Partition Voices: Mahmooda Ahmad Ali Shah + Sajida Zameer Ahmad
Partition Voices: Mahmooda Ahmad Ali Shah and Sajida Zameer Ahmad
Sajida Zameer Ahmad (one from left) with other members of the WSDC, 1948 - photo courtesy India Picture
Mahmooda Ahmad Ali Shah (one from right) with family members
In June 2007, I had the privilege of meeting and talking to two of Kashmir's most distinguished educationists, both of whom were active in the women's militia (the Women's Self Defence Corps,) of 1947-8 and in the progressive wing of the main Kashmiri nationalist party, the National Conference. I have posted here the audio of that conversation, almost an hour long, which took place in the garden of the Srinagar home of Dr Girija Dhar, who was the sister-in-law of both women.
Mahmooda Ahmad Ali Shah (1919-2014) was a left-wing activist, a student at Lahore in the early 1940s, who was the leading woman on the communist-aligned wng of the National Conference. She was a key figure in the formation and recruitment of the Women's Self Defence Corps. In later years, she was the principal of the Government Women's College. She was close to G.M. Sadiq, another left-winger within the National Conference who broke with Sheikh Abdullah and was in the 1960s the Prime Minister (and later the Chief Minister) of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Sajida Zameer Ahmad, nee Malik, (1925-2019) was a prominent activist in the Quit Kashmir movement of 1946-7 and in the women's militia. She later took on prominent roles in promoting women's education. Her husband and brother-in-law were active members of the men's militia established in late 1947.
This grab from a Pathe newsreel film of May 1948 shows Sajida Zameer Ahmad in conversation with Jawaharlal Nehru