Daughter of Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Dina Wadia passed away yesterday. She died at her home in New York today, a spokesperson of Wadia group said. She was 98. It has been learnt that Dina Wadia is survived by her son and Wadia group chairman Nusli N Wadia, daughter Diana N Wadia, and grandsons Ness and Jeh Wadia, according to report. She was the only child of Jinnah. She was the mother of leading Parsi businessman Nusli Wadia who heads the Wadia Group. The group owns Bombay Dyeing, Britannia Industries and Go Air and is often described as India’s corporate samurai for his propensity to get involved in high power corporate disputes.
Here is all you want to know about Dina Wadia
1. Jinnah’s marriage to 16-year-old Ruttie Petit at the age of 42 scandalised Bombay society in the early 20th century. Ruttie was the only daughter of Sir Dinshaw Petit, the aristocratic Parsi Baronet, whose family was one of the first to open textile mills in Bombay and was renowned for charities. The Parsi community was up in arms at the impulsive and romantic Ruttie’s elopement and conversion. She was excommunicated from the community for all practical purposes, according to Indian Express report.
2. Author Sheela Reddy, in her recent book Mr and Mrs Jinnah, writes: “A strange flaw in Ruttie’s warm and affectionate personality was that she paid little attention to her only daughter, leaving her at home with nannies and maids.’’ In fact, Ruttie’s daughter was so ignored that she was not given a proper name till she was 10. Her mother passed away in tragic circumstances at the age of 29.
3. Dina was the product of a doomed marriage of complete opposites. Jinnah, who was almost as old as Ruttie’s father, was dour, proud, withdrawn, cautious and from a conservative Khoja Muslim family. Ruttie was pampered, impulsive, emotional, extravagant and reckless.
4. After his wife’s death, Jinnah became increasingly orthodox and preoccupied with his mission to carve out from India a separate Muslim majority country, Pakistan. He permitted Dina’s grandmother, Dinbai Petit, to have a major say in the upbringing of his daughter and even permitted the child to take her grandmother’s name. Despite the early tragedy in her life, Dina had, according to friends, a happy childhood and a friendly, warm and kindly disposition. She was brought up in a largely Parsi milieu.
5. Jinnah was shocked when she informed him at the age of 17 that she intended to marry Neville Wadia, the scion of an equally illustrious Parsi family in the textile business. According to Jinnah’s one-time junior, the late Justice Mahommed Currim Chagla, Jinnah scolded his daughter and told her that there were millions of Muslim boys in India and she could have anyone she chose. Dina, who was more than a match for her father, replied, “Father, there were millions of Muslim girls in India. Why did you not marry one of them?’’