India had to fight for freedom from the clutches of the British tyranny for more than a century. Our first war of Indian Independence dates back to 1817. ‘Paika Bidroha’ or ‘Paika Rebellion’ that took place in 1817 was our first movement to claim our country back. 130 years later in 1947 we could finally bring down the British flag and hoist our tri-color pride for the first time. This was not an overnight achievement of one single person. This was a struggle that cost the lives of lakhs of Indians. Every Indian made a contribution towards the freedom of India and some of the heroes that stand apart are valiant women who put in all their efforts to fight for our freedom. Some daring Female Freedom Fighters examples are : the first female freedom fighter Kittur Rani Chennamma, Jhansi Rani Lakshmibai, Madam Bhikaji Cama et al. Here is a short write up about a few of them as a salute.
Top 5 Female Freedom Fighters of India
Some Unknown Legends of
Indian Freedom Struggle
Kittur Rani Chennamma :India’s first female freedom fighter
When most men feared to oppose the British atrocities there emerged a woman wielding a sword with an army which was just one-fourth of the British army. Kittur Rani Chennamma is undoubtedly the first woman freedom fighter of India. When the British tried to force the doctrine of lapse on the Kittur kingdom, Rani Chennamma took the decision in her hands to install her adopted son as the king of her kingdom.
She started her rebellion in 1824 with her trusted army chief Sangolli Rayanna and ensured to make the British kneel before her and accept her conditions. However, like most other times, British stooped down too low and captured Kittur Rani Chennamma in a treacherous way. She rebelled even during her capture and continued until her last breath. But little did she know that with her movement, she became the first woman to rebel the British rule and became an inspiration to many women who followed in her footsteps in future.
1. Jhansi Ki Rani Lakshmi Bai : The fearless fighter
Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bai is a name too well known to every Indian. Lakshmi Bai is a synonym for bravery and valiance. Very similar to Kittur Rani Chennamma, Rani Lakshmi Bai also had to oppose the Doctrine of Lapse and fight against the atrocities of British until her last breath.
She is most well known for her fight in Gwalior Fort where she fearlessly took on the army of British with her son tied to her back. Even though she breathed her last in that war, Sir Hugh Rose praised her for bravery and fearless act. He also commented that she is one of the most dangerous freedom fighters of India.
2. Madam Cama : Mother of Indian revolution
Bhikaji Cama, a woman who belonged to a rich Parsi family who started her revolution right from her home is definitely one of the most revered freedom fighters. Since she belonged to an elite family, she was married off to an equally elite lawyer who supported British rule. Madam Cama who was a rebel couldn’t stand this and let go of her family life to fight for the freedom.
The rebellion of Madam Cama was so strong that the British were afraid of the changes she could bring and exiled her from the country. Even though she wasn’t allowed tolive in India her dream of a free India couldn’t be shattered by the British. She went all over the world, inspiring and enunciating the importance of independent India. She was the first Indian to design a national flag. The speech she gave while unveiling the flag is unforgettable and became an inspiration to many Indians.
3. Begum Hazrat Mahal : The queen from Awadh
Begum Hazrat Mahal also is known as Begum of Awadh. The very elegant and graceful queen of Awadh turned into a strong leader and a valiant fighter during the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857. When the Nawab was exiled from Awadh and the place was annexed by the British, the state affairs turned into chaos. Despite being divorced from the Nawab the queen took over Awadh and brought the state into its previous grandeur.
She then went on to capture Lucknow from British rule along with the help of revolutionary forces from the Sepoy mutiny. She even fortified Lucknow to stop any advances of British to recapture the kingdom. However, through continuous war, British was able to conquer Lucknow and Begum Hazrat Mahal had to take her last resort in Nepal. Even though her valor is commendable, she is one of the heroes who is forgotten in the pages of history.
4. Captain Lakshmi : The officer from Indian National Army
Lakshmi Sahgal, born as Lakshmi Swaminathan, was a doctor who went on to become Captain Lakshmi of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment (an all women’s regiment) of the Azad Hind Fauj found by Subhas Chandra Bose. It was her idea to start an all women’s regiment. She was highly praised for her idea and valiance by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
Her fight did not stop with the attainment of independence. She joined the Communist Party Of India (Marxist) and raised her voice against any social issues that affected the commoners. She was first in line to organize help and set up medical camps during the Bangladesh Crisis, Bhopal Gas Tragedy etc. She also worked towards ensuring peace during Kanpur anti-Sikh riots. She was one of the founding members of All India Democratic Women’s Association. She even at the age of 92 would say that ‘the fight will go on’. She breathed her last on 23rd July 2012.
These are just a few samples of the heroic acts of Indian Women. We salute all the brave daughters of Bharat Mata for their contribution and sacrifice.
Guest Post written by Amit
Amit an avid traveler and passionate writer. His weekends are dedicated to travel and free time dedicated to writing. His passion for both these hobbies made him start realbharat.org The blog is intended to bring out the real India and present it to the world!