Sunday, July 23, 2023


Rising Beyond The Ceiling (RBTC) is an initiative born out of the need to change the stereotypical narrative about Muslim women in India. It is a celebration of achievement, endeavor and diversity of India Muslim womenRBTC shines a spotlight on Muslim women's contributions to nation building in a variety of ways and professions. Founded in April 2020 this initiative aims to make Muslim women's stories more visible, provide positive role models for future generations, nurturing young women's confidence and ambition in all spheres. RBTC works across various platforms- the website, publications, multimedia as well as an outreach young women's mentorship programme. Besides, Uttar Pradesh, RBTC is putting together inspiring profiles from fourteen states in India that are home to nearly eighty percent of the country’s 100 million Muslim women population. Besides State and National levels, there is a RBTC 100 list under finalization of Global Inspirations which includes women who have done their initial studies in Indian institutions and are now making their mark in countries across the globe. A compendium of Inspirations from the Past of amazing Muslim women who are not with us now, but on whose shoulders we stand today provides the historical perspectivesWe are also excited about our amazing under 30 Youth Inspirations 100 list.

We continue to welcome your nominations of inspiring Muslim women in India at

Founder's Foreword: Muslim Women are not a Monolith

There is a stereotype narrative surrounding Muslim women in India. However, the millions of Indian women, who identify themselves as Muslim, reach across a spectrum of ethnicities and languages, states and union territories, do not look the same or sound the same, and contribute towards nation building in a variety of ways. Studies and surveys, including the first comprehensive study of Muslim women in India in 2001, discussed in the book “Unequal Citizens”, have identified that the interest in Muslim women is caught up in misconceptions that usually leave Muslim women invisible. Stereotypes of Indian Muslim women, entrenched in the trinity of triple talaq, multiple marriages and purdah have held them hostage for so very long. It is also commonplace to view Muslim women in India, and also globally, as a monolithic category, while they are in reality highly differentiated and heterogenous.

Rising Beyond The Ceiling

RBTC 100 Uttar Pradesh Honoree ANJUM ARA
Anjum Ara is a police officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS Batch 2012) Her family belongs to Kamharia, a village in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. Her father Ayub Shaikh, a civil engineer, is a government employee.Since joining the Indian Police Service in Himachal Pradesh, Anjum has served as Additional Superintendent Police Shimla, Superintendent Police at Solan and Senior Superintendent Police at Shimla as well as in Cyber Crime Departments, among others. During her district postings she made special efforts to change the image of police for citizens.Anjum Ara and her husband IAS officer Yunus Khan’s offered to support the expenses of the 12-year old daughter of Naib Subedar Paramjit Singh, who was killed in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch sector in May 2017. The couple contacted the martyr’s wife, Paramjit Kaur, and expressed the desire to look after Khushdeep, the younger daughter of the soldier, till she grows up and is independent. SSP Ara emphasizes the importance of education and economic independence for girls.Anjum is a computer engineer by training, she completed her B.Tech. from Integral University at Lucknow. Anjum received her secondary education at Saharanpur’s Arya Kanya Inter-college and her higher secondary education at HR Inter College in first division.Source/References

Saria Abbasi, Major, Army

RBTC 100 Uttar Pradesh Honoree. SARIA ABBASI, Lieutenant, Indian Army, Home Town: Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. Click side arrow for profile details.

Ms. Saria Abbasi, a lieutenant in the Indian Army, is a resident of Ramjanki Nagar, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. Leaving her earlier profession as an engineer, she followed her desire to get trained for the Indian Army. She completed her training at the Officer Training Institute in Chennai and became a lieutenant. In the graduation parade of the Academy of Chennai, her father Dr Tehseen Abbasi and mother Ms. Rehana Shamim put a star on her shoulders on September 9, 2017.
I always wanted to do something different. Being a first-generation officer, I was not aware of anything. There were a lot of challenges, but I worked hardMs. Abbasi took the CDS exam in 2015, conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPAC), and was ranked 20th in the All India Ranking for Girls. Still, she could not get selected. Nevertheless, she did not lose courage and prepared for the exam again. She finally got selected in 2016. She is the third Muslim woman from India and the first from eastern Uttar Pradesh to get this honor.
Ms. Abbasi completed her high school and intermediate from GN National Public School, Gorakhpur. After doing Bachelors of Technology in Genetic Engineering from IMS, Ghaziabad in 2015, she got a job as an engineer in a Delhi-based company. She also worked as a Radio Jockey associated with the BBC.
Source / References
Amreen Pilot Uttarakhand

RBTC 100 Uttar Pradesh Honoree. AMREEN WARSI, Airline Pilot with Spice Jet Airways. First Muslim woman captain on a fleet. Home Town: Lucknow Uttar Pradesh. Click side arrow for profile details.

Amreen Warsi, is an Airline Pilot working with Spice Jet Airways since 2017. Amreen completed her schooling from Mussoorie Public School and graduated in Tourism. She aspired to be a pilot since her childhood and soon after her studies she joined a flying school in India to give wings to her dreams. She got enrolled in Amber Aviation Academy at Pantnagar, Uttarakhand and got her Commercial Pilot License with flying colors.
In midst of recession in 2011 when there was scarcity of flying jobs in India, she made her way out and without any hesitation picked up a job in an African country, Tanzania. She flew Cessna Grand Caravan in command for over a period of 2 years. She returned to India in 2015 and joined an Air Charter company in Bangalore. In 2017 she got an opportunity to fly for Spice Jet Airlines and today she is flying in command on Bombardier Q400 aircraft making her the first Muslim woman captain on the fleet. She flies to different destinations all over India and abroad.
Source / References , fieryaviator
Hana Khan

RBTC 100 Uttar Pradesh Honoree. HANA KHAN, Airline Pilot with Indigo Airlines. Noida. Uttar Pradesh. Click side arrow for profile details.

Hana Mohsin Khan is a pilot with Indigo Airlines since 2019. Hana Khan’s journey to becoming a pilot has been a wondrous one. She grew up in the Middle East, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At an early age she had started to envision a world where opportunities were equal for men and women. Her parents belonged to Shahjahanpur (paternal) and Pabli khas (maternal) to Zamindar families where a patriarchal setup was a given. Though she was privileged that they raised her the way they did. She believes it is the values she grew up with that had led her to believe that she could do anything she wanted to.
Hana came back to India and completed her graduation in Mass communications from Delhi University. After which she spent many years in the media industry. She later quit that to start her Event business. During that time, she was at a destination wedding in Trivandrum, a friend’s brother saw her there and invited her over for an evening get together. She was the only non-pilot there and felt close to envious of them talking about flying and was wondering why she wasn't doing what they were. After that there was no turning back. She gave her exams over the next few months. And left for Florida for her flight training.
She started her aviation journey in 2015. Gave her exams in early 2015 and left for training later that year. She got her license in January 2017. Completed her type rating on the Airbus 320 in March 2017.She got through both Go air and Indigo airlines in 2018. And decided to join Indigo airlines in 2019.Source /References

Saharish Siddiqui

Saharish Siddiqui joined the Indian Railway Protection Force (RPF) Service, having qualified in the Civil Services examination in 2010. She currently serves as Senior Commandant, RFP at Lucknow.
The Railway Protection Force strives to ensure the safety and security of the Indian Railways, one of the largest employers in the world. More than 60 million people travel in the train on an average each day. Apart from protection of Railway property and passengers, Ms. Siddiqui has focused her efforts on the rescue to women and children. During her tenure as Divisional Security Commissioner, North Eastern Railway Lucknow more than 500 children were rescued from Railway premises and trains. Saharish has worked with NGOS such as Childline and Ehsaas in rescue and rehabilitation of lost, runaways and trafficked children from railway stations and trains. She been instrumental in designing and implementing several new professional courses such as Cyber Investigations Techniques for RPF. Saharish has taken up several challenges, such as during her tenure as Commandant 2nd Battalion Railway Protection Special Force at Gorakhpur, personnel under her command were deployed in sensitive locations in the North East, for election duty as well as emergency support across India.
Ms. Siddiqui completed her graduation from Lady Sri Ram College in Delhi in Philosophy Honors and went on to pursue Masters in Culture and Society on a full scholarship from the London School of Economics (LSE), University of London. She also worked at a Student Tutor at LSE while completing her Masters.
Saharish was awarded the DG Insignia in 2017. She also has the distinction of being selected as the ‘Best Probationary officer’ among her civil services batch.
Source / References :

Anam Ali

RBTC 100 Uttar Pradesh HonoreeANAM ALI, Commissioned Officer, Indian Air Force. Home town: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Click side arrow for profile details.

Anam Ali, born 1997, is a Commissioned Officer of the Indian Air Force. Ms. Ali was selected to the Air Force in 2019. She is one of the very few Muslim women in the Indian Air Force.

Anam has a B Tech in Electronics and communication from Shri Ram Swaroop College of Engineering and Management at Lucknow and completed her schooling at the Army Public School in Lucknow.
Anam believes that it require immense hard work to achieve ones dreams and that becoming an officer doesn't just involve studies, it also requires overall personality to take people with you and lead them. Anam's father was an officer in Indian Army and helped her since childhood to be like him. She also credits the role of her mother who is an MA in psychology in helping to develop her overall personality.
Source / References


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