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Princess Sophia Duleep Singh and The Important Role of Indian Women in the Suffragette Movement

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Authored by Nishah Malik
Published on 15th October, 2021 34 min read

Princess Sophia Duleep Singh and The Important Role of Indian Women in the Suffragette Movement

"Men make the moral code and they expect women to accept it. They have decided that it is entirely right and proper for men to fight for their liberties and their rights, but that it is not right and proper for women to fight for theirs"1  – Emmeline Pankhurst, founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union 

Over the years women have pushed boundaries and broken patriarchal ideals, in order to fight for their liberties and rights. The first step towards these rights was achieved on the 6th February 1918 when the Representation of the People Act was passed. The act gave women aged over 30, if they met certain property qualifications, the right to vote in Britain.2 While this may not seem equal by today’s standards, this was a revolutionary moment in the long fight for women’s rights. It laid the groundwork for the Representation of the People Act of 1928, which allowed all women to vote at the age of 21.3 The road to political equality has been a long one.4 The 1918 act came after thousands of women campaigned tirelessly for decades, got arrested, went on hunger strikes, but never gave up. The main suffragette movement was the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), founded by Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903.5

The historiography of the women’s suffrage campaign in Britain has grown considerably. Historians June Parvis and June Hannam mention how although the suffragettes have received a great deal of scholarly attention, feminist historians have tended to paint ‘a more complicated extended nuanced picture’.6 Further expressing how the diversity of the movement and the diverse individuals and groups involved has received little attention.7 When we discuss the women’s suffragette movement prominent names like Millicent Fawcett, Emmeline Pankhurst, Christabel Pankhurst or Emily Davison, the first suffragette martyr, get mentioned frequently. Those women were inspirational and played an indispensable role in the passing of the 1918 act. 

However, it is important to note that there were over 50,000 members just in the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, which was led by Fawcett.8 As Parvis and Hannam mentioned, discussion of the suffragette movement takes a white hegemonic stance, something that is often left out of this discussion is the diversity of the suffragettes. An aspect which is rarely mentioned is that ethnic minorities were very much a prominent part of this fight for women’s rights, most famously Princess Sophia Duleep Singh. Sikh princess, Sophia Duleep Singh, was a member of the WSPU and the Women’s Tax Resistance League. She played an important part in the movement and devoted her life to the ‘advancement of women’. At the time Sophia was very well known, however as the years have passed her vital involvement in the suffragette movement is not acknowledged as much. This article aims to bring to light Princess Sophia Duleep Singh’s role in the women’s suffragette movement and provide an alternative look into the movement and British life. It will take an interdisciplinary approach, placing Sophia in to the wider discussions surrounding women’s rights, class and immigration, as well as spatial studies.  

Who was Princess Sophia Duleep Singh?

Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, born in 1876, was the fifth child of Maharaja Duleep Singh and Bamba Müller. Her father became the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire in 1843 at the mere age of 5.9 Sophia’s grandfather was Ranjit Singh, the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire. Sophia’s family had a very powerful and influential position in Punjab, Ranjit Singh was often known as the mighty “Sher-e-Punjab”, which translates to “Lion of Punjab”.10 They ruled over the North-West Indian subcontinent, which started at the Kashmir Valley and stretched to the foothills of Khyber Pass, which is in modern day Pakistan.  However, their hold of Punjab all changed in 1849 when Duleep Singh was forced to abdicate his realm to the East India Company and was exiled from India. In 1854 he moved to Britain where he became a close friend of Queen Victoria and was financially taken care off by the India Office.11 He had six children with, Bamba Müller, one being Sophia. The young princess was Queen Victoria’s favourite and was her goddaughter.

As time went on Duleep Singh became more and more resentful towards the British and after some failed attempts to reclaim Punjab in 1886 he went into exile in Paris.12 After this and her mothers subsequent death in 1887, Arthur Oliphant of the India Office became Sophia’s legal guardian and she was also cared for by Queen Victoria. Sophia was ‘raised according to her birth as an aristocrat’.13 Despite her father’s illegal attempts to reclaim Punjab, Queen Victoria cared for Sophia and ensured she had a place in the royal court.14 In 1894, Queen Victoria hosted Sophia’s coming out party, at this point she also ‘acquired emancipation from her India Office guardians’.15 Her godmother granted her with a grace and favour lodgings at Faraday House, which was located on the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. Sophia was a socialite who attended every event and party, Anita Anand notes how she became somewhat of a celebrity in the late nineteenth-century.16 Her style and poise became a popular point of discussion in women’s magazines. She even beat the royal family at the Crufts dog show, by winning the precursor competition of Crufts, with her Pomeranians.17 The young Indian princess was a member of British elite society.

From a Socialite Princess to a Suffragette Princess

Women’s Tax Resistance League Badge (LSE)

Sophia’s carefree attitude to life changed after an eye-opening forbidden trip to India. In 1903, Sophia and her sisters visited India in secret, in order to attend the Delhi Durbar.18 The Delhi Durbar was a mass celebration organised by the British in Delhi to celebrate Edward VII’s coronation. While in India she was utterly shocked at the famine and suffering of the people her ancestors once ruled over. She witnessed the suffering at the hands of colonial rule first hand and was horrified by the cries of Indian nationalists fighting for their rights.19 Upon return to England she noticed a resemblance in the cries for rights with the suffragettes, who were similarly fighting for justice. During her India trip she grew a considerable conscience and on her return to England she began her lifelong journey of fighting for women’s rights.20 

Due to her position, she quickly found herself in Emmeline Pankhurt’s inner circle. In 1908, in the home of Una Dugdale a famous suffragette who made national news for her refusal to say "and obey" in her marriage vows, Sophia joined the WSPU.21 In the following year she became a devoted member of the Women's Tax Resistance League, which was a group that used tax resistance to protest against the lack of women’s rights. Kira Cochrane mentions how Sophia’s involvement with the movement ‘began gently’ with activities such as fundraising, driving press carts around London, bake sales and donating her own money to help fund the cause.22 However, as the years progressed her involvement became more direct. Sophia chaired and addressed many meetings, as well as refusing to pay her taxes.23

On 18th November 1910, the princess took part in a suffragette deputation, which was known as Black Friday.24 The campaigners, with Sophia and Emmeline leading the way, marched to the House of Commons in a bid to convince the Asquith government to pass a limited suffrage bill. However, the protest took a turn for the worse, when the police turned violent and began arresting the suffragettes. The princess even fought with a police officer who ‘was battering a sister suffragette’.25 Despite the brutal scenes on Black Friday Sophia was still committed to the cause. In 1911, the twelfth nationwide census was being conducted, Sophia joined a suffragette protest which aimed to subvert the census, on the grounds that “if women don’t count, neither should they be counted”.26 She also threw herself at Prime Minister Asquith’s car, while slamming a “give women the vote” pamphlet on his window.27 Sophia was a high-profile suffragette who devoted her life to the movement. This audacious act, along with her other protests, fundraising and celebrity status, helped attract maximum attention to the suffragette movement.

Beyond her Status 

Newspaper on Princess Sophia Singhs Court Case, published on 13th December 1913 (British Library) 

Sophia became an active member of the Women’s Tax Resistance League, which was a league that refused to pay taxes until they got the right to vote. On a number of occasions Sophia faced prosecutions for her refusal to pay taxes, in 1911 she was fined £3 for not paying licenses for her five dogs, servant and carriage.28 While in December 1913 she was fined £12 for the same offence and also had to appear in court.29 A news article on the day of her court hearing included a segment of her address in court, Sophia took the grounds that she would not pay the taxes to a state that she has no voice in, further expressing: 

“When the women of England are enfranchised and the State acknowledges me as a citizen, I shall, of course, pay my share willingly towards its upkeep, if I am not a fit person for the purposes of representation, why should I be a fit person for taxation?”30

Subsequently the court fined her, in which she responded saying “I didn’t say I will pay these fines either”.31 Alongside the fines she had her jewellery impounded and auctioned off. Furthermore, after a picture surfaced of Sophia selling the suffragette magazine at Hampton Court Palace Sir William Coddington, a politician, asked Lord Crewe “if anything could be done to stop her".32 In a letter, Lord Crewe insinuated that the King could possibly evict her for her campaigning, explaining: 

“We have no financial hold over the Princess, but of course it is for the King to say whether her conduct is such as should call for her eviction from The Lodging she now enjoys in Hampton Court by his Majesty's favour.”33

Sophia was a member of elite society and raised as an aristocrat, considering this her involvement in the league and wider suffrage movement highlights how she went beyond her prescribed status. She could have lost everything  from her money, position, house and possessions, yet this did not deter her. Sophia showed resilience and continued to fight for what she believed in, despite the possibility of losing everything.  

While Sophia did go beyond her social status in her activism she was also protected by her social status. Wright was a well-known suffragette who was imprisoned on a number occasions. Wright recalled one incident with the police in 1914: 

“The first arrest, my seventh, was near Notting Hill Gate and the Princess Sophia Duleep Singh and I were both knocked down together by the police. The Princess was not convicted, but I was and was sentenced to a fortnights imprisonment.”34

As Wrights account shows, despite being involved in the WSPU’s activities, like Wright, Sophia did not receive the same punishment. Similarly, Emma Sproson ‘was gaoled for six weeks’ and her dog was shot for refusing to pay just one dogs license.35 Many suffragettes faced severe punishments for their activism, however Sophia’s royal status and close relationship with Queen Victoria stopped the government, police and royal family being able to serve severe punishments to the princess.

Militancy at Hampton Court Palace 

Anita Anand, who wrote an extensive account on Sophia’s life, mentioned that this protection her social status gave was problematic to Sophia.36 Further explaining that she craved the ‘political martyrdom’ that her royal status protected her from, she longed to be arrested so she could go on a hunger strike like her suffragette sisters.37 However, this protection does not mean she did not play a significant role in the movement, arguably Sophia strategically used her social class and celebrity status in the movements favour. Afterall, militancy can come in different forms, even Emmeline herself commanded in a meeting that the suffragettes should “be militant each in your own way”.38 As discussed, Sophia began selling the suffragette newspaper at Hampton Court Palace. On the grounds of her home she set up a large board stating “Suffragette Revolution” and began selling the newspaper to passerby’s. Arguably, this came to be one of her most audacious acts of militancy. But, Sophia was not unique in this act as many other suffragettes also sold the newspapers, subsequently this brings forward the question why was this act by Sophia so significant. In a sense the act of Sophia selling the suffragette newspaper was a subtle non-violent form of anti-establishment, in particular due to the background of Sophia and the location she was selling them at. 

Elizabeth Baker made the politically astute comment that Sophia transformed the simple act of selling newspapers into a political theatre, further expressing how Hampton Court Palace was transformed to a ‘votes for women battle ground’.39 Hampton Court Palace was the home to many of the Queens grace and favour lodgings, however had a hybridised identity as a public museum and crown property also. The palace was a popular tourist site and saw over 14 million tourists between 1838 and 1912.40 The exhibitions within the museum were created to promote a specific nationalist vision of the mighty British Empire. Baker mentions how the collections were designed to rebrand the British monarchy’s ‘turbulent history as a narrative of ancient and divinely mandated power’.41 Hampton Court Palace symbolised the British monarchy and the success of imperialism. Therefore, Sophia’s act of bringing her “Suffragette Revolution” stand and newspapers to the grounds of her home subverts the very essence of what the palace was meant to symbolise. It is rather ironic that Sophia, as a second-generation immigrant, was fighting for autonomy outside a building that praises taking away her families autonomy in Punjab. Sophia, an imperial subject who was both British and Indian selling the suffragette newspaper outside a building that praised its imperial history highlights a subtle form of anti-establishment. Baker, reiterating this, expressed that she was challenging the very ‘myths of British liberalism at the very site of their mythification’.42 The suffragettes main aim was to attract as much public attention as possible to their campaigning, especially from the monarchy. The photo that circulated of Sophia made its way to King George V, who utterly hated the suffragette movement.43 The fact Sophia was bringing the suffragette voice to royal grounds angered the King and he asked the India Office to do something about it. However, not much could be done as the King also did not want to evict his grandmothers favourite goddaughter.44 Sophia strategically used her position on the grounds of her home to subvert nationalist messages and transform newspaper selling to a political theatre. Thus, further attracting attention to the movement. 

The Importance of Indian Suffragettes

Indian suffragettes on the Women's Coronation Procession, London, 17th June 1911 (British Library)

The British suffrage movement was more or less exclusively white, however the movement was not race exclusive and never favoured the rights of one race over the other. While Sophia was an Indian suffragette who had the most long-term and direct involvement in the suffragette movement, this does not mean she was the only Indian suffragette in Britain. There is some documentation of other Indian women also campaigning for the right to vote. On 17th June 1911, the suffragettes held a demonstration to demand the right to vote, the procession marked the coronation of King George V.45 The WSPU wanted to demonstrate the support for the British suffrage movement throughout the empire, therefore decided to include an “Empire Paegant”.46 This featured representations from India, Australia, South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand. 

The above photo shows the Indian women part. Little is known about the lives of these Indian women, however it is understood that the women were all living in Britain.47 However, while the women’s involvement does highlight how there was also other Indian women in the suffragette movement, arguably it has more tokenistic motivations. Sumita Mukherjee mentioned how the Indian women at the march in June 1911 were not there to  represent Indian women voters or women’s voting rights in India.48 However, they were there ‘to represent the size of the empire, rather than to reflect on any way on the diversity of the British population’.49 Further mentioning how many of the suffragettes argued that British women needed the right to vote, in order for them to influence policies across the empire. Thus highlighting how other races were often used strategically in the campaign. 

The women’s suffrage movement was not just a British struggle, but a global one. Sophia’s dedicated involvement in the British suffrage movement was important in influencing the suffrage movement in India. In 1911, during a holiday to Srinagar in Kashmir, Sophia met mother and daughter Herabai and Mithan Tata.50 Herabai, born in Bombay, was a theosophist, however after meeting Sophia she began a journey to fight for the rights of women. Herabai’s daughter recalled the time they met Sophia, explaining that her mother was intrigued by the “votes for women” badge Sophia “always wore”.51 After this the two became friendly, Sophia explained all about the movement and sent her literature, which according to Mithan “immediately roused mothers interest”.52 Following the encounter with Sophia, Herabai became a firm believer for “the cause of women’s suffrage” in India. In the following years, Herabai became Honorary Secretary of the Women's Indian Association (WIA) and played a prominent role in promoting women’s rights in the Mont–Ford Reforms in India.53 

In 1919 Herabai and her daughter, along with Sir Sankaran Nair, a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Committee, travelled to London to present a memorandum on women's franchise to the Joint Select Committee.54 This was where the 1919 Government of India Bill was being discussed and they wanted to bring up the issue of women’s voting rights in India. While Sophia never campaigned for women’s rights in India directly, her dedicated involvement and revolutionary actions to the British suffrage movement became an inspiration for the fight for Indian women’s rights in India. Herabai and Mithan only intended to stay in Britain for a few months, however they ended up staying for four years and became very active in voicing opinions about Indian women’s voting rights. Herabai and Mithan spoke at various organisations up and down the country such as the Social and Political Union of Bedford College; Westfield Ladies College; Adult School and Women’s International League.55 They managed to gain support from a diverse range of British organisations, which subsequently made their voices heard by many. Many of their arguments drew comparisons between Britain and India, in a statement sent to the India Office they mentioned: 

“It has been recognised now in all countries that the sex barrier has been a grave mistake, is out of date, unworthy of the times, a relic of past days when might was above right…Why should India lag behind others in this respect and create a sex barrier where one does not exist, and thus brand Indian women as inferior to their sisters in other countries.”56

Many British women became active supporters of the Indian fight for equal voting rights. Harriet Newcomb, a member of the British Dominions Women Citizens Union even sent a letter to the Joint Select Committee. Within the letter she appealed for “imperial solidarity’ and how the League of Nations urged equality, mentioning how the British Empire were taking “a lower moral standard” by not allowing equality in India.57 Similarly, other prominent members of suffrage organisations sent letters to the India Office urging them to consider their demands. Unfortunately, the petitions and high-profile support was not enough to convince the Joint Select Committee and they did not include women in the 1919 Government of India Bill.58 The 1935 Government of India Act did allow certain women to vote, for example if they had certain qualifications.59 However, it was not until 1950, when India became a republic, that all adults got the right to vote. While this did not happen in 1919, it does not mean Herabai and Mithan Tata’s efforts were wasted. 

In The Common Cause journal in 1919, Cornelia Sorabji, an Indian woman, explained that ‘English women should not be advocating for Indian female suffrage’ on the grounds that they were not equal to the status of British suffragettes.60 Further mentioning how other social issues and equality of education should be considered first. While the root of her argument does hold validity, it does not mean the Indian suffrage movement was unsuccessful. Priya Ravichandran expressed how the women’s movement in India ‘grew in the shadows of larger suffragette movements around the world’.61 Indian suffragettes like Sophia, Herabai and Mithan may have only seen some success from their campaigning in Britain and India, but their very involvement, be it in the ‘shadows’ or in the public eye, in the campaigning is much more significant. 

Throughout history there are many examples where cultural and social norms have ‘perpetuated power imbalances between men and women’.62 Unfortunately, traditional Indian cultural norms has and in some cases still does restrict women’s rights a lot more than in western cultures. A 2021 article by Sivakumar and Manimekalai, speaking about the challenges women face in Indian culture, mentions how traditional Indian society is still patriarchal.63 Further expressing how the patriarchal values that regulate social productions, reproduction and sexuality ‘are expressed through specific cultural metaphors’ and ritual practices.64 It has often been considered a major cultural taboo if a woman perhaps spoke out against elder males in the family or in some cases worked outside the home. Therefore, acknowledging the social and cultural landscape of traditional Indian society the very fact women like Sophia, Herabai and Mithan even fought for their political rights in a culture that heavily restricts women’s autonomy, even more so than in western cultures, is utterly revolutionary. While their voice did not get heard until 1950, what is important here is that they utilised their voice and fought for Indian equality in a culture that is heavily regulated and conservative. Therefore, the very presence of Indian women in the suffragette movement is significant in challenging traditional notions surrounding political agency of Indian women. Their involvement in the movement was not just ground-breaking politically, but also culturally. 

Britain and Immigration 

As discussed previously, Sophia’s family background, aristocratic upbringing and close relation to Queen Victoria protected her from facing serious punishments for her activism. Arguably, if Sophia was an Indian woman of lower status her activism would have been treated differently. First of all it is unlikely she would have held such prominent place in the WSPU and secondly she would have faced the same or possibly worse punishments for her campaigning. This brings forward an important discussion about early race relations in Britain. Ahmed and Mukherjee’s book South Asian Resistances in Britain takes a comprehensive look at the ‘contribution of colonial migrants to British life’.65 The majority of their book focusses on anti-Imperialist resistance by South Asians between 1858 and 1947. However, they go on to also explore how South Asians often ‘diverged from the traditional anti-imperialist struggle that dominates the discourse’.66 Ahmed and Mukherjee asserted how South Asians were ‘active participants in acts of resistance’ across the social and political spectrum in Britain, making particular reference to the suffragette movement.67 With this in mind it is interesting how Princess Sophia Duleep Singh provides us with a different view on immigration and the involvement of South Asian migrants in British life. Often when you think of South Asian immigration to Britain the post-War years where many South Asian men and later women settled in Britain come to mind. Initially, many migrated to resolve the manual labour shortages following the war, however later settled in Britain with their families. While the post-War years saw an influx of migration from the subcontinent, this was not the first time South Asian men and women settled in Britain. Britain has been an enclave of ethnic diversity for centuries, the South Asian diaspora have been living in Britain for hundreds of years before the war. In particular, after Queen Victoria’s proclamation in 1858 a firm link was cemented between India and Britain, as a British monarch was governing India. This increased migration between the two countries, many army officers, seamen and affluent students settled in Britain. South Asians, from different classes, have been present in Britain for many years.68  

Modern Britain has been built on its cultural diversity, ethnic minorities have played a key role in shaping Britain. The Minority Rights Group mention how South Asian communities make a ‘major contribution to British life in business, medicine, science, the arts, academia, politics and sports’.69 However, despite this unfortunately their involvement in the grand scheme of British history is often overlooked. Sophia’s involvement in the suffrage movement as not only an Indian, but as an Indian woman is testimony to this. It brings forward the neglected history of Indian women’s role in shaping British history. Her involvement provides a different view on South Asians in Britain to the post-war immigration that often dominates the narrative. It is interesting, from what we know about her life, that she was welcomed into Britain and reached a prominent place not only in society, but the WSPU, while post-war migrants were welcomed with discrimination and “Keep Britain White” posters. This is most likely due to her status and connection to the Queen, nevertheless it still raises important questions about early race attitudes in Britain and how migrants were treated. Thus, alongside being a feminist icon and key member of the suffragette movement, her very presence in the movement highlights how ethnic minorities have played a major role in shaping the Britain that we live in today.  

A Modern Day Hero

In conclusion, this article has brought to light the life of suffragette Princess Sophia Duleep Singh and highlighted how her presence in the movement was influential for a number of reasons. Sophia was not just influential in terms of her activism, but her very involvement in the activism draws on broader arguments about immigration and Indian women’s role in British society. On many occasions she used her social status to strategically get her message across. Her activism was even influential during her time, as her dedication to the British cause was a catalyst for other Indian women to similarly fight for their rights in India. 

Mukherjee commented how existing studies that explore the relationship between feminism and imperialism often explores it from a British woman standpoint.70 This analysis of Sophia’s life has taken a different stance and has examined the relationship between feminism and imperialism through the life of an Indian woman. Mukherjee further mentioned that ‘British suffragette involvement with India was sometimes part of a British feminist agenda’, as it gave an impression of imperial sisterhood, as seen at the “Empire Paegant”.71 Often British women ‘assumed dominance by depicting Indians as weaker counterparts’.72 The story of Indian suffragettes like Sophia, Herabai and Mithan breaks this stereotype and displays how Indian women were anything but weak. They were resisting not only patriarchal constraints, but also cultural and racial constraints in order to take over their own narrative. 

With this in mind, Sophia is an inspiration to all women, but in particular South Asian women in their ongoing fight for equal rights. South Asian women have struggled with cultural and sexual limitations for generations. This is not just the case for women living in South Asia, but also the South Asian diaspora worldwide. In recent decades, South Asian culture has improved in some aspects of equality, for example women working and getting an education is accepted by the majority of the diaspora. However, in some cases cultural norms and practices still dictate a woman’s place and unfortunately men still hold the upper hand in many circumstances. This is especially the case in relation to a woman’s sexuality and the lack of a voice she has when it comes to sexual assault. The fact Sophia was Indian, a woman, an aristocrat and a prominent member of the suffragette movement in a society where her presence would have been welcomed reluctantly is inspiring. In the early twentieth-century she demonstrated how Indian women were not just “weak counterparts”, but were able to strategically take control of their own narrative and fight for equality. This is inspirational for modern day South Asian women who still face sexual and cultural limitations in aspects of their life.  

Sophia’s life and activism raises another point about the presentation of British history and the ongoing campaign to decolonize the curriculum. At school you often learn about the women's suffrage movement, but you tend to only learn one side of it and similarly with other events in history. History is not just about learning facts. History is a series of narratives containing a diverse range for people, cultures, events, interactions and decisions. It is about seeking an understanding of the past and how it has shaped our existence. Therefore, it is important influential people of colour and their histories, like Sophia’s, are more widely acknowledged. This is not only for developing a sense of race awareness, but also in terms of seeing how individuals in history, that look like them or come from the same background, shaped the world we live in today. Whether it be South Asian, African or Caribbean figures, it is important for young people of colour to also see themselves in the history they learn. 

Footnotes

  1. https://radicalteatowel.co.uk/radical-history-blog/6-quotations-that-define-the-suffragette-movement/
  2. Parvis, June, Hannam, June, “Introduction”, in Parvis, June, Hannam, June (ed.). The British Women’s Suffrage Campaign (New York: Routledge, 2021), p. 1. 
  3. https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/case-study-the-right-to-vote/the-right-to-vote/birmingham-and-the-equal-franchise/1928-equal-franchise-act/
  4. Cochrane, Kira, Modern Women, (London, Aurum, 2017), p. 70.
  5. Parvis, June, Hannam, June, “Introduction”, in Parvis, June, Hannam, June (ed.). The British Women’s Suffrage Campaign, p. 1. 
  6. Parvis, June, Hannam, June, “Introduction”, in Parvis, June, Hannam, June (ed.). The British Women’s Suffrage Campaign, p. 2.
  7. Ibid, p. 2. 
  8. Leslie Parker Hume, The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies 1897-1914 (New York & London: Garland Publishing Inc., 1982), Preface.
  9. Anand, Anita, “Sophia Duleep Singh: princess and suffragette”, (2018) - https://www.bl.uk/votes-for-women/articles/sophia-duleep-singh-princess-and-suffragette
  10. Ibid
  11. Ibid
  12. Cochrane, Kira, Modern Women, p. 70. 
  13. “Indian aristocrats and protest: the story of Sophia Duleep Singh”, Our Migrant Story - https://www.ourmigrationstory.org.uk/oms/the-indian-aristocrats-and-protest-in-britain-sophia-duleepsingh
  14. Anand, Anita, “Sophia Duleep Singh: princess and suffragette”, (2018) - https://www.bl.uk/votes-for-women/articles/sophia-duleep-singh-princess-and-suffragette 
  15. Baker, Elizabeth, “Suffragette palace: Sophia Duleep Singh (1876-1948), Hampton Court Palace and Votes for Women”, in Parvis, June, Hannam, June (ed.). The British Women’s Suffrage Campaign, p. 82.
  16. Anand, Anita, “Sophia Duleep Singh: princess and suffragette”, (2018) - https://www.bl.uk/votes-for-women/articles/sophia-duleep-singh-princess-and-suffragette 
  17. Ibid
  18. Ibid
  19. Ibid
  20. Ibid
  21. Cochrane, Kira, Modern Women, p. 71. 
  22. Ibid
  23. Ibid
  24. Anand, Anita, “Sophia Duleep Singh: princess and suffragette”, (2018) - https://www.bl.uk/votes-for-women/articles/sophia-duleep-singh-princess-and-suffragette 
  25. Ibid
  26. Cochrane, Kira, Modern Women, p. 72.
  27. Ibid. 
  28. Mukherjee, Sumita, “Herabai Tata and Sophia Duleep Singh: Suffragette Resistance for Indian and Britain 1910-1920”, in Ahmed, Rehana, Mukherjee, Sumita (ed.). South Asian Resistances in Britain 1858-1947, pp. 112-3.
  29. Ibid
  30. Newspaper on Princess Sophia Singhs Court Case, published on 13th December 1913 (British Library) - https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/newspaper-article-about-sophia-duleep-singh-trial
  31. Ibid
  32. Transcript of telegram for Lord Crewe about Sophia Duleep Singh, 21st April 1913, British Library, https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/transcript-of-telegram-for-lord-crewe-about-sophia-duleep-singh
  33.  Ibid
  34. Mukherjee, Sumita, “Herabai Tata and Sophia Duleep Singh: Suffragette Resistance for Indian and Britain 1910-1920”, in Ahmed, Rehana, Mukherjee, Sumita (ed.). South Asian Resistances in Britain 1858-1947, pp. 115
  35. Ibid
  36. Baker, Elizabeth, “Suffragette palace: Sophia Duleep Singh (1876-1948), Hampton Court Palace and Votes for Women”, in Parvis, June, Hannam, June (ed.). The British Women’s Suffrage Campaign, p. 77.
  37. Ibid. p. 79.
  38. Ibid. p. 79. 
  39. Ibid, p. 80.
  40. Ibid, p. 85
  41. Ibid, p. 92. 
  42. Ibid
  43. Ibid, p. 91.
  44. Ibid
  45. Photograph of Indian Suffragettes on the Women's Coronation Procession, June 1911, British Library -https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/photograph-of-indian-suffragettes-on-the-womens-coronation-procession
  46. Ibid
  47. Ibid
  48. Diversity and The British Female Suffrage Movement https://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/blog/diversity-british-female-suffrage-movement
  49. Ibid
  50. Mukherjee, Sumita, “Herabai Tata and Sophia Duleep Singh: Suffragette Resistance for Indian and Britain 1910-1920”, in Ahmed, Rehana, Mukherjee, Sumita (ed.). South Asian Resistances in Britain 1858-1947, pp. 111
  51. Ibid
  52. Ibid
  53. Ibid p112
  54.  Ibid p 115
  55. Ibid
  56. Herabai and Mithibai Tata: British support for Indian suffragists - https://blogs.bl.uk/untoldlives/2015/07/herabai-and-mithibai-tata-british-support-for-indian-suffragists.html 
  57. Mukherjee, Sumita, “Herabai Tata and Sophia Duleep Singh: Suffragette Resistance for Indian and Britain 1910-1920”, in Ahmed, Rehana, Mukherjee, Sumita (ed.). South Asian Resistances in Britain 1858-1947, pp. 115
  58. Herabai and Mithibai Tata: British support for Indian suffragists - https://blogs.bl.uk/untoldlives/2015/07/herabai-and-mithibai-tata-british-support-for-indian-suffragists.html
  59. Ibid  
  60. Mukherjee, Sumita, “Herabai Tata and Sophia Duleep Singh: Suffragette Resistance for Indian and Britain 1910-1920”, in Ahmed, Rehana, Mukherjee, Sumita (ed.). South Asian Resistances in Britain 1858-1947, pp. 109
  61. The Indian Suffragists: Claiming their Rights in Britain and India  by Priya Ravichandran https://ohrh.law.ox.ac.uk/the-indian-suffragists-claiming-their-rights-in-britain-and-india/
  62. Sivakumar, I,  Manimekalai, K, “Masculinity and Challenges for Women in Indian Culture", Journal of International Women’s Studies, 22.4 (2016): 433.
  63. Ibid p. 427
  64. Ibid
  65. Ahmed, Rehana, Mukherjee, Sumita, “Introduction”, in Ahmed, Rehana, Mukherjee, Sumita (ed.). South Asian Resistances in Britain 1858-1947 (London: Bloomsbury, 2011), p. xxi
  66. Ibid
  67. Ibid
  68.  South Asians, Minority Rights Group International - https://minorityrights.org/minorities/south-asians/ 
  69. Ibid
  70. Mukherjee, Sumita, “Herabai Tata and Sophia Duleep Singh: Suffragette Resistance for Indian and Britain 1910-1920”, in Ahmed, Rehana, Mukherjee, Sumita (ed.). South Asian Resistances in Britain 1858-1947, pp. 107
  71. Ibid
  72. Ibid


Authored by Nishah Malik

Nishah Malik


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The British Online Archives blog is a platform for scholars to present their research to students and the general public. The posts cover a range of historical themes and debates from around the world. The opinions expressed represent those of the authors, not British Online Archives or Microform.

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