India’s freedom struggle is a very long and brave story…!!
Many people fought and died for their country. We all have read about many male freedom fighters who took part in the freedom struggle but numerous brave female freedom fighters also fought and gave their lives for the country. These women significantly took part in the Independence movement and helped shape it from within. They faced torture, and exploitation among others just to save their nation. All these women came out to be the true inspiration for today’s generation but are lost in time.
So here we have come up with a few women freedom fighters of India, let’s take a look:
1. Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949)
Known as the “Nightingale of India”, Sarojini Naidu was one of the renowned female freedom fighters of India. She was a feminist, poet, political activist, the first female president of the Indian National Congress (INC), and the first woman governor of an Indian state after independence. Born on 13th February 1279, Sarojini Chattopadhyay was the eldest daughter of Aghorenath Chattopadhyay.
She was a very bright student and entered college (University of Madras) at the mere age of 12 and later studied at King’s College, London and after that Girton College, Cambridge. She was also part of Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-cooperative movement and supported it actively. In the year 1905 Sarojini Naidu’s first book, a collection of poems was published, under the name “Golden Threshold”. She gained very much recognition for the same. The brave soul left the earth on 2nd March 1949, two years after the independence.
2. Bhikaiji Cama (1861-1936)
Also, known as Madame Cama, she was one of the important personalities of the Indian National Movement and a well-known freedom fighter. She was an Indian politician who always advocated for women’s rights and emphasized equality between men and women. Born on 24th September 1861, Bhikaiji was the daughter of an extremely wealthy Parsi family.
She completed her early education in Bombay and this was the time when Indian National Movement was growing its roots within the country, hence drawing her attention toward politics. After her marriage in the year 1885, Bhikaiji due to her health issues visited London where she met Dadabhai Naroji and began working for Indian National Congress. She was part of many freedom struggles in India and as an Indian ambassador, she also hoisted the Indian flag in Germany in the year 1907. The brave lady died on August 13th, 1936 due to severe illness.
3. Durgabai Deshmukh (1909-1981)
Popularly known as the “Iron Lady”, Durgbai Deshmukh was a social and political activist. She was a lawyer by profession and an active follower of Mahatma Gandhi. She was also a part of the Satyagraha movement, and along with that, she formed a Social Welfare Board for the rehabilitation of women and children and helped in improving their condition.
Born on 15th July 1909, Durgabai Deshmukh was an ardent freedom fighter. She was born into a middle-class family but with great determination, she persuaded her family for supporting her education. Durgabaiji completed her graduation from Andhra University and law from Madras University. Her participation in the freedom struggle began very early and she was determined to free her country from the clutches of the Britishers. She took part in the Non-Cooperative movement in 1922 and also practiced Satyagraha at Kakinada at the mere age of 12.
Durgabai was also awarded Padma Vibhshan for the foundation of Andhra Mahila Sabha in 1937. She left the world on 9th May 1981 and will always remain the epitome of women’s empowerment.
4. Rani Laxmibai (1828-1858)
“Khoob Ladi Mardaani Vo To Jhansi Vali Rani Thi” We all have heard this poem by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan “Jhansi Ki Rani” in our childhood. The queen of Jhansi, Rani Laxmibai was the symbol of bravery. She was Maratha Queen and was the first Indian freedom fighter who fought in the Independence Movement and started the revolt against the Britishers in the year 1857. Born on 19th November 1828 to Moropant Tambe as Manikarnika.
She was different since her childhood and learned to play with swords rather than dolls. Apart from that, under the guidance of Nana Saheb and Tatya Tope, she also became proficient in horse riding. She got married to Gangadhar Rao, king of Jhansi at the age of 12. Soon after that, the king died, and she has to rule the kingdom and that is when the struggle with the Britishers began. She fought with utmost courage and guarded the pride of Jhansi till she died on 17th June 1858, after a fierce battle.
5. Savitribai Phule (1831-1897)
The first female teacher in India, Savitribai Phule, along with her husband Jyotirao Phule worked for women’s empowerment and took the first step to educate girls. They contributed very much to the community by teaching girls mostly from the backward class. According to them, girls had the power to help India get free from the clutches of British colonialism. Born on 3rd January 1831, in a simple Maharashtrian household and was married to Jyotiba Phule at the age of 9. Her husband supported her education and taught her to read and write.
Once her education was completed she did teacher training from Ahemdabad and along with her husband started teaching girls. She also raised her voice against child marriage and opposed the Sati culture. Savitribai even supported widow remarriage and also opened a shelter home for widows. The brave woman lost her life on 10th March 1897 by getting contaminated by a dreadful disease while saving a small child.
6. Mahadevi Varma (1907-1987)
An activist, writer, and leading poet of the Chayavad Movement in Hindi Literature. She was a woman of substance and her poems always predicted the same. Mahadevi Ji always wrote about women’s empowerment and how to make them strong individuals. She supported women’s rights throughout her life and compiled many books regarding the same.
Some of her famous books contributing to women’s empowerment were Shrinkhla Ki Kariyan 1942, Ateet Ke Chalachitra 1941, and many others. Born in the year 1907 Mahadevi Varma was the daughter of an English professor. She completed her master’s degree from the University of Allahabad in the Sanskrit language. But growing up unlike her father she stopped talking in English and adopted Hindi as her first language. Mahadeviji became a progressive poet whose poems were followed by everyone during the time of independence.
The poetess was often compared to Bhakti Saint Mirabai due to her devotion to her country and empowering girls. She was also honored with Padma Bhushan one of the country’s highest awards in the year 1956. The great scholar who was also given many other awards for her contribution to Hindi Literature left us on 11th September 1987.
7. Begum Hazrat Mahal (1820-1879)
She was the begum of Awadh and one of the prominent figures during India’s First War of Independence. Hazrat Mahal was called the “Revolutionary Queen Of Awadh”, who fought with the Britishers with utmost courage during the revolt of 1856. Born in the year 1820 Hazrat Mahal tested her faith and became the Begum of Wajid Ali Shah, king of Awadh. She was a fearless lady and came to the forefront in 1856 when Britishers annexed Awadh and took the nawab into submission.
But the brave queen stayed behind and protected her state from the clutches of the enemy by regaining control over Awadh herself. The relentless Begum single-handedly led the troop of soldiers and seized her control over Lucknow. Though this was not for many days and in the next fight with the Britishers she was re-captured by them. Begam Hazrat was among the few women who faced the enemy with full strength. The brave lady left us on 7 April 1879 for a great cause. The Indian government also issued a postage stamp to honor her on 10th May 1984.
Hence, these were the brave ladies of India who fought for the country in one way or the other and gave their every bit to make India released from the clutches of the Britishers!!
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