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Rukmini Laxmipathi

(1892 – 1951) – (Tamilnadu)

Rukmini Laxmipathi (Aged 59) an Indian independence activist and politician belonging to the Indian National Congress, was born on 6 December 1892 in Madras into an agriculturist family. Her grandfather was the landlord Raja T. Ramrao. After obtaining her B.A from the Women’s Christian College, Madras, she married Dr. Achanta Laxmipathi.

In 1923, Rukmini joined the Congress and attended the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance Congress in Paris in 1926 as the Indian representative. She participated in the Salt Satyagraha in Vedaranyam in 1930, and for her involvement, she was jailed for a year, becoming the first female prisoner in the Salt Satyagraha movement.

In 1934, Rukmini contested and won a by-election to the Madras Legislative Council. She was then elected to the Madras Presidency Legislative Assembly in the 1937 elections and became the first woman to be elected to the Madras Legislature. On 15 July 1937, she was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the assembly. From 1 May 1946 to 23 March 1947, she served as the Minister for Public Health of the presidency in the T. Prakasam cabinet, becoming the first (and only) woman minister of the presidency.

Marshall’s Road in Egmore, Chennai, has been renamed after Rukmini Laxmipathi, and in her memory, a postage stamp was issued in 1997. She passed away on 6 August 1951.