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

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Paying tribute to India’s freedom fighters

Durgabai Deshmukh

East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh

August 09, 2021 to December 30, 2021

Durgabai Deshmukh was an Indian freedom fighter, lawyer, social worker and politician. She was a member of the Constituent Assembly of India and of the Planning Commission of India.

From her early years, Durgabai had been associated with Indian politics. At age 12, she left school in protest to the imposition of English-medium education. She later started the Balika Hindi Paathshala in Rajamundry to promote Hindi education for girls.She was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi in India's struggle for freedom from the British Raj. She was a prominent social reformer who participated in Gandhi-led Salt Satyagraha activities during the Civil Disobedience Movement. She was instrumental in organising women satyagrahis in the movement. This led to British Raj authorities imprisoning her three times between 1930 and 1933.

She failed to get elected to Parliament in 1952, and was later nominated to be a member of the Planning Commission. She was also the first to emphasise the need to set up separate Family Courts after studying the same during her visit to China in 1953. Durgabai was awarded a Padma Vibhushan.