Herabai Tata

Other names: 

Mrs H. A. Tata


16 Tavistock Square
London, WC1H 9BQ
United Kingdom
51° 31' 30.6192" N, 0° 7' 36.3036" W
Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1879
Precise DOB unknown: 
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Current name city of birth: 
Current name country of birth: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 



Herabai Tata was born in 1879 in Bombay. At sixteen she married into the Tata family and gave birth to her daughter, Mithan, a year later. In 1909, Herabai became a Theosophist and would often attend Theosophical conventions in Adyar and Benaras, through which she met Annie Besant. In 1911, on a holiday in Kashmir, Herabai met Princess Sophia Duleep Singh. Through discussion with Sophia and literature that Sophia later sent, Herabai became interested in and an active worker for the cause of women's suffrage.

In 1915, Herabai became Honorary Secretary of the Women's Indian Association (WIA) in Bombay. She was involved in promoting women's right to the Montagu investigation in 1916 and then to the Southborough Franchise Committee. On 2 August 1919, Herabai went to England with Mithan and Sir Sankaran Nair in order to present a memorandum on women's franchise to the Joint Select Committee. In England, Mithan received a place on a post-graduate course at LSE and so Herabai stayed on in England for the next four years while her daughter completed her studies. They stayed at 16 Tavistock Square in London from November 1919 to March 1920.

Published works: 

'A Short Sketch of Indian Women's Franchise Work' (n.d.) in Eunice de Souza and Lindsay Pereira (eds) Women's Voices: Selections from Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century Indian Writing in English (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 127-34.

Secondary works: 

Forbes, Geraldine, Women in Modern India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)

Archive source: 

Correspondence with Mrs Jaiji Petit, Head of Bombay Women's Suffrage Union, 1919-1920, Nehru Memorial Library Archives, New Delhi