(1888 – 1958) – (Gujarart)
Perin Ben Captain (Aged 70) was born on 12 October 1888 in Mandvi, Kutch district, in the Indian state of Gujarat, to a Parsi family. She was an Indian freedom activist, social worker, and the granddaughter of renowned Indian intellectual and leader, Dadabhai Naoroji. In 1954, the Government of India awarded her the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest Indian civilian award, for her contributions to the country, making her among the first group of recipients.
Her father, Ardeshir, was a medical doctor and the eldest son of Dadabhai Naoroji, and her mother, Virbai Dadina, was a housewife. She obtained a degree in French from the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle.
While in Paris, she became part of Bhikaiji Cama’s circle and began participating in their activities. It is reported that she was involved in the plan to release Vinayak Damodar Savarkar after his arrest in London. During this time, she attended the Egyptian National Congress in Brussels in 1910 with Savarkar and Bhikaiji Cama.
After returning to India in 1911, Perin had the opportunity to meet Mahatma Gandhi and was influenced by his ideals. By 1919, she started working with him, and in 1920, she took to the Swadeshi movement and started wearing Khadi. In 1921, she assisted in establishing the Rashtriya Stree Sabha, a women’s movement based on Gandhian ideals.
She participated in the Civil disobedience movement initiated by Mahatma Gandhi and was incarcerated, the first of several imprisonments she endured during the Indian freedom movement. When the Gandhi Seva Sena was reconstituted in the 1930s, she was made its honorary General Secretary, a post she held until her death in 1958. When the Government of India introduced the Padma civilian award system in 1954, Perin Captain was included in the first list of awardees for the Padma Shri.