Abala Bose, The Early Indian Feminist Who Worked to Bring Respect & Work to Widows

The rights and freedom that we modern women of the 21st century get to have are because of the struggles faced and the battles fought by the women before us. Abala Bose is one such woman who dedicated her whole life in uplifting the state of women in society and especially paid attention to the needs of widows in our country. Her contribution to the society as a feminist is remarkable and we must acknowledge that.

Also known as Lady Bose here is what you should know about her:

The first woman to attend Calcutta University

Being the daughter of  Durgamohan Das, who was a prominent leader of the Brahmo Samaj and supported young girls’ right to higher education, Abala, along with her sisters had the privilege to attain higher education. She went on to study medicine at Madras University.

Married to Jagadish Chandra Bose – the father of radio science

After college, Abala got married to Jagadish Chandra Bose, who went on to become the father of radio science. As her husband’s work took him to different parts of the world, Abala travelled with him and got a sense of how women in different parts of the world are different and yet similar to Indian women. Jagdish Chandra Bose also received knighthood in 1916 and that is why Abala Bose was also known as Lady Bose.

An advocate of woman’s right to education

After Abala Bose came back from Europe she decided to do everything she could to improve the state of education for women. She popularised the Montessori system of education in India and started Brahmo Girls School in 1919. It was evident that Bose was following in her father’s footsteps. She also established the Nari Shiksha Samiti by collaborating with the eminent voices of the society in those days. The organisation gathered funds for women’s education and welfare of widows. Bose in her lifetime was able to set up about 88 primary schools and 14 adult education centres in the British province of Bengal.

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Her work towards the upliftment of widows in India

When Lady Bose was not setting up an educational institution for women, she was setting up rehabilitation and skill training houses for underprivileged women especially the widows ousted by their families. Bose wanted to give widow’s another chance at life. She founded Vidyasagar Bani Bhawan, Mahila Shilpa and Bani Bhawan training school. Before she died in 1952, she donated a significant amount of money to set up the Sister Nivedita Women’s Education Fund and Sadhana Ashram.