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Women & Religion

Anju Bhargava (1967- )

  • She is a business transformation management consultant. She has been a consultant for over two decades and has provided leadership in many sectors as well as published papers on her career and religion.
  • An important accomplishment of hers includes being the only Hindu appointed to President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (Georgetown) where she addressed policy issues such as health initiatives in communities.
  • She was also appointed to Secretary Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council and equally as important she was the only Indian to serve in the Clinton administration's Community Builder Fellowship initiative (Georgetown).
  • She founded the Hindu American Seva Charities which encourages Hindu community service programs to address social justice matters.
  • She was named one of the 10 most inspiring Women Religious Leaders by Huffington Post, she is the only woman that is Hindu to lead an invocation pray at Livingston’s Memorial Day Service as well as the NJ State Assembly (Hindu American Seva Communities). she has also created and education program that mentors corporate women called Chakravyuhu, has published articles in RMA journal, and has a marketing effort “Capitalizing Diversity in the Changing Financial Markets” (Hindu American Seva Communities).


"Anju Bhargava." Anju Bhargava. Georgetown University, n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.


"Anju Bhargava on Obama's Committee." Hinduism Today Jan 2010: 7. ProQuest. Web. 11 Mar. 2017 .


"Who We Are - Hindu American Seva Communities." Who We Are - Hindu American Seva Communities. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.

Kasturba Gandhi (1869-1944)

  • She was known for the constant support she had for her husband, Mohandas Gandhi, and followed his lead every step of the way during the process for gaining rights from the British. For this she is considered a political activist for India.
  • Kasturba was a big source of inspiration for Hindu women, because she would participate in every movement without hesitation, and she was one of the first to join the battle for freedom.
  • When Kasturba joined her husband, Mohandas Gandhi, in a mass movement in which they broke an immigration law by crossing Natal into Transvaal without permits. This resulted in Kasturba being sentenced to three months of hard labor.
  • Even when she was imprisoned, she served as an inspiration and symbol of strength to the Hindu women. She did this by looking after the young prisoners, and took the role of leading the prayers every evening.


“Kasturba.jpg.” Commons wikimedia , 1 Feb. 2007,


Mungur, Lorna. “Kasturba Gandhi”. South African History Online. 29 May. 2012. Accessed 2 November. 2016.

Kiran Bedi (1949- )

  • Her story starts when she first started her police training. Bedi was the only female in a group of about 80 men in her training class.
  • After all of her training was completed, she became the first female to lead the all-male contingent.
  • Within just a short three months, Kiran Bedi was able to reduce crime rates, especially sexual harassment and wife beating cases.
  • After 32 years on the job, Kiran Bedi finally resigned. Bedi started a social activism foundation, mainly for the following issues women are dealing with; education, domestic violence, and others.


“Dr Kiran Bedi and Malcolm Johnson 2 (Crop).” Wikimedia, 8 Apr. 2016,


IMAM, FATIMA A. "Bedi, Kiran." India Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic, edited by Arnold P. Kaminsky and Roger D. Long, vol. 1, ABC-CLIO, 2011, pp. 82-83. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 12 Mar. 2017.


Shackle, Samira. "'My policing was nothing but activism - it had to be': Kiran Bedi, social activist and former police chief." New Statesman, 19 Mar. 2012, p. 28+. Academic OneFile, &sw=w&u=mcc_glendale&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA286256591&it=r&asid=3bb 98eb926758ed4238e786b5d5e815. Accessed 8 Nov. 2016.

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi (1979- )

  • Activist and hijra(transgender Indian woman)Laxmi Narayan Tripathi has been at the forefront of hijra activism for over twenty years, and once India recognized hijras as a third gender, she had set her eyes on the educational system and how it can be used to raise awareness and influence children to appreciate the diversity in the world.
  • Laxmi has also collaborated with the University Grants Commission to aid transgender students, whether that be financially or with separate bathrooms
  • She has been recognized by the United Nations when she was specifically chosen to represent the Asian-Pacific region in 2008.
  • Laxmi Narayan Tripathi’s continues to advocate for hijra rights to this day, as her most current work has led her to developing an app with UNAIDS that would allow the monitorization of services being provided to hijras.


“India's Supreme Court Ruling Expands Possibilities for Realization of Transgender Rights.” UNAIDS, 16 May 2014,



“Interview with Laxmi Narayan Tripathi and Her Mother.” UNAIDS AsiaPacific, 12 Feb. 2015,


Reddy, Gayatri. With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2005.



Sethi, Nedhi. “Whichever man came my life abused me: Laxmi.”, The Times of India, 30 Apr. 2014, Accessed 13 Mar. 2017.



Sharma, Dinesh C. “Changing Landscape for Sexual Minorities in India.” Lancet (London, England), vol. 383, no. 9936, 2014, pp. 2199–2200. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61070-9.



Timothy. “Laxmi Narayan Tripathi at JLF Melbourne presented by Melbourne Writers Festival, Federation Square, Melbourne 2017.Jpg.” Commons wikimedia, 12 Feb. 2017,,_Federation_Square,_Melbourne_2017.jpg.

Mother Meera (1960- )

  • Mother Meera is believed to be an embodiment of the Divine Mother.
  • She did not preach religion, but offered enlightenment to those in their spiritual path.
  • She offers her blessings by making people kneel in front of her, placing their heads in her hands, then she looks into their eyes, which is known to aid people’s personal life.
  • She is significant because she was considered a female spirituality, which also proved that women were also worshiped rather than just men.


Chryssides, George D. Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements Series: Historical Dictionary of New Religious Movements (2). Blue Ridge Summit, US: Scarecrow Press, 2011. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 10 March 2017.


Cornille, Catherine. "Mother Meera, Disciples of." Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. Ed. J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann. 2nd ed. Vol.4. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2010. 1973. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 5 Oct. 2016.


Cristopher Ross. "Experiencing Mother Meera." Canadian Woman Studies 17.1 (1996): 78- 81. Academic OneFile. Web. 5 Oct. 2016.


“Mother Meera.” Wikimedia, 13 May 2007,

Rani of Jhansi (1835-1853)

Rani of Jhansi was know for her victories as a warrior in battle, which was rare because not many women were seen in the battlefield.

  • She filled the roles of both queen and battle commander who challenged the British Empire by creating a regiment in her army made up of only women.
  • She became a legend and not only inspired Hindu women, but all women to believe in their strength that comes from being a proud woman.
    • Statues of the Rani of Jhansi have been placed all around India, and the places and buildings that have been named after her include the Rani Jhansi Marine National Park and Laxmibai National University of Physical Education.   


"Jhansi." The Macmillan Encyclopedia. N.p.: n.p., 2003. N. pag. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.


"Lakshmi Bai." Almanac of Famous People, Gale, 2011. Biography in Context, Accessed 11 Mar. 2017.


“Rani_of_jhansi.” Commons wikimedia , 2 Jan. 2009,

Vandana Shiva (1951- )

  • Born on November 5, 1952 in India
  • Known as an environmental activist, eco feminist, and a philosopher
  • She went to school and completed her doctorate in the philosophy of science in 1978
  • She established the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy in India
  • Often described as an “environmental hero”


Binu, Augustus . “Dr. Vandana Shiva DS.Jpg.” Commons wikimedia, 30 Aug. 2014,


Gift, Nancy. "Shiva, Vandana (1952–)." Climate Change: An Encyclopedia of Science and History. Ed. Brian C. Black. Vol. 3. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2013. 1223-1225. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.


"Vandana Shiva." Notable Women Scientists, Gale, 2009. Biography in Context, Accessed 12 Mar. 2017.

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