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Indian SheHeroes of the past, inspiring women of today


Book title: A Star Named Bibha and Other Stories 

Authors: Anwesha Sengupta, Simantini Mukhopadhyay, Supurna Banerjee 

A book apt to inspire children and others too, the authors of “A Star Named Bibha and Other Stories,” Anwesha Sengupta, Simantini Mukhopadhyay, and Supurna Banerjee, share insights into their research on thirty exemplary women who lived between the late 19th and mid-20th centuries in India. The stories focus on the impact of significant historical events like the Second World War, India’s freedom struggle, and partition on these women’s lives. The authors highlight how constraints faced by these women during that period persist for women today. They emphasise the importance of showcasing early achievers from diverse backgrounds to help young readers understand the influence of social power on women’s lives and work, encouraging them to question social hierarchies and imagine a more equal world.

“The war that profoundly impacted Amrita Pritam’s poems led to a suspension of commercial flying, so Sarala Thakral could not get her commercial flying license. Biba Chowdhuri had to discontinue her research in India and join the University of Manchester because the equipment necessary for her experiments became unavailable during the war. While the events were central in defining the experiences of these women, many of the constraints they faced persist for today’s women.”

About the book

 The common thread connecting remarkable women like Tun Tun, Bibha Chowdhury, and Pandita Ramabai is their shared experience of navigating the challenging landscape of the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. During this time, being a woman meant facing hurdles influenced by caste, religion, location, class, and occupation. Despite these societal constraints, these women dared to defy social conventions and made significant contributions in traditionally male-dominated spaces and professions.

The book “A Star Named Bibha and Other Stories” presents short biographies of thirty such trailblazing Indian women. These women, including Durgabai Kamat, Amrit Kaur, Amrita Pritam, Fatima Beevi, and others, broke through the glass ceiling with style and determination. Their stories inspire the women of today, highlighting resilience, courage, and the ability to make a lasting impact on society.

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