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'Fearless' Dina Wadia, Mohammad Ali Jinnah's only daughter and Nusli's mother, passes away at 98 in New York

Dina Wadia, the daughter of Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, passed away at her home in New York on Thursday, a spokesperson of Wadia group said. She was 98.

Dina, who had married Bombay-based Parsi businessman Neville Wadia over her father's objection and stayed back in India after Partition, is survived by her daughter Diana N Wadia, son Nusli N Wadia, her grandsons Ness and Jeh Wadia and two great-grandchildren Jah and Ella Wadia.

According to The Times of India report, the London-born Dina spent a major part of her life in Mumbai but had been living in the US for the past few decades. The report added that  Jinnah was furious was when he was told by his daughter that she wanted to marry Neville Wadia, Parsi businessman.

File photo of Dina Wadia. Image courtesy. News18 Hindi

File photo of Dina Wadia. Image courtesy. News18 Hindi

Journalist Sheela Reddy in her recent book, Mr And Mrs Jinnah: The Marriage That Shook India, says that Jinnah saw Dina's marriage to a Parsi Christian as a serious political embarrassment, said The Telegraph report.

Jinnah, according to a report in Dawn, loved Dina deeply, but their relationship had become strained after Dina fell in love with and married Neville at the age of 17.

"He tried to dissuade her (Dina) but finding her adamant, Jinnah threatened to disown her. Instead of relenting, she moved into her grandmother's home, determined to go ahead with the marriage," Reddy noted in her book.

"There are millions of Muslim boys in India," Jinnah reportedly told Dina, and she could marry anyone she chose. To which, the adamant Dina, according to The Times of India replied, "Father, there were millions of Muslim girls in India. Why did you not marry one of them?" Jinnah himself had married a Parsi girl, Rattanbai "Ruttie" Petit, who died in 1929.

Dina was the only child of Jinnah and his second wife Ruttie who was also known as Maryam Jinnah, says The Free Press Journal report. Dina's paternal grandparents were from Gujarat, who moved to Karachi for business in the mid-1870s, where her father, Jinnah, was born, added the report.

After the death of Ruttie, Jinnah, according to The Indian Express, became increasingly orthodox. However, he later permitted Dina’s grandmother, Dinbai Petit, to have a major say in the upbringing of his daughter and even permitted the child to take her grandmother’s name.

The report added that Dina didn't visit Pakistan until her father's funeral in Karachi in September 1948. In 2004, Dina visited Jinnah's tomb in Karachi. In the visitors' book, she then wrote, "May his dream for Pakistan come true."

After the death of her mother, Dina was raised by Jinnah's sister, Fatima Jinnah. Dina at an interview had shared that she never shared a healthy relation with her aunt, according to a DNA report.

After Jinnah returned to Mumbai from England to take charge of the Muslim League, according to IANS, he built himself a palatial mansion South Court (Jinnah House) in Mumbai, which became his residence during the politically momentous decade preceding the creation of Pakistan.

The house, designed by Claude Batley, a British architect, was built in 1936 and is located at Malabar Hill. In 1948, it was leased to the British Deputy High Commission which occupied it till 1982.

During his visit to India, then president Pervez Musharraf had renewed Pakistan's claim to the house which he had suggested to then Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee should be given to Pakistan so that it could be turned into a consulate.

However, Dina who lived in New York City, wrote to the Indian prime minister demanding that the house on the Malabar Hill, be handed over to her.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Nov 03, 2017 10:19 AM

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