Cornelia Sorabji: Google’s Doodle honours India’s first woman advocate
Search engine giant Google doodle celebrated the 151st birthday of Cornelia Sorabji, the first woman to practice law in India and England.
She was pioneer who helped open up higher education as well as the legal profession to women. She was first woman to graduate in law from India as early as 1892 and first Indian national to attend British University.
Cornelia was born on November 15, 1866 in Nashik in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency of colonial India.She was the first woman to study law at Oxford University and Bombay University.In India, she took the LLB exams under the Bombay University to get law degree, one which she was denied in Oxford. She was first woman to practice law in India and England.
Her career in law was not free from trials and tribulations. She was barred from practising her profession in both Britain and India. Even after clearing the law examination in Allahabad High Court in 1899, she was not acknowledged as barrister.
Her contributions include: She took cause of purdahnashins, veiled women who were forbidden to interact with men outside their families. She helped widowed purdahnashins get their rightful share of the property, helped them pursue education and secure employment. She succeeded in pursuing the government to appoint Lady Assistants to the courts to help women litigants.
Autobiographies: She had published two autobiographies viz. India Calling: The Memories of Cornelia Sorabji, India Recalled, a biography of her parents. She died on July 6, 1954.