[Reader-list] When he was called Pandit Jinnah

mihir25 mihir25 at indiatimes.com
Wed Jun 15 19:36:59 IST 2005

When he was called Pandit Jinnah RAJNISH Sharma 
Lucknow, June 5 Hindustan Times 
When the former Deputy PM L K Advani described 
Muhammad Ali Jinnah as a secular man during his 
early days, he wasn't quite off the mark as it is 
now a part of recorded history. Though his 
comments have raised a furore back home, few 
would know that this man was even referred to as 
Pandit Jinnah once. And if indifference to 
religion is any indicator of secularism, the 
Qaid-e-Azam was probably the biggest of all 
secular fundamentalists. There are two incidents 
hitherto not found in any history book which 
highlight this aspect of his character in a 
rather comical way which were narrated by none 
other than the eminent jurist and statesman, Sir 
Tej Bahadur Sapru. It was told by Sir Tej to his 
granddaughter's husband Dr IM Chak, Retired Dy 
Director of CDRI during a meeting with his 
grandfather Pt. Prithvi Nath Chak, another legal 
giant of that time under whom Motilal Nehru 
learnt to practise law. A contemporary of Sir 
Sapru, Jinnah along with him once visited Egypt 
during the month of Ramzaan. The Muslim porters 
there refused to carry their luggage saying they 
would only carry the luggage of a fellow Muslim. 
When Jinnah told them to go ahead, the porters 
decided to test them. They were asked to recite 
the kalma. While Sir Tej happily recited it with 
Ăˆlan, he had Jinnah looking sheepishly at him for 
the wine loving brown sahib didn't know a word of 
it! Sir Tej had a hard time convincing the 
porters that Jinnah, who was to later create a 
separate Islamic State, was indeed a Muslim! The 
other incident saw these two friends sparring in 
the court of law in a case that involved elements 
of religion. The case saw Sir Tej quoting 
innumerable ayats from Quran in support of his 
arguments. Jinnah, though a formidable lawyer 
himself, drew a blank once again on this account. 
The next day local newspaper headlines screamed 
Pandit Jinnah vs Maulana Sapru!

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