Nejma Heptullah, (74), Muslim face
Rajya Sabha MP,
Ministry: Minority Affairs
The only Muslim in the Cabinet, Najma Heptulla, is the grand niece of Islamic scholar and national ist Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and also related to Hindi cinema’s premier perfectionist, Aamir Khan. The 74-year-old, Bhopal-born politico has several distinctions to her own name.
To begin with, she earned a doctorate in cardiac anatomy when just 22. Heptulla created quite a stir when she quit Congress alleging “humiliation“ after a long innings and joined the saffron party in 2004. Now in her sixth term in the Rajya Sabha, she is the rare, recognizable Muslim woman in BJP. Her accomplishments include serving as deputy chairperson of the Upper House and presidentship of Inter-Par liamentary Union. In 2007, Heptulla also con tested for the vice-president’s job as an NDA candidate but lost to UPA’s Hamid Ansari.