Justice RF Nariman of the Supreme Court of India is speaking on the theme "Great Women of History" on the occasion of the 26th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture. .To watch the event Live, click here..Live updates from the lecture feature here. .26th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture commences..Aside from Justice Rohinton Nariman who will deliver the lecture, sitting Supreme Court Justice V Ramasubramanian and retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Madan Lokur in attendance..Justice Madan Lokur giving his welcome address. Lokur says Justice Rohinton Nariman has tremendous knowledge in history, religion and Constitutional law. He also is expert in Western Classical music, says Justice Lokur. .Justice Rohinton Nariman commences his address..Justice Rohinton Nariman tracing Bible and Rig Veda and attitude towards women. .In Bible, women are said to have been created from rib of man. Rig Veda says do not make lasting friendship with women because she would be like a hyena..Women in history have all started out as being perceived as lower then men. First remarkable woman in my lecture is Cleopatra. She goes back 2000 years: Justice Rohinton Nariman.It was due to Ptolemy 2 that to peculiar Egyptian habit of marrying sister came into vogue: Justice Rohinton Nariman..Cleopatra was a woman who could speak four languages and could charm anybody. Shakespeare's great quote in Antony and Cleopatra tells us exactly who this woman was: Justice Nariman.She was one out 6 children of Ptolemy 12th. He was a obviously a better musician than ruler. He tries to rebel against Rome and it was put down. He was then taken to Rome and little Cleopatra went with him. She saw how badly Ptolemy was treated: Justice Nariman..She saw how her great country was bossed by Rome: Justice Nariman.Justice Nariman recounts how Julius Caesar assumed power. By then Cleopatra and her brother had assumed throne of Egypt..Caesar and Cleopatra became lovers and was even taken to Rome. Eventually in 44 BC, the ides of March came and Caesar went. Then Mark Antony told her to return to Egypt which she did, Justice Nariman recounts. .She bore three sons of Antony. Finally, Augustus annexed Egypt. Tactical mistakes were committed as a result of which she lost battle and the great woman who tried to prevent Egypt from becoming a Satrap of Rome died: Justice Rohinton Nariman.Ultimately she failed only because of male dominance of Rome: Justice Rohinton.The second remarkable woman was Pope Joan. How could there be a Pope Joan. You could not have females who could become priests in the first place. However, her legend continued: Justice Rohinton Nariman.Chroniclers in 13 century started telling is there did exist this lady who was a lady born of English parents in Germany. She proved herself to be so adept at scriptures: Justice Rohinton Nariman.She dressed herself as a man throughout that nobody knew she was a woman: Justice Rohinton Nariman.Back then Pope was elected by Roman people and not by an electorate of cardinals: Justice Nariman.She was elected Pope and actually sat on that throne for 2 years, 5 months and 9 days: Justice Nariman.How she got discovered is a remarkable story. She was pregnant. She was walking along a road from St Peter to St Clements church. On the way she gave birth to the baby: Justice Nariman.There is a divergence on what happened to her after that. The original manuscript says she was stoned on the spot. The Catholic church denies that a lady ever became Pope: Justice Nariman.Justice Nariman says he also found the story quite unbelievable but says he recently read a book by Peter Stanford who marshals all the facts and gives five reasons to indicate that Pope Joan was a historical fact, who was able to sit in the exclusive male preserve of the Middle Ages..That lane where she is believed to have given birth is shunned by all Popes thereafter. Also, there were statues erected to her in Rome. Martin Luther says he saw that statue: Justice Nariman.This remarkable lady not only existed but was a pope who managed to survive for two years and five months in an all-male set up: Justice Rohinton Nariman.The next woman Justice Nariman speaks on is Razia Sultana, the daughter of the emperor, Iltutmish, of the “Slave Dynasty.”.We come to the third great lady: Razia Sultana, daughter of Emperor Iltutmish: Justice Nariman.Iltutmish had a massive empire. Nobody realises when one sees his grave that this was the man who completed the Qutub Minar which was started by Qutub Aibak: Justice Nariman..Iltutmish ruled over a vast empire from Sindh in West to Bengal in East and Kashmir on North. In 1229 he had a terrible setback when the son whom he thought would succeed him, died. That son's tomb is somewhere in Vasant Kunj. People in Delhi should visit it: Justice Nariman.When this son died, Iltutmish decided all his sons were useless and actually announced that his daughter would succeed him, something unthinkable then. We are talking about 13th century: Justice Nariman.Once Iltutmish died, one of his sons got on to the throne and managed to stay on it for 6 months. This remarkable lady at the Friday prayer said 'this man in utterly inept. I am a woman, but if I am more capable than any man, then give me a chance and I want to prove it. My father invested me with this authority, why don't you?' So people said yes and they threw this man out. She managed to rule for 3 years:: Justice Rohinton Nariman.She ruled extremely well. The chronicler of the time says she was easily the most capable, wisest leader of her times except that she was a woman. And because she was a woman she was murdered.. And that happened because she invested great faith in an Abyssinian slaved, Yakut. The Turkish nobles in her court got jealous of the fact that they were bypassed in favour of Yakut. So they had Yakut murdered. She fought against those noble and got imprisoned in Bathinda: Justice Nariman.The Governor of the fort at Bathinda who was originally opposed to her somehow came on to her side and eventually married her: Justice Nariman.The two of them then went to reclaim the kingdom but lost the battle and she was eventually murdered by ordinary peasants for her clothes: Justice Nariman.So we had this fantastic woman who was not given her due because she was a woman: Justice Nariman.The fourth lady is perhaps recognised as the greatest ruler ever to rule her country - Elizabeth I of England: Justice Nariman.England has been ruled by foreigners ever since 1066. It continues to be ruled by foreigners. No Englishman has sat on the throne since 1066: Justice Nariman.Justice Nariman traces how Elizabeth came to power. What was remarkable about Elizabeth was she was brought up as Protestant, he recounts..Now this lady, like Cleopatra, was a genius. She spoke about four languages. She founded Dublin University, She founded some hundred grammar schools which were free for little children: Justice Nariman.She was remarkable for her age for many things. In fact it was called Elizabethan age as a result because the arts flourished as well. Shakespeare, Francis Bacon were all greatly encouraged by her: Justice Nariman.She was brilliant in two things - in finding the right person for the right job and in making procrastination a fine art: Justice Nariman.She found William Cecil who was the Prime Minister for over 25 years and who ruled the country extremely well. What he gave England, England never had. He gave England peace: Justice Nariman.What she achieved was lasting peace in England. Not only did she rule wisely and well, she was tolerant. She saw what happened under the rule of Queen Mary, and therefore, tolerated Catholics as they tolerated her: Justice Nariman.She is best known for staving off a massive invasion by Philip II of Spain: Justice Nariman.In a speech, she exhorted her troupes by saying "I may be a weak and feeble woman but I have the heart and stomach of King". The troupes cheered her, Navy cheered her and went to battle for her and succeeded: Justice Nariman.She was truly the most loved monarchs of her time: Justice Nariman..Will Durant tells us she was undoubtedly the greatest rule of England ever: Justice Nariman.The last subject is Catherine the Great of Russia: Justice Nariman.During her reign, she did many things. First, the territory of Russia was expanded by 200,000 miles. The entire Crimean region was annexed. She founded Sevastapol: Justice Nariman.Each of her lovers was a remarkable man who gave their life for her: Justice Nariman.She encouraged art. Was soft hearted in her own way. Unfortunately she did not get on with her son: Justice Nariman.It is only the two fairly recent ones who succeeded - Elizabeth and Catherine the Great. The 1960s brought a rich haul of women Prime Ministers. For the first time, you had Bandaranaike in Ceylon, you had Indira Gandhi here: Justice Nariman.You also had Golda Meir in Israel. In 1979 you had Margaret Thatcher. After which I have counted, there is something like 125 women heads of State - President or Prime Minister - since then: Justice Nariman.In India, we have had a woman president. But unfortunately, despite the fact that you have had a woman president and we have had a woman Prime Minister, we have never had a woman Chief Justice (of India): Justice Nariman.We see the picture of (Justice) Sunanda today. She was probably THE candidate for becoming the first woman Chief Justice of India. Unfortunately, life was cruel to her and cut her remarkable career short: Justice Nariman.In any event, I hope, given the present dispensation, the time for the first woman Chief Justice won’t be very far off. With that, I thank you all very much: Justice Nariman ends his lecture.