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Friday, 25 December 2015


Remembering M.A. Jinnah
A Different Perspective,
A Sad Chapter of Life of
A Man In Love

(M. Javed Naseem)

(M.A. Jinnah with sister Fatima and daughter Dina)
The ‘Father of Pakistan’ was also
the father of ‘Dina’, his only child –
a daughter – who often called him
‘Grey Wolf’ (an attribute of Turkish
modernist leader Kemal Ataturk).

In the Christian world, December reminds people of Jesus and cold winter. In Pakistan, it reminds people of the ‘Father of the Nation’, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was born on 25th of December. The timing is good for assessment and evaluation or even accountability of our progress, our gains and losses during the last 12 months. It helps the nation to start the New Year with a renewed pledge, a renewed determination and with fortified resolve.

“We are now all Pakistanis – not Baluchis,
Pathans, Sindhis, Bengalis, Punjabis and so
on – and as Pakistanis we must feel, behave
and act; and we should be proud to be
known as Pakistanis and nothing else.”
– M.A. Jinnah

Quaid’s First Wife, Emibai:
M.A. Jinnah was married twice. His first wife was Emibai.
Jinnah’s marriage with Emibai took place in Paneli Gondal in Gujarat, in 1892. She was 14 and he was 16. Only Nikkah was solemnized and the ‘Rukhsati’ (bride’s departure to groom’s house) was to take place later on.
Shortly after the marriage, Jinnah left for England for his higher studies. When he returned, his bride had already died in Bombay by falling victim to an outbreak of cholera. She died in 1893.

Jinnah was struck by the tragedy and when his father wanted him to remarry, he refused. Jinnah didn’t marry for a long time – 22 years!

Quaid’s Second Wife, Ruttenbai Petit:
In 1918, Mohammad Ali Jinnah married Ruttenbai Petit, the daughter of a prominent Parsi banker Sir Dinshaw Petit.
Rutten (or Ratten) Bai (nicknamed Ruttie), born in 1900, was arguably the most beautiful girl in Bombay with a readiness to shock with her unorthodox views.
Ruttie was said to be drawn to him. She wanted to get married to Jinnah when she was only 16 years of age. Her father, Sir Dinshaw, went to the court and got a restraining order to stop her. Jinnah, himself a lawyer, advised her to wait for two more years. When she reached legal age, she wanted a civil marriage but the law (then) required that you had to foreswear religion to get married in court. This meant that Jinnah also had to resign from his Muslim seat in the Imperial Legislative Council. They found a solution: She converted to Islam and changed her name to Maryam. But the complicated civil marriage never took place.

On her 18th birthday, Ruttie left her father’s mansion with two pets (dogs) only, to marry Muhammad Ali Jinnah. A year later, in 1919, Ruttie (Maryam) gave birth to a baby girl, Dina Jinnah, their only child.

In late 1928, Maryam (Ruttie) and Jinnah separated. A few months later, exactly eleven years after her marriage, she died of an overdose of painkillers to treat her abdominal cancer.  Known as the ‘Nightingale of Bombay’, Ruttie (Maryam) died on her 29th birthday on 20th February, 1929. Their daughter Dina was 10 years old at that time.

Jinnah cried when Ruttie died because he loved her. Later in life, he used to take out her belongings and look at them, not letting go of her memory. Jinnah never married again and died a lonely man.
Imagine the heartbreak, the hurt, the pain and the feeling of helplessness in front of destiny! His first wife probably never saw her 20th year; and the second one, who went crazy in his love, never reached the 30th birthday!
It was as if Nature was preparing Jinnah for something big and more hurtful, requiring more patience and perseverance. The gold is purified after burning in fire!

God chose M.A. Jinnah for the gigantic task of creating an Islamic state out of India. There were many others, among them Allama Mashriqi, Maulana Maudoodi, two Jauhar brothers, some Muslim Nawabs (lords), some princes and some big politicians, but none had the mettle of Jinnah. Nature nurtured him for a special mission – a mission only he was capable to accomplish.

According to Wolpert, referring to Jinnah's time in London in 1930-33, "Dina was (Jinnah's) sole comfort, but Dina was away at school most of the time and home only for brief times, yet still the pampered daughter could be a joy to her doting father".
In November 1932, Jinnah read H.C. Armstrong's biography of Kemal Ataturk, the ‘Grey Wolf’, and seemed to have found his own reflection in the story of Turkey’s great modernist leader. It was all he talked about for a while at home, even to Dina, who consequently nicknamed him 'Grey Wolf'. Being only thirteen, her way of pestering him to take her to High Road to see ‘Punch & Judy’ was, "Come on, Grey Wolf, take me to a pantomime; after all, I am on my holidays."
(Courtesy: Wolpert)

The Last Letter:

Here’s the text of Ruttie Jinnah’s last letter to her husband, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Her simple but beautiful English makes this letter very moving. Each and every word of this sad but beautiful letter makes the reader cry. It was such an ideal couple and it hurts to learn about the demise of Ruttie at a very young age of 29. This letter was written on the 5th of October, 1928, and four-and-a-half months later she died on 20th February, 1929.
She wrote this letter from Marseilles, France, when she was aboard the ship “SS Rajputana”, a British passenger and cargo carrying ocean liner, which sailed on a regular route between England and British India. This ship was requisitioned into the Royal Navy during World War II. It was torpedoed and sunk off Iceland on 13th April, 1941, after escorting a convoy across the North Atlantic.

S.S. Rajputana,
Marseilles (Port of France), 5th Oct., 1928
Darling! Thank you for all you have done. If ever in my bearing your once tuned senses found any irritability or unkindness – be assured that in my heart there was place only for a great tenderness and a greater pain – a pain my love without hurt. When one has been as near to the reality of Life (which after all is Death) as I have been dearest, one only remembers the beautiful and tender moments and all the rest becomes a half veiled mist of unrealities. Try and remember me beloved as the flower you plucked and not the flower you tread upon.
I have suffered much, sweetheart, because I have loved much. The measure of my agony has been in accord to the measure of my love.
Darling, I love you – I love you – and had I loved you just a little less I might have remained with you – only after one has created a very beautiful blossom one does not drag it through the mire. The higher you set your ideal the lower it falls.
I have loved you my darling as it is given to few men to be loved. I only beseech you that the tragedy which commenced in love should also end with it.
Darling, Goodnight & Goodbye!
P.S.: I had written to you at Paris with the intention of posting the letter here – but I felt that I would rather write to you afresh from the fullness of my heart. R.

The Original Letter:
This original letter (above) has been preserved with the archives (‘Quaid-e-Azam Papers Project’) of the Cabinet Division. 
(Photos courtesy: Doc Kazi)


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