Seema Mustafa was born in Delhi on to a muslim family with roots in Uttar Pradesh. Her father, Lt. Colonel Syed Mustafa, was an Indian Army officer. Her mother was the daughter of Shafi Ahmed Kidwai, brother of Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, a noted freedom fighter and Congress politician. Shafi's wife Anis Kidwai (Seema's maternal grandmother) was sometime a Rajya Sabha MP belonging to the Congress party. Seema has two elder brothers, S.P. Mustafa (known as "Bobby"), group treasurer of Hindustan Unilever, and Kamal Mustafa, now retired but once the Head of Global M&A of Citibank.
Seema graduated with a BA in Political Science from Lucknow University in Uttar Pradesh. During her college days, she met and married a Hindu businessman and had two children, Agneya Singh and Gayeti Singh. She and her husband are now divorced.
Seema Mustafa began her journalist career with The Pioneer in Lucknow, moved to The Patriot in 1979, and worked for several other Indian publications, including The Telegraph and Indian Express before joining the Asian Age in 1997 as its political editor and Delhi bureau chief.
While with the Asian Age, Seema received the prestigious "Prem Bhatia Award for Excellence in Political Reporting and Analysis" in 1999 for her coverage of the Kargil war in May–July 1999. She also wrote a weekly op-ed column which was syndicated to several other newspapers, including The Deccan Chronicle of Bangalore, India and The Dawn newspaper of Pakistan. In 2008, she wrote an op-ed that was uncharacteristically critical of the Congress party. The article denounced the Indo-US Nuclear Deal specifically and the congress-led government in general for seeking friendly relations with the George W. Bush administration. Seema Mustafa quit The Asian Age over a controversy related to this article.
Seema then worked as Resident Editor of Covert, a fortnightly political magazine. She then moved to NewsX, a television news channel, as its National Affairs Editor. While at NewsX, she hosted a weekly interview programme, Straight Talk With Seema Mustafa. She was Resident Editor of The Sunday Guardian, a Delhi-based newspaper launched by M.J. Akbar. Seema is now Director of a think-tank based in New Delhi called the Centre for Policy Analysis.
Involvement in politics
Seema has been associated with several socialist and communist parties since the 1980s. She wrote the authorized biography of former prime minister VP Singh, entitled The Lonely Prophet, and was closely associated with him during his lifetime. She was a member of his party, the Janata Dal, for many years. She once contested the UP provincial assembly elections as a Janata Dal candidate but lost.
Seema also contested parliamentary elections to the Lok Sabha twice from the Domariaganj constituency in Uttar Pradesh, coming 4th in 1991 and 10th in 1996 and losing her deposit on both occasions. In 1991, she contested the elections as a candidate of the Indian Congress (Socialist), an obscure splinter of the congress party, and in 1996 as an independent candidate.
Lately, Seema has been linked to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) in its campaign to pressurize the government of India to oppose the USA and support Iran on the issue of Iran's right to develop nuclear weapons. Seema is part of the CPM's Committee to Campaign for an Independent Foreign Policy. She has of course written extensively in opposition to the Indo-US Nuclear Agreement.
- Mustafa, Seema (1995). The Lonely Prophet: V.P. Singh, a Political Biography. New Delhi: New Age International. ISBN 978-81-224-0809-6. OCLC 33664491.
- Mustafa, Seema; Anuradha M. Chenoy and Initiative for National Renewal and Empowerment of the People (1995). The Scam: The Cover-up and Compromise. New Delhi: Wiley Eastern. ISBN 978-81-224-0713-6. OCLC 32698384.
- Mustafa, Seema (2012). Azadi's Daughter: Journey of a Liberal Muslim. New Delhi: ImprintOne. ISBN 978-81-888-6115-6.
- Mustafa, Seema (2013). Journalism: Ethics and Responsibilities. New Delhi: Pragun Publications. ISBN 978-81-241-1780-4.
- "Financial Express, Mustafa Appointed Treasure M&A Head". http://www.financialexpress.com/news/Mustafa-Appointed-HLL-Treasurer-M&A-Head/48617/.
- "Kamal Mustafa Biography". http://www.business.uconn.edu/cms/p566/a59.
- "Play on thumri queen Begum Akhtar". The Times of India. 2004-11-21. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
- . http://www.indiantelevision.com/headlines/y2k10/mar/mar83.php.
- "Do Indian writers tell it as it is?". The Times of India. 2001-03-25. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
- "Christians in India, Sonia Gandhi BJP The world? Vol. 1". Hindustan.org. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-08-11.[unreliable source?]
- "Polling Booth: Election' 96: Uttar Pradesh/Domariaganj". Rediff.com. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
- "List of Participating Political Parties". Statistical Report on General Elections, 1991 to the Tenth Lok Sabha. New Dehli: Election Commission of India. 1992. pp. 1–4. Archived from the original on 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
- "List of Participating Political Parties". Statistical Report on General Elections, 1996 to the Eleventh Lok Sabha. New Dehli: Election Commission of India. pp. 1–6. Archived from the original on 2008-02-29. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
- "Committee to Campaign for an Independent Foreign Policy" (Press release). Communist Party of India (Marxist). 2005-10-10. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
- "Left to woo UPA allies on Iran issue". The Tribune. 2005-10-11. Retrieved 2008-08-11.