Friday, 17 February 2012

Gandhi vs. Jinnah: Is it even worth debating over?

There have been times when certain individuals have risen up to the deceitful religious dogmas, bigoted maniacs, societal injustices and opposed the wrongdoings. Rising up against conformist ideologies is sometimes possible but there are times when these acts turn to a massive turmoil and a mass opposition. The individuals who bring about these reforms are sometimes termed deviants and sometimes praised. But they all should be presented with the title of a “Leader”.

Here I would like to take my discussion to the phenomenal qualities of two such leaders of whom the world knows about; the two leaders from this side of the world that the entire globe is particularly interested in. Mahatma Gandhi and Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah: the two people who beautifully carved their names in the books of the history of subcontinent. These were the men who rose up to the challenging situations of their times and gave their followers refuge from external rule.

I would like to highlight some major similarities between the two leaders. Both Gandhi and Jinnah had similar leadership styles. They made people believe in their vision and carried such a strong charisma that dictated the moves of their followers. They bestowed their nations with eternal freedom. True that Gandhi was a people oriented person and had a very non violent self stimulating type of style, Jinnah had to act all strong and stern. They molded their personalities according to the need of the day and made relative sacrifices.

Why is then Gandhi considered to be a better leader? Why are the two even compared? Just because they both supported and led opposite sides of the independence war doesn’t make them comparable. The situations that shaped and transformed the decisions of both were different. Their ideologies were different. Their approaches were different yet it is concluded that Gandhi was a better leader by the West. During my exchange year I encountered with so many people who asked me this: Do you think Gandhi was a better leader or Jinnah? The meaning of Mahatma has been explained well as the great one but people in the West aren’t aware that Quaid-e-Azam also has similar meaning.

Yes this perception owes to the fact that Indian film cinema has uplifted Gandhi’s image through its pro-Gandhi films but until and unless all facts are properly analyzed of the pre-independence era, vague statements like Gandhi was a better leader shouldn’t be passed. Also the perception that Pakistanis hate Gandhi and Indians hate Jinnah as leaders is not correct. Despite being a Pakistani, I absolutely adore Gandhi as a leader and quote his example whenever relevant and know Indians who loved Jinnah’s brilliant moves to give Muslims what they required. Both are exemplary leaders and both should be appreciated for their contributions.