Muhammad Ali Jinnah's 11th August Speech

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Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah delivering the opening address to the Constitutional Assembly on 11 August 1947

Muhammad Ali Jinnah's 11th August Speech is one of the most notable speeches made by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founding father of Pakistan and known as Quaid-e-Azam (Great Leader) to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. Today there is hardly a more contentious issue in Pakistan than the issue of Jinnah's vision. While Pakistan was created as a result of what could be described as Indian Muslim nationalism,[1] Jinnah was once an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity.[2][3][4] When the Partition of India finally occurred, Jinnah, soon-to-be Governor-General of the Dominion of Pakistan, outlined his vision of Pakistan in an address to the Constituent Assembly, delivered on 11 August 1947. He spoke of an inclusive and impartial government, religious freedom, rule of law and equality for all.[5][6]


Minorities celebrate 60 years of Jinnah's speech[edit]

2007 being the 60th anniversary of Jinnah's speech prompted the Pakistani religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus and Sikhs to hold a large rally to celebrate Jinnah's legacy at the Minar-e-Pakistan calling for the implementation of Jinnah's vision in letter and spirit.[7]

The speech and India[edit]

L K Advani, Indian politician, who was once named in a police report for an alleged assassination attempt on Jinnah's life, while visiting Pakistan, stoked off a huge scandal in India, when he referred to Jinnah as a great leader and described his speech to the Constituent Assembly as a truly secular charter, worthy of emulation. At Jinnah's Mausoleum, he wrote:

There are many people who leave an irreversible stamp on history. But there are few who actually create history. Qaed-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah was one such rare individual. In his early years, leading luminary of freedom struggle Sarojini Naidu described Jinnah as an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. His address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 is really a classic and a forceful espousal of a secular state in which every citizen would be free to follow his own religion. The State shall make no distinction between the citizens on the grounds of faith. My respectful homage to this great man.

Advani came under intense criticism from his own party, the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party which has long blamed Jinnah for being solely responsible for India's partition along communal lines. Ultimately, Advani was forced to quit as party chief, despite vindication from the media.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ian Bryant Wells, Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity
  2. ^ Official website, Government of Pakistan. ""The Statesman: Jinnah's differences with the Congress"". Retrieved 2006-04-20. ]
  3. ^ Stanley Wolpert "Jinnah of Pakistan" Oxford University Press
  4. ^ Ajeet Javed "Secular and Nationalist Jinnah" Jawaharlal Nehru University Press
  5. ^ In his actual speech of 11 August 1947 Muhammad Ali 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". In the same speech he said "We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State." Mr. Jinnah's presidential address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan - 11 August 1947
  6. ^ Syed Qasim Mehmood "Message of Quaid-e-Azam"
  7. ^ Pakistani minorities to stage mass rally for equal rights

Further reading[edit]

  1. Ian Bryant Wells Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity: Jinnah's Early Politics (2005), New Delhi
  2. Naidu, Sarojini Advocate of Hindu Muslim Unity Bombay 1917
  3. Ajeet, Javed Secular and Nationalist Jinnah JNU Press Delhi
  4. http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/legislation/constituent_address_11aug1947.html
  5. Syed Qasim Mehmood "Message of Quaid-e-Azam"
  6. Quaid-e-Azam Speaks Published by Anjuman-e-Khuddam ul Quran, Karachi

External links[edit]