The name Herabai Tata will not ring a bell for most Indians! Unfortunately, not even for most Indian women, even though she is one of the main reasons that women have the right to vote in India!
Born in 1879 in Bombay, Herabai Tata was the Secretary of the Bombay branch of the Women’s Indian Association (WIA). In the early 1900s, she was a central figure in the fight for Indian women’s franchise – the right to vote. In fact she is referred to by Geraldine Forbes who documented the changing lives of Indian women in the early 1900s, as the “real soldier” of the movement.
So why don’t Indian women know of her? The fault perhaps lies with the sexist and patronizing view of the history of women’s rights in school textbooks. Students are taught that it is men who fought for and ‘gave’ women their rights in India.
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