Whenever we think of the sheros of India who contributed to the freedom movement in India, we remember Rani Lakshmibai, the queen of Jhansi. The stories of her valor and undying spirit have always inspired the women across the country. But, the list of women freedom fighters doesn’t end with her. Like Rani Lakshmibai, there were a lot of women who bravely came forward to fight for our country’s freedom and they were ready to make any sacrifice for the sake of our motherland. Sadly, we hardly know about them. On the occasion of Republic day, let’s remember the unsung sheroes whose names have faded in the time.
1. Begum Hazrat Mahal
Also known as the Begum of Awadh, Begum Hazrat Mahal actively took part in the mutiny of 1857. During the rebellion she seized the control of Ayodh, she also declared her son as the ruler of Awadh. Begum was exiled to Calcutta by the company. But, the exile couldn’t cease her spirit. In Calcutta, she noticed the company is demolishing temples and mosques in order to build roads. She made a group of followers and tried to draw the attention of people towards this incident.
2. Matangini Hazra
Born in a very poor peasant family, Matangini Hazra became a widow at the early age of 18. In 1905, she joins the Indian independence movement. Her name will be remembered for the role she took in the Quit India Movement. At the age of 71, she marched with six thousand supporters with the purpose of taking over the Tamluk police station. She was shot to death by the police. The septuagenarian woman kept chanting Vande Mataram till her last breath holding the tricolor high.
3. Lakshmi Sahgal
Born as Lakshmi Swaminathan in Malabar, Lakshmi Sahgal moved to Singapore after a failed marriage and this is where her association with the officers of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army brings her to active politics. Knowing Netaji’s aspiration to raise a women’s regiment to fight for Indian independence, she met him with a request for setting up an all woman regiment named as Rani of Jhansi regiment. Lakshmi Swaminathanemerged as Captain Laxmi from the very day and marked her name in the history of India forever. We salute her and all the brave soldiers of Rani of Jhansi regiment for their contributions in India independence.
4. Madam Bhikaji Cama
Madam Bhikaji Cama was born in September 1861 in an affluent Parsi family. She worked as a relief worker in the epidemic of Bubonic plague in Mumbai in 1896. She was sent to Britain as she got infected while tending the ailing people. Though she was told to stay away from the Indian Freedom Movement, she joined it after coming back from Britain. She helped Shyamji Krishna Verma to establish the Indian Home Rule Society. Madam Bhikaji was an active social worker, philanthropist and freedom fighter. She will always be remembered for her brave act of unwinding Indian flag in the International Socialist Conference that took place in Germany, 1907.
5. Pritilata Waddedar
Born in Chittagong District in the Bengal Province in a Vaidya-Brahmin family, Pritjlata Waddedar graduated in Philosophy from Bethune College. Pritilata joined the eminent revolutionary Surya Sen, also known as Mastarda among his students in June of 1932. Along with a group of young revolutionaries, she participated in several missions assigned by Masterda Surya Sen. She was also in charge of supplying explosives to the revolutionaries in the battle of Jalalabad. The feisty fighter died while leading an attack on the Pahartali European Club.
6. Kalpana Datta
Kalpana Datta was also born in the village of the Chittagong District in Bengal, Kalpana Datta passed the matriculation examination in 1929 and later studied at the Bethune College. She joined the ‘Indian Republican Army, Chattagram Branch’, led by Surya Sen. She was arrested in 1933 for her liaison with nationalist organizations and was sentenced to transportation for life In the second supplementary trial of the Chittagong armory raid case. She was released in 1939.
7. Annie Besant
Annie Besant was born in London in 1847. In 1890, she joined the Theosophical Society and later as a president of it, she visited India and helped to establish the Central Hindu College and Sind National Collegiate Board in Mumbai. In 1914, she built All India Home Rule League with the help of Lokmaya Tilak. The enigmatic lady joined the Indian National Congress and also became president of the Congress for one year. Her works and ethics inspired many men and women to join the freedom movement of India.