Convert Jinnah House into war memorial: BJP legislator

Mumbai, Jan 12 (IANS) BJP legislator from South Mumbai M.P. Lodha on Tuesday urged the central goverment to convert Jinnah House, the house built by Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, into a war memorial-cum-museum.

Lodha met Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar, and submitted his proposal here on Tuesday. Parikkar said he would look into it.

“Since three years, I have been requesting the Maharashtra government to act on this since the huge property on Malabar Hill has been lying vacant without any purpose,” Lodha told IANS.

He said most of the wars India has fought were with Pakistan and there were many memories and incidents associated with them.

If the house is converted into a war memorial-cum-museum, it would be great for future Indian generations and help put the property to good use, he said.

The imposing mansion was built in 1936 on a 2.5 acre plot on Malabar Hill, with Jinnah personally looking into all aspects of its construction.

He built it after his return from London and taking charge of the leadership of the Muslim League at the height of the ongoing struggle for India’s freedom.

It was also the venue for the historic talks on Partition and creation of Pakistan in September 1944 and later in August 1946.

Personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other prominent leaders of the freedom movement were regular visitors there.

After Partition, Jinnah left India and after his death in 1948, the property was leased to the British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai till 1983.

It fell vacant for another 20 years and a portion of it was allotted to the Indian Council for Cultural Relations for a few years, even as Pakistan demanded that it be leased for its deputy high commission in Mumbai.

Currently, the property is embroiled in a legal battle with Jinnah’s daughter Dina Jinnah claiming ownership.

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