Jinnah Zoroastiran Community

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jinnah zoroastrian

Jinnah was identified with the Zoroastrian community, when he pursued his Legal career during the years of the First World War (1914-1918) and in the twenties in Bombay. His friends and clients were represented in the close circle in top of the line, top class, very wealthy, the Tatas, the Cowasjees, the Dinshaws, the Godrejs, the Modis, the ReadyMoneys, etc.

They used to meet with their families in the upper crust, up market, upscale, anglicized and cosmopolitan Royal Willingdon Sports Club. Finally in the mid seventies, Quaid’s Zoroastrian Doctor Professor Jal Patel, former Dean of Grant Medical College, wanted to put the Quaid’s history in proper prospective. The association of Right Honourable Mahomed Ali Jinnah and Professor Jal Patel went well beyond a patient-doctor calling and equation. Patel gave Dominique La Pierre author of “Freedom at Midnight” the confidential file under title of M. A. Jinnah. The radiologist of Right Honorable Mahomed Ali Jinnah was Doctor Jal Patel’s fellow Zoroastrian and namesake Dr Jal Daeboo. La Pierre contends before he began writing the Book “Freedom at Midnight” Jal Daeboo had passed away. Persuasive author, La Pierre, contacted Jal Daeboo’s daughter Homie, at her apartment in Dadabhoy Nauroji Road, adjacent to Warden Road. Homie was most co-operative. In mid forties, Homie was a co-ed at the St. Xavier’s College.

She used to work, part time, as an attending nurse, under study of her father, when Jinnah was X-rayed at Doctor Jal Daeboo’s clinic in “Dhobi Talau” that is a walking distance from St. Xavier. Homie gave an identical version that was rendered to La Pierre by Professor Jal Patel. Jinnah’s X-ray of lungs showed that he had terminal Tuberculosis and that he had maybe a year or two to live. Dr Patel and his colleague Dr Daeboo gave the verdict that he was beyond remedy, treatment. Apart from Fatima bai Jinnah and the Zoroastrian Doctors, the only person who could have known of Jinnah’s precarious health was Jinnah’s colleague, Sir Hussain Ali Currimbhoy, President of Bombay Muslim League Bombay. Sir Hussain Ali secured Jinnah’s appointment with Professor Jal Patel and Doctor Jal Daeboo. Jinnah reached Bombay for consultation with Fatima Jinnah in the last week of July 1947. Jinnah’s nephew, (through marriage) J.R.D. Tata arranged for the plane from New Delhi to Bombay. He had taken over the Tata Empire after the death of his Uncle Jamshed in 1946. Mother of J.R.D, and Lady Chantal Petit, wife of Sir Khusru Petit were sisters. Sir Khusru was the maternal uncle and Godfather of Ruttie Jinnah nee Dinshaw Petit and therefore Jinnah’s uncle-in-law.

Quaid’s Doctors Jal Patel and Jal Daeboo did not let the cat out of the bag. The keenest of British and Congress intelligence could not reach the X-rays retained by Jal Patel. But for the Quaid’s Zoroastrian Doctors, for sure, the history of the sub-continent would have been different. The Quaid trusted his Zoroastrian Doctors implicitly.

A year after the creation of Pakistan with Tuberculosis gnawing at his lungs, during August 1948, the Quaid was taken to Quetta and then to Ziarat, because it was recommended that the ozone in the heights of the mountains would inhibit the spread of tuberculosis. But this attempt to save the life of Quaid proved futile. In accord with the given prognosis of Professor Jal Patel in Bombay in end July 1947, our Quaid-e-Azam returned to his maker in the city of his birth, Karachi, on September 11, 1948.

RAJAB ALI BHAI EBRAHIM BATLIWALA Stricken with tuberculosis and conscious that he would never be able to return to Bombay, the Founder of Pakistan had decided to spend the second half of Thursday, July 31, 1947, besides the tomb of his departed wife, Ruttie. He loved Ruttie more in death than in life. He never looked at another woman. He remained steadfast in memory of his wife. Jinnah put up, suffered, the loneliness of a widower for the seventeen years, he chose, opted, to live alone after the demise of Ruttie. “One wife is enough in a life time,” he would joke with my maternal uncle, Hussain Ali Karam’ali Subjiali, when they would be at the graveside of Ruttie, during the years of the Second World War, in the Cemetery of Arambaugh. Hussain Ali Uncle was a chronic, confirmed bachelor. “Wonder of wonder” my Mama exclaimed, quibbled: “Why does Hussain Ali bhai, have to broach the subject of marriage of all persons, with Mahomed Ali bhai?” Rajabali Ebrahim Batliwala accompanied Mahomed Ali Jinnah, soon to be known as Quaid-e-Azam of Pakistan, to Ruttie’s tomb on Thursday, July 31, 1947.

During October 1957, I was in Bombay, to address the pending Income Tax Cases of my respected father Haji bhai Esmail Dossa and eldest brother Mohammed Hussain (Mamibhai). Taking a day of rest from my most boring, tedious chores, of reaching a Settlement for Assessment Years 1948/49, 1949/50 1950/51 with my good friends from Madras, Tamil speaking Commissioner of Income Tax V. Krishnamachari and a paan chewing Papa’s Income Tax Gujarati, Lawyer Ambalal, I drove in a taxi from my suite in the Cricket Club of India, to my Alumni St. Mary’s High School to call on my English Literature teacher Anthony Fern. From St. Mary’s I walked to adjacent Arambaugh. Here, besides the green Italian marble tomb of Rattan bai, I encountered the venerable Rajab Ali Ebrahim Batliwala. He described, recounted to me afternoon of July 31, 1947, Jinnah was in Arambaugh.

Rajab Ali bhai pointed to me that he and I were seated on the same wooden bench where Jinnah had placed himself during the afternoon of July 31, 1947, next to the grave of his departed wife, Ruttie bai.

ARAMBAUGH “The Quaid,” recalled Rajab Ali bhai, “had then worn Western clothes that were fastidiously, combined with good taste. Jinnah’s dark and striped suit was tailored in London’s Savile Row. He also had a matching silk tie and kerchief. The shoes two toned, hand-made at London’s St. James Street. While Ruttie lived, Jinnah had dressed only in Western suits. This was the manner in which he attired when he tutored the adolescent Ruttie in English, between the years, 1914-1916, in the tree-lined Mount Pleasant Road, leading to Malabar Hill. Pupil Ruttie and teacher Jay fell hopelessly in love, while reading from John Galsworthy Forsyte Saga. She looked up to her Jay as Julian Forsyte. And Jinnah’s thought of Ruttie were of Irene, a symbol of impingement of beauty as portrayed by Galsworthy. He had fallen in love with Ruttie and he felt wonderful. Love had been planted and it had remained there, steadfast, despite the agony, pain, sorrow, misery, woe and wretchedness that he may have tolerated, during the period of Ruttie’s lingering sickness with malignancy, in Bombay and subsequently in Paris and then again at the Taj Mahal Hotel of Bombay. Rajab Ali Ebrhaim Batliwala went on to narrate the immaculately dressed Jinnah remained seated, upright on the wooden bench, adjacent to the marble edifice. And for three/four hours under the clouded Bombay, Monsoon sky, Jinnah just gazed silently, at the tombstone with the epitaph “RATTAN BAI” which stands over the remains of his departed wife, until the Muezzin summoned the faithful for the Magrib prayers that also marked, the culmination of the thirteenth Fast of the Holy Month of Ramadan. While the reporters of the International Press searched in vain for Mahomed Ali Jinnah at his residences on 10 Aurangzeb Road, in New Delhi and South Court, 2, Mount Pleasant Road, Bombay.

Jinnah, the great leader of the Muslims of the subcontinent, was pleasantly, enjoying a telepathic communication with his wife, Ruttie in the solace of Arambaugh. The Quaid conveyed, confided to Ruttie in an ecstatic, feeling and euphoria, that he had fulfilled the ambition, vision of Pakistan.

He had oft discussed with Ruttie thoughts of the latent separate homeland for the Muslims, during their eleven blissful years of marriage. Ruttie too has posthumously, left her indelible mark on the history of Pakistan.

Churchill’s famous adage: “behind every great man there is a woman.” Churchill had his Clementine Hozier, Napoleon was indebted to Josephine and Jinnah recognized that he reached the heights, pinnacle of glory, due to Ruttie nee Dinshaw Petit. Evening of Thursday, July 31, 1947, therefore saw Jinnah seated alone, on the bench, facing the marble grave of his wife Ruttie the one and the only woman he ever loved in life. In death, she influenced and motivated him. Jinnah told her that he had achieved, attained, the dream of a separate homeland. More Catholic than the Pope, Ruttie had expressed the hope of economic emancipation, in a democratic, progressive, dispensation, Nation, for the downtrodden Muslims of the sub-continent. Ruttie was articulate with a gift for rhetoric. She spoke vehemently for her deprived fellow Muslims, in the period of their marriage at the Willingdon Club before gatherings of British and upper crust Indians, who ingratiated about the hallowed premises.

Seventeen years after her demise, the Nation, Jinnah proudly informed Ruttie in her grave, had been formed and it was to be called Pakistan, nomenclature given after Karakal Pakistan in Uzbekistan, from where his Ismaili ancestors had come with their forty sixth Imam Hassan Ali Shah, Aga Khan, the first, in the middle of the nineteenth Century, in the wake of the battle of Gandamack (between Kabul and Jalalabad) of January 13, 1842 and battle of Miani against the Talpurs’ of Sind in February 13, 1843.

“Before setting off to his promised land of Pakistan, Jinnah placed a lost bouquet on the tomb he was leaving behind for ever in India. Nothing in Jinnah’s life had been more remarkable or more seemingly out of character than the deep and passionate love that linked the austere Muslim leader, to the woman (RATTAN BAI) beneath the tombstone” (Dominique Lapierre: Freedom at Midnight: Page 259/260).

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