Former prime minister Indira Gandhi and freedom fighter Amrit Kaur are mentioned in TIME magazine’s list of the 100 most powerful women who defined the last century in a new project that aims to feature those women who were “often overshadowed”.

Who was Amrit Kaur?

  • Born into the Kapurthala royal family, she was educated in Oxford and returned to India in  1918. 
  • Amrit Kaur was the first woman in independent India who joined the Cabinet as the Health Minister and remained in that position for 10 years. 
  • She laid the foundations of: 
  1. The Indian Council for Child Welfare. 
  2. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Lady Irwin College in Delhi. 

Role in freedom struggle: 

  • Mahatma Gandhi’s secretary: Kaur interacted with Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mahatma Gandhi. She participated in the civil disobedience movement in the 1930s.
    • Kaur was jailed after the Quit India movement.
  • Social work: Kaur also worked on the purdah system, child marriage, and the Devadasi system. 
    • Her views on equality for women: she was not in favor of reservations for women and believed that universal adult franchise would open the doors for women to enter into the legislative and administrative institutions of the country. 

She passed away in 1964, at the age of 75. While she was a practicing Roman Catholic, she was cremated as per Sikh rituals in the Yamuna.

Also read: Commanding Positions For Women In Army

Role Of Women In Indian Freedom Struggle- Sarla Devi