She was the first woman to practice law in India and Britain.
Born in Nashik, she was one of nine children of Reverend Sorabji Karsedji and his wife, Francina Ford, who had been adopted and raised by a British couple. With her unrelenting faith in herself, she not only broke into a tough male stronghold, but also ensured that other women did not have to go through the same grind and could study and practice law freely. Last year, on her 150th birthday, the Somerville College had inaugurated the scholarship at a celebration held to mark her birth anniversary. She was the first woman to read law at the Oxford University.
In 1897, she graduated in L.L.B. from University of Bombay and passed the government pleader's exam from Allahabad High Court in 1899, but was finally recognised as a Barrister only after the laws barring women from the legal fraternity were finally changed in 1923.
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She vigorously fought for the rights of purdahnashins also earned a right to be trained them in nursing for providing them with an opportunity to work outside their home.
Though she entered the pleas, she was not allowed to defend them in court as the law then prohibited women from practising. The doodle depicts Sorabji in front of the Allahabad High Court.
She had represented scores of women by the end of her career and helped to create a persistent force to reckon with in the case of women's rights, including their rights to inheritances. Initially, she spent her childhood in Belgaum and then moved to Pune. These women, who were child brides and widows could not protect their property even after being entitled to it because they could not appoint any lawyer for themselves as all of them were men. "On what would have been her 151st birthday, we celebrate Cornelia Sorabji for breaking that first glass ceiling and for her persistence in the face of great adversity", Google's doodle page said. In 1904, she was appointed as the Lady Assistant to the Court of Wards of Bengal. Sorabji is believed to have helped over 600 women and children and often, is believed to have dispensed her service free of charge. Cornelia, who studied literature wrote a number of books, short stories and articles, and also her autobiography known as Between the Twilights. She died on 6th July 1954 in London.