Byline: Imtiaz Rafi Butt
Quaid-e-Azam, father of a nation, the icon of freedom and liberty for the Muslims of the sub-continent and the most remarkable statesman are titles that are bestowed upon Muhammad Ali Jinnah, but in all these accolades, his private life is shadowed. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, even with all his greatness and potential could not escape the pitfalls and perils of a challenging romantic relationship. Mr and Mrs Jinnah, a book by Sheela Reddy, sheds light on the romantic marriage between Jinnah and Ruttie Petit, how it happened and why it ended on a sad note. Varying shades of Jinnah, Ruttie and socio-cultural perceptions of that era are beautifully depicted by Reddy as she utilizes original sources and letter by Mr. Maryam Jinnah aka Ruttie Petit. The book describes the whole picture of Jinnah's marriage in three parts, first, their love affair and how they got married, second, why the marriage could not last and three, what happened to Ruttie afterwards and what she was left with till her pessimistic illness and
death at the age of 29.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah's story begins with him returning from London with a degree in Law. He was a picture of self-confidence and success. He was young, good looking and impeccably dressed. Ruttie Petit, daughter of Dinshaw Petit, belonged to a rich Parsi family. The Petits were practically like royalty. They were one of the most prominent names in politics and business in India. Coming from such an aristocratic setup, Ruttie was spoiled and pampered throughout her childhood by nannies and maids. With affluence, the family was modernized with an exceptional blend of Western and Eastern values. Ruttie was pure elegance when it came to dressing andshe had given up "purdah" and Eastern clothing early on. She was an avid reader of English literature. Romantic novels and poetry were her favorite. Ruttie was also deeply involved in politics and had strong opinions when it came to freedom and liberty for India.
Initially, Jinnah was a friend of Dinshaw Petit, father of Ruttie, and when they met for the first time on a vacation in Pune, it was love at first sight and Ruttie was taken over by the confidence and intelligence that were a part of Jinnah's personality. Ruttie admired Jinnah's competence and his strength of character. Jinnah, on the other hand, came to like Ruttie's liveliness and her playful nature, perhaps, she offered everything that Jinnah was not. Eventually, Jinnah and Ruttie fell in...