“Every Political Struggle has economic roots- Universal principles of Scarcity of Resources and struggle for Economic Interests govern the outcome of Conflicts”
Research is creating new knowledge by seeing what everyone else has seen but deducing results and lessons by construing what no one else has thought. An exemplary researcher examines the same set of facts and data but leads to different set of conclusions. Dr. NaurinTalha, Professor at the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid e Azam University Islamabad has most definitely done that in her recently published book titled “Jinnah & Rafi Butt” “Contribution to Pakistan’s Economy”. She must be praised for her remarkable research into the unexplored aspect of economic roots and drivers of Struggle for Pakistan. Shesheds light on the most ignored aspect of the Struggle for freedom that actually carved the foundation for the desire for Independence i.e. Economic deprivation and financial oppression of the Muslims of the Subcontinent by the malevolent Hindu and the indifferent British Rulers.Her task was extremely arduous as the economic facets of demand for Pakistan have eluded researchers mainly because they were not specifically enunciated in the Pakistan Movement.
Her book logically traces the roots of economic strengthening of Pakistan before and after Independence starting from the post Mughal economic downfall to the beginning of revival after the Lahore Resolution. Her research hypothesized and proved that the very foundation of Pakistan were laid by the establishment of Federation of Muslim Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Publishing of English dailies from Bengal, Delhi and Lahore and funding Muslim Banks and Insurance Companies; all against the antagonistic Hindu and the apathetic British. She rightly concludes that instituting Muslim League Economic Planning Committee in 1945 was a turning point in stressing the importance of Economic sovereignty. She successfully proves her hypothesis that Economic independence is as important as territorial sovereignty. She brings to light the Vision of Quaid e Azam to builds Pakistan on strong economic foundations and also highlights young entrepreneur Mr. Rafi Butt who shared Quaid’s economic vision and contributed both in cash and kind in every project that created jobs and opportunities for the Muslims of India.
Dr. Naurin rightfully dedicates a Chapter to the contributions of Mr. Rafi Butt and traces his background from taking over his father’s business of Surgical Instruments at the age of 16 and converting it into a state of the art manufacturing facility exploiting the demand of Surgical Instruments after World War. He hired German experts to establish an Enamel Factory, which he described to Jinnah as “the first Muslim concern of its kind in India”. He further diversified in China porcelain and fertilizer thereby creating jobs and creating value. Jinnah visited his factory in December 1944. He travelled to England, Europe and USA to learn the latest innovations in Industry. He successfully ventured into Banking by establishing the Central Exchange Bank of India Ltd. in 1936, at the age of 27 years the first Bank by a Muslim, which was also an astounding success declaring 5% dividend in the first year. The Bank expanded exponentially to all major cities of India/Punjab. He contributed 25% of the Capital for launching The Pakistan Times from Lahore. Mr. Rafi Butt was honored as member of the Indian Red Cross Society in 1937 and in 1942 his name was included in the All India Trade Directoryin the following words “To, Muhammad Rafi Butt Esq, the youngest industrialist and business magnate in the province who by dint of his natural ability, business acumen and liberal outlook today not only possesses huge factories and offices but commands great respect and esteem”.
Mr. Rafi Butt was named as one of the six Members of the Muslim League Planning Committee and the Chairman of the Sub Committee on Mining and Metallurgy. He was declared elected to the Lahore Municipal Corporation from the Trade and Commerce Constituency in January 1946. After Independence he was appointed as advisor to the government in the general meeting of the Punjab Chamber of Commerce on 12th September 1947. He also participated in the ILO moot at San Francisco in 1948, and took the opportunity of visiting the UK to approach the Board of Trade in his personal capacity for the supply of steel to Pakistan.
Dr. Naurin concludes that on various occasions he either donated money to the Muslims League Fund or offered his time and talents. His selfless wholehearted commitment can be judged from the fact that before proceeding to USA he insured his life and nominated Jinnah as the beneficiary for Muslim advancement. Mr. Rafi Butt passed away in a tragic air crash on 26th November 1948 just two months after the death of Quaid e Azam. The Nation lost its founding father and an adoring benefactor soon after Independence.
The book “Jinnah and Rafi Butt” is highly recommended for academics and professionals alike because it not only provides a chronology of events from history emanating from socioeconomic drivers but also stimulates analytical thinking with appropriate facts and proves its hypothesis based on strong scientific parameters. The text is appropriate, focused and thoroughly edited. In addition the book narrates a gripping story that truly engages the reader and leads to a satisfying end that promotes self-belief and optimism.
The Jinnah Rafi Foundation passionately appreciates the dedication, commitment and hard work of Dr. Naurin Talha and her exemplary work into an unchartered territory of tracing the economic drivers and contributions of extraordinary Muslim entrepreneurs. We especially thank her for acknowledging the contributions of Mr. Rafi Butt and paying homage to this unsung hero for his selfless sacrifices for the Struggle for economic independence of the Muslims of the Sub continent.