On Wedneday, 13 August 1947, Jinnah held a banquet in honour of the Last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, at the Governor-General’s House in Karachi. The toast he offered to His Majesty King Goerge VI on this occasion is important because it (a) gives a definite perspective on the colonial past; (b) defines the terms for future relations with Britain and other countries of the Commonwealth; (c) and reiterates Jinnah’s persistent claim that the All-India Muslim League was responsible for liberating the entire subcontinent (and not just the creation of Pakistan). The following is a complete transcript.
Your Excellency, Your Highness, and Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have great pleasure in proposing a toast to His Majesty the King.
This is one of the most momentous and unique occasions. Today, we are on the eve of complete transfer of power to the people of India, and there will emerge and establish two Independent Sovereign Dominions of Pakistan and Hindustan on the appointed day, the 15th of the August, 1947.
This decision of His Majesty’s Government will mark the fulfillment of the great ideal which was set forth by the formation of Commonwealth with the avowed object to make all nations and countries which formed part of the British Empire, self-governing and independent states, free from the domination of any other nation.
Since the assumption of the reign of the Government of India by Queen Victoria, a great and good Queen, by the Proclamation and the very Act that was enacted for the assumption of power and authority of the British Crown and Parliament, it was made clear that it will be the deep concern and definite objective of the British Nation to lead India ultimately to the goal of its becoming self-governing and Independent State.
In the pursuit of that policy since the days of Macaulay there never was any question about the principle, but there remained always the question of how and when.
In that process during the reign of four generations of the British Crown there were controversies and differences of opinion as to the pace for realization of Freedom and Independence. There have been many acts of commission and omission, but at the same time we cannot help recognizing that the British genius and those Britishers who ruled India for over a century did so to the best of their judgement and have left their marks in many spheres of life and especially the judicial system, which has been the greatest bulwark and safeguard for the rights and liberties of the people.
Today, it falls to the lot of King George the Sixth, the good fortune of fulfilling the promise and the noble mission with which his great-grandmother assumed the reigns of this subcontinent nearly a century ago.
The reign of King George the Sixth will go down in history by the performance of this act voluntarily of transferring power and handing over the government of India which was rightly characterized as the brightest jewel in the British Empire, and by establishing two Sovereign Dominions of Pakistan and Hindustan.
Such voluntary and absolute transfer of power and rule by one nation over others is unknown in the whole history of the world. It is the translation and the realization of the Great Ideal of Commonwealth which now has been effected and hence both Pakistan and Hindustan have remained members of Commonwealth, which shows how truly we appreciate the high and noble ideal by which the Commonwealth has been and will be guided in the future.
Here I would like to say, Your Excellency Lord Mountbatten, how much we appreciate your having carried out wholeheartedly the policy and the principle that was laid down by the plan of 3rd June and the Indian Independence Act which was passed by the British Parliament and received the assent of His Majesty the King on the 10th of July with grace, dignity and great ability. You are the last Viceroy of India, but Pakistan and Hindustan will always remember you, and your name will remain cherished not only in the history of these two Dominions but will find a place in the history of the world, as one who performed his task and duties magnificently.
Before I conclude, let me mark our sense of deep appreciation of the Prime Minister, Mr. Attlee, and His Majesty’s Government and the British Parliament, and above all, the British nation who enthusiastically and wholeheartedly helped and supported the policy enunciated by His Majesty’s Government that the people of India should be free, and that the only solution of India’s constitutional problem was to divide it into Pakistan and Hindustan.
This task has now been accomplished.
There lies in front of us a new chapter and it will be our endeavor to create and maintain goodwill and friendship with Britain and our neighboring dominion Hindustan along with other sister nations so that we all together may make our greatest contribution for the peace and prosperity of the world.
And now Ladies and Gentlemen, I propose the health of His Majesty, King George the Sixth.
- Khursheed Ahmad Khan Yusufi (ed.). 1996. Speeches, Statements & Messages of the Quaid-e-Azam. Lahore: Bazm-i-Iqbal, pp.2606-2609
- M.A. Jinnah Blog