Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah: Wilderness Years; Interlude in England (Episode 6)

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah: Wilderness Years; Interlude in England (Episode 6)

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In 1927, the British Government, under Conservative Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, undertook a decennial review of Indian policy mandated by the Government of India Act 1919. The Cabinet was influenced by minister Winston Churchill, who strongly opposed self-government for India, and members hoped that by having the commission appointed early, the policies for India which they favored would survive their government. The resulting commission arrived in India in March 1928. They were met with a boycott by India’s leaders, Muslim and Hindu alike, angered at the British refusal to include their representatives on the commission. A minority of Muslims, though, withdrew from the League, choosing to welcome the Simon Commission and repudiating Quaid e Azam Jinnah. Most members of the League’s executive council remained loyal to Jinnah.

Birkenhead in 1928 challenged Indians to come up with their own proposal for constitutional change for India; in response, the Congress convened a committee under the leadership of Motilal Nehru. The Nehru Report favored constituencies based on geography on the ground that being dependent on each other for election would bind the communities closer together. Jinnah, though he believed separate electorates, based on religion, necessary to ensure Muslims had a voice in the government, was willing to compromise on this point, but talks between the two parties failed. He put forth proposals that he hoped might satisfy a broad range of Muslims and reunite the League, calling for mandatory representation for Muslims in legislatures and cabinets. These became known as his Fourteen Points.

Three Round Table Conferences followed over as many years, none of which resulted in a settlement. Jinnah was a delegate to the first two conferences, but was not invited to the last. He remained in Britain for most of the period 1930 through 1934, practicing as a barrister before the Privy Council, where he dealt with a number of Indian-related cases. His biographers disagree over why he remained so long in Britain—Wolpert asserts that had Jinnah been made a Law Lord, he would have stayed for life, and that Jinnah alternatively sought a parliamentary seat. Early biographer Hector Bolitho denied that Jinnah sought to enter the British Parliament.

In 1931, Fatima Jinnah joined her brother in England. From then on, Muhammad Jinnah would receive personal care and support from her as he aged and began to suffer from the lung ailments which would kill him. She lived and traveled with him, and became a close advisor.

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Qaiser Rizwan Abbasi

The author is the student of bachelors in business administration. He has a keen passion for politics and current affairs and he loves to share his ideas, opinion, and understanding.

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