Unveiling the Forgotten Architects: Women in the Constitution of India         

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March 10, 2024

Unveiling the Forgotten Architects: Women in the Constitution of India         

In the annals of history, the narrative of India’s constitutional architects often paints a male-dominated picture, overshadowing the significant contributions of women. However, within the 299-member Constituent Assembly, a group of 15 remarkable women emerged, advocating fervently for an India that reflected the voices of both genders. Enduring various forms of societal oppression, including patriarchy, caste discrimination, child marriage, and widowhood, these women brought diverse perspectives to the table, shaping crucial debates on reservations, minority rights, and legislative matters.

Advocacy for Equality and Reform

  • During discussions on pivotal issues like the Hindu Code Bill, stalwarts such as Durgabai Deshmukh and Hansa Kumari staunchly championed the cause of a Uniform Civil Code, foreseeing its potential to empower women and foster equality. Conversely, figures like Dakshayani Velayudhan and Begum Aziaz Rasul contested the notion of reservations, believing it could perpetuate division rather than bridge societal gaps.

Eminent Women in the Constituent Assembly

  • Annie Mascarene, a trailblazing lawyer and politician from Travancore, advocated for the integration of princely states into independent India, emphasizing the need for balanced power distribution within a democratic framework. Similarly, Hansa Jivraj Mehta, a prominent freedom fighter and women’s rights activist, emphasized the importance of social, economic, and political justice for all, eschewing the idea of reserved seats in favor of broader inclusion.

Champions of Social Reform

  • Figures like Amrit Kaur, Ammu Swaminathan, and Durgabai Deshmukh left an indelible mark on Indian society, spearheading movements for social reform and women’s empowerment. Kaur’s tireless efforts during the freedom struggle and her subsequent role in shaping independent India exemplify her commitment to universal adult franchise and gender equality. Swaminathan’s advocacy against caste discrimination and child marriage, alongside Deshmukh’s pioneering work in social welfare, underscored their dedication to building a more equitable society.

Legacy and Influence

  • Despite facing criticism and marginalization, these women courageously voiced their opinions and played pivotal roles in crafting India’s sovereign and secular republic. Their enduring legacy extends beyond the Constituent Assembly, shaping policies and institutions that continue to impact the nation’s trajectory.


  • The untold stories of these extraordinary women illuminate the multifaceted tapestry of India’s constitutional journey, challenging prevailing narratives and underscoring the indispensable role of gender diversity in shaping democratic ideals. As we commemorate their contributions, let us recognize and celebrate their enduring legacy in the ongoing pursuit of a more just and inclusive society.

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Unveiling the Forgotten Architects: Women in the Constitution of India | Vaid ICS Institute