Most people first heard about Jaya Nigam in the aftermath of her father’s death. Her story is horrifying – when Indian police suspected her husband of corruption, they beat him until he died, then arrested both of them. The following trial was a mockery – the judge ordered Nigam be locked up in a dark dungeon and beaten with canes while their daughter hung around outside her prison door, helplessly crying for her mother’s release. It didn’t end there: after she was finally acquitted and released from prison, she was tortured again by a police officer who attempted to rape her before being rescued by neighbors. Jaya Nigam is now a human rights activist fighting to stop such abuses from being repeated against other Indian women.

Jaya Nigam also has an interest in fashion; she runs a conservative clothing line, and has launched her own conservative magazine called The Indian Warrior . She also plays the tabla and sings bhajans (Hindu devotional songs).

Nigam was elected to the Maharashtra state legislative assembly on an All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen ticket in February 2004, becoming the first member of her community to be elected to public office in India. Her primary motivation for running was to help Muslim youth overcome discrimination.

Things You Should Know About Jaya Nigam :

1. Her Father Was Beaten To Death By Police

The police raided her family’s home in 1996, looking for black money. Her father was beaten so badly that he died of his injuries the following day. The police arrested both Jaya and her husband, who was left partially paralyzed. They were each charged with ‘criminal conspiracy’ and corruption, which is a capital offense in India. 

The trial lasted nearly a year and a half – Jaya learned to live outside her jail cell, isolated from the rest of the world but still receiving food and occasional medical attention. During this time she gave birth to two daughters; one of the daughters died due to neglect by the government’s prison warden, ultimately leaving only Jaya’s youngest daughter alive.

2. She Was Tortured While In Prison

The prison was so dark that she had to sleep with her hands against the wall so she wouldn’t lose her way in the darkness. She was forced to stand for days at a time, handcuffed and chained to a wall, with one hand chained above her head. Her legs were chained together so that she couldn’t walk more than four feet without falling over. She asked for books to read and was granted access to John Grisham’s The Firm . However, she was only given half of the book at a time; when she finished reading halfway through one of them, they would replace it with the other half-finished book, preventing her from ever finishing reading it.

Her only entertainment during this time was listening to the taunts of her prison guards and other prisoners. At one point their water supply broke down so she and her husband were forced to drink their own urine and consume dead insects. She gave up quickly, but he was able to keep himself alive for quite a while longer, until finally dying from his injuries. After her husband died, the torture continued – she was beaten with canes on her back and legs, once so severely that she developed blood poisoning which nearly killed her.

3. She Knows More About The Law Than Most Trial Judges

After being imprisoned for 18 months without a trial, Jaya finally went before a judge in December 1997. The judge ordered that Jaya be locked up in a dark dungeon and beaten with canes while their daughter hung around outside her prison door, helplessly crying for her mother’s release. 

The unbelievable thing is that she survived this ordeal; other prisoners were so afraid of the noise that it frightened away all the dogs in the neighborhood, and she was treated for her injuries by local doctors. The judge eventually ordered the two of them to be freed, but only after he tried to assault Jaya once more before his own arrest by Indian security forces.

4. She Is An Advocate for Muslim Youth

One of Jaya Nigam’s primary goals in life is fighting against the discrimination faced by Muslim youth. She has created stories and songs to help them overcome the daily challenges faced by Muslims in India. She also wants to expose the hypocrisy of Indian society – she found out that her husband’s family was quite well off financially, yet they were still persecuted for their beliefs. 

Through her struggles and tribulations, she has learned how to be strong, silent, and dignified. She hopes that through her songs and stories, other young Muslim women will be inspired to fight for themselves and gain strength from what little they have; she believes that one day all Indian youth will be free of oppression.


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