FAB BAG Magazine
FAB Women

Published on March 13th, 2014 | by Jehan Raffiuddin

FAB WOMEN: Shaista Ambar

‘Shaista’ which means well bred, well mannered and in Pushto language it means “Beautiful”. True to her name, she proved utmost loyalty to the qualities ascribed with it and today she’s ranked 44th by India Today for being one of the most powerful Women in India. She continues to fight for justice for women & helped countless number of poor, read on to find out how:



Good in her academics, extraordinary in sports and excellent in her religious studies, Shaista is the proud daughter of her parents. Her consciousness was always deeply affected by the injustices done by society particularly to the daughters of eve. She was always encouraged by her husband to research on topics that interested her, so she did her research and then wrote short stories and articles which later got published in many magazines in and outside the country. Her short stories are widely appreciated because they focus on the female child who is ill treated by society.

 In her early 30s, her husband was transferred to another city & she was compelled to look after her 3 children and her newly built house alone. That was the inception of a new Avatar of Mrs.Shaista Ambar, the one that we know today. To understand the language of love is what Shaista has always believed in and it is that spirit which encourages her to feel the pain of people who are suffering and the hope in their eyes is what she calls her driving force. That’s why she started helping the poor patients of SGPGI Hospital. Being a non Muslim area, there were no Mosques in the vicinity. When she saw the tears in the eyes of people who long to hear the azaan, who long to sit inside the house of Allah and offer prayers and beg for help for their relatives, women who cried for their husband’s life, fathers who cried for their small babies suffering with brain tumor or cancer, she helped them get financial help from the Governor of Lucknow and that’s how she got the inspiration to start a small 4 wall room as a mosque. Not just that, she went on to sell her Jewellery and invested her life long savings to construct a Shelter home behind the Mosque for people who cannot afford to stay at lodges or hotels and who come to the hospital for the treatment of their loved ones. The mosque she built near the shelter house is perhaps the only mosque in India where women have also prayed, where Shia and Sunni pray together and where a non Muslim child who had a hole in his heart and was abandoned by his father was sheltered
Recently she was granted 44th Position by India today for being one of the most powerful Woman in India. Her most celebrated work has been a MODEL NIKAHNAAMA , an Islamic marriage contract which nullifies the triple talaaq system and is in 100% accordance with Islamic Principles. The triple talaaq system has ruined several homes and this motivated her to fight against this grave evil. In recent times, the triple talaaq system has been widely misused by males and some of the religious heads who have commercialized the religious doctrines to suite their own selfish standards.She questioned this and today created a contract and goes against this evil belief. On the occasion of Women’s Day, Shaista organised a program for honouring extra ordinary women achievers. These women were honoured by Ex President Pratibha Patil on 6th March 2014 in Lucknow.

The FAB BAG Crew is inspired by all that she’s done for society. It was a privilege to speak to her and hear her story. We’ve saved some parts of our conversation with Shaista for you.

FAB BAG: If not Shaista, who would you be?
Shaista: I would have been a bohemian leading a nomadic life.  Meeting different people, visiting unknown places, discovering the similarities, helping and spreading smiles.

FAB BAG: One over hyped advice that you’d never give anyone?
Shaista: “Respect elders and listen to them”, Sometimes just because we have been asked to follow this, we often ruin our own lives despite knowing what’s right and what’s wrong.

FAB BAG:  If you had to start up something new, what would that be?
Shaista: Perhaps I would like to start up a study centre or an academy for vulnerable home makers who could try and rediscover their strengths. We could explore new opportunities and learn new things that we never got chance to learn like mountaineering, skiing, bungy jumping or may be like learning a new language.

FAB BAG: Your favourite quote is?
Shaista: Aml Bin Maroof Nahi Anil Munkar (An Arabic saying from Holy Quran which means that ‘Spread the goodness and destroy the evil) I also love the famous quote ‘Vasudev Kutumbkum’ that The whole world is my family.

FAB BAG:  What would you like people to remember you as?
Shaista: A jolly good fellow who smiles and brings smiles on faces who had forgotten to be happy.

Parting Shot: To dedicate your life for the happiness of others, is the bravest thing we as humans can do. Shaista has done exactly that. She’s among those women who treats the world as her family. In a country like ours where poverty and injustice to girl child is of utmost concern, it’s people like her that bring change and make a difference. We truly admire her guts and her will to fight against some of the most powerful men and stand for what’s right. To all those reading this, we have one message, “Selfish or Selfless is a question we each must ask our self at least once a day

The *FAB* Women initiative by FabBag.com celebrates the occasion of Women’s Day all through the month of March with an aim to inspire women across the country by sharing stories of ordinary women with extraordinary lives. If you liked reading Shaista’s story, please leave a comment below and share this article. It’s now your turn to spread the inspiration.

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About the Author

Dances like there's a full house cheering. Dresses like it's the runway. Travels like a nomad and lives each day like it's her last. Chief trouble-maker on any social media platform you can name. High on life since 1991.

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