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When hus­band

San­jay Gandhi died in a plane crash and son Varun was just three months old, Maneka Gandhi’s world had al­most col­lapsed. But the man­ner in which she took con­trol of her life, fought all odds and steered it in the path she be­lieved in, is ad­mirable.

Af­ter part­ing ways with her mother-in-law, the then PM of In­dia Indira Gandhi, in the early ‘80s, the feisty lady formed her own party and ded­i­cated her life to pol­i­tics. How­ever, she even­tu­ally joined the BJP and is to­day the Union Min­is­ter for Women & Child De­vel­op­ment.

An ar­dent en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist and an­i­mal rights ac­tivist, Maneka played a key role in bring­ing the is­sue of an­i­mal rights to the fore­front. In 1995, she be­came the chair­per­son of the Com­mit­tee for the Pur­pose of Con­trol and Su­per­vi­sion of Ex­per­i­ments on An­i­mals (CPCSEA), and con­ducted sur­prise checks in the lab­o­ra­to­ries where re­search was car­ried out on an­i­mals. She also started Peo­ple for An­i­mals, which is the largest an­i­mal wel­fare or­ga­ni­za­tion in the coun­try to­day.

Win­ner of sev­eral hu­man­i­tar­ian awards and writer of books, Maneka is one of the most in­spir­ing women lead­ers of our coun­try.

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