P.G. DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
**DR. PRAJNA PARAMITA PANIGRAHI
DIRECTORATE OF DISTANCE EDUCATION
Pandita Ramabai (1858-1922), known as the mother of modern India, stood for the rights of women at the time when women were denied any agency. As a women activist, she voiced her grievances against the dominant patriarchal norms. Her spirit of feminism prompted her, as Lugones stated , “to think and act against the grain of oppression.(11). She toiled to debunk the myth surrounding gender inequalities. She tried to expose the false prejudicial beliefs that led to acute suppression of women. She challenged the religious orthodoxy and social obstacles to make women aware of their deplorable conditions both in family and society. Through her staunch activism, she aimed to create a space for women to breathe, to act and to achieve. She was convinced that such a space was possible only through self-identification. She believed that raising feminist consciousness can aid in putting an end to their misery and help them find their way towards women liberation and empowerment. According to Burton, her fight “for autonomy also dramatized her determination to control her own destiny” (109). The paper is, therefore, an attempt to explore how Pandita Ramabai, in her shifting roles and identities, displays an effort towards raising a feminist consciousness. It aims to hypothesise that the development of feminist consciousness is fundamental to attain a spirit of individualism.
Keywords: consciousness, patriarchy, womanhood, oppression, reformation