23rd Yudhvir Memorial Award

Late Smt. Suraiya Hassan Bose

For her contribution to the Revival of Handlooms of the Deccan and for the Welfare and Education of the families of handloom weavers by Bilkees Latif, Padma Shri Eminent Social Activist & Author


Suraiya Hassan Bose, fondly called Suraiya Aapa comes from a distinguished family of Gandhian freedom fighters. Her father, Badrul Hassan was an associate of Mahatma Gandhi. Her uncle Abid Hassan Safrani was a companion of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. He coined the national greeting ‘Jai Hind’.

Suraiya Aapa was married to Netaji’s nephew, Aurobindo Bose in Delhi, after which she worked with the Department of Handicrafts and Handlooms, and later with the Cottage Industries Emporium. She returned to Hyderabad many years later following the death of her husband.

She set up a handloom unit in 1982 with one loom and two retired weavers. Slowly she started employing divorced, widows and unemployed women to work on the looms. Today she has 8 looms and 16 female weavers.

The children of these workers along with children of neighbouring villages are educated in the Safrani Memorial High School established by her in 1984. It is co-educational and English-medium with 450 high-performing students. Suraiya Aapa is credited with single-handedly reviving the nearly extinct Nizami-Persian techniques for Himroo, Paithani, Jamawar and Mashroo fabrics. She has also worked extensively in the village of Kanchanpally, near Warangal, encouraging the local weavers to use their skill to make durries. Today, over five hundred weaver families in Kanchanpally make their living through durries and other weaves. In addition, several hundred other families visit Suraiya Aapa’s workshop at Dargah Hussain Shah Wali to learn the intricate art of weaving Himroo, Mashroo and Paithani alongside Ikat and Kalamkari techniques.

She is the recipient of the 14th Godfrey Philips Bravery awards, in recognition of an exceptional act of social courage.

The trustees of the Yudhvir Foundation acknowledge the dedication, self-less service and humility of Suraiya Apa and feel great honour in conferring the 23rd annual Yudhvir Memorial Award on her.