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Remembering Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit: First female president of the United Nations General Assembly

Today marks the 119th birth anniversary of Vijay Laxmi Pandit, the powerful leader who went on to become the first woman in the pre-independent India to went on to hold a cabinet portfolio. She held the local self-government and public health at the age of just 37.

Sister of Jawaharlal Nehru – Vijay Lakshmi was born in Allahabad, in the then North-Western Provinces on August 18, 1900.

On this day we bring you some facts about her.

  • Vijay Lakshmi was the daughter of Motilal Nehru and Swaruprani Thussu and sister of Jawaharlal Nehru – three-time Prime Minister of India.
  • In 1921 she tied knots with Ranjit Sitaram Pandit and changed her name to Vijay Lakshmi Pandit.
  • Vijay Laxmi was arrested and imprisoned thrice by the British between years 1932 and 1943.
  • In 1937, she was elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces, a post from which she thereafter in 1939 as a form of protest against British in World War II.
  • Pandit later in 1943, became the President of the All-India Women’s Conference and remained so till 1943.
  • 10 years later, she became the first woman ever to be elected president of the UN General Assembly.
  • Pandit served as the governor of Maharashtra (1962 to 1964) and was the member of the Lok Sabha from 1964 to1968.
  • Pandit was the member of AMU Executive Council. She was an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.
  • Pandit also represented India at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in 1978.

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