The sixteen Inspirational Woman that we have tomorrow is Sucheta Kriplani. She was an Indian Politician and Freedom Fighter. She was also the First Woman Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
She was not born with a steely will and exemplary leadership qualities. Rather, she was a shy child, self-conscious about her appearance and intellect, as she points out in her book, An Unfinished Autobiography. It was the age she grew up in and the situations she faced that shaped her personality. Sucheta recounts how, as a 10-year-old, she and her siblings had heard their father and his friends talk about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. It left them so outraged that they vented their anger on some of the Anglo-Indian children they played with, by calling them names.
Her exact words were- “I could understand enough to feel great anger against the British [after hearing about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre]. We [Sucheta and her sister Sulekha] vented out anger on some of the Anglo-Indian children who played with us, calling them all kinds of names,”
Both Sucheta and her sister Sulekha were desperate to join India’s burgeoning Independence movement. There is one particularly fascinating incident which Sucheta narrates in her book. After the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the Prince of Wales had visited Delhi. Girls from her school were taken to stand near the Kudsia Garden to honour the Prince of Wales. Despite wanting to refuse, both the sisters couldn’t, and that left them bitterly outraged at their apparent cowardice.
“This did not absolve our conscience from feeling shame. We both felt very small of our cowardice,” she writes.
Like her contemporaries Aruna Asaf Ali and Usha Mehta, she came to the forefront during the Quit India Movement. She later worked closely with Mahatma Gandhi during the Partition riots. She accompanied him to Noakhali in 1946. Mahatma Gandhi wrote on her –
” a person of rare courage and character who brought credit to Indian womanhood”
She was one of the few women who were elected to the Constituent Assembly of India. She was elected as the first woman CM of state of Uttar Pradesh from the Kanpur constituency . and was part of the subcommittee that drafted the Indian Constitution. She became a part of the subcommittee that laid down the charter for the constitution of India. On 14 August 1947, she sang Vande Mataram in the Independence Session of the Constituent Assembly a few minutes before Nehru delivered his famous “Tryst with Destiny” speech. She was also the founder of the All India Mahilla Congress, established in 1940.
After independence, she remained involved with politics. For the first Lok Sabha elections in 1952, she contested from New Delhi.She was elected one last time to the Lok Sabha in 1967, from Gonda constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, she had also become a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly. From 1960 to 1963, she served as Minister of Labour, Community Development and Industry in the UP government. In October 1963, she became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the first woman to hold that position in any Indian state. The highlight of her tenure was the firm handling of a state employees strike. This first-ever strike by the state employees continued for 62 days. She relented only when the employees’ leaders agreed to compromise. Kripalani kept her reputation as a firm administrator by refusing their demand for a pay hike.
Image Source: Live History India
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.
We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge
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