Kamini Roy is known as the leading Bengali poet, a social worker, reformist and women's rights activist during the British rule in India. She was one of the first girls to attend the school during British rule n India. She also earned a Bachelor's degree in Arts with Sanskrit honours from the University of Calcutta in 1886 and became the first woman to graduate with honours.
Today, October 12th marks Kamini Roy's 155th birth anniversary and to honour the same, Google, as it usually does, chose to commemorate her birth anniversary with a doodle of hers. The Doodle is created by the famous artist, Helene Leroux where the Bengali poet is seen holding a book of her poems titled 'Koto Valobashi' which shows several women stood by her during that era.
Personal Life, Feminism, Women Rights
She was born in a small village of Basanda in Bakerganj district of British India, which is now a part of Bangladesh. She had a brother who was elected as the Mayor of Calcutta and a sister who served as a physician in Nepal's Royal family.
Kamini Roy's writing always focused on simplicity and elegance and published her first collection of the verses 'Alo Chhaya' in 1889. Later, she took a break from her passion of writing for several years as she was bound by her marriage responsibilities and motherhood. She got married to Kedarnath Roy at the age of 30, which was against the general norm during that era as it was highly unusual for women to get married in their thirties in colonial Bengal.
During that era, when getting education for a woman was widely known as a taboo in the society, Kamini Roy took the stand and became a feminist under the influence of a fellow student of Bethune School, Abala Bose. Her friendship with Abala Bose gave her the inspiration for advocating women's rights. Abala Bose is also known for her social work focusing on women's education and thereby uplifting the condition of widows.
Kamini also shared that -
"The main aim of women's education is to contribute to their overall development and fulfilling their potential"
She later formed many small organizations which helped her to spread more about feminism and women's education in the Indian continent. This act of her gave Bengali women the advantage for the Right to Vote in 1926. On this note, Google has also mentioned on its website a quote written by the poet in 1924, which states that
"Why should a woman be confined to four walls of home and denied her rightful place in the society ?"
Kamini was also influenced by another famous Bengali poet, Rabindranath Tagore and Sanskrit literature. Later, Calcutta University honoured her with the Jagattarini Gold Medal for contribution in the field of literature in 1929.
Kamini's notable content of literature includes Maheshweta, Pundarik, Pauraniki, Deep O Dhoop, Jeeban Patheya, Nirmalya, Mallya O Nirmalya and Ashoka Sangeet. She has also written Balika Shikhar Adarsh, a book of songs and essays for children.
In the later part of her life, Kamini lived at Hazaribagh, Jharkhand for some years where she often had discussions on literature and other topics with great scholars like Mahesh Chandra Ghosh and Dhirendranath Choudhury. She died on 27 September 1933 while staying in Hazaribagh.