Humanists I Met
Mani Ben Kara
Delegate - Free World Labour conference, UK in 1949.
In 1974 by the time Mani Ben
came to Hyderabad
old age appeared. Already she was an expert
manager and a leader in the fields of humanitarian and labor. Having traveled
within the country and worldwide, Maniben, who
continuously worked for women’s rights, was born in Mumbai.
As she belongs to a middle class family she studied in St.Colambia High School in Gamdevi.
After that she went to Birmingham in London to study Social
Science straining. On returning she involved in labor affairs, put continuous
effort and started taking interest in Port workers, poor people suffering in
huts, oppressed women living without rights. As part of that effort, she
accepted responsibility in various labor associations and took form as an All
India Trade Union leader. In the process
she came across people like V.B.Karnik,N.M.Joshi. With
their cooperation she extended matchless services in the field of labor.
She established and ran a printing
press in Mumbai. In 1930 she got acquainted with
newly foreign returned M.N.Roy. That became close friendship and led to assume
an important role in Radical Democratic Party established by Roy. Later she immersed in Humanist
Movement. In 1931 she met Lucy Gesler who landed in Mumbai on a
ship from Switzerland.
Maniben rescued her from British spies and took her
to M.N.Roy in secret. But soon British government smelt the secret and sent her
Maniben was arrested during combats in 1932. She
stood by M.N.Roy. She was elected Member of
Parliament in the centre. Maniben
conducted social programs in many slums with great courage .Indumathi
Parekh supported her work. Maniben
endeavored in various government appointed women welfare organizations.
She toured Hyderabad
on our invitation. During such visits other than city site seeing, Komala and I went along to renowned Humanist of those
times, Lawyer Avula Samba Siva Rao’s
residence. Those days SambaSivaRao was living in Malakpet in Hyderabad.
His daughter Manjulatha had delivered a son just
then. Mani Ben presented a souvenir to that baby boy.
She told us to gift like that is a good tradition. She showed interest in many things in Hyderabad old city. She described her work and experiences in
women’s organizations to us. Spoke about her long acquaintance and experiences
She died in 1979. Her work as leader of humanitarian
movement is to be reckoned. V.B Karnik briefly published her biography. Mani Ben displayed her persona by representing in national
and international conferences.