A tribute to Najma Sadeque who died yesterday at age 72
Najma Sadeque was many things to many people – a journalist for over three decades, an activist for many important causes whether it be human rights, gender rights, the environment, education, economic rights, land rights – you name it. If there was an injustice and Najma spotted it, she would take it on as a personal mission to take a stand against it – not by yelling off the rooftops but by researching the root causes and campaigning for reform through the power of the pen (or the keyboard).
Najma was a soft-spoken person with a great sense of humor and the ability to make a person feel totally comfortable in her presence. I hadn’t seen her lately due to my schedule (and I will always regret that) but I remember the many conversations and interactions we have had over the years. She was such an easy person to have a discourse with even though she had very strong views and a deep knowledge about a diverse set of issues but never once did I feel overwhelmed in her presence. When we look for heroes in our midst, and women leaders who have made impact, Najma Sadeque should certainly be counted amongst them. She led through her writings, impacted policies, changed minds and highlighted injustices.
Some of the books, reports and chapters that Najma Sadeque wrote include:
The Great Agricultural Hoax
How they run Pakistan
How they run the World
Death by Entrapment
Haunting Shadows of Human Security
Why Land is a Woman’s Issue
Seed Heritage for Sale
Some of her pieces can be read on her blog: https://najmasadeque.wordpress.com. We are assured that her daughter, documentary film maker and activist Deneb Sumbul will continue to update Najma’s blog with her articles and thoughts so that the wealth of knowledge and research are not lost.
Najma Sadeque was one of the founders of Shirkatgah and was amongst the founding team of the Women’s Action Forum. People she worked with in the Dawn Group and The News, as well as in WAF and Shirkatgah speak very highly of the teacher, the mentor, the team player, the activist and writer that Najma was. Her commitment to her work and to the issues she stood for was very apparent to anyone she came in contact with, and she worked tirelessly to try and address the injustices that exist in society.
Najma Sadeque passed away yesterday morning as a result of kidney failure. May she Rest in Peace.
In a message announcing her death, her daughter Deneb Sumbul stated: “In how many ways can I describe my wonderful indomitable mother – she wore so many hats – an activist to the last, journalist for over 35 years, one of the founding members of WAF and someone who had so many interests and never short on wonderful ideas and new perspectives.”
My condolences go out to Deneb and her brother and the rest of Najma’s family. She was an amazing person who was an invaluable member of our society. Her passion, her sincerity, her friendship and her work and values will not be forgotten. She will continue to live through her children.