Women; A beautiful and tough creation of GOD…A Women can change Anything.

On this day 8th March 2013 we celebrate Women’s Day Worldwide.I wish every women A Happy Women’s Day!!!I salute you all….Live your life king size.

In India, Women have been playing equally important role as men since years.I was just looking into the achievement of Indian women in the country (Since then..) and  thought to share.

  • Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar (31 May 1725 – 13 August 1795), was the Holkar Queen of the Maratha ruled Malwa kingdom, India. Ahilyabai’s husband Khanderao Holkar was killed in the battle of Kumbher in 1754. Twelve years later, her father-in-law, Malhar Rao Holkar, died. A year after that she was coronated as the queen of the Malwa kingdom. She tried to protect her kingdom from Thugs, the plunderers. She personally led armies into battle. She appointed Tukojirao Holkar as the Chief of Army. She was a great pillar of the Maratha Power.

             “The reign of Ahilyabai, of Indore in central India, lasted for 30 Yrs. This has become almost legendary as a period during     which   perfect order and good Government prevailed and the people prospered. She was a very able ruler and organizer, highly respected during her lifetime, and considered as a saint by grateful people after her death.” An English poem written by Joanna Baillie in 1849 reads:

“For thirty years her reign of peace,
The land in blessing did increase;
And she was blessed by every tongue,
By stern and gentle, old and young.
Yea, even the children at their mothers feet
Are taught such homely rhyming to repeatAhilya Bai
“In latter days from Brahma came,
To rule our land, a noble Dame,
Kind was her heart, and bright her fame,
And Ahlya was her honoured name.”

“The Great Maratha lady who affords the noblest example of wisdom, goodness and virtue. One english writer quoted that which Akbar is among male sovereigns, is Ahlia Baie among female sovereigns.

  • Kitturu Rani Chennamma (October 23, 1778 – February 21, 1829) was the Queen of Kittur, India.She was one of the earliest Indian rulers who fought for freedom. 33 years before the National Uprising, this queen of a princely state in Karnataka led an armed rebellion against the British, and lost her life in the end.                                                            Kitturu Rani Chennamma                                           She is best known for leading an armed rebellion against the British East India Company in 1824. The resistance ended with her arrest and she became a symbol of the movement for independence in India. In the state of Karnataka, she is celebrated along with Abbakka Rani, Keladi Chennamma and Onake Obavva. Even today, she is revered as one of the bravest women in Karnataka.
  • Begum Hazrat Mahal (1820- 1879): She was one of the iconic freedom fighters of the National Uprising in 1857. When the mutiny began, she was one of the first freedom fighter who urged the rural folk to rise up against the British oppression.                                                                                                                                                                     200px-Begum_hazrat_mahal                                          She thus seized the control of Lucknow and announced her son as the King of Oudh. However, when the British recaptured Lucknow, she was forced to retreat to Nepal.
  • Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi: (19 November 1828 – 18 June 1858; was the queen of the Maratha-ruled princely state of Jhansi, situated in the north-central part of India. She was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and for Indian nationalists a symbol of resistance to the rule of the British East India Company in the subcontinent.

Lakshmibai was born probably on 19 November 1828 in the holy town of Kāśi (Varanasi) into a Brahmin family. She was named Manikarnika and was nicknamed Manu. Her father was Moropant Tambe and her mother Bhagirathi Bai. Rani Laxmi baiHer parents came from Maharashtra. Her mother died when she was four. Her father worked for a court Peshwa of Bithoor district who brought Manikarnika up like his own daughter. The Peshwa called her “Chhabili”, which means “playful”. She was educated at home. She was more independent in her childhood than others of her age; her studies included archery, horsemanship, and self-defence.

Manikarnika was married to the Maharaja of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Rao, in 1842,and was afterwards called Lakshmibai (or Laxmibai).She gave birth to a boy named Damodar Rao in 1851, but when he was four months old he died. The Raja adopted a child called Anand Rao, the son of Gangadhar Rao’s cousin, who was renamed Damodar Rao, on the day before he died. The adoption was in the presence of the British political officer who was given a letter from the raja requesting that the child should be treated with kindness and that the government of Jhansi should be given to his widow for her lifetime. After the death of the raja in November 1853 because Damodar Rao was adopted, the British East India Company, under Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, applied the Doctrine of Lapse, rejecting Damodar Rao’s claim to the throne and annexing the state to its territories. In March 1854, Lakshmibai was given a pension of Rs. 60,000 and ordered to leave the palace and the fort.Rani Lakshmibai was accustomed to ride on horseback accompanied by a small escort between the palace and the temple though sometimes she was carried by palanquin.Her horses included Sarangi, Pavan and Badal.

  • Savitribhai Phule: (January 3, 1831 – March 10, 1897) “If you educate a boy, you educate an individual but if you educate a girl, you educate the whole family,” was the words in which she firmly believed in.freedom_savitribai-phule_600x450

Tired of seeing women being oppressed and being denied the rights of education, Savitribai Phule took it upon herself to provide girl education. Even though she had to bear the insults and abuse which were thrust upon her by the higher class, she continued to provide basic education to girls and women. Savitribai Phule became the first women teacher in India.

  • Matangini Hazra (19 October 1870  – 29 September 1942) was an Indian revolutionary who participated in the Indian independence movement until she was shot dead by the British Indian police in front of the Tamluk Police Station (of erstwhile Midnapore District) on September 29, 1942.200px-Kolkata_Matangini_Hazra

She was affectionately known as Gandhi buri, Bengali for old lady Gandhi. India earned Independence in 1947 and numerous schools, colonies, and streets were named after Matangini Hazra. The first statue of a woman put up in Kolkata, in independent India, was Hazra’s in 1977.A statue now stands at the spot where she was killed in Tamluk.

  • Sister Nivedita( born Margaret Elizabeth Noble; 1867–1911)was a Scots-Irish social worker, author, teacher and a disciple of Swami Vivekananda. She spent her childhood and early days of her youth in Ireland. From her father, from her college professor etc. she learned many valuable lessons like – service to mankind is the true service to God. She worked as school teacher and later also opened a school. She was committed to marry a Welsh youth who died soon after engagement.220px-Sœur_Nivedita

Nivedita was a prolific orator and writer and extensively toured India to deliver lectures, especially on India’s culture and religion. She appealed to the Indian youth to work selflessly for the cause of the motherland along the ideals of Swami Vivekananda. Initially Nivedita, like contemporary intellectuals from Europe, was optimistic about British rule in India and believed that it was possible for India and England to love each other. However, in the course of her stay, she came to witness the brutal side of the British rule, the repression and oppression and the division between the ruling elite and the ruled plebians; she concluded that it was necessary for India to gain independence to prosper. Therefore she devoted herself wholeheartedly to the cause of opposing the British rule. After Swami’s death, she, being acutely aware of the inconvenience of the newly formed Ramakrishna Mission on account of her political activities, publicly dissociated herself from it. However, till her last days she had very cordial relationship with the brother disciples of Swami Vivekananda like Swami Brahmananda, Baburam Maharaj (Swami Premananda) and Swami Saradananda, who helped her in her charitable and education activities in every possible way; she was very close to the holy mother, Sarada Devi.

  • Sarojini Naidu (13 February 1879- 2 March 1949), also known by the sobriquet The Nightingale of India, was a child prodigy, Indian independence activist and poet. Naidu was one of the framers of the Indian Constitution. Naidu is the second Indian woman to become the President of the Indian National Congressand the first woman to become the Governor of Uttar Pradesh state. Her birthday is celebrated as Women’s Day all over India.Sarojini Naidu joined the Indian national movement in the wake of partition of Bengal in 1905.Sarojini Naidu

In 1925, Sarojini Naidu presided over the annual session of Indian National Congress at Cawnpore. In 1929, she presided over East African Indian Congress in South Africa. She was awarded the hind a kesari medal by the British government for her work during the plague epidemic in India. In 1931, she participated in the Round table conference with Gandhiji and Madan Mohan Malaviya. Sarojini Naidu played a leading role during the Civil Disobedience Movement and was jailed along with Gandhiji and other leaders. In 1942, Sarojini Naidu was arrested during the “Quit India” movement and was jailed for 21 days with Gandhiji.

  • Vijaylakshmi Pandit (August 18, 1900- December 1, 1990): Like her brother Jawaharlal Nehru,                                                              she too felt passionately for her country. Vijaya LaxmiAfter serving our nation for years, she became the first woman President of the United Nations General Assembly.

A writer, a diplomat, and a politician, her works are an inspiration to many young women.

  • Sucheta Kriplani (25 June 1908 – 1 December 1974)freedom_sucheta-kriplani_600x450 With the dedication and passion that she exuded for her country during the struggle, she was elected as the first woman Chief Minister of any Indian state.

She stepped up for her country with the Quit India Movement and she was one of Gandhiji’s close associates in several Partition riots. She was a role model and encouraged many women to join the struggle.

  • Aruna Asaf Ali (July 16, 1909 – July 29, 1996) She was an active member of the Congress Party who not just fought for our country’s freedom, but also for the rights of political prisoners in Tihar Jail.freedom_aruna_asaf_ali_600x450

She launched a hunger strike for the latter and her efforts resulted in improved conditions but she was subjected to solitary confinement. She displayed great courage by standing up to the oppressive rule as well as her family who were against the idea of her marrying a Muslim (she was originally a Brahmo).

  • Pritilata Waddedar (5 May 1911 – 23 September 1932) was a Bengali revolutionary nationalist. After completing her education in Chittagong, she attended the Bethune College in Calcutta. Pritilata graduated in Philosophy with distinction.Pritilata_waddedar

After a brief stint as a school teacher, Pritilata joined a revolutionary group headed by Surya Sen. She led a 15 man team of revolutionaries in a 1932 attack on the Pahartali European Club, which had a sign board that read “Dogs and Indians not allowed”. The revolutionaries torched the club and were later caught by the British police. To avoid getting arrested, Pritilata consumed cyanide and died.

  • Lakshmi Sahgal  (24 October 1914 – 23 July 2012) Laxmi Sehgalwas a revolutionist of the Indian independence movement, an officer of the Indian National Army, and the Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Azad Hind government.

Sahgal is commonly referred to in India as Captain Lakshmi, a reference to her rank when taken prisoner in Burma.

  • Indira Gandhi(19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984) Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was the third Prime Minister of India and a central figure of the Indian National Congress party.Indira2

Indira Gandhi becomes the first woman Prime Minister of India.Gandhi, who served from 1966 to 1977 and then again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, is the second-longest-serving Prime Minister of India and the only woman to hold the office.

As Prime Minister, Gandhi became known for her political ruthlessness and unprecedented centralisation of power. She presided over a period where India emerged with greater power than before to become the regional hegemon of South Asia with considerable political, economic, and military developments. Gandhi also presided over a state of emergency from 1975 to 1977 during which she ruled by decree and made lasting changes to the constitution of India. She was assassinated in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star.

  • Usha Mehta (March 25, 1920 – August 11, 2000) She was one of the youngest freedom fighters of the Indian freedom movement.usha mehta

She was hardly five years old when she met Gandhi and was inspired by his ideals. At the age of 8, she participated in the ‘Simon Go Back’ protest. Even though her father who was a judge under the British Raj tried his best to dissuade her from participating in the freedom struggle, she made sure to be a part of it in small yet significant ways. After quitting her studies to be a part of the Quit India Movement, she dedicated herself completely to the struggle.

  • Kiran Bedi (born 9 June 1949) is an Indian social activist and a retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. Bedi joined the police service in 1972 and became the first woman officer in the IPS.Kiran Bedi

Bedi held the post of Director General at the Bureau of Police Research and Development before she voluntarily retired from the IPS in December 2007. Bedi was the host and judge of the popular TV series “Aap Ki Kachehri” (English, “Your Court”), which is based on real-life disputes and provides a platform for settling disputes between consenting parties.

  • Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (born June 27, 1964), popularly known as P. T. Usha, is an Indian athlete from the state of Kerala.P.T Usha

P. T. Usha has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979. She is regarded as one of the greatest athletes India has ever produced and is often called the “queen of Indian track and field”. She is nicknamed the Payyoli Express. Currently she runs the Usha School of Athletics at Koyilandy in Kerala. P. T. Usha was born in the village of Payyoli, Kozhikode District, Kerala. In 1976 the Kerala State Government started a Sports School for women, and Usha was chosen to represent her district.

These are list of few more that can be highlighted by looking at what has been achieved by women in the country:

  • 1883: Chandramukhi Basu and Kadambini Ganguly became the first female graduates of India and the British Empire.
  • 1886: Kadambini Ganguly and Anandi Gopal Joshi became the first women from India to be trained in Western medicine.
  • 1905: Suzanne RD Tata becomes the first Indian woman to drive a car.
  • 1944: Asima Chatterjee became the first Indian woman to be conferred the Doctorate of Science by an Indian university.
  • 1959: Anna Chandy becomes the first Indian woman judge of a High Court (Kerala High Court)
  • 1966: Captain Durga Banerjee becomes the first Indian woman pilot of the state airline, Indian Airlines.
  • 1970: Kamaljit Sandhu becomes the first Indian woman to win a Gold in the Asian Games.
  • 1979: Mother Teresa wins the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first Indian female citizen to do so.
  • 1984: On 23 May, Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest.
  • 1989: Justice M. Fathima Beevi becomes the first woman judge of the Supreme Court of India.
  • 1997: Kalpana Chawla becomes the first India-born woman to go into space.
  • 1994: Harita Kaur Deol becomes the first Indian woman pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF), on a solo flight.
  •  2000: Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal (bronze medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics at Sydney).
  • 2007: Pratibha Patil becomes the first woman President of India.
  • 2009: Meira Kumar became the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha, the lower house in Indian Parliament.

© Pushpita Palit