Hyma Praveen, a resident of Sanathnagar, was recently invited as the keynote speaker at Harvard India Conference at Boston on February 15 and 16. The 38-year-old — who is also contesting in the 2014 general elections from the Sanathnagar Constituency — was the youngest woman politician ever to participate in the conference and the only woman politician invited from India.
Hyma’s paper was on ‘Global implications of India’s 2014 Elections’. Describing Hyma as a choice for being among the key note speakers in politics, the Harvard India Conference website declared, “From Houston to Sanathnagar, Hyderabad, Hyma Praveen, is a self-made woman leader. She is committed to transforming Indian politics despite surviving a petrol attack in December.”
“Indian polls, how we vote and who we elect is of great significance to the world. We are after all the largest democracy,” says the Hyderabadi who was invited by the graduates of Harvard alongside Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi and BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad. In her presentation to Harvard, Hyma was confident that the time for a socio-political revolution in the country has come. And she has valid reasons. “In 2014, 70 million first-time voters are expected to vote. The majority will become the middle class, the young and women.
This is being facilitated by the realisation in the middle classes that politics directly affects their lives.” Born and brought up in ESI, Sanathnagar, Hyma did her engineering from JNTU, Kukatpally. She later on went on to do Masters in transportation engineering in Ohio, USA. After working briefly at GE, she successfully founded her software company and served Fortune 500 clients. “More than politics, I always wanted to do something that would be of service to society. Engineering was a choice that came out of the need to be financially independent and settle down a bit before launching myself at service,” she says.
She returned home in May 2012 to continue her work closer home. Since then she has been a great force in not only the state but also nationally. She contributed to the Justice Verma Committee and many of the recommendations made by her were incorporated in the new anti-rape act following the Delhi gang rape incident. Interestingly, all her recommendations were from personal experiences. “We went back to our own experiences of being eve-teased in buses and the lack of security on streets,” she says. “That was the first time I ever read a law book.
We reviewed all the laws for women and identified loopholes that needed to be plugged. We also looked for lessons in other countries and their laws.” She has also started a crusade in the state for women’s safety. And that too sparked off from a personal experience of having to go to a police station after being attacked with a petrol bomb. “I was involved in the fight for the living rights of slum dwellers at Syamalkunta Basthi. Their lives were under threat as land mafia tried to grab `80-crore property in Balkampet division of Sanathnagar. During this fight, I was attacked when I was in my car,” she recalls about the December 2013 incident.
“That’s when I had to go to the police station and face for myself on how it felt to be there. And even to this day, there is no report on the attack,” says Hyma, who has now taken upon herself to restructure how crimes against women are treated in this country. “We have three demands — one women’s police station in every constituency, 12,000 new fast-track courts in Andhra Pradesh to be able to mete out justice within three months of a crime and around 3,000 CCTV cameras for safety in Hyderabad, which would cost us just `400 crore — which is what the government spends in 20 hours,” she illustrates.
As aggressive as she is when out on the streets, back home Hyma is like any other woman. “I have a supportive family. "Now with the polls approaching, my mother has come over to help me with the kids,” she says. Married to a software engineer, Hyma is the mother of two children — son Abhinav studying in Class IV and a girl in UKG....