SMIU show dredges up Quaid’s birthday controversy
By: Shazia Hasan
KARACHI: On the eve of the official birth anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) held an exhibition that again brought up the old controversy about the Father of the Nation being born on Oct 20, 1875, and not Dec 25, 1876.
Besides displaying the schools founder Hassanally Effendi’s belongings and pictures of old boys of the school, the exhibition highlighted its most famous old boy’s education records from the school archives.
“The Quaid-i-Azam’s early life is still shrouded in mystery as there is no record available regarding his primary education,” said SMIU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh. Still records show that he was first admitted to Sindh Madressatul Islam (SMI) on July 4, 1887. The records only show his caste, age and that he was a paying student. The same year in December he left for Bombay, where he reportedly attended the Anjuman-i-Islam School.
Returning after one month and four days, he again got admission to the SMI but the comings and goings did not stop there as he constantly travelled to Bombay where his paternal aunt lived. In all, the young Jinnah got admission to the SMI some four times. When he left for the third time on Jan 30, 1892, the register says he ‘left for Kutch on marriage’. On his return on March 8, the same year, he also submitted a letter from the Church Mission School in Bombay which certified that the young man had passed the fourth standard from that school.
There is again confusion regarding the Quaid-i-Azam’s age when he returned as he is said to be 16 years old then although several years had passed after his first admission where his age is mentioned as 14 years. “My feeling about the confusion is that the teacher who admitted him the first time in 1887 estimated his age as 14 although he was 12 at the time as can be calculated from his date of birth given at the time of the other admissions,” said the VC.
The Quaid-i-Azam left the SMI on Oct 31, 1892 for good.
On a separate board were displayed his records from Lincoln’s Inn in England, where the Quaid proceeded for higher studies. There is no record of his having passed his matric. He took the entrance exam to be admitted to Lincoln’s Inn on June 5, 1893.
And an application submitted there by him requests exemption from the medium of study, Latin, which he did not know. Another application, dated March 30, 1896, blown up and displayed on the board is by him requesting ‘Bhai’ to be dropped from his name as he says it means ‘Mr’ anyway.
Finally, there is the letter of his being called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn along with a 50 pounds stamp on it. The exhibition, which will remain open for a fortnight, includes a lecture and multimedia presentation on ‘Quaid-i-Azam’s Education’ by Prof Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh.