leader or a system: Jinnah's legacy has been followed.

It should be a debate whether a leader is important or the system. Unfortunately, developing countries like Pakistan promote the concept that a leader is more important than a system. Jinnah’s naval A.D.C, Lieutenant Ahmed told, “I remember one story of his (Jinnah) visit to the Jakko Hills in Simla, where he went for a walk with some peanuts in his pockets. He threw them to the monkeys that dwell there, and was surprised to see that none of them moved-there was no mad rush for the nuts. Then a big, fat old monkey climbed down from a tree and went towards the peanuts. All the chattering of the monkeys ceased: they made way for their leader, and would not eat until he had eaten. When Mr. Jinnah had finished this story, he said ‘you see, even monkey have discipline” (Bolitho 1954)

Some might think that it was great interpretation by Jinnah what he observed without appreciating that it is not a healthy approach for a process of state building. Not only is it Jinnah but most of Muslim leaders are of this tendency, where they wish to have absolute power either in the name of religion or discipline. Muslim political parties’ concept of ‘Khalafat’ falls within the category where they wish to gain an absolute power. Muslim Rulers believe in blind and unwarranted power without believing in developing system which can control behavior of all citizens irrespective of their position and status in a state. They all want followers like ‘monkey’ who accept their behavior without questioning.

The developed countries stress on the system and Muslim leaders emphasize on the leader. This is one of the reasons that democracy has not flourished in Muslim and developing countries. It would be interested to learn if Jinnah commented what would happen after the ‘monkey leader’ left. Had they made a queue or started to snatch nuts from each other?

Nations do not develop by blindly bowing their heads to leaders but by working with them in developing a system through deliberations and reasoning. And once decisions are made after deliberation, they are implanted and followed across the board. The pre-partition politics reveals Pakistani nation followed leaders and not the system. Jinnah was a stanch believer of one-man leadership, therefore, he took all powers in pre and post partition politics – he took the decision and others simply followed. From Jinnah to date leaders believe in one-man leadership but not a system, therefore, we reach to the stage, which is near to anarchy.

Nadeem Yousaf

20 August 2012


Bolitho, Hector (1954): Jinnah: Creator of Pakistan; John Murray Publications; London (pp 216)


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