Hansa Jivraj Mehta

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Hansa Jivraj Mehta
Born(1897-07-03)3 July 1897
Died4 April 1995(1995-04-04) (aged 97)
Spouse(s)Jivraj Narayan Mehta

Hansa Jivraj Mehta (3 July 1897 – 4 April 1995)[1] was a reformist, social activist, educator, independence activist, feminist and writer from India.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Hansa Mehta was born in a Nagar Brahmin family on 3 July 1897. She was a daughter of Manubhai Mehta, Dewan of Baroda State, and the granddaughter of Nandshankar Mehta, the author of the first Gujarati novel Karan Ghelo.[1][4]

She graduated with Philosophy in 1918. She studied journalism and sociology in England. In 1918, she met Sarojini Naidu and later Mahatma Gandhi in 1922.[4][5]

She was married to Jivraj Narayan Mehta, an eminent physician and administrator.


Politics, education and activism[edit]

Hansa Mehta organized the picketing of shops selling foreign clothes and liquor, and participated in other freedom movement activities in line with the advice of Mahatma Gandhi. She was even arrested and sent to jail by the British along with her husband in 1932. Later she was elected to Bombay Legislative Council.[2]

After independence, she was among the 15 women who were part of the constituent assembly that drafted the Indian Constitution.[6] She was a member of the Advisory Committee and Sub Committee on Fundamental Rights.[7] She advocated for equality and justice for women in India.[8][4]

Hansa was elected to Bombay Schools Committee in 1926 and became president of All India Women's Conference in 1945–46. In her presidential address at the All India Women's Conference convention held in Hyderabad, she proposed a Charter of Women's Rights. She held different posts in India from 1945 to 1960 - the vice-chancellor of SNDT Women's University, member of All India Secondary Board of Education, president of Inter University Board of India and vice-chancellor of Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda,[5] among others.

Hansa represented India on the Nuclear Sub-Committee on the status of women in 1946. As the Indian delegate on the UN Human Rights Commission in 1947–48, she was responsible for changing the language of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from "all men are created equal" (Eleanor Roosevelt’s preferred phrase) to "all human beings",[9] highlighting the need for gender equality.[10] Hansa later went on to become the vice chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations in 1950. She was also a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO.[3][11]

Literary career[edit]

She wrote several children's books in Gujarati including Arunnu Adbhut Swapna (1934), Bablana Parakramo (1929), Balvartavali Part 1-2 (1926, 1929). She translated some books of Valmiki Ramayana: Aranyakanda, Balakanda and Sundarakanda. She translated many English stories, including Gulliver's Travels. She had also adapted some plays of Shakespeare. Her essays were collected and published as Ketlak Lekho (1978).[2][5]


Hansa Mehta was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1959.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Trivedi, Shraddha (2002). Gujarati Vishwakosh (Gujarati Encyclopedia). Vol. 15. Ahmedabad: Gujarati Vishwakosh Trust. p. 540. OCLC 248968453.
  2. ^ a b c Wolpert, Stanley (5 April 2001). Gandhi's Passion: The Life and Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. Oxford University Press. p. 149. ISBN 9780199923922.
  3. ^ a b Srivastava, Gouri (2006). Women Role Models: Some Eminent Women of Contemporary India. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 14–16. ISBN 9788180693366.
  4. ^ a b c "Hansa Jivraj Mehta: Freedom fighter, reformer; India has a lot to thank her for". The Indian Express. 22 January 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Chaudhari, Raghuveer; Dalal, Anila, eds. (2005). "લેખિકા-પરિચય" [Introduction of Women Writers]. વીસમી સદીનું ગુજરાતી નારીલેખન [20 Century Women's Writing's in Gujarati] (in Gujarati) (1st ed.). New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. p. 350. ISBN 8126020350. OCLC 70200087.
  6. ^ Ravichandran, Priyadarshini (13 March 2016). "The women who helped draft our constitution". Mint. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  7. ^ "CADIndia". cadindia.clpr.org.in. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  8. ^ "CADIndia". cadindia.clpr.org.in. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  9. ^ Jain, Devaki (2005). Women, Development and the UN. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 20.
  10. ^ http://www.un.int/india/india%20&%20un/humanrights.pdf Archived 12 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Dhanoa, Belinder (1997). Contemporary art in Baroda. Tulika. p. 267. ISBN 9788185229041.
  12. ^ "Hansa Jivraj Mehta". Praful Thakkar's Thematic Gallery of Indian Autographs. Retrieved 19 June 2016.