ZAKIA SOMAN – FOUNDER MEMBER, BMMA
Zakia Soman is co-founder of BMMA. She got catapulted into full-time social activism following the sectarian violence in Gujarat in 2002. Following her personal experiences she began working with families in the various relief camps at that time on relief, rehabilitation, psycho-social counseling, campaigning with various democratic institutions and media etc. During this time she underwent a personal journey she hadn’t experienced before. She found meaning in the struggle for justice led by riot-affected Muslim women in Gujarat. She got engaged with issues of peace, justice, secularism and religious tolerance in Gujarat initially and now she is a part of the movement to resist communalism and upholding secularism and peace in India and in South Asia.
She is a strong advocate for rights of minorities and rights of women across South Asia. She is a member of Saape, South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication which engages with the issues of excluded communities regionally. She is the national lead on peace, justice, secularism and minorities rights in Action Aid.
As convener of Sauhard Manch she closely works on issues within communalism, secularism, peace, human rights, minorities rights and rights of Muslim women across the country. She is invited to speak and present papers at civil society seminars and meetings regularly. She writes and gets published in various newspapers, magazines and journals on these issues. She has edited a book on dalit Muslims which is published by the Indian Social Institute. She has co-edited a volume on peace and justice in South Asia which has been published by Pearson India. She has led a national research on socio-economic condition of Muslims in India which has been jointly published by leading social organizations. She has led a research on the communal violence in Gujarat which has been published by another leading social organization. Sauhard Manch is currently conducting a national research on the status of Muslim community post Sachar Committee.
She holds an M.A and M.Phil in English literature from Gujarat University. Prior to entering activism she has been professionally engaged in various areas for close to fifteen years. She has been a university lecturer, an editor in a newspaper and a director in a leading NGO in Ahmedabad where she belongs.