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Litterature on Madar-i-Millat

Madar-i-Millat Miss Fatima Jinnah was a luminary of our age. She was a great woman leader of Pakistan. She still enjoys a unique respect in the hearts of the people of Pakistan. The nation is celebrating the year 2003 as the "Year of Madar-i-Millat". In spite of her conspicuous contribution for the cause of Pakistan, not very much is written about her life and work. She was never projected properly in the press and publications. Time has come to propagate her ideas and endeavours in a befitting manner.

It is very interesting to note that Fatima Jinnah, like her great brother M A Jinnah utilised English language as a vehicle of communication in her political and private life. She dictated the eventful life of the Quaid in English, published as "My Brother" by the Quaid-e-Azam Academy in March 1988. In spite of the fact that her proficiency in English was recognised and admired by the educated class, very few authors attempted to present her life and work in the English language.

The main reason was that she was very popular among the masses and to give a wide coverage to her views and also to satisfy the wishes of the general public, the writers preferred to project her personage in the national language. However, the "Speeches, Messages and Statements of Madar-i-Millat Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah (1948-1967)" compiled by Salahuddin Khan and published by the Research Society of Pakistan, Lahore in 1976 was an excellent English book, particularly presenting her image as a public leader. In the preface the compiler described Miss Jinnah as "The most respected person next to the Quaid-e-Azam".

Appreciating her role, he further stated that: "She did not miss any opportunity to guide the nation to the right path and to warn her people of the pitfalls ahead. Her determination, against heavy odds, shook the foundations of a firm dictatorship and her example paved the way for democratic traditions in the country. Her dignity, forbearance and enthusiasm were exemplary."

Salahuddin described the object of compiling the book in the preface: "As a humble worker of Quaid-e-Azam in the Pakistan Movement, and of the Madar-i-Millat during her Presidential Election campaign of 1964, I feel a sense of fulfillment of a duty in collecting and editing these speeches, messages and statements".

During the election campaign an 11-page pamphlet: "Miss Fatima Jinnah and Her Political Views", was published and distributed by the Central Secretariat, Pakistan Muslim League, Rawalpindi, analysing her views about the various issues. The pamphlet was designed to discredit Miss Jinnah in the public eyes by alleging that: "In the light of the above statements of Miss Jinnah it is not difficult to bring out the contradiction in her present role and her past professions. The very people who brought the country to ruin have now become her supporters and champions".

A very important book about Miss Jinnah, published in Urdu in 1976 "Fatima Jinnah kay Shab-o-Roz". It is a diary of Suraiya Khursheed, wife of K H Khursheed, a former Private Secretary of Quaid-e-Azam, who served Miss Jinnah in the same capacity. Suraiya shifted to the Flag Staff House, the residence of Miss Jinnah, soon after her marriage and close by watched the personal life of the leading lady. She recorded her observations, providing first hand information about the activities of Miss Fatima Jinnah. Her diary started from 5th January 1956 and concluded on 28th May 1956. Besides she also recorded her impression briefly about the election campaign.

Suraiya's diary is a mirror of Mohtarma Miss Jinnah, presenting her personage in the true prospective. No other enjoyed her full confidence. She narrated the table talks, serious conversations and comments about the persons and the problems, political and private, discussed in her preserve, in the present and past context.

According to Suraiya, Miss Jinnah disliked the beggary and considered it a curse among the Muslims. Suraiya stated that she used to open letters of Miss Jinnah, which were mostly related to the requests for the financial assistance. Miss Jinnah used to be annoyed by these letters and would direct her: "Throw it away, it is another beggar." While quoting another incident she stated that Fatima Jinnah once gave four annas to a beggar that annoyed Miss Jinnah and she rebuked her, "Do not make the nation beggar".

Miss Jinnah used to stress in her conversations and speeches about the importance of women in moulding the destiny of the nation. She repeatedly said: "A good lady, in her capacity as a wife and mother can change the entire system of society".

She was much worried about the prevailing situation in Pakistan, which was going from bad to worse. She used to remark: "I am glad Quaid-e-Azam did not live to see all this." She was a great moralist. Her criteria about evaluating a person was "A true test of a man is how far he is selfless".

Ibrahim Jalees wrote a very interesting booklet of 87 pages in Urdu; "Fatima Jinnah (Khatoon-e-Pakistan)" Published in 1950. In his preface he compared Miss Jinnah with the Chand Bibi of Hyderabad Deccan. Being a prolific journalist and a popular columnist of Urdu newspapers, Jalees portrayed her image in a lucid style, creating deep interest in her personality. He briefly surveyed the life and achievements of Miss Jinnah from her childhood to 1950. Stressing on her importance, Jalees described metaphorically: "Fatima Jinnah is another name of Pakistan". He referred to the remarks of mediamen of USA and England quoted her services in the newspapers as: "Pakistan is a miracle of the efforts of a brother and a sister".

"Fatima Jinnah, Hayat-o-Khidmat" is another important book compiled by Aga Hussein Hamdani and was published in 1978 by the National Commission of Historical and Cultural Research. Hamdani's book is based on the reliable sources. He prepared a questionnaire and collected data about Miss Jinnah's life. He consulted Miss Jinnah's papers preserved in the National Archives of Pakistan. Hamdani interviewed associates of the Quaid; her relative and friends and extracted important information from them. His painstaking efforts were appreciated by the scholars who termed his book as an important contribution in the biographical studies.

"Madar-i-Millat Fatima Jinnah" of Aga Ashraf is another important book describing the life and achievements of Miss Jinnah. The book contains many quotations and references to provide authenticity and richness to the study.

Vakeel Anjum, a reputed journalist compiled speeches in Urdu as "Shama Jamhoriyat" published by the Jang Publishers in 1993. The preface is written by Nawabzada Nasurallah Khan who disclosed the information about the nomination of Miss Jinnah by the C O P as presidential candidate in 1964.

"Shama Jamhoriyat" filled an important gap as there was no systematic translation of her speeches in Urdu after 1951, the period covered in the "Gulbang-e-Hayat" a collection of Miss Jinnah's speeches in Urdu published by the Feroz Sons. The book contains speeches delivered by Miss Jinnah from 1939 to 1951. The speeches were translated, compiled and produced in an excellent manner.

In 1968, Mazhar Ansari Dehalvi wrote a pocket size pamphlet: "Madar-i-Millat Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah". The pamphlet contains some new information about Miss Jinnah's life and work. The writer mentioned her love with the Quaid stating that she regularly visited Quaid's Mazar and laid the wreath of flower on every Thursday.

"Fatima Jinnah" written by Safia Malik is an authentic short biography of Miss Jinnah. The preface was written by Hakeen Muhammad Said. Safia described many aspects of Miss Jinnah's life. She revealed that Miss Jinnah refused to address the nation after her speech on Quaid's death anniversary, which was censored by the authorities of Radio Pakistan. However, Choudry Muhammad Ali, the then the Prime Minister of Pakistan deputed Syed Hashim Raza, who assured Miss Jinnah about the non-interference of government in her broadcast. Consequently, Miss Jinnah addressed the nation in 1959 after so many years.

A recent publication "Aik Tassavur Do Shaksiyatain", written by Saera Hashmi and published in 1995, is a comparative study of Miss Jinnah and the Quaid. The preface was written by Majeed Nizami, the Chief Editor of Nawa-i-waqt who appreciated her efforts for contributing the important chapter about the history of Miss Jinnah. The style of the book is interesting adorned by the Urdu stanzas.

In spite of the fact that various individuals and institutions are engaged in producing the history of Pakistan, very few publication were standardised as literary achievement by the scholars.


'The trends of historiography in Pakistan'

The Times

United Kingdom

Few Statesmen have shaped events to their policy more surely than Mr Jinnah. He was a legend in his lifetime.
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