Muhammad Ali Jinnah is perhaps one of the most pivotal political leaders in the history of mankind. The noted lawyer and politician was the founder of Pakistan.
Born on 25 December, 1876, in Karachi, Jinnah was a Bar-at-Law from Lincoln's Inn. After the formation of Pakistan, he became the first Governor General of the country.
Even though in the initial years of his political career he believed Hindu-Muslim unity in India was possible, the rise in communal riots compelled him to believe there was a crucial need of a separate country for Muslims to maintain peace between the communities.
On the 139th birth anniversary of the man revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader) and Baba-i-Qaum (Father of the Nation), here are some lesser-known facts about his life.
1. Jinnah was born to a wealthy Gujarati merchant family and was named Mahomedali Jinnahbhai. His grandfather, Premji bhai Thakkar, was termed an outcaste by his community as he got into fish trade that was prohibited by the community because of their practice of vegetarianism. This enraged Jinnah's father (Jinnahbhai Poonja) and he decided to convert to Islam.
2. Jinnah was not very good in academics and was described as an unruly boy by his teachers. His father wanted him to pursue Mathematics but Jinnah hated the subject. At the age of 11, he was sent to his aunt in Bombay with the hope that he would change his attitude and behaviour, but to his father's disappointment, he didn't improve much and was sent back to Karachi.
3. Jinnah was offered an apprenticeship in 1892 by one of his father's business associates in London. He accepted the offer, but soon after his arrival in London, he gave up the apprenticeship and went on to study Law, much against his father's wishes.
4. He became an admirer of Dadabhai Naoroji and attended his speeches, which influenced him significantly. He was impressed by Western culture and believed in liberal principles, secularism and faith in the democracy.
5. In 1894, Jinnah dropped the word "Bhai" from his surname. At the age of 20, he became the youngest Indian to pass Law in 1896. Under the influence of Western culture, he adopted a Western style of life in London and held on to it till the end of his life.