Google Doodle honours Cornelia Sorabji, India’s first female advocate

NEW DELHI: Google Doodle on Wednesday paid tribute to Cornelia Sorabji, the first woman to practice law in the country, on the occasion of her 151st birth anniversary.

Born on November 15, 1866 in Nashik, Sorabji was a pioneer who helped open up higher education as well as the legal profession to women. She was the first woman permitted to attend Bombay University, where she excelled. She then went on to become the first Indian woman to study law at Oxford University in 1892.

Her career in law was not free from trials and tribulations. She was barred from practising her profession in both Britain and India. Even after clearing the law examination in Allahabad High Court in 1899, she was not acknowledged as a barrister. But Sorabji was not one to quit without a fight.

She became a legal advisor to the colonial government in India and took up the cause of purdanashins, women who spent their lives behind the veil, forbidden to interact with men outside their families.

Sorabji helped widowed purdahnashins get their rightful share of their deceased husband’s property and also encouraged them to pursue education and secure employment.

The Google Doodle illustrated by Jasjyot Singh Hans depicts Sorabji in front of the Allahabad High Court, to which she was eventually admitted in 1923 when the ban on female lawyers was lifted.

It was designed to mark her “persistence in the face of great adversity”, Google said.

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