Nafisa Ali Sodhi


Working to create a progressive, sound, socially aware and committed to uniting India.

Date of Birth: 18th January

Education: Senior Cambridge from LaMartinier Girls, Calcutta

Family Details: Husband: Col. R. S. Sodhi, renowned Polo player and Arjuna Award recipient. Presently Managing Director of a real estate company.

Grand Father: S.Wajid Ali, noted Bengali writer littérateur, and eminent lawyer.

Father: Ahmed Ali, renowned photographer in Kolkata

Born to a Muslim father and Christian mother and married to a Sikh, she is a family person.

A Muslim by birth yet a believer in the philosophy of Vedanta and has maintained a fine balance between her personal and professional life. Her respect for all religions was part of her family upbringing.

As an activist she has been always working for the less fortunate, trying to make a difference in people’s lives. A voice for many social causes and issues .She has been a face for the voiceless and a back bone of strength for social causes.

Politics is a way for her to further her mission for a better India. The Indian National Congress is who she believes in with its Constitutional Rights and dignity of focus for every Indian through commitment to democracy.


An outstanding school athlete in all events and was Inter School Athletic Champion, 1973-1974

Nafisa was Bengals swimming sensation, nicknamed ‘Sizzling Water Baby’ and she then went on to be the National swimming champion of India in 1974.

Miss India 1976 and Crowned 2nd runner up at “Miss International” in Tokyo in 1976.

A noted actress, she has acted in memorable films such as National Award winning ‘Junoon’ ( Best Film) and ‘Major Saab’, Life in a Metro, Guzaarish, Yamla Pagla Dewana etc.

Worked actively for the welfare of Army Jawans for fifteen years while her husband served in the Indian Army before taking premature retirement.

She is a committed social worker working for the welfare of others and has given her time in totality for charitable causes.

She is First woman, Chairperson of ‘Women’s Commission Indian Olympic Association’.

Executive Member of ‘Umang Charitable Society’.

Chairperson of NGO- ‘Action India’ (Trust and founder Trustee)

She aggressively campaigned for the congress party in the 1998 Delhi State Assembly Elections, especially for Mrs. Sheila Dikshit. After the elections, when Mrs. Sheila Dikshit was made the Chief Minister, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi appointed Nafisa as the Exe. Member- Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) of the Indian National Congress.

Was appointed as a member of Indian National Congress- Human Rights Watch from South Delhi.

She was made the Convener-Campaign Committee of DPCC, for the subsequent elections of Delhi Assembly in 2003, which was again won by the Congress Party. Due to her public relations, Nafisa has always proven to be an asset for the Congress Party, communicating with the ‘AAM AADMI’ with dedication and affection.

When Cyclone struck Orissa causing large-scale destruction and devastation, Nafisa Ali began Orissa Cyclone Relief fund. She took part whole-heartedly in relief works in cyclone-affected state of Orissa in cash and kind. Relief material in the form of food material, clothing and other essential requirements were provided to the survivors of the cyclone.

When the earthquake in Gujarat struck on 26th January, 2001, realizing the imperative need for immediate relief in the shelter sector, she took up the issue of reconstruction of homes, worked in 48 villages in Kutchh,and constructed 340 huts for the earthquake affected villages. The largest of the structures built by her was a Maternity & Child Care Centre at New Dudhai, Gujarat. The interlocking blocks used here were nominated for Design Sense Award, U.K in the ‘Sustainable Design Award 2001’ competing against Motorola, Philip, and Honda in finals.

She worked actively in Riot affected Gujarat, working in the troubled areas for the cause of peace and religious harmony. She made a heart touching documentary film on riot-affected Gujarat by the name ‘Where did we go wrong’ which was sent to all opinion makers of the country.

She has worked actively in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention, awareness and care. She started a Care Home – ‘Ashraya’ for people infected and affected with HIV/AIDS. The Care Home provides holistic care and support to HIV positive people for over seven years. She made a documentary film titled “ United Against AIDS” and ‘Know AIDS for No AIDS’.

For earthquake victims in Kashmir, she had been instrumental to collect funds by being a part of an ‘Art Auction’ and donated the money towards building of a school in Kupwara, Kashmir. The school was inaugurated on 7th July 2011.

She was on the Board of Laxmi Bai College as a Government nominee and was a board member in Delhi Public School, Indirapuram.

As an activist she has fought high-level corruption scams, taking to the streets to endorse the various movements such as, for the lack of power high altitude clothing during the Kargil war, coffin scams, proving the defense deals need to be accountable.

She has actively fought against the state orchestrated Gujarat Riots, holding the Gujarat CM, Narendra Modi accountable for the breakdown of State Machinery. She has raised her voice at various forums for communal harmony and democracy.

She contested from the 23-South Kolkata Parliamentary Constituency under Congress nomination in General Elections, 2004 against Mamata Banerjee, President Trinamool Congress. Though she lost the elections, she played a vital role in reiterating the secular sentiment across the country via the extensive media exposure she got for the Congress party. As she put it “It would have been a miracle had I won, but as a soldier of the Congress I did achieve my aim that of ensuring the removal of a communal BJP led government and the Congress forming the Government at the Center”.

She was the Official Government delegate of India at the 49th UN Summit on the Status of Women held in New York in March 2005.

She was a Board Member of the ‘Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, in the category of ‘Persons of Eminence Connected with Films & TV, Education, Journalism, Literature, Fine Arts, Dramatics, Performing Arts etc.’

She was on Board of Directors of Indian Bank, appointed by by Govt. of India, M/o Finance, Deptt. of Economic Affairs (Banking Division).

She had been appointed by the Government of India as the Chairperson of Children’s Film Society of India, for a period of three years. CFSI is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. Her role as Chairperson was to facilitate production, exhibition and promotion of Children’s films in India. Her major inputs as the chairperson are as under :

International Children's Film Festival- Golden Elephant 14th 2005

Soon after taking over her immediate task was the conduct of the 14th International Children's Film Festival of India in Hyderabad scheduled for 14-20 November 2005. This International festival under her able guidance was a memorable one. Breaking all previous records, over 250 entries were received from 47 countries and over 100 delegates half of them from abroad participated in the festival.

Golden Jubilee Film Festival, New Delhi - 2006:

To commemorate 50 years of its meaningful existence, she thought it proper and organized a Golden Jubilee Film festival during 14th to 18th November 2006 at Sirifort Auditorium, New Delhi. Various CFSI films were screened in 3 sections namely Classics, Popular and Regional. Over 30,000 children from various schools in Delhi were mobilized with the help of Govt of Delhi to watch the films.

The Festival was inaugurated Smt Sonia Gandhi, UPA Chairperson on 14th November 2006 by lighting the lamp in the presence of Hon'ble Minister for I & B Shri Priyaranjan Dasmunshi in a memorable function held at the main auditorium of Sirifort in Delhi.

The Festival concluded with a colourful closing ceremony. His Excellency the President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam during his keynote address on the concluding function called for making use of digital technology for making children's films.

This Golden Jubilee Festival ensured that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision of infotainment to children got a new lease under her able guidance.

Free Shows of CFSI's films :

She convinced the Honble I & B Minister to announce the policy of the Govt. of showing CFSI film free of admission charges throughout the country from April 2007 onwards, a historic policy highly beneficial to millions of children.

International Children's Film Festival of India- Golden Elephant 15:

This festival scheduled for 14-20 November 2007 was the second International Children’s Film Festival of India, took place during her tenure as the chairperson. As the ministry did not allocate funds for this festival it was conducted on a very low budget and yet 40 countries participated in the festival with entries numbering to 288. 117 films selected were screened in Competitive, Asian Panorama, Children's Word sections A separate section for digital films and special events like animation and web designing workshops were also conducted as a part of the festival. Hearing impaired children were also catered through audio described films.

Participation in International Festivals:

In one year CFSI's new films participated in International Film Festivals in Czech Republic, California, China, Canada, Germany, Slovak Republic, Colombo, Chicago, London, Greece, Bangladesh, Cairo, Houston, Taiwan, etc. and won many International Film Awards


As the Chairperson, she presented 11th Five Year Proposal to the Ministry. On basis of that the Hon'ble Minister Shri Priyaranjan Das Munshi announced that CFSI will get three times more than the projected budget. This was announced in the presence of Smt Sonia Gandhi during the Golden Jubilee Film Festival held in Delhi in November 2006. The Officials have yet not implemented the same as enhanced budget would mean quality production of Children's cinema.

During her tenure, Nafisa Ali upgraded the quality of cinema through the involvement of better directors. 60 minutes animation films like ‘Krish, Trish and Baltiboy’ (Part I and II) was commissioned and has gone on to become the highest earners for CFSI by selling the satellite rights.

Thus the contribution of her to CFSI in the capacity of chairperson is peerless and the introduction of free shows to children first time in the 50 years history of CFSI will be remembered and acknowledged by children nationally. She encouraged the spirit of team work in the office which has greatly motivated the officials to put in their collective best to achieve the goal.

Under her chairmanship Nafisa has set two new modern offices for CFSI in Mumbai on 8th floor of Films Division, Peddar Road as well as on 3rd floor of Paryavaran Bhawan, Lodhi Road in New Delhi. This has brought back the CFSI to a position of recognizance and there by fulfilling the dream of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and fulfilling the Govt of India’ s mission to focus on better entertainment for the youth of India.

She went on the HAJ PILGRIMAGE in the year 2008, to fulfill her dreams to perform HAJ, at Mecca and Madina. She, along with her father Mr. Ahmed Ali, was the part of the Haj Goodwill Delegation of the Govt. of India.

She was appointed as the Co-Chairperson of the ‘Hospitality Sub Committee’ of Commonwealth Games - by the Organizing Committee Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010.

She is part of the Indian Olympic Association. As its member, been part of organizing the Afro Asian Games in Hyderabad. Member delegate to Melbourne -Common Wealth Games, Beijing Olympics and bidding for the Olympics’ held in Kuwait.

Nafisa Ali Sodhi contested the 15th Lok Sabha Parliamentary election from the prestigeous Lucknow constituency, (the capital of Uttar Pradesh). This is on a SP ticket ( having resigned from Congress for one month at the time of elections ) as she felt it important to raise her voice to stop BJP and its communal agenda from perhaps, forming the Govt at the center. The Congress won and her mission achieved.

She fought well and put on a National fight for bringing the secular Government into power led by the Congress Party. She may have lost this high profile constituency but won thousands of hearts. In her own words “ I contested as I did not want the BJP to win.”

Her struggle for opportunity and justice to all continues. She reiterates that she is a Congress person and will in principal; always work towards the future of a better India through Congress ideals.

“Country First” is her motto. Congress is her political family and Nafisa is back in the Congress Party. This was announced officially in Lucknow on 6th November ’09.

She is very dedicated and hardworking social activist, with extensive experience in the area of health, women and child rights, poverty and social development and had worked consistently in tandem with NGOs Nationally reaching out to the masses and making a significant difference in the lives of the marginalized and underprivileged.

She has done extensive research work for over three years on the existence and times of the lost Tribal Life of Bastar. The result of her research has surfaced into a visually illustrative Coffe Table Book entitled ‘Baster – The Lost Heritage” and has comprehensive information on the fascinating Adivasis of Bastar. The book has the photographs taken by Mr. Ahmed Ali who captured the essence of the Adivasi Community of Bastar, during the 1950s. She considers herself fortunate to have discovered this hidden treasure of Indian culture, which is now documented in this book and will become part of the archives of our National heritage.

Nafisa has been brought up in a cosmopolitan atmosphere at home and dreams of working to make India realize her true potential without religious barriers and cast divides. “How can politics separate people on cast and class? Mr Rahul Gandhi has really made a difference in the way the voiceless are voting for their beliefs. We must try our best to empower India’s common people to feel secure and secular to make this dream a reality ”