Jinnah as a fashion icon

Jinnah’s taste and sense of style made him one of the most well-dressed and sophisticated men in the world.

Quaid e Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s achievement as the founder of Pakistan has dominated his reputation in a public life spanning 42 years. But his multidimensional personality led him to play several roles with distinction: one of the brightest legal luminaries India, an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, a distinguished parliamentarian and constitutionalist, an indefatigable freedom-fighter, a dynamic Muslim leader, a political strategist and, of course, one of the great nation-builders of modern times.

Little wonder then that so much less has been written about his personal life which is interesting in its own right. His taste and sense of style made him one of the most well-dressed and sophisticated men in the world.

The youngest Indian to graduate from Lincoln’s Inn, Jinnah became the first Muslim barrister in Bombay after returning to India from England in 1896. Unlike, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, he secured himself financially and his lifestyle resembled that of an upper-class English professional.

Jinnah had a fine taste for homes and extravagant décor and owned three houses: one in Hampstead, one of the posh areas of London, one on Malabar hill in Bombay and another at Aurangzeb road in New Delhi, designed by Edwin Lutyens, a renowned architect at the time.

When at his London home, he would hire an English staff to serve him including an English chauffer, who drove his Bentley. He always had two cooks, an Indian and an Irish. Jinnah’s favorite food was curry and rice. He always smoked his favorite Craven A cigarettes, one of the finest and the most expensive, at the time. His wealth gave him independence, which in turn, enabled him to speak his mind.

Clearly a very attractive man, he prided himself for his appearance. He was said to never wear the same silk tie again and had nearly 200 tailored suits in his wardrobe. His clothes made him one of the best-dressed men in the world, rivaled in India, perhaps only by Motilal Nehru. Jinnah’s daughter Dina called her father a “dandy”. His tall, lean physique and his liking for good clothes enabled him to wear clothes with flair, confidence and conviction.

With his monocle, clipped accent and Saville Row suit, Jinnah was the perfect upper class gentleman of his day. His mimicry of the upper class Englishmen in India was so accurate, it made the English uncomfortable. Wearing Western clothes among the Indian elite at that time was not unusual; however what made Jinnah unusual was the authenticity and exaggeration of his aristocratic appearance, which consistently transitioned with time.

By the late 1930’s, Jinnah had adopted the local dress, although he did not entirely give up his Western clothes. For a headdress he opted for a karakuli cap, instead of a fez or turban, since the latter reflected the tradition followed by an older generation. Jinnah had an instinct for choosing the right clothes to make a cultural and a political statement. With this shift in his attire, he created a modern Muslim identity.

When Pakistan was created, he stopped wearing the chooridar or tight pyjamas worn in UP and Delhi, and adopted the loose-fitting shalwar. He still wore his western clothes with a karakuli, as is depicted in many of his official pictures after the 1940s. His clothes suggested a Muslim identity, that was proud of its past and yet at ease with the cataclysmic changes in modern Indian society.

Jinnah was adored by women for his distinguished yet classic fashion sense. After meeting him at the viceroy’s dinner in Simla, a British general’s wife wrote to her mother in England: “After dinner, I had Mr Jinnah to talk to. He has a great personality. He talks the most beautiful English. He models his clothes and his manners on Du Maurier, the actor, and his English on Burke’s speeches. I have always wanted to meet him and now I had my wish.”

His ‘beautiful English’ could be attributed to the keen interest he took during his adolescent years in reading Shakespeare and being an actor. His sister frequently recounted his love for reading Shakespeare to the family after dinner at his residence in Karachi. He was also offered to work with a theatrical company as a student in London in 1893, but refused to join since he always fancied being a barrister and for his inclination towards politics.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2010.


Filed under Pakistan

88 responses to “Jinnah as a fashion icon

  1. Fellow-Pakistani

    Thank God. Jinnah did not have taste like Gandhi. Defined in words of P.M. Churchill:
    “Half naked Fakeer of India”.

  2. Pankaj

    That Naked Fakeer Gandhi is still remembered for his work and Quoted extensively.

    No less than Albert Einstien ,Martin Luther king to Nelson Mandela to President Obama have all praised that Naked fakeer

    Churchil was anti India He didnt want Independence for India .To hell with him

    If you want to compare looks and tastes compare Jinnah with Nehru who was all smart ,sauve and royale ; charming MR and Mrs Mount batten and then Mr Radcliffe too fell prey to his charms and did our bidding

  3. ramesh

    jinah was aperfect ”gora’ trapped in indian environment.he had once taken a british passport,cared very less for his religion,only played the muslim act to charm the muslims to create his pakistan ,many muslims saw through him.ahmadis sided with him and are repenting today.

  4. Samachar

    I would have thought that Jinnah’s sartorial splendor was one thing we could all agree upon without acrimony. He did know how to dress well, and he did pay attention to such matters.

  5. Can anyone tell what brand of cigars Jinnah smoked and the scotch he drank?

    Didn’t Jinnah’s father prevented him from being an actor?


  6. YLH

    Craven A Virginia Cigarettes. Not sure about the scotch.

    He smoked Cuban cigars though.

  7. Rafiq Mian

    Why are we all so stressed up and uncivil. Is it the times or is it us? We do not earn anybody’s respect by being demeaning to their kind. As a matter of fact, to an eyeing mind, we appear silly and distasteful. My apologies for my French.

    I am and shall remain an admirer of Jinnah. He was a a great human being, true leader and deserved the accolade this article grants unto him. Having said that, I value and respect Nehru and Gandhi as well. They were all supreme in their own right.

    But, is that what we are going to live by?

    Look at us?

    No sensible individual out there considers us worthy of a second look.

  8. Chote Miyan

    I didn’t like his shoes though, the multicolored ones.

  9. Fellow-Pakistani


  10. no-communal

    Yeah, do you see the difference between you and others? Between secatrian, bigoted, blabbermouth and decent?

  11. no-communal

    Between *sectarian*, bigoted, blabbermouth and decent?

  12. Chote Miyan

    Fellow Pakistani,
    Does the word nine remind you of something, as far as age is concerned?

  13. Fellow-Pakistani


  14. no-communal

    Man, you are on a mission, arn’t you? Do you see how many of them are killed for merely what they believe? What harm are they doing to you anyway?
    You are certainly below the bottom of the scale!

  15. Fellow-Pakistani


  16. no-communal

    You are certainly below the radar. I don’t want to get into a theological argument with you. You haven’t answered a simple question: What harm are they doing to you? Are they forcing you to do or believe anything? If not, why are you spreading hate? Don’t you see just one notch above your hate speech is murder?

  17. anjeeli

    Mr jinnah was the wounderful,most intelligent leader in the leader.he has a wounderful personality as compared to gandhi.gandhi like a chick before the lion(jinnah).

  18. Fellow-Pakistani


  19. Hola

    Why do Pakistanis have to compare Jinnah with Gandhi in order to deify the former.

    Inferiority Complex much ?

  20. YLH

    Hola mian,

    On the contrary it is always denigrating Jinnah to venerate Gandhi.

    You may compare Jinnah’s portrayal in Gandhi the film (funded by the Indian govt btw) and Gandhi’s portrayal in Jinnah the film.

  21. Subcontinental

    A Guy more English than the English, who never went to prison for Indian Independence or Pakistani Independence cannot have given Pakistan its Independence. That is why Pakistan is still America’s chamcha. Pakistan never got independence.

    It is leaders like Gandhi who gave the Subcontinent its Independence. Jinnah just rode on Gandhi’s coattails or dhoti.

    Still mental slaves to the goras.

  22. YLH

    Nonsense subcontinental. Jinnah probably did more for Indian independence than Gandhi… Gandhi only delayed self rule.

    As for going to jail… How pathetic of a criterion is that to become a leader.

    By that logic… Asif Ali Zardari is a double Mahatma.

  23. Subcontinental

    YLH wrote: By that logic… Asif Ali Zardari is a double Mahatma.

    Going to prison was considered an honor when desh was occupied. It was a symbol for rebellion against the existing order – the occupation. Also in dictatorial regimes, going to prison is considered an honor, if one goes for upholding of one’s principles, principles which are considered dangerous for the rulers. In China Liu Xiaobo too has been honored by a prison term.

    As far as Asif Ali Zardari goes, I don’t want to comment. He is Pakistan’s head of state.

  24. Pankaj

    To say that Gandhi delayed self rule is nonsense.
    Gandhi was the biggest and strongest force in the freedom movement AND in driving out the British .

    Britishers USED TO BOAST that they will rule for 500 YEARS BECAUSE Indians are SLEEPING

    Jinnah and Muslim league just latched on to the freedom move ment when they saw that freedom was near

    Un divided India was extremely poor so much that we South Asians cannot even imagine

    Gandhiji went about uniting the whole country and travelled through out the vast country to create conscious ness and aware ness , of the need for freedom.

    There were only few newspapers and even radio was very sparsely available

    The only way to create a MASS movement and totally unsettle the British empire was to travel and talk to the people and raise awareness .
    So free dom took so long .

    Gandhi joined the movement in 1915 and we became free in 1947
    But considering the conditions that prevailed in the sub continent this time frame is ok .

  25. YLH

    Nonsense. Gandhi delayed self rule by atleast twenty years …had he not emerged on the scene, a self governing dominion by 1935 at the latest and it would have been a united Indian state.

    The British manipulated and used Gandhi. On the one hand they used him to tell constitutionalists and swarajists in the legislature that they enjoyed no mass support and on the other hand they used Gandhi’s “non-violent movement” to take the wind out of the revolutionary movements all over India.

    No wonder they built Gandhi’s statues while nominating him as the main rebel and jailing him. Gandhi was an officially manufactured hero…an establishment man…carefully manufactured for his role.

    Jinnah’s contributions are numerous and much more substantial. The British did try to exile him to Burma but because he was always constitutionally proper the British were unable. This was in 1919 before Gandhi was even the main leader.

  26. Pankaj


    Jinnah never GAVE UP his lucrative legal practice , nor his luxurious life style and above all never went to jail
    Did Jinnah participate in freedom movement OR ONLY IN THE PAKISTAN MOVEMENT .

    Any way forget it

    Now coming to the freedom movement A self governing dominion when there are hundreds of princely state around makes no sense at all
    So the congress made the demand for Complete independence in 1930

    The first MASS movement after 1857 war was in 1920 the NON cooperation movement led by Gandhi

    The British NEVER yielded an inch voluntarily and you say they would have given us Self rule by 1935 .I think you are day dreaming

    Before 1920 agitation what did the British yield to us .Nothing .

    After 1920 people realised that to shake up the british we needed to make enormous sacrifices that of lifes and limbs and go to jail

    Gandhi created the spirit of fearlessness, sacrifice and nationalism

  27. YLH


    I can only pity you… Your belief in your textbooks is as strong as the belief of our zia indoctrinated youth.

    I suggest you read Alex Von Tuzelman’s book on partition that clearly suggests what I just said and she is not the first historian to suggest this.

    The British yielded again and again before Gandhi came on the scene. India was well on its way to self rule. I suggest you try and read a book or two with an open mind. Gandhi in real terms had no role in achieving independence. He did however make religion a factor …so in a way one can give him some credit for partition.

    Jinnah did not give up his lucrative practice because he had to work for a living. He was not the diwan nor did he play the Mahatma and live off of other people’s money.

    As for Jinnah’s contribution to Indian indepenence try and read some of his more substantial contributions for the Indian cause. He was a famous politician way before the Pakistan movement.

    Perhaps you will correct your terrible lack of knowledge by picking up a book of history.

    Meanwhile there is a Jinnah Memorial Hall in Bombay dedicated to the “courageous leadership of Jinnah” by the citizens of Bombay. When Gandhi was recruiting for the British Empire, Jinnah was being assaulted by policemen in Bombay in 1917.

    It was Jinnah not Gandhi who organised the boycott of Simon Commission.

  28. Girish

    I have read von Tunzelmann’s Indian Summer. It is an interesting read, but does not conclusively establish anything even by the standards of historiography of partition. The author does not have any stellar credentials and the book itself has had only a mixed reception. Hers is a revisionist view, not one that most historians accept. Let that be clear.

    Jinnah played his role in the freedom movement, particularly in its earlier drawing room, elitist phase. He played an important role in reformist legislative efforts. He also played a significant role in the earlier part of his career in bringing together politicians of all communities. Hence, to deny his role in the freedom movement displays an ignorance of the history of the freedom movement. In fact, the majority of Indian history books do no such thing, as I have in the past pointed out with specific references in comments on other posts at this blog. To accuse them of brainwashing people, or to compare them with the kind of drivel that goes for textbooks in Pakistan displays a complete ignorance of the textbooks in India.

    One can argue either way what roles each of the phases of the freedom movement played. And the description of the phase of the freedom movement where Jinnah was active in working for the independence of India as the “drawing room” phase or “elitist” is merely descriptive – it is not meant to be derogatory. This phase included stalwarts such as Gokhale too. However, it is quite clear that the mass mobilization phase of the freedom movement (and this was not just Gandhi’s contribution, though he was one of the most important persons) played a significant role in bringing attention to many of the disadvantaged classes of people in India and bringing the masses into the democratic mainstream. That has been India’s asset in the long run.

  29. YLH

    “Elitist phase” and “drawing room” politics

    For a country so self conscious of its parliamentary institutions as India is …Indians have a funny habit of describing parliamentary politics as “drawing room” politics. I suppose till Gandhi came around, the entire world was engaged in “drawing room” politics.

    As for the “elitist” politics claim … Ian Bryant Wells’ brilliant book on Jinnah completely undoes the “elitist” claim vis a vis Jinnah.

    Like I pointed out when Gandhi was recruiting for the British Empire, Jinnah was in the streets protesting Lord Wellingdon and getting beaten up by the police and he was also organising workers committees of Congress. When Gandhi was accepting his Qaiser-e-Hind titles, Jinnah was busy representing Tilak in court room against sedition charges…when Gandhi was still talking of virtues of being a loyal soldier and cannon fodder for the Empire, Jinnah was fighting to create the Dhera Dhun academy.

    And this continued into the post “drawing room” phase, when populist Gandhi was convincing workers of Birla industries to stop protesting (because Birla was the hand that fed Gandhi), elitist Jinnah had tasked Masood Khadarposh to organise workers and hari committees in Sindh and Punjab.

    No wonder socialist Nehru etc were so pissed off at capitalist Liaqat Ali Khan’s poor man’s budget that they had to partition India.

    So much for “elitist” and “drawing room” phase.

    Gandhi is the most over-rated leader in history.
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  30. no-communal

    I am quite in agreement with you. And I agree that the term elitist should not be taken as derogatory.

    Even before Gandhi arrived there was a clear rift in Congress between Lal-Bal-Pal on one side and Gokhale-Naoroji-S.N.Bannerjee on the other. Jinnah was firmly in the second camp and made many contributions to the constitutionalist movement of gaining rights.

    Gandhi’s magic was in awakening the masses. You put it very rightly when you said that has been India’s asset in the long run. I read somewhere a small anecdote. There was a Congress general body session going on in Calcutta and numerous people were huddled in a small area. As was the norm the adjoining spaces were all being used as toilet and people, separated in different castes, were cooking, eating, and quarrelling there at the same time. There was no organization, no public policy, and complete chaos and pandemonium everywhere. The leaders on the other hand were discussing policy in a closed room nearby. It was at this time a completely unknown man who had just returned from Africa took up brooms and buckets and went about the basic cleanliness on his own.

  31. Girish

    The description of the legislative process introduced by the 1919 GoI Act, with a miniscule electorate, limited powers, a good proportion of unelected members and people divided into community-based constituencies as “parliamentary democracy” has to be a joke. And if that is not elitist, what is?

    To the extent that India has reason to be proud of its democracy, it is because of the wide participation of people in the process of choosing a Government, including the very poorest and disadvantaged. It is in the peaceful transfer of power based on the people’s will. It is in a system that at least to some extent is based on rule of law. It is NOT merely because of some institution in which people debate laws. Even China and North Korea have legislative bodies that do that.

  32. YLH

    Again …that is an irrelevant argument given that I have made a very different point. Read my post again.

    Countries like Great Britain, Canada, Australia and United States expanded their electorate over time without Gandhi. Now I know Indians think the sun sets in their arse but these countries are better democracies than India without a doubt.

    What works for the west also works for the east. Gandhian two-faced populism did not do anyone any good.

  33. Bade Miyan

    “getting beaten up by the police …”

    That again is an example of massive hyperbole.

  34. Bade Miyan

    “Countries like Great Britain, Canada, Australia and United States expanded their electorate over time without Gandhi.”

    We know how US expanded its electorate, especially among blacks.

    “socialist Nehru etc were so pissed off at capitalist Liaqat Ali Khan’s poor man’s budget that they had to partition India. ”

    Yeah, right! Should I quote from Azad’s book about Liaqat Khan’s disruptive influence while in Govt. before the Partition? That gave an inkling to what sort of “co-operation” would be extended by ML in any Govt. Curiously, no one talks about that in poisoning the well for any sort of bridge building.

  35. Bade Miyan

    “It was at this time a completely unknown man who had just returned from Africa took up brooms and buckets and went about the basic cleanliness on his own.”

    Excellent point and I think he mentions about that in his autobiography. The venue, however, if I remember correctly, was Madras.

    I think people who peremptorily dismiss Gandhi do not have any idea about his influence post independence. The whole ’75 revolt against Indira Gandhi was based on Gandhian methods and lead by an aging Gandhian. Chipko movement, Narmada Andolan, etc., used the same template. Ironically, Kashmir received the most attention when it took up the typical Gandhian method of street protest. I wish, however, that they had eschewed throwing stones. It would have been more effective then. All the machinations by drawing room generals of ISI and Pak Army were totally ineffective till this summer of protest.

  36. YLH

    And yet Kashmir is not free or likely to be free …

    Again you’ve just proved the point.

    Btw …what about Great Britain, Canada and Australia…

  37. YLH

    Bade miyan…

    For your first comment …there is a Jinnah Memorial Hall in bombay that commemorates that event in Bombay’s history.

    As for your second comment … I am not sure what your point is …my point was that Liaqat’s budget hurt Congress “socialists” because it hurt big business which funded the Congress. To me it shows the real ironies of Indian politics.

  38. Bade Miyan

    “von Tunzelmann’s Indian Summer.”

    I am glad you brought that reference. These are the new prototypes of what used to be called as Stuart Mill type of historians. They exist both on right and left. They take a random pilgrimage of some places in India and then proceed to lecture us as to how we should interpret our history. It’s like someone back home writing about the American Civil War without ever setting foot in Gettysburg. I mean, are we going to debate our history on the basis of someone’s Masters Thesis?

    The problem with these sundry “historians” is that looking at the present condition of Britain where its PM is seen groveling to its former colony to support its economy, they find it hard to imagine that there was a time where the same country’s influence was larger than even US at its peak. So, of course, Raj then couldn’t have been so bad. These revisionist historians try to soften the effect of that Raj retroactively.

  39. YLH

    No we should listen to you instead the nameless genius.

  40. Bade Miyan

    GB: yeah, true. For a country that close to 100 years denied the same rights to its colonies that it extended to its white citizens. Half the mischief in this world is the creation of GB.

    Canada: Do we need to go over its treatment of the American Indians?

    Australia: Ditto, except here we are talking about Aborigines.

    “And yet Kashmir is not free or likely to be free..”

    That is because most of us are quaking about the possibility of another laboratory for Mullah Omar type of yahoos. In fact, you guys should be thankful to us for not allowing that.

    “Jinnah Memorial Hall in bombay that commemorates that event in Bombay’s history.”

    I am aware of that. What I am not aware of is that he was “beaten up” by the police. Incidentally, that memorial hall is in Bombay, the hotbed of Hindu “extremist”. Till now, I am not aware of any calls to remove that plaque or anything of that sort.

    “my point was that Liaqat’s budget hurt Congress “socialists” because it hurt big business which funded the Congress. ”

    That is an extraordinary statement, for Nehru is frequently vilified because of the 62 was and his socialist policies. Some of the esteemed commentators here have written moving stories of how Nehru is responsible of the economic mess that India was in the era before liberalization.

  41. Bade Miyan

    “No we should listen to you instead the nameless genius.”

    Thank you for your generous compliments, but I decline the honor. I would like to be known as plain Mr. Bade Miyan.

  42. YLH

    Really and how have you treated the dalits and untouchables? Not much better than Red Indians and aboriginies now have you?

    Can you please tell me who made the Congress btw …was it an Indian?

    Your point about Nehru’s socialism is irrelevant … because what I am pointing out is quite different.

    The assault on Jinnah by the police is mentioned in A G Noorani’s book “Jinnah and Tilak”.

    As for plaques …there is a hospital in Lahore with plaque “inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi” …

    Also the largest hospital in Pakistan Mayo has a large plaque dedicated to its chief contributor – Maharaja of Patiala.
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  43. no-communal

    And these were the venerable Congress delegates. One can only imagine what it was like among the masses, while our leaders were discussing basic rights with the British.

    I read about this incident in a Bengali historical novel. The venue may well have been Madras, but the novel had it as Calcutta.

    About transfer of power to Canada, Australia, etc., people forget, and this may sound crude but was nevertheless true, those were cases where the white men were conceding power to white men. As late as in the 40’s Churchill publicly stated he would resist India’s independence any way he could. Churchill in fact was in favor of letting Gandhi die in a hunger strike.

  44. YLH

    Also as far as I know Jinnah Memorial Hall houses an education trust named after Jinnah serving underprivileged students of all Indian communities, castes and religions.

  45. YLH

    Churchill was a war time prime minister and not really a factor before WW-II. He was seen as a failure and in the 20s he was still switching parties.

    What I am talking about is the 1920s and 1930s under Montague, Macdonald and Irwin.

  46. Girish


    By pointing to the US and Britain, you actually make my point. These countries gave rights to people who were denied those rights only after mass mobilization. Whether it was suffrage, or giving the right to vote to the working classes or to extend franchise in effective terms to all races, it was achieved not because some debating body decided to grant them, but because they were forced to through public pressure.

  47. no-communal

    Now we are in the risky business of reconstructing history. Even the GOI act of 1935 had majority power rested with the unelected crown representatives, and extremely unfair commercial safeguards. By the time the liberals might have thought the Indians were capable of ruling themselves, Churchill would be firmly on the scene. It’s well known Churchill was squarely against even the dominion status.

  48. YLH

    No. I suggest you revisit the circumstances under which the three roundtable conferences were held.

    The GOIA 1935 was the consequence of the lost decade of Gandhiism.

    It might surprise you but the first round round table conference was originally going to happen in 1921 but was delayed due to the khilafat movement nonsense …hence the argument.

  49. Bade Miyan

    “Really and how have you treated the dalits and untouchables? Not much better than Red Indians and aboriginies now have you?”

    No, actually, much worse, though, the last time I checked, they had the right to vote. I don’t see your point. In fact, the civilizing structure that Raj claimed to be would have made them see this hypocrisy much before we saw ours. And, this may be irrelevant, but we have had a Dalit president before US or Britain or Australia.

    “Can you please tell me who made the Congress btw …was it an Indian?”

    What’s your point here? I don’t get it. The Congress party president now is an Italian born Indian. So?

    “Your point about Nehru’s socialism is irrelevant … because what I am pointing out is quite different.”

    I don’t think so. This is another example of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and needless mental gymnastics. Liaqat would have faced more opposition from people in his own party than from Nehru. Nehru was known to have an innate distaste for the business class.

    “The assault on Jinnah by the police is mentioned in A G Noorani’s book “Jinnah and Tilak”.”

    Oh yeah! Noorani! Another twerp. Is he another of the celebrated “historian”? Just the other day he was claiming that Gandhi choreographed his assassination.

    “As for plaques …there is a hospital in Lahore with plaque “inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi” …”

    I am glad to know that and I hope it stays there.

  50. Bade Miyan

    I may be wrong, but I think it was Madras. Anyways, the venue is irrelevant. As for your point about transfer of power to Aus, Can, etc., your argument is quite correct. It was a transfer of power from one set of elites to another.

  51. Girish

    Here’s a description of the Dec 11, 1918 episode where Jinnah was “roughed up” by the police. I discovered that it is also directly linked to the Jinnah Hall. This is from Rajmohan Gandhi’s book “Eight Lives: a Study of the Hindu Muslim Encounter”.

    “..in June 1918, at a Bombay meeting where Jinnah was present, Lord Willingdon publicly questioned the sincerity of the support for the War [ed. World War I] expressed by ‘a certain number of gentlemen, some of whom have considerable influence with the public, many of them members of an organization called the Home Rule League.’ Jinnah, who belonged to the League, which was headed by Mrs. Besant and Tilak, felt insulted.

    His retort came at the end of the year. Willingdon was relinquishing his Governorship, and a meeting of the ‘citizens of Bombay’ was convened to appreciate his services. But Bombay’s citizens were not really enamoured of the retiring Governor. Jinnah and Ruttie took a large number of them to the Town Hall to oppose the appreciation. There was a struggle for seats and shouting; finally, before any resolution in praise of Willingdon could be heard, the Raj’s police used force to clear the hall.


    The episode made Jinnah a hero. His admirers contributed thirty thousand rupees in his honour, which were used to construct Jinnah Hall, a name that has survived the bitterness of the following decades.”

  52. YLH

    Bade miyan,

    I thought you were smarter than this.

    1. If the British were so bad, how come an Indian didn’t make the Congress party.

    2. The issue is not of Nehru’s distaste for the business class but when push comes to shove Nehru and the Congress siding with Hindu business interests. And no Liaqat Ali Khan’s measures were not opposed by his own party because Muslims in 1947 did not have that kind of bourgeoisie …they were largely peasants or feudals.

    3. So now you are better than A G Noorani as well. I just love it how you shoot down every author who corrects your pathetic understanding of history.
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  53. pankaj


    Gandhi’s arrival on the political scene gave LIFE To the freedom movement .Till that time there were leaders like Dadabhai Naroji, Jinnah ,Tilak ,Gokhale ,Motilal nehru .But the methodology of these leaders was just REPRESENTATIONS ,REQUESTS AND MEMORANDUM to the British govt.

    Do you think Brits would have yielded to such pacifist methods.
    The Agitations started by Gandhi totally unsettled them and left them CLUE LESS.

    Especially the SALT satyagraha exposed the Brits to the whole world .THAT here is an empire which does nt allow a basic thing like salt to its people

    Gandhi’s personality and charisma made him the leader that India WANTED and was LOOKING FOR igniting the masses

    Thus UNABLE to tolerate Gandhi’s emergence Jinnah started the Muslim league

  54. pankaj

    Gandhi’s name has been invoked TWICE successfully after his death
    1. American civil rights movement
    2. South Africa Anti apatheid movement

    Gandhi’s role in DISMANTLING the British Empire does nt need any certificate .There fore you had CHURCHIL hating him so badly

    And if Jinnah was A BIGGER leader Then why Gandhi was representing India in the second round table conference after the Civil disobedience movement

    Why didnt British invite Jinnah

  55. Hola

    ” If the British were so bad, how come an Indian didn’t make the Congress party.”
    When one criticizes US for its no-imperialist foreign policy, one is only criticizing the power brokers and Elite who frames it, not every US citizen.
    Only an idiot will fail to see the distinction.

  56. YLH

    Dear Pankaj sb,

    Looks like you’ve gotten your history from Gandhi the movie.

    “Why didn’t the British invite Jinnah?”

    Why don’t you check the names of the participants of the second roundtable conference.

    Gandhi did not represent India at the second round table conference. He was only one of the leaders there. Read a bit more and burn that stupid movie.

    As for “memorandums, requests” comment …that is indicative of your ignorance of history and nothing else.

    Objectively Gandhi has no contribution to the independence struggle except making religion a factor and also delaying self rule.

    Gandhi is to India what Allama Iqbal is to Pakistan: a lie.

  57. YLH


    Why didn’t an Indian make the Congress Party …

    You obviously are clueless about history or else you would know that Sir A O Hume was a leading civil servant who had made the Congress to give Indians voice so that they would not rise in open rebellion but would work constitutionally for self rule.

  58. Karun

    Objectively Gandhi has no contribution to the independence struggle except making religion a factor and also delaying self rule.

    Gandhi is to India what Allama Iqbal is to Pakistan: a lie.

    Shut up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  59. YLH

    Also Jinnah did not “start the Muslim League”… Muslim League existed since 1906… when Jinnah was a Congressman and staunch opponent of the Muslim League and the Simla Delegation. Infact Jinnah won his first election on a Congress ticket against a Muslim League candidate … in 1910.

  60. pankaj

    Freedom of this sub continenet was A HUGE Achievement in which thousands of people laid down their lives lost their limbs and lakhs of people went to jail

    And of course there were many many leaders involved in the freedom struggle

    But Gandhi’s role was the BIGGEST and most important

    Gandhi made Indians realise that they were one nation .

    Before Gandhi’s arrival there were different leaders in all parts of the country .But there was NO PAN INDIA figure.

    Whether it is deep south India or far east India and even in the present day Pakistan like Karachi and Lahore ,Gandhi was ONE person who was readily identified as somebody taking on the Brits

    Even Khan Abdul Ghafoor Khan was called Frontier GANDHI .
    Why didnt any body call him Frontier JINNAH

  61. YLH

    Once again… you are merely being emotional and have not addressed any of my points. Gandhi was not taking on the British… Gandhi was doing their bidding.

    “Khan Abdul Ghafoor Khan” was called “frontier Gandhi”.

    You mean Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. For a good critique of Ghaffar Khan read his party comrade Juma Khan Sufi’s book on him.

    “Why didn’t any body call him frontier JINNAH”

    Because that would not be fair to Jinnah. Jinnah was an extraordinary parliamentarian, a remarkable politician, a first rate self made man… who mind you left much of his wealth to educational institutions in India and Pakistan… indeed Peshawar’s biggest institutions owe their existence to his monetary gift to Pushtuns.

    What did Ghaffar aka Bacha Khan do?

  62. pankaj


    India needed a united Hindu Muslim joint action against the British

    The Khilafat movement though religious in nature was the first LARGE SCALE PROTESTS BY MUSLIMS IN INDIA after 1857 debacle

    you have been criticising Gandhi’s support to Khilafat movement .
    what is so wrong about it.
    Somehow Gandhi HAD to reach out to the Muslim community

    The Non cooperation and Khilafat movement together did rattle the British

    The idea was to bring HINDU MUSLIM together against the british

    Muslim league’s opposition to Khilafat NOT WITH STANDING , Muslims CAME OUT OPENLY against the British rule

  63. YLH

    More nonsense… read something about the Lucknow Pact will you? Gandhi was not even on the scene.

    Khilafat Movement was a joke led by jokers.

  64. pankaj

    Imgine you are jinnah .The year is 1916 .Lucknow pact has been signed


    And how do you propose to IMPLEMENT the Lucknow pact

    Ie begging and hoping to get some kindness

    The freedom movement REALLY began ie the REAL ACTION started after Gandhi started the Non Cooperation movement

  65. pankaj

    Once Gandhi came into the SPOT LIGHT AND took Centre stage the
    OTHER leaders had ONLY TWO Choices .

    Either work with him like Nehru and Patel

    Or do your own thing like JINNAH and Subhash Chandra Bose

    There fore JINNAH revived the muslim league because he was clearly NO MATCH for Gandhi

    Bhagat Singh and other ARMED Revolutionaries also played a vital role

    But to say that Gandhis ROLE IN FREE DOM MOVEMENT is very small is just preposterous and BIASED

  66. YLH

    Yawn. Get a good book of history because I can’t waste my time with someone who is getting his history from Gandhi the movie and Wikipedia.

    As for Jinnah being no match for Gandhi… yes ofcourse. Jinnah was a hardworking lawyer and a self made man… how could he match up to the “Great Soul” and divinity that Gandhi attached to himself?

  67. Bade Miyan

    Once again, thanks for your untiring efforts to cite relevant sources. I am quite ashamed of my laziness.

  68. YLH

    What … are you not going to brand Raj Mohan Gandhi similarly?

  69. Bade Miyan

    The first point has been answered by Hola and I fully agree with him.
    “Sir A O Hume was a leading civil servant who had made the Congress to give Indians voice so that they would not rise in open rebellion but would work constitutionally for self rule.”

    So? Also, I doubt if he had imagined that the Congress would get mired in 2G scandal and such. What’s your point?

    (2) “The issue is not of Nehru’s distaste for the business class but when push comes to shove Nehru and the Congress siding with Hindu business interests. ”

    I must say that this theory is quite remarkable. Would you care to give citations or references or clarify if this is your own invention. If true this might serve as a withering rebuke to some experts here who not very long ago criticized Nehru on a position that was polar opposite. Unless, of course, you can also explain how he made a stunning somersault to change his position to the other extreme the day after independence.

    3) “So now you are better than A G Noorani as well. I just love it how you shoot down every author who corrects your pathetic understanding of history.”

    Hardly. I just raised an objection to your description of an event just like I have objections to some interpretations by Noorani. That’s all. In that sense, you may find that we have much in common. For example, whenever you go on one of your Frontier Gandhi bashing jaunts, you take care not to cite Noorani. Need I explain why. By questioning, I am merely adhering(or trying) to the very high standard of this blog. Another example may illustrate my point:

    I know you are fond of quoting how Jinnah said that Punjabis and Bengalis are Punjabis and Bengali first before they are Muslims and, therefore, Punjab and Bengal should not have been divided, or something of that sort. Now, when I first read that, I was curious as to what the tone of Jinnah was when he said that. If I was suspicious about his intentions, I would interpret it differently. Little things like that can change the course of historical interpretation. Noorani, like some others, is more sympathetic to Jinnah, and that’s fine. Unfortunately, I don’t give him the sort of carte blanche that you give him. That’s all. Like Girish said in one of his very illuminating posts, there can be varying interpretations. Later on, I will lay out another example.

  70. YLH

    Why are you going in circles my friend. Hola hasn’t answered my question and neither have you. My question was not about the particular Brit – who was in any event an Imperialist civil servant- but as to why no Indian came up with the idea first. Check again.

    As for Nehru and Congress’ opposition to Liaqat Ali Khan’s budget… this is common knowledge that Congress opposed Liaqat’s budget because it hurt Hindu Big Business. My assumption is that Congress’ objection was okayed by Nehru who was the head of Congress in the legislature. I will quote specific references tonight when I am at home. In the meanwhile you may read the description of this in Ayesha Jalal’s “Sole Spokesman”. And if she is a bad historian too, you should write to Tufts and ask them to fire her.

    The rest of your post is hogwash. The particular context in which you denounced A G Noorani was not his interpretation but his narration of the events in Bombay. It was not a question of interpretation but the fact itself.

  71. pankaj


    You have not answered how do you propose to implement the LUCKNOW pact .

    How will you bend the British and make them give your small demand of self rule HOW

    NO Freedom movement has succeeded unless A MASS Movement takes Place
    A mass movement need a MASS LEADER LIKE GANDHI WHO

  72. YLH

    Have you read the Lucknow Pact?

  73. Bade Miyan

    “but as to why no Indian came up with the idea first.”

    We didn’t come up with the idea of steam engine too. Why? I have no idea. I don’t know. Probably, because we are a set of idiots. You tell me.

    “I will quote specific references tonight when I am at home. ”

    Thank you.

    “The particular context in which you denounced A G Noorani was not his interpretation but his narration of the events in Bombay. It was not a question of interpretation but the fact itself.”

    That is quite correct. Your attention to details is well appreciated. As a corollary, imagine a historian who can’t even get his facts right!

    “The rest of your post is hogwash. ”

    That I am not sure if it is completely correct. I was giving an example of a specific phenomenon and trying to explain by the use of an analogy.

  74. pankaj

    Yes I have read the Lucknow pact
    What is the big deal about the Lucknow pact between Muslim League and Congress .

    IT is like saying : WE WANT THIS WE WANT THAT
    But the question is HOW

  75. Bade Miyan

    Ayesha Jalaal is a first rate historians. I disagree, however, that she is a seer.

  76. no-communal

    Actually the first Indian nationalist political organization was not the Indian National Congress. It was Indian National Association (INA) founded by S. N. Bannerjee in 1876 with the motto “promoting by every legitimate means the political, intellectual and material advancement of the people”. It had membership not only in Bengal but in UP, Punjab, and other states as well . It later merged with INC.

  77. no-communal

    I am not sure why the info above is relevant though.

  78. Bade Miyan

    I guess the point is very subtle. I wouldn’t know; I have an average intellect.

  79. pankaj

    Jinnah was the architect of Lucknow pact

    I think you are UPSET BECAUSE Gandhi came on the scene and SPOILED Jinnah’s Party.
    After Gandhi’s arrival he took centre stage and the freedom movement was fought under his direction

  80. YLH

    The reason why it is relevant is because it was said that British rule was oppressive and without any real face saving.

  81. no-communal

    Oh, there were many great Englishmen. David Hare (a scot), along with Ram Mohon Roy, was the pioneer for English education. He was a completely selfless man who gave up all his wealth for this cause. When he died from cholera in his small 2 bedroom house, the Christian clergy refused to bury him. It was his Indian students who flooded the funeral procession. Drinkwater Bethune was a pioneer for female education, along with Vidyasagar. He was also buried in Calcutta. All this was in the first half of 19th century.

    There was never any shortage of great selfless Englishmen.

  82. YLH

    Gandhi wrecked the Lucknow Pact and did not implement it. That is the point.

  83. Pankaj

    You have still not answered the Million Dollar question
    How would we have won independence by just having the Lucknow Pact

    Lucknow Pact was NOT a Legal agreement WITH THE BRITISH GOVT

    Gandhi realised just having ” A Lucknow pact ” on the table does not mean that the British would start showing KINDNESS TO INDIA

    Gandhi arrived in India NOT to implement Jinnah’s plans.

    Since he had already rattled the British in South Africa he got a LATERAL ENTRY in the Congess party .

    The Non cooperation movement was the first REAL step in the freedom struggle
    And since Gandhi ‘s LEADERSHIP and personality came to the fore
    Jinnah just went away to the Muslim league

    Every Congress leader was keen to meet this man who had dared to take on the British .

    Just a paper or agreement

  84. Pankaj

    contd from above

    Just a paper or agreement between Hindus and Muslims or Congress and Muslim league WOULD NOT HAVE GIVEN US FREEDOM

  85. YLH

    Ok now you are being an idiot.

    I will start deleting you Pankaj mian if you don’t behave.

  86. Pankaj


    Can YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN why have you said that Gandhi was a trivial insignificant leader who DID NT make much contribution to the freedom movement

  87. YLH

    Already answered that in detail.

  88. T.S. Bokhari

    I can record history of Pakistan in a single sentence:

    “Jinnah’s powerful English made Pakistan and his ill advised obsession with Urdu broke it.”