Who was the first woman chief minister of India ?
Born in 1908 in present-day Haryana’s Ambala, Kripalani completed her education from Delhi’s Indraprastha College, before moving on to teach Constitutional History at Banaras Hindu University.
As far her contribution to India’s struggle for Independence is concerned, she is especially remembered for her role in the Quit India Movement of 1942. Her name figures alongside other prominent women leaders of the time including Aruna Asaf Ali, Matangini Hazra, Usha Mehta and Nandini Devi, among others, for fearlessly confronting the British colonial government.
Kripalani also established the women’s wing of the Congress party in 1940.
Mahatma Gandhi, who she worked with when the Partition riots broke out, also played an influential role in her life.
Her role in shaping the contours of an independent India is notable, for she was a member of the Constituent Assembly tasked with formulating the seminal document that would be governing the newly-independent country.
What more, she was one among just 15 women in the Assembly, which had a total strength of 299 members. The other women members included the likes of Sarojini Naidu, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Purnima Banerji, Ammu Saminathan, among others.
While the ‘tryst with destiny’ speech of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the Constituent Assembly session on the eve of Independence is well-known across the world, the session also saw Kriplalani singing singing Vande Mataram, Sare Jahan Se Achcha and the national anthem Jana Gana Mana.