Dina Wadia

Dina Wadia
Born August 15, 1919 (1919-08-15) (age 92)
London, United Kingdom
Known for being the only child of Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Dina Wadia (born August 15, 1919) is the daughter of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan, and Rattanbai Petit.


Early life

Dina was born in London shortly after midnight on the morning of August 15, 1919. As Stanley Wolpert's Jinnah of Pakistan records: "Oddly enough, precisely twenty-eight years to the day and hour before the birth of Jinnah's other offspring, Pakistan". Her premature arrival was unexpected—her parents were at the theatre, but "were obliged to leave their box hurriedly."

According to Wolpert, referring to Jinnah's time in London in 1930-33, "Dina was [Jinnah's] sole comfort, but Dina was away at school most of the time and home only for brief holidays. She was a dark-eyed beauty, lithe and winsome. She had her mother's smile and was pert or petulant as only an adored, pampered daughter could be to her doting father. He had two dogs, one formidable black Doberman, the other a white West Highland Terrier".

In November 1932, Jinnah read H. C. Armstrong's biography of Kemal Atatürk, Grey Wolf, and seemed to have found his own reflection in the story of Turkey's great modernist leader. It was all he talked about for a while at home, even to Dina, who consequently nicknamed him 'Grey Wolf'. Being only thirteen, her way of cajolingly pestering him to take her to High Road to see Punch and Judy was, "Come on, Grey Wolf, take me to a pantomime; after all, I am on my holidays." [Wolpert]

Jinnah raised his daughter as a Muslim. According to Jinnah's chauffeur Bradbury, Jinnah asked his sister, Fatima, "to teach her niece, Dina (Jinnah’s only daughter) about Islam and The Holy Qur'an".[1]

Jinnah with daughter Dina

Rift with her father

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, 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'".

It is said (by Jinnah's associate M C Chagla in " Roses in December") that when Dina married Neville, Jinnah said to her that she was not his daughter any more.It has not been corroborated by any other source. Jinnah allegedly disowned her and the father-daughter relationship became extremely formal after she married.But the legal notice of disowning never came which is essential for legal purposes. They did correspond, but he addressed her formally as 'Mrs. Wadia'. Dina and Neville lived in Mumbai and had two children, a boy and a girl. Dina's son Nusli Wadia became a Christian, but converted back to Zoroastrianism and settled in the industrially wealthy Parsi community of Mumbai. Dina did not travel to Pakistan until her father's funeral in Karachi in September 1948. Their relationship is a matter of legal conjecture and hair splitting as Pakistani laws allow for a person to be disinherited for leaving Islam (hence no claim on pakistani properites of Jinnah) and Indian laws recognizing religion's traditional succession rules to operate.

Jinnah mansion dispute

After Jinnah returned to Mumbai from England to take charge of the Muslim League, he built himself a palatial mansion in Mumbai, which became his residence during the politically momentous decade preceding the creation of Pakistan. The house was designed by Claude Batley, a British architect, and was built in 1936 at a total cost of Rs. 200,000/-. The 2.5 acre (10,000 m²) property, "South Court", overlooking the sea and located at 2, Bhausaheb Hirey Marg (then Mount Pleasant Road), Malabar Hill, is in Mumbai's most expensive real estate. In 1948, it was leased to the British Deputy High Commission which occupied it till 1982.

Successive Pakistani governments have often expressed deep interest in acquiring the property for sentimental reasons. During his visit to India, President Pervez Musharraf had renewed Pakistan's claim to the house which the president had suggested to Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee should be given to Pakistan so that it could be turned into a consulate.

However, this came to naught: Dina Wadia (who lives in New York City), the allegedly disowned daughter of Jinnah, wrote to the Indian prime minister demanding that the house on the Malabar Hill, now worth $60 million, be handed over to her.[citation needed]

Present times

In March 2004, Dina came to Lahore, Pakistan to watch a cricket match between Pakistan and India. She considered "cricket diplomacy" to be an enthralling dimension that illustrated an entirely new phase in relations between India and Pakistan. But she and her son Nusli Wadia chose not to share their thoughts with the public on what was certainly a highly emotional encounter. Dina had not travelled to Pakistan since her father's funeral in September 1948. A great sense of drama was embedded in an old woman's visit, as a foreigner, to a country that was founded by her father.

Dina along with her son, Nusli Wadia and grandsons Ness Wadia and Jehangir Wadia visited the mausoleum of her father to pay homage. She also visited museum located within premises of the mausoleum and saw the articles used by her illustrious father. In the visitors' book, Dina wrote: "This has been very sad and wonderful for me. May his dream for Pakistan come true." This would appear to be a very appropriate summation of a life-experience that is essentially inexplicable. Reports said that she asked for copies of three pictures she saw in the mausoleum's antiquities room. In one picture, she is standing with her father and aunt, Fatima Jinnah. The other is a painting of her mother, Rattanbai Petit. In the third, her father is dictating a letter, showing, in a sense, Mohammad Ali Jinnah's political persona.[2] Recently she has been involved in litigation regarding Jinnah House claiming that Hindu Law is applicable to Jinnah as he was a Khoja Shia.[3]

Bibliographic references

  1. ^ "Jinnah & Islam" - Mr. Qutbuddin Aziz quoting Bradbury who had been chauffeur during his London years (1930-35)
  2. ^ Dina Wadia visits mausoleum of Quaid - Dawn Pakistan
  3. ^ Muslim law does not apply to Jinnah, says daughter

External links

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