Published On: Fri, Nov 3rd, 2017

Jinnah’s Daughter Dina Passed Away in New York


Dina passed awayDina passed away at her home in New York on Thursday. Dina Wadia the estranged daughter of Quaid-i-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah has left behind a son and a daughter. She also has great grandsons Ness and Jeh Wadia. Dina passed away at the age of 98.

Ms Wadia stayed in India after partition. She has visited Pakistan only twice, in 1948 when Jinnah died and in 2004.

She had troublesome relations with her father, and they grew further apart over the issue of her marriage with Neville Wadia. The main reason was that Neville came from Zoroastrian background. Dina stood up against her father’s advice against her marriage to him.

Ms Wadia got settled in New York after divorcing her husband and shared her time between New York, London and Mumbai. She had wanted to live her remaining time in the house Mr. Jinnah built in Mumbai, which Jinnah left to his sister Fatima Jinnah.

However, Indian courts did not alloy her to live there. She appealed that Mr Jinnah’s will was not registered in court therefore was not legally binding. The Indian government rejected this, stating that “the late Fatima Jinnah was his rightful legal heir as Jinnah had willed the house to her. Only Fatima or her legal heir could have applied for restoration of the property.”

The Indian assertion over the house saw Mr Jinnah as an “important historical figure.” Furthermore, it was said that “competing claims based on sentiments attached to his legacy, like that of the Pakistan government.”

The India affidavit said, “While the Indian government respects these sentiments, it cannot yield to them and has therefore decided to convert the bungalow into a South Asian center for arts and culture, which will foster and nurture the shared cultural ethos of the South Asian region.”

Ms Wadia persisted with her claim and pleaded that she is the only heir of the property and should be allowed to live there. She even wrote to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, requesting him to return her the property.

Quaid’s wife, Rattanbai, a Parsi who converted to Islam to marry him in 1918, died in 1929 at the age of 29. After her death, Dina, who was born in London in 1919, was brought up Fatima Jinnah. Dina married Neville Wadia at the All Saints’ Church in Bombay, 1938.

Muhammad Currim Chagla, who was Jinnah’s assistant at the time, wrote: “Jinnah, in his usual imperious manner, told Dina that there were millions of Muslim boys in India, and she could have anyone she chose. But she reminded her father he had married a non-Muslim, to which Jinnah replied that “she did embrace Islam’.”

Dina Wadia visited Pakistan in 2014, along with her grandsons. She went to Karachi and visited Quaid’s Mazar and laid a laurel.

She wrote in the visitors’ book, “This has been very sad as well as wonderful for me. May his (Quaid’s) dream for Pakistan come true.” She also visited grave of Fatima Jinnah.

She also went to the hall where private belongings of Mr Jinnah are on display. She liked three pictures there. One of the pictures shows Dina with her parents, another is that of her mother while the third, which she liked the most, depicts the Quaid-i-Azam dictating a letter to someone.

She also visited Flagstaff House and the Quaid’s birthplace, Wazir Mansion. She requested her tour to be private and no media was allowed. It is indeed a sad news that Dina passed away as she was the only heir of Quaid-i-Azam. It is the end of the legacy.

About the Author

- Junaid Ashraf has a Master of Philosophy degree in government and public policy. He has international publications through Taylor & Francis, a leading British publishing body. He regularly write columns for newspapers. His interests include international political economy, geopolitics and good governance. He writes for Asia Times.