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Maharani Gayatri Devi: She started a ‘pardah school’ to kill pardah system for women!

Do you know there is an educational institution in Jaipur which came up as a pardah school to eradicate the pardah system from society?

This school was none other than the Maharani Gayatri Devi School which was started by the erstwhile queen of Jaipur, as  a silent revolution to fight against the evil of pardah system dominating the desert region in those days.

She started this all-girls school in 1943 after feeling sad to see the plight of women covered under pardah in different parts of the region. The queen was from Cooch Behar and was quite well-educated queen, had a global outlook and a good exposure to the world. After coming to Rajasthan, she was pained to see girls spending their lives in purdah.

One fine day, Sawai Man Singh sought an advice from her queen to find a solution on girls’ education.

The queen immediately suggested a school for girls. The idea was that once girls go to a school, there will be no purdah in a few years.

Her ultimate aim was to liberate girls from the clutches of purdah system and hence she approached a few families to send their daughters to school.

The queen herself made door to door visits asking the elites to send their daughters to school since in those times, education for girls in the desert state was a novel idea. 

With her hard efforts, 24 girls enrolled on the school register.

Initially, these parents were quite apprehensive of sending their daughters to schools. Hence, the queen rolled in a ‘purdah’ bus for these girl students. The bus, highly curtained, had one teacher escorting each girl into it. The curtains were quickly fastened to the bus’ windows as soon as they boarded it.

Also, the bus was divided into two parts by a curtain between the driver’s cabin and the rest of the bus. The other part of the bus was occupied by girls, teacher and the maid.

Now, the school has completed 75 years of its operations, liberating girls from the clutches of the purdah system. The girls built their own recognition and identity in diverse streams be it politics, Army, sports, art and culture and civil services, says Colonel S.S. Sangwan (Retd.), Administrative Officer of the Maharani Gayatri Devi School.

From Meira Kumar to Savitri Candy to Apurvi Chandela, this school continues churning out new talents which are making a mark on the global map.

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