Jamia Milia Islamia University, a premier Indian institution, launched its 103rd Foundation Day celebrations with an exhibition on women teachers who played a crucial role in its growth. The exhibition, titled “Adaan: The Celebration of Jamia’s Women,” is an apt tribute at a time when the university is led by its first woman vice chancellor, Prof. Najma Akhtar.
The five-day celebration, which began on October 29 and ended on October 31, 2023, included various academic and cultural activities. The exhibition on women teachers was organized by the Sarojini Naidu Center for Women Studies and the Premchand Archives and Literary Center.
Two women teachers featured in the exhibition are Sugra Mehndi and Saleha Abid Hussain.
Sugra Mehndi (1937-2014)
Sugar Mehndi was home-schooled and among the first few girls to join Jamia Millia Islamia University when boys and girls studied together. She was encouraged to pursue education by her uncle, Syed Abid Hussain, and teacher, Saleha Abid Hussain.
Mehndi started her career as a school teacher and worked her way up to become a professor of Urdu at Jamia Millia Islamia University. Her first novel, Raag Bhopali, was published in 1969, and her last book, Hamari Jamia, was published in 2014, a few months before her death.
Saleha Abid Hussain (1913-1988)
Saleha Abid Hussain was born in Panipat, then part of Punjab. She was a prominent and prolific Urdu writer, authoring over 50 works, including novels, short stories, essays, letter collections, and translations. She inherited her zeal for literary work from her great-grandfather, poet Maulana Altaf Hussain Hali.
The exhibition on women teachers at Jamia Millia Islamia University is a timely reminder of the contributions of these women to the growth of the institution and Urdu literature. It is also a tribute to the university’s commitment to women’s education and empowerment.
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