5 Rebellious and Inspirational Women

5 Rebellious and Inspirational Women

Adjectives are a nasty affair. These tricky little lexical manipulators are so chameleonic they can completely change, in fact even reverse, your perception of their subject. Just put them in a different context and marvel at the wonders that they can do. And this is not only interesting from a linguistic point of view, it is also psychologically intriguing because our conscious and sub-conscious reaction towards any circumstance or person depends on our perception of the same.

Consider for example the adjective rebellious, which means showing a desire to resist authority, control, or convention. Now this adjective confers upon its subject the title ‘rebel’.

But it is only a matter of context that determines whether the rebel becomes an infamous heretic or an inspiring hero.

Thus having established enough context, I present to you a small list from a VERY large group of rebellious women, for you to be awestruck by their inspiring (to say the very least) accomplishments.

“The first generation of feminism”

Born in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, Anna Chandy rose to become India’s first ever female judge. Born in the times when girls were considered to be nothing more than “future housewives”, this inspiring woman fought her way to becoming the first woman in Kerala to get a degree in law. After completing her post graduation in 1926, she began practising law in 1929, while simultaneously promoting actively the cause of gender equality. She founded a magazine “Shrimati” in which she redressed the grievances of ill-treated women. Fighting protests and hostile animosities from her competitors and the media, along with campaigning malpractices, this inspiring woman emerged victorious in the Shree Mulam Popular Assembly in 1931. Hats off to her mettle!!

In 1937, Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer, the then Dewan of Travancore, appointed her as a Munsif, making her the first Indian female judge.

She then became a district judge in 1948, and in 1959 she became the first ever female High Court judge. Being one of the earliest torch bearers of women’s equality in India, this inspirational lady is also referred to as “First Generation Feminist”.

“Believe in deeds, not words”

This inspiring woman was the person behind the ultimate change – voting rights for women. Born in Manchester in Britain, she was introduced to the women’s suffrage movement at the early age of 14. She married Richard Pankhurst, a barrister, in 1879 and later founded the Women’s Franchise League. In 1903, five years after the demise of her husband she founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), an all-women suffrage advocacy organisation dedicated to “deeds, not words.” The WSPU was a violent organisation that smashed windows and assaulted police officers. She and her daughters kept on advocating women’s voting rights despite repeated imprisonments.

During the First World War, she urged women to help increase industrial production and became a prominent figure in the white feather movement. Finally in 1918, due to the tireless efforts of this inspiring woman, women, for the first time, got the right to vote under the People’s Representation Act.

“You will not regret hiring me”

This inspiring woman took off for the skies, in ways more than one. And she made it to the skies too, in way more than one. Aiming to become a pilot she took her flying license from Allahabad Flying Club. However, her application was rejected by eight private airlines.

But this inspirational achiever did not give up. She persevered until that one history-writing day when the Deccan Airways of Hyderabad accepted her application.

With her impeccable knowledge she nailed the interview. When asked how she would adjust during night halts wherein she would have to share her room with another pilot, this inspiring, audacious woman replied, “You will not regret hiring me.” She later became the pilot of baron G.D. Birla’s private plane. After that she joined the Indian Airlines. A million salutes to this inspirational achiever and her will to always ‘fly high’.

The more the arrests, the happier it is. Every arrest is carried out with love for the sexist” (Lyrics of the song Putin Lights the Fire)

This is a band by young, bold and inspiring Russian women. They staged unauthorised performances and posted the videos on the Internet. Their songs are about feminism, the LGBT community and about Russian President Vladimir Putin being a dictator. Two of its members – Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were arrested, charged and convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after protesting against Putin in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in 2012. It is inspiring women like these whose rebellious bravery and courage makes them the torch-bearers of feminist change.

“She did not step back looking at the mighty army of the British, but fought with great vigour, expertise skill and courage.”

The Queen of Kittur, Karnataka, this inspiring warrior woman was the first Indian woman to  lead an armed rebellion against the British.

After the demise of the son, heir to the throne, the British told her to give up her kingdom. But the brave and inspiring woman that she was, she refused to do so, which began a war between her and the British. In the first round of the war, the British lost heavily. However, ultimately she was captured and imprisoned. She died in prison on 21st February, 1829.

To commemorate this inspiring warrior queen, Pratibha Patil, the first female president of India, unveiled a statue of Rani Chennamma at the Indian Parliament Complex in 2007.

Also, to celebrate her inspiring legacy, the Kittur Festival is held annually from 22nd to 24th October in Karnataka.

There are ample number of inspiring female achievers to make this article run ad infinitum. We must all pluck a leaf out of their books and strive to do our best for society.

Alas I believe that I have misguided you a little. Pardon my words in the beginning of this article. Certain rebels shall always be heroes, whatever be the context. For examples, scroll above.

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