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Friday, March 8, 2019

the first woman Chief Minister of Indian State ?

Do you know what brackets these women together : Nandini Satpathy, Shashikala Kakodkar, Janaki Ramachandran, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Sushma Swaraj,  Anandiben Patel and few more .. .. !  ~ today is Women’s Day and hence a post on a famous woman !

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In 1942, the political atmosphere in India was charged. Public meetings and demonstrations demanding Independence were at a peak. Mahatma Gandhi was fasting in Aga Khan’s palace in Pune. His condition at one time was critical. Arrest warrants had been issued against many freedom fighters including 34-year old Sucheta Kripalani, forcing her to work underground. Disturbed by Gandhi’s deteriorating health Sucheta decided to pay him a quick visit ~  Sucheta, who ?  - have read about her anywhere in our history books ?? – it is worth remembering Sucheta Kriplani on this Women’s day.
Pic credit : //

Sucheta Kriplani (1908 – 1974) a freedom fighter, would ever be remembered as the first woman Chief Minister of India, serving as the head of the Uttar Pradesh government from 1963 to 1967.

She was born in Ambala, to a Bengali Brahmo family. She became a Professor of Constitutional History at Banaras Hindu University. In 1936, she married Acharya Kriplani, a prominent figure of the Indian National Congress. 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. She was one of the few women who were elected to the Constituent Assembly 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 on a KMPP ticket: she had joined the short-lived party founded by her husband the year before. She defeated the Congress candidate Manmohini Sahgal. Five years later, she was reelected from the same constituency, but this time as the Congress candidate. 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 Oct 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.  She retired from politics in 1971 and remained in seclusion till her death in 1974.

Just as additional info, the  Constituent Assembly of India was elected to write the Constitution of India. Following India's independence from Great Britain in 1947, its members served as the nation's first Parliament. An idea for a Constituent Assembly was proposed in 1934 by M. N. Roy, a pioneer of the Communist movement in India and an advocate of radical democracy. It became an official demand of the Indian National Congress in 1935, C. Rajagopalachari voiced the demand for a Constituent Assembly.   

Sucheta was married to prominent freedom fighter and politician, Acharya JB Kripalani.   Jivatram Bhagwandas Kripalani (1888 – 1982), popularly known as Acharya Kripalani, was  President of the Indian National Congress during the transfer of power in 1947.   Interestingly, while Acharya became a prominent opponent of Congress and even established a party called Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party (KMPP), Sucheta (apart from a short stint with KMPP) continued to be loyal to the Congress.

Here is list of women, who have been Chief Ministers of Indian States : Sucheta Kriplani; Nandini Satpathy; Shashikala Kakodkar; Anwara Taimur; Janaki Ramachandran; Jayalalithaa; Mayawati; Rajinder Kaur Bhattal; Rabri Devi; Sushma Swaraj; Sheila Dikshit; Uma Bharti; Vasundhara Raje; Mamata Banerjee *; Anandiben Patel & Mehbooba Mufti.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
8th Mar 2019.

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