Remembering elegant MA Jinnah

ByDr. Tahseen Mahmood Aslam

Designation: is an educationist with wide experience

Dated

June 28, 2022

Remembering elegant MA Jinnah

Remembering elegant MA Jinnah towers above almost all political personalities of his time in all aspects ranging from political sagacity to his personal conduct and social outlook. Gradually the British also came around to the view that Jinnah represented the best of the middle class values. It must be borne in mind that the freedom movement in India was gradually dominated by the scions of middle class such as Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and the like and Jinnah also emerged from this very background sidelining most of the traditional feudal leadership. In actual fact the middle class credentials of the slowly emerging Indian political leadership were in line with the similar tendencies gaining currency in the British political leadership where meritocracy was fast becoming the norm.

Jinnah represented middle class values including independent outlook, self-reliance, political correctness and hard work. Jinnah displaced an aloofness that was his personal trait but he compensated it by developing widespread social contacts. In an age of populist personalities Jinnah stuck to the well-balanced values of the middle classes and kept his feet firmly on ground. He never claimed any special treatment owing to his high rank within the political circles he was an integral part of. He was very comfortable with his environment never asking for anything more than what he deserved and abhorred any special facility extended to him. He was indeed a great commoner despite the high station fate propelled him towards.

Apart from his political profile, Jinnah was blessed with a huge personal charisma that he was well aware of and made judicious use of it whenever required. He also possessed very strong nerves and always kept his emotions in check. Despite his rather fragile physique he had an iron will that did not allow his physical weakness to rule his hectic life. He showed his physical stamina during his incessant travels during which he crisscrossed the vast subcontinent in the old style railway carriages that were not air-conditioned and moved slow making each journey a practical torture. He never complained about the tortuous routes he was forced to traverse with frequent changes of trains at obscure stations waiting in ramshackle waiting rooms. He apparently exhibited an amazing immunity to the extremities of weather conditions in remarkably diverse climes of the subcontinent. He patiently and staunchly did bear the substandard culinary facilities available during his journeys that were a sure recipe for stomach ailments.

It must be noted that despite his extremely rigorous schedule, inclement weather conditions, bad travel conditions and general apathy towards personal upkeep, Jinnah strictly adhered to his sartorial elegance. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most well-dressed public figures of his age having fastidious outlook of life. He was known to be scrupulously clean and maintained his elegance at all cost. He genuinely disliked the so-called common touch shown by Gandhi and often castigated it as hypocritical as he was fully aware that it was nothing but humbug. Jinnah never believed in half measures and believed in holding his own against the populist image projected by the Congress leadership on the grounds that there was no point in portraying something that was not real. This attitude spoke volumes about the hard core realism Jinnah based his political message on and was so convinced about his stance that he never wavered from it throughout his long political career.

Jinnah was a politician of conviction and firmly believed in his mission. He always focused on his subject and considered any pretence about it frivolous. He greatly believed in dressing up well and considered it to be an essential part of a gentleman and consequently paid special attention to this aspect. His suits were tailored according to the prevailing fashion and he never accepted any garment made for him lying down and always brought about some alterations in it. His tailor must have been hard pressed to come up to his standard of excellence and assuredly would have learned a lot from him. He was instrumental in bringing in fashion the specially designed suits and two-tone shoes along with the typical monocle that added to his distinct image. His conduct in courts of law also became legendary with a host of trainees and interns hogging the court where he argued his brief. In the typical British fashion he was quite straight in his dealings and never hesitated to use wit while presenting his point of view.

Jinnah always carried himself well and created a deep impression on any audience he faced. He was tall and lean with thick lock of hair that became partly grey and Jinnah used them to devastating effect. He was a good looking man with Grecian features and mannerisms of an upper-class gentleman. His movements were widely recognised to be full of grace which he was capable to naturally affect with no deliberate effort. He conveyed the impression of remaining calm in every situation exhibiting that he was a man at peace with itself supremely confident about whatever he did. He had an inbuilt capacity to reflect on any action he planned to take that was greatly assisted by his indefatigable working habits during which he never appeared tired. His tendency to work hard became manifest in his young age and with the passage of time his concentration on the subject in hand became legendary. He never left anything incomplete and took pains to satisfactorily finish the job in hand.

He thought deep before taking any action and hardly wavered from his well-laid out policies. His intellectual brilliance convinced a large section of his political associates who looked up to him for finalising crucial decisions. He was reputed to be a good listener and hardly interfered with anyone expressing his or her opinion. He was measured in his utterances and even his hardline detractors failed to point out any mistake in his public statements, quite an achievement keeping in view the contentious subjects he dealt with during his entire political career. He was never accused of hitting below the belt and his civility was ungrudgingly acknowledged. Nevertheless he was tough in his dealings as was borne out by his not shaking hands with Maulana Azad during Simla Conference as he did not recognise him to be representing the majority Muslim opinion.

Jinnah was astute enough to align himself with the cause he carried forward when he adopted wearing sherwani, and after giving up wearing the UP and Delhi style chooridar or tight pyjamas, he preferred a loose fitting ‘Shalwar’ usually worn in the areas that constituted Pakistan. Soon the Karakul hat he wore became known as Jinnah cap and it became a fashion for Muslims to wear white or cream coloured sherwani with it. Jinnah however kept his old mien as he wore suits for his day-to-day office work and on informal occasions. He was widely acclaimed for his courtesy and he unfailingly adhered to the gentlemanly conduct he greatly favoured. Jinnah came to the fore as a modern man well suited to any task he was assigned to and added high flavour to the leadership role he was destined to play. TW

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