I came across many a history books and stumbled upon this fact that women have no history at all to refer too, either they were missing or their side of the story was untold. These stories of exemplary courage, assertion and revolt and hence I am dedicating this series of blogs to the history of women, starting with the Indian revolutionaries who took part in the Indian Freedom struggle.
Following are just few names of those great women freedom fighters whose names have been carved in history for their dedication, determination, audacity and undying devotion to the service of India. Their saga of bravery will be remembered forever.
10. Kanaklata Barua
Kanaklata Barua was an Indian Freedom Fighter from Assam. She joined Quit India Movement. According to the programme during the movement, National Flag had to be hoisted at the court and police station, as they were the main spots of the Britishers. Kanaklata Barua joined the programme, holding a national flag in her hands in the front line. She tried to convince the policemen by saying that they came to just hoist the national flag for the cause of the nation. But the police force prevented her by pointing gun towards her and the other volunteers involved in this noble duty. As she marched ahead, she was fired by the police force. She laid down her life for the freedom of the country. She was only 17 years of age at the time of her martyrdom.
9. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit , was a sister of Jawaharlal Nehru. She was the first woman in India to hold a minister position. She was inspired by Rani Lakshmi Bai and Sarojini Naidu’s work changed her thoughts and she decided to join the freedom movement. She took part in Non-Cooperation movement and Civil Disobedience Movement. She was the first woman to become president of the United Nations General Assembly. She pledged to win back her country from the British through any means. She was a dynamic personality who served the country. She was an all-rounder. She attended numerous public lectures and represented India in many of the conferences abroad. Her work is etched in the minds of Indians.
8. Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi, daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru and grand-daughter of Motilal Nehru. Indira Gandhi was influenced by her father and decided to work for India and its people. She was marked by firm resolution and determination. She was appointed as a First Women Prime Minister of the country in the year 1966. During her tenure as a Prime Minister, Indian society had undergone profound changes. She nationalized banks and also green revolution occurred during this time. She was self-reliant and had clear vision of the economy. She worked for the Indian society with full dedication and wholeheartedly.
7. Padmaja Naidu
Like her mother Sarojini Naidu, Padmaja Naidu also devoted herself to the service of India. She spread the message of Khadi all over and inspired people to boycott foreign goods. She encouraged and pour enthusiasm among the hearts of Indians. She directed her energy to serve the nation and its people. A great philanthropist who fought for the nation. After independence, she became the governor of West Bengal and during her tenure , she worked for the people with purity, and determination.
6. Sucheta Kriplani
Sucheta kriplani actively participated in the Indian Freedom Movement. She worked with Mahatma Gandhi during the partition riots and also came to the forefront during Quit India Movement. She was one of the few women who were elected to the Constituent Assembly. She was a firm administrator who bought credit to the Indian womanhood through her courage and personality. She was the first woman to be elected as the Chief Minister. Even after the independence, she served India diligently and dedicated her life for the improvement of the lives of the Indians.
5. Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu, “The Nightingale of India” devoted herself to get freedom for women, united Hindu and Muslims and improved the status and lives of Indians . She regained the self-esteem within women in India and rejuvenated the spirit of courage in the hearts of Indians. She was the admirer of Gandhiji and followed him and his principles with true heart. She went along with him to England where she criticized the British rule in India and disparaged their views and system. She even stayed in jail for 21 days during ‘Quit India’ protest with Gandhiji. Sarojini Naidu was the first woman governor and first Indian woman to become the President of Indian National Congress. She is much venerated as an icon of courage, self-confidence and women’s pride.
4. Kasturba Gandhi
Kasturba Gandhi was the wife of Mohandas KaramChand Gandhi and was fondly called as ‘Ba’. She joined her husband Mahatma Gandhi in political protest and stood by him during all the facets of life. She was a leader of Women’s Satyagarh for which she was even imprisoned.She lived in ashram. She taught discipline, reading and writing to women and children. She worked hard to improve the status of women and children in India and actively participated in the freedom struggle.
3. Begum Hazrat Mahal
Begum Hazrat Mahal was known as the Begum of Oudh. She rebelled against the British East India Company during the India’s First War of Independence with the zest to win. After her husband Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was sent away in exile to Calcutta, she took the charge of the affairs of the state of Awadh (Oudh) and worked incessantly to revive the fortune of the state. She fought against the British with perspicacity and fortitude. Indian government issued a stamp in her honour on 10th may 1984.
2. Rani Lakshmi Bai
Year: 1835- 1858
Rani Lakshmi Bai was the queen of Jhansi and was one of the most important women of the revolt of 1857. Lakshmi Bai dressed completely in men’s wear, holding the reins of her horse in her mouth she used the sword with both hands and led her soldiers to war against British. Her brave and fearless attitude was admired by all the other men and women. She marked herself as a true fighter who fought with courage and had a brave heart. She fought till her last breath for India’s independence with perseverance and bravery.
1. Kittur Rani Chennamma
Kittur Rani Chennamma was the queen of the princely state of Kittur in Karnataka. She led an armed rebellion against British in response to the doctrine of lapse. She was one of the earliest Indian rulers who fought for freedom. She stood all alone with a fiery eye and spirit against the British.She was considered as an icon of bravery and valor. She was an epitome of courage and bravery.