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Old Monday, August 14, 2006
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Default The Quaid in American eyes

It is true that an American scholar has written a better biography of the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah but neither the American nor the Pakistani scholars explaining how the Americans viewed the Quaid and his demand of Pakistan have penned hardly any scholarly work down. An American scholar's perspective in this regard may be startling for many.
Before World War II, the American public as well as the officials had little concern with the political developments in India. The Indian National Congress was assumed to be the chief proponent of the freedom struggle against British imperialism and Gandhi was acknowledged as the epitome of the struggling Asian masses.
Jinnah was first mentioned in the American press when the 'New York Times' reproduced his full speech delivered at the first Round Table Conference in London, in 1930. However, back in 1923, an American author Claude Van Tyne had admitted in his book 'India in Ferment' that the seventy million Muslims of India were a nation and the British government had to accept them as a separate nation. As the Quaid emerged as the undisputed leader of the Indian Muslims, the American press began to follow his political trail. By the end of 1939, the 'New York Times' reported him as an important if not the most important Indian Muslim leader. John Gunther in his book, "Inside Asia" described him as "one of the most important Asian leaders, an eloquent orator whose opposition to the Hindus was bitter and inflamed." Even by December 1939, the unsympathetic 'Time' magazine considered him important enough to run his portrait but noted that "while the great Hindus, Gandhi and Nehru, obviously worked toward an India for Indians, the leader of the Muslims usually thought first about independence for Muslims and afterward about independence for Indians." However, the 'New York Times' comments that the Muslims constituted the best part of the Indian army and the British were therefore unwilling to antagonise them played a crucial role in formulating American attitudes toward the Quaid and the Indian Muslims in the subsequent years. The same newspaper also noted that Jinnah claimed that autonomous national states would only solve the communal problem and added that 'the Islamic group was ready to give support to Britain in the European war' but cautioned that the "two Indias - Muslim and Hindu were as unlike as Germany and France."
The official American interest in the Quaid can be gauged from the observations of Thomas M. Wilson, the US consul general at Calcutta, in 1941. He believed that due to wartime exigencies the demand for Pakistan could be put aside but felt that it would be a great mistake to dismiss it as of no importance. To his surprise, March 23 was widely celebrated throughout India as the ' Pakistan Day'.
In the following years different US magazines/newspapers such as 'Newsweek', 'Nation,' 'The New Republic', etc. reported on Jinnah describing him as the chief obstacle to the Indian independence but at the same time powerful enough to thwart the British war effort if his demand for Pakistan was not sympathetically considered. The American government and the public got a better perspective of the Indian imbroglio after an extensive tour of the subcontinent by the 'New York Times' correspondent Herbert L. Mathews. Till then, the US was indoctrinated by the Congress propaganda, which depicted that everyone in India was united on the Congress platform under Gandhi. His first hand dispatches from India, for the first time, clarified that Indians were not united under Congress and "Jinnah, who was contemptuously dismissed in New York as a political tool of the British with little following, was one of the most important factors in the Indian situation." Although the American press was not sympathetic to the Quaid, Mathews was surprised to find out that at least nine out of ten politically conscious Muslims in India were with Jinnah and the League. His reports generated considerable interest in the US State Department.
The American military intelligence officers stationed in India corroborated that Muslim soldiers in the Indian army were deeply loyal to Jinnah and opposed to Gandhi. When British PM Churchill informed the US President Roosevelt that "We must not on any account break with the Muslims who represent 100 million people and the main Army elements on which we must rely for the immediate fighting," the US President had to be accommodative to Churchill's stance.
This was buttressed by the US Ambassador W.Averell Harriman's secret message to Roosevelt confirming that about 75 per cent of the Indian troops and volunteers were Muslims and of the balance, less than half, or perhaps only 12 per cent of the total were sympathetic to Congress.
After the fall of Singapore, the American troops were sent to India in 1942. Gandhi opposed this and prepared to "unleash a large-scale 'Quit India' campaign in which American as well as British forces will be urged to get out of India immediately." On the other hand the American military intelligence noted with great satisfaction that in reply to the 'Quit India' resolution, the Quaid immediately gave orders for the Muslims to "take no part in any disturbance. Not one Muslim in India entered the fray or raised his hand." At the time of the Cripps' Mission, Colonel Louis Johnson was sent to India as the personal representative of the US president. He reported that as the British government was using the Muslim League therefore approval of any plan for self-determination for India was unnecessary. The State Department got alarmed by his pro-Congress attitude and chastised him to not to identify himself closely with any particular group and suggested that from then on the Indian problem should be judged from the military viewpoint. Another person whose reports carried considerable weight in the US establishment at that time was John Paton Davies, Jr. He was the second secretary of the Chinese embassy and was attached to the staff of General Joseph W. Stilwell, who was then heading the US forces in India, China and Burma. He held several meetings with the Quaid. He reported to the US secretary of state that Jinnah stood head and shoulders above any Muslim leader. In a confidential letter to General Stilwell, Davies highlighted that Jinnah did not wish to embarrass the British and therefore supported the war effort.
While commenting on the rumours that the British government subsidised the Muslim League, Davies observed that Jinnah was incorruptible and though agreed that the British did use the League but clarified that they did not own it. Later on, Congress' threatening civil disobedience movement yet again compelled Roosevelt to send a career diplomat William Phillips as his personal representative to India in 1943. He also had several interviews with the Quaid. Though personally he disapproved of Quaid's "dream of sovereign India into separate nations" yet he appreciated Jinnah's statement that he could be counted on "to do nothing to obstruct the war effort since I regard victory against Japan as essential to the good of India." This was very comforting to the Americans because it was generally believed that the Muslims might mutiny if Jinnah told them to. On the whole, Phillips concluded, "while Jinnah had been exploited by the British in their divide and rule policy, the frequent accusations of pro-Congress groups that Jinnah was playing the British game was unacceptable." In addition, quite a few American military and diplomatic personnel conducted dozens of interviews of the Quaid, and the US government on the Indian situation prepared at least four lengthy and extensively researched reports. The League's sweeping electoral success in 1945-46 and the refusal of Nehru and Congress to accept the Cabinet Mission proposals as interpreted by the British and the League convinced the Americans that Quaid's dream of Pakistan was the only solution to the Indian problem.
After the June 3 partition plan, US Secretary of State George C. Marshall cabled to "have the friendliest relations with the new Pakistan state when it is established..." Consequently, when the Quaid assumed the charge of the first governor-general of Pakistan in Karachi in mid August, the US was the only foreign power to send an official delegate in that ceremony. The American press as well as the important US officials openly admitted "Jinnah had proved himself a great statesman not only of Asia but also of the world." Edgar Snow, the author of " The World's Queerest State" acknowledged that even if Jinnah were appraised only as a barrister "he had won the most monumental judgement in the history of bar."
This is the sign of 1 who loves GOD that his chief care z goodness n devotion n his words r mostly in praise n glorification of GOD.
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