Angellica Aribam is a renowned Indian political activist who is famous for raising her voice for women leadership, gender inequality, race discrimination and liberal political structure in India. A non-governmental organization, Femme First Foundation was established by Angellica. the focal point of this organisation is to encourage women leadership goals in India.
To pursue her higher school studies, Angellica moved to New Delhi at the age of 12.
She has served as a National General Secretary of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) in Delhi University till 2017. NSUI serves under the command of the Student’s Indian National Congress.
Angellica was honoured with a VVEngage fellowship in 2018 that serves under an American NGO titled Vital Voices. This NGO was founded by Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright. It works for training young women leaders from all across the world.
She was elected to the Students’ Union Executive Committee in Delhi University in September 2012 and was regarded as the first student from the North-eastern region of India to be chosen st this position. She was chosen in the Campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law at Delhi University. On her selection as a Union leader, she said in an interview,
How racism towards the north-eastern people in various Indian cities pushed her to join active politics.”
At the end of the same year, she was promoted by the then Indian National Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to the position of National Secretary in NSUI.
Angellica Aribam was selected from the northeast region to speak at the AICC session held at Jaipur in 2013. She was the only participant from the northeast region to speak in this session. She spoke on,
The challenges faced by the northeast diaspora across the country.”
In 2015, she went to China to represent a delegation of the Indian National Congress. During the 16th Lok Sabha elections, Angellica Aribam helped to co-author the student manifesto of the Indian National Congress. This manifesto included the draft, discussions and conceptualisation processes of the student union.
In March 2016, she was promoted to the position of the National General Secretary of the NSUI. In July 2017, she resigned from the said position as she wanted to give a chance to the young blood of India.
In 2018, she represented the Indian National Congress as a delegate to Israel, and it was the delegation of the Indian political parties.
In 2021, Angellica Aribam released her book titled ‘The Fifteen.’
The articles written by Angellica are:
Am I unmothered?, Gendered Lens in the Climate, Crisis Racism during Covid-19 pandemic, 500 million Indian women demand to be heard, Jammu Kashmir & Manipur: Shared History, Why Indian politics needs a sisterhood, What the Modi government should do for Indian women, Women in politics are 2nd class citizens, Closing the Gender Gap, Bollywood in the #MeToo Movement, Are we ready for women’s reservation in politics?, China & India losing the gender potential, Presidential term limits for Xi Jinping, Kerala HC ban of student politics, Journey Towards Breaking The Shackles, Unnoticed sexism in everyday life, Authoritarian regimes gag universities, At BHU, Women are being restricted by RSS’ chains, Debunking AAP’s propaganda of education reforms, How many racial attacks against NE people will it take? New Education policy is a fascist agenda in disguise, What 10 days of Vipassana taught me, Sorry to break the liberal image of Northeast
As a social activist, she considerably contributes to the representation of Indian women in politics in India. She campaigned through her writings and public speeches for the encouragement of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Indian Parliament. She also raised her voice for the start of gender quotas in political parties with capacity building and incentives to women.
A non-profit venture was initiated by Angellica Aribam on 24 June 2019. Femme First Foundation (FFF) is the name of the foundation that provides training to young Indian women leaders in politics. It is also an unbiased organisation. This focuses on grooming and training the women political leaders in India.
Angellica actively campaigns for anti-racial activities. In New Delhi when she observed the racial discrimination against northeast students, she expressed to join politics in July 2012.
She also appealed a clarification from the BJP for mentioning the northeastern Indians as immigrants.
During her tenure in NSUI, she repeatedly emphasised the implementation of the Bezbaruah Committee recommendations in 2016.
As per Angellica, a greater responsibility awaits you when you are representing a minority group. She spelts out in an interview,
When an individual from a minority community commits a mistake, then it is viewed as the mistake of the whole community and puts a lot more pressure on the representative to perform better as a leader.”
Angellica confronted a demeaning racial online abuse in March 2020 that was a punishable act under Indian law. Soon, she emailed a complaint to the Delhi police on this harassment, she wrote,
The trolling turned racist and a graphic image was posted by a user. That’s when I decided that I’ll not take this. I also called the Northeast helpline and they offered to send a police officer but I thought it wasn’t required. The reason is that we don’t have an anti-racism or discrimination law. People think they can comment and get away with it. No leader talks about it. There is a lack of political will.”
Soon, Thokchom Veewo, The General Secretary of Manipur Students Association, also raised his voice when several Manipuri students were harassed during the corona pandemic,
Because of the features of the people from Northeast, they are being ridiculed as ‘Coronavirus’. They are being teased by calling “corona” at sight, treated differently at shops, convenience stores, etc. for which videos have been shared on social media. This is a total act of blatant ignorance and racial discrimination.”
Prime Minister of India was also approached by Angellica during these racial attacks on northeastern Indians. She filed a petition to the PM in April 2020 when racial crimes were raised amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For this initiative, she also got support from all over India. As a result of the petition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also responded to the viral issue.
Since Angellica Aribam entered politics in 2012, she has been perpetually campaigning for a free and open internet along with advocating the ethics of Net Neutrality. In the Indian Parliament, she also raised the issue of Net Neutrality in 2015 when she was designated as the Indian National congress student’s union leader. As a representative to introduce Net Neutrality, in a conversation with a media house, she explained,
It was in 2015, telecom companies were implementing differential pricing for using the internet, meaning that browsing different websites would cost differently. It was against the principles of Net Neutrality. The government was hand in glove with the telecom companies, and it was going to introduce a Bill into Parliament to allow differential pricing. Many civil society organisations were protesting against this move.”
Angellica loves to cook food, read books, and modelling in her free time.
Angellica often campaigns for clean and hygienic-sanitary napkins for the women prisoners in Indian jails. While studying in Delhi, she campaigned for high security for women in Delhi in 2015. As a result, she was arrested by the police. In police custody, she demanded a menstrual pad in her periods, and she was given a dirty cloth by the police. After release, she protested for hygienic and free sanitary pads to the women in jails. In an interview, she explained her experience in jail,
As I started menstruating in police custody, I requested a police officer for a sanitary towel. She gave me a dirty handkerchief. I didn’t accept the handkerchief and kept bleeding. The episode traumatised me. After my release, I decided to fight for improved menstrual health for women in custody and I started a small campaign that generated quite support. We asked the Delhi police to keep sanitary towels in all police stations. In its aftermath, a taboo topic like menstruation became a part of the mainstream conversation.”
Angellica Aribam is committed to fourth-wave feminism. She regarded herself as an intersectional feminist. She wrote an article to highlight the misogyny and sexism that prevailed in September 2016 at the hostels of Banaras Hindu University (BHU). She was the first one who wrote an article to expose gender discrimination in BHU. As a response, the protests initiated by Angellics received favour from all across the country. In an interview, she put the emphasis on including more marginalized communities in the decision making authorities.
In May 2017, Angellica Aribam requested the Central Government for a different time zone for the northeast zone. However, India has a single time zone up to 3,000 kilometres, and it is the advice of the experts that separate time zones would increase the working hours and helps in energy conservation.
Angellica Aribam is an VVEngage Fellow. This fellowship program trains young women in leadership qualities. During this training, the fellows are given online and personal training under the mentorship of global mentors. In this training, Angellica got trained under the former Prime Ministers – Beatriz Merino of Peru, Jenny Shipley of New Zealand, and Kim Campbell of Canada. Harvard Kennedy School professors also provided her with training during her fellowship.
Angellica was also chosen for the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL), an exchange fellowship in 2020. In January and February 2020, she received the opportunity to observe the election rallies of the two presidential candidates including Joe Biden. She also got the opportunity to observe a caucus, a meeting at which local members of a political party participates, in Iowa that was held in the Iowa Senate.
Angellica at a conference while observing the rallies of the US nominees for presidential elections