Quaid-e-Azam studied at Sindh Madressatul Islam for about four and a half years, which constitutes the longest spell of his life spent at any educational institution.
He was admitted to the SMI for first time in July 1887. According to the old record of Sindh Madressah, “Muhammadali Jinnahbhaoy” was first admitted to standard I on 14 July 1887. “Khoja” was mentioned as his sect. In the column under ‘previous instructions’, he had been shown to have passed Standard IV Gujrati. The date of birth had not been mentioned, but his age had been put as “14 years.”
While still studying in Standard I, he left for Bombay (Mumbai), presumably to see his aunt. After few months, on 23rd December 1887, he came back to seek admission again. This time he brought with him a certificate from Anjuman-e-Islam School Bombay, stating that he had passed Standard I from there.
This entitled him to admission in Standard II. The old record reveals that his date of birth was mentioned this time as 20th October 1875 and age as 12 years, two months and four days. Afterwards, he studied continuously at Sindh Madressah for more than three years. But again on 5th January 1891, while studying in Standard IV, “Muhammadali Jinnahbhaoy” left the school, perhaps to go to some place out of Karachi. He returned back after about one month and was admitted for the third time on 9th February 1891. This time the date of birth was mentioned same as earlier. The remaining particulars were also same.
Finally, after about four and a half year of his association with the institution, while studying in Standard V, he left Sindh Madressah on 30th January 1892, with these remarks in the General Register: “Left for Cutch on marriage.”
He had developed deep love with his alma mater, which is evident from his address delivered on 21st June 1943, when he came to inaugurate the college classes at the SMI. On that occasion he was overcome by his sentiments, which was very unusual of Mr. Jinnah. He, speaking in a reminiscent mood, declared that he knew every inch of the splendid grounds of the institution where he had studied and played as a schoolboy fifty five years earlier. The news account of the event as published in next day Daily Morning News and Daily Star of India was as under:
“Karachi June 21: Mr. M.A. Jinnah, President of the All India Muslim League, today opened Sindh’s first Muslim College.
“The college is situated in the premises of the Sindh Madressah, a premier Muslim educational institution in Sindh. Mr. Jinnah was born in Karachi and himself passed out of this school 55 years’ ago. Recalling this fact, Mr. Jinnah said: ‘I know every inch in the splendid grounds of this institution and it is no wonder if I am a bit sentimental in opening a college here although after 55 years’. Mr. Jinnah added that after the death of the founder of the Madressah, there was nobody to look after his creation with the care it deserved. That must not happen. There must always be continuity of the programme of work of any institution. Continuity must be maintained not only in educational but in all departments of life of Mussalmans, he said. Speaking in a reminiscent mood, Mr. Jinnah said he was overcome by sentiment to be present at the development into a college of his Alma Mater where 55 years ago he had played and studied as a schoolboy. ‘Every inch of these splendid grounds where I took part in various games, I know,’ said Mr. Jinnah. He particularly stressed the importance of building up a strong endowment fund for the college and he hoped that patrons of education would come forward to provide funds not merely for the new college but for many more colleges of its kind. Mr. Jinnah himself led with a donation of Rs. 5,000 and a total of Rs. 62,000 was promised on the spot by other donors”.
Another occasion when he showed his love and affection for his alma mater was at the time of writing his last will, wherein he bequeathed one third of his entire property to Sindh Madressah. At paragraph number 12 of his Will dated 30th May 1939, he wrote and declared: “Subject to above, all my residuary estate including the corpus that may fall after the lapse of life interest or otherwise to be divided into three parts – and I bequeath one part to Aligarh University, one part to Islamia College, Peshawar and one part to Sindh Madressah of Karachi”.
(Excerpts taken with permission from Dr. Mohammad Ali Shaikh’s book “Sindh Madressah: the Institution and the Alumni”)