Begum In’am Habibullah

بیگم انعام حبیب اللہ
Lucknow
1883-1975

Begum In’am Fatima Habibullah (1883-1975) was a prominent activist who spent much of her life working to improve the lives of women in India. Over the course of her public career, she presided over several reformist organizations, founded multiple educational institutions, and was, in 1936, elected to the Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces. She was also a writer; her most substantial work was a 1924 Urdu-language travelogue, Ta’ssurat-i Safar-i Yurup [Impressions of a Journey to Europe], from which the extracts given here are taken. Begum Habibullah’s children and their families have continued her tradition of political engagement, social reform and literary accomplishment. Prominent women in Begum Habibullah’s line include: her daughter, Tazeen Faridi, who was a state minister, activist and author; her daughters-in-law, the critically-regarded author Attia Hosain (1913-1998), and the much-revered activist for women’s rights and Member of Parliament Hamida Habibullah (1917-2018); her granddaughter, the author and literary critic, Muneeza Shamsie; and her great-granddaughter, the well-known author, Kamila Shamsie (b. 1973).

The original Urdu writings of Begum Habibullah may be found online at:

  1. Ta’surrat-i Safar-i Yurap (travel account)
  2. Nazr-i ‘Aqidat (religious guidance)
  3. Khutba-i Sadarat (address on education)
Biography by Daniel Majchrowicz

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Impressions of Europe

Begum In’am Habibullah
1930
Dorchester, England (Original Language: Urdu)

Dorchester is a town about 120 miles from London with a population of about ten thousand. The market is small, but everything one needs is readily available. The streets are paved. Small the market may be, but it is clean and the shops are organized the same way that English shops in Hindustan are. The …