Pandita Ramabai, the youngest daughter of Anant Shastri, was a social reformer, a champion for the emancipation of women, and a pioneer in education. Left totally alone by the time she was 23, Ramabai acquired a great reputation as a Sanskrit scholar.

Deeply impressed by her prowess, the Sanskrit scholars of Calcutta University conferred on her the titles of "Saraswati" and "Pandita". She rebelled against the caste system and married a shudra advocate, but was widowed at 23, having a baby girl. In 1882, she establishsed the Arya Mahila Samaj for the cause of women’s education in Pune and different parts of Western India. This led to the formation of the Sharada Sadan in 1889 - which school completes a hundred years this year - a school which blossomed into an umbrella organisation called Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission, 40 miles outside Pune.

In 1896, during a severe famine Ramabai toured the villages of Maharashtra with a caravan of bullock carts and rescued thousands of out-caste children, child widows, orphans and other destitute women and brought them to the shelter of Mukti and Sharada Sadan. A learned woman knowing seven languages, she also translated the Bible into her mother tongue - Marathi - from the original Hebrew and Greek. Her work continues today, a memorial to her life and path.

Text : Courtesy Shri M.K. Williams, Principal Mount Carmel School

Description of Designs: The stamp depicts the personality with the original building of Sharada Sadan in the background, designed at India Security Press, Nashik. The First Day Cover designed by Shri Sankha Samantha, shows the building of Sharada Sadan in its present form. The cancellation has been designed by Ms. Nenu Gupta.

Date of Issue: 30.11.1994