Hannah Sen (1894–1957), the daughter of a Baghdadi mother and a prominent Hindu lawyer who converted to Judaism, made her mark in a wider arena.
She graduated with a law degree but chose education as her profession. Starting out as a teacher in the Jewish Girls' School in Calcutta, she became the first Indian principal of the New High School for Girls in Bombay in 1922. While earning her Teacher's Diploma from the University of London, Hannah Sen was closely associated with some of the leading British women's organizations. She gave many speeches, including one in front of a large number of British Members of Parliament, on the conditions and problems of Indian women. In 1932 she was asked to return to India to help found the Lady Irwin College of Home Science in New Delhi, of which she served as principal until 1947. Under her leadership, this college was heavily involved in the Indian nationalist movement—something with which most Baghdadi women, like their male counterparts, did not identify. Sen later worked with the Ministry of Relief and Rehabilitation, focusing on women and children who were displaced as a result of the partition of the sub-continent. She continued her interest in social affairs by representing India at international conferences of non-governmental organizations, UNESCO, and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Hannah Sen remained close to the Jewish community and contributed to the building of the synagogue in New Delhi.
Read the story of Hannah Sen, her family, and their legacy.