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JINNAH OF PAKISTAN

Title: Jinnah of Pakistan, Author: Stanley Wolpert, Publisher: Oxford Press, Pages: 421, Price: PKR 495/-

Stanley Wolpert’s ‘Jinnah of Pakistan’, and Hector Bolitho’s ‘Jinnah: Creator of Pakistan’ are regarded as monumental works on the life of the Quaid-e-Azam. Bolitho wrote it like a novel; Wolpert, a history account. An expert touch of fiction in Bolitho’s book makes it a pleasant-read. What makes it more reader-friendly is the trait that the book brings forth the historical facts, painstakingly collected right after the death of the Quaid, amalgamated in the fiction-like prose.

On the other hand, Wolpert seems to have written it with a clear intention of narrating the facts about the great leader’s life in a plain way, though he too seems trying to denote the eventful life of Jinnah with a slight touch of connotative dramatic elements.

Wolpert being a professor of history knew the importance of not amalgamating historical facts with fiction. Historiography demands objectivity in studying and simplicity in reporting/denoting; just the way philosophy demands objectivity and plain narration. That is why, Croce shared Vico’s view that history should be written by philosophers. This demand from historians inherently emphasises over the need of history be written without any emotions, affiliations and biases.

Wolpert has been successful in doing so. He collected the scattered facts with great zeal and care, and compiled them in a splendid way that the document has ascended to the level of a brilliant reference book on the life of Jinnah.

Ibn Khaldun’s point of view on historiography was very humane and simple. He was of the view that a historian should not only string the events happened on the timeline, but also look for the reason of the happenings. This way, a historian can be more beneficial for the readers, and for the humanity. The insight of causal relationship of a historian into the events tightly strung happens to be a blessing in disguise for those who read in order to learn and strategise for future.

 ‘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. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three’.
 Wolpert brings forth the reasons of Jinnah-Gandhi clash which are deep-rooted into their private life. This rivalry then escalated to the conflict of national and international proportions.

Jinnah was greatly inspired by the liberalism of Morley, an ardent disciple of Mill; tells Wolpert. Moreover, Jinnah fell in love with theatre when he was in London to study law. He confessed that his secret ambition was to play the role of Romeo at the Old Vic. ‘Even in the days of his most active political life’, Fatima reminisced, ‘when he returned home, tired and late, he would read Shakespeare, his voice’ resonant’ quotes Wolpert.

The titles of the chapters are interesting and give a clue that they have been penned by a historian, and not by a fiction writer. They have the dimension of space and time, instead of mentioning the third dimension, that is, peeping into the ontological composition of an event manifested on or by the personality under study. In other words, Jinnah has been discussed under the title of where-and-when-did-it-happen instead of what-happened-to-Jinnah. Although, one doesn’t find any important details missing. To name a few, first chapter: Karachi; second: Bombay (1896-1910); third: Calcutta (1910-15); fourth: Lucknow to Bombay (1916-18); fifth Amritsar to Nagpur (1919-21)’.tenth: London (1930-33)’.sixteen: Simla (1944-45)’ twenty-second: Karachi” ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ (1947); and twenty-third: Ziarat (1948).

Wolpert enclosed his insightful study of Jinnah’s life in rather historic lines which vigorously paved the way of fame among the Pakistanis. The lines are a due tribute to an unmatched, incorruptible, unpurchaseable and inspirational leader whom the sons and daughters very rightly call the father of the nation: Baba-e-Qaum.

The opening lines of the preface of the book carry the essence of the book’ of Jinnah indeed.

Let us go through the Jinnah-in-a-nutshell lines of the preface before going through the book in full: ‘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. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three’.

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