Diana Edulji, ex-India cricketer and former co-administrator of the Indian cricket board, suggested that the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, organise a cricket tournament exclusively for its female students. Edulji said if the institute agreed, she would offer it a gift. “Have a women’s cricket tournament next year—I will send the trophy across,” she said.
Edulji was speaking at the launch of a book and podcast series, Her Story—IIT Bombay Gen Zero Women, comprising interviews of IITB’s alumnas who graduated during its early years.
Edulji said she felt “out of place” in the academic atmosphere of the book launch at IITB, jesting that she as a child took to sports more easily than to studies. She related an anecdote of growing up in Colaba and being mocked when she wanted to play cricket with neighbourhood boys. Their opinion of her, she said, changed when her spinning deliveries knocked their stumps down.
The aim of the project was to share the “empowering journeys” of the women and to take stock of the challenges they overcame. The podcast interviews were conducted by Damini Kumari, business and life coach (and IITB alumna). The coffee table book was curated by non-fiction writer Rashmi Bansal. The project was mainly funded by entrepreneur and IITB alumnus DC Agrawal. Along with Falguni Nayar of Nykaa, Edulji was a chief guest at the launch.
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In her speech, Edulji complimented Harmanpreet Kaur, captain of the Indian women’s cricket team, for her very recent century that helped her team win the one-day series during its tour of England. Edulji congratulated the Indian women’s team for its series win, but added the team needed to win more ICC tournaments.
Referring to the recent announcement that there might be an Indian Premier League for women, Edulji expressed her joy. She said it would lift the fortunes of India’s women cricketers. Edulji also touched upon her stint as court-appointed co-administrator for the Board of Control for Cricket in India, and highlighted her achievements for women’s cricket in India during her tenure.
Nayar called on women students of IITB to dare. She gave her example, saying no one had believed that beauty and other allied products could be sold online, where they could not be tried on; but she made it work. Sharad Saraf, chairperson, Board of Governors (IITB), acknowledged the board itself has no women members, and hoped the situation would change. IITB Director Professor Subhasis Chaudhri said the past few years had seen an upsurge in female candidates getting into IITB.
He said in recent years, the student intake at IITB was telling: roughly 20 per cent undergraduate intake at IITB and 30 per cent graduate intake consisted of women candidates. Several of the Gen Zero’ alumnas present at the ceremony were felicitated by Edulji and Nayar.
All about the book and podcast
The book and podcast—Her Story—IIT Bombay Gen Zero Women—comprises interviews with 30 women alumna of IITB from its early years after its foundation in 1958. The alumna, IITB said in a release, are in diverse fields such as “research, business, academia, technology, public service and more.” The aim of the interviews was also to map the challenges the alumnas faced in their journeys and to describe how the institute moulded them. The book will be privately circulated at present. The podcast is at https://alumni.acr.iitb.ac.in/womengenzero/ and free to access.