Dina Wadia Passes Away in New York
By Iftikhar Ali
New York: Dina Wadia, daughter of Pakistan’s founder Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, passed away at her home in New York on Thursday at the age of 98.
According to Pakistan’s Consul General Raja Ali Ejaz – cited by the Associated Press of Pakistan – the Consulate is trying to contact her son and Chairman of the Mumbai-based Wadia Group, Nusli Wadia, who is reported to have arrived in New York. He said he would discuss with Wadia about his family’s plans for her burial.
Dina Wadia was leading a quiet life in New York, and was rarely ever seen at any event.
Pakistani scholar Dr Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaludn Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University, interviewed her in late 1990s for his documentary Mr Jinnah The Making of Pakistan.
“She gave one of her rare interviews. After some reluctance, she agreed to be part of the documentary. In this interview we learnt a great deal about her relationship with her father and her opinion on Pakistan,” Dr Ahmed told Views and News about the interview which appeared in full in his book Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity.
She was highly intelligent and sharp and although she had a formal exterior appearance, Wadia was a kind person, Dr Ahmed says about her personality.
But “in a sense, she was tragically caught between the two countries,” Dr Ahmed says.
“She was the daughter of the founder of Pakistan but chose to remain in India.”
Regarding the differences between the Quaid and Wadia over her wedding, Prof. Akbar Ahmed says the father and daughter made up when the Quaid-i-Azam was attacked and she came rushing to see him.
“They made up, and Wadia said they would talk regularly on phone.”
Wadia visited Pakistan to watch a cricket match between Pakistan and India more than a decade ago. She also went to the mausoleum of her father and wished his dream of Pakistan may come true.
In New York, Dina Wadia attended a reception at the Pakistani Mission to the UN in 1976 at an event marking the 100th birth anniversary of her father.
Wadia was warmly received by Pakistan’s Ambassador at that time, Iqbal Akhund and she extended her good wishes for the progress of Pakistan and prosperity of its people.
(Iftikhar Ali is a veteran Pakistani journalist, former president of UN Correspondents Association, and recipient of Pride of Performance civil award)