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Speech by Mohammad Ali Jinnah at Dhaka University Karjon Hall, March 4, 1948

Mr. Chancellor, Ladies and Gentlemen,

When I was approached by your Vice-Chancellor with a request to deliver the Convocation Address, I made it clear to him that there were so many calls on me that I could not possibly prepare a formal convocation address on an academic level with regard to the great subjects with which this University deals, such as arts, history, philosophy, science, law and so on. I did however, precise to say a few words to the students on this occasion, and it is fulfillment of that promise that I will address you now.

First of all, let me thank the Vice-Chancellor for the flattering terms in which he referred to me. Mr. Vice-Chancellor, whatever I am, and whatever I have been able to do, I have done it merely as a measure of duty which is incumbent upon every Mussalman to serve his people honestly and selflessly.

In addressing you I "am not here speaking to you as Head of the State, but as a friend, and as one who has always held you in effecting. Many of you have today got your diplomas and degrees and I congratulate you. Just as you have won the laurels in your University and qualified yourselves, so I wish you have success in the wider and larger world that you will enter. Many of you have come to the end of your scholastic career and stand at the threshold of life. Unlike your predecessors, you fortunately leave this University to enter life under a sovereign Independent State of your own. It is necessary that you and your other fellow students fully understand the implications" of the revolutionary change that took place on the birth of Pakistan. We have broken the shackles of slavery; we are now a free people. Our State is our own State. Our Government is our own Government of the people, responsible to the people of the State and working for the good of the State. Freedom, however, does not mean licence. It does not means that you can now behave just as you please and do what you like, irrespective of the interests of other people or the State. A great responsibility rests on you and, on the contrary, now more than ever, it is necessary for us to work as a united and disciplined nation. What is now required of us all is constructive spirit and not the militant spirit of the days when we were fighting for our freedom. It is far more difficult to construct than to have a militant spirit for the attainment of freedom. It is easier to go jail or fight for freedom than to run a Government. Let me tell you something of the difficulties that we have overcome and of the in exploiting this controversy is to create a split among the Muslims of this State as indeed they have made no secret of their efforts to incite hatred against non-Bengali Mussalmans. Realising, however, that the statement that your prime minister made on the language controversy, on return from Karachi, left no room for agitation, in so far as it conceded the right of the people of this province to choose Bengali as their official language if they so wished, these persons changed their tactics. They started demanding that Bengali should be the State language of the Pakistan Centre and since they could not overlook the obvious claims of Urdu as the official language of a Muslim State they proceeded to demand that both Bengali and Urdu should be the State language of Pakistan. Make no mistake about it. There can be only one State language, if the component parts of this State are to march forward in unison, and that language, in my opinion, can only be Urdu. I have spoken at some length on this subject so as to warn you of the kind of tacties adopted by the enemies of Pakistan and certain opportunist politicians to try to disrupt this State or to discredit the Government. Those of you are about to enter life, be on you guard against these people. Those of you, who still to continue your studies for sometime, do not allow yourselves to be exploted by any political party or self-seeking politician. As I said the other day, your main occupation should be in fairness to yourselves, in fariness to your parents and indeed, in fairness to the State to devote your attention solely to your studies. It is only thus that you can equip yourselves for the battle of life that lies ahead of you. Only thus will you be an asset and a source of strength and of pride to your State. Only thus, can you assist it in solving the great social and economic problems that confront it and enable it to reach its destined goal among the most progressive and strongest nations of the world.

My young friends, I would therefore, like to tell you a few points about which you should be vigilant and beware. Firstly, beware of the fifth-columnists among ourselves. Secondly, guard againest and weed out selfish people who only with to exploit you so that they may swim. Thirdly, learn to judge who are really true and really honest and unselfish servants of the State who wish to serve the people with heart and soul and support them. Fourthly, consolidate the Muslim League party which will serve and build up a really and truly great and glorious Pakistan. Fifthly, the Muslim League has won and established Pakistan and it is the Muslim League whose duty it is now, as custodian of the sacred trust, to construct Pakistan. Sixthly, there may be many who did not lift their little fingers to help us in our struggle, may even opposed us and put every obstacle in our great struggle openly and not a few worked in our enemy's camp against us, who may now come forward and put their own attractive slogans catch-words, ideals and programmes before you. But they have yet to prove their bonafides or that there has really been an honest change of heart in them, by supporting and joining the League and working and pressing their views within the League party organisation and not by starting mushroom parties, at this juncture of very great and grave emergency when you know that we are facing external dangers and are called upon to deal with internal complex problems of a far-reaching character affecting the future of seventy millions of people. All this demands complete solidarity, unity and discipline. I assure you, "Divided you fall. United you stand".

There is another matter that I would like to refer to. My young friends hitherto, you have been following the rut. You get your degrees and when you are thrown out of this University in thousands, all that you think and hanker for is Government service. As your vice-Chancellor has rightly stated the main object of the old system of education and the system of Government existing hitherto, was really to have well-trained, well-equipped clerks. Of course, some of them went higher and found their level, but the whole idea was to get well-qualified clerks. Civil Service was mainly staffed by "the Britons and the Indian element was introduced later on and it went up progressively. Well, the whole principle was to create a mentality, a psychology, a state of mind that an average man, when he passed his B. A. or M. A. was to look for some job in Government. If he had it he thought he had reached his height. I know and you all know what has been really the result of this. Our experience has shown that an M. A. earns less than a taxi driver and most of the so-called Government servants are living in a more miserable manner than many menial servants who are employed by well-to-do people. Now I want you to get out of that rut and that mentality and specially now that we are in free Pakistan. Government cannot absorb thousands. Impossible. But in the competition to get Government service most of you get demoralized. Government can take only a certain number and the rest cannot settle down to anything else and being disgruntled are always ready to be exploited by persons who have their own axes to grind. Now I want that you must divert your mind, your attention, your aims and ambition to other channels and other avenues and fields that are open to you and will increasingly become so. There is no shame in doing manual work and labour. There is an immense scope in technical education for we want technically qualified people very badly. You can learn banking, commerce, trade, law, etc. which provide so many opportunities now. Already you find that new industries are being started, new banks, new insurance companies, new commercial firms are opening and they will grow as you go on. Now these are avenues and fields open to you. Think of them and divert your attention to them, and believe me. You will thereby benefit yourselves more than by merely going in for Government service and remaining there, in what I should say, circle of clerkship, working there from morning till evening, in most dingy and uncomfortable conditions. You will be far more happy and far more prosperous with far more opportunities to rise if you take to commerce and industry and will thus be helping not only yourselves but also your State. I can give you one instance. I know a young man who was in Government service. Four years ago he went into a banking corporation on two hundred rupees, because he had studied the subject of banking and today he is Manager in one of their firms and drawing fifteen hundred ruppes a month—in just four years. These are the opportunities to have and I do impress upon you now to think in these terms.

Finally, I thank you again Mr. Chancellor and particularly you, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, for the warm welcome you have given me and the very flattering references made by you. I hope, may I am confident that the East Bengal youth will not fail us.

Source : Quaid-l-Azam Mohamanad AH Jinnah speeches as Governor-General of Pakistan 1947-1948, pp. 92-98.