Straight from the glorious chapters of history to the modern contemporary era, women from Lucknow have repeatedly outshone others in their times, making the city proud with colossal acclaim and winsome winnings. Stretching over the pre and post-independence phase, India has witnessed innumerable Awadhi women who have ushered significant glory to their names.
Some from the lot have registered extraordinary achievements, sometimes also being the first in their field! So read on to meet 7 outstanding women from Lucknow, who have made a deep-set mark with their wondrous accomplishments in life.
Dr. Ritu Karidhal Srivastava
While a girl's marriage prospects may still be judged by her knowledge of the right count of pressure cooker whistles, this city woman has turned tables, sending whistling rockets to space! Famously called the Rocket Woman of India, Ritu has served at prime posts in ISRO's ambitious projects-Mangalyaan and Chadrayaan-2. An alumnus of Lucknow University, the distinguished woman completed her aerospace engineering from the prestigious IISC Bangalore. Despite reaching exceptional heights, her simplicity is astounding in all ways!
While the domain of politics is still marked by a considerable lack of women, Sanyukta Bhatia trudged her way through all obstacle, becoming the first female Mayor of Lucknow in 100 years! In August 2017, she was also nominated to the Women's Commission for her efforts and endeavours. Through the past years after election, she has worked with unflinching determination towards making the city, neat and clean. Being a trailblazer in her forte, she is inarguably a storehouse of inspiration!
Credited for bringing a socio-cultural revolution in Lucknow, Runa Banerjee has shown that sky is the only limit by bagging a Nobel Peace Prize nomination through her impassioned deeds! Conferred with Padma Shri by the government of India, she has evolved as a stalwart of social reformation, benefitting thousands of underprivilieged women through her enterprise called SEWA (Self Employed Women's Association). Awarded with myriads of honours like Hindustan Times Women Award 2011, TCS 'Women Achievers' Conclave 2011, Zee Astitwa Award 2008 and others, she deserves all our applause for her resolute attempts and unwavering commitment!
Awadh without arts is like a story without a soul! While numerous women from Lucknow have transcended boundaries in the field of arts, Manjari Chaturvedi is one of the names that sparkles the brightest. Hailing from an elite family, this Kathak dancer rose to prominence by crafting an ingenious genre of Sufi Kathak. Through her performances all around the globe, Manjari has presented an unparalleled amalgamation of mysticism and magic. In one of her noted interviews with HT, she recounts her connection to the city saying, "I carry Lucknow along with me."
Having started her career as a school teacher, Pankaj's fortune changed when she got selected for the first season of MasterChef India. Beating all odds and mapping an illustrious journey through the show, she became the first to win the title of MasterChef India, taking the city's name to national headlines. After her win, Pankaj never looked backed and carved out a remarkable name in the field of culinary. She has hosted television shows, authored books, delivered motivational talks and the list goes on. If you are in your late thirties, she is all the dose of inspiration you need, to kick-start your trail of dreams all over again!
Dr. V. Mohini Giri
Excelling in the field of activism and community service, Padma Bhushan Dr. V. Mohini Giri has led the route of women empowerment in India and South Asia multiple times, through her will and determination. An alumnus of Lucknow University, she went on to surpass an array of milestones, becoming the second chairperson of the National Commission for Women. As the president of umpteen organisations, she has been committed to emancipating and enhancing the lives of women. If social service is what drives your soul, she encapsulates immeasurable motivation for you!
Dr. Amrita Dass
A leading educationist and front runner in the sphere of career services in the country, Amrita Dass is the founder-director of 'Institute for Career Studies', based in Lucknow. Awarded with The Times Group "Award for Excellence in Education", her organisation has marvelled in the field of career counselling, accentuating the lives and careers of thousands of students. A gold medalist and topper from Lucknow University, she has actively participated in renowned international conferences, including some at the United Nations. Through her innovative leadership, Dr. Dass has won national and global acclaim for herself and the city!
Thanks to social norms and conditioning, our women seldom value their aspirations. But the day, they start to believe that their true strength and power lies in their dreams, life ought to become a journey of multiple successes.
So, this Women's Day, unravel your wishes in the truest colours and set out on a voyage, that is essentially yours. And we are sure, sooner or later, you will make it to a list like this!