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Hyderabad Literary Festival 2020: A Britisher who fought for India's freedom

Hyderabad Literary Festival 2020: A Britisher who fought for India
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The life of Freda Bedi is an essential reading for all those who are interested in Kashmir beyond the tragic headlines that occupy the mind space of...

The focus of a panel discussion was Freda Bedi, a British woman who played an important role during Independence in 1947.

Freda Bedi, who is little known to the people of India, is the mother of veteran actor Kabir Bedi. After the death of his father, Baba Pyare Lal Bedi, Freda brought up her children single-handedly and worked hard so that she could provide proper education and achieve a mark in different fields.

Freda Bedi was a British woman born in Derby, England, who became famous as the first western woman to take ordination in Tibetan Buddhism. Freda herself was detained for a shorter time after deliberately defying the wartime regulations as part of a civil disobedience campaign spearheaded by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as a satyagrahi.

In 1947, Bedi and her family moved to Kashmir, where they were influential supporters of Sheikh Abdullah, the left-wing Kashmiri nationalist leader. She joined a women's militia for a while and taught English at a newly established women's college in Srinagar in Kashmir.

The session focused on Andrew's recent publications on his biography of Freda Bedi. Andrew spoke of his book that the life of Freda Bedi is an essential reading for all those who are interested in Kashmir beyond the tragic headlines that occupy the mind space of most of us today. Andrew further said, "Freda was one amongst the women who refused to be constrained by traditional barriers of gender, race, and religion. Most of the people do not who she is."

Irene Frain, who was a good friend of Freda, said, "Freda played a very important in Kabir's life. She was one of the role models in his life. He is proud that he was raised by a mother who supported what was right and not the wrong one."

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