Sophia Duleep Singh: Suffrage Icon Bridging Borders

  Nov 13, 2023

Sophia Duleep Singh: The Sikh Princess Championing Women's Rights


Sophia Duleep Singh, a Sikh princess with roots in Britain and India, played a pivotal role in advocating for women's voting rights. Her influence extended from the British suffrage movement to inspiring figures in India's struggle for women's rights.

Early Life and Background

Royal Lineage: Sophia was the daughter of Duleep Singh and the granddaughter of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Despite her royal heritage, she developed a keen awareness of the injustices faced by women.

First Visit to India: Her first visit to India in 1903 was a turning point, exposing her to the nationalist movements and the plight of Indians under colonial rule.

Role in the Suffrage Movement

Activism in Britain: Sophsia was actively involved in the British suffrage movement, known for selling the 'Suffragette' newspaper at Hampton Court Palace.

Blue Plaque Honour: In recognition of her contributions, Sophia was honoured with a blue plaque outside one of her homes in Britain.

Influence in India

Meeting with Herabai Tata: In 1911, during a visit to India, Sophia met Herabai Tata in Srinagar, Kashmir. This encounter was significant in catalyzing the movement for women's voting rights in India.

Symbol of Empowerment: The green, white, and yellow badge worn by Sophia, inscribed with 'Votes for Women,' symbolized the growing call for women's suffrage.


Inspiring Indian Women Leaders: Sophia's influence touched prominent Indian women activists like Sarojini Naidu, Herabai Tata, and Annie Besant.

Forgotten Heroine: Despite her critical role in the suffrage movements, Sophia's contributions in India remain largely overlooked in mainstream historical narratives.


Sophia Duleep Singh emerged as a symbol of women's empowerment, transcending geographical boundaries to inspire a generation of women in both Britain and India. Her story is a reminder of the interconnected struggles for women's rights and the need to recognize the contributions of women in history.


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