Studying India’s past would introduce you to how some of its monarchs shaped the country it is today as well as the battles that have been fought by iconic men to free India from the clutches of its colonisers. But as the Indian society evolved over thousands of years, you can’t deny the role of women in helping the people endure through hard times.
Showing appreciation for women in shaping India’s history is long overdue. Women are just as capable as men when it comes to spreading their influence and forwarding their advocacies. News24x7 Live lists down five women who have helped shape Indian history:
Indira Gandhi (1917-1984)
Indira Gandhi is known among historians around the world for being the first and only female Prime Minister of India to date. She was born to an influential family in India with her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, being the country’s first Prime Minister. She met with well-known Indian polymath Rabindranath Tagore, from which Indira earned the name ‘Priyadarshini’ or ‘looking at everything with kindness’.
Indira easily got into politics by being a staff member of her father’s office. When her father died, she became a part of the Upper House of India’s legislature. She became Prime Minister in 1966 and served her country for 11 years.
Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
Mother Teresa was an Albanian-Indian Catholic missionary known for her numerous charitable works including the establishment of homes for people who are dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy, and tuberculosis. She was born into an Albanian family in the Ottoman Empire and grew up in poverty. This motivated her to help the less fortunate in Calcutta as a Christian nun.
Mother Teresa made trips around India to spread her charity. She also visited other countries that have been affected by disasters to lend a helping hand. These acts led Mother Teresa to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. The Catholic Church made her a saint in 2016.
Anasuya Sarabhai (1885-1972)
Anasuya Sarabhai was one of the first people to advocate for Indian women’s labour rights by founding the Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association. She was also known as a pupil and friend of Mahatma Gandhi, helping him in his initial struggle for Indian independence.
Sarabhai was born to a family of businesspeople and studied medicine in Europe before returning to India and helping women and mill workers. She got involved in the labour movement when she discovered that female mill workers were working 36-hour shifts. Mahatma Gandhi helped her out with her advocacies as well.
Chand Bibi (1550-1599)
Chand Bibi was a warrior who ruled the Bijapur and Ahmednagar Sultanates when their true monarchs were still too young. She’s fluent in multiple languages including Arabic and Persian. Chand is most known for her successful defence of Ahmednagar against the forces of Emperor Akbar in 1595.
She was able to keep the Mughal forces at bay by securing an alliance from her two nephews who were also rulers. Despite a betrayal from one of her ministers, she managed to weaken the enemy forces and forced the Mughals into a treaty.
Justice Anna Chandy (1905-1996)
Anna Chandy is known among Indians as their country’s first female judge and High Court Justice. She was born a Christian in the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore and eventually became the first woman in her state to have a law degree. She also dabbled with politics in the 1930s when she campaigned for and won a position in the Shree Mulam Popular Assembly.
In 1937, she was appointed as a judge in Travancore and eventually got promoted as a High Court Justice in Kerala in 1959. She served her state until 1967. She also became a member of the Law Commission of India upon her retirement.
Recognising the role of women in past and present Indian society becomes more important than ever as it serves as a wake-up call for inclusion and equality to be the key ingredients for societal progress. Seeing how the five women on this list impacted their country in the best possible way will also inspire other women to do their best in changing the world for the better.
News stories are some of the channels where influential people add pages to India’s history books. If you want to remain updated on the latest happenings in India and around the world, keep tuned to News24x7 Live.