Amina Kidwai, known as Munna by family and friends, was born in the village of Masauli, District Barabanki outside the city of Lucknow in 1932. Her father was a government officer. She lost her mother at the age of ten and went on to live with her paternal aunt and freedom fighters Begum Anis Kidwai, her husband Shafi Ahmad Kidwai and his brother Rafi Ahmad Kidwai. As a child, she often went to Mussoorie, Dehradun for holidays to her uncle and future father-in-law Shafi Ahmad Kidwai’s house. When Partition took place in 1947, Mrs. Kidwai was on the threshold of her teens. By virtue of belonging to a politically active family, she was aware of what was happening, she recalls, but the realization dawned on the children of the family when they faced a tragedy – the murder of her uncle Shafi Ahmad Kidwai in Mussoorie. The tragic event prompted his wife Anis Kidwai and their three children, including Mrs. Kidwai, to move to Delhi to stay with relatives. After the acceptance of his death, Anis Kidwai started working with rehabilitating refugees at the Purana Qila refugee camp. This journey is captured in Anis Kidwai’s memoirs, “Azaadi ki Chhaon Mein.” These memoirs have been translated by Amina Kidwai’s daughter under the title 'In Freedom’s Shade.'
Amina Kidwai says that she was exposed to the physical and emotional violence that Partition had inflicted on the people. She recounts seeing the fire rising from Connaught Place in Delhi, rioting mobs, and being house-bound due to the fear of violence in the city. Her father’s house was always full of refugees each recounting stories of great tragedy. The stories of the women were the most troubling for her to hear. Through whispered conversations, she heard stories of women who had suffered sexual abuse and that their captors had tattooed symbols and the name of their abductors onto their skin.