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Articles: Women
Women Rulers
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AHILYABAI HOLKER (1725-1795) Born in Ahmednagar of Maharashtra to Manakoji Shinde in 1725. Married to Khande Rao in 1733. When Khande Rao died in the battle of Kumbher in 1754 Ahilyabai learnt to run the princely State of Holker under the stewardship of her father-in-law Malhar Rao Holkar. With the death of her father-in-law in 1766 the entire responsibility of running the State devolved on her. She proved herself to be an enlightened ruler from then onwards till her death in 1795. RANI RASHMONI (1793 - 1861) Born in a poor family she was married into a wealthy zamindar family of Calcutta. After the death of her husband the management of zamindari fell on her shoulders and she showed great managerial skill and leadership in her new role. Rani Rasmoni's nationalist outlook brought her in direct confrontation with the British rulers and each time and every time she had her way and the British could not prevail upon her. She was extremely religious and led an austere life. Construction of the temple complex on the banks of the Ganges, a number of bathing ghats on the river, a road from the Subarnarekha river to Puri for the benefit of the pilgrims and substantial contribution to the then Imperial Llibrary (now National Library) and Hindu College (now Presidency College) bear testimony to her benevolence. WOMEN LEADERS BHIKAIJI CAMA (1861-1936) Madam Bhikaiji Cama was the mother of Indian revolution. She was born in a rich Parsi family and was married to Rustum Cama, a well known solicitor of Bombay. The political events in India influenced her deeply and she delved deep into politics. In 1907 Madam Cama attended the second International Socialist Congress at Stutgart, Germany where she presented India's case for Independence most forcefully and at the end of her speech she unfurled the Indian Tricolour with Vande Mataram insigmia thereon for the first time on foreign soil and made history for India by asking the congregation to stand up and salute. This woman of extraordinary courage and intelligence passed away on 16-08-1936. BEGUM HAZRAT MAHAL Begum Hazrat Mahal was also known as Begum of Avadh. During the First War of Independence in 1957-58 the British deported her husband Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Lucknow to Calcutta. The Begum joined hands with the mutineers and seized control of Lucknow. She rejected with contempt the promises of allowance and status held out to her by the British and resisted the British forces with all her might. she, however, could not hold out for long and escaped to Nepal where she died in 1879. ARUNA ASAF ALI (1909 - 1996) She was born in a Bengali Brahma Samaj family at Kalka in Haryana. She married Asaf Ali a prominent lawyer of Delhi against convention. She actively participated in the National Movement for Independence. Following the arrest of all congress leaders in 1942 she went underground to guide the movement evading police arrest. She became the symbol of the spirit of youth in this country guiding and leading the National Movement from underground. She remained underground till 1946 when the warrant of arrest was withdrawn. Aruna belonged to the heroic age of Freedom Movement. With this background, after Independence she could not adjust to the political realities and chose to live in retirement till her death on 29th July 1996. She was awarded Bharat Ratna (1997) Posthumously.

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