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Najma A Heptulla Biography

Najma Heptulla

Najma A Heptulla

DOB Apr 13, 1940
Place of Birth Bhopal
Political Party BJP
EducationM.Sc.(Zoology), Ph.D. (Cardiac Anatomy) Educated at Motilal Nehru Vigyan Mahavidyalaya
ProfessionResearcher,Social Worker
Spouse Name Shri Akbarali A. Heptulla (m. 1966-2007)
Children 3 daughters
Positions Held
  • Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia (Assumed office 26 May 2017)
  • Governor of Manipur (Assumed office 21 August 2016)
  • Minister of Minority Affairs ( 26 May 2014 - 12 July 2016)
  • Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha ( 1985-1986, 1988-2004)
  • MP of Rajya Sabha for Madhya Pradesh ( 2004-2010, re-elected on 3 April 2012)

About Najma Heptulla

A prominent Indian politician, Najma Heptulla is the only Muslim minister in the Modi cabinet. A member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), she took oath as the Minister of Minority Affairs in the newly-formed government. She has been actively involved in the issues related to women. Apart from being a politician, Heptulla is also a prolific writer. She is the author of the book on AIDS titled "AIDS: Approaches to Prevention". A prominent writer, she has also written many research papers and articles in both Indian and foreign journals. She mostly writes on issues related to development of women.

Family and Personal Background of Najma Heptulla

She was born in Bhopal on April 13, 1940 to Syed Yusuf Ali and Fatima Yusuf Ali. She obtained a Masters Degree in Zoology, and a Ph.D. in Cardiac Anatomy from the University of Denver. In 1966, she married Akbarali A Heptulla and the couple is blessed with three daughters. Her husband played a key role in the formulation of the newspaper 'Patriot'. He passed away in 2007. Heptulla is a grand-niece of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a great Indian freedom fighter.

Political Career of Najma Heptulla

Heptulla, during her political career has occupied several positions. She has been a member of both Congress and BJP. After being a member of Congress for more than three decades, she joined BJP in 2004. As per the reports, she left Congress because of her stiff relationship with Congress President Sonia Gandhi. It was believed that she was associated with BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee and hence joined BJP.

Being a member of Congress, she held many positions. Heptulla was the party's General Secretary and spokesperson in 1986, after being elected as the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha in 1985, she was elected to the Rajya Sabha five times between 1986 and 2012. Heptulla represented Rajasthan from 2004 to 2010 and in 2012 she was elected to Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh. She held the position of Deputy Chairperson for 16 long years. From 1999 to 2002 she was elected as the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Rising speedily after joining BJP in 2004, she contested for the post of Vice President against UPA's Hamid Ansari. Though she lost the elections, her skills and qualities came to be recognised by all. During Nitin Gadkari's tenure as BJP president in 2010, Heptulla was appointed as one of the party's vice presidents. Heptulla lost her position after Rajnath Singh took over as the party President.

The time when NDA was in power, Heptulla gained the position of head of the Indian Council of Cultural Affairs and headed many Indian delegations abroad. The United Nations Development Programme appointed her as its human development ambassador. BJP never lost its trust in her and hence on May 26, 2014 she was appointed as the Minister of Minority Affairs in the Modi government.

After assuming charge she said that reservation is no solution for developing minorities. "We want to work for economic, social development and inclusive development (of minorities). Unless they don't become a part the part of development process, there will be lopsided development," she said. She recently claimed that the Muslims are now confident of the BJP in power and have supported Modi.

Over the years, she became a strong defender of women's empowerment. In 1992 she was the chairperson of the Conference of Women Parliamentarians of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in New Delhi. She also played a prominent role in the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Apart from this, she was also the head of the Indian delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 1997.

Political Journey of Najma Heptulla

  • She was the Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha from 1985 to 1986 and from 1988 to 2004.
  • Heptulla was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1980, 1986, 1992, 1988.
  • In 1993 she headed the women parliamentarians' group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. In the same year she was also elected as the founder president of the parliamentarians' forum for human development.
  • From 1999 to 2002, Heptulla was nominated as the President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
  • Najma Heptulla became the Minister of Minority Affairs on May 26, 2014.
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Last Updated on July 07, 2020