India’s very first woman advocate, Cornelia Sorabji’s 151st birth anniversary was honoured by the global tech giant, Google, on 15th November, 2017, with a doodle showing her in advocate’s attire with the Allahabad High Court building in the background. Cornelia Sorabji was also the first Indian woman to study at a British University, when she pursued her law studies at Oxford, after becoming the first woman to graduate from law school in India in 1892.
Inspite of her qualifications, she was not allowed to practice in courts in England or India. She returned to India to became a legal adviser to the government for pardanashin women (women in veils) who were forbidden by social custom from interacting with men outside their families. Even after having cleared the Pleader Examination at Allahabad High Court in 1899, she was not acknowledged as a Barrister. When courts in British India finally opened their doors to woman advocates in 1923, she started her practice in Kolkata. In 1954, she passed away in London.