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Tyaba Begum Sahaba Bilgrami

Daughter of Syed I-lu sam, the eldest and the most famous of the three Bilgrami brothers, Tyeba Begum was born in 1873. Passing the F.A. examination of the Madras University with Honours in 1908 she took her B.A. degree of the same university in 1910 and became the first Muslim woman in India to have taken a university degree.

In 1896 she married Dr. Mirza Karim Khan (later known as Nawab Khedive Jung Bahadur), and bore him four daughtersand one son, the eldest daughter died while still in her infancy. Despite her manifold duties as wife and mother she continued to be a voracious reader. Being deeply religious she made a thorough study of the Quran and books of other religions. She was also very much interested in political and social sciences.

Her speeches and sociological writings were mostly on Indian or Islamic topics and chiefly devoted to education. Though conservative by temperament she had the reformer’s bent of mind. She believed that the key to progress, whether social or economic, cultural or political, lay in the advancement of women by education and in their fitness for vocations. She was no arm-chair philosopher.

It is to her efforts that many social and educational institutions in Hyderabad owe their origin and existence. But being of an unostentatious nature and publicity-shy she did not hanker after recognition of her greatness which only those who knew her intimately understood when she died in June, 1921.

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