Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jinnah-India's Muslim Messiah

Bombay,August 1947:


As always,he was alone.Shrouded in silence,Mohammad Ali Jinnah walked through the early mornings sunlight towards a simple stone grave corner of Bombay's Muslim cemetery.There,he performed a gesture which,in days to come,millions of other Muslims would perform because of what he had wrought.Before setting off to his promised land of Pakistan,Jinnah placed a last bouquet on the tomb he was leaving behind forever in India.

Jinnah was a remarkable man,but probably nothing in his life had been more remarkable of more seemingly out of character than the deep and passionate love which had linked the austere Muslim leader to the women beneath that tomb-stone.

Ruttie Jinnah

The wife of India's Muslim Messiah had not been born into the faith of Mohammad.Ruttenbhai Jinnah had been born a Parsee,the descendants of the Zoroastrian fire worshippers of ancient Persia.Jinnah had been 41,seemingly a confirmed bachelor(he in fact,been married previously to a child bride he'd never seen,picked out for him by his family before his departure to London for his studies. She had, according to Muslim custom, been represented at their wedding by a male relative and died of illness before his return from England)when he fell madly in love with Ruttie,the 17-year-old daughter of one of his close friends,during a vacation at the Mount Everest Hotel in Darjeeling.Ruttie had been equally mesmerized by Jinnah.Her furious father had obtained a court order forbidding his ex-friend to see his daughter,but on her eighteenth birthday,with only the sari she was wearing and a pet dog under each arm, a defiant Ruttie stalked out of her millionaire father's mansion and went off to marry Jinnah.

Their marriage lasted ten years.Ruttie was a spectacularly beautiful women,a woman of legendary attractiveness in a city known around the world for its beautiful women.The difference in their ages and temperaments produced their strains. Ruttie's flamboyance and outspokenness often embarrassed Jinnah and inhibited his political career.For all his passionate love for her, the unbending Jinnah found it difficult to communicate with his mercurial,blithe-spirited wife.Jinnah's dream collapsed in 1928,when the beautiful wife he'd loved but failed to understand,walked out on him.A year later,in February 1929,she died of an overdose of the morphine which she had been taking to ease the pain of chronic colitis.Jinnah,already hurt by public humiliation of her departure,was grief-stricken.As he threw the first fistful of dirt into grave on which he now placed his bouquet,he had wept like a child. It was the last time anyone had ever seen a public display of emotion from the Quaid-e-Azzam.From that moment forward,lonely and embittered,he had consecrated his life to the awakening of India's Muslims.
(Text taken from Freedom at midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins)


NPT said...

Timely article............

nanditha tm said...

true,Jinnah in the headlines made me publish this.