Google Pays Tribute to India’s 1st Female Lawyer, Cornelia Sorabji

Google pays tribute to Cornelia Sorabji on her 151st birth anniversary.

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Cornelia Sorabji’s doodle by Google.

To mark the 151st birth anniversary of India’s first female lawyer, Google made their trademark doodle for Cornelia Sorabji on Wednesday. The doodle created by illustrator Jasjoy Singh Hans shows Sorabji in front of the Allahabad High Court, which was where she began her career as a pleader.

Who Was Cornelia Sorabji?

Cornelia Sorabji was India’s first female lawyer, the first Indian female to practice law in India and Britain, the first woman to study in Bombay University, and also the first Indian national to study at Oxford University – or in any British university.

Not many know that the Sorabji was home-schooled by her father.

One would assume that after making it to Oxford, life would have been a cakewalk for her. However, the fact of the matter is that the going was far from smooth, and the university didn't even want to award her her degree.

Cornelia Sorabji’s education at Oxford was funded by writer Adelaide Manning, Florence Nightingale, and Sir William Wedderburn.

Her mother, Francina Ford, was a staunch supporter of women’s rights. So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that feminism ran in her blood.

Sorabji was a champion of legal rights for women and minors. One of her most enduring battles was for the Purdanashins. Purdanashins are women from the Hindu community who, according to Hindu law, were not allowed to communicate with men apart from their husbands. As a result, Purdanashins, despite owning property, were unable to protect it due to lack of legal aid, as all lawyers at the time were men. It is due to Sorabji’s persistent efforts that the courts opened their doors to female lawyers in India in 1923.

Sorabji helped and fought on behalf of over 600 women and children without charging any fees.

The first women lawyer has written quite a few books, short stories and articles, including her autobiography 'Between the Twilights'.

With so many feathers of firsts in her cap, she certainly holds a very firm place in the history of Indian lawyers and in India too.

(With inputs from NDTV, India Today, The Hindu)

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