Pandit, Vijaya Lakshmi, 1900-1990

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Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (18 August 1900 – 1 December 1990) was an Indian diplomat and politician who was the first female elected to 6th Governor of Maharashtra and 8th President of the United Nations General Assembly. Hailing from a prominent political family, her brother Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of independent India, her niece Indira Gandhi the first female Prime Minister of India and her grand-nephew Rajiv Gandhi was the sixth Prime Minister of India. Pandit was sent to London as India's most important diplomat after serving as Nehru's envoy to the Soviet Union, the United States and the United Nations. Her time in London offers insights into the wider context of changes in Indo–British relations. Her High-Commissionership was a microcosm of inter-governmental relations.

Vijaya Lakshmi's father, Motilal Nehru (1861–1931), a wealthy barrister who belonged to the Kashmiri Pandit community, served twice as President of the Indian National Congress during the Independence Struggle. Her mother, Swaruprani Thussu (1868–1938), who came from a well-known Kashmiri Pandit family settled in Lahore, was Motilal's second wife, the first having died in child birth. She was the second of three children; Jawaharlal was eleven years her senior (b. 1889), while her younger sister Krishna Hutheesing (b. 1907-1967) became a noted writer and authored several books on their brother.

In 1921, she was married to Ranjit Sitaram Pandit (1893–1944), a successful barrister from Kathiawar, Gujarat and classical scholar who translated Kalhana's epic history Rajatarangini into English from Sanskrit. Her husband was a Maharashtrian Saraswat Brahmin, whose family hailed from village of Bambuli, on the Ratnagiri coast, in Maharashtra. He was arrested for his support of Indian independence and died in Lucknow prison in 1944, leaving behind his wife and their three daughters Chandralekha Mehta, Nayantara Sehgal and Rita Dar.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Andrews, Robert Hardy, 1908-1999. Robert Hardy Andrews collection, 1925-1985. Boston University. School of Medicine
creatorOf Moulton, Joseph Langdon. Papers, 1922-1986. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Kitchelt, Florence Ledyard Cross, 1874-1961. Papers, 1885-1961 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1932-1975 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1922-1964 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Jones, Thomas H., landscape architect. Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site photographs, 1935-1980. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn Victoria Ocampo papers, 1908-1979. Houghton Library
referencedIn Bondfield, Margaret, 1873-1953. Margaret Grace Bondfield papers, 1854-1951, 1898-1951 (bulk). Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn New York Times Company records. Arthur Hays Sulzberger papers, 1823-1999 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Emanuel Celler Papers, 1924-1973, (bulk 1945-1973) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Ruth Fischer papers, 1925-1961 (inclusive) 1940-1961 (bulk) Houghton Library
referencedIn New York Times Company records. A.M. Rosenthal papers, 1955-1994, 1967-1986 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Jacobs, Sophia Yarnall, 1902-. Papers, 1932-1975 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Larue County Public Library (Hodgenville, Ky.). Larue County Public Library vertical file, 1934-1974. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Guide Project Office
referencedIn General Records of the Department of State. 1763 - 2002. Photographs of U.S. Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Presidential and Diplomatic Events National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Papers of Sir Maurice Hallett, chiefly as Governor of Bihar 1937-39 and Governor of United Provinces 1939-45, 1935-1945 British Library
referencedIn Guthrie, Anne. Papers, ca. 1929-1957. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Higginbottom, Sam, 1874-1958,. Additional papers of Sam Higginbottom and Jane Ethelind Cody Higginbottom [manuscript] 1844-1971. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Littledale, Clara Savage, 1891-1956. Papers, 1903-1982 (inclusive), 1903-1956 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966. William Ernest Hocking Papers, 1860-1979 Houghton Library
referencedIn Edward L. Bernays Papers, 1777-1994, (bulk 1920-1990) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Walter Francis White and Poppy Cannon papers Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Chester Bowles papers, 1924-1982 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Pandit, Vijaya Lakshmi, 1900-1990. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, n.d. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Bernays, Edward L., 1891-1995. Edward L. Bernays papers, 1777-1994 (bulk 1920-1990). Library of Congress
referencedIn Forbes Collection: publications and papers relating to Indian women and women s studies collected by Prof Geraldine Hancock Forbes (b 1943) on which her 'Women in modern India' (Cambridge 1996) was based British Library
creatorOf Pandit, Vijaya Lakshmi, 1900-1990. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit letter to Rajni Patel, 1939 Mar. 30. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Margaret June Ramsay-Brown papers., 1921-1990 British Library
referencedIn John Foster Dulles oral history collection, 1964-1967 Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections.Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Public Policy Papers.
referencedIn Dunaway, Margaret Fowler. Papers, 1922-1964 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf United Nations. General Assembly. Correspondence, 1953, from Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Chester Bowles papers, 1924-1982 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Andrews, Robert Hardy, 1908-1999. person
correspondedWith Bernays, Edward L., 1891-1995. person
associatedWith Bondfield, Margaret, 1873-1953. person
associatedWith Bowles, Chester, 1901-1986. person
correspondedWith Celler, Emanuel, 1888-1981 person
correspondedWith Dunaway, Margaret Fowler person
correspondedWith Fischer, Ruth, 1895- person
associatedWith Guthrie, Anne. person
correspondedWith Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966 person
associatedWith Jacobs, Sophia Yarnall, 1902- person
associatedWith Kitchelt, Florence Ledyard Cross, 1874-1961. person
associatedWith Littledale, Clara Savage, 1891-1956. person
associatedWith Moulton, Joseph Langdon. person
associatedWith New York Times Company corporateBody
correspondedWith Ocampo, Victoria, 1891- person
associatedWith Patel, Rajni M., person
associatedWith Rosenthal, A. M. (Abraham Michael), 1922-2006 person
associatedWith Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. corporateBody
associatedWith United Nations. General Assembly. corporateBody
associatedWith White, Walter Francis, 1893-1955. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Bihar, India
Hyderabad State, India
Darjeeling, Bengal
Jamshedpur, Bihar
Republic of India 00 IN
Subject
Ambassadors
Women politicians--Correspondence
India--History--20th century
Occupation
Politician
Ambassador
Governor
Activity

Person

Birth 1900-08-18

Death 1990-12-01

Female

Indians (India)

English

Information

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