UPDATED: Assam’s sole woman CM passes away in Australia

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The Indian community in Wagga Wagga NSW is mourning the loss of Syeda Anwara Taimur, former Chief Minister of the state of Assam in India, who passed away on 28 Sept 2020. She was 84 and died in Australia after a prolonged illness.

She served as Chief Minister from December 6, 1980, to June 30, 1981. She was the first and only woman CM of Assam.

A teacher of economics in Debicharan Barua Girls College in Jorhat before joining politics, Syeda Anwara Taimur had an illustrious career spanning over four decades.

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Elected to the Assam Assembly four times – 1972, 1978, 1983, and 1991 – as nominee of the Congress, she also served as state Public Works Department (PWD) minister from 1983 to 1985.

In 1988, she was nominated to the Rajya Sabha. In 2011, the veteran leader left the Congress and joined the All India United Democratic Front. She figured in the headlines after her name was found missing from the NRC (National Register of Citizens) list in 2018.

Post politics, her life in Australia was one of a respected community elder that everyone loved. Dr Saba Nabi of Wagga Wagga told Indian Link, “She was a self-made lady who was an epitome of compassion, dedication, hard work and selfless humanity. She had a magical aura and would brighten your life with her innocent smile, hugs and waves.”

In Wagga Wagga, Taimur was everybody’s “Aunty”. Saba remembers her as a hospitable person, always ready to share home-cooked delicacies and taking great pride in sharing her family’s achievements.

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A deeply spiritual person, she never missed her prayers, even when she was fragile towards the end of her days, Saba revealed.

“During Eid she would cook up a storm with her daughter-in-law, with whom she shared a close bond. They both made a wonderful team.”

Aunty also had great sartorial taste, Saba mentioned, and a fabulous wardrobe. “She would appreciate us girls when we brought out saris for special occasions, and she herself would turn up in an elegant one. She loved interacting with people and her knowledge on any topic was immense. I loved the many conversations which I shared with Aunty.”

Taimur’s death has been widely mourned cutting across party lines.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, in a tweet, said: “Saddened by the sudden demise of former Chief Minister of Assam, Syeda Anwara Taimur. Praying for the departed soul, I offer my heartfelt condolences to her family members and well-wishers.”

Mahila Congress President and party spokesperson Sushmita Dev, in a tweet, said: “Deeply saddened to know about the sudden demise of Assam’s first woman Chief Minister Smt Syeda Anwara Taimur ji. Syeda ji had a long public career serving the people of Assam for four terms as MLA. Prayers for the departed soul. My deepest condolences to friends and family.”


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