Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his Jamia Masjid Speech
Quiad-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah attended the annual session of the Muslim Conference in the Jamia Masjid, Srinagar held on the Saturday 17th June, 1944. The president of this historical session was Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas Khan. It is said that roads leading to Jamia Masjid were filled with people. It is estimated that hundreds and thousands of Kashmiri Muslims came to hear the Voice of Quiad-e-Azam reverberate through the walls of the Jamia Masjid.
The Quaid rose to speak from the Jamia at 10 in the night. The audience jubilated and excited to see Quiad speak. Caps and were turbans flying in air. It is learnt that Sheikh Abdullah, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad and Maulana Saeed were watching the proceedings from the third floor of a Party loyalist in the Vicinity; it took 15 minutes for Jinnah to begin his speech amidst the huge sloganeering and cheering. Below is the English translation of the eloquent speech in Urdu:-
“Mr. President, brothers in Islam. I have no words to thank you for the honour accorded to me. I see that about one lakh (100,000) are present in this meeting and among them are people from all sections, young and old, traders, labourers and even women. Gentlemen, the condition of Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir has deteriorated so much that tears come in my eyes. From every angle, theirs is a sad plight.
But when I look at this public meeting, I feel happy and confident that Muslims have now awakened and are united under the flag of the Muslim conference. You have been trying since 1931 and it is because of these efforts that Muslims of all classes and schools of thought are present her today. Don’t think that, it by itself is enough; you have to work hard. You know that I have been staying here since a month and during this period; men of every school of thought came to me. Whoever wished to see me, I met him readily and had discussions with him. From them, I have also heard of your problems, oppression and hardships. I have also found that amongst those who met me 99% supported MC. Mr President I have come to this conclusion after meeting the people here and now it is your duty to care of them and train them properly.
Of course, some Muslims who came to see me were of the view that Muslims should join the NC. They gave certain arguments in support of their view which I heard and considered. You know that I have not come here for the purpose of strengthen someone and weakening someone else. I have also said that your problems are different from the problems of British India but just as you have treated me as a Mussalman. It is my duty as a Muslim to advise you correctly as to which course would be proper and ensure your success.
So far as the NC is concerned, I do not know how it can succeed in its aim. Consequently, I asked their supporters as to how much time has elapsed since it were brought into being and as to whether Hindus, Sikhs and others had joined it. I told them that if in a long period of six years, Hindus and Sikhs have as a whole kept aloof from The NC, who else remains there except Muslims! I was then told that even if Hindus and Sikhs are not there, the doors should remain open for them. I told them that if after remaining open for six years, it has served no purpose, what was the necessity of keeping it open again? In my view it was a mistake, the result of which would be that Muslims would be divided into two camps which would bring about tension between them.
I did my best to make them understand the logic of the argument but I was told that we want to tell the world that there was no communalism in the state and behind the curtain of nationalism we will pursue the programme of the MC and that they were supporters of Pakistan. I say that the I.N.C had adopted the same method in British India. It claimed to represent all Indians and did a lot of false propaganda all over the world. This however, is not a fact as Congress was in reality a Hindu Organisation. He result was that slowly the few Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and the Untouchables who had joined it separated themselves. Whenever the question of the rights of these backward minorities came before the congress, the Hindu majority rejected it for forty years, Congress continued with its deceptive policies. Do you also want to practise this deception? When congress deception could not succeed, how can yours? Therefore, I will advise you in the light of these facts that the conditions prevalent in the State are not different from obtaining those in British India. Therefore you will also face difficulties by adopting this course of action and will never be able to secure the confidence of Hindus and Sikhs. I would go even to the extent of saying that if in this State you adopt the policy and deception practised by the congress, it is you who will suffer in the long run…Please do not think that we bear any enmity towards Hindus and Sikhs or that we do not respect their religion, culture or philosophy. We only want Justice. We tell every nation to organise itself separately so that all of us would join our heads together to arrive at some honourable solution. There is no other way which can lead us to our ultimate goal. I, therefore, advise you that you should declare very clearly and openly that you are Muslims and that you represent all. We are always ready for an honourable agreement while maintaning our separate entity.
Gentlemen, some weeks ago, a Hindu conference was held here. The speech by Kanwar Chand, Kiran Sharda showed clearly that Hindus and Sikhs do not, as claimed demand responsible government. If they really want such a Government, it would be a matter of happiness and I would advise an agreement with them you may set up such government. You must remember that you will have to work very hard to achieve that and you will have to undergo sacrifices. Responsible government is not a cake which the Maharaja will present to you so that you may eat it. You must first organise your nation; you have to improve the educational, economic and social condition of Muslims. The condition obtaining now is that a poor labourer after working for a full month is not able to earn more than rupees 12, or six annas a day. You have to first attend to these things. Almighty has given you everything. Kashmir, which is known as a paradise, the gem in the ring as the world is, and an unparalled country, what such a country does not possess? But what you have you done? Oh Muslims! Awake, stand up and work hard and bring life to this dead nation. Improve your condition in every sphere of life. There is only one way to do it and that is unity, solidarity, a single flag, a single platform and an ideal. If you are able to achieve them, you must succeed.
Mr. President, there is everything in your hands. As soon as you discover yourself, I am sure the Maharaja will gladly grant you responsible government. Times are changing fast. The earth is squeezing. It is only an effort that is needed on your part. If you do that, other nations will treat you with respect. The position of British India is different and that of the state is also different. Even then I assure you that despite the Muslim League policy of non-interventional the affairs of Indian States, the services and support of myself and the Muslim league at your service. In British India our goal is Pakistan which we shall achieve. We are thankful for the support extended in the matter. Although we are determined to achieve our goal by sheer dint of our strength, still I assure you that the Moral sympathies of the entire Muslims World are with us. Egypt, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and the Muslims of the Arab Nations Support the creation Pakistan.
Mr. President, we also pray that God may give you success in the achievement of your goal. You also kindly pray for our success. I am sure that you are treading on the right path. The destination is before you all that is needed is unity, a common platform and a common flag; also needed is an honest and sincere spirit of service. I have no doubt that you will succeed.”
The speech of this great leader is visionary. It is not only historical but relevant even today. The People and the leaders of Kashmir should and must use this priceless advice of the Quiad-e-Azam.