LONDON: Dina Wadia, the daughter and only child of Quaidi-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, passed away inLondon onThursday,ExpressNewsreported quoting ‘family sources’. She was 98.
Dina was born on the night between August 14 and 15 in 1919 and according to historian Stanely Wolpert, “She made a dramatic entry into the world, announcing her arrival when her parents were enjoying a movie at a local theatre in London.”
After marrying to a Parsi businessman she stayed in India and subsequently moved to the UnitedKingdom.She visitedPakistan upon the death of the Quaid, and then only once again in 2004, during the Musharraf era. Jinnah had raisedDina alone after hisseparation fromRattanbai and her subsequent demise.
He loved her deeply, but their relationship had become strained after Dina fell in love with andmarried an Indian Parsi named Neville Wadia at the age of 17. Dina and Neville lived in Mumbai and had two children, a boy and a girl, before the couple divorced. Dina had first visited Pakistan in 1948, when the yearold country had lost its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
The last time she visited Pakistan was in 2004, accompanied by her son, Nasli Wadia, and grandchildren, Jehangir and Ness. After visiting the mausoleum of her father, she had written in the visitors’ book: “This has been very sad and wonderful for me. May his [Jinnah’s] dream for Pakistan come true.”
Dina was born in London shortly after midnight on the morning of August 15, 1919 to the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his second wife Rattanbai Petit (known as ‘Maryam Jinnah’ after her marriage). 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.” She was a dark-eyed beauty, lithe and winsome. She had her mother’s smile and was pert or petulant as only an adored child is wont to be.
Dina’s paternal great grandfather, Premjibhai “Meghji” Thakkar, was a Hindu of Lohana caste, who converted to Islam, and became a Khoja Shia, in the 19th century.While, hermaternal grandparents were Parsi, who disowned her mother, Rattanbai, when she married Jinnah and converted to Islam. Her paternal grandparents were from Gujarat, who moved to Karachi for business in the mid 1870s, where her father,Jinnah, was born. Her father, Jinnah, and her aunt, Fatima, are extremely important andwell-respected figures in Pakistan, who started the Pakistanmovement.Jinnah’sstruggle for Muslims eventually led the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
Jinnah became the founder aswell as the firstGovernorGeneral ofPakistan. Jinnah and Fatima, were also bestowed with the titles “Father oftheNation” and “Mother of the Nation” respectively. In 1947 whenPakistanwasfounded,Dina Wadia had opted for Indian citizenship.Wadia’srelationshipwith herfather, according to uncorroborated accounts, but claimed by Muhammed Ali Currim Chagla, had fallen apartwhen she chose to marry a Parsi, Neville Wadia.
Though Jinnah never sent a legal notice disowning her, their correspondence after her marriage became formal. Her father addressed her formally as Mrs Wadia. Her son, Nusli Wadia, is a prominent businessman and is often named in the list of India’s most successful ones. He is also one ofthemost prominent among the Parsi community.