Friday, August 19, 2016

Hansa Mehta

Hansa Jivraj Mehta (1897-1995) was a reformist, social activist, educator, independence activist, and writer from India. She has written many children's books in Gujarati and also translated many English stories, Gulliver's Travels being one example among others. She was a Nagar Brahmin by birth and daughter of Manubhai Mehta. She married Jivraj Narayan Mehta, an eminent physician and administrator. She organized picketing of shops selling foreign clothes, liquor and participated in other freedom movement activities as per the advice of Mahatma Gandhi. She was even arrested and sent to jail by the British.

She was elected to Bombay Schools Committee in 1926 and became President of All India Women's Conference in 1945-46. In her Presidential address at the All-India Women`s Conference convention held in Hyderabad, she proposed a Charter of Women`s Rights. She held different posts in India from 1945-1960 being the Vice-Chancellor of SNDT Women's University, member of All India Secondary Board of Education, President of Inter University Board of India and Vice-Chancellor of Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda among others.

UN Activities
She represented India on the Nuclear Sub-Committee on the status of women in 1946. As the Indian delegate on the UN Human Rights Commission in 1947-48, she was responsible for changing the language of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from "all men are created equal" (Eleanor Roosevelt’s preferred phrase) to all human beings,[3] highlighting the need for gender equality .She later went on to become the vice chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations in 1950. She was also a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO.

She was given the Padma Bhushan in 1959.

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