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Indus River from the Fort at Skardu

   Krishna Mehta   

Krishna Mehta (1913--93) was a direct descendant of Col Basti Ram who helped annex Ladakh and later became its governor. She was born in Kishtwar, a small, sleepy town in Kashmir on the banks of the Chandrabhaga (Chenab) river and married Duni Chand Mehta, a civil servant of Jammu and Kashmir and Wazir-e-Wazarat of Muzaffarabad. During the raid on Kashmir in October 1947, Duni Chand was shot dead while on duty and Krishna was taken prisoner along with her young children.

She and her children eventually found their way to a refugee camp, and from there to Delhi. She so impressed Pandit Nehru with her sincerity of purpose that he felt impelled to call her his sister. With his help and support Krishna established the Gandhi Seva Sadan and Women¡¯s Welfare Centres for the socio-economic development of the disadvantaged women of Kashmir. She nurtured both these institutions and they prospered rapidly. She was nominated to the Lok Sabha as the first woman MP from Kashmir. A disciple of Magan Baba, Krishna was also associated with Dr Dinshaw Mehta¡¯s Society of Servants of God where she launched the Needs of Life Movement and secured government approval of Naturopathy as an alternative medical practice.

Krishna Mehta travelled extensively, both in India and abroad, and brought into her work and writings the rich and varied experiences of her travels. She lived a rich and fulfilled life. When she passed away at the age of eighty, her ashes were immersed in the Chandrabhaga river at Kishtwar in accordance with her wishes.