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Google Doodle Pays Tribute To The Messiah of Pardanashin Women & a Legal Crusader: Cornelia Sorabji

Google Doodle celebrates the birth anniversary of Indian advocate and social reformer Cornelia Sorabji on November 15. Here is a look at the life of a Messiah who is remembered for her unparalleled contribution to the cause of bringing women on par with men.

News18.com

Updated:November 15, 2017, 11:54 AM IST
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Google Doodle Pays Tribute To The Messiah of Pardanashin Women & a Legal Crusader: Cornelia Sorabji
Google Doodle celebrates the birth date of Indian advocate and social reformer Cornelia Sorabji. (Image: Google)
Cornelia Sorabji, a torchbearer for women rights and equality in the early 1900’s is today being celebrated by Google as the worldwide search engine dedicates the Google Doodle to Sorabji on her 151st birthday.

Sorabji, who was the first woman to have studied law at the Oxford University, is remembered for her unparalleled contribution to the cause of bringing women on par with men as they were often deprived of their property rights due to legal illiteracy. If it was not for Sorabji, then India would not have witnessed such great female legal luminaries.

Born in Maharashtra’s Nashik, she was not only the first female to graduate from Bombay University but also a crusader for allowing women to work as lawyers in India. When Sorabji first returned to India in 1894 after studying in Oxford, she took up the cause of securing the rights of the Pardanashin Hindu women who were most of the times holders of a large amount of property but could never exercise legal rights.

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But the first hurdle before her was a law that that barred women from practising as a lawyer. The glass ceiling was broken in 1923 after the law was challenged.
She was given special permission to enter pleas on the behalf of the purdahnashins before British agents of Kathiawar and Indore principalities, but she was unable to defend them in court but her journey had paved a way for all the future women lawyers of India.

She is believed to have helped over 600 women and orphans in their legal disputes. He works, Between the Twilights and her two autobiographies, has a detailed account of these cases.

It was in 1924 that Sorabji’s fight bore fruit and the law barring women as lawyers were struck down. But she recounts that due to the prevalent bias and discrimination, all that she could do was prepare opinions on cases as pleading was still reserved for women.

Sorabji was born to Reverend Sorabji Karsedji and Francina Ford who were champions for women's education in their own right and established several girls' schools in Pune. They were the ones who were her pillar of strength and encouraged her to pursue higher studies.

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