Born in Dehra Ismail Khan(NWFP, pre-partition India,Dec. 1938), veteran media-person and social-activist Rami Chhabra’s life and work represent sustained commitment to women and social-development issues.Her expertise in public-service communication, population, women and development has been called upon by the government, national/international NGOs/agencies, including World Bank, WHO, UNFP. English Honours graduate from Miranda House, Delhi University, withpost-graduate coursestaken in law (DU), sociology (JNU), Rami is a post-Independence pioneer woman-journalist of print and electronic media.
Amongst the handful of women who broke into the all-male newspaper-bastions in late-fifties,she alsoanchored/interviewed on DoordarshansinceTV’s inception inIndia. Writing prolifically as independent journalist, she carved columnist-space: Hindustan Times (1960-63) The Statesman (1969-1980);The Indian Express (1974-80).Her iconic column “A Feminist Viewpoint” (The Indian Express, 1977-80)broke ground-space for women’s issues. Earlier, her daring entry into Vietnam after Saigon’s collapse and 2000-kilometre odyssey through the war-torn countrywasan internationally-publishedworld-scoop.Her post-Emergency critiques of the continued mishandling of the family-planning programme – and media-neglect of this silent-emergency – proved a life game-changer;taking her beyond media tospearhead efforts to depoliticise and re-energise family-planning,working with leading NGO,Family Planning Foundation (1978-86).In 1986, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi appointed her Advisor/Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to oversee communication. The nineties broughtinternationalconsultancies.
The past two decadeshave witnessed her fearless battle against ‘mal-developments’ in health and public communication arenas;speak for peace on the Subcontinent. Widely-travelled and well-known public speaker, Rami Chhabra was UN Fellow at the historic IWY Conference, Mexico City, 1975; participant,UN Mid-Decade Women and Media Meeting, New York, 1980;official delegate,Women’s Decade Conference, Nairobi, 1985. She is author of several monographs, children’s books and a “professional memoir” published by National Book Trust in 2012. Married, with three children, three grandchildren,she lives in Delhi.