The news of Dina Wadia's death on Thursday evoked a deep sense of loss in Pakistanis over losing perhaps the last concrete connection to their dearly beloved nation's founder Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Pakistani media reports were flooded with condolences and praise for Dina, who passed away in New York.
The News wrote she was a "pampered child" who was deeply attached to her father. It mentioned that the father-daughter relationship "never deepened" after her marriage to Neville Wadia at the age of 17. Jinnah reportedly was against her marrying a Bombay-based Parsi businessman. In what is perceived as Jinnah's generosity, the report feels "it is worth mentioning that Jinnah never issued any legal notice to disown her daughter."
Most of the Pakistani media reports mention how she was born on the intermittent night of 14-15 August in 1919. The Express Tribune quotes historian Stanley Wolpert's book Jinnah of Pakistan where he wrote, "She made a dramatic entry into the world, announcing her arrival when her parents were enjoying a movie at a local theatre in London. Oddly enough, precisely 28 years to the day and hour before the birth of Jinnah’s other offspring, Pakistan."
The report also carried the Pakistan Foreign Office's response conveying the prime minister and president's "words of compassion and prayer on behalf of the Pakistani nation to Wadia’s son" adding that "Wadia was greatly respected and admired in the country."
All the reports refer to Jinnah as "Quaid-i-Azam" which translates to "The Great Leader".
Ary News wrote about the time Dina visited Pakistan on two occasions: First, for Jinnah's funeral in Karachi in 1948 and the second, and last time, in 2004 for an India-Pakistan cricket match. On the second visit, Dina arrived "in the country created by her father and visited Quaid’s tomb." Detailing this visit, the report said she visited the mausoleum and wrote: "This has been very sad and wonderful for me. May his dream for Pakistan come true.” She also, reportedly, asked for copies of three photographs kept in the antiquities room. One of the photos shows Dina standing with Jinnah and aunt, Fatima. Another is a painting of Maryam Jinnah, her mother while the third photo shows her father dictating a letter, displaying his "political persona".
Dina was also called a "historic figure" by Pakistan Today, not just because she was the nation's founder's daughter but "also because she was one of the few who had witnessed the bloody partition of 1947." The manner in which Pakistani media reported her death, it seemed to evoke memories of Jinnah's death and that Dina's passing away felt like losing a piece of a historical figure like the "Quaid-i-Azam".
The report carried tweets of condolences by various politicians and public figures including one where Pakistan politician Sherry Rehman tweeted:
It’s ok to romanticise Dina Wadia as she passes away at 98. We have so little left of Jinnah’s own extraordinary life. May she rest in peace pic.twitter.com/PjZOrTGSnE
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) November 2, 2017
Daily Pakistan detailed her life after her marriage to Neville Wadia and how she began taking "a keen interest in the management of Bombay Dyeing, the textile firm managed by her son Nusli Wadia." However, "as she gradually saw the mills giving way to malls and Bombay dying its natural death to pave the way for Mumbai", Dina moved to New York with her daughter.
Dawn called Dina's death as the "End of an era". It detailed reactions from several leaders including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif. Journalist Talat Hussain expressed his grief and sorrow and said that with her death, "another window on history closes".
Dina Wadia, daughter of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, passed away in Mumbai. Another window on history closes. RIP — Syed Talat Hussain (@TalatHussain12) November 2, 2017
Geo TV also wrote that Jinnah addressed her formally as Mrs Wadia after her marriage.
The Express Tribune, interestingly, carried a report detailing Preity Zinta's reaction when she met Dina a few times. “The first time I met her, I stared at her open mouthed. My goodness, she carries so much history within her! Since then we’ve met over dinner and at other social occasions several times. Each time I’m struck by her gentle demeanour, her classic elegance, and yes, her fragility,” the report quoted Zinta as saying. Zinta reportedly dated Dina's grandson Ness Wadia for some time.
Wadia, 98, passed away at her home in New York on Thursday, surrounded by many of her family members and relatives.
They included her son and Wadia Group Chairman Nusli N Wadia, daughter Diana N Wadia, grandsons Ness and Jeh Wadia, Jeh's wife Celina and two great-grandchildren Jah and Ella Wadia.
Her funeral will be held in New York on Friday.
Updated Date: Nov 03, 2017 14:36:26 IST