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Love, Marriage and Mrs. Jinnah


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They were Pakistan’s first couple; when Pakistan was just an embryo. When Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Ruttie Jinnah wed at the Jamia Mosque in Bombay in 1918, she had defied her wealthy Parsi family and he had taken on the onerous mantle of having to defend tying the knot to a woman who had not been born a Muslim. Like all couples that defy their families to make a life of their own, they thought they would make it. She became Muslim and took the name Maryam. He gave her free reign to his money and his means; both undoubtedly believed they were meeting each other half way. Reserved and resolute, he tried to open up a bit more, precocious and outspoken she tried to reign herself in just a bit. Compromise after all was the key to put longevity into love and what else but compromise was necessary to unite all the disgruntled groups of colonised Indians into a single opposition against domineering British.

The question at the core was one of difference? Were they, both the colonised children of British India, similar enough to transcend the differences in their background and form a single harmonious relationship? Was the conversion of one to the faith of another enough to forge such a bond? The fretted and fraught over by the newlywed Jinnahs nearly a century ago were familiar ones, still buzzing around every proposal and engagement and nikah in mixed up, urbanised, middle class modern Pakistan. How much difference is too much difference? Are the proponents of sameness, the champions of staying within the similar, status, sect, sense and security to be crowned oracles for future stable unions? Or should one put some stock in the newly individualistic, evaders of community and judge marital futures on the basis of passion and prudence; is there any melody in the marriage that is muddled and mixed?

Contemporary Western philosophers have changed their minds on the question of similarity and difference as an equation of co-existence. Problematic multiculturalism continues to occupy liberal theorists grappling with the relative value of salad bowls versus melting pots as the more apt culinary metaphors for the unromantic realities of angry parents and disgruntled communities, unwillingly pitched together when their progeny wed. A century ago, the Jinnahs faced just that. As documented in the biography written about her; Ruttie Jinnah’s doting father refused to speak to her when he heard of the marriage, eschewing any contact for years for what he perceived as her betrayal of the upbringing he had provided. More virulent criticism came from political quarters and quite unexpected ones.

Among the critics of Quaid-e-Azam’s marriage were the leaders of the Khaksar movement, both the leaders of the Majlis-e-Ahrar and of the Darul Uloom al Hind Deoband all of whom incorrectly said that the Quaid had been married in a civil court and whose marriage was therefore un-Islamic. Similar, if more subtle opposition to the idea of such marriages came from Mohandas Gandhi himself who while not having criticised Jinnah’s marriage (it took place before the two were political cohorts) refused to permit his own granddaughter to marry a Muslim man.

In contemporary terms, the ostracism of community has been theorised by philosophers as a significant cost to individual well-being. While purporters of individual freedom may have insisted that humans can be self-sufficient outside of society; recent communitarian theorists such as Charles Taylor have revived the Aristotelian idea that “man is a social animal” and asserted that freedom means not simply the freedom to choose but also to choose to live in a community. Applied to marriage and the issue of forming unions, this becomes the question that what a multicultural marriage may need is not simply the freedom to have one, but also the community to support one. In communitarian terms, the freedom to marry who you want may not be enough for an individual to realise freedom, the community must then support the choice made and nurture it.

In the case of the Jinnahs’ marriage on the eve of the epochal transformation that was Partition; the very concept of community was in flux. As India simultaneously shoved out the British and sectioned itself up into countries; the idea of difference was at the same time a means of unification (let’s all unite against the British) and a basis of difference (let’s not marry outside our communities). It is not surprising, then that their marriage became an intimate avenue of battling all these ideas of how much difference and how much unity was really permissible on the cusp of carving out countries.

One century later, the problems in Pakistan may not be cross-religious but they do boil down to the same question of difference even if it is now calibrated in the language of class, sect, caste, ethnicity instead of simply religion  In the urban jungles of Lahore and Karachi and Faisalabad and Multan; potential couples meet on Facebook, at the workplace, at University or in crowded neighbourhoods where all sorts of origins and oddities are smashed together; the question they still face, like the Jinnahs’ is not simply whether they can get married but whether they will have the communities that would support the choice and hence, the marriage. Like those who first loved Pakistan, those that live and love in Pakistan must decide, just how much love can overcome?


Rafia Zakaria is a columnist for DAWN. She is a writer and PhD candidate in Political Philosophy whose work and views have been featured in the New York Times,  Dissent the Progressive, Guernica, and on Al Jazeera English, the BBC, and National Public Radio. She is the author of Silence in Karachi, forthcoming from Beacon Press.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Rafia Zakaria is an attorney and human rights activist. She is a columnist for DAWN Pakistan and a regular contributor for Al Jazeera America, Dissent, Guernica and many other publications.

She is the author of The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan (Beacon Press 2015). She tweets @rafiazakaria

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (122) Closed

Kabir Dec 08, 2012 06:02pm
Congratulations, Rafia Zakaria for the wonderful article.
Vinu Dec 08, 2012 02:40am
So far.. did anyone know if a single muslim ever converted to any other religion for the sake of love? The conversion is only applicable to the other religion! And muslims keep shouting from rooftop ... Also all this muslims in India and Pakistan are converted muslims from Hindu's.. Jinnah was a rakchas .. did genocide of hindus.. How can a hindu convert and marry to a muslim??? This is insane
goose Dec 08, 2012 07:57pm
So he could fall in love with her when she was a Parsi, but that didn't make her good enough to be his wife? Smacks of some pretty low thinking there. I know all Pakistanis would like to hear only good things about Jinnah, but surely even you must have the ability to call a spade a spade when you see one?
khanm Dec 11, 2012 11:12am
Why we Pakistanis are hunged up on some one's personnel life. To marry or not to marry, who to marry is not our business. Leave their personnel life alone. What did he achieve for the nation is that what counts
Karma Dec 08, 2012 06:44am
The love story of Jinnah reveals the theory of Karma what you sow so shall you receive. Jinnah a muslim married Rattanbai against the wishes of her father Dinshaw,Likewise Jinnahs daughter Dina married against his wish a parsi named Neville Wadia. Jinnah had to endure the same grief suffered by Dinshaw when his daughter was stolen away from him.
wbwise Dec 09, 2012 03:58am
Couples that come from different backgrounds face a number of real and perceived struggles. Even thinking about how much they can overcome prior to or during a relationship places an undue burden on them as individuals and as a couple. It, therefore, makes more sense to just approach each day and obstacle as it comes. Besides, if this kind of thinking was involved then it wouldn't be love but an arrangement.
Tariq K Sami Dec 08, 2012 01:47pm
That;s why listen to your parents.
Ratnam Dec 09, 2012 04:06am
It would have been appropriate for the author to point out that Mr. Jinnah was opposed to his daughter Dina marrying the Indian Parsi Neville Wadia. It is a more startling and appropriate example than that of Mr. Gandhi. It is startling because Mr. Jinnah himself married a Parsi, Dina's mother. Mr. Gandhi's opposition to his grand daughter marrying a Muslim, while unbecoming of his stature, is not really relevant.
goose Dec 08, 2012 07:53pm
Jinnah was secular?????????? Please do not insult the intelligence of the rest of the world (those that know about Jinnah and what he stood for). he didn't accept his own daughter marrying a Parsi and cut off contact with her and her kids - they live in India now - a fitting 'tribute' to the man who founded a whole new nation for his community and couldn't get his blood family to come and live there.
Abdullah Hussain Dec 07, 2012 11:05am
I think the love affairs of Mountbatten with the will also make a healthy reading. Do someone please write.
Bilal Maqsood Dec 08, 2012 02:55pm
This whole article represents the concept of freedom which is very important. In love there is no age limit. In fact Mr Jinnah was almost twice in age than Ruttie but their marriage was successful and we all should learn from that.
AL Dec 11, 2012 06:42am
Thanks for your honesty.
humaramajeed Dec 08, 2012 02:03pm
superb article from history of beloved leader
Maria Ahmed Dec 10, 2012 09:18am
Jinnah married the girl he liked and she liked him as well. She converted as per our religion. He could marry her as per our religion. Everything legal and fine. They had problems like every other couple around us. Their problems may not be exactly like them but every one has a different set of problems. You cant let go of a person just because what faith your children will have. Children become adults one day and should know what to chose. If everything is according to our religion then one must have faith in HIM in overcoming those problems. Jinnah daughter never owned Pakistan because she didnt want to because of the differences she has with her father. And Pakistani people wont own her because they never own anything. The only thing that matters is your religion for its made according to our psyche every problem other than that is either because we are too coward to face that or too weak to handle that. But you cant say that those decisions are not right or shouldnt be taken.
Tariq K Sami Dec 08, 2012 01:38pm
What about her.
kamaljit Singh Dec 08, 2012 01:56pm
Jinnah was the friend of the father of the teenaged girl. Is it friendship to court friend's daughter and that too a minor. Is it love for a married man?She was of his daughter's age. Disgusting!
Dev Dec 13, 2012 02:48am
You mean NOT to accept it?
goose Dec 08, 2012 07:55pm
Are comments like your what gave rise to phrases like 'twisted logic'?
Dev Dec 13, 2012 03:03am
@Muhammad Farooq: you did a good thing about providing information on Gandhi. The best thing however is to ask those seeking information, to go and seek it themselves. There is nothing that Google and Internet cannot provide in the way of missing information. Best.
george Dec 08, 2012 06:51pm
Mr.Jinnah, who never spoke Urdu,drank alcohol,ate pork,became the Savior of Muslims to save them from the atrocities of the Hindus. He rallied the Muslims in the name of ISLAM IN DANGER. After all those years, Muslims still need Islam to bind them together.
Chmkr Dec 10, 2012 09:12pm
I wonder if for the love of his life, Quaid would have chosen to become a Parsi instead. Rutee would have named him Boman or Darius or Rohington. Darool and Deobandis would have demanded his head; since he would be an Apostate. We Muslims would never have accepted him as the leader; ergo: no Pakistan, no nothing. Among all the things we are grateful for as Pakistanis, the decision of Rutee to convert to Islam ranks way up there, on par with Rehmat Ali, Allama and Lahore declaration!
Nargis Dec 08, 2012 05:02pm
I think Jinnah did not follow the rules of love and marriage,that is he did not take the approval of his wife's family members before marriage.
EQ8Rhomes Dec 07, 2012 09:16pm
Why is Gandhi relevant? Is this again a nationalist competition? It is about Jinnah and Rattanbai. PERIOD.
nitish Dec 09, 2012 12:36am
Sir Dinshaw denied coz he did not marry a muslim,Did he?If you can marry a non-muslim,then why have you problem to let your daughter marry with non-muslim?If you dont want it,just dont marry non -muslim,isnt it.My cousin uncle married a muslim.Actually her mom is hindu. Believe me those three days after marriage were series of communal clash.Later after intervention of ministers and police ,matter was settled.So its Ok for a muslim to marry a non-muslim and but when same happens with their daughter,they cant tolerate.What a hypocrisy.
Ashish Dec 07, 2012 09:16pm
wow! foolish!
Mahwish Dec 08, 2012 06:59am
Wao a good piece of writing!!! But Mr. Jinnah & Rati was brave enough to make this decision themselves. May be because they were financially sound. Still many of us cn't marry the person of their choice because of differences like so called socio-economic status, cast and blah blah blah.
Wajid Dec 07, 2012 12:26pm
Jinnah severed all relationship with his non-Muslim wife Rattanbai Petit .He abandoned his wife and children.He was stone hearted and was only interested in his selfish ambition to become the leader of Pakistan.
Ishfaq Muhammad Din Dec 09, 2012 12:43pm
Not mr Jinnah but rutie lost her heart in the hands of the Prince of history and constitution
Rajput Dec 09, 2012 03:30am
Oh ! We thought Jinnah was a secular !!!
Mohammed Baluch Dec 08, 2012 05:16pm
Ms Zakaria has raised some interesting points. A marriage between a couple from varying social and ethnic backgrounds, and religious as well at times, has a better chance of success if the couple live in a more "accepting" or liberated community than in a conservative one. Numerous case studies exist to document this - mostly of students from Middle Eastern countries when they marry western girls and bring them back "home"! Jinnah's marriage may have survived if he had moved with his beautiful wife Ruttie to France or to the UK. Then of course, our history would have been so different! There are some in life who dare to be different - and blaze a path for the more timid amongst us.
goose Dec 08, 2012 07:51pm
Can't say so about your alias
Khan Dec 08, 2012 06:10pm
So, how these people can create a Muslim state when they have hardly anything that will make them good Muslims?
Ahmed j Dec 08, 2012 12:35pm
A wonderful article and one wonders how little we know about the great leader and his wife. Ruttie was young when she fell in love with a man who was much older than her. Her father objected the match. Things didn't end here and Ruttie waited for two years and when she turned 18, she left her father's home for Mr Jinnah's Malabar Hill house in Bombay. The only daughter Ruttie had sacrificed more than she had imagined for Mr JInnah. A man who was handsome, refined, educated, who followed an aristocratic lifestyle, Victorian mannerisms and etiquettes. Who would not fall for such a desirable man in those times? Ruttenbai Petit was a stunning beauty. Ruttie was one of the best dressed and most popular ladies among the elitist circles of Bombay . She was well educated and intellectually far more mature than her age. She had a vast collection of books in her library. Her large collection of books, which remained in Jinnah
sja Dec 08, 2012 02:55am
So what this article accomplished ------------- may be you left out the conclusion?
Mo Dec 08, 2012 02:58am
Mr. Jinnah was a very liberal man. But he was shia. How would he be viewed in Pakistan today.
sja Dec 08, 2012 03:00am
oh by the way Jinnah kept the two distant lands into one Pakistan, despite all opposition and criticism. The problem is some rulers of today and some aspirants in and out of Pakistan could not keep the house togather and entered into single parenthood. Rafia the world today in 2012 is quite different than from the world of what you are trying to relate ------------- our problems has so many different angels due to so many tehriks and fiquaahs and additions that contributes to the problems that you write. What the Quaid did, the present rulers and leaders are bent upon undoing so let us think and find some viable solutions instead of just correlating unrelated issues for the good of this confused nations and its leaders.
peddarowdy Dec 08, 2012 12:06pm
"Mohandas Gandhi himself who while not having criticised Jinnah
Sultan Khan Dec 08, 2012 04:28am
Just as Sir Dinshaw, being a Parsi, had a right to reject the marriage of his Parsi daughter to a Muslim man in the same way Jinnah, being a Muslim, had the right to reject the marriage of his Muslim daughter to a Parsi man.
ER Dec 08, 2012 04:35am
Jinnah didn't marry a non-Muslim. He married her when she became a Muslim.
Virkaul Dec 08, 2012 04:53am
I think he was referring to Hiralal Gandhi, Who briefly converted to Islam but later reverted. He had assumed the name of Abdullah Gandhi.
Jawwad Dec 07, 2012 06:17pm
This was 1918.
Ara Dec 08, 2012 11:16am
Wow, you know your history well.
Ara Dec 08, 2012 11:14am
Correct spelling this time.
Ara Dec 08, 2012 11:13am
Before adopting a name. Please make sure the spelling is correct.
gangadin Dec 07, 2012 07:49pm
Jinnah was not a Muslim and if some of you claim that he was, then he didn't know anything about Islam. So let's keep the religion out of it.
Ali Dec 08, 2012 10:39am
So again mr Jinnah was innocent and this time he blames his own mother. Well done
Mustafa Razavi Dec 08, 2012 12:03am
Unlike Robindernath Tagore's daughters, Ruttie was an adult when she married.
Malvika Dec 08, 2012 09:45am
Rutti Jinnah died at the age of 29 in 1929. Her daughter would have been just 8-9 years old then.
Jehan Mir Dec 08, 2012 08:20am
Mr. Jinnah was smitten by a beautiful woman. Can't blame him.
Azim Dec 08, 2012 01:20am
moral of the story; Mr. Jinnah was not a man guided by principles or morals, personal benefits was the motto of his life, didn't care who got hurt in the process !!!
habib Dec 08, 2012 01:29am
its a good question.....
khalid bin walid Dec 08, 2012 08:06am
jinnah's mother was called mirhibai.his father changed his religion from hinduism to ismaili khoja islam and then jinnah changed to twelver.
winston Dec 08, 2012 05:56am
Great artical. Good job.
khalid bin walid Dec 08, 2012 07:50am
i agree it's not a contradiction but it is bigotry
khalid bin walid Dec 08, 2012 07:49am
as per british law,if a 16 yr old has a relationship with a man more than five years her senior,it is a subject of investigation as to whether she could have been influenced in any way
Abdus Salam Khan Dec 08, 2012 02:14am
The whole issue of inter-communal marriages can be summed up in one Punjabi sentence: "Ishq naw poochay zaat" Love does not concern itself with the cultutral antecedents of the beloved. As I finish writing this we are off to the wedding ceremony of Pakistani youngster from an orthodox Muslim family to a Caucasian-Chinese girl reared in the Christian faith being held tonight here in Rancho Cucamogna,California. Despite some rumblings under the surface by the orthodox all the enlightened invitees wouldd surely wish them good luck in their tumultous journey of love.
Nony Dec 08, 2012 07:48am
the marriage was a total failure and it was all about choices these people made, rati chose jinnah instead of her family and religion (may be she was too young to take such decision) and when it came on jinnah to decide he chose his politics, which also resulted in something that still has a big question over its success or failure !!!
HM Dec 08, 2012 07:39am
Well said " love affairs of Mountbatten's wife " with Nehru will make masala dar story.
HM Dec 08, 2012 07:31am
Insulting article... read history before you write...
Manish Dec 07, 2012 11:02pm
He did try every thing and told his daughter,you could not find one worthy muslim men ?Though he was westernised,his daughter hurt his feeling and married her love Mr. Wadia.He was dead agianst this marriage,and was criticized by other more conservetive muslims.
Tirmizi Dec 07, 2012 06:07pm
Read the article again. She had accepted the religion of her Husband. I dont think religion had anything to do with it
Tirmizi Dec 07, 2012 06:06pm
The honorable way is to first ask a father for his daughters hand in marriage. If this is true then Jinnah certainly did the honorable thing. Lastly, Was Jinnah in love? Answer, Rattanbai Petit died on February 15th 1929. Not after the creation of Pakistan. If Jinnah wanted, he had ample time to get married after that but he did not and concentrated in freeing the Muslims.
Muhammad Farooq, ON, Canada Dec 07, 2012 06:58pm
I agree with you Wajid; a normal person will not be so callous; especially towards a person who had sacrificed everything to be his wife..It sounds so weird but who can refute the truth. It is a shocking truth - a rude awakening.
xeroxus Dec 07, 2012 08:54pm
the statement that since Mr Gandhi didn't permit his own granddaughter to marry a muslim man,he was opposed to Mr Jinnah marring a parsee lady is quite inexplicable.nor is mr gandhi's opposition to his granddaughter's marraige common knowledge.source should be mentioned when mentioning people of the stature of Mr Jinnah and Mr Gandhi.Also,why would you assume that the opposition was due to religion.If Mrs Jinnah's dad was a muslim man,could he still not be opposed to the fact that his 18 yr old daughter intended to marry a man 24 yrs her senior,a fact that has been not mentioned.if you allow assumptions about mr gandhi to be published,please allow facts about mr jinnah be published too.
Jawwad Dec 07, 2012 06:22pm
lol, you conveniently forgot Gandhi also did not allow her grand daughter to marry a Muslim. Why about Gandhi's son who was disowened after he became Muslim?
barrista508 Dec 12, 2012 07:17am
That was really a good information which i come to know about Jinnah now only....Very informative message it was.....
Ravi Dec 07, 2012 06:50pm
Bilal.. well said. However, does muslims have that freedom to convert ? Don't have to pay with their life if they want to do same thing ?
Tirmizi Dec 07, 2012 07:24pm
Dina's relationship with her father became strained when Dina expressed her desire to marry a Parsi-born Indian Neville Wadia. Jinnah, a Muslim, tried to dissuade her, but failed. Mahommedali Currim Chagla, who was Jinnah's assistant at the time, recalls: "Jinnah, in his usual imperious manner, told her that there were millions of Muslim boys in India, and she could have anyone she chose. Reminding her father that his wife (Dina's mother Rattanbai), had also been a non-Muslim, a Parsi also coincidently, the young lady replied: 'Father, there were millions of Muslim girls in India. Why did you not marry one of them?' And he replied that, 'she became a Muslim'".
Amman Dec 07, 2012 07:11pm
One thing I could never understand that why a non-muslim girls should merry to muslim men. In doing so they not only lose lots of their personal freedoms but also inficts her future daughters with a quite oppressive religioen and whole lot of backward traditions. Are some women are so short-sighted that they cannot see beyond their own infatuation or love? Or is there an inherent desire in women to be controlled by men.
Salu Dec 07, 2012 02:10pm
Jinnah was more than twice Ruttie's age when he married her,Ruttie was 18 who was innocent and jinnah was aged about her fathers age at 41 years old. Jinnahs and Ruttie father were friends and until jinnah married his daughter. Ruttie was underaged at 16 years (when she fell in love with jinnah) and Jinnah was overaged compared to other youthful men at those times.
Sue Sturgess Dec 10, 2012 09:35am
Love is much more important than any religious faith.
Muhammad Farooq, ON, Canada Dec 07, 2012 06:50pm
In May 1883, the 13-year-old Mohandas K. Ghandhi was married to 14-year-old Kasturbai Makhanji (her first name was usually shortened to "Kasturba", and affectionately to "Ba") in an arranged child marriage, In the process, he lost a year at school. His first child (Harilal) was born when he was 15. No surprise because early marriages were common in those days and are still common in some places in India and Pakistan. At a later stage in life Ghandhi ji had declared himself celibate and since then defended and promoted celibacy - something that was called "abnormal and unnatural" by the first prime minster of independent India, Mr Jawaharlal Nehru. Ghandhi ji's tactics to test his restraints were perverted to say the least.
XYZ Dec 09, 2012 08:04am
Inter faith marriages prove difficult and if the marriage itself survives all the opposition but what faith the kids will belong too, Jinnah's only daughter has never owned Pakistan and probably people here also will not accept her readily so children are uprooted and it becomes hard to survive in the world where more than 80% people belong to one faith or another.
Maria Ahmed Dec 10, 2012 09:20am
i agree with Alam. If that Parsi converted to a Muslim Jinnah would have no problem with that, as that is also allowed in Islam. Though our society is so 'jahil' to accept it.
Fahmina Arshad Dec 07, 2012 01:55pm
A really good read... interesting.
Real Pakistani Dec 10, 2012 08:38am
Irrational Article. Please research quite a bit more before writing.
Agha Ata Dec 07, 2012 01:54pm
If we just love, live and let others love and live, too, the whole problem disappears. Why can't we do that?
Jimmy Dec 10, 2012 07:15am
The problem is Islam. Convert my friends.
Max Dec 07, 2012 01:37pm
I ask the author to do much more research in writing about these love stories and marriages,because I find her completely wrong.The marriage between Jinnah and Rattanbai was completely a flop.
Mubarak Dec 10, 2012 07:00am
The statement made by author that Mohandas Gandhi refused to permit his own granddaughter to marry a Muslim man is completely untrue,check the facts before publishing.
Atif Dec 07, 2012 01:30pm
He didn't married to a non-muslim.
Kamran Dec 07, 2012 01:13pm
Jinnahs wife Rattanbai Petit paid a very heavy price after marrying Jinnah.She lost the relationship with her parents father and mother,She lost her health and finally it was due to jinnah's rejection of her she died.
mandeep Dec 10, 2012 04:39am
A person who could live disowning his own daughter for no crime she committed other than falling for a good looking, well educated gentleman from a very successful and rich business family, can not love anyone. Yes, had Mr Jinnah himself not married a non-Muslim woman and led a life of a pure Muslim, history could have been far more forgiving. The legacy of duplicity and hypocrisy that Mr Jinnah left, is seen in present day Pakistan. Some Pakistanis say it is not Quaid's Pakistan, I say it is very much Quaid's Pakistan.
Shuvojit Dec 07, 2012 10:41am
Now you must analyze Jinnah's thinking, having married a non -muslim himself, he denied the same to his daughter
Bakhtawer Bilal Dec 10, 2012 03:35am
yes, the family name will be Pepsi.
manghirmalani Dec 07, 2012 11:46am
Mohammad Ali Jinnah married, at his mother
manghirmalani Dec 07, 2012 11:49am
She was under aged
Bilal Dec 07, 2012 11:47am
rajesh, why the contradiction here ? Jinnah never said that he was amenable to a change of faith from Islam. Ruttie made a free choice by converting & marrying Jinnah.While he was secular enough to recognize equal rights of other communities he was simultaneously 'muslim' enough to believe that he couldn't allow his daughter to marry a non-muslim even if he wanted to. pretty lame of you to equate this to a contradiction in life!
vishmed Dec 07, 2012 04:46pm
"Similar, if more subtle opposition to the idea of such marriages came from Mohandas Gandhi ". Not sure about this one, and which grand-daughter wanted to marry a Muslim. But definitely opposition to such marriages came from staunch secularist Mohammed Ali Jinnah himself, who did not want his daughter Dina to marry Christian/Parsi Neville Wadia. In fact this led to estranged relations between father and daughter. Interestingly the strong Hindu communalist Bal Thackeray's grand-daughter married a Muslim, and the couple was blessed by Bal Thackeray who attended the wedding.
manghirmalani Dec 07, 2012 11:47am
Rattanbai Petit / Ruttie (
Raj Dec 09, 2012 11:58pm
Jinnah was friend of sir dinshaw almost same age, yet he involve in relationship with his friend`s daughter, which is not very strong moral character of politician like MrJinnah, they do have big age gap as well, while Jinnah was ascending from his youth and she was just teenager, things did not sail very smoothly between them in their marriage, the little girl Dina must have seen this in her childhood, when Dina decided to marry a parsi man, jinnah asked his daughter that ," there are so many good looking smart muslim young men, can not you find one suitable to you" , dina replied her father," there were so many beautiful muslim woman yet you married my mother only." despite being his big admirer , i do not endorse his act of marrying young girl without consent of her family, he eventually eloped with him and got married with her at raja mehmoodabad near lucknow...........
samir Dec 07, 2012 04:21pm
Pls. do. its an open book.
samir Dec 07, 2012 04:18pm
Its common.. when a muslim and non-muslim enter into matrimony.. love takes a backseat for the muslim in favour of this religion whereas the non-muslim sacrifices his/her family/religion for the sake of the person he/she loves. Its always the non-muslim partner who converts to muslim and marries. unfortunately.. this is true and indicates the stubbonery and absolute intolerance of muslims in even the most tender relationships with his/her patner.
Tariq K Sami Dec 07, 2012 04:12pm
What goes on between a married couple can hardly be understood by others. We only see the end result the rest is conjectures. Just for records Jinnah's daughter and his son-in-law came to Ziarat near Quetta where he lay dying. His son in law was allowed in to his bedside where Jinnah thanked him for his visit while his daughter sat sobbing in the reception area. This is so sad. This is the only aspect of Jinnah's life that I found very hard to accept.
Nat Dec 09, 2012 10:57pm
It just shows Jinnah was a human after all. He was capable of feeling all the pleasures and pains, as all the rest of us. What he was, and what he did for Pakistan, should be enough for us. We don't worship him, but we are thankful to him.
Kalid Dec 07, 2012 01:01pm
Jinnah's proposal Jinnah approached Sir Dinshaw with a seemingly abstract question about his views on inter-communal marriages. Sir Dinshaw emphatically expressed his opinion that it would be an ideal solution to inter-communal antagonism. Jinnah could not have hoped for a more favourable response, and immediately asked his friend for his daughter's hand in marriage. M. C. Chagla, who was assisting Jinnah at his chambers in those days, recalled later, "Sir Dinshaw was taken aback. He had not realized that his remarks might have serious personal repercussions. He was most indignant, and refused to countenance any such idea which appeared to him absurd and fantastic." Jinnah pleaded his case, but to no avail. Not only was this the end of the friendship between the two men, but Sir Dinshaw forbade Ruttie to meet Jinnah as long as she lived under his roof. As she was still a minor, the law was on his side but Ruttie and Jinnah met in secret anyway, and decided to wait out the two years until she attained the age of maturity. Converted in Islam Shortly after her eighteenth birthday, Rattanbai converted to Islam and adopted the name Mariam. The above incident concludes that he was a Bigot.Finally he didn't have any contact with his wife and children after partition and left them in India. Rattanbai spent her last years thinking about jinnah and she died due to the jinnah insulting and ignoring her.If Jinnah would have been alive for few more years then he would have re-married again.
Alok Dec 12, 2012 06:28am
Inter faith marriages do work as in the case of Shahrukh Khan and so many others in Bollywood. I've come across one or two ordinary people also with inter faith marriage working well.
S.S.A Dec 09, 2012 10:41pm
Very is it irrelevant? Both opposed their daughters marrying a guy of another faith!!! The important fact is both fathers refused...had Gandhi allowed his grand daughter marrying a Muslim...
S. Qureshi Dec 07, 2012 01:00pm
Very common among the Muslims...
Khan Dec 07, 2012 12:50pm
Can the author enlighten us with the love affair of Gandhi too. Thanks
Hassan Dec 09, 2012 09:21pm
And when did God appoint you to be Judge of people ? You can never really judge a person without examining what lies in their hearts. So from that perspective the only person you can truly judge is yourself. Ever judging yourself..?
Mkd Dec 09, 2012 08:53pm
Jinnahs wife left him alone n separated from him...his daughter left him alone in Pakistan to marry n Indian non Muslim. What a successful marriage , eh
Lovingfather Dec 07, 2012 03:20pm
I would never allow my young innocent girls to fall prey to wicked old men like Jinnah.God willing I will protect my girls and marry them to beautiful young guys who can take care of them till their last breath.
Mountaindew Dec 07, 2012 03:11pm
I request you please don't give wrong information to the readers.You need to provide right information not misinformation.
Zymaidar Dec 07, 2012 03:11pm
What about the affair of Lord Mountbatten's wife?
Alam Dec 09, 2012 08:00pm
Mr Jinnah married a Parsi lady who later converted to Muslim and it is quite acceptable Muslim practice .While Jinnah`s daughter Dina marrying a Parsi man is not acceptable in Islam, therfore Jinnah had problem with it as a Muslim woman can not marry a non Muslim
Pradeep Dec 07, 2012 10:08am
hari Dec 07, 2012 12:12pm
Around iam seeing so many marriages where hindus marry muslim or christian and convert to the other religions. But is it possible for otherside to do the same ? that says something.
Muhammad Farooq Dec 09, 2012 07:14pm
No.In fact, Gandhi ji,( i prefer to call him Bapu), is not relevant in this discussion, however, one reader asked about Gandhi ji and i provided some details to quench his thirst for knowledge. It is not any kind of competition but generally people tend to compare and contrast, You can call it human foible. Even when we are looking at Mr Jinnah's story, we have to be unbiased and if we have to judge him at all, we have to judge him as a human being in a specific set of circumstances and not as the political leader representing a particular community in India. I may please be excused if i offended anyone's good sense. My sincere apologies.
kausik Dec 07, 2012 11:37am
The crust of society mr jinnah grew and settled as a leading Barrisrter in Bombay and virtually secluded from realities of more strickter of less fortunate masses living in differant socio economic structure.With all due credit mr jinnah did not stop marriage of his daughter Parsi eventhogh he ende his realationship with her.Ghandh's one his sonsconverted to IslamI
rajesh Dec 07, 2012 10:13am
The author should have mentioned that the very person about whom she has used as an example could not reconcile with the fact that his daughter married a non-Muslim. The contradiction started right from the beginning.
hinduismglance Dec 07, 2012 10:14am
Where does this piece of roomer comes from? Mohandas Gandhi himself who while not having criticised Jinnah
abbastoronto Dec 09, 2012 05:12pm
Bollywood is replete with stories of Indian Muslim fathers who refuse their daughters the Right to marry whom they wish, with the daughter taking poison to end her life. What is amazing is that how come in every Muslim family of substance, poison was always at hand.
PakistaniAmerican Dec 09, 2012 05:57pm
The writer makes intellectually dishonest arguments and draws conclusions that demonstrate lack of rational judgment. There were many underlying issues to the break up of marriage with faith probably be a small part of it. The personality difference and Jinnah's ambition to use religion to create a political movement, gave him little room to accommodate this marriage. And, the societies in India and Pakistan are generally backward and bigoted, which did not help the matters. Latest example is Imran Khan, he had to leave his Jewish wife since he wants to court religious right in Pakistan. Had Jinnah and Rittie lived a normal life in a civilized societies of West, they would have been fine.
Human Dec 07, 2012 11:22am
Calling Gandhiji... Mohandas Gandhi...sounds just like frustrated British administration.. Rest the idea behind partner choice remains biased by what is taught in a society about other religions, cultures, ethnicity. If Sikhs will always be seen as slayers of Musilms how will they ever be accepted. If lower caste born remain "Shudras" (which meant involve in low grade jobs) even if they turn out to be intellectuals like BR Ambedjkar then we are still stuck in past. If you have to change the faith of the person you love, how can you ever ensure their failth will not change in you. Stop playing god & keep faith in him as he is same for all.
Parvez Dec 07, 2012 11:03am
Extremely complex subject that can be looked at intellectualy from a multitude of angles. Possibly the need is for simplicity of thought highlighting the ' good ' points for this to be understood and for mixed unions to work. At the same time down playing the ' bad ' points that religion, caste, ethnicity etc, are made to create.
Muhammad Farooq, ON, Canada Dec 07, 2012 02:34pm
Thank you Ms Rafia Zakaria, this one is thought provoking, interesting read > the concept of freedom is very fluid, very subjective, very relative, only the ppl involved in any specific situation can take a decision based on their own perception of freedom and decency in their our surroundings and circumstances. This is for sure that norms are not as restrictive as they were 100 years ago and our society is more permissive than ever before.
BRR Dec 07, 2012 02:32pm
The age difference between Jinnah and Ruthie indicates that Jinnah may have mistaken youthful crush and infatuation to love. In fact, Jinnah did not loose much, but Ruthie was the real loser - she had to give up her own religion as well as family. Muslim men do not convert, and muslim men don't give up much.
moina Dec 07, 2012 11:00am
wow that was a must read
zak Dec 07, 2012 10:56am
yes agreed. what an uproar it wouldve been if she was Muslim and were to marry a non-muslim. probably been life-threatening for the woman! introvertedness, intolerance is deeply rooted in our psyche. This was probably realised by her daughter who with her mothers tacit blessings rebelled and later married a non-muslim never to live in the country her father created.
Lily Dec 13, 2012 08:10am
What about those who fall for somebody who is only Muslim on the surface but does not really believe in it? Him not being able to be himself because of social pressures.
kausik Dec 07, 2012 11:14am
Rajesh is correct as his daughter married a parsi she loved nothing wrong with that and she happily settled in india..I completely agree with author the concept of fitting into communities.I personalyy think the hindu vedatic philosophy absorbs all religions due to wide encompassing latitude in philosophy in form of DWAITA,ADVITAand visistadwita have philosophical components sismilar to islam,so his daughter did the same as him and nothing wrong with that.Few are aware that Gandhi's son became Muslim and reconverted communities should encourage intermingling