Rajkumari Amrit Kaur

(1889—1964) politician and advocate of women's rights

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(1889–1964), a devoted follower of Mahatma Gandhi and a powerful presence in many important Indian political organizations, including the Indian Congress Party and the All India Women's Conference (AIWC), which she served as chair in 1932. Kaur was born into the royal Ahluwalia family of the princely state Kapurthala, in the Punjab. Her family's wealth enabled her to go to school in Britain. Although her father had converted to Christianity and was quite anglicized and loyal to the British, he maintained ties with nationalist leaders who were guests in his home. Kaur came to know of Gandhi from such visitors, and she had the opportunity to meet him when he recuperated at her family home following the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, when the British general Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to fire on a defenseless crowd of protesters. She worked closely with Gandhi and served as his secretary for sixteen years at his Sevagram Ashram after both her parents had died. Kaur relinquished the opulent clothing of her childhood in favor of homespun khaddar, which symbolized the nationalist struggle against British colonialism.


From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History.

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