Google joined in the International Women’s Day celebrations this year with a doodle paying tribute to 13 remarkable women and the significant contributions they have made in their areas of expertise. The short slide show that Google plays today pays respect to these women and their accomplishments in different fields. Lotfia ElNadi, Ida B Wells, Ada Lovelace, Sally Ride, Lina Bo Bardi, Cecilia Grierson, Frida Kahlo, Miriam Makeba, Olga Skorokhodova, Halet Cambel, Lee Tai-young, Rukmini Devi Arundale and Suzanne Lenglen. Rukmini Devi Arundale, the only Indian woman to feature in the list, was an eminent Bharatanatyam dancer born in a Brahmin family in Madurai.
* Most importantly, Arundale is known for working reviving the art form of the classical dance in south India, which was otherwise looked down upon as lowly and an art form of the devadasis. So when Arundale, a ‘high-caste’ woman, got involved to extricate the art form from the caste prejudices in was entangled in, there were a lot of protests.
* Originally known as sadhirattam, the name Bharatanatyam was given by E Krishna Iyer and Arundale. She modified the dance, brought it out of its shackles of caste-association and into the global arena. She is believed to have quietly turned down the nomination as a presidential candidate offered by Morarji Desai in 1977.
* Born in 1904, she was felicitated with Padma Bhushan in 1956 and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1967 honouring her for her contribution to the field of Indian classical dance. She founded Kalakshetra — an arts and cultural academy in Chennai in 1936.
* She did not just contribute significantly to the fields of arts and dance, but also did her bit for animal welfare. She worked with a lot of humanitarian organisations and brought about the legislation for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act as a Rajya Sabha member. Until her death in 1986, she was the chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India that she set up in 1962.
* Being a strict vegetarian, she was keenly involved in promoting the cause. She was vice-president of the International Vegetarian Union for 31 years from 1955 until her demise at the age of 81.