BENGALURU: Former chief minister SM Krishna regretted that the former minister in his cabinet Nafees Fazal was not backed fully by her community.
Releasing her biography, ‘Breaking Barriers’, here on Friday, Krishna praised Fazal as a good colleague who left her mark as a minister when a record of sorts was set with her being the first Muslim woman to become a minister in South India in his cabinet. Krishna made her an MLC and took her into the cabinet as the minister of state for medical education which was, however, cut short.
Even in her book, co-authored with senior journalist Sandhya Mendonca, Fazal mentions the episode in the chapter, ‘Gender & Religion @ Work’.
She writes, “As for men, it was a different matter. They looked at my gender and religion and judged me; sadly, very few saw my ability and dedication. Whether it was my western style education or the fact that I had a privileged life or that I refuse I did not fit the archetypal Muslim housewife. And that was cause for concern among Muslim politicians of my time. My glamorous image went against the grain of my critics. I was a pawn in the game of politics and due to the manipulation of the Muslim men, my career had a premature death.”
ALSO READ | Against All Odds: Nafees Fazal's new book 'Breaking Barriers'
Krishna regretted seeking her resignation when allegations were made about her dancing in a hotel. Terming the decision “stupid”, he said, “ I sent my personal secretary, and without hearing Nafees, I got her resignation from the medical education portfolio... I erred.” He said he realised his error later and reinducted her into the cabinet with the science and technology portfolio.
Former Union minister Margaret Alva asked Fazal not to worry about the brickbats she might receive for her revelations in the book. She said, “I have watched her, advised her, and at times, admonished her. But I have mostly admired her for who she is — an educated, bold, non-conventional Muslim woman.”