Noorjehan Safia Niaz on the rights of Indian Muslim Women
July 22, 2015
Interview with Teesta Setalvad of Communalism Combat. A joint production of Communalism Combat and Hillele TV.
Noorjehan believes that a Muslim woman’s legal concerns cannot be seen in isolation: unless she is socially empowered she will not be able to address her legal concerns. She believes that Muslim women need to be organised, given an identity and a voice.
Towards this, Noorjehan founded the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) in 2007 as a national platform for Muslim women to present an alternative progressive voice that not only addresses their legal problems but also takes steps to ameliorate their social conditions. BMMA consolidated and built on the power of small women’s groups (Mahila Mandals, Nyaya Panchayats and Self Help Groups). The BMMA leverages such grassroots organisations and individuals to present a strong voice for Muslim women in India. Through this platform, Noorjehan constantly engages with Muslim women, enabling them to articulate their concerns, build negotiating power and assume a leadership role in their communities.
Over the last seven to eight years, BMMA has grown to a network of around 30,000 individual members across 60 districts in 13 states. Women are organised at the village, taluka, district and state level.