Top 7 Famous Female Leaders in Indian History

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Famous Female Leaders in Indian History

In a country like India, where the patriarchal society has dominated for centuries, there have been exceptional women who have shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for future generations. These women have shown immense courage, resilience and leadership skills in various fields, ranging from politics to social activism. Let’s take a closer look at some of the famous female leaders in Indian history who have written their names in golden letters in the nation’s history chapters. 

List Of Famous Female Leaders in Indian History 

Here are outlining some of the most powerful and famous female leaders in Indian history – 

  • Sarojini Naidu ( 13th February 1879 – 2nd March 1949)

Sarojini Naidu was a well-known Indian political activist and poet, born in Hyderabad, State of British India. She was popularly known as “the Nightingale of India” and “Bharat Kokila” by Mahatma Gandhi, owing to her exceptional work as a poet. 

Apart from being a poet, Naidu was also an important figure in India’s independence movement against colonial rule. She was appointed as the first President of the Indian National Congress in 1925, becoming the first woman to hold this position. In 1947, she was also appointed as the Governor of the United Provinces, becoming the first woman to hold this office in the Dominion of India. Naidu was a prolific poet and her notable works include The Golden Threshold (1905), The Bird of Time (1912), The Sceptred Flute (1928) and The Feather of the Dawn (1961) which were published as her collected poems.

Also Read – Sarojini Naidu: Biography, Education, Quotes, Poems

  • Sucheta Kriplani ( 25 June 1908 – 1 December 1974)

Sucheta Kriplani was born in Ambala, Punjab, British India. Kriplani was actively involved in the Indian independence movement and was an important member of the Indian National Congress. She participated in various movements, including the Quit India Movement in 1942, and was imprisoned several times for her involvement in the freedom struggle. Kriplani was also associated with the socialist movement in India and was one of the founding members of the All India Mahila Congress.

Credits – The Quint

After India gained independence in 1947, Kriplani continued to be an active politician and held various positions in the government. In 1963, she was elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament, and was re-elected twice. In 1963, she became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, becoming the first woman to hold this position in the country.

Also Read – The Heroic Role of Women in India’s Freedom Struggle

  • Ahilyabai Holkar ( 31 May 1725 – 13 August 1795)

Ahilyabai Holkar, one of the most famous female leaders in Indian history, was born in Gram Chundi, Maratha Empire. She was known for her exemplary leadership and for promoting industrialisation and dharma in the 18th century.

After the death of her husband and father-in-law, she took over the reins of Malwa and governed it with great wisdom and sagacity. She led the army on various occasions and proved to be a brave warrior, leading the charge on an elephant with a bow and arrows in hand. Under her rule, Malwa remained peaceful and stable and was never attacked. She was the successor of her father-in-law Malhar Rao and thus is considered one of the first female leaders of Indian history.

Also Read – PV Sindhu: The Badminton Boss Of India

  • Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay (3 April 1903 – 29 October 1988)

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was a renowned Indian social reformer, freedom fighter and politician. She was born in Mangalore, Madras Presidency and was known for her immense contribution to the development of the Indian handicrafts industry, the promotion of Indian traditional arts and crafts and the empowerment of women.

Credit – New India Foundation

Chattopadhyay was a multi-talented woman who was a skilled dancer, actor and writer. Because of her vision several cultural institutes like National School Drama, Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Crafts Council of India came into existence. She was also a member of the Indian National Congress and played a crucial role in the Quit India Movement of 1942. Although she lost by a mere 60 votes, Kamala Chattopadhyay was the first woman to stand for a legislative seat in India from the Madras Province.

In addition to this, Chattopadhyay was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1955 for her contributions to the arts, Padma Vibhushan in 1987 for her contributions to social work, Ramon Magsaysay award in 1966 and Vathmull Foundation wared in 1962.

Also Read – 50 Most Popular Women of India You Must Know!

  • Savitribai Phule (3 January 1831 – 10 March 1897)

Savitribai Phule is an inspiring woman in Indian history from a small village called Naigaon in Maharashtra. She is known for her pioneering work in women’s empowerment, education and anti-caste discrimination activism. 

Credit – Hindustan Times

Savitribai was the first-ever female teacher in the country and played a significant role in establishing one of the first modern Indian girl’s schools in Pune at Bhide Wada, along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule. She was also a prolific Marathi writer and contributed to various newspapers and magazines of that time. Her work continues to inspire generations of women in India. 

Read More – The Saga of Savitribai Phule, India’s First Lady Teacher

  • Indira Gandhi ( 9 November 1917 – 31 October 1984)

Indira Gandhi was an Indian politician and the first woman to hold the office of Prime Minister of India. She was born as Indira Priyadarshini Nehru in Allahabad, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India. 

Indira Gandhi served as the Prime Minister for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and then for a fourth term from 1980 until her assassination in 1984. She was widely recognized as Iron Lady and was named “Woman of the Millennium” in a BBC online poll in 1999. She was also included in Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most powerful women who defined the last century in 2020.

Read More – Indira Gandhi: Know All About the First Woman Prime Minister of India

  • Aruna Asaf Ali ( 16 July 1909 – 29 July 1996)

Aruna Asaf Ali was an Indian educator, political activist, and publisher born in Punjab, British India. She was one of the most famous female leaders of Indian history who took part in the Indian independence movement.

She is remembered for hoisting the Indian National flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay during the Quit India movement in 1942. Aruna Asaf Ali also became a member of the Indian National Congress and participated in public processions during Salt Satyagraha. After India gained independence, she remained active in politics and even became the first Mayor of Delhi. For her contributions, she was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1992 and the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1997.

The women mentioned above are just a few examples of the countless famous female leaders in Indian history who contributed to nation-building regardless of their gender and made a lasting impact on society. Their courage, resilience and dedication serve as an inspiration to us all, reminding us of the power of women’s leadership and the importance of standing up for what is right. 

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