It’s more than just a feminine touch

In every walk of life, women have contributed richly to the growth of the city: from journalism to science

August 16, 2018 04:09 pm | Updated August 17, 2018 06:06 pm IST



Since quite a long time, in most of the working areas considered for a long time as male domain, women have stepped in and made their presence felt in Bangalore. Take the case of M.R. Laksmamma who is among those rare models who balanced her domestic and social roles efficiently. In spite of being married by the time she was a ten year old, and becoming a mother of seven children, she pursued her studies, graduated and won gold medal in MA examination. Thanks to the support of her family.

She was very much concerned with the issues of women welfare. In 1945 she was elected unopposed to the Mysore State Legislature. On September 4, 1947 along with. H.C Dasappa and T. Sunandamma, she took an active part in the agitation for the demand of responsible Government in Mysore State. When she was jailed, she had four children and had to leave them with family members. At the prison, she closely studied the pitiable condition of women inmates. She taught them reading, writing and simple calculations. Once she was released, After the release she became an even more stronger activist of the Congress party. She was responsible for the formation of several women organizations including Mahila Mandali Educational Institution which is going strong even today in N.R. Colony, South Bangalore.

In 1954 AICC meet was held in Sadashivanagar. M.R. Laksmamma was the convener of the women wing. This brought her close to Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and some other top leaders of Congress. This helped her to widen her sector of service to women.

All these abilities enabled her to get selected to go to America to study their administrative mechanism. In addition to the given task she even met the vice-president Nixon and Patricia Nixon and discussed in length about the measures taken by them to empower the women. Throughout her tour of America and other countries she used to send her observations regularly to ‘Sodari’ a weekly magazine run by her for women. These well recorded and preserved documents are guidelines and eye openers for the present day elected representatives going abroad for study tours at the cost of public money.

In addition to ably managing various responsible posts, she worked as Girl Guides Commissioner for over two decades and was honoured with Silver Elephant national Award. It is through her initiative Consumer Protection Forum came into existence in 1970.

In short, M.R. Lakshmamma stands out as a role model to the present day women administrators, politicians and 98 women corparators of BBMP

P.R. Jayalakshmamma is another example of a young girl married at the age of 12, but through her innate talent she grows to gain a prominent place in the who’s who of the city during 1960s. Her husband P.R. Ramaiah was a staunch follower of Mahatma Gandhi, and ran a very popular news paper namely Tayinadu . Influenced by his ideals and principles Jayalakshmamma also actively involved herself in social reformation movements. She was the vice chairman of the Social Welfare Board for quite some time. She was closely associated with several welfare organisations like the Abalashrama, Ashakta Poshaka Sabha etc. she ran a school and orphanage started by the Gokulam Educational Society. She was also a member of the Congress and later the Janata party. She represented Wilson Garden ward as a corporator during the late 50s and early 60s. These words of Justice Hombe Gowda epitomize the magnitude of her contribution to the growth of the city. ‘ … This Wilson Garden Area was a jungle site. Smt. P.R. Jayalaksmamma by her great and continued efforts has converted it into a beautiful extension.. Her work is appreciated by one and all. We, the residents of Wilson Garden are very grateful to her…’ She was also the first Deputy Mayor of Bangalore during 1963-1964. In this capacity also strived hard to improve the conditions of schools, hospitals, libraries run by the corporation .

Mahila Seva Samaja in Basavanagudi, ,more than a century old educational institution stands testimony to the service rendered by the ladies in the field of Education. In 1913, Parvati Chandrashekhara Aiyer founded this with a sole intention of to assist women to be independent.

After about one hundred years even to the prestigious institution is completely managed by the women. Though Parvati was married at the age of nine, later with the help of oratory, which was a God given gift to her, she led the movement against the child marriage. She was also actively involved with her husband in Theosophy movement in Bangalore.

When she was honored with Kaiser-i-Hind medal by the British, in January 1927, Right Honorable Srinivasa Shastry wrote that it was an honour to all the woman of India. In 1928, along with her husband Justice Chandrashekara Ayer she had gone to Delhi to meet the viceroy to make him realize the urgent need to focus on women’s empowerment in the country. She died there in a freak accident. Dignitaries like Sir M Visvesvaraya, Anni Baeasant, G.S. Arundale condoled her demise.

The boulevard from Basavanagudi National High School to Prof Shivashankar Circle on KR Road was named after Parvati. Chandrashekar Aiyer. But it has paved the way for Namma Metro Station. A cement plaque with Parvati Chandra Shekar Aiyer Boulevard written is also missing. An elegant stone building In Vani Vilaasa Hospital premises with Parvati Chandrashekar Women’s Dispensary written on it is also gone. Yet, prestigious institutions such as Mahila Seva Samaja, and Theosophical society remind us of her invaluable contributions to the city.

St. Marthas Hospital on Nrupatunga Road was started by Good Shepherd Sisters in 1886. Impressed by their selfless dedicated service to the people here, the Maharaja of Mysore gave them land of about 20 acres to continue their service to the city. What started as a fifty bed hospital has grown to become a globally known multi-specialty hospital. Hrudaya Pushpa was sent to Bangalore from Bombay about six decades ago with rupees 50 to start the Brahma Kumari Eswariya Kendra in Bangalore.

But today, the organisation is a real feminine force, clad in white attire working for spiritual enlightenment of common people.

Sophia High School, Mount Carmel College on Palace Road, Mitralaya school on Mission Road, Karunalaya on Bull Temple Road, Sharada Stree Samaja, Women’s Peace League in Basavanagudi, Mahila Hindi Shikshana Samiti in Chamarajapete, Malleswaram Entrepreneurial Women’s Society, Malleshwaram Ladies Association, Sri Ramakrishna Vivekananda Balakiyara Vidyalaya in Cantonment Sumangali Sevashrama near Hebbal are only a few of the very big list of great ventures under taken by the feminine force.

These are random examples to show the magnitude of the contribution of women in various other fields like, journalism, literature, theatre, fine arts, research, science and technology, IT-BT etc.

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