Begum Hamida Habibullah, a former Rajya Sabha member and a pioneer in women empowerment, died here on Tuesday.
She 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 grandson Saif Habibullah announced the news of her demise through his Facebook account.
Born on November 20, 1916, Hamida was 30 when India achieved independence and was a witness to modern India's political history, stretching from the British rule to the bloody partition. She witnessed the building of new nation, glory days of the Congress Party and its subsequent decline to the present domination by the BJP.
Her son, Wajahat Habibullah, was India’s first Chief Information Commissioner of India and former Chairman, National Minority Commission.
Ms. Habibullah was known for working on women issues. She worked with SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association), which promoted self employment for women and the art of Lucknow's famous chikankari ( thread embroidery).
She joined politics with the Congress after her husband returned from the army in 1965 and went on to become an MLA from UP's Haidergarh seat in Barabanki from 1969 to 1974. From 1971 to 1973, she was a Minister of State in the U.P. government and a Rajya Sabha member from 1976 to 1982.
She held the Social and Harijan Welfare, National Integration & Civil Defence, and Tourism ministries.
Hamida passed senior Cambridge with Distinction in 5-Subjects before going on to get a gold medal in B.A. from Osmania University.