Inderjit Kaur was a social worker, professor and an activist during the 1947 Partition of India.
Born in 1923 in Patiala, Punjab, Inderjit Kaur grew up to study at Patiala’s Victoria Girls School, and subsequently was educated in Lahore, where she completed an MA in Philosophy from the Government College. Inderjit was coined as one of the most educated girls in Patiala, and began teaching at the Victoria Girls Intermediate College in 1946 once she graduated.
During her time as a teacher, the Partition of India led to wide disruptions around her, including the influx of hundreds of refugees into Patiala. Inderjit, alongside others, formed the Mata Sahib Kaur Dal to support refugee families in the form of food, clothing and their rehabilitation. As the secretary of the organisation, Inderjit played a fundamental role in sending truckloads of resources to other refugees in Baramulla, Kashmir, where the Patiala Army had gone to rescue locals. Inderjit spent her time after this supporting the setting up for the Mata Sahib Kaur Dal School in Patiala, which was formed largely for the education of refugee children. She also organised self-defence training for women refugees and set up gidda classes for girls.
Inderjit went on to become the Vice-Chancellor of the Punjabi University in Patiala and represented India at various international conferences, including the Conference of the Association of Commonwealth University at Wellington, New Zealand, and at the International Conference of the Executive Heads of Universities, held in Boston, USA, where she was among the only three women university heads in the world.
Although her time of passing is unknown, she retired her position as Chairman of Staff Selection Commission, Delhi in 1985, after which she moved to Chandigarh to retire.
Bibi Inderjit Kaur is an inspiration to us all. She ran an organisation which single-handedly supported over 400 refugee families, whilst pursuing her own ambitions – becoming one of the first women from Patiala to earn a Masters degree. She spent her life serving the Punjabi community in the form of education and humanitarianism – something which we can all achieve and take inspiration from.