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Safar 11, 1440

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August 14

Pakistan Standard Time 9:35 am


Yahya C. Merchant, Architect

The Mausoleum is unique among all the sacred buildings of Pakistan. It perpetuates the memory of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the man of destiny who founded Pakistan. The Mausoleum reflects the forceful personality of the Quaid-e-Azam and thus inspire the people of Pakistan.

It is considered an abode of sanctity, awakening edifying ideas and impulses. The children, leaders of tomorrow, draw moral strength and national character from its sheer majesty. Visiting dignitaries pay homage at the Mazar, which ensures a respectful position for Pakistan among the nations of the world.

The Mausoleum has been constructed on a natural plateau, commanding a panoramic view of the entire city of Karachi. The massive, masculine edifice blends with the mountainous, character of the people of Baluchistan; on the other hand, the feminine grace of the arches reflects the docile nature of the Muslims of Sind. Both these provinces surround the city of Karachi in which Mr. Jinnah was born, led his people to freedom and was finally buried. The marble of which the Mausoleum is built, is unaffected by the heat of summer, the cold of winter and the extremes of the Karachi climate.

The setting of the Mausoleum among natural surroundings, the grandeur of its form, the simplicity of its Islamic architectural lines, the purity of its marble, the spirit of sanctity which pervades the interior, all served to inspire the newly-formed nation.

The Islamic world at its height, extended from the Iberian Peninsula to the South-Asian sub-continent. Despite the vast geographical barriers which divide the Islamic countries, the forms of art born and nurtured amongst the followers of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) display an amazing unity of style and purpose. It is the binding spirit of Islamic religion practised all over the world that provides this cohesive factor, so that art and faith are inseparably bound together. However, within this framework of seemingly strict laws, there is sufficient liberty for an architect to arrive at creative works. Thus I fell in line with the Islamic Renaissance in designing of the Mausoleum.

Modern concepts have been applied alongside the traditional Muslim influence, and the resulting monument retains the style and purpose of Islamic architecture all over the world.

The general form of the Mausoleum is suggestive of Sarachenic Architecture with the dome and the tapering walls which reflect the glory of one of the Muslim emperors of the sub-continent, Mohammed bin-Tughlak who ruled it from Delhi in the 16th century. Tughlak was a great patron of art and architecture and lived a century ahead of his time. So was Mr. Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

The development of the project was in keeping with the local economy. All materials used in the construction were indigenous. While saving valuable foreign exchange, the natural resources and skills of the country have been fully exploited and, developed. By adopting, 'Low Technology', the construction work was labour intensive, and constituted 33 per cent of the project cost, giving mass employment to the local people.

Thus, the money which had come from the public in the form of contributions was returned to them in good measure in the form of wages and the purchase of goods and services. Full encouragement was given to development of local skills in the civil construction industry.

In my design of the Mausoleum I have imparted images which characterized the departed leader in his life time. The tall and slender arches remind the viewer of the Quaid-e-Azam's tall and thin figure. The deliberate edge in height given to the minaret of the Mosque over the dome of the Mausoleum symbolises my natural acceptance of the fact that though a very great man the Quaid-e-Azam was as much a humble servant of Allah as the millions of his Muslim brethren all over the world are. Again, by keeping the minaret of the Mosque exactly in line with the turbat in the Mausoleum away to the left, I have symbolised the fact that though adored and lauded by his people everywhere, the Quaid himself never lost sight of the basic fact that he was a staunch Muslim and that all his greatness stemmed from Allah.

Further, I wished to lay stress on the fact that utter confusion and chaos prevailed on the scene prior to the founding of Pakistan as a nation, and it was the Quaid who took the people under his fold, instilled discipline and unity into them, and revitalised them into a dynamic nation. The chaos is symbolised by the rockery garden, while the majestic steps leading up to the vast platform and the Mausoleum standing majestically over it, serve to project the forceful character of Quaid-e-Azam, who carved a respected position for Pakistan among the international community of nations.

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



Islam and its idealism has taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody. We are inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan…Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation. We believe in the principle of honesty and fairplay in national and international dealings and are prepared to make our contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of
the world.

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