Ruttie’s love letter to Jinnah

Published: December 30, 2011

Our charismatic leader has been very secretive about his private life, yet this letter shows the depth of passion his wife had for him.

This blog post is dedicated to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of our beloved country Pakistan. In light of Jinnah’s recent birthday, the media has been showing stories about his life, and newspapers are flooded with anecdotes regarding the Quaid.

Having listened to the news and read up much about him, there is one story in particular that has touched my heart. Our enigmatic, charismatic leader has been very secretive about his private life, yet this story shows the depth of passion his wife had for him.

I happened to stumble across the last love letter written to Jinnah by his wife Ruttie Jinnah. Most Pakistanis are aware that Ruttie was born in a Parsi family, she met Jinnah, and they both fell in love despite the fact that she was only 16 and he was 39 years of age. On facing opposition from her family, Ruttie waited till she turned 18, and then left her family forever to marry Jinnah.

Ruttie’s family did not attend the wedding, but the couple shared a few very happy years in marriage. However, Jinnah’s workaholic nature, and his political career kept him very busy, due to which the couple separated. Sadly, things took a turn for the worse when Ruttie got diagnosed with cancer. Before she died at the tender age of 29, she wrote the following love letter to Jinnah:

“Darling- thank you for all you have done. If ever in my bearing your once tuned senses found any irritability or unkindness- be assured that in my heart there was place only for a great tenderness and a greater pain- a pain my love without hurt. When one has been as near to the reality of Life (which after all is Death) as I have been dearest, one only remembers the beautiful and tender moments and all the rest becomes a half veiled mist of unrealities. Try and remember me beloved as the flower you plucked and not the flower you tread upon.

I have suffered much sweetheart because I have loved much. The measure of my agony has been in accord to the measure of my love.

Darling I love you – I love you – and had I loved you just a little less I might have remained with you – only after one has created a very beautiful blossom one does not drag it through the mire. The higher you set your ideal the lower it falls.

I have loved you my darling as it is given to few men to be loved. I only beseech you that the tragedy which commenced in love should also end with it.

Darling Goodnight and Goodbye.

I had written to you at Paris with the intention of posting the letter here – but I felt that I would rather write you afresh from the fullness of my heart. R.”

The above letter was written in Merseilles, France on October 5, 1928. The reason this letter is so captivating is because it seems to have captured Ruttie’s raw emotions and true feelings. When reading it, one cannot help but be gripped by the intensity of her feelings for Jinnah, along with a haunting sadness woven in her words. The fact that Jinnah and Ruttie never stopped loving each other despite the misunderstandings remains undisputed. The founder of our nation, Mr Jinnah has been very reserved in showing emotions except on two occasions; he could not control his sadness at Ruttie’s funeral, and he was overwhelmed with emotion when he went to visit her grave for the last time in Bombay before leaving for Pakistan.

We have been accustomed to seeing the stern Jinnah on the face on our text books – a Jinnah who was the founder of our nation. What many of us do not know is that he was ardently in love.

I hope that Ruttie and Jinnah are happy and finally together in the life after death.

Amna Khalid

Amna Khalid

An economics major from LUMS, with a MSc in financial economics from Cardiff University. Khalid currently works in London. She blogs at

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    Liked the way you have tried to keep it as a simple man-woman-love story and not complicate it.Recommend

  • TrueMuslim

    Such a great man! I hope every girl in my Pakistan finds a Jinnah for herself.Recommend

  • Dr. Altaf ul Hassan

    Details about their marriage are narrated in Wikipedia as under:
    Jinnah approached Sir Dinshaw with a seemingly abstract question about his views on inter-communal marriages. Sir Dinshaw emphatically expressed his opinion that it would be an ideal solution to inter-communal antagonism. Jinnah could not have hoped for a more favourable response, and immediately asked his friend for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
    M. C. Chagla, who was assisting Jinnah at his chambers in those days, recalled later, “Sir Dinshaw was taken aback. He had not realized that his remarks might have serious personal repercussions. He was most indignant, and refused to countenance any such idea which appeared to him absurd and fantastic.”
    Jinnah pleaded his case, but to no avail. Not only was this the end of the friendship between the two men, but Sir Dinshaw forbade Ruttie to meet Jinnah as long as she lived under his roof. As she was still a minor, the law was on his side but Ruttie and Jinnah met in secret anyway, and decided to wait out the two years until she attained the age of maturity “.

    Complete detail about this is available for every one.

  • Ahmed……..

    Teri meri, meri teri, prem kahani hai mushkal, do lafzo mein ye bayan na ho paye…. ;( hahahaRecommend

  • Syme

    I would be more delighted if the letter was written by Mr. Jinnah, the tenderness of Jinnah can’t be justified by the romance of Ruttie. By the way the R signature, reminded me another beautiful but heartless tale, Rebecca by the pen of Daphne du Maurier. Recommend

  • maria

    “I have suffered much sweetheart because I have loved much. The measure of my agony has been in accord to the measure of my love.”
    cant b put more beautifully,she sure knew how to put her feelings in words…… wonder he loved her…she was special tooRecommend

  • Abu Bakr

    Loved the commentary, but the letter is indescribable. Wow..Recommend

  • Talha

    This calls for a grand Hollywood film.

    Christian Bale (Batman) should play Jinnah while Megan Fox should play Ms Ruttie.Recommend

  • http://Peshawar Zarmeena Ikam Babar

    Quite moving love-tale- :)Recommend

  • Nawaz

    Indeed the letter is enough to catch one’s attention towards the bitter facts of life and beyond.
    Their are certain abilities which all human possess including love and tenderness, which our Quaid e Azam also had but to me what reflects from this letter are three;

    1) Ruttie’s Immense Love For Quaid e Azam
    2) Ruttie’s did understand the reason why they couldn’t remain together and that too
    without complains.
    3) And the third one, Quaid e Azam devotion to the cause where he has sacrificed his personal want’s. Higher positions comes with bigger responsibilities. And history is full of such examples.

    Quaid e Azam was the man with the CAUSE and this he took it by CHOICE and DELIVERED it SUCCESSFULLY.

    And too me this worked as a multiplier in Ruttie’s Love for our Quiad e Azam.

    may Allah Almighty shower his blessings on Mohammed Ali Jinnah soul (amen)

    Nawaz ShahzadRecommend

  • http://NewYork Falcon

    Beautiful and breath-taking. A great man indeed loved a great women! May there souls be together in God’s mercy wherever they are. Recommend

  • Cynical

    Oh! The days bygone, when it was possible for a 16 year old girl to fall in love with a man 23 years older than her. So…. romantic. Recommend

  • Alam

    Well, this is what happens when u marry a child brideRecommend

  • This was a very special post. I really enjoyed reading it. Ratti put such incisive and profound prose into her avowals of love. A whole new insight into Jinnah’s private life. Recommend

  • The Only Normal Person Here.

    That’s by far the best write up I have read on Jinnah’s birthday. Awesome.Recommend

  • Rizwan

    Lovely. very nice and respectable article . Letter is a master piece, words selection was very sensitive to show her mental state. Prayers for Mr and Mrs Jinnah. Recommend

  • rida

    awww true love never dies even if the relation dies it still remains within us . this letter proves the purity of true love …i love the line that if i had loved u a lil less i might have still remained with u but the more u love the more u set ur standards high and the lower they fallRecommend

  • Tahir

    Jinnah and Ruttie were separated and she died alone.When they married, her parsi father had opposed the wedding. After the wedding she converted to islam. Their daughter, dina, fell in love with a parsi from bombay. Jinnah disowned her after her wedding. He had wanted dina to marry a muslim.She reminded him that he had married ruttie who was a parsi too, to which he replied ” but she converted to islam “. It’s a bit unfair to marry a non muslim but prevent ur own daughter from marrying a non muslim. Very unfair.Recommend

  • Kevin Fernandes

    Her way of writing shows she was very with the words and emotions.Recommend

  • RAW is WAR

    should it not be private- between Jinnah and Ruttie. Why public consumption?Recommend

  • Sabih Zafar Ullah

    This brings tear to the eyes….Recommend

  • somebody

    Yuck, who wants to read about a love letter between two expired people Recommend

  • Omair Khalid

    Loves the way u adored the relation and the last para overwhelmed me too !!Recommend

  • sum

    @Somebody i wish there was an option for disliking your comment with the title “yuck”Recommend

  • Marium

    It’s a pity that none of the letters Jinnah wrote to Ruttie have ever been published. Would love to see that side of our great leader. Recommend

  • Pakistani

    That is so touching….Recommend

  • Faz

    I haven’t read the article just the letter, who would read the commentary after reading such a letter. Jinnah was Jinnah becuase of Ruttie. Recommend

  • Shueyb Gandapur

    The letter shows the immense love Ruttie had for Jinnah. How does the author make a reverse case for Jinnah’s immense love for Ruttie, which is nowhere reflected in this letter. The sadness between the lines tells of a love unfulfilled. Recommend

  • TrueMuslim

    Jinnah was such a great man that his immense love is OBVIOUS!!! What kind of Pakistanis do we have here who doubt Qaid’s love??

    It’s a bit unfair to marry a non muslim but prevent ur own daughter from marrying a non muslim. Very unfair.

    Nothing unfair at all. He was doing it for the right purposes, for a higher cause. He was right and fair.Recommend

  • hol

    as per islam, a man is allowed to marry a christian or jew woman even if they do not convert but a muslim woman can not marry a christian or a jew man unless he converts to islam. just a point.
    this case, however, is different. jinnah rightly prevented it as ruttie converted to islam on their marriage, and secondly, the line continues from the man.
    dina’s marriage did indeed prove to be a bad choice as today, we see our great leader’s grandchildren living in india, barely Muslims, with no regard for the sacrifices of their grandfather.
    ironically, their life in India makes a case for why a separate Muslim homeland needed to be created , a land where Muslims are not afraid or oblivious to their identity. Recommend

  • Pakistani in US

    Jinnah would have been even more unpopular (among Pakistan’s ghairat brigade and right-wing majority) than Veena Malik, had he married a parsi women half his age in today’s Pakistan. We have had fatwas against him from all the banned organisations as well as JUI. The only few people on his side would probably have been the liberals that these right-wingers love to hate so much. What an irony.Recommend

  • Anoop

    An anecdote.

    “Mahommedali Currim Chagla, who was Jinnah’s assistant at the time, recalls: “Jinnah, in his usual imperious manner, told her that there were millions of Muslim boys in India, and she could have anyone she chose. Reminding her father that his wife (Dina’s mother Rattanbai), had also been a non-Muslim, the young lady replied: ‘Father, there were millions of Muslim girls in India. Why did you not marry one of them?’ And he replied that, ‘she became a Muslim'”.

    In Contrast, Indira was allowed to marry Feroz Gandhi by Nehru. And, Indira did not live in Pakistan, but stayed back in India, unlike Dina, Jinnah’s daughter, who wanted to marry a Parsi and stayed back in India, not Pakistan.

    The irony is if Dina were to marry a Parsi in today’s Pakistan, she would be running for her life and she could do so freely in India. Recommend

  • Firaaq

    Jinnah’s successors in India are highly successful and respected.
    Contrast that with how Jinnah’s sister was treated.
    I am afraid that you sir have put your foot in it .. The facts point to a conclusion dramatically different from yours.Recommend

  • Aneeqa Aslam

    this particular letter just does not justify that Jinnah also had the same feelings for poor Ruttie…and its also true that if Jinnah in his 40s would have wanted to marry an 18 years old beautiful rich Parsi girl in today’s age,he wud hav to run for his life…its so ironic.
    How can someone who cud not manage to satisfy his ‘love’ after taking such bold decision was able to satisfy a new country he was struggling for…Recommend

  • Mango Guy 2


    if Jinnah kept his personal kept private that was for a reason. We should respect that.Recommend

  • Dee Cee

    @hol: Jinnah’s great-great grandchild, Ness Wadia, is one of the most powerful businessmen in the countries, and Wadias have dominated textiles industry for decades in India. What happened to mother of the nation Fatima Jinnah? Why do you try to spread hate based on lies? There are oppressed people everywhere, and part of what you said could be true. But there is no reason to lie for that!Recommend

  • Cynical


    Looking at your grasp of history, I can see that you are in a hole so deep, there is hardly any chance of escape.I am convinced that for some ignorance can be bliss.Recommend

  • Touched!!

    What a beautiful letter. Who cares how things would’ve turned out had they been in this era. Doesn’t matter. Shouldn’t.
    The letter is just absolutely stunning. Recommend

  • abhi

    @Pakistani in US
    How wrong you are. Mullah brigade would be very happy, and courts would allow him marrying a 16 years old. Everybody will brag that they have converted another kafir to islam.
    He was not very different from current mullah brigade after all.Recommend

  • mahvish

    wonderful blog
    i loved it.Recommend

  • Farhan

    Ultimate tragic love story!!Recommend

  • SalSal

    Reminds me of Imran Khan !! Shockingly similar story !! Recommend

  • khanji

    Luv stories happen ONLY when there r no vested interests or selfish agendas. Recommend