Home English Google celebrates 132nd birth anniversary of Anasuya Sarabhai.
Google today celebrated with a doodle the 132nd birth anniversary of Anasuya Sarabhai, who played a pioneering role in India’s labour movement.
A feminist and activist, Anasuya was born on November 11, 1885, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. She came from a family of industrialists. She was married for a short period of time when she was an adolescent but in 1912, against social convention at the time, she studied at the London School of Economics where she was influenced by the Suffragette movement.
When she returned to Ahmedabad, Anasuya got involved with the plight of mill workers and took up their cause, fighting against 36-hour work shifts. She was affectionately called Motaben, or elder sister, in Gujarati. In 1914, she helped the weavers organise their first strike for higher wages. She began negotiating with mill owners, including her brother, for better working conditions. Mahatma Gandhi supported her work and with his help she set up Gujarat’s oldest labour union the Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association, which later paved the way for the founding of the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA).
Maria Qamar, a Pakistani-Canadian artist and author, who created the Google Doodle, was inspired by the Indian textile industry. She said: “Anasuya’s dedication to justice and equality is something I can relate to… I portrayed delicate fabrics and traditional patterns found in our homes and our closets… I am honoured to have the opportunity to share Anasuya’s legacy with the world.”