Lady Lawyers Day: First female lawyer of India: Cornelia Sorabji

Lady Lawyers Day: First female lawyer of India: Cornelia Sorabji

Today women are represented in every sphere of life in India. They work in the judiciary, as well as defense, arts, literature, Social Work, and politics. It is not a big deal to see a woman in a black coat in court, but there was a time when women were not allowed to practice law. In those days, one Indian woman studied law and became the nation’s first Woman Advocate. His struggle was difficult and tough to narrate in a few words.

She was ‘The Cornelia Sorabji’

Cornelia Sorabji is the first woman lawyer of India. She was born on 15 November 1866 in Nashik, Maharashtra. Cornelia's family was Parsi but she had converted to Christianity.

Cornelia's father was a priest. There was a good atmosphere of reading and writing at his house. Because of the influence of Western civilization on Christians, education of women was not prohibited but the way to reach higher education was very difficult. Her mother was also played a role to contribute to her education since her mother Francina Ford was raised by an English couple and gave her a good education since childhood. In such a situation, Francina also insisted on her daughter's education and sent her to study at the university.

Girls did not have the right to enroll in Bombay University, but Cornelia was the first girl who was allowed to study in the university. This opened the way for the education of girls in the university. After completing her studies at Bombay University, she wanted to go to London for further studies.

Although her father did not have enough money for Cornelia to go to study at Oxford, she wrote a letter to the National Indian Association asking for financial help for further education. Cornelia's maternal grandparents were British, who knew influential English people, so she easily got into Oxford.

Cornelia Sorabji earned a civil law degree from Somerville College, Oxford, becoming the first Indian woman to study law. She was the first Indian woman to top the college. After returning to India, she did LLB from the Bombay University in 1897.

Despite the degree and qualification, Cornelia could not become a lawyer, because women did not have the right to advocate at that time. But she fought, and tried to improve the condition of the women of India. Because of this, he had many enemies who wanted to poison him and kill him.

However, in 1923 this law was changed and the very next year, she got a chance to practice as an advocate in Kolkata. But she could not do so for long, as by 1929 she had turned 58 and retired from the High Court.

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