1866 నవంబరు 15|
నాశిక్, బొంబాయి ప్రెసిడెన్సీ, బ్రిటిష్ ఇండియా
1954 జూలై 6 (వయసు 87)|
లండన్, యునైటెడ్ కింగ్డమ్
[సోమెర్విల్లీ కళాశాల, ఆక్స్ఫర్డు
|వృత్తి||న్యాయవాది, సంఘ సంస్కర్త రచయిత.|
కార్నేలియా సొరాబ్జీ (నవంబరు 15 1866 – జూలై 6 1954) భారతదేశంలో మొదటి మహిళా న్యాయవాది. ఈమె అలహాబాదు హైకోర్టులో న్యాయవాదిగా చేరారు. ఈమె బొంబాయి విశ్వవిద్యాలయం నుండి మొదటి మహిళా పట్టభద్రురాలు. 1889 లో ఈమె ఆక్స్ఫర్డు విశ్వవిద్యాలయం నుండి న్యాయశాస్త్రం అభ్యసించిన ప్రథమురాలు. మరియు ఈమె బ్రిటిష్ విశ్వవిద్యాలయాలలో చదివిన మొదటి మహిళగా కూడా చరిత్ర సృష్టించింది. ఆ తర్వాత ఆమె భారతదేశం మరియు బ్రిటన్ లలో న్యాయవాద శిక్షణ పొందిన మొట్టమొదటి మహిళైనారు.2012 లో ఆమె ప్రతిమను లండన్ లోని "లింకన్ ఇన్"లో ఆవిష్కరించారు.
ప్రారంభ జీవితం మరియు విద్య[మార్చు]
Born in Nashik, she was one of nine children of Reverend Sorabji Karsedji, a Parsi Christian, and his wife, Francina Ford, an Indian who had been adopted and raised by a British couple. Ford, who believed that education must begin at home with women, helped to establish several girls' schools in Poona (now Pune). Due in part to her influential social position, Ford was often consulted by local women in matters pertaining to inheritance and property rights. Many of Sorabji's later educational and career decisions would be heavily influenced by her mother.
As a child Sorabji received her education both at home, with her missionary father, and at mission schools. After being the first female graduate of Bombay University, in 1892, she was given special permission by Congregational Decree, due in large part to the petitions of her English friends, to take the Bachelor of Civil Laws exam at Somerville College, Oxford University, becoming the first woman to ever do so.
Upon returning to India in 1894, Sorabji became involved in social and advisory work on behalf of the purdahnashins, women who were forbidden to communicate with the outside male world. In many cases, these women owned considerable property, yet had no access to the necessary legal expertise to defend it. Sorabji was given special permission to enter pleas on the behalf of the purdahnashins before British agents of Kathiawar and Indore principalities, but she was unable to defend them in court since, as a woman, she did not hold professional standing in the Indian legal system. In the hopes of remedying that, Sorabji presented herself for the LLB examination of Bombay University in 1897 and pleader's examination of Allahabad high court in 1899. Yet, despite her successes, Sorabji would not be recognized as a barrister until the law which barred women from practicing was changed in 1924.
Sorabji began petitioning the India Office as early as 1902 to provide for a female legal advisor to represent women and minors in provincial courts. In 1904, she was appointed Lady Assistant to the Court of Wards of Bengal and by 1907, due to the need for such representation, Sorabji was working in the provinces of Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, and Assam. In the next 20 years of service, it is estimated that Sorabji helped over 600 women and orphans fight legal battles, sometimes at no charge. She would later write about many of these cases in her work Between the Twilights and her two autobiographies. In 1924, the legal profession was opened to women in India, and Sorabji began practicing in Calcutta. However, due to male bias and discrimination, she was confined to preparing opinions on cases, rather than pleading them before the court.
Sorabji retired from the high court in 1929, and settled in London, visiting India during the winters. She died at her London home, Northumberland House, Green Lanes, Finsbury Park, on 06 July 1954.
At the turn of the century, Sorabji was also actively involved in social reforms. She was associated with the Bengal branch of the National Council for Women in India, the Federation of University Women, and the Bengal League of Social Service for Women. For her services to the Indian nation, she was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind Gold Medal in 1909. Although an Anglophile, Sorabji had no desire to see "the wholesale imposition of a British legal system on Indian society any more than she sought the transplantation of other Western values." Early in her career, Sorabji had supported the campaign for Indian Independence, relating women's rights to the capacity for self-government. Although she greatly supported traditional Indian life and culture, Sorabji did a great deal to promote the movement to reform Hindu laws regarding child marriage and the position of widows. She often worked alongside fellow reformer and friend Pandita Ramabai. Nevertheless, she believed that the true impetus behind social change was education and that, until the majority of illiterate women had access to it, the suffrage movement would be a failure.
By the late 1920s, however, Sorabji had adopted a staunch anti-nationalist attitude; believing that nationalism violated the beliefs, customs, and traditions of the country's Hindu 'orthodox'. By 1927, she was actively involved in promoting support for the Empire and preserving the rights of the Hindu Orthodox. She favorably viewed the polemical attack on Indian self-rule in Katherine Mayo's 1927 book Mother India, and condemned Mahatma Gandhi's campaign of civil disobedience. She toured India and the United States to propagate her political views which would end up costing her the support needed to undertake later social reforms. One such failed project was the League for Infant Welfare, Maternity, and District Nursing.
- Blain, Virginia, et al.,The Feminist Companion to Writers in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present (New Haven : Yale University Press, 1990)
- Burton, Antoinette, At The Heart of the Empire: Indians and the Colonial Encounter in Late-Victorian Britain (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998)
- Matthew, H.C.G and Brian Harrison, ed., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2004)
- Mossman, Mary Jane, The First Women Lawyers: A Comparative Study of Gender, Law and the Legal Professions (Toronto: Hart Publishing, 2007)
- Rappaport, Helen, Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers (Santa Barbara : ABC CLIO, 2001)
- Sorabji, Richard, Opening Doors: The Untold Story of Cornelia Sorabji (2010)
- Zilboorg, Caroline, ed. Women's Firsts (New York : Gale, 1997)
- Innes, C.L. 'A History of Black and Asian Writers in Britain' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008). Contains a Chapter on Cornelia and Alice Pennell Sorabji.
- Cornelia Sorabji images Link to images of Sorabji at the National Portrait Gallery website
- Mother India Link to a copy of Katherine Mayo's, Mother India, available through Australia's Project Gutenberg
- 'Celebrating Indian legacy in Oxford' University of Oxford Press Release, March 2010
- 'Opening Doors: The Untold Story of Cornelia Sorabji - Reformer, Lawyer and Champion of Women's Rights in India' Public lecture by Professor Richard Sorabji