Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born on 25th December 1876 at Vazeer Mansion Karachi, was the first of seven children of Jinnahbhai, a prosperous merchant. After being taught at home, Jinnah was sent to the Sindh Madrasasah High School in 1887. Later he attended the Mission High School, where, at the age of 16, he passed the matriculation examination of the University of Bombay. On the advice of an English friend, his father decided to send him to England to acquire business experience. Jinnah, however, had made up his mind to become a barrister. In keeping with the custom of the time, his parents arranged for an early marriage for him before he left for England.
In London he joined Lincoln’s Inn, one of the legal societies that prepared students for the bar. In 1895, at the age of 19, he was called to the bar. While in London Jinnah suffered two severe bereavements–the deaths of his wife and his mother. Nevertheless, he completed his formal studies and also made a study of the British political system, frequently visiting the House of Commons. He was greatly influenced by the liberalism of William E. Gladstone, who had become prime minister for the fourth time in 1892, the year of Jinnah’s arrival in London. Jinnah also took a keen interest in the affairs of India and in Indian students. When the Parsi leader Dadabhai Naoroji, a leading Indian nationalist, ran for the English Parliament, Jinnah and other Indian students worked day and night for him. Their efforts were crowned with success, and Naoroji became the first Indian to sit in the House of Commons.
When Jinnah returned to Karachi in 1896, he found that his father’s business had suffered losses and that he now had to depend on himself. He decided to start his legal practice in Bombay, but it took him years of work to establish himself as a lawyer.
Jinnah first entered politics by participating in the 1906 Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress, the party that called for dominion status and later for independence for India. Four years later he was elected to the Imperial Legislative Council–the beginning of a long and distinguished parliamentary career. In Bombay he came to know, among other important Congress personalities, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, the eminent Maratha leader. Greatly influenced by these nationalist politicians, Jinnah aspired during the early part of his political life to become "a Muslim Gokhale." Admiration for British political institutions and an eagerness to raise the status of India in the international community and to develop a sense of Indian nationhood among the peoples of India were the chief elements of his politics. At that time, he still looked upon Muslim interests in the context of Indian nationalism.
Jinnah had originally been dubious about the practicability of Pakistan, an idea that Sir Muhammad Iqbal had propounded to the Muslim League conference of 1930; but before long he became convinced that a Muslim homeland on the Indian subcontinent was the only way of safeguarding Muslim interests and the Muslim way of life. It was not religious persecution that he feared so much as the future exclusion of Muslims from all prospects of advancement within India as soon as power became vested in the close-knit structure of Hindu social organisation. To guard against this danger he carried on a nation-wide campaign to warn his coreligionists of the perils of their position, and he converted the Muslim League into a powerful instrument for unifying the Muslims into a nation.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, addressing a procession on 23rd March, 1940
At this point, Jinnah emerged as the leader of a renascent Muslim nation. Events began to move fast. On March 22-23, 1940, in Lahore, the league adopted a resolution to form a separate Muslim state, Pakistan. The Pakistan idea was first ridiculed and then tenaciously opposed by the Congress. But it captured the imagination of the Muslims. Pitted against Jinnah were men of the stature of Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. And the British government seemed to be intent on maintaining the political unity of the Indian subcontinent. But Jinnah led his movement with such skill and tenacity that ultimately both the Congress and the British government had no option but to agree to the partitioning of India. Pakistan thus emerged as an independent state in 14th August, 1947.
Jinnah became the first head of the new state i.e. Pakistan. He took oath as the first governor general on August 15, 1947. Faced with the serious problems of a young nation, he tackled Pakistan’s problems with authority. He was not regarded as merely the governor-general; he was revered as the father of the nation. He worked hard until overpowered by age and disease in Karachi. He died on 11th September, 1948 at Karachi