Mohammed Ali Jinnah


Mohammed Ali Jinnah was the founding father of Pakistan. He was the eldest of seven children born to Jinnabhai Poonja, a merchant, and his wife Mithibhai, and attended the Sind Madrassa then the Christian Mission High School, Karachi, where he failed to excel. He first travelled to Britain when just seventeen years old to take up an apprenticeship with the British managing agency Douglas Graham and Company, marrying his first wife Emibhai shortly before he set sail. Emibhai died just a few months later. Jinnah worked in accounts at the firm’s head office in the City of London, and lived in various lodgings including at 35 Russell Road, Kensington, the home of Mrs F. E. Page-Drake and her daughter. Once in London, he shortened his surname from Jinnahbhai and took to wearing tailored suits and silk ties. Just two or three months after his arrival in England, Jinnah left his apprenticeship to train as a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn. Fascinated by politics, he frequently viewed parliamentary debates from the visitor’s gallery at the House of Commons, and was present there to witness Dadabhai Naoroji’s maiden speech in 1893. He studied at the Reading Room of the British Museum, listened to speeches at Hyde Park Corner, visited friends at Oxford, and developed a keen interest in the theatre, even considering a stage career. He was called to the Bar in 1895 and returned to Bombay, India, the following year.

In Bombay, Jinnah joined the Indian National Congress and began to practice law, attaining a position in the chambers of the acting advocate-general, John Macpherson. He first attended the Indian National Congress in 1904, and in 1906 served as secretary to the Congress President, Naoroji, in the Calcutta sessions. In 1909 he was elected to the Muslim seat on the Bombay Legislative Council, and he joined the All-India Muslim League in 1913, becoming its President in 1916 and playing a key role in the Lucknow Pact which brought the Congress and League together on issues of self-government to make a united stand to the British. Jinnah made trips to London in 1913 and 1914 – the latter as chair of the Congress deputation to lobby parliament over their proposed Council of India bill. He also helped to found the All-India Home Rule League in 1916. In 1918, he married his second wife, the Parsee Rattanbai Petit, with whom he had a daughter, Dina, born in 1919.

The next few years saw a decline in Jinnah’s political influence and success. In 1919 he resigned from the legislative council in protest against the Rowlatt Acts, and in 1920 he broke with Congress and resigned from the Home Rule League because he disagreed with the increasingly popular Gandhi’s policy of non-cooperation with the British and aim of complete swaraj or self-rule. He remained active with the Muslim League throughout the 1920s, however, and in 1927 negotiated with Hindu and Muslim leaders on constitutional reform in the wake of the Simon Report. In 1930, Jinnah returned to London to participate in the first, abortive Round Table Conference. In his short speech, he represented Indian Muslims as a distinct ‘party’ with their own demands and needs, and warned of the urgent need for a settlement that satisfied all of India, including its minorities. At the close of the conference, he decided to remain in England, calling for his sister Fatima and daughter Dina to join him. Despairing of the settlement of Hindu-Muslim conflict, he immersed himself in law, securing chambers at London’s Inner Temple. Jinnah lived in Hampstead during this period. He tried to enter parliament, first as a Labour Party candidate, joining the Fabian Society in an attempt to gain credibility, and then as a Conservative candidate – but he failed on both counts. He also failed to achieve his ambition of practising in the Privy Council Bar. He was invited by Wedgewood Benn to sit on the Federal Structure Committee of the second Round Table Conference, but played a very minor role there, with Gandhi, as the voice of Congress, taking centre stage. During his years in London, Jinnah received persuasive requests from prominent leaders for his return to India to assume leadership of the newly formed Muslim League, including a visit to his Hampstead home by Liaquat Ali Khan and his wife. In 1934, he succumbed to these demands, and returned to Bombay.

Back in India, Jinnah struggled to strengthen the League’s position. In the 1940 League sessions, the Pakistan resolution was adopted by the party. In 1941, he founded the newspaper Dawn which increased support for the League, and in the 1945-6 elections the League was successful in securing the vast majority of Muslim electorate seats. Jinnah’s concern now was to ensure the best possible outcome for Indian Muslims after independence. He assented to the British Cabinet Mission’s proposals of June 1946 for groupings of Muslim- and Hindu-majority provinces under a weak Indian union government, but later rejected it when Congress refused the idea of parity with the League, and advocated instead the formation of the separate state of Pakistan. On 3 June 1947, Jinnah accepted the Mountbatten plan to transfer power to two separate states. On 14 August 1947, he was appointed as governor-general of Pakistan and set to work establishing a government and restoring order after the horrific communal violence that had accompanied the partition of India. Already suffering from tuberculosis, Jinnah succumbed to the strain of this enormous task and died at home in Karachi just a year the creation of Pakistan. He is remembered by Pakistanis as Quaid-i-Azam, or Great Leader.

Published works: 

Congress Leaders’ Correspondence with Quaid-i-Azam (Lahore: Aziz Publishers, nd)

(with M. A. H. Ispahani and Z. H. Zaidi) M. A. Jinnah-Ispahani Correspondence, 1936-1948 (Karachi: Forward Publications Trust, 1976)

The Collected Works of Quai-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, compiled by Syed Sarifuddin Pirzada (Karachi: East and West Publishing Company, 1984-6)

Date of birth: 
25 Dec 1876
Secondary works: 

Ahmed, Akbar, Jinnah, Pakistan, and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin (London: Routlege, 1997)

Ahmad, Riaz, Jinnah and Jauhar: Points of Contact and Divergence (Islamabad: Quaid-i-Azam University, 1979) 

Ahmad, Ziauddin, Mohammad Ali Jinnah: Founder of Pakistan (Karachi: Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, 1976)

Jalal, Ayesha, The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, The Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985)

Jinnah, F., 'A Sister's Recollections', in Hamid Jalal (ed.) Pakistan Past & Present: A Comprehensive Study Published in Commemoration of the Centenary of the Birth of the Founder of Pakistan (London: Stacey International, 1977)

Khan, Aga, The Memoirs of Aga Khan: World Enough and Time (London: Cassell & Co. Ltd, 1952)

Khurshid, K. H., and Hasan, Khalid, Memories of Jinnah (Karachi and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990)

Montagu, Edwin Samuel, and Montagu, Venetia, An Indian Diary (London: Heinemann, 1930)

Mujahid, Sharif Al, Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948) (Islamabad: National Committee for Birth Centenary Celebrations of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah, 1976)

Mujahid, Sharif Al, Quaid-I-Azam Jinnah: Studies in Interpretation (Karachi: Quaid-I-Azam Academy, 1981)

Pirzada, Syed Sharifuddin, Foundations of Pakistan: All India Muslim League Documents, 1906-1947 (Karachi: National Pub. House, 1969)

Robinson, Francis, 'Jinnah, Mohamed Ali (1876–1948)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

Roy, A., 'The High Politics of India's Partition: The Revisionist Perspective', Modern Asian Studies 24 (1990), pp. 385-415

Wolpert, Stanley A., Jinnah of Pakistan (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984)

Zaidi, Z. H., Quaid-I-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah Papers: First Series (Islamabad: Quaid-i-Azam Papers Project, 1993)

Archive source: 

Quaid-i-Azam Papers, National Archives of Pakistan, Islamabad, Pakistan

Archives of the Freedom Movement, University of Karachi, Pakistan

Syed Shamsul Hasan Collection, National Bank of Pakistan, Karachi, Pakistan

Quaid-i-Azam Academy, Karachi, Pakistan

India: The War Series, L/PJ/8/524, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Mountbatten ‘Top Secret’ Personal Reports as Viceroy, L/PO/433, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Private Secretary to the Viceroy on the Transfer of Power, R/3/1, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Rahmat Ali pamphlets, L/PJ/8/689, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Brabourne Collection, Mss Eur F 97, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Chelmsford Papers, Mss Eur E 264, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Christie Collection, Mss Eur D 718, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Cunningham Collection, Mss Eur D 670, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Fleetwood Wilson Papers, Mss Eur F 111 & 112, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Hailey Collection, Mss Eur E 220, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Halifax Collection (Irwin Papers), Mss Eur C 152, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Hallett Collection, Mss Eur E 251, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Hamilton Papers, Mss Eur D 510, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Linlithgow Collection, Mss Eur F 125, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Montagu Papers, Mss Eur D 523, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Mudie Diary, Mss Eur 28-34, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Reading (Lady) Collection, Mss Eur E 316, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Templewood (Hoare Papers) Collection, Mss Eur E 240, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Zetland (Lawrence Papers) Collection, Mss Eur D 609, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library St Pancras

Cripps Collection, CAB 127/57-154, National Archives, Kew

Ramsay MacDonald Papers, PRO 30/69, National Archives, Kew

Alexander Papers, University of Cambridge

Baldwin Papers, University of Cambridge

Hardinge Papers, University of Cambridge

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Current name country of birth: 
Other names: 

M. A. Jinnah

Mahomedali Jinnabhai


London, NW3 1AX
United Kingdom
51° 33' 14.76" N, 0° 10' 27.84" W
35 Russell Road Kensingon
London, W14 8JB
United Kingdom
51° 29' 55.6548" N, 0° 12' 36.9144" W
Date of death: 
11 Sep 1948
Location of death: 
Karachi, Pakistan
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Feb 1893
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1893-6, 1913, 1914, 1930-4

Krishna Menon


V. K. Krishna Menon was an activist, councillor, diplomat, lawyer and editor. Born in Calicut, south India, he attended the Native High School there before studying for a BA at Presidency College, Madras, and attending Madras Law College. Encouraged by Annie Besant, he travelled to England in 1924, originally to take up a job at a Theosophists' school in Letchworth. In England, he continued studying law, and was called to the Bar in 1934. He also studied at the London School of Economics under Harold Laski, gaining a BSc and an MSc in politics as well as a teaching diploma.

Menon joined the Commonwealth of India League on his arrival in England, becoming joint secretary in 1928 and transforming the organization into the India League, with Indian self-rule as its stated goal. For the next two decades, he campaigned tirelessly for the India League alongside key British political figures such as Bertrand Russell, Harold Laski, Michael Foot and Fenner Brockway, as well as other Indians in Britain. Financing most of the activities himself, he held meetings, organized events, addressed groups, produced articles and pamphlets, and lobbied key Labour MPs. In 1932 he organized and, with Labour MPs, participated in a delegation to investigate social, economic and political conditions in India, publishing the findings one year later. The publication, Condition of India, with a preface by Russell and a cover by artist Eric Gill, was banned in India. Menon also enjoyed a close working relationship and friendship with Jawaharlal Nehru, helping to put forward Congress's position in Britain and coordinating Nehru's visit to England in 1935.

Krishna Menon edited the Twentieth Century Library series for the Bodley Head from 1932 to 1935, and became founding editor of Pelican Books, the non-fiction, educational imprint of Penguin Books, in 1935. A committed socialist, he was concerned with the plight of working-class Indians in Britain - supporting the lascar strikes of the late 1930s, for example - as well as that of their British counterparts. He was Labour councillor for the Borough of St Pancras from 1934 to 1939 and from 1944 to 1947, working alongside Barbara Castle, and an independent councillor from 1940 to 1944. In 1944 he established the St Pancras Arts and Civil Council, and in 1945 he was appointed chairman of the Education and Public Library Committee. In 1955, Menon was made a freeman of the Borough of St Pancras in recognition of his significant contribution. Menon came close to becoming a British Member of Parliament when he was pre-selected by the Labour Party for the safe seat of Dundee in 1939. His candidature was cancelled, however, because of his primary allegiance to India, and he resigned from the Labour Party in protest, rejoining again in 1944.

In 1947, Krishna Menon was appointed independent India's first High Commissioner in the UK. He held this post until 1952 when he returned to India to pursue his political and legal careers there. He died in Delhi in 1974.

Published works: 

Condition of India: Being the Report of the Delegation Sent to India by the India League in 1932 (London: Essential News, 1933)

Why Must India Fight? (London: India League, 1940)

Britain’s Prisoner (London: India League, 1941)

India, Britain and Freedom (London: India League, 1941)

The Situation in India (London, India League, 1943)

Unity with India against Fascism (London: India League, 1943)

Date of birth: 
03 May 1896
Contributions to periodicals: 

Daily Worker

Indian News

India Pictorial

Information Bulletin

Manchester Guardian

New Statesman

News India

Secondary works: 

Arora, K. C., V. K. Krishna Menon: A Biography (New Delhi: Sanchar Publishing House, 1998)

Chakravarty, Suhash, V. K. Krishna Menon and the India League, vols 1 and 2 (New Delhi: Har-Anand, 1997)

Chakravarty, Suhash, Crusader Extraordinary: Krishna Menon and the India League, 1932–6 (New Delhi: India Research Press, 2006)

George, T. G. S., Krishna Menon: A Biography (London: Jonathan Cape, 1964)

Lengyel, Emil, Krishna Menon (New York: Walker Books, 1962)

Ram, Janaki, Krishna Menon: A Personal Memoir (Delhi and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Silverman, Julius, ‘The India League’, in A Centenary History of the Indian National Congress, 1885–1985 (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1985)

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto Press, 2002)

Archive source: 

L/PJ/12/448-56, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Krisha Menon Papers, Nehru Memorial Library and Museum, New Delhi

‘India League Collection with Handbills, 1941-1960’, Serial No. 439, Nehru Memorial Library and Museum, New Delhi

‘Documents Relating to the India League’, Miscellaneous Microform Collections, Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge

Involved in events: 

Delegation to investigate conditions in India, 1932

World Peace Congress in Brussels, 1936 (as nominee of Congress)

Second World War (air warden in St Pancras)

Indian Independence, 1947 (appointed High Commissioner in the UK)

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Vengalil Krishnan Krishna Menon

V. K. Krishna Menon


57 Camden Square
London, NW1 9XA
United Kingdom
51° 30' 26.5428" N, 0° 7' 41.4768" W
Date of death: 
06 Oct 1974
Location of death: 
New Delhi, India
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jun 1924
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 


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