Jinnah as a Constitutionalist
“Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. M.A.Jinnah did all three.”- Stanley Wolpert. Jinnah incarnated in himself a complex situation which faced various communities of sub-continent during his lifetime.The way he dealt with situations, evolving a powerful strategy eventually mastering that situation was just phenomenal. This mastery took the shape of Pakistan. The main attribute and underlying force of his strategy is called constitutionalism.
Every word has a different significance for each individual and the magnitude of that significance varies accordingly the vision of the person concerned. Talking of “constitutionalism” specifically Jinnah’s, one thing is for certain that he just didn’t acted or planned his strategy out of guilt, rage or sentiment, given the period to which he belonged; the period of turmoil and treachery, of sudden eruption, of flexibility as well as rigidity, of sudden reversal of policies and betrayal of policies and a long period of destructive process which engulfed everybody who had something to do with Sub-continent, the ruled as well as the rulers, in which acting out of rage, guilt or sentiment was common, he rose above personal incrimination and vindictiveness which craved a path to his absolute decision.
He once said, “Think a hundred times before taking a decision, but once that decision is taken, then stand by it as one man.” Plain-speaking and forthright, did and said what he felt was right. Despite cunning maneuvering, his weaponry constituted method, logic and constitutionalism.The Parsee leader from Bombay, Dadabhoy Naoroji had an impact on Jinnah and fitted in the constitutional frame of his mind. Logic and constitutionalism emerge from a same genre and attitude, and logic was what Jinnah exhibited in each of his opinions, arguments and policies both in law and politics.
Diwan Chaman Lal, a close friend of his once said, “Jinnah’s greatest weapon is logic. When he debates a case, he demolishes the stand of the other party so ruthlessly, brick by brick, that when his arguments are over, nothing is left of the other party’s case.” This is exactly what he did in politics also. When he faced the giants, amid all odds, single-handedly led them into an abyss of reason and logic sweeping away every one of his opponents and every stalwart of the congress was helpless before Quaid’s logic. Taking a nation out of enslavement, uplifting them by enabling opportunities by overthrowing the yoke of a foreign nation was Jinnah’s strategy amazingly successful.
Looking into the anecdotes of his life we see a pure constitutional approach in each one of his decision. During the simultaneous meetings among Muslim League and Congress in Calcutta in September 1920, Jinnah did not enforce his own judgment, instead he said, “It rests with you alone to measure your strength and to weigh the pros and cons of the question before you arrive at a decision.”
In response to Government’s letter (against Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement), Jinnah promptly replied, “The non-cooperation movement is only as symptom and expression of general dissatisfaction, owing to utter disregard of public opinion and of outstanding grievances… Leave alone the bulk of people, even the intellectual and responsible section is far from satisfied with the present policy of the Government… Is it possible for them to support or stand by the Government, when the Government has paid no heed to what they have urged for the last nine months?” No underhand dealings, no selfish methods of hitting below the belt, no compromise on principles, this was what Jinnah stood for.
Jinnah always fought in the House for which he considered the only available course in the path of India’s freedom. He never favored boycott and other unconstitutional means because he believed in constitutionalism. Jinnah’s constitutional consistency forced the reticent Englishmen to comply with him in constitutional way and gaining India a dominion status.
Studying all the accounts of Jinnah’s life we’ll find that his patience and endurance were beating the British and Hindus cunning maneuvering. No amount of words can describe or even do justice with Jinnah’s constitutionalism. A world of endless possibilities and infinite outcomes, countless choices define our fate. Each choice each moment a ripple in the river of time, enough ripples and you change the tide, for the future is never truly set. Jinnah took each step with sheer responsibility; all those steps changed the path of the tide that led to the creation of Pakistan.
Pakistan was a victory of constitutionalism.