a secular, democratic thought process ?


  • gp65
    Aug 13, 2013 - 11:50PM

    @Aziz bhatti: So if religion was a non-issue what was the need for Pakistan? Why was the slogan of Pakistan ka matlab kya used to so extensively prior to 1946 vote in Punjab, SIndh and NWFP in 1946? What is the concept of Two Nation Theory if not the basis that Muslims should have their own nation and everyone else (Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, atheists should be another nation)? The whole Pakistan movement was intrinscally not secular. Then Jinnah gave one secular speech on august 11 1947. Then soon enough there was objective resolution. So the country certainly did not wait until 1974 to show its non-secular side to the minorities.

    If there are people who feel that Pakistan should be secular, then they should argue it based on why they think it would be good for Pakistan today rather than hanging on to the one solitary Jinah speech because the other side can produce many more such speeches. Besides, it does not really matter what Jinnah wanted then. What matters is what Pakistanis want now.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Aug 13, 2013 - 11:51PM

    The problem is if you read Mr. Jinnah’s speeches from 1936-1947, you would see him arguing for a Islamic state and emphasizing , magnifying and exacerbating Hindu , Muslim differences. While Mr Gandhi said , ‘Hindus and Muslims are like my two eyes’. Mr Jinnah’s politics and speeches were saying just the opposite and calling Gandhi as a ‘wily hindu’. Its Jinnah’s speeches and ideology , as said by him from 1936-1947, that are the basis of Pakistan’s state ideology and a single speech in August 1947, was just too little, too late to be of any significance.


  • Muhammad
    Aug 13, 2013 - 11:53PM

    It’s because it was the religious fanatics who hid these speeches or censored them during Zia’s time. Zia stayed in power because he claimed he was making sure communism wasn’t spreading in Pakistan. He used Islam to stay in power. Moreover, the Quaid wasn’t even Sunni. He was an Ismaili convert to Shia Islam. He wouldn’t have even supported the Sharia laws proposed by the ‘religious Pakistanis” which is why the Jamat-e-Islami people hated him when he was alive.


  • Nadir
    Aug 13, 2013 - 11:56PM

    Who is this Jinnah? The Quaid e Azam made Pakistan!


  • Mahrukh Qureshi
    Aug 14, 2013 - 12:00AM

    This is astounding! We as a nation are deviating from the real vision of Quaid’s Pakistan … Such informative and though provoking pieces can really change the typical mindset of many..


  • Observer
    Aug 14, 2013 - 12:10AM

    “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed, that has nothing to do with the business of the state. … We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one state.”

    Interesting! Wasn’t independent India already framing this as the basis of its future? If this is what Jinnah wanted of Pakistan why couldn’t he have seeked this for the muslims he represented within undivided India? Rather he chose to ‘interpret’ some of the then congress’s moves to be a future that would be a threat to the muslims in the sub-continent and Islam in general. So the game of misinterpreting things for ones own political gains has been a very old one and one cannot quite just point a finger at Zia as being the only one. Many others have tried to highjack the true narrative playing this game. I have two points to make – 1. There are way too many contradictions in Jinnah for history to view him as a great leader (i.e. muslim and hindu unity; role of Islam in ones personal and public life etc.) 2. For someone who had created a whole new country, he left no clear vision and direction for the future of the country. He failed as a statesman in this respect fully knowing that his time in this world was short due to his failing health. It is a pity that the future generations have to figure out key foundational things from one speech of his.

    Jinnah was a good lawyer and he won his case in terms of creating Pakistan but he was no statesman who could give a direction, a vision to the new country or build it into a viable or great nation.

    P.S. If the ET moderator chooses to not allow this comment I can understand


  • Babloo
    Aug 14, 2013 - 12:16AM

    Here is how Mr Jinnah ended his speech as President of Muslim League, in Lahore, 1940.

    “Come forward as servants of Islam. organise the people economically, socially, educationally, and politically, and I am sure that you will be a power that will be accepted by everybody. “

    No mention of Hindus and Sikhs who made 25% of the territories that went on to become part of Pakistan.


  • shahid
    Aug 14, 2013 - 12:30AM

    At times he was proud of introducing religion into politics, “When we say ‘This flag is the flag of Islam’ they think we are introducing religion into politics – a fact of which we are proud” (Gaya Muslim League Conference, January 1938); categorically stating that Pakistan would be an Islamic state, “(Pakistan) will be an Islamic state on the pattern of the Medina state…” (Muslim League session Allahabad, 1942); showcasing a state which would be governed by Islamic laws, “The Muslims demand Pakistan where they could rule according to their own code of life and according to their own cultural growth, traditions, and Islamic Laws” (Frontier Muslim League Conference November 21, 1945) and portraying Pakistan as “the Premier Islamic State” (February 1948).


  • Babloo
    Aug 14, 2013 - 12:38AM

    Among all the websites in the Indian subcontinent, I see some of the best discussions moderated at Tribune. Congratulations to tribune on that. Most other websites either allow too many rubbish, vulgar comments thus spoiling the atmosphere for any civil discussion ( example Times of India, Hindustan times ) or censure comments ( like The Hindu ) , even if they are true and factual. Tribune allowed me to quote Mr Jinnah’s own historic speech in Lahore 1940, even though it goes against the popular narrative of Jinnah in Pakistan. If I quoted the same speech in my comments in ‘The Hindu’, they would not publish it because they think I am creating trouble and may hurt the feelings of muslims !!


  • Iqtidar Khan
    Aug 14, 2013 - 12:46AM


    I just fail to understand how these other speeches that you have quoted here justify that minorities in the future state of Pakistan would be second class citizens ?.
    (Precisely the consequence of believing your interpretation of the above speeches that the future state would a thekedaar of one’s personal religious beliefs)


  • np
    Aug 14, 2013 - 1:18AM

    @Iqtidar Khan: IF the purpose of Pakistan was not to give an advantage to Muslims, if all citizens were to be treated equally regardless of religion, partition was not necessary because that is the premise of India. There is NO law tha discriminates against practioner of any religion or atheists or agnostics i Indian constitution..Recommend

  • gp65
    Aug 14, 2013 - 1:43AM


    @Babloo: “Among all the websites in the Indian subcontinent, I see some of the best discussions moderated at Tribune. Congratulations to tribune on that”

    Completely agree. This is despite the fact that getting your comment approved is hit or miss even when you follow all comment guidelines and also though some impostor has used my ID more than a couple of dozen times. This is a better site than ToI , Hindustan Times and The Hindu exactly for the reasons you listed. Dawn is similar to The Hindu and so you do not see as many substansive comments there as here due to the level of filtration..


  • Babloo
    Aug 14, 2013 - 1:44AM

    @Mr Iqtidar Khan,
    The speech I quoted , quotes Jinnah as saying that in his opinion ‘Hindus and Muslims could not forge a common nationality’. If that was the case in 1940 , why would it be any different for Hindus in Pakistan on August 11th ? The ideology of the state of Pakistan was formed in the period 1936-47. Yes Pakistan can change that ideology but to do so you would have to reevaluate Mr Jinnah , endorse what you like and repudiate what you don’t like about his ideology.


  • Asad Malik
    Aug 14, 2013 - 1:54AM

    You need to go back and read an unbiased version of history. Do you really think he would’ve gotten any support from the largest minority i.e uneducated Muslims if he hadn’t played the religious card to gather support?

    He was a brilliant politician, far superior to Nehru and he played his cards right in order to establish a country which was supposedly for all (unfortunately he died before making sure of it). If you read history you would have known that he in fact supported a unified sub continent before Nehru and other politicians started sidelining him


  • Mirza
    Aug 14, 2013 - 2:25AM

    Dear Professor Sahib thanks for a clear and to the point Op Ed that is the need of the hour. I am glad that Pakistan still has teachers and thinkers like you! I would support your arguments by stating the fact that Pakistan’s first cabinet was far from today’s Pakistan. The two most prominent ministers were not even Muslims from today’s standard. The most powerful law minister was Mandal a proud Hindu who later had to leave Pakistan.
    When the US founding fathers could keep state and church separate more than 200 years ago, Mr. Jinnah could easily envision a secular Pakistan for all inhabitants living in peace.


  • Aug 14, 2013 - 2:32AM

    @Aziz bhatti: Since Jinnah was a Gujarati from my region and having lots of respect for him, I never understood why he used religion in creating Pakistan. It was the biggest blunder of his life. Had he known what his Pakistan would look like in 67 years, he would have stayed behind in Bombay and died peacefully.


  • gujranwala789
    Aug 14, 2013 - 3:46AM

    Jinnah is no more relevant to pakistan, no one cares what he said in that speech which the author has mentioned in the article. We all need to get out of this history worship and live in the present and deal with the realities of modern pakistan and try to solve the problems by addressing them according to their merit.


  • Fateh Mohammed
    Aug 14, 2013 - 3:47AM

    @Babloo….. In 1940 demand for Pakistan was in balance so it is Jinnahs rallying call to Muslims of India to unite under his leadership and the address is not exclusive to the people of the provinces that would ultimately constitute Pakistan . Above all Muslims were the most downtrodden and were not expecting equal treatment being in considerable minority on Independane so he was nudgeing them to unite as a block and not fritter away energies in factionalism . The 1940 speech therefore can not be taken as a counterpoint for his 11 August 1947 speech , that will be distortion of facts .

    Position of today’s minorities in Pakistan is no different rather worse than that of theirs ( Muslims ) before partition . If we want peace within our borders every citizen should be an equal citizen as is implied explicitly in Jinnah ‘ s address . Don’t oppress people in the name religion , race or language because some people think they are in majority .


  • Aug 14, 2013 - 5:16AM

    Jinnah did want a Pakistan for protection of rights of Muslim minority.
    He was not a pure secular. He was a nationalist (he was worried about fate of Muslims).


  • Babloo
    Aug 14, 2013 - 7:08AM

    @Fateh Mohammad
    I get your point but the average person would take him at his face value and believe what he said.


  • Arijit Sharma.
    Aug 14, 2013 - 7:26AM

    Try to answer this question – Is Islam secular ? The answer will put everything into perspective. All this to-and-for on Jinnah is wasted energy.


  • Hari Om
    Aug 14, 2013 - 8:22AM

    Demanding a separate nation for adherents of a particular religion, Islam in the case of Mr. Jinnah, is the antithesis of being “secular”. The “constituent assembly” speech may best be interpreted as Mr. Jinnah taking out an insurance policy to ensure his dominance of political power would not be challenged by some Muslim Cleric hijacking the mantle of Islam that he had captured to form Pakistan.


  • afzaal khan
    Aug 14, 2013 - 10:11AM

    Same advise goes to author, author proves degree don’t denotes education


  • expaki
    Aug 14, 2013 - 10:20AM

    “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan”: WHY THIS CONTRADICTION? People were free to go to their temples and mosques in United India. Its now NO ONE IS FREE to go to any religious meeting or place. You were lucky that you did not live to see FREEDOM
    of your Pakistan.


  • Indian Wisdom
    Aug 14, 2013 - 10:53AM

    @ author,(with reference to examples given by Mr. babloo)

    What we fail to understand is why are you so ashamed to accept the principle on which Pakistan was formed??? why are you so ashamed to own the speeches of Mr. Jinnah which are anything but secular????why are you so ashamed to own that Pakistan the foundation of which was two nation theory???

    Own it and if you find that the founding principles no longer hold good, improve upon it….forget about what kind of Pakistan Mr. Jinnah wanted to make or what kind of India Mr. Gandhi wanted to make…build a country which your new generation aspire for…and please don’t distort anyone’s words just to prove him secular, just because a secular Jinnah suits you….

    Happy independence day to all of our Pakistani brothers and sisters!!! May God make your Pakistan strong and secular……


  • imtiaz gul
    Aug 14, 2013 - 11:11AM

    Excellent Nayyar sahib. People , even with dubious identities or pseudonyms, digging into history to counter your arguments without realizing that regardless of what Jinnah or others may have said, the question today is whether we treat all Pakistanis equal or not. Where is the Islamic role-model that these people want to replicate in Pakistan? Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, or Afghanistan of the Taliban, or Iran? The chaos and ignorance in most of the Muslim suggests that we better focus on critical, value education and secular governance rather than using the religious prism to adjudge daily life administrative matters and economic matters to ensure better life for all those who live in this country. Only then will ignorance and discrimination to minorities will end.


  • csmann
    Aug 14, 2013 - 11:48AM

    I did not know that Mr.Jinnah was a Shia.Would he have been safe in Pakistan of today?


  • Hasan Mehmood
    Aug 14, 2013 - 12:12PM

    {The problem is with Jinnah himself. If he really wanted a secular Pakistan, why did he use religion to demand it?
    The reference to religion was only a tactical ploy to unite uneducated poor Muslim masses behind the call for Pakistan which basically was based on anticipated discrimination in political, social and economic matters which in turn was based on Congress rule of Muslim provinces in 1937. Is that so difficult to understand? As late as 1946, Muslim League agreed to Cabinet Mission plan for a loose federal structure with obviously no space for a theocratic dispensation. For all my Indian friends bashing Jinnah’s supposed religious sloganeering, they should remember that overwhelming majority Muslim CLERGY saw through this facade and stayed away from Pakistan movement. As they wanted nothing less than a theocratic Islamic state which obviously a western attired, pipe smoking, secular minded lawyer would never be able to deliver. As soon as Jinnah achieved his mission, he showed his true colors in the above referred speech. He came out strongly in favor of a practically secular, democratic, welfare state. Unfortunately most of his colleagues (which he termed as fake coins) did not share his vision and he died too soon before he could single handedly implement his vision.


  • Human
    Aug 14, 2013 - 12:14PM

    Great article. I always enjoy how an article like this puts indians in overdrive. Clearly, they still suffer from the complex that a man snatched muslims’ from right under their nose haha. Villifying Jinnah is an easy way to calm their frustration. No doubt if we had stuck to Jinnah’s ideals, Pakistan today would have been a different place.


  • gp65
    Aug 14, 2013 - 12:16PM

    Pakistan was inevitable in face of arrogance of Congress. Jinnah was able to achieve Pakistan even though he was facing stiff opposition from Congress on one hand, British on the second and Muslim hardliners on the third front. What a brilliant man. One wishes india had a leader half as capable as him.


  • Hella
    Aug 14, 2013 - 12:23PM

    What Jinnah wanted is meaningless. Pakistan ended in 1971 when the majority of Pakistanis & all the prime movers of Pakistan resolution in Dhaka, withdrew from Pakistan. Jinnah’s speeches are no more relevant to what is now called Pakistan.


  • Naveen
    Aug 14, 2013 - 1:05PM

    @Asad Malik:
    There’s a difference between a Politician and Statesman. Mr. Jinnah may very well have been a better politican than Nehru (infact Nehru is not even venerated by most Indians as people are more concerned with guys who vouch for their religion, caste,tribe, language etc. which Nehru didn’t ). But as a Statesman, Nehru was definitely miles ahead. His dedication for a secular, reason based, and science led Independent India was unambiguous as articulated in many of his writings and speeches.

    Here is a link for Nehru’s book ‘Discovery of India’ that he wrote while lodged in Ahmadnagar Fort prison ->

    PS: Btw I don’t see Nehru as infallible. His economic policies and foreign policy with regards to China are (with the benefit of hindsight) definitely questionable.


  • Feroz
    Aug 14, 2013 - 2:40PM

    Is it not time to get over what Jinnah said, Gandhi said or Bacha Khan said. Political personalities will say whatever they have to say today and quite the opposite tomorrow. When a country is founded on the basis of religion for anyone to believe it will choose a secular path is beyond comprehension or logic.
    Jinnah created a country and his job was done. The kind of country a people want to have is their wish and doing. In Pakistan there was no commonality of interest, vision or goal. It was thought that the glue of Religion would overcome all differences. This did not happen but what did happen is that Pakistan lost its culture, its minorities got decimated, its diversity destroyed, democracy murdered and country broke into half.
    A country cannot be built on the bogey of threats based on a foundation of hate. It needs wisdom, foresight and perseverance to have a vision and set common goals that can motivate and reward achievement. When the goals of the rulers and citizens are divergent, fear and oppression will be resorted to retain control. A narrative will also be created that misery is a result of external forces out to destroy the country. To face the TRUTH needs strength and courage, sorely lacking at this juncture.


  • Ahmed Ali
    Aug 14, 2013 - 2:53PM

    Well written piece, Nayyar! However, as an eloquent reader has aptly commented, Mr. Jinnah was an excellent lawyer, and he won the case in forming Pakistan. Economic and social circumstances prevailing in the pre-partition India helped him, as the parts of India which Jinnah succeded in carving out (Pakistan and Bangladesh) were retarded economically compared to the rest, which are now part of India. Jinnah stressed this socio-economic differnces and the implied handicaps that the people inhabiting these less-developed parts would have faced in undivided India. This was the principal theme of his 1940 speech, though the actual articulation of
    the speech was inherently flawed. Muslims and Hindus (and for that matter others) have dined
    and married each other all along. They are the same people, worshipping different Gods and
    Dieties, but otherwise children of the same soil. Let us now make a fast forward: In the meanwhile, both India, Pakistan (and Bangladesh) have made great economic strides, India more than the other two. Despite this, more than 500 million people in the Indian subcontinent live in poverty, with no access to even clean drinking water, let alone other benefits which a modern state is expected to offer to its citizens. That they are free to go to their Mandirs, Masjids and Gurdwaras may have some emotional value, but this by itself does not offer any hope of upward mobility for the disadvantaged lot and for their children. This despite the slogans “Garibi hatao” and ” Roti, Kapra and Makan mang raha hey har Insan”. What politicians say and what they actually do are two completely different pair of shoes. They just don’t fit. Mr. Jinnah is no exception. He coined the words that served his political goals at a
    particular period of time. Of course, he was contradictory, but this is the way as life goes. However, as an amusing thought (let us call it a “Gedanken Experiment”), just for a moment let us believe a scence in the famous film Gandhi were true in which Gandhi Ji was trying to persuade Nehru and Patel to let Jinnah become the first prime minsiter of India for the sake of India’s unity, and let us imagine that Gandhi Ji had actually succeeded in his efforts. I believe that the Indian subcontinent would have been a lot better, a much-more prosperous and developed state, and, most importantly, this part of the world would have been a peaceful place. Alas, neither Jinnah, nor Nehru and Patel, were free of personal ambition.


  • T R Khan
    Aug 14, 2013 - 3:16PM

    Is it correct that Jinnah’s 11th August speech was filmed by the information ministry cameraman and immediately after the speech the film reel was taken away by some senior officers? And it never was seen again!


  • Abrar R
    Aug 14, 2013 - 4:02PM

    ““You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed, that has nothing to do with the business of the state. … We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one state.””

    This is the Quaids only speech which has no record with Radio Pakistan.


  • Hasan Mehmood
    Aug 14, 2013 - 5:08PM

    {The problem is with Jinnah himself. If he really wanted a secular Pakistan, why did he use religion to demand it?
    The reference to religion was only a tactical ploy to unite uneducated poor Muslim masses behind the call for Pakistan which basically was based on anticipated discrimination in political, social and economic matters which in turn was based on Congress rule of Muslim provinces in 1937. Is that so difficult to understand? As late as 1946, Muslim League agreed to Cabinet Mission plan for a loose federal structure with obviously no space for a theocratic dispensation. For all my Indian friends bashing Jinnah’s supposed religious sloganeering, they should remember that overwhelming majority of Muslim CLERGY saw through this facade and stayed away from Pakistan movement. As they wanted nothing less than a theocratic Islamic state which obviously a western attired, pipe smoking, secular minded lawyer would never be able to deliver. As soon as Jinnah achieved his mission, he showed his true colors in the above referred speech. He came out strongly in favor of a practically secular,democratic, welfare state without discrimination. Unfortunately most of his colleagues (which he termed as fake coins) did not share his vision and he died too soon before he could single handedly implement his vision.

    Moderator ET: Please post my comments as it is directly related to the topic.


  • Menon
    Aug 14, 2013 - 5:43PM

    Why? Jinnah himself is a distortion of the Punjabi/Sindhi Zamindari system.


  • Menon
    Aug 14, 2013 - 5:51PM


    Whether you agree or not, the distortion is complete success. Pakistan has successfully eliminated all minorities and continue to do so every day.

    All the intellectual discourse is pretty much worthless and as far as the minorities of Pakistan is concerned whatever Jinnah said 67 years ago.

    Pakistani’s are full of excuses, explanations, conspiracy theories and refuse to ownership of your own country and make change.

    Every August 14, someone brings up Jinnah’s vision and his speech without fail. Suppose it has happened for the last 67 years.

    What is the use? What purpose does it serve? Is there one leader, let’s your PM speaking to the nation about Jinnah’s vision or making it his/her own vision for Pakistan?


  • Ali Tanoli
    Aug 14, 2013 - 6:00PM

    If one asked any migrant of U.P, Dehli, Bihar, Bhopal, or Eastren Punjab he or she will tells
    u what Pakistan movement was and on what was the purpose of making Pakistan now I wa
    nna share some of my experience I have a one uncle friend from Karachi who migrated from
    patna Bihar, he some time get very stressfull when he sees Pakistan situation one day we were sitting out side the mosque after pray I asked him chacha what u think about creation of pakistan is it made on secularism or based on reliegen he said this is same words I am quating here we were made fool on reliegen and now they talking about secularism then what was wrong living together with india one greater nation based on secular constitution??
    I did not have a one more question.


  • madiha anwar rana
    Aug 14, 2013 - 7:01PM

    Dr A H Nayyar looks like a secular molvi. a few days earlier i read about the similarities of religious fanatics and liberal fascists. there seems a clear congruency
    read it out


  • 1984
    Aug 14, 2013 - 8:46PM

    Jinnah – All the liberals want to defend him and blame Zia Ul Haq for the current situation of Pakistan….Noone is ready to accept that Zia Ul Haq is the fall guy who actually completed what Jinnah dreamed..An Islamic Pakistan

    If he wished,he wanted a secular country carved out of India,why create one instead of asking the COngres to implement????

    Honestly I wouldnt judge a person too high who called for a Direct Action Day and literally held a knife at the throat of the Congress leaders to get his demands fulfilled…

    To all those who say DIrect Action Day was supposed to be peaceful,but went berserk…Let me tell you something,according to Advani,the demonstrations before Babur Mosque was supposed to be peaceful,but he couldnt control the karsevaks after he went near the gates

    Will this explanation absolve Advani for the destruction of Babur Mosque????


  • gp65
    Aug 14, 2013 - 8:58PM

    @Hasan Mehmood: Well even if it was a tactical ploy to use religion to create a separate state, that still does not change the fact tha that ploy was NOT SECULAR. Also a tactical ploy to create the state on the basis of what? Religion – right? Is the inherent demand itself secular? No.

    Anyway the point is Jinnah made Pakistan a country for Muslims a reality. IT does not matter what he wanted now any more than it matters to us Indians what Nehru wanted. All that matters is what Pakistanis want today. SO any argument for secularism should be based on what it would do for Pakistan today not based on the one speech for which no record is found.

    Happy independence day to you and all Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Saadat
    Aug 14, 2013 - 9:10PM

    Dr. A. H. Nayyar could not successfully convinced that Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted a secular Pakistan, only one sentence from one speech could not serve the purpose, where entire struggle for a separate homeland for Indian Muslims was founded on theological grounds.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Aug 14, 2013 - 10:13PM

    Your secularism did not deliver Nayar sahib please don’t make a false promises….


  • Parvez
    Aug 14, 2013 - 10:38PM

    As Mr.Jinnah never left any clear, categorical instructions as to what shape the new nation would take, so it is pointless debating as to what he had in his head at the time. The need of the hour, although that hour to has long since gone, is to define clearly if the state is to be a modern progressive Muslim state or is it to be run as a state in name only to serve the wants of a few. The last 66 years has been a mixed bag with the latter theory dominating.


  • sabi
    Aug 14, 2013 - 10:50PM

    @Indian Wisdom:
    Although I don’t always agree with your view point, specially your understanding on Jinnah,I must confess one thingMy level of tolerance is raised to the level where I feel at great ease to absorb every criticism ( of course not bad language if any) against my sentiments.That is because of continuous engagement with people across the border on esteem ET space as Babloo rightly pointed out in his above post.I thank ET team that has very successfully moderated intellectual debates through the time.Hope to see you people coming with brighter ideas and with a greater sense of ownership to the sufferings of the people of subcontinent in future.


  • Aftab
    Aug 15, 2013 - 12:02AM

    Great article by Pro. Nayyar. He is rightly explained the ideology of Pakistan.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Aug 15, 2013 - 12:06AM

    Did Jinnah really said that if yes than why its recorded and keep it in india today?????
    why we don’t have that speech????


  • expaki
    Aug 15, 2013 - 12:58AM

    @Dipak: ” I never understood why he used religion in creating Pakistan” He was indeed very cleaver and above all “COMMUNITY ORIENTED GUJRATIA”. for an Answer, chart of
    COMMERCIAL – MANUFACTURING COMPLEX of Pakistani industry, says all. By the way Late Hakim Zardari, father of our President, have had very great “affection” for Mr. Jinnah


  • expaki
    Aug 15, 2013 - 1:02AM

    @Abrar R: “This is the Quaids only speech which has no record with Radio Pakistan”So what all ÖUR INTELLECTUALS SAYING ” is only based on he said – she said?.


  • Ahmed
    Aug 15, 2013 - 1:15AM

    Simple………If Quaid would have lived a few years more after the partition, pakistan must have changed alot.his early demise paved the way for elitist Army & political clerics to distort the Quaids vision of modern and prosperous pakistan.


  • S
    Aug 15, 2013 - 1:50AM

    to be honest, i donot care about the statements that he made on 11th august after the creation of Pakistan. What i care about is the slogans he raised which brought millions of people behind him, the promises he made for which 100 of thousands people sacrificed their lives and yes those slogans and promises were for an Islamic state.

    ALLAH Ho Akbar


  • Babloo
    Aug 15, 2013 - 2:00AM

    I feel the same way and interacting at ET has reduced my reflexive hostility.


  • gp65
    Aug 15, 2013 - 3:44AM

    @sabi: As you well know, despite our occassional disagreement, I too enjoy discussing and debating with you. Our ideas on some issues may never converge but if we can even have a better understanding of the other side’s perspective, that is progress and it is desirable. Also I will admit, that I also learn a lot in reading the posts of Pakistanis like yourself, Mirza, Ejaaz, faraz, Parvez, kanwal, bigsaf and many more not to mention the many wonderful OpEd writers and bloggers on ET.

    Happy indepndence day.Recommend

  • Saqib
    Aug 15, 2013 - 4:25AM

    Can we please use some sense and study history before parroting the same misconceptions and lies. He fought for the Muslims of South Asia, Pakistan was created out of that struggle. His short life span after independence is the only true misfortune to befall Pakistan, otherwise things would have been a lot better. That’s not to say a county with no industry to speak off in 1947 has a healthy industrial base in 2013.


  • pingpong
    Aug 15, 2013 - 4:43AM

    first speech in assembly’s first session , seriously how one can more clearer about the outlook of Pakistan than the Great Quaid ?


  • ased
    Aug 15, 2013 - 8:17AM

    Mr. Jinnah was Lawyer ,education from London,wife was parsi it was love marrige(when he became in love she was under age but she left the house later by the order of court she went back parents house when became 18 year then join again Mr. jainnh) ,and people r looking a religion person.he was modern progressive person.what a foolish thinking.


  • ModiFied
    Aug 15, 2013 - 8:41AM

    @ Babloo, sabi, gp65 etc: I spend a great deal of time reading and listening to Pakistani media. Express Tribune is the best when it comes to meaningful debates. Times of India and Hindustan Times are the lowest in my grading. There are no serious debates on Indian news papers. Even Pakistani TV debates are better moderated. However, I find factual errors commonly reported in Pakistani papers and TV debates. Knowledge of many Pakistanis about India is totally in mismatch with the truth. There are people in Pakistan who still think that Hindu women become “sati” at the time of death of their husbands. There is hardly any information about the present status of scheduled castes and Muslims in India. Common Pakistani thinks that India is ruled only by upper castes. In my view an average Indian is better informed about Pakistan than a average Pakistani about India.


  • Confsed
    Aug 15, 2013 - 4:38PM

    So we don’t know our purpose. Interesting.


  • Babloo
    Aug 15, 2013 - 5:36PM

    I agree 100% with you on that. In Pakistan, misinformation about India, is widespread and entrenched, mainly because it has been a state sponsored project for last 70 years.


  • np
    Aug 15, 2013 - 9:59PM

    @pingpong: IF the speech you refer to was the only speech he made and all his actions were consistent with that speech, there would indeed be o confusion. He has however made many speeches throughout the Pakistan movement and even after Pakistan’s independence that were quite inconsistent with the August 11th speech. His actions such as call for Direct Action day is another such example which is inconsistent with the AUgust 11th speech.Recommend

  • expaki
    Aug 16, 2013 - 2:02AM

    @csmann: “I did not know that Mr.Jinnah was a Shia.Would he have been safe in Pakistan of today”He could have PASSED A new Resolution “QararDad” ( this time in Waziristan, ) “Sorry guys, I was wrong and NOW Pakistan Sae Zindaa Baago”


  • expaki
    Aug 16, 2013 - 2:08AM

    @Parvez: “Jinnah never left any clear, categorical instructions as to what shape the new nation would take” Sure he was more CONFUSED than we are today. Its us Pakistanis who have made him messenger of God.


  • Hasan Mehmood
    Aug 16, 2013 - 6:00PM

    I do agree with your second para of the rely. However you have not followed the essence of my submission in the first para. You must keep in mind the socio economic conditions and mental make up of people back in 1940’s and give some allowance to Jinnah for appealing to the basic / largest / most common denominator i.e Religion. Congress had a golden chance to blow away Muslim League in 1937, but it botched up seriously due to short sighted policies.
    It is 2013 and what Narendra Modi (quite probably your next PM) is doing? His agenda is arguably to replicate the Gujrat progress model across India but the initial momentum and following he achieved is primarily based on communal hatred and religious jingoism. But unlike Jinnah he is still trapped in old rhetoric and recently compared large scale muslim killings in Gujrat riots as regretful / unfortunate similar to a puppy coming under car wheels.
    Wish you a happy Independence Day.

    Moderator ET: You don’t have any problem posting unlimited comments of Indian trolls, but in my case your quota policy kicks in. Please post my reply.


  • ravi
    Aug 16, 2013 - 11:40PM

    @ased – then why. he objected. marriage. of his. daughter. to parsi. Man.who. eventually. left jinna. and stayed. in India. mother. of. nusli. wadia owner. of ipl. team. kings. eleven. punjab if. iam not. wronge.


  • Anonymous
    Aug 16, 2013 - 11:56PM

    About et debates – obviously. best in subcontinent .I left. reading. and. writing in rediff. for very. same reason -foul. language nonsense comments. etc. as far. as times. of. India. is concerned they have online dictionary based. moderator no physical. person is available. so. people are misusing it. with simply changing. spelling.
    following et for. last. 3,4 yrs. initially I used. to comment. immediately, but. later get used. to. but. read. comment. section regularly.
    rgds. to all
    nashik. mh .IndiaRecommend

  • Aug 17, 2013 - 2:23AM

    @Hasan Mehmood: please do not talk about 2002 Gujarat riots in which 740 Muslims were killed in Gujarat. What you forgot to ask yourself is why these riots occreud?
    First 59 Hindu pilgrims returning from a pilgrimage were killed by Indian Muslims at Godhara rail station. Tell me what would have happened to Pakistani Hindus if they had killed 59 Pakistani Muslims returning from Hajj at Lahore train station? The answer will surprise you. And don’t talk about Narendra Modi. He is an excellent Chief Minister of Gujarat. The best ever of any states of India ever since the independence. His style of governance, dedication, increasing industries and power generation can not be matched by any CMs of India and Pakistan combined. Did you know that Gujarat with 60 million population produces more electricity than it needs. There is no load-shedding in Gujarat. In fact, Gujarat produces more electricity than Pakistan with 180 million people. There is no riot in Gujarat in past 10 years. Muslims of Gujarat are more prosperous than ever since Independence. Jinnah always promoted harmony and peace between Muslims and Hindus. Let us jeep it that way.


  • Hasan Mehmood
    Aug 17, 2013 - 9:56AM

    Why do you think he was refused Visa by USA and in spite of his very strong credentials he has still not been officially named PM candidate by BJP and why a large section of Indian population (not just muslims) have reservations regarding his communal mindset.
    Anyway its not about Modi. Please read my comments in their specific context.
    My point is that almost every Indian bashes Jinnah for his communal appeal for a political goal. However it can be safely assumed that Pakistan under Jinnah would have been a progressive welfare state and minorities would have actually thrived in his rule which I am ashamed to say did not happen after his death.


  • csmann
    Aug 17, 2013 - 2:17PM

    Germany made an astonishing progress under Hitler. But he was a murderer,and so is Modi.
    Progress in Gujrat has many reasons- a state on western border of India with ports,and investment by lots of non-resident Gujaratis,who are compartively more rich than other non-residents,and have also some influence politically in foreign countries,and with the business communities abroad.(not that this is in anyway wrong or undeserved.Gujratis are very diligent and hard-working people,and they help each other). Modi listened to his helpers,and did make some right decisions(that plus can not be denied him). But just as he is responsible for the progress in Gujrat,so also he is responsible for the carnage in Gujrat . He is known to have allowed it to go on,and even encouraged it. And it was a wrong done to citizens of India and his state.


  • Anand
    Aug 18, 2013 - 3:40PM


    As @csmaan has so eloquently brought the example of Hitler, it needs to stressed that there can’t be trade off between ‘Development’ (however questionable) and ‘communal polarisation’ of the people of the country. Modi may or may not be directly responsible for the riot. But even without the riot his caustic speeches, his pungent tone, his acrimonious stance and combative body language are all designed to appeal at the baser instincts of his targeted audience.
    As for developement Gujarat was always a more developed state in trade and industry than many other states of India. It is relatively easier for ‘good’ to become ‘better’ than for ‘worse’ to become even nearly ‘good’.


  • Maverick Pakistani
    Aug 18, 2013 - 11:29PM

    The misunderstanding about Jinnah’s ideology is not because of the lack of clarity in Jinnah’s thoughts or contradictions in his various speeches. It essentially springs from the lack of knowledge about secularism as well as Islam’s political thought. The following sentence in Jinnah’s August 11 speech is widely interpreted as secularism.

    ” You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State ” Speech on August 11, 1947. Here Jinnah is talking about belonging to a religion has nothing to do with the business of the state. It explicitly means being Muslim, Hindu or Chiristain will not/should not result in any discrimination at state level in terms of constitutional and legal framework and its implementation.This speech does not say at all that Islam, or any other religion, has nothing to do with the business of the state.

    There is a huge difference between “belonging to a religion’ and ‘religion per se’. Did Jinnah say Religion Has Nothing To Do With the Business of the State ? Absolutely, NO. Hence, Jinnah only highlighted that there will not be any discrimation by state on the baiss of religion.

    It is not secularism at all. Secularism is basically about state being religion-neutral, and religion only a private affair between man and God. Jinnah has not highlighted this aspect at all.


  • Stranger
    Aug 28, 2013 - 9:43PM

    Sigh Being an Indian born some time in the 70s it pains to see the subcontinent split like this . Wish we had never split . Wish our ‘elders’ had created regions or districts or states based on religion and language but not an entire country .


  • alamgir hussain
    Oct 5, 2013 - 8:36AM

    What a load of rubbish!

    Pakistan was created solely as a “pak land” for the Muslims. And immense atrocities were perpetrated and 1-2 million of human lives were destroyed to achieve this cherished desire of the Jinnah clique, and by extension, of the Muslims.

    How can a land created for Muslims be equitable to non-Muslims, when theoretically it should be free of any non-Muslims?

    What Jinnah said in his assembly speech on August 11, 1947 is contrary to the founding aims and principles of Pakistan, that were orchestrated by Jinnah and other founding fathers. And those founding principles have become the reality in effect.


More in Opinion