Indrani Rahman’s inspiring story of becoming Miss India and first Indian woman to participate in the international beauty contest in 1952 shows moms don’t have to give up on their dreams to be a mother.
It is heartbreaking how many women, after motherhood, are made to feel guilty when they push themselves to pursue their dreams. More often than not, their friends and family make them feel guilty of not being a good mother if they give equal attention to their career goals as they give to their kids. But, sadly only moms are subjected to this unfair treatment; not fathers. So many moms succumb to undue pressure and abandon their dreams.
Time and time again, they tell themselves, “When my kids grow up, I will…”. The lack of support and encouragement leaves little room to aspire to anything more than what society expects them to be.
But, here’s an inspiring story of Indrani Rahman that sends across the strong message to every mother: “Just because you are a mom that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your dreams.”
Indrani Rahman, at the age of 22, became the first Indian woman to participate in the international beauty pageant, way back in 1952.
The time when our society was way more patriarchal than today. During such time, how Indrani, being a mother, scaled new heights is an inspiration for every 21st-century Indian woman.
In the year of 1952, 22-year-old Indrani, was a renowned classical dancer, a mother, and a wife.
Even being a mother of two young kids, couldn’t stop her from embarking on the journey of her dreams. In 1952, although married, and with a child, she became the first Miss India, and went on to compete in the Miss Universe 1952 Pageant, held at Long Beach, California.
Indrani: A symbol of Modern Indian Woman
During the competition, Indrani didn’t hesitate at any step. She showcased full confidence and her great style. It was her unique style that caught the attention of many. During the swimsuit, she paired a lovely gajra and bindi with her suit.
She not only looked absolutely radiant but also became the symbol of the modern Indian woman, who was ready to handle her tradition hand in hand with modernity.
Indrani’s inspiring journey towards her dreams started at a very young age. Her dance training began at the mere age of 9. Being trained in Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, and Odissi, Indrani continued with her dance tours after the pageant.
When she was 15 years old, Indrani got married to a well-known architect Habib Rahman in 1945. And the couple was blessed with a son and a daughter.
Indrani Represented India At Various Events
In 1961, Indrani was the first dancer present on a national tour by the Asia Society and also performed for the US President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, during Nehru’s official visit to Washington, D.C.
Indrani also performed for Emperor Haile Selassie, Queen Elizabeth II, Mao Zedong, Nikita Khrushchev, and Fidel Castro.
Indrani’s Commitment To Popularize Traditional Indian Dance Forms
Indrani worked extensively to spread awareness and beauty of traditional Indian dance forms across the world. She extensively toured across the United States, imparting her knowledge of the traditional Indian dance forms.
Later in her life, she settled in New York in 1976. Along with her mother, she dedicated her life to popularising the Indian classical dances performing all over the world.
She even taught in many American universities, including Harvard, and spent her later life in the United States, touring extensively, until her death in Manhattan in 1999.
Indrani: The Padma Shri Recipient
In 1969, Indrani was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri for her unparalleled contribution. She was also a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the Taraknath Das Award.
At IFORHER, we are in awe of this inspiring woman who is a role model of many Indian women pursuing their dreams. We wonder what if she was also told that she couldn’t pursue her dreams or goals because she is a mother.
Her inspiring story is just a reminder for many brave moms, to not succumb to the societal pressure to give up on their dreams and goals.