Seema Mustafa

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Seema Mustafa is an Indian print and television journalist. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of The Citizen, a digital newspaper founded by her.


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 Ahmed Kidwai, who lived in Mussoorie, was killed at the time of the partition of India in 1947.[1] His wife Anis Kidwai (Seema's maternal grandmother) was later made 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,[2] and Kamal Mustafa, now retired but once the Head of Global M&A of Citibank.[3] Seema is a first cousin of the feminist and communist ideologue, Ayesha Kidwai, who is a leading activist, propagandist and professor of linguistics at Jawaharlal Nehru University.[4]

Seema graduated with a BA in Political Science from Lucknow University in Uttar Pradesh.[5] During her college days, she met and married a Hindu businessman and had two children, a son Agneya Singh and a daughter Gayeti Singh.[6] 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.

After leaving the Asian Age in 2008, Seema worked as Resident Editor of Covert, a fortnightly left-wing political magazine. In January 2010, M.J. Akbar launched The Sunday Guardian, a weekly newspaper, and Seema joined him as Resident Editor. By September the same year, the publication was on its last legs and was acquired by the ITV Group, which runs the India-TV and NewsX television news channels. After the sale, Akbar moved to the India Today group, while Seema moved to NewsX, hosting a weekly interview programme named Straight Talk With Seema Mustafa on that channel. Seema served as News X's Bureau Chief.

She next took over the job of Director of a new, left-wing think-tank based in New Delhi named the "Centre for Policy Analysis" [1] a position she presently holds. Concurrently, in January 2014, She founded The Citizen, an independent "Digital Daily" based out of New Delhi.[7]

Writing style[edit]

Seema has been noted for having a characteristic leftist and socialist perspective. Her articles reflect the alternative, feminist and pro-poor slants on any issue.[8][9]

Involvement in politics[edit]

Seema has been associated with several socialist and communist parties since the 1980s. She wrote the authorised biography of former prime minister VP Singh, entitled The Lonely Prophet, and was closely associated with him during his lifetime.[10] 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.[11]

Seema also contested parliamentary elections to the Lok Sabha twice from the Domariaganj constituency in Uttar Pradesh, getting the 4th position in 1991 and the 10th position in 1996 and losing her deposit on both occasions. In 1991, she contested the elections as a candidate of the Indian Congress (Socialist) - Sarat Chandra Sinha, an obscure splinter of the Indian National Congress (Socialist), itself an offshoot of the Congress party.[12][13][14] In 1996, she contested as an independent candidate.[15]

In 2012-13, Seema associated herself with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) in its campaign to pressurise 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.[16][17] 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. 


  1. ^ Kafila
  2. ^ "Financial Express, Mustafa Appointed Treasure M&A Head" (Mailing list). 
  3. ^ "Kamal Mustafa Biography" (Mailing list). 
  4. ^ Kafila
  5. ^ "Play on thumri queen Begum Akhtar". The Times of India. 21 November 2004. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  6. ^ |url=
  7. ^
  8. ^ "JoeB" (2000-04-29). "Minorities do not deserve this". Newsgroupsoc.culture.indian. Retrieved 2008-08-11. [unreliable source?]
  9. ^ (Mo) (1999-07-23). "Kargil communalisation". Newsgroupsoc.culture.pakistan. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  10. ^ "Do Indian writers tell it as it is?". The Times of India. 25 March 2001. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  11. ^ "Christians in India, Sonia Gandhi BJP The world? Vol. 1". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2008. [unreliable source?]
  12. ^ "Polling Booth: Election' 96: Uttar Pradesh/Domariaganj". Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  13. ^ "List of Participating Political Parties". Statistical Report on General Elections, 1991 to the Tenth Lok Sabha (PDF). New Dehli: Election Commission of India. 1992. pp. 1–4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  14. ^ "List of Participating Political Parties". Statistical Report on General Elections, 1996 to the Eleventh Lok Sabha (PDF). New Dehli: Election Commission of India. pp. 1–6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 February 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  15. ^ "List of Participating Political Parties". Statistical Report on General Elections, 1996 to the Eleventh Lok Sabha (PDF). New Dehli: Election Commission of India. pp. 1–6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 February 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  16. ^ "Committee to Campaign for an Independent Foreign Policy" (Press release). Communist Party of India (Marxist). 10 October 2005. Retrieved 11 August 2008. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Left to woo UPA allies on Iran issue". The Tribune. 11 October 2005. Retrieved 11 August 2008.