Of Jinnah and His Child Bride
BASED ON years of research, and using Ruttie Jinnah’s previously unpublished letters and other fascinating new source material, including Jinnah’s letters and personal notes and that of their friends, Mr and Mrs Jinnah: The Marriage That Shook India by Sheela Reddy examines Jinnah’s personal life and marriage, recreating the era when the romance between the dazzling couple, MA Jinnah and the young and beautiful Ruttie, was the talk of the town. Jinnah, the successful barrister, was 40 when he fell in love with Ruttie Petit, daughter of his friend, Sir Dinshaw Petit, a Parsi mill owner. But, Ruttie was just 16 and her outraged father forbade the match. When Ruttie turned legal, the couple got married, scandalising the society of Bombay. Everyone sided with the Petits, and Ruttie and Jinnah were ostracised. Their union was believed to be short-term. But, Jinnah, in his undemonstrative, reserved way, was unmistakably devoted to his beautiful, wayward child-bride—as proud of her fashionable dressing as he was of her intelligence, wide reading, and fierce commitment to the nationalist struggle. Ruttie, on her part, worshipped him, and could tease and cajole the famously unbending Jinnah, whom so many people found intimidating and distant. But, as the tumultuous political events increasingly absorbed him, Ruttie felt isolated and alone, cut off from her family, friends and community. The unremitting effort of submitting her personality to Jinnah’s, his frequent coldness, preoccupation with politics and the law took its toll. She, also called Flower Lady of Mumbai, died at 29, leaving behind her daughter, Dina, and an inconsolable husband, who never married again. Can’t wait to get hold of this tome.