Lucknow: Former Uttar Pradesh minister, Congress leader and a pioneer in women empowerment Begum Hamida Habibullah passed away on Tuesday at her residence in Lucknow after a prolonged illness. She was 102.
Saif Habibullah, her grandson, announced the news of her demise through his Facebook account early on Tuesday.
Hamida Habibullah, popularly known as Begum Sahiba of Lucknow, was the daughter of Nawab Nazir Yar Jung Bahadur, Chief Justice Of Hyderabad High Court and wife of Major General Enaith Habibullah, who went on to become the first Commandant of the National Defence Academy. Her son, Wajahat Habibullah, was India’s first Chief Information Commissioner of India and former Chairman, National Minority Commission.
After her husband retired from the army in 1965, Begum Habibullah joined politics with the Congress party. She was elected as the MLA from Haidergarh (Barabanki) and was state minister of social and Harijan welfare, national integration and civil defence from 1971 to 1973 and tourism minister from 1971 to 1974.
She served as a member of the Executive Committee of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) till 1980 and as an elected member of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) from 1969. She also served as the president of Mahila Congress, UPCC, from 1972 to 1976. She served as the member of Rajya Sabha from 1976 to 1982.
Born on 20th November 1916, Hamida Habibullah has become the iconic face of Indian womanhood in post Independence India. She passed Senior Cambridge with distinction in five subjects, B.A. from Osmania University (Gold Medalist), 2 years Teachers Training from White Lands College (Putney) London. She was the President of Avadh Girls Degree College since 1975. The college was founded by her mother in law Late Begum Inam Habibullah, Member Legislative Council and Lucknow Municipal Council as the first English Degree College for girls.
Begum Hamida was also President Talimgah-E-Niswan College since 1975. A school with 3,500 catering to the education of Muslim girls founded by her mother in law Late Begum Inam Habibullah. Known for work on women’s issues with SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association), she also promoted the art of Lucknow’s famous chikankari (thread embroidery).
Her funeral will take place later on Tuesday at Saidanpur, her native village in Barabanki.
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