Google doodle on Saturday remembered Kamini Roy, a crusader of women’s empowerment and the first woman to graduate with honours in British-ruled India, on her 155th birth anniversary.
Born into an affluent family on October 12, 1864 in Barisal district now in Bangladesh, Roy graduated with honours in Sanskrit from Bethune College in Calcutta in 1886 and took up teaching there in the same year.
Roy benefitted from her father’s collection of books and used his library extensively. Initially, a keen student of mathematics, she was later drawn to Sanskrit.
Roy was inspired by a fellow student of Bethune Abala Bose who went on to be known for her work for the cause of women's education, women’s rights and the plight of widows.
Roy gave up teaching after 1894 and began publishing her work. She married Kedarnath Roy at the age of 30.
According to Google, after graduation, Roy published “Alo O Chhaya”, the first of her many books of poems, in 1889. She also promoted the cause of women’s empowerment by setting up organizations to champion causes she believed in. "Why should a woman be confined to home and denied her rightful place in society?" the poet had once written. Roy also worked to help Bengali women win the right to vote in 1926.
The Calcutta University awarded her Jagattarini medal in 1929 for her literary accomplishments. Roy died on September 27, 1933.