Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ramadan Challenge Day 19 - Fatima Jinnah (Mother of the Nation for Pakistan)




In the last three days, I have been writing about women from the Arab world who played a pivotal role in raising their voices against oppression despite setbacks and attempts to place fear in them. Today's example is of a woman from contemporary Muslim history , who played an active political role even before the three we have learnt about recently.

Fatima Jinnah, not only stood as a major source of support for her brother, the founder of the first Islamic republic of the world, but was also a revered activist of the region for pulling the women together in this struggle. A highly accomplished woman, she was a dental surgeon, extremely active politically, a biographer, stateswoman, and indeed the leading Founding mothers of Pakistan. Today, Pakistan boasts to be one of the top three most populated Muslim countries in the world and to not discuss one of the key women from this struggle would not be doing justice to this series of Ramadan.

Fatima Jinnah's education:

Fatima Jinnah (July 30, 1893 — July 9, 1967) was again a highly educated woman, having studied from the highly competitive University of Calcutta where she attended the Dr. Ahmad Dental College and graduated a dental surgeon. Out of all her seven brothers and sisters, she was the closest to Jinnah, who became her guardian and ensured she received the best education. After she qualified, Jinnah went along with her idea of opening a dental clinic in Bombay and helped her set it up in 1923.

The biggest support for her brother Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan:

Fatima Jinnah lived with her brother for 28 years before and after the death of his wife Rutanbai. She even wound up her dental clinic to choose to accompany her brother who was alone. He suffered from tuberculosis which he did not disclose publicly for fear that those who did not wish to see Pakistan form would take to their advantage but the sister was his confidante and support system during this time too. Many say the reason behind her never getting married was so that she could support her brother during his struggle first against the British rule of South Asia and then for a separate homeland for the Muslims.  

Fatima Jinnah also accompanied her brother on numerous tours including the Lahore session of Muslim League in March 1940. When the All India Muslim League was being organized, Fatima Jinnah was taken on as a member of the Working Committee of the Bombay Provincial Muslim League, and worked in that capacity until 1947. 

Paying tribute to his sister, Ali Jinnah once said, "My sister was like a bright ray of light and hope whenever I came back home and met her. Anxieties would have been much greater and my health much worse, but for the restraint imposed by her".

Fatima Jinnah in the Pakistan Movement:

Following the declaration of the Pakistan Resolution in Lahore in 1940, Fatima Jinnah played a crucial and influential role as one of the founding members of the Pakistan movement. She fervently believed in an independent homeland for Muslims of South Asia as she saw that in a minority position in post-colonial India, Muslims would greatly suffer. It was her initiative that led to the organization of the All India Muslim Women Students Federation in February 1941 at Delhi.

Fatima Jinnah was truly an inspiration to Muslim women during 1947 when power was being transferred to Pakistan and India and the British were leaving South Asia. She formed the Women’s Relief Committee, which later laid the foundations for All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA). She also played a significant role in the settlement of Muslim refugees from the Indian-side of South Asia into the new state of Pakistan. 

Mother of the Nation for Pakistan:

She stood against military rule in 1965 when Ayub Khan, a military ruler, reigned over the country undemocratically. She was an extremely popular candidate in 1965 elections against Ayub Khan, traveling to both West and East Pakistan (current Bangladesh) promulgating the vision of Pakistan her brother and other founding members had for the country and vowing for civil rights and education. Many believe that these elections were rigged and Fatima Jinnah lost the elections.

After battling a long illness, Fatima Jinnah died on in Karachi, on July 9, 1967. After her death, Fatima Jinnah was honored and she is commonly known in Pakistan as Khātūn-e Pākistān (Urdu: — "Lady of Pakistan") and Māder-e Millat ("Mother of the Nation.")

1967 - Madar-i-Millat's Message to the Nation on Eid ul-Adha:

"The immediate task before you is to face the problem and bring the country back on the right path with the bugles of Quaid-i-Azam's message. March forward under the banner of star and the crescent with unity in your ranks, faith in your mission and discipline. Fulfill your mission and a great sublime future awaits your enthusiasm and action. Remember: 'cowards die many times before death; the valiant never taste death but once.' This is the only course of action which suits any self-respecting people and certainly the Muslim Nation."

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatima_Jinnah

storyofpakistan.com/fatima-jinnah/

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