02 March, 2021

A Passion Rose Crushed Under A Victoria

Jinnah’s fateful marriage to the vivacious Ruttie, tangled with the turmoil of nationalist politics—is a story of gripping pathos. It is told brilliantly here.

Ill-Matched Lovers
Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his young wife, Ruttie
A Passion Rose Crushed Under A Victoria

This is a tour de force. I have been mesmerised. Although it is only two months into 2017, I am sure this is going to be my choice for book of the year. Even the most impressive of historical figures are cardboard characters. We know how they loomed over their age; we know the paths they blazed; we know their enduring legacy. But do we know them as human beings, with foibles like you and me, as tortured at times as you and I are, as exulting in private over their public achievements?

Also, while a Noor Jehan or a Jodhabai might peep out in history books from behind her husbands’ persona, rarely do we encounter the spouse as flesh and blood. Here, however, we have Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Great Leader, and Ruttie Petit, his wife, portrayed with great sympathy, even empathy, but, withal, tragic, emotionally unfulfilled personalities, whose fabulous wealth (in Ruttie’s case) and great fame (in Jinnah’s case) count for nothing beside the personal agony each had to endure, brought on by incompatibility of temperament but bound together by a fascination for...

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