Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Unsung Heroes Detail

Paying tribute to India’s freedom fighters

Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati


August 07, 2023 to August 07, 2024

Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati was born on April 23, 1858, as Ramabai Dongre into a Chitpavan Brahmin family who spoke Marathi. Her father’s name was Anant Shastri Dongre. She was taught Sanskrit by her father. She was one of the ten women representatives at the 1889 Congress. She became a Christian during her time in England in the early 1880s. In order to raise money for helpless Indian women, she undertook a lengthy tour of the United States. Sharada Sadan, a charity for child widows, was founded by her using the cash received.

Ramabai provided testimony before the Hunter Commission, which the colonial government of India established in 1882 to investigate education. Ramabai connected with Christian groups working in Maharashtra, particularly a group of Anglican nuns, who were also engaged in women's education and medical missionary work.

Although she had embraced the religion of the colonizer, she remained a staunch nationalist and maintained a consistent, anti-colonial stand. In recognition of her works and dedication, the Government of India issued a commemorative stamp on 26 October 1989. A road in Mumbai, known as Pandita Ramabai Marg, is also named in her honor. Throughout her tragic life, she stood for the cause of women’s emancipation through education, and self-improvement. She died on 5 April 1922.