RAJKUMARI AMRIT KAUR -Indian Freedom Fighters Biography


RAJKUMARI AMRIT KAUR -Indian Freedom Fighters Biography

RAJKUMARI AMRIT KAUR -Indian Freedom Fighters Biography

Rajkumari Amrit Kaur was born on February 2,1889 in Lucknow. She was the daughter of Raja- Harnam Singh of the Kapurthala royal family. She received her higher education in England.

After completing her education, she came in contact with Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mahatma Gandhi. After that she entered the freedom struggle of India. She became an ardent Ghandhian. She actively took part in the Salt Satyagraha started by Gandhiji. In 1937, she was arrested on the charges of sedition.

Raja Harnam Singh enjoyed the confidence of many Indian National Congress (INC) party leaders, including Gopal Krishna Gokhale. After her return to India from England, Rajkumari got interested in India's freedom struggle through the occasional visits of those leaders to her father's home. After meeting in person Mahatma Gandhi in 1919 in Bombay (Mumbai), she felt drawn to his thoughts and vision for the country. The notorious Jallianwala Bagh massacre of Indian civilians the same year by the British Raj troops convinced her of the necessity of India's gaining its freedom from the Raj. She joined the INC, and began to participate in India's struggle for freedom, and also in social reform activities in India.

Rajkumari co-founded the All India Women's Conference in 1927, became its secretary in 1930, and president in 1933.

For her participation in Gandhi-led 240-mile Dandi march in 1930, British Raj authorities imprisoned her.

Rajkumari went to live at Mahatma Gandhi's ashram in 1934, and took up the austere life there despite her aristocratic background. She served as one of Gandhi's secretaries for sixteen years.

In 1942, she participated in the Quit India Movement, and the Raj authorities imprisoned her again.

Rajkumari served as the Chairperson of the All India Women's Education Fund Association. She was a member of the Executive Committee of Lady Irwin College in New Delhi . The British Raj appointed her as a member of the Advisory Board of Education; (she resigned from that Board during the Quit India Movement). She was sent as a member of the Indian delegation to UNESCO conferences in London and Paris in 1945 and 1946, respectively.

Rajkumari worked to reduce illiteracy, and eradicate the custom of child marriages and the purdah system for women, which were prevalent then among some Indian communities.

After India's independence, Amrit Kaur became part of Jawaharlal Nehru's first Cabinet; she was the first woman to hold Cabinet rank. She was assigned the Ministry of Health. She was also elected the president of World Health Assembly in 1950, a position held by only two women in the first 25 years of the WHO's history.

In 1950, she was elected the president of World Health Organization, becoming the first woman and the first Asian to hold that post; for the first 25 years of that organisation's history, only two women held that post.

Kaur was a strong moving force behind the establishment of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, and became its first president. For establishing the institute, she secured aid from New Zealand, Australia, West Germany, Sweden, and USA. She and one of her brothers donated their ancestral property and house in Simla, Himachal Pradesh to serve as a holiday home for the staff and nurses of the Institute.

Kaur served as the Chairperson of the Indian Red Cross. society for fourteen years. During her leadership, the Indian Red Cross did a number of pioneering works in the hinterlands of India. She initiated the Tuberculosis Association of India and the Central Leprosy Teaching and Research Institute in Madras. She started the Rajkumari Amrit Kaur College of Nursing and the National Sports Club of India.

From 1957 until her death in 1964, she remained a member of Rajya Sabha. Until her death, she continued to hold the presidencies of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Tuberculosis Association of India, and the St. John's Ambulance Corps.


She had been awarded the Rene Sand Memorial Award. 

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