Even before the word feminism became a rage in India, Rani Gayatri has been the epitome of feminism in India. Her graduation from the London School of secretaries and then in Switzerland was solid evidence of feminism in the patriarchal society where the women were confined to household activities only. Her personality was quite strong built. She stood amongst the highly opinionated women who would dare succumb to the ideologies of patriarchal society. She indulged in sports too, especially polo, in the days when the purdah system was a norm especially for the Indian women, not allowing them to participate in the games. . She has also been considered a style icon. Her charismatic beauty had awestruck both the men and women of the world equally. She balanced both her feminine side and feminist perspective which aimed for the betterment of the Indian society irrespective of gender. As a true feminist she stood up for the rights of every individual and not just for women.

On her return to India after her graduation, she slowly began spreading her wings of feminism across the state of Rajasthan in order to empower girls and women with education as well slowly and steadily began eradicating the evil practices that had confined the females to household activities. She established a school in Jaipur in 1943, named after her as Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls' Public School, which is now claimed to be one of the finest schools in India even to date. She served people during WWll and did not confine her life to opulence like most of the queens and Princess of her period.

She chose to marry Sawai Man Singh ll Bahadur, even though she had the knowledge of his first two wives and his being twice her age. She couldn’t help but be swayed by his macho personality, and he too was floored by her beauty and brains. The opinions, judgments, and prejudice of the society did not matter to her. She indeed faced ardent objection from society when she chose to marry Sawai Man Singh ll Bahadur but she was quite confident about the love he had for her. They both tied the knot in May 1940. Her rebellious and unconventional attitude has inspired many strong and independent women of today’s times and she continues to inspire even after her demise.

She was immensely active in politics and later joined a political party named “Swathantra” in opposition to the Congress party. When Rajasthan became a state, she was the first-ever lady to win the highest number of votes in the Loksabha constituency, with the majority of 1,92,909 votes out of 2,46516 votes, creating a landmark in Indian history in the year 1962. No lady had ever won with such a high number in the world before, therefore this resulted in winning her a place in The Guinness Book of Records. She proceeded to win her seat again in 1967. Unfortunately, things began falling apart when the Congress party decided to abolish the pursues and privileges of the royal family. She had to face the actual tragedy when Man Singh's demise took place after a month, and she became the Rajmata – The Queen Mother. Man Singh’s first wife’s eldest son was declared the Maharaja.

Yet to recover from the grief which was bestowed on her due to the loss of her beloved husband, the party members persuaded her to contest for the elections of 1971. The year in which the princely state was derecognized. This change in the constitution brought an immense change in her life and made her life tough. She and her stepson were imprisoned in Tihar Jail in 1975. During the time of emergency, although there were no serious charges against them. Even during this period she continued to play sports like badminton in the jail and was not shattered, nor broken by the dictatorial rule of Indra Gandhi. Unfortunately, her body did not support her and she was released out of the jail on parole.

She stood strong against the castration of the women, although being a designated figure of federal India, she always voiced out for the oppressed. She stretched out to fight for the rights of pickpocketers, murderers, prostitutes, and inmates of the jail who were living in a filthy environment,s and how to make their lives better was her concern. She was immensely successful in curbing the evil practice of the purdah system. Her style was extremely exceptional and iconic, no woman during her period in India had carried herself both western and Indian attire with such ease. Her chiffon saree and pearl jewelry are adored by the youth of today’s generation too. She stated,

“Style was something very natural which she had inherited from her mother”

I personally feel she has been a genuine and resplendent example of a true feminist, she was the voice of every oppressed and believed in equal rights for everyone. She worked equally well for both men, women, and children too. She was extremely down to earth and serving the people was her primary motive. Although she had been arrested by Indra Gandhi, and Indra Gandhi had used abusive language against her, unable to accept other women being more beautiful than her as well talented. 

Maharani Gayatri Devi on other hand did not even say a demeaning word against her. In all her interviews she just told the facts but never made any personal remarks. She believed everyone has the right towards respectful life, and if a person has wronged in past and wishes to start a good future, everyone should encourage the person and not speak of the wrong or crime the person had committed in the past. Therefore she worked a lot for murderers, pickpocketers, and inmates of the jail. She also fought for the rights of prostitutes and never looked down upon them. She was a lot considerate about the lives of villagers and farmers too. She strongly believed farmers need to be addressed at the earliest as they are their labour is impertinent towards Indian soil. She funded many charitable organisations, N.G.O’s. She has a huge role in eradicating the “purdah system” to an extent. She has always held herself accountable for the circumstances she faced and never blamed anyone, nor complained about her life. Especially when the privileges of the royal family were taken away, she accepted it. She used to drive the car by herself many times, which inspired many women. She played polo, she also liked horse riding and showed immense interest in sports. After her husband’s death, her lust for life did not come to an end, which is a lesson to many women in India that it does not matter if you are divorced or widow but you always have the right to live and enjoy life.

Even after decades and generations she continues to inspire the women of today and is acknowledged by every feminist around the world. As well she continues to inspire the women not just of India but worldwide even after her demise, as she has been recorded for chicness, grace, aura, elegance, hard-working attitude, dedication, and sincerity. As well amazing contribution she has made to society by uplifting the oppressed and eradicating the purdah system. 

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