Aurangabad, April 6:
Noted educationist and journalist Padmashri Fatma Rafiq Zakaria died of cardiac arrest at 4 pm on Tuesday after a brief illness.
Fatma Zakaria who was president of Maulana Azad Education Society (MAES) and chairman of Maulana Azad Educational Trust (MAET), was undergoing treatment in a private hospital for the past eight days ago.
She was 86 and leaves behind two sons-Arshad Zakaria and Fareed Zakaria.
The then President of the country Dr A B J Abdul Kalam honoured her with Padmashri in 2006 for the contribution in the field of education.
She had a long and varied career in journalism, social work, publishing and education for over 50 years.
After studying in prestigious Isabella Thoburn College, popularly known as IT College in Lucknow (founded in 1886), Fatma qualified as qualified as a professional social worker from the Institute of Social Work at Nirmala Niketan in Mumbai.
In 1958, she established an institution of childcare and a Women’s Industrial Home in Mumbai where over 500 underprivileged children were given All Day Care, nursery, kindergarten and primary education and adequate healthcare.
In 1963, Fatma Zakaria started writing for children in The Illustrated Weekly of India.
From 1970 to 1980, she worked with the Illustrated Weekly first as Sub-editor and Chief-sub-editor and then Assistant Editor. She was Senior Assistant Editor at The Times of India for over ten years.
She also worked for some time as Acting Resident Editor.
She did exclusive, comprehensive interviews with leading figures like Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, J R D Tata, Jayaprakash Narayan, and then prime minister Morarji Desai, Charan Singh.
She was a member of the High-Power Committee for restructuring of Mass Media by the Government of India.
The Committee worked under the chairmanship of the late G. Parthasarathy for five years.
She was honoured with Sarojini Naidu Integration Award for Journalism in 1983.
In the field of Education, she has played an important role. She was associated with MAET and MAES since their inception in 1962.
She worked as Managing Trustee alongside her husband, late Dr Rafiq Zakaria as chairman, in founding over 15 colleges and institutions in Aurangabad for the 15000-strong student community giving them state-of-the-art infrastructure set in three beautiful campuses where quality education is imparted to students from the lesser privileged sections of society.
She and late Dr Rafiq Zakaria founded a Girls College, the ‘Aurangabad College for Women which has been running for 20 years and has today over 2000 girl students. She named the college after her late husband as
Dr Rafiq Zakaria College for Women and converted the Campus entirely for Women only.
She is also Executive Vice-Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Trust’s Institute of Hotel Management which is run in collaboration with the Taj Group of Hotels.
Apart from these institutions, she is Chairman of the All India Khilafat Committee which runs Colleges of Education in Mumbai. She is also President of Maharashtra College (Mumbai) which has 4,000 students.
She was editor of Taj Magazine Árt Quarterly Journal (from 2001 to the present day). She was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) on February 17, 1936.
Her two sons- Arshad and Fareed, have been conferred with the Padma Bhushan Award in Journalism recently. Both graduated from Harvard and have won great laurels in their respective fields in the United States of America.