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PERIN BEN CAPTAIN (1888–1958)


Perin Ben Captain was a freedom fighter. She was a granddaughter of Dadabhai Naoroji and was born at Mandvi in Kutch on 12 October 1888. Her father was a doctor and died when she was seven. She was educated in Bombay (now Mumbai), then in Paris at the Sorbonne University where she studied French. In 1925 she married Dhunjisha S. Captain.

In Paris she became part of Madam Cama’s circle of revolutionaries, and had a part in the plan to free Savarkar after he was arrested in London. She and Savarkar attended the first Egyptian National Congress at Brussels. Perin Ben also worked with Polish émigré organisations in Paris against Czarist Russia. She returned to India in 1911, and met and was influenced by Gandhiji in 1919. In 1921 she helped set up the Rashtriya Stree Sabha, a nationalist women’s organisation on Gandhian principles. She was a member of several War Councils of the Bombay (now Mumbai) Congress and also its first woman president in 1932 when she was arrested during the Civil Disobedience Movement. That same year when the Gandhi Seva Sena replaced these earlier organisations she was made Honorary General Secretary and remained so till her death; she held the same office for the Hindustani Prachar Sabha. She was one of the early awardees of the Padma Shri in 1954.
 
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