Sometimes a very small and insignificant event can lead to a huge effect later on.
It’s called Butterfly Effect.
It can also lead to the creation of a new country, the displacement of twelve million people, the loss of around two million lives and permanent animosity among people who used to share their bread and ancestry at one point of time.
If we study the life of Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, we will find three incidents which led to the butterfly effect, resulting into one of the most significant and bloodiest midnights in the world history.
To know these three small events, we will have to start with Jinnah’s grandfather, Premjibhai Meghji, who was a prosperous Hindu merchant from Kathiawar, Gujarat. He had made his fortune in the fish business, but he was ostracized from his vegetarian Lohana caste because of their strong religious beliefs. When he discontinued his fish business and tried to come back to his caste, he was not allowed to do so because of the huge egos of the self-proclaimed protectors of Hindu religion. Resultantly, his son, Punjalal Thakkar (the father of Jinnah), was so angry with the humiliation that he changed his and his four sons’ religion, and converted to Islam.
This was not the first incident when a Hindu had tried to come back to his religion and he was not allowed to do so by the priest class. When Islamic invasion began in India in 12th century, many Hindus had lost their religion because of petty rules like drinking the water poured by a Muslim in their ponds, being forcibly converted to Islam or going to places outside India. When they tried to reconvert to Hinduism, the stubborn priests blocked their path and branded them as permanent dharmabhrashta. This led to animosity in them for Hindus, and they converted to Islam and taught a lesson to those priests by killing them mercilessly. Today, a lot of Indian Muslims don’t want to accept their Hindu ancestry, and the humiliation their ancestors felt centuries ago could be the reason behind it.
That’s the first butterfly effect. If Jinnah’s grandfather were allowed to come back to his caste and religion, Jinnah would have remained a Hindu, and he won’t have used his genius in creating a new country for Muslims.
In 1929, Jinnah’s wife, Rattanbai Petit, died due to a digestive disorder. He was so devastated at her death that he moved to London. He led a very private life, lived in a large house, played billiards and attended theatre. But things took a drastic turn when he heard a comment made by his arch-rival, Jawahar Lal Nehru. In a private dinner party, Nehru had remarked that Jinnah was ‘finished’. It made Jinnah so furious that he packed up and headed back to India with the intent to ‘show Nehru’. He fired up the Muslim League, and transformed it from a scattered band of eccentrics to the second most powerful political party of India.
That’s the second butterfly effect. If Nehu hadn’t made that remark, Jinnah would have stayed in London, Muslim League won’t have become so powerful and India might have stayed united.
Just one year before the partition and independence of India, Jinnah’s doctor, Dr. J. A. L. Patel, discovered something in the X-ray report of Jinnah which could have destroyed the gigantic efforts to create Pakistan. Dr. Patel discovered two dark circles in the report which could have upset the Indian political equation and would have almost changed the course of history. Jinnah was suffering from Tuberculosis which left him only two or three years to live at most. He pushed Mountbatten for a speedy freedom and partition of India to make sure he made the mark in history before he died. The secret of Jinnah’s disease and imminent death stayed between him and his doctor, ensuring the bloody historical event.
That’s the third butterfly effect. That grey film had the secret to block the partition, and it was stopped from coming out by a Hindu doctor who thought his professional ethics was more important than the lives of millions. Had this report become public knowledge, Gandhi and Mountbatten might have delayed the independence of India to let the gentleman die and avoid the partition.
In the movie, Gladiator, the main character, Maximus says, “What we do in life echos in eternity”. We have no idea what eternal effect can come from something insignificant we are doing today. Jinnah’s grandfather would have never thought that his decision to go into fish business would have impacted the lives of millions one century later.
SOURCE: Freedom at Midnight (Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins)