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Fatima Jinnah

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Fatima Jinnah ( ) was the sister of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and an active political figure in freedom movement against British Raj.

M.A. Jinnah with Fatima Jinnah (left) and daughter Dina (right)Dr. Fatima Jinnah was born on July 31, 1893 in Karachi. Of a family of seven brothers and sisters, she was the closest to Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Her illustrious brother became her guardian upon the death of their father in 1901. Encouraged by her brother but opposed by the rest of her family, she received excellent early education. She joined the Bandra Convent in Bombay in 1902. In 1919 she got admitted to the highly competitive University of Calcutta where she attended the Dr. Ahmad Dental College. After she qualified, Miss Jinnah went along with her idea of opening a dental clinic in Bombay in 1923.

 

Miss Fatima Jinnah initially lived with her brother for about eight years till 1918, when he got married to Rutanbai. Upon Rutanbai's death in February 1929, Miss Jinnah wound up her clinic, moved into Jinnah's bungalow, and took charge of his house; thus beginning the life-long companionship that lasted till her brother's death on September 11, 1948.

Quaid's Companion

Fatima Jinnah was the Quaid's companion throughout the struggle for PakistanIt is highly evident that Miss Fatima Jinnah sacrificed the comforts and pleasures of an affluent life to help Jinnah overcome vicissitudes and bequeath a homeland to the Muslims.

Miss Jinnah lived with her brother for about 28 years, including the last 19 tiring years of his life. Paying tribute to her sister, the Quaid once said, "My sister was like a bright ray of light and hope whenever I came back home and met her. Anxieties would have been much greater and my health much worse, but for the restraint imposed by her".

During the Quaid's illness, she remained passionately attached to him.

Political life

During the transfer of power in 1947, she was an inspiration to Muslim women. She formed the Women's Relief Committee, which later formed the nucleus for the All Pakistan Women's Association (APWA). She also played a significant role in the settlement of refugees (Muhajir) in the new state of Pakistan.

Miss Jinnah's greatest advantage was that she was sister of the Founder of Pakistan and had been detached from the political conflicts that had plagued Pakistan after the Founder's death. The sight of this dynamic lady moving in the streets of big cities, and even in the rural areas of a Muslim country, was both moving and unique. She proclaimed her opponent presidential candidate, Ayub Khan, a dictator. Miss Jinnah's line of attack was that by coming to terms with India on the Indus Water dispute, Ayub had surrendered control of the rivers over to India. Her campaign generated such tremendous public enthusiasm that most of the press agreed that if the contest were by direct election, she would have won against Ayub.

Miss Jinnah stood in national elections in 1965 against the then President of Pakistan, Muhammad Ayub Khan, but could not win due to tactics of establishment. Although she was declared unsuccessful in the elections but she kindled the torch of democracy in Pakistan.

Her memory is held in high esteem in Pakistan. Due to her tireless services for Pakistan, the nation conferred upon her the title of Madar-i-Millat means "Mother of the Nation". She died in Karachi on July 8, 1967.

Message to the Nation

Madar-i-Millat, Mohtarma Fatima JinnahThe following are excerpts from some of her statements.

1967 - Madar-i-Millat's Message to the Nation on Eid ul-Adha:
"The immediate task before you is to face the problem and bring the country back on the right path with the bugles of Quaid-i-Azam's message. March forward under the banner of star and the crescent with unity in your ranks, faith in your mission and discipline. Fulfill your mission and a great sublime future awaits your enthusiasm and action. Remember: 'cowards die many times before death; the valiant never taste death but once.' This is the only course of action which suits any self-respecting people and certainly the Muslim Nation."

1965 - Madar-i-Millat's Message to the Nation on Eid ul-Adha:
"Let us sink all our differences and stand united together under the same banner under which we truly achieved Pakistan and let us demonstrate once again that we can, united, face all dangers in the cause of glory of Pakistan, the glory that the Quaid-i-Azam envisaged for Pakistan."

1963 - Madar-i-Millat's Message to the Nation on Quaid-i-Azam's Birthday:
"The movement of Pakistan which the Quaid-i-Azam launched was ethical in inspiration and ideological in content. The story of this movement is a story of the ideals of equality, fraternity and social and economic justice struggling against the forces of domination, exploitation, intolerance and tyranny".

Biography of Jinnah

My BrotherIt is thought that the publication of Hector Bolitho's "Jinnah Creator of Pakistan" in 1954 prompted Miss Fatima Jinnah of doing a biography of her illustrious brother. It was strongly felt that Bolitho in his book failed to bring out the political aspects of Jinnah's life.

The work of Miss Fatima Jinnah "My Brother" was later published by the Quaid-i-Azam Academy in 1987. (This page was last modified 11 March 2006)



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