Durgabai Deshmukh was an Indian freedom fighter, lawyer, social worker and politician. She was a member of the Constituent Assembly of India and of the Planning Commission of India. From her early years, Durgabai had been associated with Indian politics.
- At age 12, she left school in protest to the imposition of English-medium education. She later started the Balika Hindi Paathshala in Rajamundry to promote Hindi education for girls.
- She was instrumental in organising women satyagrahis in the Civil Disobedience Movement. This led to British Raj authorities imprisoning her three times between 1930 and 1933.
- She was one of the 15 women in the Constituent Assembly which wrote the Constitution of India. She failed to get elected to Parliament in 1952, and was later nominated to be a member of the Planning Commission.
- She served as India’s first Chairperson of the Central Social Welfare Board, which she had founded. She was also the first Chairperson of the National Council on Women’s Education.