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LADY ABALA BOSE (1864–1951)

Lady Abala Bose was the wife of the world famous scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose and a political and social reformer in her own right.

She was the daughter of the social reformer Durga Mohan Das. She and her sister were among the first women accepted as students by the University of Calcutta, and Abala later went to Madras for medical studies. She married Jagadish Chandra in 1887. In 1896 she visited Europe and observed how girls’ schools were run. On her return she was elected secretary of the Brahmo Balika Shikshalay which she worked tirelessly to improve, even beginning self defence classes for the students. She introduced the Montessori Method to India. In 1919 she formed the Nari Shiksha Samiti. In 1928 she formed the Bengal Women’s Educational League, which pressed for female representation on educational bodies and a gender-sensitive syllabus.

She also campaigned, along with Margaret Cousins (q.v.) Sarojini Naidu (q.v.) and others, for women’s franchise, and was one of those delegated to meet Edwin Montagu when he visited India to negotiate the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. In 1925 she established a home for widows, and ten years later a Women’s Industrial Co-operative Home in Kolkata. This was later converted into a rehabilitation centre for women refugees from East Pakistan. She founded the Sister Nivedita Adult Education Fund, and the Sadhana Ashram.
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