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Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay (3 April 1903 – 29 October 1988) was an Indian social reformer and freedom activist. She was most remembered for her contribution to the Indian independence movement; for being the driving force behind the renaissance of Indian handicrafts, handlooms, and theatre in independent India; and for upliftment of the socio-economic standard of Indian women by pioneering the co-operation.
Life and Career
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was born on 3 April 1903, in Mangalore, Karnataka, to parents who were both progressive thinkers and social activists. Her father, Ananthaya Dhareshwar, was a district judge, and her mother, Girijabai, was a social worker who was actively involved in the women’s movement. Kamaladevi was educated at home, and she learned several languages, including English, Sanskrit, Kannada, and Hindi.
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay began her career as a social worker and political activist at a young age. In 1922, she joined the Indian National Congress and became actively involved in the Indian independence movement. She participated in the Salt Satyagraha movement in 1930 and was imprisoned for her political activities.
After India gained independence in 1947, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay focused her attention on promoting Indian arts and crafts. She founded the All India Handicrafts Board in 1948 and played a leading role in promoting the development of traditional Indian arts and crafts. She also founded the Indian National Theatre and was a strong advocate for women’s rights.
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was also an accomplished author and wrote several books on Indian arts, crafts, and culture. Some of her notable books include “Inner Recesses Outer Spaces,” “An Indian Looks at America,” and “The Glory of Indian Handicrafts.”
Award and Legacy
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay received several awards and honors for her contributions to Indian society. In 1955, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan, and in 1987, she received the Padma Vibhushan, two of the highest civilian awards in India. She was also awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1966.
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was a visionary leader who played a significant role in shaping modern India. Her contributions to Indian society in the fields of arts, crafts, and culture continue to inspire generations of Indians. Her legacy lives on through the many organizations and institutions she founded, including the All India Handicrafts Board and the Indian National Theatre.
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