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Renuka Ray

Kolkata, West Bengal

July 10, 2024 to July 10, 2026

Renuka Ray, born on 4 January 1904, in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, was a notable freedom fighter, social activist, and politician in India. Descended from Brahmo reformer Nibaran Chandra Mukherjee, she was the daughter of ICS officer Satish Chandra Mukherjee and Charulata Mukherjee, a social worker involved with the All India Women's Conference.

Renuka was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and left college to boycott British education. Later, persuaded by her parents and Gandhi, she studied at the London School of Economics in 1921. She married Satyendra Nath Ray early in life. Her maternal grandfather, Prof. P. K. Roy, was the first Indian DPhil from Oxford and the first Indian Principal of Presidency College, Calcutta. Her grandmother, Sarala Roy, a social worker and founder of Gokhale Memorial School and College, was the first Indian woman on Calcutta University's senate.

Upon returning to India, Ray joined the All India Women's Conference, advocating for women's rights and inheritance rights. She served as its President in 1932 and 1953–54. In 1943, she was nominated to the Central Legislative Assembly, representing Indian women, and later became a member of the Constituent Assembly of India (1946–47). From 1952–57, she was West Bengal's Minister of Relief & Rehabilitation and served as a Lok Sabha member from Malda (1957-1967). In 1959, she chaired the Renuka Ray Committee on Social Welfare and Welfare of Backward Classes.

Name mentioned in the book “Women in Satyagraha” by Publications Division Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Government of India (Page no – 42).

Source: Nilkamal Maity, Contributor for CCRT.