Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Unsung Heroes Detail

Unsung Heroes Detail

Safia Somji

Bombay, Maharashtra

June 30, 2022

Safia (Sofia) Somji, (her bio thread is not traceable) later known as Safia Khan, hailed from a Khoja family residing in Bandra, Bombay, and was the daughter of a leading Bombay Solicitor. She was a partaker in the Civil Disobedience Movement and was arrested on 4 May 1932 and was convicted under section 21 of Ordinance II of 1932 by the Presidency Magistrate’s, 2nd Court, Bombay. She was then imprisoned in Yeravda Central Prison for a year. Not demoralized by the prison, Safia chose to speak during the public meeting held in connection with the Congress Jubilee Celebration, at Dadar, on 31 December 1935. She was also imprisoned in several other instances.

Countless extraordinary women risked and sacrificed as much as men in the Indian freedom struggle. Safia Somji was one such brave name. She was a remarkable orator from a tender age and articulated the cause of the freedom movement through her speeches. During a speech at the public meeting of the Congress Jubilee Celebration, she recalled the revolutionary engagements of women in the Civil Disobedience movement and deemed it necessary for women to stand taller than ever before. She believed that women could execute the Congress programs such as depressed class upliftment, social reforms, communal harmony, and the propagation of the swadeshi. Under her leadership, The lady volunteers of the congress jubilee celebration responded with many services such as street and by-lane peddling of the Jubilee Commemoration flags and lockets for the fundraising. During the Civil Disobedience movement, she was detained for her anti-British approach and was subjected to rigorous imprisonment for one year. Arguably one of the significant female agitators, Safia/Sofia Somji encapsulated an inspirational journey for the women to ensure that they were both proactive and human. Her work in the independence struggle has left a strong imprint.

The obscurity of her death is dismaying but even then she has managed to inscribe her name in the pages of history.