Google today paid rich tributes to Cornelia Sorabji through a solemn doodle. Sorabji was born on November 15, 1866 in Nashik. Sorabji overcame numerous obstacles to become India’s first female lawyer as well as first woman student to study in UK. She died on July 6, 1954 in London. “Today’s Doodle by illustrator Jasjyot Singh Hans depicts Sorabji in front of the Allahabad High Court, to which she was eventually admitted. On what would have been her 151st birthday, we celebrate Cornelia Sorabji for breaking that first glass ceiling and for her persistence in the face of great adversity,” the search engine giant said.
Here is all you want to know about Cornelia Sorabji
1. Sorabji was the first woman permitted to attend Bombay University, where she excelled.
2. She then went on to become the first Indian woman to study law at Oxford University in 1892.
3. However, women were not awarded degrees by Oxford in those days (a rule that would eventually change 30 years later in 1922), making her unable to practice law in England.
4. Sorabji returned to India in 1894 where she was again barred from practicing her profession. However, this didn’t deter her. She eventually became legal advisor to the government for the purdahnashins — veiled women forbidden by social custom from communicating with males from the outside world.
5. When widowed, these women were often entitled to their husbands’ estates, but their isolation prevented them from seeking legal help to enforce their rights (all lawyers being male).
6. Sorabji tirelessly fought for the rights of the purdahnashins and even earned them the right to be trained in nursing, which gave them the opportunity to work outside their homes.
7. The 150th birth anniversary of Cornelia Sorabji was celebrated at the India House in London.
8. Cornelia was not only Somerville College’s first Indian student, but was also the first woman from the country to study at any British University.
9. Cornelia had come to Oxford with the help of a subscription raised by progressive British men and women including Madeleine Shaw Lefevre, the first Principal of Somerville.
10. “The Faculty of Law and Soverville College are proud to celebrate Cornelia Sorabji and her achievements through the creation of scholarships for outstanding Indian graduate students in Law,” a spokesperson of the Soverville College said.