All meaningful social action has a disciplinary dimension. As citizens of the free world we relish in the thought that we are free to act as we please while individuals in the far corners of the global suppress their true selves and act in the will of others. Generally the subjects of our pity are women of the “third world.” Oppressed by their loved ones, these women are conceptualized as alienated from their true beings or potentials. This study of women’s leadership in the Panchayat Raj seeks to shed a new light on our darkened image of a third world woman. By paralleling a woman’s work as a leader and public servant with her role as a “submissive” wife, mother and daughter-in-law, this research hopes to show that service of any type is a often a significant means for self determination.