Quaid-e-Azam M.Ali Jinnah among TIME’s ‘Asian Heroes’

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NEW YORK (US): Calling Father of theFather of the Nation: Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah Nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah an upholder of constitutional law, TIME magazine has named Pakistan’s founder among “Asian heroes” in its 60th anniversary issue, which hit newsstands here on Monday.

The Quaid was placed in the category of “Nation Builders”, which also included India’s Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and that country’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Apart from the Quaid, two more Pakistanis were listed— Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in the “Artists and Thinkers” category and Squash legend Jehangir Khan in the “Athletes and Explorers” column.

“For six decades, TIME has chronicled the triumphs and travails of Asia. In this special anniversary issue, we pay tribute to the remarkable men and women who have shaped these times,” the weekly magazine says in its latest issue.

“In Pakistan, Jinnah is venerated because his struggles on behalf of the Muslims of India resulted in the establishment of the country,” TIME says in an introduction written by author Mohsin Hamid. “But Jinnah’s true claim to greatness as an Asian leader is more universal: he sought to protect the rights of minorities through constitutional law,” it said.

Terming the Quaid a “secular”, the magazine said he left in 1920 Mr. M. K. Gandhi’s Indian National Congress, “not because of his own faith but because he believed Gandhi’s use of Hindu symbolism would encourage religious zealotry in politics”.

TIME said, “As Asia emerged from colonization, among the most vexing problems facing the continent’s nascent nation states was that of their large minority populations. Jinnah’s preferred solution was a legal one: constitutional measures ranging from electoral safeguards to guaranteed representation in state institutions. It was only when his attempts to achieve these measures failed that he began to campaign for a separate state for the Muslims of the subcontinent…”

“If one believes in the rule of law, mistrusts religious zealotry and opposes tyrannies constructed in the name of majorities, one should find it easy to see oneself in Jinnah and to empathize with his struggle, the author Hamid says. “Much of Asia could learn from his example, none more so than those of us who belong to the state he founded”.

“Who can say what further bridges he might have built between East and West had he lived longer.”

TIME posed the question while introducing Nusrat FNusrat Fateh Ali Khanateh Ali Khan. “On Khan’s death in 1997, Westerners were just starting to grasp this musical treasure that Pakistan had given the world… And in a way one had, because Khan had made the rich religious poetry of the Sufi tradition even more magical, bringing words and music together in an ecstatic celebration of the divine. To listen to him was to hear the harmony of the spheres.

“Believing that passion transcended words, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan rarely sang in English, preferring to use his native Punjabi and Urdu, or the Farsi of the Sufi poets. But it was passion that killed him in the end. A lover of food, music and constant touring, Khan never heeded his doctor’s warnings to diet or slow down; he would sing for hours at a time, palms upraised as if channeling energy from his audience. And so his heart gave out at age 48, depriving humanity of one of its greatest voices. World music? The label is hardly adequate. File, instead, under ‘genius.’”

About Jehangir Khan, the magazine said: “In the fiJahangir Khanve years to 1986, the Pakistani squash player was unbeaten in over 550 matches. Before the decade was out, he had taken six World Open trophies.

From 1982 to 1991, he won 10 British Open titles in a row. If winning is everything, then Khan is the greatest. Period.

As part of a great squash dynasty (his father, brother and cousin were all international players), Khan had the game in his genes. In 1979, at the tender age of 15, he had already won the World Amateur title. But his brother, Torsam Khan, died of a heart attack that same year while playing in the Australian Open; with the loss of his mentor and hero, Khan nearly gave up the game.

Two years later, however, he honored Torsam’s memory by defeating the Australian squash legend Geoff Hunt to become, at 17, the youngest-ever winner of the World Open. His strategy, then and later, was eerily reminiscent of a matador’s—to wear down his opponent’s physical and mental reserves, bit by bit, before delivering the sudden coup de grace—usually a lethal drop shot from the very back of the court.

“It was the New Zealand player Ross Norman who finally ended Khan’s unbroken run, defeating the stunned Pakistani in the 1986 World Open final. But Khan’s aura has not been diminished: as the new century dawned, he would be named Pakistan’s Sportsman of the Millennium, and today he reigns supreme over the sport as the president of the World Squash Federation.

In retrospect, Khan’s total dominance of the game seems to have been determined at birth when his parents named him Jahangir, which translates as “conqueror.” No athlete in any sport has done more to deserve that billing.”

Other prominent figures in the list include – Nobel-winning Indian economist Amartya Sen, Burma’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and her father Aung San, Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, China’s Deng Xiaoping, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, martial arts exponent Bruce Lee, mountaineers Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, Mother Teresa, and this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunusof Bangladesh.

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