Search engine Google on Monday honoured Indian feminist freedom fighter Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay with a doodle on her 115th birth anniversary. The illustration includes a caricature of the social reformer surrounded by artistes and artisans to symbolise her contribution to the setting up of key cultural institutions in the country, including the National School of Drama, World Crafts Council and the Sangeet Natak Academy.
Chattopadhyay was born on April 3, 1903, in Mangaluru. Her father died when she was seven and she was married at the age of 14 and widowed at 16. She managed to travel to London to study further and joined the Indian National Congress when she returned. She later married poet, singer and songwriter Harindranath Chattopadhyay.
The freedom fighter was the first Indian woman on record to be arrested by the British for entering the Bombay Stock Exchange and selling packets of contraband salt in 1930. She also expressed her displeasure to Mahatma Gandhi’s opposition to women participating in the salt satyagraha movement.
In 1926, Chattopadhyay became the first woman to run for political office when she contested for a seat in the Madras Legislative Assembly after meeting the founder of the All India Women’s Congress, Margaret Cousins. She lost the election.
She was a proponent of the Uniform Civil Code and raised awareness about the lack of women’s rights at that time. She also publicly opposed child marriage.