Amrit Kaur was born on 2nd February 1889 in Lucknow. Part of the Kapurthala royal family, she completed her early education in England at Sherborne School in Dorset and graduated from Oxford University. She returned to India after completing her education.
She co-founded the All India Woman’s Conference in 1927 and served as its secretary in 1930 and president in 1933.
Role in India's Independence Movement:
She was imprisoned by the British for her participation in the Dandi March. Kaur was a prominent Gandhian and began living in Gandhi’s ashram in 1934 and was his secretary for sixteen years.
She was appointed a member of the Advisory Board of Education by the British government but resigned in 1942 in support of the Quit India Movement for which she was imprisoned again by the British authorities.
Contribution to Constitution Making:
She was elected to the Constituent Assembly from the Central Provinces and Berar. She contributed to the establishment of constitutional ‘equality’ of men and women which is guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, and 16. She also played a crucial role in the inclusion of Uniform Civil Code as a part of the Directive Principles of the State Policy.
After the Independence, she was Health Minister in the Prime Minister’s cabinet. She was independent India’s first health minister and served in that capacity for ten years. In 1950, she also became the first female and first Asian president of the World Health Assembly and also led India’s delegation to the World Health Organization several times. She pioneered the establishment of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and served as its first president. She was also the Chairperson of the Indian Red Cross for fourteen years. As an activist, she worked to reduce illiteracy and eradicate child marriage.
She died in New Delhi on 6 February 1964.