Independence Day is here and so are those patriotic sentiments which prevail for that one day. I hail from the UK, however, have spent my childhood days here in Mumbai. My fondest memory of Independence day is running early morning to school to flag hoist and complete the traditional Independence day march and ceremony. Those days were glorious as it instilled a belief in Independence in me.
To make you feel more proud, the TV networks used to air the most patriotic movies from the past, to name few Mother India, Jhansi Ki Rani to Border in the modern era. The first two movies which I have mentioned earlier are women centric movies! Jhansi Ki Rani was the first women from India who initiated the mutiny against the British Empire in 1857. Incidentally, Mother India portrayed an Indian woman struggling to make ends meet as a single mother after Independence.
Women form an integral part of our society. They are the smartest and toughest female business leaders, entrepreneurs, musician, scientists, politicians and sports woman making their mark in the world today. They are reaching heights like never before.
Here are the 7 pioneering women who have had a huge impact on India and around the world in their respective fields.
1. Vijaya Laxmi Pandit
Famously known as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s younger sister but she had her own accolades. Born in 1900, she was the first woman to be the President of the United Nations Council in 1953. She had a prolific political and diplomatic career which was defining an Independent Indian Woman in the 20th Century.
2. Arundhati Roy
She was the first Indian woman to win the prestigious literary award ‘The Man Bookers Prize’ in 1997 for her first book ‘The God of Small Things’. Since then she has been a strong advocate of non-violence for which Roy was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 2004.
3. Chanda Kochar
Mrs Kochar leads the largest private sector bank of India ICICI as a CEO and MD of the same. She was named as Forbes 40th Most Powerful Woman in the World in 2016. Her recognition lies in shaping the retail banking sector in India.
4. Lata Mangeshkar
Famously known as the Nightingale of Bollywood, is a recipient of Indian Honorary awards such as Bharat Ratna and Padma Bhushan. Her musical journey is to be spanned over seven decades and has reached in the Guinness Book of World Records for singing over 30,000 songs.
5. Aruna Asaf Ali
Popularly known as the Grand Old Lady of the Indian Independence Movement as she was a freedom fighter and an Independence activist. She is best remembered till date for hoisting the Indian National Congress flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay at the scheduled time, thus initiating the commencement of the historic Quit India Movement.
6. Saina Nehwal
This modern day Indian Sports woman has got the nation hooked on to badminton like no other. Famous for her badminton heroics, making her the first Indian player to win an Olympic bronze medal in the sport in 2012 and also winning the 2010 Commonwealth title. Reaching the No.1 Player spot in the Badminton World Federation ranking in 2015 is a tough achievement which she thoroughly deserved. She is also a recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
7. Anandibai Joshi
Truly a heart touching story made this lady the most pioneering lady of the entire generation. Married at a tender age of 9 years wasn’t her ultimate destiny. She was the first Indian woman to obtain a medical degree from the western world. At the age of 14, she gave birth to a son, who passed away shortly. This inspired her to pursue medicine, thus going to Women’s College Pennsylvania. She graduated in 1886 and Queen Victoria sent her a congratulatory message.
Salute to these inspiring women of our nation. I feel proud to have descendants from this magnificent country. Jai Hind and Vande Mataram. Happy Independence Day India.