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Not a ‘bimbo’! Nafisa Ali recounts her accolades in a letter to Tavleen Singh

A war of words has erupted between Nasifa Ali and Tavleen Singh following ‘bimbo’ remark!

Nafisa Ali

Nafisa Ali-Tavleen Singh

Writer-journalist Tavleen Singh’s latest book India’s Broken Tryst has miffed actor-activist Nafisa Ali Sodhi. In one of the excerpts from the book published in India Today magazine, she has called Sodhi a ‘bimbo’ woman in politics introduced by deceased Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Below is a portion of the published excerpt:

The other kind of person Rajiv brought into politics was the bimbo: women whose only reason for harbouring political ambitions was that they had a father, husband or father-in-law who had been a Congress politician. Among the ladies who abandoned drawing rooms and lives of luxurious boredom for ‘public service’ were actresses Moon Moon Sen and Nafisa Ali.

Nafisa Ali has rebutted strongly to the article in her letter to the magazine. Stating facts, she reminded Tavleen  about social work she did for HIV positive patients apart from accolades like Miss India, National Champion (Swimming) and acting in several movies.  She also asserted that she didn’t know Rajiv Gandhi earlier and entered into politics years after his assassination.

Below is the letter to the magazine that Nafisa Ali Sodhi uploaded on her Facebook timeline which has also drawn several comments from her well-wishers.

The Editor
India Today
New Delhi

Subject: My Disappointment with “Tryst with Disappointment”

Dear Sir,
I read your India Today of 18th April, 2016, on my return to Delhi yesterday, where I chanced upon an article, ‘Tryst With Disappointment’, with much surprise and amusement, Tavleen Singh’s views highlighted by your magazine, on Page 53 ‘The Rajiv Years’. It is common knowledge that she presently has a tilt in favour of the present ruling party and against the Congress, for her vested interests. This is proven by her coloured and inaccurate facts regarding me. Unfortunately, I never had the privilege of knowing Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, as he was assassinated in 1991 and my family moved from Chennai to Delhi in 1994, after my husband took premature retirement from The Army.

However, it is common knowledge that Tavleen was once very friendly with the Gandhis and in her latest book she has inaccurately, inappropriately and maliciously written categorising me as one of the Bimbo women that Rajiv Gandhi brought into politics. I most certainly have no father, husband or father-in-law who has been a politician, leave alone a Congress man. I definitely abandoned drawing rooms right from my teens, because I was completely involved in training for swimming wherein I become the National Champion. This was followed by ‘Miss India’, Actor, Army Wife and Social Activist. I am hopefully remembered for my unstinting work amongst HIV positive patients and running an AIDS Care Home for 8 years, caring for and ensuring dignity to the patients, some of who were on their death beds, and at a time when the public at large insensitive to even acknowledge their existence.

Tavleen Singh should at the very least, have got her facts right. I joined politics in 1998, seven years post Rajiv Gandhi assassination, and the question of his facilitating my entry into politics is mischievous, hurtful aberration and a figment of her imagination, whereas I joined politics to fight polarisation that was gaining ground. I believe in equality and the upliftment of our nation under a secular ethos. I therefore chose a party that appealed to my values, aspirations of a diverse but united India, and hence chose the Congress Party. I then canvassed for Mrs. Sheila Dikshit in 1998 and 2003 elections, and subsequently, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi asked me to contest from South Kolkata, in the General Elections of 2004.

Trust you will print my letter as I feel this reference of me in her book should have been factually accurate and true to me, both in spirit and essence.

Thanking you
Yours sincerely,

Nafisa Ali Sodhi

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