Suparna Gooptu

in Cornelia Sorabji

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195678345
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080380 | DOI:

Show Summary Details


Cornelia Sorabji was the first woman to study law in Oxford, the second Indian woman barrister, and among the first Indian women to practise at the Calcutta High Court, to be appointed to a senior bureaucratic office under the British government, and to protect the interests of the purdahnashins. To strike a balance between her pioneering role as a lawyer and her individualism, and political and social conservatism, a personality like Cornelia needed supportive emotional anchors in her life, with whom she could share her ‘unconventionality’ and consequent isolation. Her personal relationship with Harrison Falkner Blair and Elena Rathbone may make one ponder as to why she chose to remain single, although she had a romantic idea of marriage and thought it to be a source of strength and sustenance. The irony of Cornelia's life was that she failed to see any legitimacy in the democratic and nationalist aspirations of the Indian people.

Keywords: Cornelia Sorabji; Indian woman barrister; individualism; conservatism; Harrison Falkner Blair; Elena Rathbone

Chapter.  3188 words. 

Subjects: Literature

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.