Historian Rana Safvi bags Yamin Hazarika Woman of Substance Award 2020 

By Aas Mohammad Kaif, TwoCircles.net

Renowned historian and author Rana Safvi has won this year’s Yamin Hazarika Award. The prestigious award is given in the memory of Yamin Hazarika, the first woman police officer from Assam. Safvi was presented with the award on Tuesday, September 22. The award was presented to her at a virtual ceremony in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Well known journalist Suhasini Haider and Assam DGP Bhaskar Jyoti attended the ceremony and praised Safvi for her achievement.

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Yamin Hazarika, who had also served as the deputy commissioner of police (crime against women) in Delhi, died of cancer in 1999. She was just 43 years old. She was known as a bold officer with progressive views who challenged the male hegemony in the police force. She was a DANIPS officer of the 1977 batch. She was also the first woman police officer from the North East. The Yamin Hazarika Award has been instituted in her memory to annually honour women pursuing offbeat work.

Five talented women have received the award before Rana Safvi. Last year, the award was presented in Guwahati to social worker Hasina Kharbih from Meghalaya, who is associated with the Meghalaya Model against human trafficking. Previous winners include journalist Indrani Raimedhi, athlete Tayabun Nisha, actress Moloya Goswami and environmentalist Purnima Devi Barman.

Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta congratulated Safvi and said he was a fan of her work. Women journalists and writers have expressed pleasure at the announcement.

It is interesting to note that Rana Safvi’s father was an IPS officer himself and she has now won an award in the memory of the first woman police officer from the North East. Also worth mentioning is that Rana Safavi herself had cleared the preliminary civil service exam, but she did not attend the final exam. She is originally from Aligarh and is considered to be one of the most illustrious alumnae of Aligarh Muslim University.

Abbas Ali Khan of Jansath expressed his happiness at Safvi receiving the award. “Rana Aapa has always made us proud. Yet again she has inspired girls to hold their head high and move ahead in the world. There is no doubt that she is a role model.”

63-year-old Rana Safavi is popular on social media platforms. On Twitter, she is also known for the popular hashtag #shair. Her creativity and artistic streak fuel a variety of discussions on social media. Her drive for popularizing Ganga-Jamuni culture through her books set her apart from other historians. She has written several books on the history of Delhi which include Shahjahanabad, Where the Stones Speak and the Forgotten Cities of Delhi. The history of Delhi comes alive in these books.

Sources close to her claim that she had passed the preliminary UPSC exam but never appeared in the finals. She married Ghazanfar, an engineer from Bihar.

Her sister Farzana says that she has always taken life decisions quite fearlessly and hasn’t cared for the labels attributed to her. She still considers her work as a public service.

For Safvi, the coincidence of winning an award named after a civil servant who died of cancer brings an emotional connection to this honour. Safvi lost her mother to cancer in 2004.

On winning the award, Rana Safavi expressed her happiness and described it as a great achievement and added that she continues to draw inspiration from Yamin Hazarika.