Source: The Nation's Voice, Vol. VII: Launching the State and the End of the Journey (Aug. 1947 - Sept. 1948), ed. by Waheed Ahmad (Karachi: Quaid-i-Azam Academy, 2003), pp. 243-258. The section headings, and the footnote, are those provided by the Waheed Ahmad edition. Paragraph numbers in double brackets have been added by FWP for convenience in classroom use. Punctuation has been slightly adjusted for clarity. Editorial additions in square brackets are by FWP. 

Address by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Governor General of Pakistan, in Dacca, East Pakistan; March 21st, 1948
Speaking from an eighteen-foot-high rostrum before a gathering of about five lakhs [=500,000] people, the largest in the history of Dacca.... Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah arrived at the meeting ground with imposing magnificence under military escort and majestically proceeded to the rostrum and was warmly cheered by the vast multitude who gathered to listen to him. A government of East Bengal plane showered flower petals and cameras clicked. The Governor-General saluted the people on all sides before taking his seat and was garlanded by Khwaja Habibullah, Chairman of the Reception Committee.... The following is the full text of the speech of Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah.

[[1]] I am grateful to the people of this province and to you, Mr. Chairman of the Reception Committee, and to the people of Dacca for the great welcome that has been accorded to me. I need hardly say that it has given me the greatest pleasure to visit East Bengal. East Bengal is the most important component of Pakistan, inhabited as it is by the largest single block of Muslims in the world. I have been anxious to pay this province an early visit, but unfortunately other matters of greater moment had so far prevented me from doing so. About some of these important matters you doubtless know. You know for instance of the cataclysm that shook the Punjab immediately after partition and of the millions of Muslims who in consequence were uprooted from their homes in East Punjab, Delhi, and neighbouring districts, [and who] had to be protected, sheltered, and fed pending rehabilitation in Western Pakistan. Never throughout history was a new state called upon to face such tremendous problem[s]. Never throughout history has a new state handled them with such competence and courage. Our enemies had hoped to kill Pakistan at its inception. Pakistan has on the contrary arisen triumphant, stronger than ever. It has come to stay, and play its great role for which it is destined.

[[2]] In your address of welcome you have stressed the importance of developing the great agricultural and industrial resources of this province, of providing facilities for the training of young men [244] and women of this province for entry in[to] the armed forces of Pakistan, of the development of the port of Chittagong and of communications between this province and other parts of Pakistan, of development of educational facilities; and finally you have stressed the importance of ensuring that the citizens of Eastern Pakistan do get their just due and legitimate share in all spheres of government activities. Let me at once assure you that my government attaches the greatest importance to these matters, and is anxious, and constantly engaged in ensuring, that Eastern Pakistan attains its full stature with the maximum of speed. Of the martial prowess of the people of this province, history provides ample evidence; and as you are aware, government had already taken energetic steps to provide facilities for the training of the youths of this province, both in the regular armed forces and as volunteers in the Pakistan National Guards. You may rest assured that the fullest provisions have been made for enabling the youths of this province to play their part in the defence of this state.

East Bengal government congratulated

[[3]] Let me now turn to some general matters concerning this province. In doing so let me first congratulate you, the people of this province and your government, over the manner in which you have conducted yourselves during these seven months of trial and tribulations. Your government and the loyal and hard-working officials deserved to be congratulated on the speed and efficiency [245] with which it succeeded in building up a workable administration out of the chaos and confusion which prevailed after Pakistan was created. On August 15 the provincial government in Dacca was fugitive in its own home. It was faced with immediate problems of finding accommodation for thousands of government personnel in which [=what] was after all, before partition, only a small mofussil [=provincial] town. Hardly had government got to grips with [the] administrative problems thus created, when some 70,000 railway and other personnel and their families suddenly arrived in this province, driven out of India. There was further upset, when owing to the wholesale departure of the Hindu personnel, great gaps were left in the administrative machinery, and the entire transport and communication system had been disorganized. The immediate task that faced the government, therefore, was hurriedly to regroup its forces and reorganize its administrative machinery in order to avert an imminent administrative collapse. This the government did with extraordinary speed and efficiency. The administration continued to function unhampered, and the life of the community continued undisturbed. Not only was the administration speedily reorganized, but the great administrative shortages were quickly made good, so that an impending famine was averted and, what is equally important, peace was maintained throughout the province. In this latter respect, much credit is due also to the people of this province, in particular to the members of the majority community who showed exemplary calm and determination to maintain peace despite the [246] great provocation afforded by the massacre and oppression of the Muslims in the India Dominion in the months immediately after partition. Despite those horrible happenings, some 40,000 processions were taken out by the Hindu community during the last pujas in this province without a single instance of the breach of the peace and without any molestation from the Muslims of this province.

Minorities looked after

[[4]] Any impartial observer will agree with me that throughout these troubles the minorities were looked after and protected in Pakistan better than anywhere else in India. You will agree that Pakistan was able to keep peace and maintain law and order, and let me tell you that minorities, not only here in Dacca, but throughout Pakistan, are more secured, more safe then anywhere else. We have made it clear that the Pakistan government will not allow [the] peace to be disturbed. Pakistan will maintain law and order at any cost, and it will not allow any kind of mob rule.

[[5]] It is necessary to draw attention to these facts, namely, the building up of an orderly administration; the averting of an imminent famine; and the maintenance of [the] supply of food to some forty million people in this province at a time of overall food shortage and subsequent administrative difficulties; and the maintenance of peace; because there is a tendency to ignore these achievements of this government and to take these things for granted. It is always easy to criticize, it is always easy to go on fault-finding, but people [247] forget that [=the] things that are being done and are going to be done for them, and generally they take those for granted without even realizing as to what trials, tribulations, difficulties, and dangers we had to face at the birth of Pakistan.

[[6]] I do not think that your administration is perfect --  far from it. I do not say that there is no room for improvement, I do not say that honest criticism for [=of] true Pakistanis in unwelcome, but what [=when] I find in some quarters nothing but complaints, fault-finding, and not a word of recognition as to the work that has been done either by your govemment or by those loyal officials and officers who have been working for you day and night, it naturally pains me.

Say some good words

[[7]] Therefore, at least say some good words for the good that is done, and then come and criticize. In a large administration, it is obvious that mistakes must be made; you cannot expect that it will be faultless, no country in the world can be so. But our ambition and our desire is that it should be as little defective as possible. Our desire is to make it more efficient, more beneficial, more smooth-working. For what has the government got for its aim? The government can only have for its aim one objective -- how to serve the people, how to devise ways and means of [=for] their welfare, for their betterment. What other object can the government have? -- and remember, now it is in your hand to put the government in power or remove the government from power; but you must not do it by [248] [a] mob method. You have the power, you must learn the art of using it; you must try and understand the machinery.

Preserve Pakistan

[[8]] Constitutionally it is in your hands to upset one government and put another government in power, if you are dissatisfied to such an extent. Therefore, the whole thing is in your hands; but I advise you strongly to have patience, and to support the men who are at the helm of government. Sympathize with them, try and understand their troubles and their difficulties, just as they should try and understand your grievances, complaints, and sufferings. It is by the cooperation and good spirit and goodwill that you will be able not only to preserve Pakistan which you have achieved, but to make it a great state in the world. Are you now, after you have achieved Pakistan, going to destroy [it] by your own folly" (Cries of 'no, no'.) "Do you want to build it up? (Cries of 'yes, yes'.) Well, then, for that purpose there is one essential condition, and it is this: complete unity and solidarity among ourselves.

Living in dreamland

[[9]] But I want to tell you that in our midst there are people financed by foreign enemies, who are intent on creating disruption. Their object is to disrupt and sabotage Pakistan. I want you to be on your guard, I want you to be vigilant, and not to be taken in by attractive slogans and catchwords. [249] They say that the Pakistan government and the East Bengal government are out to destroy your language. The [=a] bigger falsehood was never uttered by a man. Quite frankly and openly, I must tell you that you have got amongst you a few Communists and other agents financed by foreign help, and if you are not careful, you will be disrupted. The idea that East Bengal should be brought back into the India Union is not given up, and it is their aim yet, and I am confident -- I am not afraid, but it is better to be vigilant -- that these people who still dream of getting back East Bengal into the Indian Union are living in a dreamland.

Hindu exodus

[[10]] I am told that there has been some exodus of the Hindu community from this province. I have seen the magnitude of this exodus put at the fantastic figure of 10 lakhs [=one million] in the Indian press. Official estimate[s] would not put the figure beyond 2 lakhs [=200,000] at the utmost. In any case, I am satisfied that such exodus as has taken place has been as a result not of any ill-treatment of the minority communities. On the other hand [=on the contrary], the minority communities have enjoyed, and rightly so, greater freedom, and have been shown greater solicitude for their welfare, than the minorities in any part of the Indian Dominion.

[[11]] The causes of these [=this] exodus are to be found rather in the loose talk by some warmongering leaders in the Indian Dominion on the inevitability of war between Pakistan and India; in the ill-treatment of the minorities in some of the Indian [250] provinces, and the fear among the minorities of the likely repercussion[s] of that ill-treatment here; and in the open encouragement to Hindus to leave this province being sedulously given by a section of the Indian leaders producing imaginary accounts of what is called the flight of the minorities in Pakistan; and by the Hindu Mahasabha.

Propaganda belied

[[12]] All these propaganda and accusations about the ill-treatment of the minorities stand belied by the fact that over twelve million non-Muslims continue to live in this province in peace, and have refused to migrate from here. Let me take this opportunity of repeating what I have already said: we shall treat the minorities in Pakistan fairly and justly. Their lives and properties in Pakistan are far more secure and protected than in India, and we shall maintain peace, law, and order, and protect and safeguard fully every citizen of Pakistan without distinction of cast, creed, or community.

State language

[[13]] So far so good. Let me now turn to some of the less satisfactory features of the conditions in this province. There is a certain feeling, I am told in some parts of this province, against non-Bengali Muslims. There has also lately been a certain amount of excitement over the question whether Bengali or Urdu shall be the state language of this province and of Pakistan. In this latter connection, I hear that some discreditable attempts have been [251] made by political opportunists to make a tool of students in Dacca to embarrass the administration.

[[14]] My young friends, students, who are present here, let me tell you as one who has always had love and affection for you, who has served you for ten years faithfully and loyally, let me give you this word of warning: you will be making the greatest mistake if you allow yourself to be exploited by one political party or the other. Remember there has been a revolutionary change. It is our own government, we are [a] free, independent, and sovereign state. Let us behave and regulate our affairs as free men. We are not suppressed and oppressed in the regime of a foreign domination. We have broken those chains, we have thrown off those shackles. My young friends, I look forward to you as the real makers of Pakistan. Do not be exploited and do not be misled. Create amongst yourselves complete unity and solidarity. Set an example of what youths can do. Your main occupation should be -- in fairness to yourself, in fairness to your parents, in fairness to the state ­-- to devote your attention to your studies. If you fritter away your energies now, you will always regret [it]. After you leave the portals of your universities and colleges, then you can play your part freely and help yourselves and the state.

Dangers facing East Bengal

[[15]] Let me warn you in the clearest terms of the dangers that still face Pakistan and your province in particular, as I have done already. Having failed to prevent the establishment of Pakistan, thwarted [252] and frustrated by failure, the enemies of Pakistan have now turned their attention to disrupt[ing] the state by creating a split amongst the Muslims of Pakistan. These attempts have taken the shape principally of encouraging provincialism.

[[16]] As long as you do not throw off this poison from your body politic, you will never be able to weld yourselves, mould yourselves, galvanize yourselves into a real true nation. What you want is not to talk about Bengalis, Punjabis, Sindhis, Baluchis, Pathans and so on. They are, of course, units; but I ask you, have you forgotten the lesson that was taught to us 1300 years ago? If I may point [it] out, you are all outsiders here. Who were the original inhabitants of Bengal? -- not those who are now living [in it]. So what is the use of saying "We are Bengalis, or Sindhis, or Pathans, or Punjabis"? No, we are Muslims, Islam had taught us this. Here I think you will agree with me that whatever else you may be and whatever you are, you are Muslims. You belong to a nation now. You have now carved out a territory, [a] vast territory, it is all yours. It does not belong to a Punjabi or a Sindhi, or a Pathan or a Bengali, it is yours. You have got your central government where the several units are represented. Therefore, if you want to build up yourselves into a nation, for God's sake give up this provincialism. Provincialism has been one of the curses, and so is sectionalism, Shia, Sunni, etc.

[[17]] It was no concern of our predecessor government, it was no concern of theirs to worry about it; they were here to carry on the administration, maintain law and order, and to carry on their trade and exploit India as much as [253] they could. But we are now in a different position altogether.

America as example

[[18]] Now I give you an example. Take America. When it threw off British rule and declared itself independent, how many nations were there? It had many races: Spaniards, French, German, Italian, English, Dutch and many more. Well, there they were. They had many difficulties. But mind you, their nations were actually in existence, and they were great nations, whereas you had nothing. You have got Pakistan only now. But there a Frenchman could say "I am a Frenchman and belong to a great nation," and so on. But what happened? They understood and they realized their difficulties because they had sense; and within a very short time, they solved their problems and destroyed all their sectionalism, and they were able to speak not as a German or a Frenchman or an Englishman or a Spaniard, but as an American. They spoke in this spirit: "I am an American" and "We are Americans"; and so you should think, live, and act in terms that your country is Pakistan and you are a Pakistani.

[[19]] Now I ask you to get rid of this provincialism because as long as you allow this poison to remain in the body politic of Pakistan, believe me, you will never be a strong nation, and you will never be able to achieve what I wish you could achieve. Please do not think that I do not appreciate the position. Very often it becomes a vicious circle. When you speak to a Bengali he says "Yes, you are right, but [254] the Punjabi is so arrogant"; when you speak to the Punjabi or a non-Bengali he says "Yes, but these people do not want us here, they want to get us out." Now this is a vicious circle, and I do not think anybody can solve this Chinese puzzle.

What is more sensible

[[20]] The question is, who is going to be the more sensible of the two; and whoever is going to be the more sensible, more practical, more statesmanlike will be rendering the greatest service to Pakistan. So you make up your mind, and from today put an end to this sectionalism.

[[On language policy]]

[[21]] About language I have already said, this is in order to create disruption among the Musalmans. Your Prime Minister has rightIy pointed this out in a recent statement, and I am glad that his government have decided to put down firmly any attempt to disturb the peace of this province by political saboteurs or their agents. Whether Bengali should be the official language of this province is a matter for the elected representatives of the people of this province to decide. I have no doubt that this question should be decided solely in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants of this province at the appropriate time. Let me tell you in clearest language that there is no truth [in rumors] that your normal life is to be touched or disturbed, so far as your Bengali language is concerned. But ultimately it is for you, the people of this province, to decide what should be the language of your province.

[[22]] But let me make it clear to you that the state language of Pakistan is going to be Urdu and no [255] other language. Anyone who tries to mislead [you] is merely the enemy of Pakistan. Without one state language, no nation can remain tied up solidly together and function. Look at the history of other countries. There[fore] so far as the state language is concerned, Pakistan's language should be Urdu; but, as I have said, it will come in time.

Fifth-columnist Muslims

[[23]] I tell you once again, do not fall into the trap of those who are the enemies of Pakistan. Unfortunately you have fifth-columnists. I am sorry to say that they are Muslims -- who are financed by outsiders./1/ But they are making a reat mistake. Weare not going to tolerate sabotage any more. We are not going to tolerate enemies of Pakistan. We are not going to tolerate quislings and fifth-columnists in our state, and if this is not stopped, I am confident that your government and the Pakistan government will take the strongest measures and deal with them ruthlessly because [256] they are a poison.

[[24]] I can quite understand differences of views. Very often it is said, why cannot we have this party or that party? Now let me tell you, and I hope you will agree with me, that we have as result of unceasing efforts and struggles ultimately achieved Pakistan after ten years. It is the Muslim League which has done it; there were of course many Musalmans who were indifferent. Some were afraid because they had vested interests and they thought they might lose [them]. Some sold themselves to the enemy and worked against us, but we struggled and fought by the grace of God, and with His help we have established Pakistan, which has stunned the world. Now this is a sacred trust in your hands -- that is, the Muslim League. Is this sacred trust to be guarded by us as the real custodian of the welfare of our country and our people, or not?"

Mushroom parties

[[25]] Are mushroom parties led by men of doubtful past to be started, to destroy what we have achieved or capture what we have secured? I ask you one question. Do you believed in Pakistan?" (Cries of "yes, yes.") Are you happy that you have achieved Pakistan? (Cries of "yes, yes.") Do you want East Bengal or any part of Pakistan to go into the Indian Union? ("No, no.") If you are going to serve Pakistan, if you are going to build Pakistan, if you are going to reconstruct Pakistan, then I say that the honest course open to every Musalman is to join the Muslim League party and serve Pakistan to the best of his ability. Any other mushroom [257] party that is started at present will be looked upon with suspicion because of their past; not that we have any feeling of malice, ill-will, or revenge. Honesty is welcome, but the present emergency requires that every Musalman should come under the banner of [the] Muslim League which is the true custodian of Pakistan, and build it up and make it a great state before we think of parties amongst ourselves which may be formed later on sound and healthy line[s].

Don't feel isolated

[[26]] Just one thing more: Do not feel isolated. Many people have spoken to me [and said] that East Bengal feels isolated from the rest of Pakistan. No doubt there is a great distance separating the East from the West Pakistan, no doubt there are difficulties, but I tell you that we fully know and realize the importance of Dacca and East Bengal. I have only come here for a week or ten days this time, but in order to discharge my duties as the head of the state I may have to come here and stay for days, for weeks, and similarly the Pakistan Ministers must establish closer contact. They should come here and your leaders and members of your government should go to Karachi which is the capital of Pakistan. But you must have patience. With your help and your support, we will make Pakistan a mighty state.

Keep together

[[27]] Finally let me appeal to you keep together, [258] put up with inconveniences, sufferings, and sacrifices for the collective good of our people. No amount of trouble, no amount of hard work or sacrifice, is too much or to be shirked if you individually and collectively make a contribution for the collective good of your nation and your state. It is in that way that you will build up Pakistan as the first largest [Islamic?] state in the world, not only in population, as it is, but in strength so that it will command the respect of all the other na tions of the world. With these words I wish you Godspeed. Pakistan Zindabad!

/1/ Civil & Military Gazette, 24 March 1948, reported Fazlul Huq's reaction as follows: "Fazlul Huq's severe criticism of Jinnah; Calcutta, March 23: Mr. A. K. Fazlul Huq, ex-Premier of Bengal, in a statement today, characterized as 'a most unfortunate performance' the speech delivered by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali ]innah on Sunday on the occasion of his first appearance in Dacca. 'It was unworthy of the solemn occasion and unworthy of the eminent person who delivered it,' continued Mr. Fazlul Huq. 'The Governor-General of Pakistan has descended from his high pedestal in order to indulge in a lot of special pleadings to support a Ministry which is evidently tottering to its fall,' he said. 'Officials at Dacca had given wrong information to Quaid-i-Azam and induced him to make many unfounded statements,' said Mr. Huq. 'The Quaid-i-Azam had thundered against quislings, fifth-columnists, and enemies of the state. He must have spoken on the basis of information he has received. But I can say with confidence that there are no quislings or fifth-columnists or enemies of the state in Pakistan. People have become restive and are impatient of control, but this has been due to the fact that the Ministers have forfeited public confidence by their maladministration, and not to political promptings of any kind,' he concluded (API)."

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