Younger sister of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who resembled him the most. Fatima, acted as a loving, loyal, and life-long companion to her great brother during the most stormy period of his life. The only sibling with whom the Quaid established a close, continuing relationship was Fatima. During the mass transfer of population in 1947, she gave an inspiring lead to Muslim women and lost no time in forming the Women’s Relief Committee. Throughout her life, she remained selfless and sincere worker for the cause of Pakistan and the good of its people. Due to her selfless work for Pakistan, the nation conferred upon her the title of Madar-i-Millat (Mother of the Nation).

Early Life

Fatima Jinnah was born in Karachi Pakistan on July 31, 1893. She joined the Bandra Convent in 1902 and later in 1919, she got admitted to the highly competitive University of Calcutta. In February 1929, she wound up the clinic and took over charge of the Quaid-i-Azam’s house. During all this period, Fatima Jinnah played a pivotal role not only nursing the Quaid but side by side, she infused new spirit among the Muslim women to share in various developments taking place in Muslim India. She encouraged ladies to come out and serve the people and to organise their sisters to enable them to play their role in the national life outside the confines of their own home. She believed that for progress it was necessary for both men and women to contribute their full share for society’s well being. She continued to help numerous Social and Educational Associations.

Political Life

In 1938, at Patna, the Muslim League resolved to create a Muslim Women’s Sub-committee which remained active under her leadership till the creation of Pakistan. Quaid once remarked, "Miss Fatima Jinnah is a constant source of help and encouragement to me. In those days when I was expecting to be taken as a prisoner by the British Government it was my sister who encouraged me, and said hopeful things when revolution was staring me in the face. Her constant care is about my health".

Despite her old age, she continued to help the social and educational associations. Throughout her life, she remained a selfless and sincere worker for the cause of Pakistan and the good of its people. After the death of the Quaid-i-Azam, she often issued different statements on different occasions as reminders to the nation of the ideals on which Pakistan had been established.

In the 1960s, Fatima Jinnah returned to the forefront of political life when she ran for the presidency of Pakistan. She described her opponent, President General Muhammad Ayub Khan, as a dictator. She questioned the validity of the Presidential system which she stressed to be substituted by the old Parliamentary System. During her rally, nearly 250,000 people turned out to see her in Dhaka, and a million lined the 293 mile route from there to Chittagong. Her train, called the Freedom Special, was 22 hours late because men at each station pulled the emergency cord, and begged her to speak. The crowds hailed her as the mother of the nation.

In her rallies, Fatima Jinnah argued that, by coming to terms with India on the Indus Water dispute, Ayub had surrendered control of the rivers to India. She lost the election, but only narrowly, winning a majority in some provinces.

Fatima Jinnah's unfinished biography of the Quaid, "My Brother", was published by the Quaid-i-Azam Academy in 1987. Fatima Jinnah died in Karachi on July 9, 1967.

Courtesy Nazaria-i-Pakistan Trust

Published in Young Nation Magazine on July 29, 2017