Rajkumari Bibiji Amrit Kaur Ahluwalia was an activist in the Indian freedom struggle who became the nations’ first Health Minister following independence.
She is widely remembered for the reforms brought about during her tenure as along with her advocacy for women rights.
This article will give details about Rajkumari Amrit Kaur within the context of the IAS Exams.
The early life of Amrit Kaur
Amrit Kaur was born on 2 February 1887 in Lucknow. Her father was the younger son of the Maharaja of Kapurthala. Her early education was at Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset, England while she graduated from Oxford University. Upon the completion of her education, she returned to India in 1918.
Rajkumari Amri Kaur’s tryst with the independence movement began when she returned from England. Her father was closely associated with leaders of the independence movement such as Gopal Krishna Gokhale. She met Mahatma Gandhi in Mumbai in 1919. Finding much common ground in his visions and teachings, she would work as his secretary for 16 years
Amrit Kaur’s role in the freedom struggle
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur became a vocal critic of the British rule following the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. She formally joined the Indian National Congress, becoming an active member of the freedom struggle while also focusing on social reform. She actively campaigned against the devadasi system and the practice of child marriage.
Amrit Kaur was the co-founder of the All India Women’s Conference which advocated better treatment of women in 1927. She was arrested by the British following here participation in the Dandi March in 1930. Following her release, she went on to live an austere life at Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram in 1934, despite her noble background.
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur was designated as a member of the Advisory Board of Education by the colonial authorities. However, she quit the board owing to her involvement in the Quit India Movement in 1942. Her participation in the movement led to her imprisonment.
Amrit Kaur pushed for universal suffrage. To this end, she testified before the Lothian Committee on Indian franchise and constitutional reforms.
Amrit Kaur was a part of the India delegation at the UNESCO conferences in London and Paris in 1945 and 1946, respectively.
Role as Health Minister of India
When India gained independence from the British Empire on August 15, 1947, Amrit Kaur was elected to the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly was tasked with the framing of the Constitution of India. In her capacity as the member of the assembly, she supported the inception of a Uniform Civil Code in India along with advocating universal franchise. She actively debated the issue of protecting religious rights
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur was part of Prime Minister’s Jawaharlal Nehru’s first cabinet. As the first women to hold a cabinet position, she was assigned the Ministry of Health. As Health Minister, she undertook steps to contain the spread of malaria in India and the eradication of tuberculosis, ultimately helming the largest B.C.G vaccination programme in the world.
She played a crucial role in the creation of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi. She became the first president of AIIMS.
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur: UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here
She was the member of Rajya Sabha from 1957 to 1964. Amrit Kaur was passed away in 1964.
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