Office Team

Nida Rehman, Assistant Program Executive

Nida Rehman is a professionally trained teacher of Science & Mathematics with four years of school teaching experience and eight years of personal teaching experience. Nida was not convinced of the teaching methods’ practicality, so she chose a different career path. She currently works at Dhanak with survivors of honour-based crimes and gender-based crimes. Nida collects data and provides counseling to victims of honour or gender-based abuses.

Nida adheres to the constitution when it comes to any decisions on her life’s issues. She is in an inter-faith relationship but does not believe in any faith other than humanity. Nida believes that humanitarian values can lead to a better world. She knows that her small effort cannot change the entire world but can change her surroundings.

Praveen Ansari, Assistant Program Executive

Praveen assists in accounting by maintaining budget and expense details. She is working on the issues of “Right to Choose”, honour-based crimes, forced marriages, and domestic violence. Praveen has one year of experience in teaching and four years of coaching. She likes to spend her free time listening to music and enjoys activities like jogging and aerobics. She considers herself an optimistic and straightforward person.

Executive Board

Sheeba Aslam Fehmi, President

Sheeba Aslam Fehmi is an Indian journalist, writer, TV panelist, Islamic Feminist, Research Scholar, Gender Trainer, Public Speaker, Art and Literature enthusiast, and traveler.
She has written extensively on issues of identity formations through cultural markers such as language, cuisine, etc. in the modern democratic Nation-State.
The linguistic identity and tensions around various claims of cultural groups, particularly in India’s Urdu-Hindi belt, have been a constant theme in her editorials, columns, writings, and TV discussions.
As an Adab (literature) enthusiast she has been organizingAdabinashists, mushairas, kitabitabsira, Dastangoi, musical events to promote Urdu literary culture in the Old City of Shahjahanabad in Delhi- once the home of many stalwarts of Urdu Shayari but has been bereft of any Adabi activity since last 4-5 decades due to various socio-economic reasons and the emergence of a particular kind of political discourse.
She has widely traveled around the world particularly on a mission to rediscover the Central Asian and Persian contributions to the making of the Indian Subcontinent. The penetration of the high culture of Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, and the rest of Central Asia is constantly in focus in her academic research too.
She has been living in Delhi for the last 25 years since getting married into the Fehmi family – well known for the publication of India’s oldest surviving Urdu magazine- ‘Deen Dunia’ which was started by her noted writer-journalist father-in-Law, Janab Mufti Shaukat Ali Fehmi, in the year 1921. Deen Dunia magazine has completed its 100th year of undisrupted service of Urdu language in the subcontinent in the year 2021.
Sheeba completed her higher education at the reputed Jawaharlal Nehru University- JNU (Centre of Political Studies), New Delhi, and is currently pursuing her doctoral research on the Protest Movement of Muslim Women in India.

Nayana, Treasurer

Nayana is a gender rights champion who has worked in the development sector for the last 22 years. She began her journey working with some of the most marginalized communities in India and organizing around their fundamental rights. This period of 7 years made her aware of the lack of space for women’s leadership and how women’s issues take a back seat even in rights-based movements. Since then, she has concentrated on women’s and girls’ rights, focusing on leadership building. Through more than a decade’s work in donor foundations, she has focused on issues such as the socio-economic rights of women as well as on the effects of gender-based discrimination and gender-based violence in multiple countries of Asia and Africa. She currently works as Director, Program at an Indian NGO, where she leads the programs in several states of North India, reaching out to almost 100,000 adolescents.

Asif Iqbal, Co-founder, ex-officio member

Asif has a rich work experience of more than two decades on crucial multi-sectoral issues of social development gained by working with various stakeholders, national and international social organizations, individuals, people’s organizations, and campaigns of repute. Over the last twenty-five years, Asif has worked on the issues of natural livelihood resources, livelihood, and child rights. Asif is associated with various groups and organizations working on issues of gender equality, domestic violence, forced marriage, and peaceful co-existence of faith.

Neeraj Malik

Dr. Neeraj Malik taught English at Indraprastha College, Delhi University. She retired from teaching in 2013. Neeraj is a feminist and civil and democratic rights activist. Neeraj has been an active participant in democratic struggles against social and economic inequalities, caste, religion, and gender-based discrimination in and outside the university. She was a member/chairperson of Committees Against Sexual Harassment at the workplace both in her college and at the university for several years. She has admired and supported the work of Dhanak.

Shweta Verma

Dr. Shweta Verma is a social entrepreneur and a social work professional whose work is informed by the framework of intersectionality and social justice. She has a Ph.D. (Social Work) in resilience in the context of conflict & two decades of work experience in the field of disability rights & mental health. Shweta is the co-founder of Ginny’s Planet- a social enterprise that spreads empathy, respect for diversity, the spirit of inquiry, and inclusive practices.

Akanksha Sharma, ex-officio member

Akanksha Sharma strongly believes in the Right to Choose and keeps pushing boundaries to ensure equal rights. She works as a Program Manager in a leading multi-national company and likes to read during her me-time.

General Body

Ranu Kulshrestha, Co-founder

Ranu is a development professional with CSR and Sustainability as her core expertise.

In her professional career that spans over 25 years, Ranu has worked at various levels – from grassroots to planning and implementation, advocacy, and policy development at different ministries and Industry bodies. Over the years, she has worked with several renowned corporates, NGOs, UN Bodies, and Industrial Associations. She has extensively worked for Rural, Tribal, Urban, and International Refugee communities.

Besides having a master’s degree in Social Work, she holds a diploma in HR and CSR & Sustainability from the Swedish Institute of Management.

As a co-founder of Dhanak, she has been involved since its inception.

Shailaja Rao, Advisor

Shailaja Rao worked at Old Dominion University, VA, USA as a software developer for 23 years and retired in 2022. She takes a keen interest in the aspects of socio-cultural dynamics, women, gender, LGBTQIA, and human rights. In the last 12 years, she has been a member of several international organizations that promote upholding democratic and secular values in South Asia. Shailaja enjoys networking, including working on a team to brainstorm ideas that push the truth into the public space where there may be a lack of awareness and sensitivity. Each summer, she conducts Dhanak solidarity meetings in London, England.

Shailaja currently serves on the board of Tasveer, a non-profit organization based in Seattle, WA, USA, that inspires social change through thought-provoking South Asian films, art, and storytelling. From time to time, she dabbles in writing essays, articles, poetry, and some screenwriting.

Shipra Jha

Shipra Jha is Head of Asia Engagement with Girls Not Brides. Her work focuses on ending child marriage and empowering girls in South Asia. A women’s rights advocate with 20 years of experience in providing senior-level leadership, strategic direction, and the delivery of high-quality programs to several international, national, and local organizations. Shipra has an MA and M.Phil. from Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Delhi.

Core Team

Akanksha Sharma

Akanksha strongly believes in the Right to Choose and keeps pushing boundaries to ensure equal rights. She works as a Program Manager in a leading multi-national company and likes to read during her me-time.

Mohammad Suaib

Suaib is a free-spirited person who likes to act and be vocal on social causes close to his heart. For a livelihood, he works as a professional with a telecom giant. His passion is watching cricket.

Prathamesh Thorat

Prathamesh believes in individual rights and strictly adheres to his favorite phrase, “Be the change you want to see” He believes in the constitution and considers himself a humanitarian.

Prathamesh works as an IT consultant with a multinational electronics manufacturer. He likes to travel.

Ranu Kulshrestha

Ranu wears many hats and provides a supporting hand wherever it may be. She provides counseling to many individuals and couples who may be confused or trying to gain perspective on their relationship, family, or becoming a new parent. Ranu brings her in-depth knowledge and experience from her workplace and applies it with ease to keep the core team functioning and motivated.

Shabana Siddiqui

Shabana is a professionally trained Counseling Psychologist and Mental Health Professional and Therapist; with specialized experience of more than 15 years in Child, Adolescent, and Family counseling as well as academic counseling and Interventions. She has worked with people of various ages helping them overcome emotional crises, stress, and Behavioral Disorders.
A secular by thought and feminist by heart, she loves spending time with nature. Proudly married into an interfaith alliance, she teaches humanity and the Indian constitution to her children over any religion. A teacher, a social worker, a writer, a poet, a traveller, are a few of the other feathers in her cap. She thrives to make the world a better place to live in.

Shabana readily pitches in for awareness campaigns and planning Dhanak’s annual confluence, SAHAS. Shabana is a great team player.

Shailaja Rao

Shailaja immensely enjoys working on awareness campaigns for social media, conducting online workshops, video editing and compiling, and planning for the annual confluence SAHAS. Shailaja has been a proud member of Dhanak since 2010.

Shweta Verma

With her deep understanding of the inner workings of an organization, Shweta serves as a strong pillar for the Dhanak community. She is a role model and provides invaluable advice to the core team and other Dhanak members.

Tanveer Sayyed

Tanveer enjoys researching and debating, albeit calmly, on hot issues of the day. Tanveer loves music, bike riding with his wife, and playing sports, especially badminton and swimming. As for the rest of his time – swinging on the rings of Saturn 🙂
Tanveer recently joined the core team and is helping with Dhanak’s new website. He is also an active participant in Dhanak’s group discussions.