Miss Fatima Jinnah – مادر ملت فاطمہ جناح
Early life and career
Fatima Jinnah was born in Karachi, British India on July 30, 1893. Jinnah’s parents, Poonja Jinnahbhai and Mithibai Jinnahbhai, had seven children: Muhammad Ali, Ahmad Ali, Bunde Ali, Rahmat Ali, Maryam, Fatima and Shireen. 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. 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. R. Ahmed Dental College. After she graduated, she opened a dental clinic in Bombay in 1923.
Mr.Jinnah lived with her brother until 1918, when he married Rattanbai Petit. Upon Rattanbai’s death in February 1929, Jinnah closed her clinic, moved into her brother Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s bungalow, and took charge of his house. This began the life-long companionship that lasted until her brother’s death on September 11, 1948.
Paying tribute to his sister, Ali Jinnah 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 transfer of power in 1947, Jinnah 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 Muhajirs in the new state of Pakistan.
In the 1960s, Jinnah returned to the forefront of political life when she ran for the presidency of Pakistan as a candidate for the Combined Opposition Party of Pakistan (COPP). She described her opponent, Ayub Khan, as a dictator. Her early rallies nearly 250,000 people turned out to see her in Dhaka, and a million lined the 293 mile route from there to Chittagong. Her train, called the Freedom Special, was 22 hours late because men at each station pulled the emergency cord, and begged her to speak. The crowds hailed her as the mother of the nation.
In her rallies Jinnah argued that, by coming to terms with India on the Indus Water dispute, Ayub had surrendered control of the rivers to India. Jinnah lost the election, but only narrowly, winning a majority in some provinces. The election did not conform to international standards and journalists, as well as subsequent historians, have often suggested it was rigged in favour of Ayub Khan
Presidential election 1965
Fatima Jinnah, popularly acclaimed as the Madar-i-Millat, or “Mother of the Nation” for her role in the Freedom Movement, contested the 1965 elections at the age of 71. Except for her brief tour to East Pakistan in 1954, she had not participated in politics since Independence. After the imposition of Martial Law by Ayub Khan, she once wished the regime well. But after the Martial Law was lifted, she sympathized with the opposition as she was strongly in favor of democratic ideals. Being the Quaid’s sister, she was held in high esteem, and came to symbolize the democratic aspirations of the people. The electoral landscape changed when Fatima Jinnah decided to contest the elections for the President’s office in 1965. She was challenging the incumbent President Ayub Khan in the indirect election, which Ayub Khan had himself instituted. Presidential candidates for the elections of 1965 were announced before commencement of the Basic Democracy elections, which was to constitute the Electoral College for the Presidential and Assembly elections. There were two major parties contesting the election. The Convention Muslim League and the Combined Opposition Parties. The Combined Opposition Parties consisted of five major opposition parties. It had a nine-point program, which included restoration of direct elections, adult franchise and democratization of the 1962 Constitution. The opposition parties of Combined Opposition Parties were not united and did not possess any unity of thought and action. They were unable to select presidential candidates from amongst themselves; therefore they selected Fatima Jinnah as their candidate.
Elections were held on January 2, 1965. There were four candidates; Ayub Khan, Fatima Jinnah and two obscure persons with no party affiliation. There was a short campaigning period of one month, which was further restricted to nine projection meetings that were organized by the Election Commission and were attended only by the members of the Electoral College and members of the press. The public was barred from attending the projection meetings, which would have enhanced Fatima Jinnah’s image.
Ayub Khan had a great advantage over the rest of the candidates. The Second Amendment of the Constitution confirmed him as President till the election of his successor. Armed with the wide-ranging constitutional powers of a President, he exercised complete control over all governmental machinery during elections. He utilized the state facilities as head of state, not as the President of the Convention Muslim League or a presidential candidate, and didn’t even hesitate to legislate on electoral maters. Bureaucracy and business, the two beneficiaries of the Ayub Khan regime, helped him in his election campaign. Being a political opportunist, he brought all the discontented elements together to support him; students were assured the revision of the University Ordinance and journalists the scrutiny of the Press Laws. Ayub Khan also gathered the support of the ulema who were of the view that Islam does not permit a woman to be the head of an Islamic state.
Fatima Jinnah’s greatest advantage was that she was the sister of the Founder of Pakistan. She had detached herself 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 Ayub Khan to be a dictator. Jinnah’s line of attack was that by coming to terms with the Republic of India on the Indus Water dispute, Ayub had surrendered control of the rivers over to India. Her campaign generated tremendous public enthusiasm. She drew enormous crowds in all cities of East and West Pakistan. The campaign however suffered from a number of drawbacks. An unfair and unequal election campaign, poor finances, and indirect elections through the Basic Democracy System were some of the basic problems she faced.
Fatima Jinnah lost the election of 1965 and Ayub Khan was elected as the President of Pakistan. It is believed that had the elections been held via direct ballot, Fatima Jinnah would have won. The Electoral College consisted of only 80,000 Basic Democrats, who were easily manipulated. The importance of this election, lay in the fact that a woman was contesting the highest political office of the country. The orthodox religious political parties, including the Jamaat-i-Islami led by Maulana Maududi, which had repeatedly declared that a woman could not hold the highest office of a Muslim country, modified their stance and supported the candidature of Fatima Jinnah. The election showed that the people had no prejudice against women holding high offices, and they could be key players in politics of the country.
Matloobul Hassan Syed deposed that Fatima Jinnah’s faith became clear to him when he accompanied her to Mardan in the NWFP in her election campaign against General Ayub Khan. When local Shia leaders told her that they would vote for Ayub, she contended that she could represent them better as she was a Shia.
The following are excerpts from some of her statements.
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”.
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.”
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.”
Who strangled Miss Jinnah?
(An extraordinary column written by Flickr member Sir Cam nearly five years ago)
The Daily Times, Wednesday, 30 July 2003
This is the ‘Year of Fatima Jinnah’ In Pakistan. A former bodyguard of Miss Jinnah (1893-1967) announced to the world on January 11: “To pay homage to the younger sister of the founder of Pakistan as a crusader for democracy, we will remember her by celebrating 2003 as the Year of Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah”. The bodyguard is one Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali. He still looks the part. And he happens to be Pakistan’s prime minister.
Just when you started snoozing, listening to the same old speeches on Miss Jinnah, out came the shocking news last week that she may have been murdered. Madar-i-Millat (Mother of the Nation) murdered! “Former attorney general of Pakistan and ‘honorary’ secretary of the Quaid-i-Azam from 1941 to 1944, Mr Sharifuddin Pirzada, has revealed outside a conference-room in Islamabad that Miss Fatima Jinnah did not die a natural death in 1967 but was probably murdered by a servant of hers,” (Daily Times editorial, Out with the truth about Miss Jinnah, July 23, 2003).
Pakistani commentators seem ‘astounded’ by the ‘strange’ claims and ‘rumours’ spread by Pirzada (The News, editorial, July 23, 2003). Let us not forget that Pirzada is Prime Minister Jamali’s senior advisor, and that Jamali is the one who declared this as the Year of Fatima Jinnah. There may be some wisdom in letting the full story of Miss Jinnah’s death come out in the year dedicated to her memory. As the Daily Times editorial put it, “Let the truth about the death of Miss Jinnah be known after proper investigation of the claim made by Mr Pirzada and let us put the case to rest once and for all”.
The story about Miss Jinnah’s death is not a new one. Below is an extract from an earlier Cam Diary. “Jinnah’s sister had the habit of locking her bedroom door and leaving the keys under the door in the morning for the housemaid to enter and attend to her. On the tragic day there were no keys and the door remained shut. Nobody dared enter. As a very close friend of Jinnah and Fatima, MAH Ispahani was called to the house.
“MAH entered the room and found Fatima dead. It is reported that Fatima had been strangled! There were strangulation marks on her neck. This was apparently hushed up at the time by Ayub’s military regime. It will be remembered that Fatima was standing as presidential candidate against Ayub. Was she a sufficient threat to the military for her to be got rid of in such a brutal way? Shocking if true.”
Masud Akhtar Shaikh writes in his recent column in The News (Political murders: a bloodstained tradition?) that Pirzada’s story ‘does lend conviction to the hypothesis that Miss Jinnah was a victim of political murder and did not die a natural death’ and that the manner of the cover-up ‘shows a definite link between the high-ups in the Ayub Khan regime and the crime.’
Qutbuddin Aziz, a former diplomat has dismissed Pirzada’s claim. The News reported last week that “He (Aziz) said Fatima Jinnah died in the morning of July 9,1967 and he along with his mother reached Mohatta Palace around 9 am. He said there was a red mark on the neck of Fatima Jinnah but not a cut or signs of bleeding”.
On the Fatima-Ayub rivalry, Zamir Niazi says in his book Press in Chains, “During the crucial presidential election in 1964 when Miss Fatima Jinnah agreed to challenge Ayub Khan as a candidate of the Combined Opposition Parties, the APP coverage of the election campaign had a definite tilt in favour of the Field Marshal.”
Writing in the letters section of Dawn last week, Mahmudul Aziz of Karachi, said: “Madar-i-Millat stood up for democracy in the face of overwhelming odds. The nation remembers and adores her for that courage of conviction and the strength to stand up against a dictator at a time when most in the country feared Ayub Khan. Madar-i-Millat lost the presidential election through the manipulation of the establishment of the day…”
Of the many e-mails received on this topic last week, one was from Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi. He says: “It is high time that the nation attains a level of maturity whereby it can come to terms with certain realities and attempt to address certain unanswered questions relating to her (Miss Jinnah’s) life… The lady was ostracized, persecuted and marginalized to a point that people had even forgotten about her existence when she decided to take on Field Marshal Ayub Khan in the 1964 presidential elections. The manner in which the elections were conducted and their unfortunate aftermath are known to all”.
Dr Kazi ponders, “What is the real truth? Will the teeming millions of Pakistan ever be considered worthy enough of being taken into confidence about these pranks played by a few chosen ones? And those naïve people amongst us who think that our Press is free should reconsider their opinion. The real truth is simply not for consumption of the ordinary mortals in Pakistan”.
In his column “Second Opinion: Why don’t people write memoirs?” (Daily Times, May 30, 2003), Khaled Ahmed noted that “Fatima Jinnah was the first to write; we had to censor her autobiography because it ‘revealed’ too much too soon in our history”. Tanwir Ahmed, wrote in a letter to the editor printed in The News, “Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada has caused tremendous grief, shock and awe to the already depressed nation. Will the people of Pakistan ever know the true history of their own nation?”
It is unlikely that the people of Pakistan will come to terms with their true history without being subjected to ‘grief, shock and awe’. And who strangled Miss Jinnah? Even if not physically throttled, she was strangled by the ‘system’. Like millions of ordinary people every day.
— Sir Cam, Cambridge, England
Courtesy Of Dr.Kazi
Fatima Jinnah Dental College FJDC Karachi Sindh Pakistan
About Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah She was born in Karachi on 30th July 1893. The Late Miss Jinnah was a boarder of Convent School, Bombay from 1902 to 1906. She joined St. Patrick School (Gandala) in 1906 and passed Matric in 1910. She passed her Senior Cambridge as private candidate in 1913. The Mohtarama joined Dr. Ahmed Dental College, Calcutta, the only Dental College in India in 1919 and qualified as a Dentist in 1922. Established a private clinic on Abdul Rahman Street in Bombay and also gave free service at Dhobi Talloo Municipal Clinic. In 1929,Miss Jinnah joined Quaid-e-Azam in the struggle for creation of Pakistan. In so doing she sacrificed her professional & private life. She was a source of great inspiration to him during difficult times. Indeed, the values that Miss Fatima Jinnah exemplified in her life-time are still relevant to us. While they are a source of inspiration to us in our present predication, her life provides us with a role model. Why Mohtarama Fatima JinnahDuring the national presidential election campaign of 1964 late Ms. Fatima Jinnah, the younger sister of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan, expressed the wish that their should be a dental college at Karachi. Dr. Baqar Askary who was then the President of the Dow Medical College Students Union and President of National Students Federation while supporting Ms. Jinnah’s election campaign promised that a dental college would be established in Karachi. The campaign was launched in Dec. 1988 and by mid 1989, it was made clear that the Government had no intention of establishing a dental college at Karachi. However, the Federal Government in its Health Policy announced later, allowed medical & dental colleges to be established in the private sector Establishing a Private Dental College in Karachi : The FJDC StoryIt is a pioneer institution devoted to the teaching of dentistry, independently and not as a department of any medical college. The college is named “Fatima Jinnah Dental College” to pay respects and dedicated to the memory of Late Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, who was herself, a Dentist. Her publicly expressed desire that there should be a dental college at Karachi was at last fulfilled. This college was established in the University of Karachi academic year 1992-93. It is significant, that 1993 was the centenary year of the birth of the Mohtarma and the establishment of this college is a gift to the Nation on this auspicious occasion. With intimation to the Federal and Provincial Ministers of Health, the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council and the University of Karachi, Fatima Jinnah Dental College was born on the map of Pakistan. The Fatima Jinnah Dental College was established and is being run and managed by a duly registered Fatima Jinnah Dental College & Hospital Trust. It is a public charitable Trust with Syed Hashim Raza, one of the very senior civil servants and the administrator of the Estate of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, as its Chairman. Fatima Jinnah Dental College has produced over 600 top dental professionals. The college today boosts to be the largest in the country and second to none.