A public activist for women"s emancipation, she founded the Andhra Mahila Sabha (Andhra Women"s Conference) in 1937. From an early life Durgabai was associated with Indian politics. When the Indian National Congress had its conference in her hometown of Rajahmundry in 1923, she was a volunteer and placed in charge of the Khadi exhibition that was running side by side.
Her responsibility was to ensure that visitors to were not allowed without tickets.
She fulfilled the responsibility given to her honestly and even forbade Jawaharlal Nehru from entering. When the organizers of the exhibition saw what she did and angrily chided her, she replied that she was only following instructions.
She allowed Nehru in only after the organizers bought a ticket for him. Nehru praised the girl for the courage with which she did her duty.
This led to British Raj authorities imprisoning her three times.
Durgabai was the president of the Blind Relief Association. In that capacity, she set up a school-hostel and a light engineering workshop for the blind. She was instrumental in the enactment of many social welfare laws.
In that role, she mustered support for a national policy on social welfare.
The policy resulted in the establishment of a Central Social Welfare Board in 1953. As the Board"s first chairperson, she mobilized a large number of voluntary organizations to carry out its programs, which were aimed at education, training, and rehabilitation of needy women, children, and the handicapped.
She was the first chairperson of the National Council on Women"s Education, established by the Government of India in 1958. To commemorate her legacy Andhra University, Visakhapatnam has named its Department of Women Studies as Doctor Durgabai Deshmukh Centre for Women"s Studies.
Born in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, British India, Durgabai was married at the age of 8 to a man she later quit to pursue her education.
According to her own account, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the three witnesses. C. Doctorate. Deshmukh had a daughter from a previous marriage but the couple remained otherwise childless. Durgabai Deshmukh authored a book called The Stone That Speaketh.
Her autobiography Chintaman and I was published one year before her death in 1981.
Andhra Mahila Sabha in 1938. Council for Social Development
Durgabai Deshmukh Hospital in 1962.
Sri Venkateswara College, New Delhi
Andhra Education Society (Advanced Encryption Standard) was founded in 1948 by Doctor Durgabai Deshmukh to serve the educational needs of Telugu Children residing in Delhi.