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Chaudhurani, Sarala Devi (1872–1945), political activist and campaigner for women's rights in India, was born on 9 September 1872 at Jorasanko, Calcutta, the younger daughter and youngest of the three children of Janakinath Ghosal (1840–1913), son of a local zamindar of Krishnanagar, and a supporter of the ...

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Chauhan [née Singh], Subhadra Kumari (1904–1948), poet, short-story writer, and political activist in India, was born on 16 August 1904 in Nihalpur, near Allahabad, United Provinces, India, the third of four daughters and sixth of seven children of Ramnath Singh, building contractor, and his wife, ...

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Das [née Sarbadhikari], Krishnabhabini (1864–1919), author and social activist, was born in 1864 in a traditional Hindu zamindari household in Chowa, Murshidabad district, Bengal, the only child of Joynarayan Sarbadhikari. It was not usual to educate girls in the village and Krishnabhabini's...

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Jayaben Suryakant Desai (1933–2010) by Graham Wood, 1977 © Getty Images

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Desai [née Patel], Jayaben Suryakant (1933–2010), factory worker, trade unionist, and teacher, was born in Dharmaj, Gujarat, India, on 2 April 1933, into an affluent landowning family, the only daughter and second of three children of Gordhanbhai Govindbhai Patel and his wife, ...

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Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (1917–1984) by Derry Moore, 1976 Derry Moore / Camera Press, London

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Gandhi [née Nehru], Indira Priyadarshini (1917–1984), prime minister of India, was born on 19 November 1917 at Allahabad, United Provinces, the only child of Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964), one of the principal leaders of the Indian nationalist movement and India's first prime minister, and ...

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Ganguly [née Basu], Kadambini (c. 1862–1923), physician and political activist, was born in Bhagalpur, a town in eastern India (now in the state of Bihar) where her father, Brajakishore Basu, was headmaster of a school. He was an active member of the reformist ...

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Lakshmi Bai [Lakshmibai], rani of Jhansi (1827/1828–1858), warrior queen in India, was born at Benares, India, probably in late 1827 or early 1828, the only child of Moropant Tambe and his wife, Bhagirathi Bai, a woman versed in Hindu mythology. Her father was an employee of ...

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Naidu [née Chattopadhyay], Sarojini (1879–1949), politician and poet, born on 13 February 1879 in Hyderabad, was the second child and eldest daughter of Aghornath Chattopadhyay (Chatterji; 1851–1915) and his wife, Baradasundari, otherwise Varada Devi. Her younger brother, Virendranath (Chatto) Chattopadhyaya...

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Noble, Margaret Elizabeth [known as Sister Nivedita] (1867–1911), writer on Hindu culture and supporter of Indian nationalism, was born on 28 October 1867, at 23 Scotch Street, Dungannon, co. Tyrone, the eldest of the three surviving children of Samuel Richmond Noble (...

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Pandit, Vijayalakshmi [née Sarup Kumari Nehru] (1900–1990), diplomatist, was born on 18 August 1900 at Anand Bhavan, Allahabad, India, the second of the three children and elder daughter of Motilal Nehru (1861–1931), lawyer and nationalist leader, and his wife, Swarup Rani...

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See Pathak, Laxmishanker Gopalji

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Ramabai, Pandita Mary Saraswati [née Ramabai Dongre] (1858–1922), social reformer and writer, was born on 23 April 1858 in Gangamul, near Mangalore, India, the youngest of the six children (of whom three survived infancy) of Anant Shastri Dongre, Sanskrit scholar, and his second wife, ...

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Swarnakumari Devi (1855–1932), author, was born in Calcutta on 28 August 1855, the fourth daughter of Debendranath Tagore (1817–1905) of the Jorasanko branch of the Tagore family of Bengal, and his wife, Sarada Devi (1826?–1875). The remarkable Tagore family broke new ground in business ventures; in literature, art, and music; and in women's emancipation. They put their heart into a synthesis of the old and the new in the context of British imperial rule in ...