The Indian Lady: Meera Behn

18 Jan 2017  Wed

Meera Behn also known as Madeleine Slade, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi dedicated her life on his teachings and the Indian freedom struggle.

Daughter of an English aristocrat, she was born in England in 1892. Her point of view on life changed upon reading Romain Rolland’s book on ‘Mahatma Gandhi’. Meera Behn's dedication and devotion to India and Gandhiji was so deep that he used to call her ‘Meera’.

Meera came to India in 1925 and for the next 34 years, she made India her home. She was first sent to Kanya Gurukul in Dehra Dun to teach English, Spinning, and carding. She also studied Hindi and the Scriptures. In 1932 she accompanied Mahatma Gandhi in Second Round Table Conference. She was an active member in Satyagraha movement and was imprisoned along with Kasturba Gandhi.

She established Sevagram Ashram and worked with the people of Orissa to resist any Japanese invasion in 1942. She was house arrested along with Mahatma Gandhi in Aga Khan Palace, Pune where she witnessed the death of Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai. Meera Behn was present at the Simla Conference, Cabinet Mission, Partition of India, Constituent Assembly and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

On 18th January 1959, Meera Behn left India for good and settled in a small village about 30 miles from Vienna. She was awarded Padma Vibhushan (second highest civilian honour of India) in January 1982 and she passed away on 29th July 1982.

This commemorative stamp was issued in 1983 to honour and remember this adorn daughter of India. Meera dedicated her life for the welfare of Human society and believed in Humanity.

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