Thursday, March 18, 2010

Indian Feminists

For quite some time now,Indian women have been perceived as weak minded,husband appeasing,abused women.while sadly this may stand true for a majority of women still,it wasn't always the is a list of Indian women from the past and present.Women whom I admire.Women who left their mark.

1. Gargi-All those who feel education is a waste on girl children must look up to this icon. Born around 800 B.C.E in the family of Garga, Gargi Vachaknavi remains one of the most renowned scholars of the Vedas even today. Her wisdom was so celebrated that she was invited to the world's first conference on philosophy convened by the then King Janaka. Known as a formidable debater she challenged the Great Sage Yajnavalkya. Their dialogue was written down as the Yogayajnavalkya Samhita- the very first treatise on what the world knows as Yoga.

2. Razia Sultana- The country was much excited when we got our first lady President in 2007.However much before Mrs Patil came to the scene,the seat in Delhi had been occupied by Razia al-Din from 1236 to 1240.She was trained to lead armies and administrate. She was also the very first woman ruler in Muslim and Turkish History.She ruled against the wishes of her powerful courtiers. She was a shrewd politician. Donned a man’s tunic and head gear as a sultan(she refused to be called Sultana,which means wife or mistress of a sultan) and contrary to the purdah custom, showed her face when leading an army. She worked towards religious tolerance in her State and encouraged academic and scientific research.

3. Rani Lakshmi Bai- After my mother, she is my most favourite woman in the world! Also known as the Indian Joan of Arc, Lakshmi Bai, the queen of Jhansi was an important icon and leader in the Great Rebellion of 1857 against the British Raj in India. When Jhansi came under threat she collected and trained a group of soldiers that included women and fought shoulder to shoulder with the ruthless British forces. She dies a brave and heroic death in the battlefield. General Sir Hugh Rose addressed her as the “most dangerous of all rebel leaders”. Not much surprising, therefore, that during the last years of freedom struggle, the first all women regiment in the History of Indian army led by Capt Lakshmi Sahgal was named the Rani of Jhansi Regiment.

4. Tarabai Shinde- Around the nineteenth century, Tarabai Shinde had begun raising and providing solutions for the existing women issues.She fought against the stifling patriarchy, ill treatment of uppercaste widows and lower caste girl children. Her book Stri Purush Tulana ("A Comparison Between Women and Men"), is regarded as the first  modern Indian feminis text.

5. Roquia Sakhawat Hussain-She is a writer who has influenced the likes of Taslima Nasreen. Her worked tirelessly for the sake of gender equality. She blatantly criticised the corruption that had crept into the Islamic society.She wrote against the gender discrimination and promoted theit emancipation.

6. Mother Teresa- She was born Albanian. But since she adopted India,how can India not adopt her?Mother founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata in 1950. Today the Society of Missionaries has spread all over the world and is touching millions of lives. She received a number of peace awards for her endeavours while she humbly maintained “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world".

7. Kasturba Gandhi- the woman behind Gandhi. In a lot of ways, Kasturba Gandhi, fondly called Ba (mother), beautifully amalgamates the traditional traits of an Indian and the fiery zeal of a woman. She joined Gandhi in his political movements against the British Raj. She talked to women and children about issues like hygiene, literacy and discipline. She died while in custody in the arms of her husband.

8. Sarojini Naidu- A freedom fighter, a poet and an intellectual, Naidu proved her mettle in every field. At sixteen she travelled to England to continue her studies in King’s College, London and eventually Girton, Cambridge. She led Gandhi’s satyagraha movement post his arrest.She went againt the social custom of the day and loved and married a man outside her caste.She died in office following a heart attack in 1949.

9. Kiran Bedi-  In 1972, Kiran Bedi became the first woman Police officer in India. Her sense of justice and fairness made her an exemplary law keeper(she once towed the prime minister’s car for violation of parking space). Post retirement she is still socially active and runs two NGOs simultaneously.

10. Barkha Dutt- When the country was in a state of war in the year 1999, Dutt reported live from the battlefield every minute of the war.Today she is one of the most influential journalists in the country and raises a variety of issues for the country and its government to ponder over.

 Keep adding to the list!(Indira Gandhi and Ashwarya Rai do not qualify)


Acceptance is a change* said...

wow. that is amazing. i am now learning about indian ancient civilization in history. we're on religion now and it amazes me!

Kat Weaver said...

So impressive! I loved reading this. I hope a lot of people see this because, truly, I learned something today! Keep telling people about your wonderful culture! (Have you ever thought of writing a book?)

Lucy Fur said...

thank ye, ye women from afar.:)

btw Kat,I dont enjoy writing as much as I enjoy showing off.I dont think a book is all that good for me.:D..thank you for the vote of confidence though:)

Anonymous said...

Gostei de conhecer outros nomes de mulheres importantes. Quando pensamos em indianas aqui no Brasil, logo vem a cabeça mulheres submissas.
Mas eu sei que isso não é 100% verdade, assim como aqui o machismo é muito forte, mas em todo mundo existe mulheres que não se calam e só desejam um mundo melhor

Mural! said...

We have an auditorium named after Gargi and I never searched the history behind that name......

Laxmibhai was a personal childhood fav too but it had to do more to do with the guts of one person standing against an empire.........

Did you know that sarojini naidu like morarji desai was actually one of the mentors of gandhi when he returned from south africa

Lucy Fur said...

really?no!i didn't know that at all!I merely basked in the glory of her being a Bengali!:D

Mural! said...

bengali!! I've just googled her now......another eye opener :D

I knew she was born in hyderabad and later moved to UP, and from her obvious Naidu suffix I assume she was from AP

but does it really matter, where she came from :P its what she did :)

Lucy Fur said...

yes but still!jiyo bangali!:P