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  • Yashasvi Mulchandani

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya - The Guiding Light for Women in Indian Politics

One of the most prominent figures in the fight for women empowerment in the 20th century, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya was an activist and freedom fighter, an unsung hero who a number of young Indians have not been made aware of. She left her mark on the growth of Indian culture by playing an important role in reviving Indian handicrafts and nurturing the greater majority of the country’s national institutions charged with the promotion of dance, drama, art, theatre, music, and puppetry.

Young Kamaladevi was intrigued by the Gandhian ideas of non-violence and ahimsa; a large amount of this was inspired by her parents, who were progressive thinkers and involved in the freedom struggle of the era. Despite losing her father at an early age and seeing the restrictions imposed on women, especially widows, of the time, she continued her pursuit for knowledge and independent living.

By 1923, Kamaladevi had enrolled herself in the Congress Party and three years later, she achieved the outstanding milestone of being the first woman to run for political office in India. During the Salt March to Dandi, she convinced Mahatma Gandhi to give women equal opportunity to be in the forefront of the March. Later, she joined Seva Dal and trained women activists.

There is a lot to be learned from the life of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya, a guiding light for women in Indian politics and a torchbearer for social reformers everywhere. May her name be forever remembered in history.

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya

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