Fairy Princess Ruttie & Elegant ‘Jay’ (Jinnah)

ruttie_jinnahAfter his return to India Jinnah chose Bombay for his residence since he no longer had any interest in Karachi after the demise of his mother and his wife. His father joined him there and died in Bombay on the 17th of April 1902, soon after Jinnah had started his political career.

In the next two decades after his return from London, Jinnah established himself first as a lawyer and then as a politician. Devoted completely to his work he sailed between England and India and from one stage of his political career to the next.

Jinnah vacationed in the north in Darjeeling in 1916, staying at the summer home of his friend Sir Dinshaw Manockjee Petit, the son of one of the richest and most devoutly orthodox Parsi of the nineteenth century. It was in that summer that he met Dinshaw's only daughter Ratanbai. Born on February 20, 1900, Ratanbai, or Rutti as she used to be called, was a charming child. '…Precociously bright, gifted in every art, beautiful in everyway. As she matured, all of her talents, gifts and beauty were magnified in so delightful and unaffected a manner that she seemed a fairy princess' – Stanley Wolpert, Jinnah of Pakistan.

She was sixteen at that time and Jinnah was about forty. He was enamored by her beauty and charm and she was awe struck by Jay, as she called him. Jinnah spoke to Sir Dinshaw about inter-communal marriages, to which his friend had replied that he was not opposed to them. When Jinnah put forth his offer of a marriage proposal for his daughter Ruttie, Sir Dinshaw was taken aback. He refused bluntly and said there was no chance of his ever agreeing to such a thing. That was the end of their friendship as Sir Dinshaw never gave in. He forbade Ruttie to meet Jinnah while she lived in his house. The couple patiently waited for two years required for Ruttie to come of age. In February 1918 Ruttie turned 18 and was free to marry. On April 18, 1918 Ruttie converted to Islam at Calcutta's Jamia Mosque. On April 19, 1918 Jinnah and Ruttie married at a quiet ceremony at Jinnah's house in Bombay. The Raja Sahib of Muhamdabad and a few friends attended the wedding. The wedding ring that Jinnah presented to Ruttie was a gift from the Raja. Nobody from Ruttie's family attended the wedding.

The first few years of their marriage were a dream for both of them. They were a head- turning couple; he in his elegant suits, stitched in London, she with her long, flowing hair decked in flowers. There was no limit to their joy and satisfaction at that time. Their only woe was Ruttie's complete isolation and ostracism from her family.

Jinnah's political life began to take its toll on his time in 1922. His heavy work schedule did not allow him to spend enough time with his young and vibrant wife. Though she was supportive of his work, the element of his lack of time was taxing for her. She could not lure him away from his work. She was engulfed with feelings of desolation. By September of 1922 she packed her bags and took their only daughter Dina with her to London.

Though her heart was still set on life with Jinnah, she could not accommodate herself to his busy schedule. From London she wrote a letter to her friend Kanji in India in which she said: 'And just one thing more – go and see Jinnah and tell me how he is – he has a habit of overworking himself and now that I am not there to tease and bother him, he will be worse than ever .'

When she returned from England, the couple tried to give their marriage another chance, but Jinnah was involved in campaigning for elections as an independent Muslim for the general Bombay seat. Jinnah was to undergo a five-month tour to Europe and North America. He decided to take Ruttie along as an attempt to save their failing marriage. But in this trip the rift grew. There was no chance of reconciliation and in January 1928 the couple separated.

Ruttie lived at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay, almost as a recluse, her health failing drastically. On February 20, 1929, Ruttie Jinnah died. It was her 29th birthday.

She was buried two days later in Bombay according to Muslim rites. Jinnah sat like a stone statue throughout the funeral. But when asked to be the first to throw earth on the grave as the closest relative, Jinnah broke down and wept uncontrollably. Later Justice Chagla said, 'That was the only time when I found Jinnah betraying any shadow of human weakness.'

Jinnah had been good to his wife. He had been a doting husband, fulfilling the demands of his young and enthusiastic wife. She also, had played her part justly, had supported him and encouraged him in his career. But the lack of time fatefully pulled them so far apart that eventually no reconciliation was possible. The time of their separation was a trying one for Jinnah, in the photographs of this period he is never seen smiling.

24 Comments

  1. heartwarming story! <3

  2. Hassanqazi5 says:

    Ruttie Jinnah had a spiritual dimension to her personality as well especially during her last few years. Her interest in jinns and spirits has been found in various letters to her friends some of which have been reproduced in the book Jinnah of Pakistan by Stanley Wolpert. A sutle mention of the same has been made in the book Ruttie Jinnah by Khwaja Razi Haider. Unfortunately, no concrete biography of Ruttie Jinnah is available (the one by Haider is vague at best). Mr Jinnah’s discreetness regarding his personal life further complicates the challenge of bringing to life the glorious and dynamic personality of Mrs Jinnah. I have always been intrigued by Ruttie Jinnah and the conviction she showed in love by abandoning her community. Her father never spoke to her again after she left to marry Mr Jinnah. How many of us would exhibit that sort of faith in love? Not many I presume, if any at all, that is. I believe the true life and personality of Mrs Jinnah would remain clandestine till eternity and beyond. How unfortunate for us all 🙁

  3. ammar says:

    true lover

  4. madiha azmat rao says:

    i never knew ratti converted to islam a real saaaad love story

  5. Kaleemsatti1982 says:

    wow Rutie! what a women you were, the man you loved was a successful politician and lawyer who couldn’t give u what u deserved but you as a wife loved him unconditionally going against the odds. RIP both of you.:(-

  6. Imad Khan says:

    Quaid-e-Azam you are a true leader. you sacrificed many valuable possessions for our Pakistan. May your soul be in peace and Pakistan (your second soul) too..

  7. Riast Ali Bajwa says:

    My beloved Quaid sacrified his love, health & ultimately his life for the independene of his Muslim nation & for the creation of a separate land for them. Immediately after his superb achievement he died unfortunately without laying firm foundations & giving a constitution of his choice which resulted in going the poor country in most unsafe hands. A country rich with natural resources & talented patriotic nationals, would have been an aid giving country instead of begging for aid and loans, had Allah (SWT) granted only one capable & honest LEADER to this nation of 18 crore human beings. We should keep praying to Allah Kareem to forgive us & favour us with a leader like our beloved QUAID.

  8. Mohsin adeel says:

    He is hero of our nation,he gave lot of sacrifices for muslim country as a pakistan, his spirits in various field like politicaly and companing for freedom of muslim country, it’s totaly heads off to MR.Jinnah.Allah give him place in jannah, Ameen!

  9. Saira says:

    Jinnah sacrificed his personal life ……wifeand health and even left his beloved home and daughtre in Bombay when he came to Pakistan.

  10. Zindagijinnah says:

    A real life Shakespearean tragedy…The mystery that shrouds the story..the unexpressed pain, the eternal love-yet the woes of separation,n the last destination-death. It has haunted me for years and continues to haunt.. Its closest to my heart, a fairy tale turned tragedy of the man we love the most. And the most lacerating part, that Ruttie Jinnah’s grave is there in a bereft graveyard of Bombay..where hardly anyone visits for commemoration or fatiha.

  11. Ihtesham_am says:

    Salute to our Quaid…
    His immense love for Ruttie…Brought tears in my eyesss….

  12. Rummana Shah says:

    Only four years 1918 to 1922 gave to himself out of forty six 1902 to 1948. A truly great leader!

  13. Shazaibali says:

    i m feeling very sad after rreading this,that was a really hard time for our great
    MR JINNAH.god bless him.

  14. Furqan Sarwar says:

    That was the great love story of 19th century ……they got separation physically but in fact their soul to gather forever ………………….another sacrifice of Quaid to chose Pakistan rather than dina quide daughter…………………….love u Quaid

  15. Adeelzaman21 says:

    The Elegant , Stylish and dignified JINNAH stands first and formost as FATHER OF THE NATION.

  16. Dr mohammad aslam siddiqui says:

    quaid e azam mohammad ali jinnah, the great leader, who created history by making a seperate home land.
    every body who lives in pakistan is a pakistani and equal. we should always remember the three golden principles set by our great leader, unity faith and discipline. this page is a great source of inspiration for those who love pakistan. we all love this great leader. we should pray for a similar leader for pakistan now coz our country is in dire need of such person.
    mohammad aslam siddiqui

  17. Waqashanif08 says:

    Well i luv Quaid for waht he gave us but i luv him more for what he gave up for us. I am approaching middle age of my life but even today when i listen to his voice, old recordings, i have goose bumps and start shivering. I wish we had more of him or more people like him. Quaid- e azam zindabad, Pakistan Paindabad.

  18. Ali Murtaza says:

    i have studied a number of high profile world personolites no body influenced n attracrfd me more than mr jinnah as his personal chirisma his high human values of honesty, dignity and selfless strugle for the independence of pakistan in the face of immense hindu british animosity and conspiracies prove him a great leader of men .nowhere in human history i saw a sixty year old n sick man fighting forcefully a furious political war against two shrewd n cunning opponents like british n hindu .lastly his remarkable victory against those monsters established him the great quaid e azam…. and made him a great leader…

  19. Najeeb ul hasan says:

    I love Quaid e Azam 

  20. MUHAMMAD says:

    He was a real saint. 

    I would really request and urge, all our Pakistanis to write him as “Hazrat JInnah” and same for “Hazrat Dr. Iqbal”. Please, 

    • Aalee2711 says:

      he was only good muslim leader not a saint . why u peoples give the level of normal persons a saint just due to their good polices their kindness u r wrong he is olny a good and nice person a normal human being not a saint

      • Aania says:

        Hazrat is written with the name to  show respect to that person…not because they are saint but purely on the basis of honour and respect.

  21. Searcher says:

    Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah sacrificed his love and personal life to create a country for muslim of subcontinent. His personal & love life is the only part that remained imperfect as long as he lived. No matter how hard we try, we can’t thank and praised him enough for the wonderful achievement in the form of Pakistan which is unmatched throughout the history of mankind

  22. Aneeqa says:

    i feel sorry for Rattie…

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