First Indian Women Activist Rani Rajwade Biography
Rani Rajwade was the First Indian Woman Activist to subscribe to the fund started to help Indian Passive Resisters in South Africa. Besides being an activist in the field of women’s welfare, Rani Rajwade had deep interest in the arts and handicrafts of India.
Rani Rajwade had keen interest in traveling to places of historical and architectural significance all over India. Rani Rajwade visited the various schools of art in Kangra, Rajasthan, Maratha and Orissa. Rani Rajwade collected about three thousand temple lamps in brass and copper, which Rani Rajwade presented to the National Museum in New Delhi.
Rani Rajwade presented typical Indian designs of deities, animals and birds to weavers to be copied in borders and pallus of saris and in fabrics – brocades, silks and cotton. Her interests in the traditional arts and handicrafts led her to work for the neglected artisans of India.
Rani Rajwade guided the Gwalior pottery industry in producing modern and useful designs, which became very popular. Rani Rajwade opened a Beads Centre in Gwalior where Rani Rajwade collected patterns of tribal necklaces made from beads of stones, wood, dried wild beans and seeds, crude metal, sea shells etc., and reproduced them on a large scale, promoting their sale for the benefit of tribals. Her interests in articrafts never waned.
Rani Rajwade was always willing to guide others with her suggestions and ready to provide relevant information.
Dr. Rani Laxmibai Rajwade was born in 1887. Rani Rajwade was the eldest child of Sir Moropant Joshi who was a nationalist, social re – former and a promoter of woman’s emancipation and education. Sir Moropant Joshi strove to eradicate all social evils, which undermined the foundations of Hindu Society. Though Sir Moropant Joshi observed all religious rituals and customs sacred to Hinduism Sir Moropant Joshi was against orthodoxy and considered it a sin.
Sir Moropant Joshi gave equal opportunities to his children, boys and girls, in all walks of life. Rani Rajwade and her three younger sisters were sent to the local convent school where English was used as the medium of instruction. Later they attended Degree Colleges in Bombay in spite of social opposition.
Rani Rajwade passed her matriculation from Calcutta University and thereafter joined the Grant Medical College in Bombay. Winning a number of scholarships, Rani Rajwade earned the degree of L.M.S. with distinction. After which, Rani Rajwade proceeded to England, accompanying Gopal Krishna Gokhale. There Rani Rajwade met Mrs. Pankhurst, Mr.Warrick and Mrs. Sommerset who were closely associated with the suffragette movement.
After obtaining her L.R.C.P., M.R.C.S and L.M Rani Rajwade missed her chance of completing F.R.C.S, as Rani Rajwade had to return home due to the serious illness of her mother. Laxmibai had married Maj. Gen. Raja C.R Rajwade of Gwalior State who was a widower with four sons and two daughters.
Rani Rajwade practiced medicine in Bombay for four – teen years and took active interest in the work of the All India Women’s Conference. Later, Rani Rajwade was elected as the Secretary of the A.I.W.C for two years, and thereafter became its President.
Jawaharlal Nehru appointed her as the head of the section of Women’s Welfare, Education and Advancement under the National Planning Committee. Rani Rajwade went to the U.S. as a member of a delegation led by the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Rani Rajwade passed away on 1984 at the ripe age of 97. Rani Rajwade was active all throughout her life.