Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla has been unanimously elected as Chancellor (Amir-e-Jamia) of Jamia Millia Islamia for five years by the university's court in a special meeting held on May 25, a varsity statement said on Monday."Heptulla succeeds Lt. Gen. M.A. Zaki (retd.) who has completed his five-year term. Heptulla's tenure begins with effect from May 26," Jamia Millia Islamia said in a press release.After her new appointment, Heptulla will have to resign as Governor.Vice Chancellor Talat Ahmad expressed his happiness over Heptulla's appointment."The university will be greatly benefited from her rich experience in both political and public life. It will be our privilege to work with her and to learn from her distinguished career in parliament and internationally," he said, also thanking Zaki for his support and guidance.
Grand-niece of India's first Education Minister, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Heptulla has been a five time member of the Rajya Sabha between 1986 and 2012 and was Deputy Chairman of the upper house of the Indian parliament for 16 years.Heptulla also served as the Minister of Minority Affairs in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet before resigning on age grounds as the BJP in an unwritten code had fixed the maximum age for ministers at 75.She was subsequently appointed as Governor of Manipur.Heptulla has had the distinction of presiding over the women's parliamentarians' group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 1993 and was went on to be IPU's President from 1999 to 2002. She was also nominated by the United Nations Development Programme as its human development ambassador.