Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Mohammed Ali Jinnah and More

One of the leaders of India's right wing party tries to glorify Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the architrect of Pakistan. Jinnah is given a clean chit and infact is projected as having tried to prevent partition and failed in the same because the other leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar patel would'nt accomodate the demands of a better status for the muslims in India.

These are the revelations supposedly in former foreign minister Jaswant Singh's book (recently published) - and he has been expelled from the BJP for that.

It seemed worthwhile to me, just to check on this personality of Mohammed Ali Jinnah and some connected happenings.

Jinnah's Official Life
Born probably on Dec 25 1876 (Christhmas day) in Karachi. Belonged to Khoja Muslims (Sindhi merchants converted to Islam by Persians). Studied law in England from age 16 to 20yrs. There after practiced in Mumbai. Worked with Gopala Krishna Gokhale (moderate faction of INC). Got disgruntled with Gandhiji's leadership and also the then muslim league leadership. Went back to England to practice law in 1931.

Some other milestones :
1910-1919 - In the Viceroy's legislative council
1916 - For the first time, in the 'Lucknow pact' demanded separate communal electorate for muslims.
1934 - Was persuaded to come back to India. Revitalises Muslim League. Unlike an outgoing leader he was "formal, fastidious aloof and imperious" as some of his followers put it.
1937 - Due to differerences with INC starts working for Pakistan nation.
1942- Muslim League's Lucknow conference passes resolution for Pakistan
1947- Pakistan formation.
Till death in 1948 Pakistan's first governor general and was titled Quaid-e-Azam (Supreme Leader)

Jinnah's Personal Life - A life of Separations

His first wife, a child bride, died when he was a student.

The second wife was Ruttie Jinnah, nee Rattan Bai Petit.

She was the daughter of Sir Dinshaw Maneckjee Petit, one of the richest and most devoutly orthodox Parsi-Zoroastrians of the nineteenth century Bombay. Ruttie converted to Islam on her 18th birthday and left her father's mansion with two pets to marry Jinnah. Exactly eleven years later she was dead of an overdose of painkillers to treat her abdominal cancer. Jinnah never married again and died a lonely man. Known as the nightingale of Bombay, Ruttie died on her 29th birthday on 20 February 1929. Rattanbai bore Jinnah his only child, daughter Dina, on the midnight of August 14, 1919. Exactly 28 years before Pakistan's Independence.

Ruttie died at the age of 29. When Pakistan became independent Jinnah's daughter Dina was 28 and she preferred to remain in India.She went to Karachi only for Jinnah's funeral.

Jinnah's relationship with his daughter was marred by the fact that Dina wanted to marry a Parsi, Neville Wadia. Jinnah tried to dissuade her, just like Sir Dinshaw had tried to influence his daughter (Ruttee) many years ago, but to no avail.

Justice Chagla (who Jinnah had invited to join him and settle in Pakistan as the Law Minister) recalls, "Jinnah, in his usual imperious manner, told her that there were millions of Muslim boys in India, and she could have anyone she chose.

Then the young lady replied: 'Father, there were millions of Muslim girls in India. Why did you not marry one of them'?" The relationship became formal after she married. They did correspond, he addressed her formally as 'Mrs Wadia'.

(Dina wadia married Neville wadia. Their son is Nusli wadia. Nusli's & Maureen wadia's sons are Ness & Jeh Wadia. Ness wadia of IPL and Preity Zinta fame and Jeh Wadia of Go-Air)

The only person from his family who accompanied him to Pakistan was his sister Fatima.

Jinnah Built his - Jinnah house (originally called "South Court")- on the Malabar Hill in Mumbai, in 1936 after returning from England. He spent Rs. 2.0 lacs then for the 10000 sq.mtrs i.e 2.5 acres property. Supervised its construction brick by brick. Italian stone masons were brought from Italy for the marble work. Jinnah House is worth more than Rs.300 crores now.
wonder Dina Wadia is legally making a fight for the property now, though she got estranged from her father when he was alive)

Ironically the round of talks, between Nehru and Jinnah, that altered the course of history and led to partition, was held in this building on the 15th of August 1946. The talks failed.

There after India and Pakistan separated.

Jinnah then led a separate life in Pakistan, from his prized possession in Mumbai, as was the case with many of his prized possessions.

Separation was always on his mind. So did he reap.

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