Do a quick survey, just look around and ask your friends and colleagues if they know who Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay is. I can guarantee their answer, it would be a no. Then go ahead and tell them about this revolutionary woman and check out their reaction. This is how it’ll play out – oh okay. Shrug shoulders. Move on. And that is where this would end. But today, take a moment to brush up on your history. And if you’re the one who looks at Priyanka Chopra and Oprah Winfrey as feminist role models, please read on to know the origins of this fight.
Today, on the 115th birthday anniversary of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, Google chose to do a beautiful doodle honouring her contributions in the fields of regional music, handicrafts, dance and more.
For the ill-informed, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was amongst the top leaders who took on the British in the struggle for India’s independence. Not just that, she was a pioneer feminist and socialist who also wrote some stellar pieces on her experiences touring the US to gain support to overthrow the British colonialism. And she even took it upon herself to revive Indian crafts and arts and bring them to the forefront. Seems like a lot for one woman, doesn’t it? Well, what can we say? She was all that and much more!
Married at the age of 14 and widowed soon after, she faced difficulties very early on in her life and that was the reason the seeds of equality and empowerment of women took form in her mind. Her conversations with prominent freedom fighters also instilled a sense of patriotism in her. After choosing to marry again despite much societal opposition, she found a new sense of interest in Indian handicrafts and other art forms, an interest she shared with her husband.
One of the most iconic images of Kamaladevi is of holding and protecting the national flag in a scuffle between satyagrahis and authorities during the Salt Satyagrah.
Now while you rattle off some celebrity’s names (who are worthy in their own right), it will do you good to add Kamaladevi to the list of feminists and women pioneers that you are inspired by. It’s the least we can do to honour the legacy of this multifaceted woman who has made a lasting impact on Indian arts, crafts, handloom and textiles, and so much more.