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Begum Hamida Habibullah, pioneer in women empowerment, dies at 102

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Lucknow: Former Uttar Pradesh minister and Congress leader Begum Hamida Habibullah passed away on Tuesday at her residence in Lucknow after a prolonged illness. She was 102. Habibullah, a former Rajya Sabha member, was the daughter of late Nawab Nazir Jung Bahadur, Chief Justice of the Hyderabad High Court.

She was married to General Inayat Habibullah, the founder commandant of the National Defence Academy(NDA), Khadakvasla, Pune. Their son Wajahat Habibullah became the first Chief Information Commissioner of India.

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. Begum Habibullah was often seen as a pioneer in women’s empowerment, especially in her native state.

She completed her Teachers Training course from Whiteland College, London she returned home and thereafter played a major role in further women’s education in her home state where she became the president of the Avad Girls Degree College (AGDC) for girls in 1975. Her burial will reportedly take place later today at Saidanpur her native village in Barabanki.