22 thoughts on “Rest in Peace Dina Wadia”

  1. I think Jinnah was a patriotic well intentioned man. He wanted a plural diverse Pakistan (over 40% nonmuslim) with lots of Anglos staying on as patriotic Pakistani citizens; or at least as dual Pakistani/UK citizens. The world would be much better off today had Jinnah’s dream been realized.

    1. No. Jinnah was an awful, both personally and politically. Desi Muslim idolatry of Jinnah should stop.

      First, at a personal level, he was a contemptible hypocrite. He disowned his own daughter, and barely saw her again, because she married outside her religion for love. This is the same freakin thing Jinnah did! A man who cannot extend unconditional love to his children, who casts them out for following their hearts, is a cold and callous human being, and not a leader worth following.

      Second, at a tactical level, Jinnah was a brute. He didn’t care about the murder and ethnic cleansing of non-muslims. Direct action day was basically a call for bengali Muslims to kill their Hindu neighbours. And Jinnah did nothing to stop the ethnic cleansing of the Sindhi Hindu community of Karachi – even though he had just made a speech saying they were free to go to their temples. Pakistan follows Jinnah’s hypocritical vision to this day, giving lip service to tolerance while facilitating massacres of Ahmadis, Hazaras, Christians and other minorities.

      Lastly, Jinnah strategic vision was evil. His goal, to have the Hindus of an undivided Punjab/Bengal serve as hostages for the good treatment of Muslims in India would have had innocent non Muslim Pakistanis punished for the actions of a foreign government. It’s illiberal, it’s awful, thank God he failed.

      Jinnah was a bad human being, a bad leader, and a bad role model. Many of the worst aspects of modern Pakistan — the hypocrisy, tolerance of violence, and the sheer cruelty of the elites, come directly from Jinnah’s vision and practices

      1. Jinnah was no saint but he was also not the devil himself as your comment seems to imply. First and foremost, he was a lawyer fighting a case for a separate homeland for the Muslims of British India. The “two nation theory” and all else flows from that. Rather than demonizing Jinnah it would be better to focus on the many reasons why the “Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity” become the founder of a separate Muslim majority nation. Congress and the British had a role to play in that as well. As for the violence surrounding Partition, one can call Jinnah naive for not anticipating that such a thing would happen, but there is no evidence that he didn’t care about non-Muslim deaths.

        As for his disowning of Dina for marrying a non-Muslim, one doesn’t have to agree with this behavior to understand where he was coming from. Yes, Jinnah himself married a Parsi but she became Muslim prior to the marriage. Muslim men are allowed to marry women from the “people of the book” even without them converting. Muslim women are not allowed to marry outside the faith. Jinnah would have accepted Neville Wadia had he become a Muslim. Additionally, there is the factor that it would have been politically very bad for the leader of British India’s Muslims to have a daughter marry outside the faith. While it is certainly tragic that relations between father and daughter were permanently soured, it is a personal matter between father and daughter. If the late Dina Wadia accepted and understood his behavior, the rest of us should be able to as well.

        It is ironic that Dina Wadia, who never identified with Pakistan, is now being treated as the “daughter of Pakistan” after death simply because she descended from the Quaid-e-Azam. Why be so desperate to adopt someone who didn’t want to be adopted?

          1. India isn’t “mired in its past”? Mr. Modi talks about “1000 years of colonization” and politicians still discuss whether the Taj Mahal “represents Indian culture”. They seem to have an obsession with the period of Muslim rule…

            But yes, we need to move forward.

          2. Putting on my “Pakistani Hat” does it matter what India says or does; why not just focus on growth like China?

        1. Kabir, Yes, it’s a one sided anti-jinnah polemic, but with a purpose. Jinnah’s vision is a useful club against Islamist tendencies, which is fine. — a lot of what is right about Pakistan comes from Jinnah’s precedents and vision. But also a lot of what is wrong.

          (And please ditch the whataboutism –Nehru was a deracinated adulterer; Patel a communalist bigot who supported mutual hostage-taking; Congress was a conduit for the Hindu Raj. But those are separate discussions.)

          1. Ikram,

            I am glad that you have yourself admitted that your post was unfair to the Quaid-e-Azam. One should resist painting the founder of a nation of 200 million people in a such a harsh and offensive light. Jinnah gained for Pakistanis a separate country where we can live free of Hindu domination, and for that he will always be revered. His achievements far outweigh his personal faults.

            I am honestly not that interested in the personal lives of our leaders. Nehru may or may not have committed adultery, but that has nothing to do with his politics. The far more interesting question is whether if Congress had responded differently to some of the legitimate demands of British India’s Muslims, would Pakistan have been necessary?

      2. Where is the proof about the “hostages in Pakistan”?

        Quaid-e-Azam made too many Faustian pacts.

      3. pardey meiN rehney do,
        pardaa na uThao…
        pardaa jo uTh gya
        to bhed khul jayega…
        Allah! meri tauba,
        Maula! meri tauba

      4. He didn’t care about the murder and ethnic cleansing of non-muslims. Direct action day was basically a call for bengali Muslims to kill their Hindu neighbours.

        Not really ethnic cleansing, since the ethnicity on either side of the religious line is similar/same.

        I found his decision about his daughter’s marriage [given his own] amusingly contradictory too. However I think that’s just a more patriarchal Westerly South Asian thing anyway. Do as I say; not as I do. I don’t think it was really a hyper-religious bigotry that motivated it. To be honest, a lot of the South Asians from that side of the map that I’ve met have ideas that are similar.

        I’d say Jinnah was just a rather over-rated and failed leader, rather than the devil incarnate. I think so many “credit” him where he did not do half as much to get things off the ground. They are giving him way too much acclaim for things he was a part of; but not master [as is made out]. Oddly enough, I think Jinnah is over-rated in the same way Nehru is under-rated for his influence over proceedings.

  2. A man who cannot extend unconditional love to his children, who casts them out for following their hearts, is a cold and callous human being, and not a leader worth following.


  3. This is the weakest item in my bill against Jinnah, mostly because he was so cagey about “Pakistan” before August 1947.

    Khaliquzzaman said it in front of Jinnah in his speech seconding the Lahore Resolution and very often afterwards (see page 182 of Jalal’s Sole spokesman and this Frontline article by Noorani, which both cite the primary sources)


    (Jalal has edged away from the term hostage in recent years see this interview from April — https://herald.dawn.com/news/1153717 )

    My view is that Jinnah reaped the Muslim vote in UP on the “hostage” promise and he knew it. It is how he got my grandparents’ votes. As Kabir said, he was very lawyerly, and he the at hand to win his case.

    Note, once he was GG of the real life “moth eaten Pakistan”, Jinnah was very clearly against the mutual hostages theory. He provided the same lip service to minorities as today’s Pakistani politicians, which didn’t do much good for Sindhi Hindus then, and isn’t doing much for Hazaras now.

  4. Hey don’t diss Jinnah 🙂 Gandhi loved him and tried to make Jinnah India’s first Prime Minister. Nehru didn’t let Gandhi do that.

    Question for all, including Razib, Butal, Slapstik, Zachary, Omar, Kabir, Ikram. Would South Asia and the world have been better off had India stayed united; and had Jinnah been India’s first PM?

    1. Anan,

      In some obvious ways South Asia would have been better off if Partition hadn’t happened. A lot of lives would have been spared and people would not have to flee their homes. The several wars between India and Pakistan would not have occurred. The Kashmir dispute would also not have existed in the way that it currently does.

      On the other hand, Pakistan provided a place for the Muslim minority in British India to govern ourselves in accordance with our own laws and culture and without the threat of Hindu domination in a democratic united India. It is a very different thing to live in a country that is 97% Muslim than to live in one that is 85% Hindu. Despite the problems that Pakistan currently faces, I doubt most Pakistanis would rather the country not exist and that we be governed from Delhi. I would guess that most Bangladeshis would also prefer being governed from Dhaka to being governed from Delhi.

    2. Would South Asia and the world have been better off had India stayed united; and had Jinnah been India’s first PM?

      A firm NO to both, because India on that scale pretty much IS united, and it’s still not some global awe-inspiring place to live or country. It MAY have been a lot more messy. From a Bangladeshi perspective, I think we can just about tolerate gripes with a central government in Dhaka; it would be a total other level of intolerance for such governance were the general inefficiency to take place far away somewhere else [look at ‘United’ Pakistan].

      As for the second bit, I’m not sure what Jinnah has done to be so celebrated as the highest on the pantheon of leadership [so as to lead a United South Asia]. I’m a huge fan of our General Zia, who I consider to be a great leader, however it was clearly not the most democratic of setups when he took over. You’d have to split up different characteristics of leadership, and probably find that people who scored highly on one scale did badly in others.

      Mujibur Rahman was remarkably charismatic and a wordsmith. He could rile the masses emphatically. But he pretty much sucked as a leader in other components; his ideas were a confused mish-mash of half-understood concepts. Zia got practically every direction he steered the country towards economically correct [in the broadest sense], and was an excellent administrator. But he lacked the influence and personality of the former.

      So which is the better leader? Hard to say. Different circumstances call for different things. Wartime leadership from Mujib was absolutely crucial to the country. However he was not particularly useful in peacetime.

      In any case, I think general institutional strength and quality, as well as various set-ups [legal, educational, medical etc.] is far more important for a country than “good leaders”. Good leaders come and go. But institutions remain and adapt. In the end Jinnah would probably be too divisive anyway, and I’m not sold on his abilities as an administrator.

Comments are closed.

Brown Pundits