Zerbanoo Gifford

Zerbanoo Gifford is a British writer and human rights campaigner of Indian Zoroastrian[1] origin.[2]:124 She is honorary director of the ASHA Foundation, which she founded.[2]:125

Zerbanoo Gifford
Occupationwriter, human rights campaigner

Gifford was brought from India to Britain by her parents when she was three. She was educated at Roedean School, at Watford College of Technology, at the London School of Journalism and at the Open University. Her first book, The Golden Thread, was published in 1990.[2]:124

Charitable workEdit

Gifford has been active in charitable work. She has been a director of Anti-Slavery International[3] and of the Charities Aid Foundation.[2]:125 She is founder of the ASHA Foundation and the ASHA Centre in the Forest of Dean.[4]


In 1982 Gifford was elected a councillor for Harrow,[5]:378[6] the first female Asian councillor to be elected for the Liberal Party.[2]:125 She has stood three times for Parliament,[2]:125[7] Hertsmere in 1983 (Liberal/SDP Alliance) and 1992 (Liberal Democrat), and Harrow East (Liberal/SDP Alliance) in 1987. By standing in 1983, she became one of the first three Asian women to stand for Parliament along with Rita Austin (Labour, St Albans) and Pramila Le Hunte (Conservative, Birmingham Ladywood).[8]

In 1986 she chaired the Liberal "Commission of Inquiry into Ethnic Minority Involvement in the Liberal Party".[2]:125 Gifford was twice elected by the party's membership the Liberal Democrats' Federal Executive, the first ethnic minority person to be elected to a major UK party's supreme body.[9] She was a member of the Race Relations Forum set up in 1998 by then Home Secretary, Jack Straw.[10]

In 1992 Gifford co-chaired the centenary celebrations for the election of the first non-white MP, Dadabhai Naoroji.[11]


Gifford received the Nehru Centenary Award in 1989. She was nominated for the Women of Europe Award in 1991.[2]:125 A biography of her by Farida Master, Zerbanoo Gifford: An Uncensored Life, was published in 2015.[12] Gifford was one of the seven former pupils who featured in Roedean school's 125 anniversary celebrations.[13]


At the launch of her book The Golden Thread

Gifford's written works include:

  • The Golden Thread: Asian Experiences of Post-Raj Britain, 1990[14]
  • Dadabhai Naoroji, Britain's First Asian MP, 1992[15]
  • The Asian Presence in Europe, 1995[16]
  • Thomas Clarkson and the Campaign against Slavery, 1996[17]
  • Foreword to Race and British Electoral Politics, 1998[18]
  • Celebrating India, 1998
  • South Asian Funding in the UK, 1999[19]
  • Confessions to a Serial Womaniser: Secrets of the World's Inspirational Women, 2007[20]


  1. ^ "Zerbanoo and Mark Gifford", Religion, law and the constitution, The University of Manchester.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Alison Donnell (2002). Companion to Contemporary Black British Culture. London; New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780203194997.
  3. ^ Today with Sean O'Rourke. 26 October 2017. RTÉ. Radio 1.
  4. ^ Baroness Royall of Blaisdon. "Minority Ethnic and Religious Communities: Cultural and Economic Contribution". Hansard.
  5. ^ John R. Hinnells (2005). The Zoroastrian Diaspora: Religion and Migration. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198267592.
  6. ^ Saggar, Shamit (1998). Race and British Electoral Politics. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1857288292.
  7. ^ British Parliamentary Election results 1983–97. David Boothroyd. Accessed April 2016.[unreliable source?]
  8. ^ FitzGerald, Marian (1984). Political parties and Black people: participation, representation, and exploitation. London: Runnymede Trust.
  9. ^ Saggar, Shamit (1998). Race and British Electoral Politics. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1857288292.
  10. ^ [Home Office] (1998). Race Relations Forum. London: Home Office. Archived 16 February 2006.
  11. ^ Steel, David; Ashdown, Paddy (1992). Dadabhai Naoroji Parliamentary Centenary Celebrations. London. Mss Eur F279/10.
  12. ^ Farida Master (2015). Zerbanoo Gifford: An Uncensored Life. Uttar Pradesh, India: Harpercollins Publishers India. ISBN 9789351776369
  13. ^ "Sussex Life". Roedean at 125. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  14. ^ Zerbanoo Gifford (1990). The Golden Thread: Asian Experiences of Post-Raj Britain. London: Pandora Press. ISBN 9780044406051.
  15. ^ Zerbanoo Gifford, Petra Röhr-Rouendaal (illustrator) (1992). Dadabhai Naoroji: Britain's First Asian M.P. London: Mantra. ISBN 9781852691417.
  16. ^ Zerbanoo Gifford (1995). Asian Presence in Europe. London: Mantra. ISBN 9781852691851.
  17. ^ Zerbanoo Gifford (1996). Thomas Clarkson and the Campaign against Slavery. London: Anti-Slavery International. ISBN 9780900918360.
  18. ^ Shamit Saggar (editor) (1998). Race and British Electoral Politics. London [u.a.]: UCL Press. ISBN 9781857288308.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Karina Holly with Zerbanoo Gifford (1999). South Asian Funding in the UK. London: Directory of Social Change. ISBN 9781900360333.
  20. ^ Zerbanoo Gifford (2007). Confessions to a Serial Womaniser: Secrets of the World's Inspirational Women. East Grinstead: Blacker Limited in conjunction with Phact Publishing. ISBN 978-1897739310.