Sarala Debi (19 Aug 1904 – 4 Oct 1986) was an Indian independence activist, feminist, social activist, politician & writer. She has many firsts to her credit- 1st Odia woman to join Non-cooperation movement (1921);1st woman to be elected to Odisha Legislative Assembly on 1 April 1936;1st Female Speaker of Odisha Legislative Assembly;1st Woman Director of Cuttack Co-operative Bank;1st Female Senate member of Utkal University;1st Odia Woman Delegate of Indian National Congress & the only one from Odisha on President Dr S. Radhakrishnan's Education Commission.

Sarala was born into a zamindar family in Narilo village near Balikuda (now in Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha). In Banki, in early life, she was inspired by stories of Suka Devi (queen of Banki) to join independence movement. At age 14 she married Bhagirathi Mohapatra who was lawyer by profession & interested in nationalist politics & Gandhian Movement. Rather than facing stereotypical resistance of a patriarchal family, she enjoyed freedom to read, write & take part in political movements.

Sarala joined Congress in 1921, after Mahatma Gandhi's 1st visit to Orissa. She was Secretary of Utkal Sahitya Samaj, Cuttack (1943-46). The contribution of Sarala Debi to Women’s Movement & Culture of Odisha is extraordinary. She wrote 30 books & 300 essays, participated in Gandhi’s Salt March & other movements, was jailed for about 6 months, was active member in politics & worked for women’s welfare lifelong.



 For Women's Day on March 8 2021, we present stories of 8 Inspiring Women of Odisha. For this, at the outset, we want to thank

#bmcbhubaneswar @smartcitybhubaneswar for conceptualizing the Street Art and Mural Project (STAMP) & making murals of fine women on Bhubaneswar's walls before #InternationalHockeyWorldCup2018. In busy city dwellers' lives, these 60 plus numbers of women's murals over a dedicated km-plus stretch of walls, have kept denizens connected to their awe-inspiring life stories. And Team Utkalamrita pays tribute to
8 such inspiring women, having done a humble photoshoot with these Larger-Than-Life Murals in the backdrop.

#womenempowerment #womensday

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