The Conviction and Character of One of the Stalwarts Who Created Pakistan
By Karim Raza

Born in 1919 Delhi Begum Bilqees Jahan grew up in a city which in the early decades following her birth was not only the capital of the then mighty British Empire but also the hotbed of the burgeoning Independence Movement to free India from the yolk of that formidable empire in whose boundaries "the Sun never set". 

Delhi was also the cradle in which socio-political giants of the stature of Mohammad Ali Jauhar and his brother Shaukat Ali were incubating and nurturing the pan-Islamic Khilafat Movement to keep the Umma stay solidified under one entity with Allama Iqbal, a product of Aligarh Muslim University located in the close vicinity of Delhi, harkening the Muslims to get united from the banks of the River Nile to the boundaries of Kashghar:

ایک ہوں مسلم حرم کی پاسبانی کے لیے

نیل کے ساحل سے تا بہ حد کاشغر 

 

Those decades during which Begum Bilqees Jahan acquired proficiency in Urdu, Persian and English and grew up from adolescence to her dynamic beautiful youth were also the decades when the Indian National Congress Movement was discarding and burning the British Textiles shaking the foundations of the mightiest Imperialist Great Britain and a large section of the Muslims of India fearing deprivation at the hands of the Hindu majority after the British departure from the sub-continent were dreaming of launching a movement for a separate homeland which they launched and succeeded in realizing the dream.

In my various conversation which many a times turned into heated, animated debates with Amajan, my mother-in-law, Begum Bilqees Jahan, stuck to her sanguine conviction and expressed unequivocal commitment to the ideology of Pakistan and her indomitable faith in the future of the land of the pure.

I always wondered how a person whose family sacrificed so immensely its numerous highly wealthy enterprises and assets in migrating from India to Pakistan never complained of the losses.

Coming from the family of an entrepreneurial father who created immense wealth in Delhi, Simla and its vicinity and was leading the lifestyle which was the envy of the Nawabs and the Rajas. Then losing all that with the willful decision to move to Pakistan to build the cherished homeland I never heard a complaint against the movement for Pakistan.

She surely was proud of the fact that her uncle who was also her father-in-law was the Chief Justice of the State of Bahawalpur since the pre-partition days and that her family member following the then highly prestigious legal profession brought seven judges to the courts in the Punjab of Pakistan.

Along with her husband, who was the Director of Industry in Karachi since pre-partition days, she devoted herenergies and resources in settling the refugee relatives and non-relatives. Their palatial home on Love Lane in Karachi was an open house for the immigrants to take refuge.

She lived a great life as a caring matriarch with a daring feminist stance. Her faith in Allah and His Messenger was rock solid with a Sufi's faith in Wahdatul Wajood following the Chishti Silsila as a very special 'Mureed' of Hazrat Baba Zaheen Shah Taji reverentially addressed as Beguma Apa by all in the Silsila.

She leaves behind four daughters, one son, two sons-in-law and numerous grand, great grandchildren. 


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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