Premjibhai Meghjibhai Thakkar was a Guajarati, hardcore Hindu and pure vegetarian. He was the grandfather of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Yes, that father’s father. From there the story starts of Hindu origin of Md. Ali Jinnah.
Premjibhai had a fish business. Relatives and neighbors all kept him “alone” because of his business. That type of incident was quite common that time. In some small matters, some of the villagers would stop using common water for washing or drinking purpose. Vegetarian people will do fish business? No one has seen it with good eyes. He stopped the fish business, but the others left him untouched. He was very angry. Overnight, he and his family converted to Islam along with their four sons. This is the history of the beginning.
For three generations, the Jinnah family struggled to find its Islamic identity after being converted from their Hindu caste, Lohana-Thakkars, of the Saurashtra region. This caste was supposed to have had a Raghuvanshi descent, from the family tree of Lord Rama, and some thought they were Bhatia Rajputs.
Now think, if India remained undivided, its Muslim population would now are around 600 million, vis-à-vis the Hindus’ 1,000 million. Would the Hindus have lived peacefully with this massive ‘minority’? Or, had India been Balkanized, as Churchill and others had predicted? Such an India would are the most important Muslim nation within the world!
Gandhi virtually “manipulated” Jinnah into demanding Pakistan, and takes the failed Partition of Bengal (1905) to its logical conclusion of the Partition of India (1947) through well-calibrated and delicate trick. And an ‘innocent’ Jinnah followed this Gandhian script!
Gandhi belonged to the Modh Vania/Bania caste whereas Jinnah, in spite of his grandfather’s conversion to Islam, inherited his Lohana-Thakkar caste’s obstinate habits. Both these contender castes were seen as great achievers, innovators and business-minded. Dhirubhai Ambani and Narendra Modi also were from the larger Modh caste.
Jinnah was the eldest among seven siblings. None of them settled in Pakistan after 1947. Premjibhai had not converted to the normal Sunni or Shia beliefs. He had accepted, the Khoja-Ismailia sub-sect for 2 reasons: one, this helped him expand business because the rich followers of the Aga Khan, assisted him financially; and two, this taught a lesson to his Hindu detractors who had him ex-communicated. Even after conversion, Premjibhai continued to worship the family deity Shrinathji, a personification of Lord Krishna, and Thakorji, besides the Tulsi tree. Outside, he would, however, go to the mosque.
Premjibhai’s three sons—Gangji, Nathhu and Poonja (Jhinia). They found it difficult to marry in their caste due to this conversion and had to marry in similarly converted families. They also moved out of their conservative village. Jhinia settled down in Karachi.
Jinnah’s father was Jhinia alias Poonjabhai Premjibhai Thakkar. True to the traditions in freshly converted families who wanted to cover their religion, Jhinia had named his eldest boy ‘Mamad’ rather than Muhammad. Jinnah’s full name was Mamadbhai Jhiniabhai Thakkar.
When, in January 1893, Mamad visited England, he tried new names: he first sought to be referred to as “Mohammed Ali Jhiniabhai of Karachi”, then as “Muhammad Z. Thakkar”, by changing Jhinia into Zina, and, finally “Muhammad Ali Jinnah”.
Jinnah’s daughter, Dina Wadia (born as Dina Jinnah; 15 August 1919) was the daughter and only child of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and his wife, Rattanbai Petit. She belonged to the Jinnah family through her father, the petit family through her mother, and to the Wadia family through her marriage to Neville Wadia.
In 1938, Dina chose Parsi gentleman, Neville Wadia. Jinnah crouched down. This marriage can never happen. Parsi marries a Muslim girl? Impossible. Jinnah did not come to bless his daughter’s marriage. He sent a bouquet of flowers with the hand of his diver, Abdul Hai. This motherless girl at a young age was all to Jinnah.
However, on the eve of independence, Dina informed her father of his infallible firm voice. She is staying in India. Her father then made one last attempt to teach the magic of a dream country for Muslims in Lahore, Karachi … Dina said, “Can you take my mother’s grave from Bombay to Pakistan?” “Bombay is my city; the name of my city is Bombay.” The last word is with the father.
She literally said goodbye to his father with a broken heart. After partition, she did not go to see what that country, his father’s dream partition, dream Pakistan. In 1948, Jinnah met two-year-old Nasli with his grandfather. He put a gray hat on his grandson’s head. Jinnah wrote in his diary that it was a very special day in his life.
Dina went to see her dead father same year 1948 to say goodbye to her father at Jinnah’s funeral. Went for a day she did not claim a single particle of her father’s vast wealth in Pakistan and returned to Mumbai.
Dina’s maternal grandparents were Parsi and had disowned her mother, Rattanbai, when she married Jinnah and converted to Islam. Her paternal grandparents were from Gujarat and had moved to Karachi for business in1870, where her father, Jinnah, was born. Her father, Jinnah, and her aunt, Fatima, were each important historical figures who started the Pakistan movement. Jinnah’s struggle for Muslims finally led to the creation of Pakistan in 1947, with founder Jinnah as its first Governor General of Pakistan.
Her mother, Rattanbai , was born into the elite class Parsi family of India: the Petits. Rattanbhai’s paternal great-grandfather, Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, was the first baronet of Petit, and founded the first cotton mill in India. Dinshaw was married to Sylla Tata, daughter of Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, and sister of Jehangir Tata, who was the chairperson of Tata Group. Jinnah’s first wife was Emibai Jinnah.
Jinnah’s then associate and later a famous judge M. C. Chagla recounts in his autobiography ‘Roses in December’ that; when Dina married Neville, Jinnah said to her that she wasn’t his daughter any longer. This story, however, was controversial. The Wadias lived in Bombay and had two children, a boy named Nasli and a girl. The marriage didn’t last long, however, and she or he separated from Wadia in 1943; the couple never formally divorced because divorce was illegal in India at the time.
After the death of Dina Wadia, her personal diary exposed that relationship with her father was no more formal and they had reunited as a family. Dina was in regular touch with her aunt, Fatima Jinnah, who had raised her.
After Jinnah returned to Mumbai from England to take charge of the Muslim League, he built himself a splendid mansion South Court (informally called “Jinnah House”) in Mumbai, which became his residence during the politically momentous decade preceding the creation of Pakistan. The house was designed by Claude Batley, a British architect, and was inbuilt 1936 at a complete cost of ₹200,000 (US$2,800).
After partition in 1947, the 2.5 acres property, “South Court”, overlooking the ocean and located at 2, Bhausaheb Hirey Marg (then Mount Pleasant Road), Malabar Hill, was classified as evacuee property. In 1948, it had been then leased to British Deputy High Commission which occupied it till 1982. Pakistan had since 1979 requested that India sell the property or a minimum of lease it to its government as a tribute to its founder so as to convert it into their Consulate. Though P. V. Narasimha Rao, India’s secretary of state in 1980, agreed in theory to lease Jinnah House because the residence of local Consulate-General of Pakistan, the plan was never realized.
Dina died at Madison Avenue in NY City on 2 November 2017, at the age of 98. Her death was deeply mourned by the people of Pakistan, and was described because the “nation’s grief”. Several political leaders, including the then Prime Minister and President of Pakistan issued official statements on her death, and therefore the later said that she was “greatly respected and admired in Pakistan”. Dina was survived by her son and Wadia group chairman Nasli Wadia, daughter Diana Wadia.
Nasli Wadia’s name still shines in the top ten of India’s list of the richest people in the world. Nasli Wadia is an Indian businessman, entrepreneur and thus the chairman of the Wadia Group, an Indian conglomerate involved within the FMCG, textiles and land industries among others. His net worth was estimated at US$3.8 billion by Forbes in 2020.
He is married to Maureen Wadia, a former stewardess and is one among the organizers of Mrs. India beauty pageant. They have two sons: Ness Wadia and Jehangir Wadia.
Ness Nasli Wadia the director of Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation, including an indirect majority stake in Britannia Industries. He was the Joint director of Bombay Dyeing, the flagship company of the Wadia Group, till March 2011.
Many of us have seen Ness in trouble with Preity Zinta. Ness, after completing his education at The Cathedral & John Connon School as well as Lawrence School in Himachal Pradesh, and then went on to do his M.Sc in Engineering Management at University of Warwick.
In 2008, along side actress Preity Zinta and businessman Mohit Burman, Wadia acquired ownership rights for the Mohali-based Twenty-Twenty cricket team of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The group paid $76 million to acquire the franchise, and named the team Kings XI Punjab
Ness Wadia dated Bollywood actress Preity Zinta from February 2005 until 2009, and therefore the couple were subject to strong media scrutiny. On 13 June 2014, Zinta filed a complaint with the Mumbai police against Ness Wadia alleging he had attacked her at an IPL match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Jehangir Nasli Wadia, is an Indian businessman, who is that the director of Go Air, Bombay Dyeing and Bombay Realty. He is also a Director on the Boards of Britannia Industries & others.
Jehangir earned a academic degree in science from the Warwick University in England. Jehangir Wadia is married to Celina since 2003 who is from Australia, and have two children together, Jr. Jahangir and Ella. Celina runs her own fashion line under the name C Femme.
All the heirs of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in India raised the voice “Pakistan to the boy”. There is no one in Pakistan … division cannot win in the end.
Source: 1. Virendra Pandit’s 2017 book, Return of the Infidel.