Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, an epitome of patriotism and sacrifice

Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. Holiday Destinations in India - WordPress.

  Rajkumari Amrit Kaur  (2 February 1889 – 6 February 1964) was a freedom fighter, a great Gandhian and an active social reformer. Coming from a family of an affluent royal family, had she wished a comfortable life within the confines of her family palace, she could have led a life of pomp and power. Instead, she trod a different path which many royal women would avoid. Her parents were Rājā Harnam Singh and Rāni Harnām Singh, who was the daughter of a Bengali Presbyterian mother and an Anglican father.

Educated at Oxford University, England, Kaur's mind was more focused on India's freedom, poverty social disparity, etc., than on her royal family's problems.  Born on 2 February  1889 in Lucknow to a princely family of Kapurthala, a part of undivided India, Ms. Kaur took the credit of being the first Indian woman to hold the position of cabinet minister.  She was the first health minister of independent India and  served for ten years in the capacity. Besides, she was also responsible for starting the All India Medical Institute (AIIMS.). Now, it has many branches and they are premier medical education and research institutes.

Ms. Kaur with Rajajii and Nehru. Photo Division

What forced her to make her foray into an altogether a different cause - freedom fighting and social welfare of the Indian natives?  No Indian can forget the 1919 ( 13 April)
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre master-minded by that crazy Brig. Gen. Reginald Dyer whose regiment without prior warning shot  more than 1000 unarmed innocent men, women and children and injured  several hundred people.This mass murder at Jallianwala Bagh had a severe impact on the psyche of Amrit Kaur and she decided to follow the Gandhian path and take active role in the
Nationalist movement in Punjab. She  travelled across India expressing her protest against the British and explaining  the importance of freeing India from the oppressive British rule.

She co-founded the All India Women's Conference in 1927, became its secretary in 1930, and president in 1933. She participated in the 240-mile Dandi  salt yatra  on 12 March 1930 led by Mahatma Gandhi. As before, she was arrested and jailed by the British government. She was in  Northwest Frontier Province of Bannu and explained the role played by the INC toward freedom. After a lapse of 7 long years, the British government jailed her on sedition charges without any valid reason.

Rajkumurai Kaur with Gandhiji. WikiVisually
 Her aristocratic  background did not give her satisfaction and this ultimately led to the renunciation of her material goods,etc and became an  active member of Gandhiji's ashram at Sabarmati. She joined the ashram in 1934 and took up the austere life there despite her royal background. She served as one of Gandhi's secretaries for sixteen years. She continued her tirade against social inequality and gender discrimination. She worked hard for the advancement of Harijans in the society.  She was the first woman member of Hindustani Talimi Sangh. In 1942, she took part in the Quit India Movement, and the Raj authorities imprisoned her again.

She died in New Delhi on 6 February 1964. As a dynamic woman, she selflessly worked hard
to get rid of various evils in our society and the young girls of the present generation  should take inspiration from Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and take an active role in nation building.