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Safar 6, 1440

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Litterature on Quaid-e-Azam

The history of freedom movement in India was interpreted by the historians from different angles. The British historians usually justify the policy adopted by the British Government as expedient in the existing surroundings, while the Hindu and Muslim historians blame the alien administration for exploiting the situation to gain material benefits. The interpretation offered by the supporters of the Indian National Congress and the All-India Muslim League, the major participants in the struggle for independence, basically differ in the approach and treatment of political issues which require to be assessed in the true prospective. While the Congress leaders contributed substantially for projecting their image in the memoirs, the leaders of All India Muslim League (AIML), hardly endeavoured to write biographies. The eminent Congress leaders such as Mahatama Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr Rajendra Prasad and Sarojini Naidu were highly educated persons who were alive to preserve their performances for the posterity. However, the Muslim leaders although well educated lacked the necessary will and resources to describe their deeds in the print media. When a correspondent asked the Quaid-e-Azam about writing his biography, the Quaid instantly replied that he is busy in making history. It is for the historians to write the history. This was the general attitude adopted by the Muslim Leaders about publicising their achievements.

However, few Muslim intellectuals attempted to write about the Muslim League, the Pakistan movement and the Quaid before the partition. Professor Jamil-ud-Din Ahmad was the first prominent scholar who presented the Muslim case concisely in "Muslim India" published in 1942. Some Urdu writers also attempted to write short books about the Muslim League during the pre-partition period. After independence many scholars devoted themselves to describe the deliberations of the AIML and Pakistan Muslim League. Sharif-ud-Din Peerzada took the initiative to compile the proceedings of AIML in two volumes as "Foundations of Pakistan". Besides the Central Organisation, a number of books have been published about the Provincial Leagues.

In spite of public demand very few scholars attempted to compile a befitting biography of the Quaid-e-Azam. He was fortunate that in the early phase of his political life he was admired by the eminent poetess-politician Sarojini Naidu who introduced him to the Indians public in her book "Mohammad Ali Jinnah; an Ambassador of Unity" published in 1918.

Another South Indian writer, A A Rauf compiled a short book "Meet Jinnah" during the 1940s. But the most important book about the life and works of the Quaid was written by Matlub-ul Hasan Syed, who being the Secretary to the Quaid narrated his observations in: "Mohammad Ali Jinnah; a political study", published before the partition of India.

Since the creation of Pakistan an ever-increasing need was felt to produce history of freedom movement and its leaders. Even the Government of Pakistan hired Hector Bolitho, a British author who produced the biography of M A Jinnah in 1954 as "Jinnah: Creator of Pakistan".

However, the trend and treatment initiated by Bolitho to write a biography objectively was further expounded by Stanley Wolpert, the American historian who authored "Jinnah of Pakistan", which is considered to be the best book on the life and work of the Quaid-e-Azam. On the national level, the History Commission of Pakistan and other research organisations contributed significantly in producing various aspects of Pakistan movement. "History of Freedom Movement" compiled by the eminent historians was a valuable contribution in the historiography of Pakistan. Dr I H Qureshi's famous book "Struggle for Pakistan" written to cater to the need of research scholars, interpreted the saga of Muslim nationalism in India from the Islamic point of view. Recently, Dr Waheed Ahmad, a former director of Quaid-e-Azam Academy, projected the performance of the Quaid as "The Nation's Voice" in seven volumes, explaining day-to-day developments, chronologically from 1933 to 1948. Similarly, Dr Z H Zaidi, Chairman of Quaid-e-Azam Paper's Project, initiated a grand project to compile Qauid's correspondence since February 1947. The Project has published five volumes of Jinnah's Papers.

Besides scholars, two of our former Prime Ministers, Ch Muhammad Ali and Malik Feroz Khan Noon, have recorded their experience in the auto-biographies. Ch Muhammad Ali's book "The Emergence of Pakistan" provides first hand information about the process of partition and the problems faced by the Government of Pakistan since its creation.

Malik Feroz Khan Noon's autobiography "From Memory" is an interesting account of his public life commenced from his native Province Punjab and concluded on the dignified positions of Prime Minister.


'The trends of historiography in Pakistan'

United Kingdom

My friend Kelen, the distinguished Hungarian cartoonist, has a way of visualising his subjects in the form of a bird or an animal. Mr. Jinnah reminded him of an eagle. The symbolisation is apt.

India Today & Tomorrow, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1936, p. 37
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