Why truth tastes bitter to us? Is it because we ourselves aren’t true to one another? That means we’ are selfish, and that’s why we’ve forgotten our heroes, one being Ch. Rahmat Ali who initiated struggle for Pakistan while he was a student in England.
City youths ask elders about the person who worked for freedom: “Where he lived and where he died?”
The unsung hero Ch. Rahmat Ali was born on 16 November, 1897 in a Hoshiarpur village. After his early education he joined the Islamia College, Railway Road, Lahore. Then, he worked as part-time staffer in the well-known newspaper Paisa Akhbaar, and also worked on the editorial desk of the Kashmiri Gazette to solve financial problem.
He also joined the Law College of Lahore, and later he served as House Master in the Atchison College. The knowledge seeker left the job in 1930 and went abroad for higher studies, and got admission in Emmanuel College of Cambridge on 05 January 1931as an affiliated student from the University of the Punjab. Doing his graduation and passing the M.A. examination from the same institution, he became a Barrister-at-Law in January 1943 from the Inner Temple Inn, London, where Mohammad Ali Jinnah also had studied.
Ch. Rahmat Ali launched the Pakistan National Movement and published pamphlets on partition of the sub-continent. It was he who coined the word “Pakistan”, and presented his ideas for the first time in a circular letter in January 1933 to the members of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Indian Constitutional Reforms.
He entitled his famous pamphlet “Now or Never”, which, in fact, was an appeal on behalf of nearly 30 million Muslims of the sub-continent for recognition of their national status, quite distinct from other inhabitants of India.
When the British parliament was finalising the Government of India Bill 1935, Ch. Rahmat Ali, founder-president of the PNM, distributed a four-page letter among the members of Parliament, leading officials as well as dignitaries of the foreign countries in London.
The letter sought full support to demand for Pakistan. The Muslim students in the sub-continent got inspiration from this movement and they organised themselves under the banner of the All-India Muslim Students Federation in 1936.
Ch. Rahmat Ali’s active struggle for Pakistan, timely initiative and campaign, start of the PNM, united work of his associates and friends to join hands with Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah generated the interest of the masses in his performance and personality.
The man, who won the hearts of all those who loved Pakistan, came to Karachi soon after the Partition, but he went back dejected along with his revolutionary ideas and concept of welfare state.
The son of a peasant—who fought for freedom from the British Raj and dreamed an exploitation-free state not ruled by any feudal lord and selfish capitalist—breathed his last in 1951, and was buried as amanat (trust) at Cambridge in England.
There was a debate in 2005 over where the remains of the great man who gave Pakistan its name should be buried. Many said it would have been in fitness of things if Islamabad were his final abode; others suggested Lahore where the demand for Pakistan was raised in a resolution in March 1940.
There were many who proposed Karachi where the father of the nation was laid to rest. The questions not yet answered are: why the man was harassed, who asked him to leave Pakistan at once?