Written a lot has been what Dina Jinnah was. So let’s take a look at what she was not.
She was not a crass opportunist; she was not a power-grabber; she was not an exploiter of her father’s political inheritance; she did not seek the limelight, nor did she employ a PR team of sycophants to endlessly project her. The privacy of her life puts to shame all the privileged, spoiled children who have made hay by virtue of dynastic privileges.
Two prominent female politicians of the Indian subcontinent, Indira and BB, would not have been where they were but for hereditary encashment. With all the incessant chatter of women’s lib and feminism surrounding Hillary Clinton, would she on her own merit, personality, and skills have made it that far without the Clinton machine derivative from her husband’s presidency, which, in effect, hijacked the Democratic Party? Ask Joe Biden.
Dina was a zero beneficiary of the nation her father created. None from the Quaid’s immediate family profited from Pakistan. In striking contrast, those who didn’t believe in Pakistan, who worked against it and tried to undermine the validity of Muslim nationhood, have lived and are living the high life of Riley.
GK Chesterton described gratitude as the mother of all virtues. My father, Col. Amjad Hussain Sayed, was the last surviving delegate to the watershed 1937 Lucknow Session of the Muslim League and was at the forefront of student activism during his days at Islamia College, Lahore, during the 1930’s. In June 2017, he kept telling us during his last days, “Never give up on Pakistan and follow blindly the path of the Quaid.” He was an eyewitness to how disempowered the Muslim community was during his youth days, and how so many hit the jackpot with Pakistan’s creation. “Ungrateful nation,” was his common refrain.
The latest fashion is to call Quaid merely “Jinnah”. This, too, in a culture where ‘Adab’ (respect) of elders is central. Yet, these are the same ones who grovel before their immediate bosses and power-wielders, taking particular care to add the honorific suffix, “Sahib.”
Muslims – despite being the largest global religious group – are over-matched and outclassed in the diplomatic and socio-political realm. The Arab world, despite its fabulous riches, has a crushing leadership deficit.
Travelling through Cornwall in England, I discovered that its current Lord-Lieutenant is Colonel Edward Bolitho. He is the grandson of Sir Edward Bolitho who was also Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall from 1936 to 1962. Bolitho is a Cornish name and it reminded me of New Zealander Hector Bolitho, who in 1954 wrote a lucid and readable biography, “Jinnah, Creator of Pakistan.”
Quaid’s appeal was transcendental – of one nation, one people, one flag. Today, fissiparous tendencies are being allowed to flourish. The bondage of the provokers of discord (Fitna) has to be curbed, along with incendiary rhetoric.
The core of the Quaid’s character lived on and never wavered through the near 100-years of Dina Jinnah, who did not let a whiff of unethical conduct come near her. Till the end, she remained a true daughter of the Quaid.