International Women’s day is coming up and soon we will have enough reports, awards, events to honour, remember icons.
We are glad that there are books too featuring and remembering Indian women who were firsts in various careers, beating massive odds in life.
Written and compiled by Gayathri Ponvannan, 75 Stories of Trail Blazing Indian Women takes one down to memory lane. Many of these stories make the reader gasp, go in awe or admiration or even seem unbelievable.
Savitribai Phule was a teacher. A profession which is so common in today’s world; Savitri was married before she turned ten. With the help of her husband, Jyotirao Phule, Savitri learnt to read and write and joined school. They were banished from society and rejected from parental support, yet during her lifetime, she opened 18 schools, was the first teacher to introduce parent teacher meeting, campaigned against ill treatment to widows to name a few of her achievements.
Like her there were several women who courageously took a stand for themselves.
(Photograph by Mums and Stories)
Do you know the first Indian woman doctor? Anandi Joshi was still a teen when she gave birth to a child, post marriage. The child unfortunately didn’t survive as it was born sick and the parents couldn’t get a doctor on time to advise them. This terrible event made Anandi to become a doctor herself.
17 year old Anandi in 1883, sailed to America to go in for higher studies in medicine. Anandi was educated, accompanied Gopal , her husband on travels, walked the streets herself and finally crossed the oceans. She stayed in Pennsylvania, studying to be a doctor. Unfortunately the harsh winters abroad had taken a toll on her health and although she came back to India, she succumbed to tuberculosis. She died at 20 being the first Indian doctor of modern science.
Not all stories belong to the 18th or the 19th century. Just 25 years ago, on September 2nd Harita Kaur Deol from Chandigarh was the first Indian woman to be solo IAF pilot. Her achievement has become an inspiration that today India accounts for being one of the highest number of female pilots in the world.
The book is good for those stepping into teens, for girls who need to know on how these women changed their fate by determination, education and goals. Also a book that needs to be read by boys who can realise that it hasn’t been easy for women to establish their careers and someone had to make the first start in so many professional fields.
While we were aware of some of the icons, it is indeed a revelation on many names profiled and gives one the feel on why we need to aim for a better future, considering so many women strived to achieve what was considered impossible.
The book could have been a little more attractive in illustrations and we would have loved to see real pictures if that could have been possible.
Mums and Stories gives this non fiction account 4 on 5.
You can buy the book – here