Fatimah Jinnahs legacy


Fatimah Jinnah, sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Ms. Jinnah holds as must importance in the creation of Pakistan as Mr. Jinnah, there is no doubt about her role and sacrifices for this nation.

In brief words, her life can be described as a struggle to achieve an independent state for Muslims of the sub-continent and once that goal was achieved, her life became a struggle to save that independent state from vultures and hyenas, who were waiting to scavenge everything.

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Dentist by profession, she took to politics to support her brother who was single handedly busy in carving out a separate state. She wrote speeches for her brother, became his advisor in times of trouble and darkness, became his aide and his source for motivation when all paths seemed blocked.

Ms. Jinnah, never got married, it was her dedication towards Pakistan which didn`t allow her to focus on her personal life.

Ms.Jinnah was not only a source of motivation for her brother, but also a shining beacon of light and hope for the women of sub-continent. It is easy for us to see women on the fore front of civil rights movement, but in 1930`s and 1940`s ground realities were different. It was a predominantly patriarchal society (not that it is much different now ) and in that situation, Ms. Jinnah became a beacon of hope for the women. She made it clear that women too have to come out to struggle for their rights actively. It was due to her charisma and leadership qualities that other female members of the Independence movement, like begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan, begum Shah Nawaz and hundreds and thousands of women who came out, with perhaps more enthusiasm than their male counterparts.

But how did this nation repay the sacrifices of Ms. Jinnah? Did we honour her? or did we disgrace her? The answer is simple, yet hidden away in decades of hypocrisy and mal-intent . We disgraced her.

The tale of Pakistan is both beautiful and tragic. It is full of unwavering dedication, commitment, sincerity, loyalty and fortitude and it also has the element of pain and betrayal.

Soon after the establishment of Pakistan on 14th August 1947, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan became terminally ill. He had been diagnosed with terminal tuberculosis, but he kept it secret for he knew that if this was known by his political opponents, they`d wait it out till he died.

In late 1947, Mr. Jinnah started to suffer from serious health concerns, the newly born nation needed him, his vision and guidance to prosper. But the cruelty of fate was such that Mr. Jinnah was confined to a bed at the time when Pakistan needed him most. In 1948, he was moved to Ziarat residency in Baluchistan province. His sister, like always accompanied him.

Mr. Jinnah passed away on 11 September 1948 under very incredulous circumstances. He was flown into Karachi from Ziarat, while on the way to hospital the ambulance broke down while Mr. Jinnah was still alive. It was there, in the middle of nowhere, that they kept waiting for a replacement ambulance for the founder of Pakistan , only the fact that the replacement ambulance never arrived and Mr. Jinnah breathed his last, in a broken down ambulance by the side of a road.

Soon after his death, it seemed that tables turned against Ms. Fatimah Jinnah. She was called for a radio interview and as she recounted the story of her brothers death, the radio transmission was cut off. Ms. Jinnah was banned from appearing in media or giving any public statements. The mother of this nation, was banned from reaching out to the very nation she helped to build.

After years of silence, Ms. Jinnah decided to take active part in politics. She decided to contest the elections of 1964 against General Ayub Khan. The people naturally came out to support her, fearing a land slide defeat, the government initiated a disgraceful defamation campaign against Ms. Jinnah.

Media was used to defame her, public rallies were organized to turn people against her. As a result on election day, General Ayub Khan won the majority, however he lost 2 of the biggest cities of Pakistan, Karachi and Dhaka to Miss Jinnah. The opposition accused Ayub Khan of electoral malpractice, but Miss Jinnah once again went into a life of retirement from politics, she had been disillusioned.

Soon after her brothers death, she started work on her brothers biography. Which was banned by the publishing board as it contained information from Miss Jinnahs perspective which did not suit the interests of the ruling elite.

You can read the online version on scribd, Click here.

On July 9, 1967 . Mother of the Nation , Fatimah Jinnah passed away under unknown circumstances. Her death too is shrouded in mystery because the government declared that she died of natural causes, however according to Dr. Shahid Masood ( Senior journalist and analyst ) , a petition was lodged in the Supreme Court contesting the governments claim. The petition made it clear that Miss Jinnah was murdered and witnesses claimed to have seen mortal wounds on her body.

This wasn`t a conspiracy, for had it been lodged on a false pretext, the petition would never have been approved for hearing, the fact that it was approved for hearing in the apex court, proves that the then judiciary saw past the illusion. Over the passage of time however, the case was buried deep under the sands of time.

I am producing here a rough translation of an excerpt from the book Maadar-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah (2000), by Agha Ashraf (page 184):

Miss Fatima Jinnah had expressed it while she was alive that after her death she be buried next to her brother. Now the problem was where to bury her, since according to Mr Abul Hassan Isfahani sahib, the government did not want bury her next to Mr Jinnah (M. A. H Isfahani’s interview, January 14, 1976). The government had to face tough opposition over the idea. Commissioner, Karachi was intimated that if Fatima Jinnah was not laid to rest next to the Quaid-e-Azam there will be unrest.

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The government was adamant on not allowing her to be buried beside her brother. People took to the streets and staged massive demonstrations which turned violent. The picture below shows a petrol station in Karachi which was set on fire.

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As the public pressure upon the government mounted, permission was given to lay Ms. Fatimah Jinnah to rest beside her brother in the Quaids Mausoleum. The people came out in hundreds and thousands to pay their last respect to Mother of the nation.

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This part of history is not taught in our schools, colleges and universities. It is about time that we as a nation, make peace with the ghosts of our pasts. As long as we continue to conceal history and mould it according to our wishes, we are never going to excel as a nation. Perhaps the only thing which can save our plagued community in this trying time is a healthy dose of this bitter truth, it may bring about a catharses in our social consciousness which may show us our destiny more clearly.

 

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