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Safar 11, 1440

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The Enclosure

Site Plan The quadrangular enclosure, which has a total area of 61 acres, is protected by a grilled boundary wall on all the four sides. It makes a rough parallelogram, measuring 1,645 feet on the eastern side along Shahrah-i-Quaideen but only about 1,400 feet on the opposite side along M. A. Jinnah Road while each of the remaining sides is about 1,575 feet. The corners of the parallelogram are rounded off for the smooth flow of the traffic. Four gateways lead into the enclosure. The oldest is the one that opens the car passage direct to the northern steps of the mausoleum. The second is on Shahrah-i-Quaideen, giving an approach from the old Exhibition ground, and hence is popularly known as Numaish Darwaza. The main entrance, reserved for VIPs, is on that part of M. A. Jinnah Road that passes west of the mausoleum. There is a fourth small gateway for the visitors coming from Guru Mandir side. The two small gateways open the approaches towards the main entrancewhere all vechiles, except VIP cars, must stop at the parking place.

A beautiful avenue from the main entrance opens up a picturesque view of the mausoleum that is perched higher up at the other end. The avenue on either side is lined by bottle-palms, lit at night by reflectors concealed in the ground, alternating with ordinary palms with leafy branches. The curved trunk of the bottle-palms, with its haphazard engravings caused by the whim of the visitors, gives, in darkness, an effect of a false obelisk. In the middle of the avenue there is a series of fifteen rectangular water pools, each seperated by a grassy patch and one lying a step above the other. The inside of the pools is faced with blue tiles in order to give the semblance of blue colour to the water. In the middle of each pool two tapering marble fountains gush forth chutes of water as if in a string of pearls. The tapering stem of the fountain is relieved with angular and semi-circular flutes.

Shaded by the bottle-palms, the paved passage, one on either side of the rectangular pools, runs up step by step to the foot of the massive platform that bears the mausoleum. This is the passage for all the people. They walk up slowly, admiring the marble purity of the mausoleum, and are drawn nearer and nearer by the tall archway of its opening. There is, however, a circular path for the VIP cars that skirt this beautiful avenue and stop right at the bottom of the platform, from where one can witness far beyond in the distant horizon the complex of city houses and buildings. The location of the mausoleum at this height presents this wonderful spectacle. However, the mausoleum does not lie in the middle of the enclosure. It is situated slightly to the north-east, about 900 feet from the main entrance, 950 feet from the side of Shahrah-i-Quaideen but only 435 feet from the opposite northern side. As a result, the enclosed space is asymmetrical. But the mausoleum, which occupies the highest spot, has its foreground levelled to a gradual slope towards the main entrance. This is a deliberate contrivance to make the visitors, who are stepping up on the path, feel the grandeur of the monument and realise the greatness of the man buried high up.

Behind the mausoleum, the old ditch still hangs on with a rising ground towards the boundary wall. The ditch slopes down towards M. A. Jinnah Road and the space in this quadrant beyond the old VIP gate is lush with greenery and shady trees for the frolics of romantic lovers. The back side on the east remains rough and stony, but the remaining area on the south has rows of tree plantation for shade, interspersed with baradaris for the convenience of weary visitors. There is an attempt to keep nature's vagaries in tune with the roughness of the sandy soil and make the monument grow out of this virgin bosom of the earth.

The mausoleum stands alone by its own right within the enclosure with only the beautiful avenue made by man as if for ceremonial passage from the main entrance up to the tomb, on which the visitors climb step on step until they reach the base of the platform, where they take off their shoes in the eastern style of respect, move up the stairs, walk on the mosaic-laid platform, pass through the high archway, and finally stand in reverence before the grave in the tomb chamber - the end of the fatigue of walking and the fulfilment of a long desire with graceful solace.

Courtesy: Prof. Ahmad Hasan Dani, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad



Jinnah was the most Westernised political leader in all the annals of Indian Islam; no other Muslim political leader could match him in terms of modernity and a modern outlook. He was completely at home with the milieu in cosmopolitan Bombay and metropolitan London. He also married a Parsi girl, so unconventional for a Muslim leader at that time, though after getting her converted to Islam. During his chequered career, Jinnah came in contact with an exceedingly large number of non-Muslim leading personalities and a host of British officials, more than any other Muslim leader and had interacted with them for some four decades - before he underwent a paradigmatic shift. Jinnah was also a man who minced no words, stood no humbug, and called a spade a spade. He held political rhetoric in high disdain; he preferred political wilderness to playing to the gallery. Such a man could not possibly have gone in for an Islamic orientated discourse unless he felt that the Islamic values he was commending were at home with the values underlying modernity, that Islam was in consonance with progress and modernity. During the debate on Islam and secularism, this is a point that has lain ignored.

Jinnah's Vision of Pakistan
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