Madras Week 2012: The Roads Project: Day 6: Durgabai Deshmukh Road

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Where is Durgabai Deshmukh Road?

Durgabai Deshmukh road begins where Sardar Patel road ends: at the Adyar signal. It continues across the Adyar bridge and ends after the Greenways road signal, where Ramakrishna Mutt Road begins. Important landmarks on this road include Andhra Mahila Sabha (started by Durgabai Deshmukh), Fortis Malar Hospital and MGR Janaki College.

Who was Durgabai Deshmukh?

Durgabai Deshmukh was a fearless freedom fighter and a dedicated social worker. Popularly known as the ‘Iron Lady’ she was born on July 15, 1909 at Rajahmundry (in Andhra Pradesh) in a middle class family. Even though she didn’t have access to formal education, she somehow managed to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Andhra Pradesh. Later she studied law and began practicing at the Madras High Court. After independence she joined the Supreme Court Bar.

Durgabai first gained recognition as a freedom fighter during the 1930 Salt Satyagraha. Along with A. K. Prakasam and Desodharaka Nageswararao, she organized the movement in Madras. She was arrested and imprisoned for her involvement in a movement that had been banned. She continued with her anti-British activities even after her release. In 1946, Durgabai shifted to Delhi. She became a member of the Constituent Assembly and used her potential in framing the constitution. In 1952, Durgabai contested the general elections but failed to win. 

Several of her achievements were in the field of social work. Working on the assumption that the progress of a country was dependent on the improvement of the status of the masses. Because of her concerted efforts, the Andhra Mahila Sabha was set up in 1941 for the welfare of women. Later, several branches of this sabha were opened in different parts of the country.

Durgabai also edited a journal known as Andhra Mahila and inspired women to rebel against social constraints imposed on them. She acknowledged the importance of education in social change and therefore set up the Andhra Education Society. Sri Venkateswara College in the University of Delhi also owes its origin to her. She was awarded the Paul Hoffman Award for her contribution to social work. Durgabai Deshmukh died on May 9, 1981.

She was the recipient of a number of awards including Padma Bhushan and the UNESCO award for outstanding work in the field of literacy.

Sources

(n.d.). Durgabai Deshmukh. In WhereInCity. Retrieved May 12, 2012, from http://www.whereincity.com/india/great-indians/women/durgabai-deshmukh.php.

(n.d.). Dr. Durgabai Deshmukh. In DurgabaiDeshmukh. Retrieved May 12, 2012, from http://www.durgabaideshmukh.org/.

Daga, P. (23 April, 2011). Biography of Durgabai Deshmukh. In Preserve Articles. Retrieved May 12, 2012, from http://www.preservearticles.com/201104235821/biography-of-durgabai-deshmukh.html

See also, from this blog

By a Prajnya Friend: Durgabai Deshmukh, July 15, 2009

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