Born on 4th January 1903, Renuka Ray went on to receive education from Loretto House School and Diocesan College, Calcutta. Ray keenly followed the Indian political developments from a young age. Persuaded by Gandhi’s call for fight against the British rule, she joined Gandhi’s ashram and accompanied him in protests. Later, she went on to obtain a degree from the London School of Economics.
Role in India’s Independence Movement:
Ray was a prominent women’s rights advocate. She was a legal secretary to the All India Women’s Conference and authored “Legal Disabilities of Women in India; A Plea for a Commission of Enquiry”. She closely worked on prevention of women trafficking and improvement of conditions for women labourers.
Contribution to Constitution Making:
Ray was elected to the Constituent Assembly from West Bengal. She made several interventions in the Assembly including on women’s rights issues, minorities rights and bicameral legislature provision.
Ray represented India in U.N. General Assembly in May 1949. She was also elected to the West Bengal Legislature in 1952 and the Parliament in 1957. Ray was awarded Padma Bhushan for her services in public affairs in 1988.
Ray authored My Reminiscences: Social Development During Gandhian Era And After. The Telegraph in their review noted that the book provided "a broad view of Indian social development through the first decade of the 20th century till the Seventies”.
Ray was not a part of any Committees in the Constituent Assembly.
1. Ray argued against special constitutional privileges and reservation for women.
2. During the discussion on religious rights, Ray moved an amendment to bar religious instructions in public-funded schools.
3. She was not convinced with ‘bicameral legislature’ working in the Indian political set-up.