Q: ‘Fourteen points by Jinnah were the greatest achievement of Mohammad Ali Jinnah towards the Pakistan Movement’. Do you agree? Explain your answer. 
14 points of Mohammed Ali Jinnah were one of his greatest achievement towards the Pakistan Movement. Although there were other contributions towards Pakistan movement as well, such as representation by Muslims in the Round Table Conferences 1930 – 32, negotiation with Gandhi in Gandhi-Jinnah talks 1944, attending the Simla Conference 1945 and the Lahore Resolution but his 14 points set the negotiation agenda at each of these events.
Jinnah gave his 14 points in opposition to the proposals made in the Nehru Report. The Fourteen Points were proposed as a constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims in a self-governing India in 1929. In these points he guaranteed Muslims rights and also propagated the rights of other minorities as well. He stated that 1/3 of the seats in central government should be given to Muslims. Sindh should be separated from Bombay and no bill shall be passed if ¾ of the party disagreed etc. These 14 points were his greatest achievement as they were made the basis of every negotiation made with British or Hindus. They influenced the political thinking of the Muslims for the next two decades. In fact these points now formed the basis of Muslim demands.
Furthermore, Jinnah participated in the round table conferences (RTC’s) of 1930-32. He represented Muslims in these conferences and also gave suggestions for the government of India Act of 1935. The importance of Jinnah’s 14 points can be judged by the fact that these points were presented in the Round Table Conference of 1930.In these conferences he tried to safeguard minority rights, as proposed in his 14 points. Although very little was gained in these RTC’s but Jinnah and other political leaders got experience of how to handle political meetings to set out the demands of future negotiations with Congress and/or the British Government linked to safeguarding the rights of Muslims as proposed in the 14 points.
However, he also achieved much more. After the 1937 elections, Jinnah set out to reform the Muslim League at grass root level and, as a result, membership had grown significantly by mid-1938. Without this growth, the League would have struggled to be recognised by the British as a powerful player in Indian politics, and hence the fortunes of the Pakistan Movement would have possibly failed to bear fruit when it did.
Jinnah’s negotiation with Gandhi placed forward Muslim rights. Gandhi proposed that they both should unite to drag British out of India and then after the British had left they will think about partition. Jinnah rejected this proposal as he wanted to secure partition before British left. Gandhi also stated that factors such as defense and foreign affairs should be transferred to central government but Jinnah wanted them to remain in the hands of provinces as he wanted to safeguard minority rights. In these talks Jinnah made Gandhi realize that the two nation theory is now legal. These talks also raised the status of Jinnah as he negotiated with Gandhi very well. Jinnah made Gandhi and other Hindus realize the importance of the two nation theory and status of Muslims in regard to the Pakistan movement, this further confirmed his point of parting of ways expressed in the 14 points. Gandhi and Jinnah were now aware of each other’s choices and Muslims started working significantly for a separated homeland.
Jinnah also rejected the Wavell Plan as it had no reference to formation of Pakistan. It called for voting for the central government which Jinnah knew was unfair as Hindus were in majority.
Jinnah used the Lahore Conference in 1940 to ensure that the Muslim League would only accept a solution to the sub-continent which ensured partition. This was called the Pakistan Resolution. He also opposed the proposals of the Cripps Mission that saw Dominion status for the sub-continent. In doing so he helped ensure the British realised the need to protect Muslim interests as suggested in this 14 points.
Based on this discussion it can be stated that what Jinnah achieved was from a vision derived from his 14 points. The rest of the political struggle of Jinnah from 1929 onwards was based on the terms of reference of his 14 points. Each event after 1929 helped in the struggle for the freedom of Muslims whether it was the Muslim League winning every Muslim seat of the Central Assembly; and getting 75 per cent of Muslims’ votes in the provincial assemblies’ election or the British realizing what was the structure of self-rule in India which is acceptable to the Muslims. The rest of the years leading up to the independence in 1947 saw intense political struggle by Jinnah which were guided by his 14 points and therefore it can be stated that his 14 points were his greatest achievement.