Najima Bibi – Not a Usual Neta


She has faced fatwas but she refuses not to soar high like a free spirited Muslim woman in Manipur. Inspired by Irom Sharmila Chanu’s story, Najima Bibi now has entered the political ring, becoming the first Muslim to do so in Manipur.

While she may have a fatwa against her she is contesting the Manipur elections on Sharmila’s Peoples’ Resurgence and Justice Alliance party ticket. Najima, a woman who works for the women of the region says she will continue to fight against domestic violence and upliftment of the people in the area.

Najima is a candidate of PRJA from Wabgai constituency.

Najima closely watched Irom’s fight and it was when she joined politics that she saw a ray of hope in joining the politics of Manipur as a means of change.

If chosen as an MLA Najima makes it clear that she wants to work for the people. Says has policies and vision for education, women’s issues, against AFSPA, for small scale employment generation and many other things.

Religious leaders in Santhel Mamang Leikai announced recently that Najima Bibi will not get a burial after her death. The people of the village are discouraged to talk to her.

As a woman who has fought odds through and through she tells papers that from being the only girl in her class and the first girl in the family to complete her 10th standard, she has come a long way.

Coming out of an abusive marriage in life she decided to work for the cause of domestic violence.

Najima currently runs a shelter home for destitute women.

In Manipur, Muslims are fewer in number and have also been economically weaker. According to the Census 2011, Manipur has 239,836 Muslims (known as Pangal in Manipur) and make for 8.4 per cent of the state’s population.

Najima, also known to many as Najima Phundreimayum, has been a social activist for over 15 years in and around Santhel Mamang – the leikai (colony) she belongs to.

Najima has also been silently urging people to “break silence” on the “war crimes in Syria” and the “genocide of the Rohingyas” in Myanmar.

Irrespective of who wins, fact that Manipur is seeing in its elections the participation of a woman from its sizeable Muslim community is notable.


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