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Mahomed Ali Jinnah

Full nameQuaid-i-Azam Mahomed Ali Jinnah, Barrister-at-Law (aka Mahomedali Jinnahbhai; Muhammad Ali Jinnah; Mohammad Ali Jinnah; Mohomed Ali Jinnah)
Born25 Dec 1876, Karachi, then-India
Died11 Sep 1948, Karachi, Pakistan

The eldest son of a merchant, Mahomedali Jinnahbhai was educated at Sind Madrassa and the Christian Missionary Society High School in Karachi. In 1892 he moved to London, where under the name Jinnah he enrolled at Lincoln’s Inn and was called to the Bar in 1896. Returning to India, he practised law at Bombay High Court. In 1910 he was elected as Bombay’s Muslim representative on the Imperial Legislative Council. In 1913 he agreed to join the All-India Muslim League, while also championing Muslim-Hindu unity within the Indian National Congress, until a disagreement with Gandhi in 1920 prompted Jinnah’s resignation from Congress. From 1923 he served as Muslim Member for Bombay in the Central Legislative Assembly.

Jinnah was a member of the British Indian delegation at the conference.

For additional biographical information, see the official delegate Who's Whos. See also Emery Kelen's caricature, from his portfolio of delegates at the Round Table Conference.


  • 20th March 1927: Jinnah presided over a meeting of Muslim members of the Central Legislative Assembly who agreed to abandon the insistence on separate Muslim electorates in favour of joint electorates if Sind, the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan were given full province status, seats in provincial legislatures were reserved to communities on population basis, and Muslims were given one third of seats at the centre. “Here was an attempt to develop the federal and provincial autonomy strategy by expanding the number of Muslim provinces to five in return for accepting joint electorates.” Not well received in the broader Muslim community. (Moore, 1974:24)
  • 31st December 1928-1st January 1929: An All-Parties Moslem Conference in Delhi took place at which Jinnah was one of the few leading Muslims not to attend. It demanded a federal system, in rejection of the Nehru Report. (Moore, 1974:38)
  • March 1929: Jinnah drafted his “fourteen points” to unify Indian Muslims, being less rigid than the Delhi conference recommendations. It proposed a federal constitution and separate electorates that could be abandoned. The points were not accepted by Congress Muslims or Khilafatists. Jinnah’s position was diminished until the mid-1930s as a result. (Moore, 1974:39)
  • December 1929: Sapru and Jinnah corresponded, seeking joint ground on Jinnah’s fourteen points. (Moore, 1974:104)
  • 19th June 1929: Jinnah wrote to his friend Ramsay MacDonald suggesting a conference to discuss constitutional advance (Mahmood, Zubair & Rizwan, 2016)
  • 30th November 1929: Jinnah met Gandhi at Allahabad, but failed to convince Gandhi to attend (Mahmood, Zubair & Rizwan, 2016)

First Session

  • 4th October 1930: the SS Viceroy of India departed Bombay, with Jinnah, Sapru, Jayakar, Moonje, Patro, and Ambedkar on board. Debates took place daily over the two week journey to Europe. (Moore, 1974:124)
  • November 1930: in pre-conference discussions Jinnah proved himself willing to join the Liberals in calling for Dominion Status with temporary reservations. (Moore 1974:126)
  • 14th November 1931: Hailey to Irwin: Jinnah did not say in the inaugural plenary what he agreed with his party, having refused to deposit a copy of his speech with the conference secretariat in advance. “But then Jinnah of course was always the perfect little bounder and as slippery as the eels which his forefathers purveyed in the Bombay market. His was the only controversial note in the opening speeches, but it fell flat…” (BL. E220.34)
  • 16th November 1930: on the eve of the conference Jinnah signed a compromise calling for joint electorates, reservations in the provinces on a population basis, with Sind and NWFP becoming full provinces and 30% of seats at the centre going to Muslims. The deal was rejected by Muslim delegates. (Moore, 1974:126-127)
  • Jinnah joined the Federal, Minorities, Defence and Sind subcommittees (Mahmood, Zubair & Rizwan, 2016). In the latter committees he objected to the recruitment of British Army Officers for India and insisted that Sind become a separate province.
  • 27th November 1931: Hailey to Irwin: Muslims are sticking by separate electorates, claiming Government of Indian support for the Simon Report recommendations, although Jinnah was felt to be open to persuasion, 
    • “… and two nights ago a brutal Muslim delegate from the North, where they like to see players slap their cars down on the table instead of fumbling about in their shirt cuffs, gave our superior Jinnah the shock of his life by calling him a ‘little liar’. I fear that my unregenerate soul… did not feel the horror which this indelicate statement of the truth deserved. So there also, we are at the moment.” (BL. E220.34)
  • Late-November: Jinnah had lost the support of non-centrist Muslims. (Moore, 1974:159)

Second Session

  • Jinnah argued the case for the Federal Supreme Court and autonomous provinces within the proposed federation.
  • Jinnah was guided by the conclusions of the All India Muslim Conference (AIMC) held at Delhi on 25th April 1931. These included demands for separate electorate for Muslims, reforms in NWFP & Baluchistan, residuary powers for provinces, separation of Sind from Bombay, weightage for Muslims in their minority provinces, safeguards against communal legislation, Muslim’s quota in public service according to the proportionate representation and Muslim representation in ministries. (Mahmood, Zubair & Rizwan, 2016)


  • After the RTC Jinnah stayed on in London, practicing at the Privy Council Bar until 1934.
  • 1934: Elected to the Legislative Assembly from Bombay, though he did not return to India until 1935
  • 23 March 1940: Following Jinnah’s address at the Lahore conference of the All-India Muslim League, a resolution was passed demanding independence for the Muslim-majority states of India.
  • 14 August 1947: Partition is achieved, with Jinnah installed as Governor-General of the new state of Pakistan

Sources used

  • British Library, London: IOR/Eur.Mss/E220/34.
  • R.J. Moore, The Crisis of Indian Unity, 1917-1940 (Oxford: Clarendon Press; 1974)
  • Sultan Mahmood, Muhammad Zubair, and Muhammad Rizwan. "Role of Muhammad Ali Jinnah In the Indian Round Table Conference (1930-32)." Asian Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities Vol 5:1 (2016), pp. 105-112:

Selected publications

  • M.A. Jinnah, “Indian Grievances”, The Times, Issue 40540 (3 Jun 1914), p. 7
  • Mohomed Ali Jinnah: An Ambassador of Unity. His Speeches and Writings 1912-1917 with a biographical appreciation by Sarojini Naidu (Madras: Ganesh & Co.; [1918]).
  • Mohammed Ali Jinnah, “The Constitutional Future of India: Two Nations in India” Time & Tide, Vol. 21 no. 10 (9 March 1940), pp. 238–240
  • Jinnah Papers, 18 vols, editor-in-chief Z.H. Zaidi (Islamabad: Quaid-i-Azam Papers Project, National Archives of Pakistan; 1993-2012)

Secondary literature

Online resources

ImagesPhotograph of Mahomed Ali Jinnah, from the published biographical guide to delegates at the second session of the Round Table Conference, 1931

"Mr. Mahomed Ali Jinnah, Barrister-at-Law." From Indian Round Table Conference Second Session 1931: Biographical Notes and Photographs of the British and Indian Delegates (London: St. James's Palace). By permission of the British Library (shelfmark T 11187). Reproduced under Open Government Licence v3.0 (

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