Kamini Roy was a celebrated poet and feminist during the Bengal Presidency in British India. She has also made significant contributions to the field of social work, and was the first female Honours postgraduate.
Facts about Kamini
Kamini was one of the leading advocates for women's right in British India. She led with a question about women being trapped in the confines of their own homes and denied their rightful place in their society.
She put a stop to her writing careers when she became a mother. When she was asked about this particular decision, she responded that her children are now her living poems. Eventually, she returned to writing after her and her oldest son's death.
InThe Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, a Bengali Essay, Kamini wrote,
"The male desire to rule is the primary, if not the only,
stumbling block to women's enlightenment ...
They are extremely suspicious of women's emancipation.
Why? The same old fear – 'Lest they become like us."
Kamini was born on 12 October 1864 in the Basunda village of the Bakerganj District, which is now renamed the Jhalokati District of Bangladesh.
She was born to a prominent family that had a good standing. Her father was Chandi Charan Sen, a leading member of the Brahmo Samaj, which was a sect of monotheistic Hindusim. He was also a writer and a judge.
Meanwhile, her brother, Nisith Chandra Sen was a barrister in the High Court of Calcutta, who then ran for office and became the city's mayor. Her sister, Jamini, on the other hand, worked as a Nepal Royal Family physician.
In 1894, she was wed to Kedarnath Roy, with which she had two children and then retired from her profession as a writer.
She was among the first girls in British India to attend school, where she subsequently earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Bethune College, a women's college affiliated with the University of Calcutta.
During her college years, her vocation towards feminism flourished after it was introduced to Abala Rose and her social work assistance towards widows and women's education. Kamini then proceeded to teach at Bethune after her graduation.
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Writing and Feminism
Kamini Roy was born and raised in an era when women were expected to prepare for motherhood and married life. However, she took a different route by pursuing education and eventually advocating for women's rights.
She formed organizations to champion causes for the advancement of feminism in India. Alongside her fellow advocates Kumudini Mitra and Mrinalini Sen, Kamini led a movement to urge the Bengal Legislative Council to grant Bengali women the right to vote on the coming Indian General Election.
This eventually led to Bengali women finally earning their suffrage, or their right to vote, in 1926.
Eventually, the event caused a domino effect on other countries, causing other women's right advocates to push through with their cause. Soon enough, other countries in Europe were granting more women the right to vote.
Kamini Roy was given the Jagattarini medal by the University of Calcutta in 1929 after she was hailed as the light bringer to Indian feminism.
Kamini Roy had the drive to influence because of her strong literary foundations. One of her inspirations was the renowned poet, Rabindranath Tagore. She used her poetry and writings to further the cause of empowering women, which became more effective as she was given a membership Female Labor Investigation Commission in 1922.
She also went out of her way to encourage young women with love for writing and poetry. It was because of Kamini Roy's words that Sufia Kamal continued pursuing her passions.
Eventually, it became the Bengali Literary Conference President in 1930, and ultimately, the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad Vice-president in 1932.
Most Notable Literary Works
Mahasweta, which also means Goddess Saraswati, speaks of women's wisdom and feminine knowledge.
Dwip O Dhup
Malya O Nirmalya
Gunjan, a children's book
Balika Sikkhar Adarsha, which was a book of essays and songs written for children.
Kamini Roy was an effective spokesperson for the cause and an efficient writer because of her straightforward writing style and word use.
Her goal was to primarily connect with as many people as she can, of every class and stature to get her message across. She shed light on pre-independent India's issues on women's right and worked to achieve her goal right until she died in 1933.
Because of her efforts, quick wit and analytical mind, Kamini Roy allowed many feminist activists and organizations to stand on her shoulders and continue the battle towards a more just and equal world.
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