Vijayadashmi or Dusshera symbolizes the victory of good over evil, since today Lord Rama killed the ten headed demon king Ravana. On this auspicious occasion, VelvetCase has listed down 10 powerful women who with their goodness triumphed over both personal & societal evils. Also, today marks the International Day of Girl Child, which supports more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender equality faced by girls all across the globe.
During an era, where women were denied of basic rights, let alone education, Cornelia Sorabji became the first woman to practice law in both India and Britain. She spent five years trying to secure the position of legal advisor to the secluded women of India. Cornelia strived hard to protect the rights of these women by exercising her knowledge in inheritance, dispute resolution and adoption, while also promoting education and the amendment of harsh laws in India.
Kamla Bhasin, a feminist activist has trained about 500 South Asian women from different walks of life on gender issues. Being associated with causes like gender, development, peace, identity politics, militarization and human rights; Bhasin has strived for over 35 years to put an end to the patriarchal evils of the society.
Gang-raped by eight men when she was 15, Sunitha Krishnan is a survivor herself and a saviour for many. She works in the areas of anti-human trafficking, social policy and psychiatric rehabilitation through an NGO called Prajwala, which rescues, rehabilitates and reintegrates victims of sex trafficking into society. With her efforts to rise above the evils of society, Krishnan is providing rehabilitation for women and children who have been trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. She also received the Padma Shri, which is India’s fourth highest civilian award in 2016.
An Indian Dalit social-worker from Rajasthan, Bhanwari Devi was allegedly gang-raped by higher caste men as she had made efforts to stop a child marriage in their family. At an early age she joined the Women’s Development Project in Rajasthan and took up issues related to land, water, literacy, health and payment of minimum wages. It was later that she got involved in uprooting the evils of child marriage, however, was condemned by the society. Devi’s rape case gained nation-wide attention and shaped the women’s movement in India. By 2007, the average age of first-time mother had gobe to 16.5 years purely by the efforts of women’s groups which catalysed by the Bhanwari case.
Often known as the ‘Mother of Orphans’, Sindhutai Sapkal is a social activist known for her work of raising orphan children. She has nurtured over 1050 orphaned children and as of today, she has a grand family of 207 son-in-laws, 36 daughter-in-laws and over 1000 grandchildren.She has been honoured with over 273 awards for her dedication and relentless work for abandoned and orphaned children.
The youngest person to hold the office of a sarpanch, Chhavi Rajawat left her corporate job and city life to help develop rural India. She has been striving hard to change the face of rural Rajasthan by implementing projects like rain water harvesting, solar power, paved roads and toilets facilities in her small village of Soda. She was attacked twice by the anti-social elements in her village who were enraged by her decision to build an IT center on the common land, using central funds of the village. However, despite all the challenges she faced, Chhavi emerged strong and has been crucial in making Soda one of the best villages in India.
Sampat Pal Devi
The founder of Gulabi Gang, Sampat Pal Devi has been fighting since she was 16 to raise her voice against the evils of domestic violence. Devi started the Gulabi Gang with a small group of women from her village of Banda to fight various forms of social injustice faced by women. This Gulabi Gang, overtime developed into an organized women’s movement with lakhs of members spread over several districts in Uttar Pradesh. Devi has been in inspiration to women across the state who are known to wear pink sarees and carry bamboo sticks to use whenever they face violence of any kind.
Born in abject poverty and subjected to inhuman abuse, Kalpana Saroj overcame the evils of child marriage and lack of education to become the CEO of Kamani Tubes Limited. Today, she owns a $112 million empire that is growing rapidly, but took massive perseverance and grit to start in the first place. Kalpana had to face a lot of issues while starting her business as she wasn’t sure of where to acquire the initial funds from. However, to make sure that other don’t face similar problems, she also runs a small NGO, which aggregates and distributes knowledge about various government loans and schemes. She was also awarded the Padma Shri for Trade and Industry in 2013.
An officer of the Indian National Army, Lakshmi Sahgal was the Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Azad Hind government. A medical doctor by profession, she set up a women’s regiment, which late came to be called as the Rani of Jhansi regiment. Captain Lakshmi was also one of the founding members of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, for which she held many activities and campaigns.
An Indian lawyer, Pramila Nesargi is also well known as a women’s rights activist and educationist. In her stint as a maverick lawyer, she has suggested and submitted various reports to the government on sensitive issues such as child labour, sexual violence at work, domestic violence and prisoner’s plight. She has also played a crucial role in suggesting the amendment of various laws offending women in Hindu and Mohammedan Law.