Who was Fatima Jinnah?
Fatima Ali Jinnah is generally regarded as the 'Mother of Pakistan'. Born to a large family in what was then a colonial territory, Fatima grew up with very strong-minded men. After her father died, she was enrolled in a disciplinarian school where she received high quality education. She later parleyed her knowledge to win a coveted spot at a prestigious university, from where she later graduated with flying colors. Utilizing her education, Fatima became a pioneer by opening one of the first dental clinics operated by a Muslim woman, in her native country of India. Later, as her brother rose to prominence in regional politics, she followed him across the world and then back home again after he successfully founded a new country. Continuing her devotion to his ideals, Fatima continued to engage herself in charitable work after her brother's sudden and untimely death. Finally, in the later years of her life, she rose to political prominence when she challenged a military dictator who had her nation in his iron grip. Although she failed to win the election, she was hailed nationwide as a patriotic hero and an inspiration to millions. After her death, she became a source of universal respect and admiration
Childhood & Early Life
Fatima Ali Jinnah was born on 30th July 1893, in Karachi, British India. She was the youngest of seven surviving children: Muhammad Ali, Ahmad Ali, Bunde Ali, Rahmat Ali, Maryam, Fatima and Shireen.
Her mother was named Mithibai and her father was named Jinnahbhai Poonja. When their father died in 1901, her brother Muhammad Ali Jinnah became her legal guardian.
At age 9, Fatima was sent to live in the ‘Bandra Convent’ in Bombay. In 1919, Jinnah enrolled in the ‘University of Calcutta’. Her field of study was dentistry.
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In 1923, she graduated from university and opened a dental clinic in Bombay.
In 1929, Jinnah closed her dental clinic to take care of her brother full-time. She was prompted to do this after his wife’s demise.
In 1930, when her brother Muhammed Ali moved to London, she followed. She stayed there four years and perfected her English.
In 1940, she attended a session of the ‘Muslim League’ in Lahore. A year later, she founded the ‘All India Muslim Women Students Federation’ in Delhi.
In 1947, when India became independent from Britain, Fatima became much more politically active. She formed the ‘Women's Relief Committee’.
At the same time, her brother and guardian, Muhammed Ali Jinnah founded the nation of Pakistan. She attended most of his public rallies and speeches.
In 1948, she toured refugee camps in Kashmir. Afterwards, she pushed her brother to accept more immigrants into the country.
After her brother's death on September 11, 1948, she continued her work with charitable organizations.
In 1949, she organized a festival as part of world health day. She did this to promote better prenatal and newborn health in her country.
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In 1955, Jinnah helped organize a committee to help victims of a flood in East Pakistan. Two years later, he helped raise funds to build a number of hospitals and clinic to treat victims of tuberculosis.
In 1960, she was elected as a member of parliament. Fatima ran as an independent candidate. She held the position for seven years.
In 1962, the constitution was amended. Democratic elections for president were scheduled for three years hence.
In 1965, Jinnah ran for President of Pakistan. She was the candidate for a group of opposition parties. She narrowly lost the election to Ayub Khan. Because the voting tallies for Jinnah and Khan had been so close, Jinnah's campaign called for a recount of the votes. Khan ultimately remained president.
In 1967, Jinnah gave a historical speech to the nation. She warned that 'cowards die many deaths, the valiant never taste death but once', a sharp jab at the ruling president.
On July 9, 1967, Jinnah died after a brief illness.
Fatima Jinnah is widely considered as the spiritual role model for women in her native Pakistan. She dedicated her entire life to the service of poor and weak. She used her education and position to create awareness regarding women and prenatal health among other social issues.
Personal Life & Legacy
Fatima never married and spent the majority of her life caring for her brother. Because of her fame for being such a devout sister, she is known today as the 'Mother of Pakistan'. In 1986, Jinnah's biography of her brother, 'My Brother', was published posthumously.
There are four schools of higher learning in Pakistan named after Jinnah, including a dental college. There is also a park named after her in Islamabad, where houses her tomb.
There are several conspiracy theories about how Fatima Jinnah died. Close to a million people attended Jinnah's funeral.
Some people accused Fatima of being overprotective of her brother. Other sources say that she was 'beastly' and 'bickered constantly' with her brother.