Luc­know loses an icon and a friend in need

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Front Page - HT Cor­re­spon­dent ▪ let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

One of Luc­know’s icons Begum Hamida Habibul­lah, a for­mer UP min­is­ter and pi­o­neer in women em­pow­er­ment, passed away at the com­mand hospi­tal here on Tues­day morn­ing, her fam­ily said. She was 101.

Jy­ot­sna Habibul­lah, her grand­daugh­ter-in-law, said Begum Habibul­lah had been ail­ing for long. Her last rites took place at her fam­ily’s na­tive vil­lage Saidan­pur in Bara­banki.

Peo­ple thronged the Habibul­lah es­tate in Luc­know to of­fer their con­do­lences to the fam­ily. Gov­er­nor Ram Naik also vis­ited the fam­ily to pay his last re­spects to Begum Habibul­lah.

UP cabi­net min­is­ter Rita Bahuguna Joshi said Begum Habibul­lah will al­ways be re­mem­bered for her con­tri­bu­tion to em­pow­er­ment of Mus­lim women. “Her demise is a big loss for the state,” she said. Daugh­ter of the late Nawab Nazir Yar Jung Ba­hadur, chief jus­tice of the Hy­der­abad High Court, Begum Hamida was also a front-rank­ing so­cial worker. She was also a re­cip­i­ent of the HT Woman Life­time Achieve­ment Award.

Born on Novem­ber 20, 1916, she spent her early years in Hy­der­abad.

Her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer started in 1965 af­ter her hus­band Ma­jor Gen­eral Enaith Habibul­lah, founder com­man­dant of the Na­tional De­fence Academy, Khadak­wasla, Pune, retired from ser­vice.

She was elected mem­ber of Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly (MLA) from Haider­garh (Bara­banki) in 1969 and served as state min­is­ter of so­cial and har­i­jan wel­fare, na­tional in­te­gra­tion and civil de­fence from 1971–73 and tourism min­is­ter from 1971-74. She was also a mem­ber of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee of the Ut­tar Pradesh Congress Com­mit­tee (UPCC) till 1980 and a mem­ber of (elected) the All In­dia Congress Com­mit­tee (AICC) from 1969. She was the Pres­i­dent of Mahila Congress, UPCC, from 1972-76. There­after, she was a mem­ber of the Ra­jya Sabha from 1976 till 1982.

She played a ma­jor role in fur­ther­ing women’s ed­u­ca­tion in the re­gion and she was the founder pres­i­dent of the Avadh Girls’ De­gree Col­lege .

“She held the col­lege close to her heart and fre­quented it to in­ter­act with students and staff. She took a keen in­ter­est in all the ac­tiv­i­ties of the col­lege,” re­called Upma Chaturvedi, the col­lege prin­ci­pal.

She was also pres­i­dent of Tal­im­gah-e-Niswan Col­lege since 1975, an in­sti­tu­tion for ed­u­ca­tion of Mus­lim girls, founded by her mother-in-law, late Begum Inam Habibul­lah.

Begum Hamida Habibul­lah was also a patron of the All In­dia Women’s Con­fer­ence, Nari Sewa Samiti Luc­know, Cheshire Homes In­dia (Luc­know) and mem­ber of the Sainik Kalyan Board, Luc­know.

She was a mem­ber of the Luc­know Univer­sity ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil from 1974 to 1980.

Her son Wa­ja­hat Habibul­lah, a for­mer IAS of­fi­cer, was the first chief in­for­ma­tion com­mis­sioner of In­dia and chair­man of the Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Mi­nori­ties.

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