Born on 20th November 1916, Hamida Habibullah has become the iconic face of Indian womanhood in post Independence India. She is the proud daughter of Late Nawab Nazir Yar Jung Bahadur, Chief Justice of Hyderabad High Court. She passed Senior Cambridge with Distinction in five subjects, B.A. from Osmania University (Gold Medalist), 2 years Teachers Training from White Lands College (Putney) London. Married to Maj. General Enaith Habibullah in 1938. She joined politics after her husband retired from the Army in 1965. She was the President of Avadh Girls Degree College since 1975. The college was founded by her mother in law Late Begum Inam Habibullah, Member Legislative Council and Lucknow Municipal Council as the first English Degree College for girls. She is also President Talimgah-E-Niswan College since 1975. A school with 3,500 catering to the education of Muslim girls founded by her mother in law Late Begum Inam Habibullah. The fee is subsidized for girls who are in need. President of SEWA Lucknow (Self Employed Women’s Association), an organization for upliftment & improvement of women employing 5,000 chikan workers. Begum Sahiba is also patron of All India Women’s Conference, Nari Sewa Samiti Lucknow, Cheshire Homes India Lucknow and member of Sainik Kalyan Board Lucknow. She received numerous awards and appreciations and the recent ones are Chishti Harmony Award 2012, Lifetime Achievemnt award by Hindustan Times recently, etc. Habibullah Estate, her ancestral home in Hazratgunj is a landmark of the city !
She was minister of State Uttar Pradesh (1971-73) as Social and Harijan Welfare, National Integration & Civil Defence; Minister of State Uttar Pradesh (1971-74) Tourism; Member of Parliament & Rajya Sabha, Chairman, Parliamentary Committee On Govt. Assurance (1976-82);
Member of Legislative Assembly,U.P. – Represented The Constituency of Haidergarh, Distt.Barabanki; President UP Urdu Academy – The academy was inaugurated in 1972, Founder President and re-elected 1972-76 and in1982; Central Social Welfare Board 1987 – A Member of Executive Committee (New Delhi); Lucknow University – Member Of Executive Council till 1974-80; Member of the Executive Committee of UPCC till 1980; Member of (Elected) the AICC All India Congress Committee From 1969; President of Mahila Congress UPCC from 1972-76. Secretary General & later President of the Indian Council for Child Welfare, New – Delhi during 1991-97. Elected Secretary General of the U.P.-Council for Child Welfare with head office at Moti Mahal, Lucknow. Travelled extensively to U.K. U.S.S.R, Finland, Denmark, Bulgaria, Iraq, Bangladesh, China, Malasiya, etc. Conferences in Czechoslovakia and Sweden were also attended by her as a member of Parliament. At the invitation of King Abdul Azeez of Saudi-Arabia performed Haj with her husband in 1951. Visited Pakistan leading a Deligation of 20 women entrepreneurs. Attended the World Women’s Conference in China with the Indian Delegation in 1996 and much more.
Habibullah are the Taluqdars of Saidanpur, Barabanki. Late Sheikh Mohammed Habibullah OBE was Deputy Commissioner, Saharanpur and Vice Chancellor, Lucknow University. Married to Late Begum Inam Habibullah, Member Legislative Council and Lucknow Municipal Council, Founder Avadh Degree College (first degree college for girls). Founder Taleemgah Niswan, educational society for minority women. At the time it was the first school for muslim girls in Lucknow and Founder member Lady Irwin College Delhi. Their son Late Maj. Gen. Enaith Habibullah became the first Commandant of National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla in 1952. He was also posted to Malasiya as Deputy Commander in Chief of the Malaysian Forces. Married to Begum Hamida Habibullah, ex MP Rajya Sabha, former Minister of State for Tourism and Civil Defence and currently President of Avadh Degree College. Their son is Wajahat Habibullah (IAS retd), Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, ex Chief Information Commissioner, India who married Shahila Habibullah, former joint secretary and now life Member, Indian Council for Child Welfare and Ex-Chairperson State Welfare Board, Lakshadweep. Their sons are Amar Habibullah and Saif Habibullah. Amar Habibullah is married to Jyotsna Habibullah and they have two sons, Enaith and Rafay aged 7 years and 4 years respectively. Amar Habibullah who inherited the passion of horses from his grandfather is a prominent polo player and Amar was instrumental in reviving the Polo competition in Lucknow last year. Jyotsna Habibullah has recently organised the Mango Festival at Saidanpur.
Founder Lucknow Society was privileged to meet the legend at her home and discuss with Begum Sahiba the memories of Lucknow ! Lucknow Society Salutes Begum Hamida Habibullah for her deep interest in public affairs and her active participation in social causes which make her an outstanding role model for young Indian women to follow. Her contribution in uplifting the women and putting Lucknow on International map is remarkable !