Google is commemorating the 115th birth anniversary of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay who was an Indian social reformer and freedom fighter. Widely known for persuading Mahatma Gandhi to call upon women to march with him in the Indian Independence Movement in the early 20th century, Chattopadhyay had a career of firsts.
She was the first woman to run for Legislative office. She set up some of the first national institutions to archive, protect, and promote Indian dance, drama, art, puppetry, music, and handicrafts. Chattopadhyay also was one of the few women of her time to propose that women’s rights, religious freedoms, environmental justice, political independence, and civil rights are all interrelated movements.
Born in 1903, Kamaladevi was the fourth and the youngest daughter of Ananthaya Dhareshwar and his wife Girijamma. She was married at the age of 14. But her husband died within a year of the marriage, leaving her a widow. However, her father-in-law was a progressive thinker and encouraged her to continue her education.
A social activist, freedom fighter, and art enthusiast, Chattopadhyay also wrote about 20 books, many of which were inspired by her personal experiences during visits to foreign countries. She was honored with the Padma Bhushan in 1955 and with the Padma Vibhushan in 1987. In 1966, she was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. In 1974, she was awarded the titles of Ratna Sadsya by the Sangeet Natak Akademi and Desikottama by Shantiniketan, the highest awards of both the organizations.
Today’s doodle showcases Chattopadhyay surrounded by many of the cultural objects and practices she fought to elevate and protect, including the bhangra, the sitar, the sarangi, Karthak dance, Chhau dance, embroidery, basket weaving, and Kathaputli. The doodle, which is visible only in India, has been designed by Finland-based artist Parvati Pillai.
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Interestingly, today also marks the 53rd birth anniversary of famous pop singer from Pakistan Nazia Hassan. Also referred to as, Princess of Pop, Hassan belted out some of the iconic songs in the 80s including Disco Deewane and Boom Boom. She also proactively worked at the UN and the UNICEF for humanitarian causes. Her life was tragically cut short by lung cancer at the age of 35. The special doodle is visible on homepages in Pakistan, Canada, and Australia, Iceland, and New Zealand.