BOMBAY (1896-1910)


Jinnah left London for India in 1896. He decided to go to Bombay after a brief stay in Karachi. He opted for Bombay because it offered scope for the exercise of his legal faculties and ground for his political ambitions. Bombay had the brightest constellation of India's lawyer-politicians, at that time. Ranade, Badruddin, Tyabji, Gandhi, Tilak, Gokhale, Cowasji, Dadabhoy Naoroji, Bholabhai Desai, Wacha, Nariman and many more renowned men were based in Bombay.



He was enrolled as a barrister in Bombays' high court on August 24, 1896. He took up lodgings in Room No.110 of Apollo Hotel. Father's business had suffered serious losses by then, and he could hardly get any brief for a year or so but he never stopped helping the poor and needy, even in his precarious financial position. In a letter to the Times of India, Bombay, the June 10, 1910 issue, he appealed to the well-off section of the Muslim Community in Bombay to aid a Muslim orphanage in the city. He donated a handsome amount to the orphanage at a time when his practice was not even flourishing. By 1900, he was introduced to Bombay's acting advocate-general, John Molesworth McPherson, and was invited to work with him in his office. But soon he succeeded in crossing all the hurdles to become a leading lawyer of India. He won many famous cases through powerful advocacy and legal logic.


In politics, he admired Dadabhai Naoroji and another brilliant Parsi leader Sir Pherozeshah Mehta. It was Pherozeshah Mehta, who entrusted him to defend him in the famous Caucus Case. Jinnah hit the headlines in this case; it was remarkable how a 62-year-old statesman of the Congress and an eminent lawyer had entrusted his defence to a young Muslim barrister.

Jinnah's career as a lawyer is full of marvelous legal victories. Either it was the Sapru-Jinnah encounter in Bhopal high court or the famous Bawla murder trial of 1925; a legal case against the great Hindu leader Bal Ganghadhar Tilak or his last case in 1945 where he defended Bishen Lal at Agra; Jinnah always proved to be the most enviably popular counsel.



Sir Stafford Cripps called Jinnah the most accomplished lawyer -- outstanding amongst Indian lawyers and a fine constitutionalist. As a fellow barrister of Bombay High Court put it, "he was what God made him, a great leader. He had sixth sense: he could see around corners. That is where his talents lay…he was a very clear thinker…But he drove his points home -- points chosen with exquisite selection --show delivery, word by word."

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London | Bombay (1896-1910)