Born in Mangalore, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was the first woman to run for a legislative seat in India, in the Madras provincial elections. As a social reformer, she played a crucial role in bringing back handicrafts, theatre and handlooms to help in uplifting the socio-economic status of the Indian women.
Many of the iconic cultural institutions in India today exist because of her vision, these include the National School of Drama, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Central Cottage Industries Emporium, and the Crafts Council of India. Chattopadhyay stressed the significant role which handicrafts and cooperative grassroot movements play in the social and economic upliftment of the Indian people.
Kamaladevi played a prominent role in political reforms and India’s freedom struggle. She joined Indian National Congress in 1927 and was elected to the All-India Congress Committee within a year. During the Salt March to Dandi, she convinced Gandhi to give women equal opportunity to be in the forefront of the March. Later, she joined Seva Dal and trained women activists.
On 3 April 2018, on what would have been her 115th birthday, Google honoured her with a Doodle on their homepage.