Maryam Jinnah

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Ratanbai Petit Jinnah
Maryam Jinnah portrait.jpg
Born Ratanbai Petit
(1900-02-20)20 February 1900
Bombay, British India
Died 20 February 1929(1929-02-20) (aged 29)
London, United Kingdom
Other names Maryam Jinnah
Religion Islam
Spouse(s) Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1918-1929)
Children Dina Jinnah
Relatives Petit family (by birth)
Jinnah family (by marriage)

Rattanbai "Ruttie" Petit Jinnah (Gujarati: મરિયમ ઝીણા, before marriage (Gujarati: રતનબાઇ પેતીત; "The Flower of Bombay"); 20 February 1900 – 20 February 1929), was the second wife of Muhammad Ali Jinnah—an important figure in the Indian Independence Movement and later the founder of Pakistan.

She was the only daughter of Sir Dinshaw Petit, who in turn, was the son of Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, member of Petit family and the founder of the first cotton mills in India. Her mother was Sylla Petit, sister of J.R.D. Tata. She had a brother Jamshed Petit.

Early years of marriage[edit]

Ruttie and Jinnah made a head-turning couple. She used to call her husband “J”. Her long hair would be decked in fresh flowers, and she wore vibrant silk and headbands lavish with diamonds, rubies and emeralds. According to most sources, the couple could not have been happier in those early years of their marriage. Sir Dinshaw mourned Ruttie socially even after his granddaughter Dina Jinnah, their only child, was born on August 15, 1919.[1]

Marriage problems[edit]

By mid-1922, Jinnah was facing political isolation as he devoted every spare moment to be the voice of moderation in a nation torn by Hindu-Muslim antipathy. His increasingly late hours and the ever-increasing distance between them left Ruttie isolated.[2]

Last days and death[edit]

After Maryam died, it appeared that Jinnah missed her a great deal. G Allana in "Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah: The Story of a Nation" based on the narrative of a chauffeur of Mr Jinnah writes:

"You know servants in household come to know everything that is going around them. Sometimes more than twelve years after Begum Jinnah's (Mrs. Jinnah) death, the boss would order at dead of night a huge ancient wooden chest to be opened, in which were stored clothes of his dead wife and his married daughter. He would intently look into those clothes, as they were taken out of box and were spread on the carpets. He would gaze at them for long with eloquent silence. Then his eyes turn moisten..." [3]

Relationship with Jinnah[edit]

Ruttie's complex relationship with her husband can also be elaborated by reading some extracts of her last letter to him "...When one has been as near to the reality of Life (which after all is Death) as I have been dearest, one only remembers the beautiful and tender moments and all the rest becomes a half veiled mist of unrealities. Try and remember me beloved as the flower you plucked and not the flower you tread upon." ... ".. Darling I love you – I love you – and had I loved you just a little less I might have remained with you – only after one has created a very beautiful blossom one does not drag it through the mire. The higher you set your ideal the lower it falls. I have loved you my darling as it is given to few men to be loved. I only beseech you that the tragedy which commenced in love should also end with it...".[4]

Jinnah is seen as a very private person and he hardly showed emotions but he is known to have cried twice in public. One of the occasions was the funeral of his beloved wife Ruttie in 1929 and the other one in August 1947, when he visited her grave one last time before leaving for Pakistan. Jinnah left India in August 1947, never to return again.[5]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Chagla, M. C. Individual and the State, Asia Publishing House, 1961
  • Wolpert, Stanley Jinnah of Pakistan, Oxford University Press, 1984, ISBN 0-614-21694-X