Lakshmi N. Menon

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Lakshmi N. Menon (1897-1994) was born in Thiruvananthapuram, and is the child of Rama Varma Thampan and Madhavikutty Amma. In 1930 she married Professor V.K. Nandan Menon, who had been the vice chancellor of the University of Travancore and Patna University, as wells as the director for the Indian Institute of Public Administration.

Lakshmi studied at Madras, Lucknow, and London, acquiring high qualifications as an educator. She first taught at Queen Mary’s College, Madras, then the Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School, and lastly the Isabella Thoburn College in Lucknow. She switched to law in the late 1920s and practiced until 1935. She was an associate of Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu and Margaret H. Cousins.

She was one of the founding members of the All India Women’s Conference, serving for a period of time as its secretary and president as well as editor of its magazine, Roshni. After Independence she was the principal at the Patna Teachers’ Training College. But Jawaharlal Nehru wanted her to be part of his government, and he persuaded her to allow herself to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Somewhat reluctantly she agreed, and moreover served as Alternate Delegate from India to the United Nations. In 1949-1950 she headed the UN Section on the Status of Women and Children.

Returning to Independent India, she served in the Ministry of External Affairs as Parliamentary Secretary from 1952 to 1957, Deputy Minister from 1957 to 1962 and Minister of State to 1967. She...
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