Indian Women Activists

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 1 
Padma Lakshmi
(Indian-American Author, Model and Host of the Cooking Competition Show ‘Top Chef’)
Padma Lakshmi
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Birthdate: September 1, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Madras, Tamil Nadu, India

Padma Lakshmi is a model, television host and author. She has hosted cooking competition program Top Chef and has published cookbooks. She has acted in films and television too and is also an activist working for immigration and women’s rights and is a critic of skin-lightening creams. She was married to novelist Salman Rushdie for a little over three years.

 2 
Jaya Prada
(Actress)
Jaya Prada
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Birthdate: April 3, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, India

Jaya Prada was once one of the highest-paid actors in the Hindi and Telugu film industries. Though she initially aspired to become a doctor, her interest in dance took over later and she later soared to fame with films such as Sargam and Tohfa. She has also been an MP.

 3 
Maneka Gandhi
(Politician, Member of Parliament 'Lok Sabha')
Maneka Gandhi
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Birthdate: August 26, 1956
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Delhi, India

Maneka Gandhi is an Indian politician, environmentalist, and animal rights activist. She is credited with inspiring several individuals towards social entrepreneurship. Maneka Gandhi is best known as an animal rights leader for which she has received several international awards. She is also credited with establishing an animal welfare organization named People for Animals.

 4 
Gauri Lankesh
(Activist, Journalist)
Gauri Lankesh
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Birthdate: January 29, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Died: September 5, 2017

The daughter of Kannada poet P. Lankesh, Gauri Lankesh began her career as a journalist for The Times of India. She also worked as an editor of Lankesh Patrike. Later, she was known for her firebrand left-wing activism against Hindutva and was eventually shot dead by three men near her Bengaluru home.

 5 
Anoushka Shankar
(Internationally Acclaimed Sitar Player, Composer and Daughter of Indian Sitar Maestro Ravi Shankar)
Anoushka Shankar
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Birthdate: June 9, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom

Anoushka Shankar is a British-Indian music composer and sitar player. Over the years, she has been nominated for several Grammy Awards and has won many prestigious awards, such as Songlines Music Award. In 2004, she was named in the 20 Asian Heroes list published by Time. Anoushka Shankar is also known for her activism and is a supporter of animal rights.  

 6 
Kasturba Gandhi
(Wife of Mahatama Gandhi)
Kasturba Gandhi
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Birthdate: April 11, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Porbandar
Died: February 22, 1944

Kasturba Gandhi was an Indian freedom fighter and political activist. Best remembered as the wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Kasturba took part in Indian independence movements along with her husband. Her life and career inspired a play titled Kasturba which was written by Narayan Desai and directed by Aditi Desai. The play was staged several times in India.

 7 
Teji Bachchan
(Human rights activist)
Teji Bachchan
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Birthdate: August 12, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Faisalabad, Pakistan
Died: December 21, 2007
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 8 
Mahasweta Devi
(Human rights activist, Writer, Poet, Novelist, Educator, Short story writer)
Mahasweta Devi
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Birthdate: January 14, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dhaka
Died: July 28, 2016

Ramon Magsaysay Award-winning Indian author Mahasweta Devi is regarded as a gem of the Bengali literary world. She had also been a left-wing social activist, and her works such as Hajar Churashir Maa and Rudali have either tribals or people from the marginalized communities as their protagonists.

 9 
Rukmini Devi Arundale
(Bharatnatyam Dancer)
Rukmini Devi Arundale
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Birthdate: February 29, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: February 24, 1986

Rukmini Devi Arundale was an Indian dancer and choreographer. An exponent of Bharatanatyam, Rukmini Devi helped revive the original sadhir style of the dance form. She also popularized Bharatanatyam among Indian upper-caste elites for which she was named in India Today's 100 People Who Shaped India list. In 1956, Rukmini Devi Arundale was honored with the Padma Bhushan.

 10 
Medha Patkar
(Social Activist)
Medha Patkar
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Birthdate: December 1, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mumbai

Medha Patkar is an Indian social activist known for her work concerning several issues raised by farmers, tribes, women, and laborers facing injustice in India. She is also known for popularizing the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) movement which opposes the construction of large dams across the Narmada River. Medha Patkar is the recipient of many awards including the Mother Teresa Award.

 11 
Aruna Asaf Ali
(Indian Independence Activist, Educator)
Aruna Asaf Ali
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Birthdate: July 16, 1909
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kalka, Punjab, India
Died: July 29, 1996
 12 
Kovai Sarala
(Actress)
Kovai Sarala
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Birthdate: April 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

Nandi Award-winning comedian Kovai Sarala has been loved by Tamil and Telugu audiences for her roles in films such as Sathi Leelavathi and Uliyin Osai. She began her acting career in 9th grade and has since then appeared in over 300 films. She is now part of the Makkal Needhi Maiam party.

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
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Birthdate: February 24, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ballygunge, Kolkata, India
 14 
Vandana Shiva
(Philosopher, Physicist, Writer, University teacher)
Vandana Shiva
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Birthdate: November 5, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dehradun

Indian environmental activist and physicist Vandana Shiva is known for her anti-GMO campaigns. The Gandhi of grain is the founder of RFSTN, which promotes sustainable agriculture, and is against globalization. She developed an interest in environmentalism after witnessing a forest at her hometown being cleared for a project.

 15 
Sugathakumari
(Writer, Activist)
Sugathakumari
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Birthdate: January 22, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aranmula, Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India
Died: December 23, 2020

Sugathakumari was an Indian activist and poet who played a major role in Kerala's feminist and environmental movements in the late-1970s. She is credited with founding organizations like Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi and Abhaya, which work towards protecting nature and safeguarding women and the mentally ill respectively. During her lifetime, she was honored with several prestigious awards like the Padma Shri.

 16 
Teesta Setalvad
(Author, Journalist)
Teesta Setalvad
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Birthdate: February 9, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mumbai

Social activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad is best known for establishing the Sabrang Trust, aimed at peace-building after the 1992 Mumbai riots, and the CJP, aimed at seeking justice for the 2002 Gujarat riot victims. The Padma Shri awardee has also successfully obtained 117 convictions against the Gujarat rioters.

 17 
Aruna Roy
(Political and Social Activist)
Aruna Roy
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Birthdate: June 26, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chennai

Social activist Aruna Roy is best known for establishing the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan. Initially a professor, she later served as an IAS officer, following which she concentrated on social work. She spearheaded the right to information movement, which led to the passage of the RTI Act in 2005.

 18 
Ranjini
(Actress)
Ranjini
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Birthdate: July 29, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Singapore

Ranjini is a Singaporean actress best known for her work in Indian films, especially the Tamil and Malayalam film industries. Ranjini, who has also appeared in Telugu films, was the leading actress in Kollywood from 1985 to 1992. Apart from appearing in films, Ranjini also judged a couple of beauty pageants in Kerala, India.

 19 
Ela Bhatt
(Indian Cooperative Organiser, Activist and Founder of 'Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA)')
Ela Bhatt
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Birthdate: September 7, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ahmedabad, India

Best known as the founder of the Self-Employed Women's Association of India, or SEWA, Ela Bhatt is a champion for women empowerment. Her efforts have won her awards such as the Padma Shri, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, and the Padma Bhushan. A trained lawyer, she has also been a Rajya Sabha MP.

 20 
Mirabehn
(Political Activist)
Mirabehn
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Birthdate: November 22, 1892
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: England, United Kingdom
Died: July 20, 1982
 21 
Daya Bai
(Social activist)
Daya Bai
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Birthdate: 1940 AD
Birthplace: Pala, Kerala
 22 
Gail Omvedt
(She was a prolific writer and published numerous books on the anti-caste movement)
Gail Omvedt
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Birthdate: August 2, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Died: August 25, 2021
 23 
Neela Satyanarayanan
(Civil servant)
Neela Satyanarayanan
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Birthdate: February 5, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mumbai, India
Died: July 16, 2020
 24 
Manasi Pradhan
(Indian Author and Women's Rights Activist)
Manasi Pradhan
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Birthdate: October 4, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Banapur, Odisha, India

Manasi Pradhan is an Indian author and women's rights activist. She is best known for founding the Honour for Women National Campaign, a movement to bring an end to violence against Indian women. In 2014, she was honored with the Stree Shakti Puraskar by the Indian government. Pradhan's life and career have inspired several documentaries in Israel and the USA.

 25 
Chandrawati
(Politician)
Chandrawati
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Birthdate: January 8, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bhiwani District, India
Died: November 15, 2020
Throughout history, there have been many Indian women activists who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great Indian female activists such as Kasturba Gandhi, Gauri Lankesh, Medha Patkar, Rukmini Devi Arundale, Aruna Roy.