Mr. and Mrs. Jinnah: The Marriage that shook India

Reddy Sheela

This is a poorly written book. The narrative jumps across time frames. Leaving readers having to backtrack constantly to get a grip on when the romance started, how it proceeded etc.

It’s a great pity. The source materials, the quotes are all in the book. Having chapter headings would have greatly assisted to marshal the materials properly.

We don’t even have endnotes or a bibliography. What we have is a bare broad Notes of some sources.

An interesting fact in the book is the source of wealth and ancestor of Ruttie Petit. He was Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, the legendary Parsi philanthropist and rags to riches opium merchant. (p 7)
In the infamous Opium trade, the East India Company (to avoid soiling their hands) would supply opium to Indian middlemen like Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy. They in turn ship the opium to Canton to smugglers like William Jardine and James Matheson who in turn sold to Chinese smugglers. (p 201 Imperial Twilight the Opium trade by Stephen Platt).

The trade was very lucrative. A middleman makes more than USD 800,000 per year, using today’s rate. (p 194. Imperial Twilight). A year’s trade involving 18, 956 chests is worth USD 13 million. (p 199 Imperial Twilight).

This book covers the period 1916, the year the romance started to Ruttie’s death in 1928. It is not a political biography of Jinnah. For an excellent political cum personal biography of Jinnah I highly recommend Jinnah Creator of Pakistan by Hector Belitho.

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