Cornelia Sorabji Is Today's Google Doodle

Google remembers Bombay University’s first female graduate Cornelia Sorabji on 151st Birth Anniversary

Sorabji, her father helped women pursue their higher education from Bombay University, while her mother established schools for girls at Pune.

Back in those days, Cornelia was one of the very few women, who stood up for gender equality by involving herself in social reforms with all the grit and dedication. Apart from this, Sorabji was also the first woman to graduate from the then Bombay University (now University of Mumbai). And, the first ever Indian to go to Oxford.

Cornelia was born in Nashik as one among nine children to Reverend Sorabji Karsedji and his wife, Francina Ford, who had been adopted and raised by a British couple. She also earned them the right to be trained in nursing, which gave them the opportunity to work outside their homes. Sorabji, who was a bright student, was entitled to a scholarship for higher studies in England, which she was denied. As per the data, she then worked as a professor of English in Gujarat, on a temporary basis. Through her reforms, strong views, she brought a movement in our nation, which is helping many women achieve their dreams and passion. However, a group of prominent personalities that included Florence Nightingale and Sir William Wedderburn came together to help get her scholarship and she finally went to England. She graduated in 1892. After Sorabji completed her course from Somerville College, Oxford, in 1894, the University even didn't award her a degree. In 1899, in Allahabad, she was refused, a call to the bar, by one casting vote. A tweet by Google India honouring Cornelia Sorabji read: "Her vision and grit let her carve her own path towards justice".

Cornelia Sorabji Is Today's Google Doodle
Cornelia Sorabji Is Today's Google Doodle

- 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.

But it was Cornelia Sorabji, who was the torchbearer of this trend as she was the first Indian woman to become a successful lawyer. 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.

Despite all her successes, fights and hard work, she was recognised as a barrister only after 1922, when she collected the degree.


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