Who is Shazia Ilmi
Shazia Iilmi, an Indian politician, is one of the National Executive Members of the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party. She is a social activist who was formerly a television journalist, correspondent and anchor with renowned names like Star News, Zee News, Times Group, and the likes. During 2011 and 2012 she got actively involved with the India Against Corruption movement led by veteran social leader Anna Hazare and became the spokesperson of the movement. To institute the Jan Lokpal Bill, she led a media campaign which saw widespread acceptance among millions of Indians across the nation. In December 2013 Shazia Ilmi will be contesting for the Delhi Vidhan Sabha elections for the first time from Rama Krishna Puram constituency under the candidature of the Aam Aadmi Party.
Personal background of Shazia Ilmi
Shazia Ilmi was born on 1970 to a Kanpur Muslim family. Her father was the founder and editor of Siyasat Jadid, the oldest Urdu daily which was also the largest-selling Urdu paper in Kanpur. She is the youngest of four brothers and two sisters. Ilmi did her schooling from St. Mary’s School at Kanpur and also in Nainital. She was a student of St. Bede’s College at Shimla. Thereafter she pursued a course in mass communication from the Jamia Millia Islamia University at Delhi in 1994 and a diploma in journalism and broadcasting from the University of Wales in Cardiff. She is also a diploma holder in 16 mm Film Production from the New York Film Academy.
Her family has links with the Congress party. One of her uncles held ministerial office in Kanpur and was an Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly member for over two decades. Her brother-in-law Arif Mohammed was a former politician and minister of the Indian National Congress party, and is at present a member of the Bahujan Samaj Party. Her husband, Sajid Mallik, is a half-Tamil Iyer and a half-Gujarati Muslim. By profession he is an investment banker.
Shazia Ilmi professional background before entering politics
Shazia Ilmi is a well established prime-time television anchor and political correspondent who is the first working woman in her family. Her fifteen years of experience in media is diverse in the field of documentary production and television news. “Desh Videsh” the popular news show of Star News featured in prime time, was produced, anchored and hosted by Shazia Ilmi. Several shows on current affairs and documentaries highlighting issues on gender bias and rights of minority groups in India were produced by her. One of her shows, “Dr. Kans”, featured sting operations on doctors involved in illegal female foeticide. The aftermath of the operation witnessed suspension of medical licenses of such doctors. This was a first of its kind in the medical history of India. Apart from Star News she has also been associated with other renowned news mediums such as Zee News and The Times of India. Shazia Ilmi conducts workshops on Broadcast Journalism and Television Production in the School of Media and Communication under Pondicherry University, where she is an adjunct faculty member.
How did Shazia Ilmi enter politics
Shazia Ilmi played an active role from the very initial stage in the India Against Corruption Movement led by the protagonist Anna Hazare. As a ‘media strategist’, her experience in media was suitably utilized during the movement when she became the spokesperson of the movement.
A point came when Arvind Kejriwal, a former civil servant officer and one of the eminent supporters of the movement, had a difference of opinion with Anna Hazare. While Anna Hazare wanted the movement to be politically neutral, Kejriwal was of the opinion that it was necessary to directly get involved in politics since no progress was attained through talks with different political parties. India Against Corruption, an organisation, conducted a survey on this issue using social networking site, the result of which indicated support for politicization. Shazia Ilmi was one of those renowned people who supported the move of Kejriwal.
On 26 November 2012, a new party was launched in Delhi under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal. The party was named the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), where "Aam Aadmi" means "the common man". Shazia Ilmi became a member of the Aam Aadmi Party. The party contested in elections for the first time on 4th December 2013 for the Delhi Legislative Assembly, and Ilmi contested for the Delhi Vidhan Sabha elections for the first time from the Rama Krishna Puram constituency under the party candidature.
Activities and achievements of Shazia Ilmi
- In 2005 Ilmi reported the details of elections held in Maharashtra and Bihar in a program that was titled ‘Maratha Express’ She became a member of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television.
- She did a film titled P.O. 418 Siyasat Kanpur on the struggle and survival of a newspaper in the Urdu language. The film was screened in 2011 at the IAWRT film festival.
- In 1996 Ilmi co-directed a documentary along with Radha Hola on the eco-feminist Vandana Shiva. This film was named Daughter of the Earth - Portrait of Vandana Shiva and was shown by different television broadcasters, including the Discovery Channel.
- She directed a documentary called The Stolen Harvest, which was based on Dr. Vandana Shiva’s book on Food Security and Seed Patenting under the World Trade Organization.
- She was among the initial proponents who supported the realization of the Jan Lokpal Bill movement that was initiated by Anna Hazare.
- Shazia Ilmi directed the first television series titled ‘Women at Work’ that was produced by an entirely female crew for DD International.
Shazia Ilmi Recent Controversy
Shazia Ilmi was accused of accepting money for the AAP through illegal means. A sting operation conducted showed her, along with some other leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party, allegedly accepting money. The Election Commission has passed order to inquire into the legitimacy and authenticity of the video. The Aam Aadmi Party has alleged conspiracy and has rejected Shazia Ilmi’s offer to withdraw her candidature from the Delhi Assembly Elections to be held in the month of December, 2013.
Shazia Ilmi likely to contest against Sonia Gandhi
Speculations are rife that Shazia Ilmi will be contesting the Lok Sabha polls against the Congress President Sonia Gandhi. If confirmed by the Aam Aadmi Party, the development is sure to sent shivers down the spine of the Congress, which saw a dramatic loss of Shiela Dikshit to Kejriwal in the Delhi assembly elections. The AAP said, “In Delhi, we don't require a name as we already have supporters here. However, when we are taking on a strong candidate like Sonia Gandhi, we do require a known name.”
However, the odds are square against Ilmi, who lost her assembly seat on AAP ticket, given that Rae Bareli is considered a Congress stronghold. That said, taking on the goliaths of Indian politics is perhaps the best strategy the ‘clean’ party could have adopted.
Last Updated on February 19, 2014