Anasuya Sarabhai Google Doodle: A Student, A Leader And A Teacher
Google today honors Anasuya Sarabhai with a doodle. Anasuya Sarabhai is a name not many may be familiar with but her tryst with her destiny and her struggle for women's right and labour movement in particular stamps her place in the history of India. But before she became the 'Motaben', Gujarati for elder sister, Anasuya was a young girl who fought hard to study. Her contribution to Indian society was not limited to the setting up of labour association but she was a champion of education for women and the downtrodden of the society.
Anansuya belonged to the wealthy Sarabhai family of Ahmedabad. She became an orphan at the age of nine and along with her siblings was brought up by her father's younger sibling. At the age of 13, Anasuya was married off against her wishes.
Her marriage was unhappy and did not last long. She divorced her husband and returned to her home. She had always had a desire to continue her studies. She was supported in her dream by her brother who sent her to England.
She arrived in England in 1912 to study medicine but abandoned it after learning about animal dissection being a part of the curriculum which was against her Jain ideology. She switched to London School of Economics.
It was in England that she attended meetings with suffragettes and Fabian socialists and learned of the social inequality. In 1913, when she returned to India, she had been privy to the suffragette and socialist movements and could recognize the social inequality prevalent in Indian society.
She started a school for poor and taught her students herself. Her school was open to everyone irrespective of their caste and creed.
After the school, she also started a crèche, toilets for women, a maternity home and a hostel for harijan girls. It was then that she became aware of the status of the working class in India and decided to take up their cause.
Anasuya became instrumental in the worker's movement
which eventually led to the foundation of Gujarat's oldest labour union, Majoor Mahajan Sangh or Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association or TLA which was established in 1920.
As a student, she was open to the ideas and movements floating around. She could understand the idea behind the suffragette and Fabian socialism and could apply her understanding to the situation back home. She did not limit her knowledge and as a teacher made it her mission to educate the poor and downtrodden.
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