Begum Ra'ana Liaquat Ali Khan
BegumRa'ana Liaquat Ali Khan ( Urdu: رعنا لیاقت علی خان) (née Sheila Irene Pant) (1905 - June 13, 1990) was born in a Kumauni brahminfamily at Almorain the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. However, her grandfather, a Hinduhad converted to Christianity. She was educated at the University of Lucknowwhere she obtained a first class Masters degreewith honors in economicsin 1929.
She began her career as a
teacherin the Gokhale Memorial Schoolafter completing the Teachers Diploma Course from the Diocesan College, Calcutta. She was later appointed as Professorof Economicsin the Indraprastha College, Delhi.
In December 1932, she was married to
Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan. After the reorganization of Muslim League, BegumRa'ana devoted herself to the task of creating political consciousness amongst the Muslim women. Her struggle for emancipation continued till the creation of Pakistanfor Muslims of Indiain 1947.
After the assassination of her husband
Liaquat Ali Khanin 1951, Begum Ra'ana continued her services for the social and economic benefit of women of Pakistantill her death in 1990.
Initiatives for women
As wife of the first
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Begum Ra'ana took the lead in starting the women's voluntaryservice in 1948. Women were encouraged to take up responsibilities in administering first aid, organizing food distribution, dealing with healthproblems, epidemicsand clothing, and above all, in providing moral and emotionalsupport. She also took the initiative of introducing defense training for women. On her own initiative, she formed the Pakistan Women's National Guard (PWNG) and the Pakistan Women Naval Reserve (PWNR) in 1949, and was appointed as the Chief Controller of both, with the rank of a Brigadier. Viewed in the perspective of the partition massacres, where helpless women had been brutally treated, the idea was not entirely unrealistic. The PWNG and PWNR could not survive for long and were disbanded soon after Begum Ra'ana went abroad as Pakistan's Ambassador.
Establishment of APWA
In 1949, Begum Ra'ana arranged a conference of over 100 active women from all over Pakistan. The conference announced the formation of a
voluntaryand non-political organizationfor the social, educationaland culturaluplift of the women, named as All Pakistan Women's Association( APWA). She was nominated as its first President.
Begum Ra'ana served as Pakistan's ambassador to the
Netherlandsin the 1950s and as ambassador to Italyin the 1960s. She was the:
*First Muslim woman ambassador and Doyen of the
Diplomatic Corps(while in the Netherlands),
*First Muslim woman
Governor(of Sindh provincein the mid–1970s),
*First Muslim woman Chancellor of a university (all the universities in
*First Muslim woman delegate to the
*First Muslim woman to win the
United Nations Human Rights Award,
*First Muslim woman to receive the Woman of Achievement Medal, (1950).
Awards and honors
Queen Julianaof the Netherlands conferred on her the Grand Cross of Orange–Nassau.
*Recipient of the International
Gimbel Awardfor service to humanity . (1962)
United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rightsfor her outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of the human rights embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsand in other United Nationshuman rights instruments. (1978)
* [http://www.trumanlibrary.org/photographs/ Pictures of Begum Ra'ana Liaquat Ali Khan's Visit to the USA] -type "Pakistan" in the search bar.
* [http://www.storyofpakistan.com/person.asp?perid=P082 A Short Biography]
* [http://www.jazbah.org/raanak.php Profile of Begum Ra'na Liaquat Ali Khan]
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