Madar-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah


Today is the 57th death anniversary of the Madar-e-Millat
(Mother of the Nation) Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah

Most of the people know Fatima Jinnah as younger sister of the founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam but she has much more worthy to mention about her life. She actively participated in the struggle for the liberation of the sub-continent and in Pakistan Movement. Her courageous role motivated the women in the very conservative society of the sub-continent for taking part into the politics. She became a role model specially for the Muslim women for playing their role for the creation of Pakistan.
Early Life
Fatima Jinnah was born in Karachi on July 31, 1893. After the death of her father in 1901, Quaid-i-Azam became her guardian and he admitted her in the Bandra Convent in 1902. In 1919 Fatima Jinnah gained admission to the highly competitive University of Calcutta where she studied in the Dr. R. Ahmed Dental College from where she obtained a degree in dental surgery in 1923 and became the first female dentist in the sub-continent. She also practiced as dental surgeon in Bombay (Mumbai). After the death of Quaid-i-Azam’s wife Ruttie Petit in 1929, Fatima Jinnah closed her clinic and devoted herself to take care of her brother and her niece Dina Jinnah. Since then the companionship of brother and sister lasted until the death of Quaid-i-Azam on 11 September 1948.
Political Career
Fatima Jinnah accompanied Quaid-i-Azam to his every public appearance whether its political or social. She travelled to London in 1930 where Quaid-i-Azam was participating in First Round Table Conference. When Quaid-i-Azam returned to India and started organizing the Muslim League, Fatima Jinnah’s companionship of her brother entered into a new phase. She accompanied him everywhere and vigorously participated in political activities, her public appearance motivated and infused a new spirit among the Muslim women for playing their role into the political affairs of the Muslim nation. She believed that it was necessary for both men and women to contribute their full share for the well being of the society.
In 1938 under the leadership of Fatima Jinnah, the Muslim League created a Muslim Women’s Sub-committee, which remained active until the creation of Pakistan. When the All India Muslim League was being organized, Fatima Jinnah became a member of the Working Committee of Bombay Provincial Muslim League and worked with it until 1947. In March 1940 she also attended the historic Lahore Resolution of the Muslim League and it was because of her effort that the All India Muslim Students Federation was organized in February 1941 at Delhi. In 1942 she also attended All India Muslim League Punjab Convention in Faisalabad (Lyallpur).
After the independence of Pakistan Fatima Jinnah co-founded the All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA). After the death of her brother, she was a prominent philanthropist, but was not politically active until 1960s.
Back to Politics
In the 1960s, Fatima Jinnah came back to the political life. During Ayoub’s dictatorship major notable politicians were forced to quit politics or disqualified through EBDO. At this moment she decided to challenge the dictatorship and stand for the democracy and fundamental rights of the people. Fatim Jinnah was chosen as the candidate of the presidency of Pakistan by the Combined Opposition Parties (COP) against the then President General Muhammad Ayub Khan. She criticized the validity of the Presidential system which she stated had to be abolished and replaced by the old Parliamentary System. Fatima Jinnah generated the feelings of hope among the people of East & West Pakistan and crowds in all cities gathered in large numbers to see her. In Dhaka around 250,000 people flocked to see her. Although she lost the election as it was indirect election and only BD members were to cast vote. But she won the heart of the nation and earned respect from the nation for the sacrifice and struggle that marked her life.
Throughout her life, she remained a selfless and sincere worker for the cause of Pakistan and the good of its people. During Pakistan movement her appearance and participation had encouraged the women to come out and serve the people by playing their role in the national life.
Her legacy is her support for civil rights, her struggle in Pakistan Movement and her devotion to her brother.
Fatima Jinnah remained exceptionally popular and is considered one of the greatest female person. She was a source of the awakening of women’s rights. She devoted
her entire life for Pakistan. Her charisma will inspire the future generation.
She rose to stand as Pakistan’s national symbol, and received tremendous honour from the society after her death. As a tribute to her many institutions and public spaces have been named in her honour.
Madr-e-Millat, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah passed away at the age of 74 years on July 9, 1967. Her death was extremely suspicious. Wife of S. M. Zafar, Syeda Fatima who gave bath to Fatima jinnah, revealed that she had deep injuries and her clothes were full of blood. But Ayoub government did not initiate any inquiry to ascertain the actual cause of death and disavow the speculations and that is why people consider it a political murder.
She was laid to rest next to her brother at the Mazaar-e-Quaid in Karachi.