24 November 2017

Do you know who Rukhmabai Raut is?

You should.

She was born in 1864 in Bombay, British India. Her mother got her married when she was 11. Rukmabai refused to go live with her husband. Instead she sued him to get the marriage annulled.

This is an 11 year old girl in 19th century India.

The court rules in favor of her husband.
On 4 March 1887, Justice Farran, using interpretations of Hindu laws, ordered Rukhmabai to "go live with her husband or face six months of imprisonment". Rukhmabai responded that she would rather face imprisonment than obey the verdict. This resulted in further upheaval and social debate.
Undeterred, she petitioned Queen Victoria who agreed to have her marriage annulled.

During the legal proceedings, she also wrote feminist articles in the Times of India under the pen name A Hindu Lady to criticize Indian society's patriarchal attitudes.

Once free, she enrolled to London School of Medicine for Women in 1889 and became a doctor in 1894.

Even though she was one of the first Indian women to work as a physician,
ironically, women didn't want to be treated by her.
But the societal stigma that surrounded her when she left was still there. "Women who knew her and people she had grown up around decided they wouldn't be treated by her," said Dr Patker.
She moved elsewhere in India and worked as a physician until 1930.

Even after retirement she continued to write about women's right and their seclusion (known as the purdah system).

She remained a feminist throughout her life.

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

It doesn't feel like we progressed much, does it?

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