Ayesha Jalal wrote The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the demand for Pakistan in 1985. The book was taken as an authority on Jinnah by Intelligentsia despite it having discrepancies and lack of substantial evidence about the claims she made on behalf of Jinnah. In her book, she claims to present his point of view in the introduction of her book. “The Congress, whether it’s maneuverings at the centre or its politics in the provinces, will be seen primarily from Jinnah’s angle of vision … British policies and initiatives … will also be viewed from the perspective of Jinnah and the League.”
She ignores her own claim in 310 pages of her book. She has quoted Jinnah numerous times without any backing evidence of him saying it himself. Never once she could cite the evidence to her claim. In the book, the point is repeated no less than nine times. Except on possibly two of these occasions, it appears as what Jinnah himself ‘claimed’ or insisted upon.
The following are all nine occurrences in the order of appearance: ‘Jinnah had claimed to be the sole spokesman of all Indian Muslims’; ‘Jinnah sought to be recognized as the sole spokesman of the Muslims on the all-India stage’; ‘his claim to be the sole spokesman for Muslims’; ‘his continued insistence after 1940 that he, as the president of the A.I.M.L., should be recognized as the sole spokesman of all Indian Muslims’; ‘to get the government to accept him as the sole spokesman of Muslim India’; ‘his claim to be the sole spokesman of all Muslims’; ‘becoming the sole spokesman’; ‘his claim to be the sole spokesman of the Indian Muslims’; ‘As the sole spokesman of Muslim India, Jinnah demanded…’
While on the contrary Jinnah always held the League in the centre of the argument and even bowed down to its collective decision while taking pride in doing so. He is clearly quoted on several occasions hailing the League behind the struggle of Pakistan. Jinnah never claimed to be the sole spokesman of his nation. His lifelong stance was that the sole representative of the Muslim nation was All-India Muslim League (and later its off-shoot in the new state). In April 1946, he also took the pledge of loyalty to the League just like ordinary Muslim members. “ It is now the voice of the League, the voice of the people, it is now the authority of the Millat that you have to bow to, though you may be the tallest poppy in the Muslim world.” ( Yusufi, op. cit.,p.1691)
One of the numerous examples is the following excerpt from his presidential address at the historical session of the League at Lahore in March 1940: “All India Muslim League’ whose President I happen to be … My point is that I want you to realize the value, the importance, the significance of organizing ourselves … Men may come and men may go, but the League will live forever.”
“For it will be remembered that up to the time of the declaration of war [the Second World War], the Viceroy never thought of me, but of Gandhi and Gandhi alone. I have been the leader of an important party in the Legislature for a considerable time … Yet, the Viceroy never thought of me. Therefore, when I got this invitation from the Viceroy along with Mr. Gandhi, I wondered within myself why I was now suddenly promoted, and then I concluded that the answer was the ‘All-India Muslim League’“.
I hope by now it is clear to the reader that not only Jalal totally neglects Jinnah’s stance and fails to provide any reference or citation to prove her point, she forces her own perception upon the reader making the reader believe that Jinnah himself claimed to be acting alone and to try to rise above AIML. Once and twice can be considered as an error but repeating it and imposing it as a fact is totally a different case and Jalal’s work reeks of this discrepancy.