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Updated on October 15, 2014

Indian Freedom Fighter

Recently Hindus celebrated Navratri, the festival to honor the Divine Mother. She has many forms. Every women has Shakti energy. All women are Divine Shakti on Earth. The symbol of the Indian Independence Movement was Mother Durga who is a warrior and a compassionate, loving being with many facets and aspects. Many of the leaders of this movement were great women who became chief ministers, professors, MPs, prime ministers, diplomats and homemakers after independence was achieved. Sucheta Mazumdar Kriplani was one of the great women who became the first female chief minister of an Indian state.

What about her early life before her involvement in the Independence Movement? Her birthplace was Ambala, Haryana, India. On June 25, 1908 she came into the world of a Bengali family. Her father was a government doctor. She was a highly educated woman who attended Indrapastha College and St. Stephen's College in Delhi. Later she became a Professor of Constitution History at Banaras HIndu University. Her expertise served India well because she served on the committee for India's Constitution. She married Acharya Kriplani, a well known socialist, in 1936. After her wedding she became involved with the Indian National Congress.

It was through her involvement with the Congress she first became involved with the Indian Independence Movement. Her father and her husband both encouraged her involvement in the movement. She became a leader in the Congress and an organizing secretary of the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust. She traveled with the secretary of the trust, Thakkar Baba, all across India. Kasturba was Mahatma Gandhi's wife who was the leader of the women's wing of the movement.

It was during Sucheta's participation in the Quit India Movement that she worked closely with Gandhiji in Nokhali in 1946. She took care of the victims of the communal riots at this location. Her involvement was paramount in the drafting committee of the Indian Constitution. She sung "Vande Matarani" on August 15, 1947 at this assembly. Her voice was very beautiful as she sang this wonderful song.

In 1952 Dada Kriplani (Acharya Kriplani) resigned as president of the Congress because of his differences of opinion with Jawaharlal Nehru who became India's first prime minister. Sucheta won a seat from New Delhi during the election. She was a member of the Krishak Mazdoor Praja Patry set up by her husband. She had also been a delegate to the United Nations. In 1952 and 1957 she was elected to the Lok Sabha. Later she became minister for small industries in New Delhi. She became a parliamentarian when elected to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in 1962. C.B. Gupta encouraged her to accept the Chief Minister's position of Uttar Pradesh. On October 2, 1963 she was elected as the first female Chief Minister of an Indian state. She held this position until March 13, 1967. She became involved with dealing with the state employees' strike which lasted 62 days. She got all parties to agree to a compromise. In 1967 she was elected to the 4th Sabha from the Gonda constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

In 1971 she retired from political life and moved to a house in Sacromoata Enclave in New Delhi along with her husband. During this time she enjoyed domestic life making sharbats and jams. She wrote autobiographical pieces in The Illustrated Weekly of India. They put their money in Lok Kalyan Samiti for the benefit of the poor and needy.

She had a serious spinal injury in Simla but recovered over time. She had two heart attacks from which she recovered. On November 29, 1974 she experienced her final heart attack. She died at the All India Institute of Medical Science on December 1, 1974. Prior to this heart attack she was taking care of her husband. He was left a widower without any of her care. She was remembered as one of the great female leaders of India before and after independence. Like many of her generation she and her husband sacrificed much so that others would have a better life.

In 1991 Sucheta Kriplani Shiksha Niketan, a secondary school, was established for 500 physically challenged children and 50 day scholars. In 2001 girls started attending the school. It is a boarding school which provides a free education in India to those with disabilities.

She was a great fore mother who was crucial to the Independence Movement and who became a great politician when independence was established. She used her Shakti well for the good of society. She was truly Divine Shakti on Earth.




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