At the time of Amritavarsham50, Dr. Najma Heptullla was serving as the deputy chairwoman of the Rajya Sabha (the Upper House of Indian Parliament) and as the president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
Dr. Heptulla received her Ph.D. in cardiac anatomy in 1962 and a masters of science (zoology) in 1960. She has served as the advisor of the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Harvard (1992-96), and as a professor of zoology. She was also a fellow of London’s Zoological Society.
Dr. Heptulla has held numerous parliamentary offices over the years, includingthe honorary president and president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,
She was the deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha from January 1985 to January 1986 and since 1988 till date. Re-elected for a six-year term in July 1998. She has also served as a member of parliament in the Rajya Sabha for four consecutive terms, 1980-86, 1986-92, 1992-98 and 1998-2004.
She has always been a champion of women’s issues and was the leader of the delegation to the UN Commission on Status of Women in 1997, a special invitee of the World Women’s Forum (Harvard, 1997), and a special UN invitee from Asia-Pacific Region to attend Nordic Women Parliamentarians’ Meet on Population, March 1994. She was a member of the National Committee for Women in 1989 and a delegate to the Asia Pacific Conference on Women, Islamabad, 1984.