Opening ceremony of “The Muslim Kutchi Khatri Free Night School, Bombay”
Khatri Ismat Ali Patel
Besides Muslim League’s usual meetings and political activities, the Quaid-i-Azam had to participate in innumerable social and educational activities. In these meetings, the Quaid-i-Azam always used to explain the interests and aims of the Muslims of India. He always used to advise them for Unity, Faith and Discipline. We present here the proceedings of a ceremony of the above mentioned activities of the Quaid, which was held on Monday, 27 January 1941 in Bombay. The great Quaid delivered a very short and meaningful speech in this ceremony. We have extracted this material from the Gujarati language monthly the Khatri Mitr (Khatri Friend, Jan 1941).
Details of Ceremony
The managing committee of Muslim Kutchi Khatri Jama’at, Bombay, decided that the inauguration of “The Muslim Kutchi Khatri Free Night School” should be done by Mr. M.A. Jinnah. The date was fixed on 27 January 1941 evening of Monday (28 Dhu al-Hajj 1359 Hijri). To put this idea into practice, Mr. Jinnah was contacted through Haji Noor Mohammad Ahmad Memon, the General Secretary of Muslim League Bombay. Three young and enthusiastic workers were sent to the residence of the Quaid at the Malabar Hills. These workers were Mr. Khatri Ahmad Hussain Aali, Mr. Khatri Islmail Bukhari and Mr. Khatri Mohammad Abdullah Khako Wala, who had to take the Quaid-i-Azam with them to the venue of this function. Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah also accompanied them. She attended the function along with other Khatri ladies at the residence of Khatri Aarib Bawa, which was adjacent to the meeting place. Hundreds of women had gathered there to listen to Quaid. Men had gathered at Doodh Market Hall, Mistri Mohallah, Ali Umar Street. The School was situated at the first and second floors of Doodh Market.
On this occasion, the Khatri community and others warmly welcomed their beloved Quaid. He was garlanded. The meeting placed was decorated beautifully. The colourful buntings were fluttering in the air. Multi-coloured bulbs were providing lighting at the meeting place. This area of Bombay was converted into a city of lights. There were many gates and arches. People lavishly showed flowers on the Quaid from buildings.
In this meeting many dignitaries and well-known Khatri leaders were among the audience. A large number of Parsi, Bohra Memon, Khoja, Kutchi, Gujrati communities and other Muslims of the city were also present. The VIP’s of Bombay and prominent Muslim personalities were also invited.
In this ceremony, the president of the meeting, Seth Haji Ismail Haji Mohammad Terai, presented the welcome address to Mr. Jinnah, the chief guest.
Honourable Mr. Jinnah
We are very grateful and happy today that despite your heavy preoccupations you gave importance to the wish of Muslim Kutchi community, the leaders and the elders of our Jama’at. You are a very busy man but despite your most important responsibilities you have come to inaugurate our school. Each and every minute of your time is precious. We feel proud that we are seeing the great leader and son of India so closely. You have increased the prestige of India. You are not only the famous advocate of Bombay High Court, but you also played an important role as the Member of the Central Assembly. Your services cannot be forgotten as a great leader of the Muslims. You are endowed with many fine characteristics. Your great leadership, political wisdom, open boldness and the quality of foresight are known to everyone. These qualities are the treasure of our independence.
Under your leadership and under the banner of the All India Muslim League the Muslims of India have got a very dynamic leadership. You have worked out to solve the problems of minorities. These problems should be solved. It is necessary for the progress of India.
The Muslims are facing many difficulties today. Evil powers are trying to divide them. They cannot bear to see unity among the Muslims. It is a very critical time. In such a time we can achieve our goal only after we are united. The unity in power and struggle is the solution of this problem.
We can say with great pride that as we have a great leader like you who can create the spirit of Faith and Discipline in our hearts and in these conditions we can achieve great success in future.
We place all our abilities and co-operation at your service. The Muslims are always ready to serve you. To inaugurate our school, you have increased the honour of our community. We find no words to thank you for this kindness.
We know that you have spend a great part of your political life in the Congress but you have seen yourself that the rights of the Muslims were not safeguarded. So you left the Congress and organized your nation. You know that we Muslim Khatris are traders and merchants but we also take part in national activities. Our elders always took part in the Khilafat movement and struggled for Independence. We will also co-operate with you whole-heartedly. Our Khatri brothers have donated great sums in the League Fund and will donate in future also. If our lives are needed for you, we will sacrifice them. The Muslims of every part of India have recognised you as the one and the only leader. You are not only the recognised Leader of all the Khatri communities of Bombay but also the Leader of all the Muslims of India.
We know that certain movements under your great leadership would meet great success. Your great struggle would become a great success. We belong to a business community. We can say without any hesitation that not only the business success of Muslims of India but the entire success of business of India also depends on the Lahore Resolution which was accepted by the nation previous year in Lahore. We now can say that we will serve you until a separate and independent state of Muslims of India comes into existence. You are the one and only Leader of every Muslim of India. They all have a great confidence in you. For our religion and for the independence of India whatever we can do will do whole-heartedly. We are ready for every struggle. We assure you that we will work hard for your aim. You have inaugurated Muslim Kutchi Khatri Free Night School. We are very very happy. We have got new courage and new hope. We are feeling a great pride and pray to God:
“May you get success”.
With these words we pay you sincere tribute. We all love and pray for your success.Khatri Haji Ismail Haji Mohammad Terai President, Muslim Kutchi Khatri Jama’at Bombay.
President, Welcome Committee, Bombay
27th January 1941
Reply (Speech of Mr. Jinnah)
You have shown me love and respect and you have given me the honour to inaugurate the School. I thank you for this honour. This welcome address is full of love, respect and greetings. But this loving attitude, this enthusiastic welcome address, these flowers and this colourful ceremony, all are useless until you also work hard and act on my advices.
A large part of the night has passed. In this limited time I have to say many things. I am very happy today that the Khatri community, the business community has started taking interest in politics. Your elders have produced many well-known leaders in the Khilafat Movement. The shortage of such leaders can be fulfilled only with the help of education.
Now, the conditions have changed. We should educate our children. Establish schools and all Muslim children should be educated. These children, this coming generation, will become the treasure of the nation. They will control the Muslim State. It is necessary for you that for the upgradation of Muslims of India, prepare a plan. Muslims should be upgraded in educational, political, economic and vocational fields. After preparing a plan, put that plan into practice and get respect from the nation. The opening of schools is not the only goal and your duty. You give this responsibility to the teachers that they should prepare able, qualified and Islamic-minded student and youth. Thereafter, the qualified students will become a guarantee for your bright future. I appeal to the youth to give full attention to their education. The time is flying, situations are changing. Prepare yourselves for action. It is your first duty. You can show your community and the Muslims a right path if you provide them suitable and high educatin. Your responsibilities are much and heavy. To fulfill these responsibilities you should always be alert.
My young friends! All Muslims are brothers. You should live like this that nobody should be able to misguide you. Anybody should not be able to use you for wrong purposes. Create unity and strength among yourselves.
I Appeal to all Muslims of India to gather at one platform. If we are divided in communities and parties then our mission will become weak. Our destination is coming nearer. The only way to get success is that we all should gather under one banner. I pray that you get success in your aim. The Muslim League had started the movement for the welfare of the Muslims. By this movement the flag of the Muslims is going higher and higher in the sky.
The Muslims of India!
Come under one flag! Unite yourselves. The God of Muslims is one. The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) is one. The Book is one. So the platform of all the Muslims should be one also. At present the only part of the Muslims of India is the Muslim League. The 90 million Muslims of India are with you. With these words I end my speech.
Vote of Thanks
After the speech of Mr. Jinnah, Khatri Haji Ismail Haji Mohammad Terai assured Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah in these words: “Our Muslim Kutchi Khatri community is with the Muslim League. We are always ready to sacrifice our lives and wealth. Your advices will lead us to the right path. We are united under one banner and will be united in future also. Despite your great preoccupations, you have come to inaugurate our School. We all thank you with the depth of our hearts. We pray that the Muslims should get success in their aims. Now I request the most respected Mr. Jinnah to inaugurate the School.”