Google India paid homage to Anasuya Sarabhai with a beautiful doodle on her 132nd birth anniversary on Saturday (November 11). The colourful tribute to one of India’s pioneers of the women’s labour movement brought a forgotten history of her critical role and contribution in the pre-Independence era to the forefront.
What’s also interesting is that the doodle on Sarabhai has been created by Maria Qamar, a Pakistani-Canadian artist and the author of the comic books like Trust No Aunty and Hatecopy, which spurs desi sarcasm in hilarious cartoons.
Known for her fierce portrayal of desi women in her comics, Qamar wrote on Google’s blog, “Anasuya’s dedication to justice and equality is something I can relate to.” Qamar weaved the sketch to put the spotlight how the activist was enraged by the harrowing working condition of women in the Indian textile industry. “I portrayed delicate fabrics and traditional patterns found in our homes and our closets,” explained Qamar. “I am honored to have the opportunity to share Anasuya’s legacy with the world,” the illustrator added.
Born in Gujarat, she was married off by her uncle at a tender age of 13. However, with her grit and zeal to fight any form of social evils, she walked away from the marriage and went to England to study at the prestigious London School of Economics. Once back to her homeland, she learned about the atrocious 36-hour work shifts for women and decided to take the task in her hands to bring about a change. In 1914, she helped Ahmedabad’s weavers successfully organise their first strike to demand higher wages and through years, she went on to become their most trusted vocal supporter, negotiating with mill owners (including her brother) for better working conditions.
The reach of the doodle is only limited to India, however, with her legacy in the feminist movement, she is a global icon and rightly so, the doodle made international headlines too.