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Safar 11, 1440

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The Main Building

The main mausoleum building is perched high on a massive rectangular platform, slightly receding to the rear side. It rises magnificently with its solid Mazar-e-Quaid walls in battered profile, topped over by a semi-circular dome on a high drum. The building, which takes the form of a square externally measuring 90 feet each side, has its horizon broken by solid projectors, seven feet high, at the four corners. The massiveness of the pyramide-like structure is relieved by a tall archway on each side, which looks like a gothic arch but actually drives its curvature in a line almost parallel to the batter of the walls. The rounded-off apex of the arch removes the false impression of the gothic, shape, which is always sharply pointed. On the other hand, this curved apex seemingly follows the contour of the dome, suggesting that the architect hoped to have a miniature model of the mausoleum itself reproduced in the opening.

The battering of the walls may appear to have its origin in the Tughlaq style of architecture and the same source might have imparted the spirit of solid mass to the building. But the architecture is not a slavish imitation of the past tradition. The architect had some original ideas in his mind while designing the building in the style of Islamic architecture and presenting a concept befitting the personality of the Quaid. With the massive walls of the pyramidal structure, he appears to have hoped to catch the greatness of the man buried inside and its robust feature is smoothed by the soft white of the marble facing and by the graceful dome that sheds charm and bestows blessings on the city around. The building has been characterised as a "frustum of a square pyramid" but this view emphasises only the basal tomb chamber. Actually this part, although heightened by its gigantic walls, serves only as a base for the dome.

The building is set on a pile foundation and installed on the rear side of a hugh platform Mazar-e-Quaid with a 3,5 feet plinth that takes the weight. The interior of the chamber makes an octagon with 28 feet side, achieved by closing the four corners and another that ascends to the gallery. In the centre of the chamber lies the cenotaph exactly above the main grave that is placed in the basement. An ornamental chandelier hangs over the sarcophagus. The octagonal room helps in creating a phase of transition for the cirular base of the drum concealed from within by a gallery, which itself is protected by a retaining wall. Thirty-three steps lead down to the basement and one hundred four to the gallery above. The steps are lit by natural light and also with additional electric bulbs. The interior of the basement makes an octagon with a central space marked by eight fretted marble pillars placed at the angles of an inner octagon. These pillars support masonry beams which hold the roof of the basement. In the middle lies the grave of Quiad-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah all alone in majestic silence. The octagonal passage around serves as a circumambulatory path. The interspaces are lit by hanging lights concealed within fretted copper sunshade placed upside down. These are circular vents on a side wall to remove the stuffness of the air.

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



Brotherhood, equality and fraternity of man - these are the basic points of our religion, culture and civilization. And we fought for Pakistan because there was a danger of denial of these human rights in this subcontinent…You are only voicing my sentiments and the sentiments of millions of Musalmans when you say that Pakistan should be based on sure foundations of social justice and Islamic Socialism which emphasize equality brotherhood of man. Similarly you are voicing my thoughts in asking and in aspiring for equal opportunities for all. These targets of progress are not controversial in Pakistan.

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