One of the most fascinating characters in the initial saga of the painful birth of Pakistan is Fatima Jinnah, the frail-looking, graceful but gritty sister of the founder of the nation, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. She was a passionate political worker, a determined activist for women’s rights and a qualified dental surgeon to boot.
Fatima Jinnah was born in Karachi on 30th July 1893. Jinnah had seven siblings. Mohammad Ali Jinnah was the eldest one in the family, and Fatima Jinnah was the 2nd last child of the family. In this family of seven siblings, she was the closest one to Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Her well-known and respected brother became her guardian after the death of their father in 1901. Fatima Jinnah joined the Bandara convert in Bombay in 1902 where she remained in hostels as her parents had died. In 1919 she got admitted to the highly competitive University of Calcutta where she attended the Dr.R.Ahmad dental college. After she graduated from there, she went with her idea of opening a dental clinic in Bombay in 1923.
She lived with her elder brother Mohammad Ali Jinnah until 1919. At that time Jinnah married Rattanbai. Latter on Rattenbai died after eleven years in February 1929. Fatima Jinnah then closed her clinic and winded. She took the charge of Jinnah’s house and went to his bungalow. After that, the relation between brother and sister became an example as their companionship lasted until the death of his bro Mohammad Ali Jinnah on 11 September 1948. Quaid-e-Azam once said about his sister, “My sister was like a bright ray of light and hope whenever I came back home and me her. Anxieties would have been much greater and my health much worse, but for the restraint imposed by her.” In all Hazrat Fatima Jinnah lived with her brother for about 28 years. The Quaid would discuss various problems with her sister mostly on the breakfast and dinner table. She didn’t only live with her brother but she also accompanied her brother on numerous tours. She also joined him in London when he remained there after the second round table conference in 1932.
Miss Jinnah worked tirelessly for the movement and was able to win respect and recognition within and outside the AIML. However, after the movement was able to achieve a separate Muslim country in 1947, Miss Jinnah’s existence as a Pakistani was wrought with disappointments, disillusionment and eventual isolation.
She returned to the forefront of political life in 1960. Her opponent was Ayub Khan and she addressed him as a dictator. Fatima Jinnah anyhow lost the election because of the unfair means used by Ayub Khan, so he became the president of Pakistan. That was a huge setback for the people of Pakistan. Had the elections been held through the direct ballot, Fatima Jinnah would have won it very easily and she would b the president of Pakistan. The elections were rigged in the favor of Ayub Khan. The Syed race people said that they will support Ayub in the election but Fatima Jinnah said that she can represent them better than Ayub Khan. Both the Quaid and his sister avoided a sectarian label.
She was known as Madar-e-Millat or mother of the nation. Fatima Jinnah’s name is an important one among the leaders of the Pakistan Movement. She is the most loved one for being the closest supporter of her brother and founder of Pakistan and the leader of all India Muslims Quaid-e-Azam. Fatima Jinnah’s contribution to the social development sector has been ignored. She along with Begum Liaqat Ali Khan made the greatest contribution in the realm of women’s awakening and participation in national affairs.