Women Freedom Fighters Of Our Struggle Against The British
Any national movement celebration is incomplete without mentioning the contribution of its women leaders. As India gears to celebrate 73 years of Independence, we bring to you the list of women freedom fighters who not only fought against the British but also challenged social norms by participating in this freedom movement. Several of these women freedom fighters have their stories unsung, many have been appreciated praises but their contribution towards the society is and will always be admirable.
On this Independence Day, let us remember some of the greatest women leaders of our country, who have fought for the freedom of our motherland with courage, power and wit.
1. Sarojini Naidu: A poet and an activist, Sarojini Naidu earned the sobriquet of Nightingale of India. She was one of the most famous freedom fighters and played a pivotal role in freeing India from British. After the partition of Bengal in 905, she joined the freedom struggle. It was Gopal Krishna Gokhale who urged her to use her intellect for the welfare of India. After which she a break from writing and became active in the struggle for freedom. She was the first Indian woman to become the President of the Congress. She also served as the governor of the United Provinces (1947 – 1949) and was the first woman to assume the governorship of a state.
2. Begum Royeka: The legendary writer-activist Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, was a leader who transformed the lives of thousands of people. She was an advocate of women’s rights in the Indian subcontinent during the British rule. She broke all the hurdles by her magnetic and resilient leadership, constructed by a society restricted women from pursuing their dreams. Bengal’s first Muslim feminist thinker, writer and educationist Rokeya is a legendary figure for her supreme efforts in support of women’s independence and female education.
3. Rani Chennamma: An Indian freedom fighter and Rani of the Kittur, Kittur Chennamma led an armed force against the British East India Company in 1824 in defiance of the doctrine of lapse in an attempt to maintain Indian control over the region. She was defeated in the third war and died imprisoned. Rani Chennamma was one of the first female rulers to rebel against British rule
4. Sucheta Kriplani: Sucheta Kriplani began her freedom struggle with Quit India Movement and later, she later during the partition riots, she worked closely with Mahatma Gandhi during the Partition riots. She was one of the female leaders women to help draft Indian Constitution. On 14 August 1947, she sang Vande Mataram in the Independence Session of the Constituent Assembly a few minutes before Nehru delivered his famous “Tryst with Destiny” speech.
5. Rani Gaidinliu: “We are free people — the white man should not rule over us.” Rani Gaidinliu joined the freedom struggle at the age of 13. She never received any formal education. Brought up in a socially backward region, Gaidinliu could never receive any formal education. However, this did not stop her from joining the freedom struggle. When she got the majority on her side, refusing to cooperate with the British, she posed a huge threat to the colonial rule. From 1933 to 1947, she served time at Guwahati, Shillong, Aizawl, and Tura jails.
6. Matangini Hazra: In 1932, Matangini Hazra took part in the Civil Disobedience movement and was arrested for breaking the Salt Act. She was promptly released, but protested for the abolition of the tax. Arrested again, she was incarcerated for six months at Baharampur. After her release. she became an active member of the Indian National Congress and took to spinning her own Khadi.
7. Kanaklata Barua: After joining the Mrityu Bahini during the Quit India Movement, Kanaklata joined the Mrityu Bahini, on 20 September 1942, the Bahini decided it would hoist the national flag at the local police station. Even when they were warned against doing so, they proceeded with their plan. The police fired upon the procession and Kanaklata was shot dead, as she was carrying the flag. Kanaklata was only 17 years of age at the time of her martyrdom.
8. Tara Rani Srivastava: Tara Rani Srivastava was an Indian freedom fighter, and part of Quit India Movement. In 1942, she and her husband were leading a march in Siwan towards the police station when he was shot by police. She nonetheless continued the march, returning later to find that he had died. She remained part of the struggle for freedom until the country’s independence five years later.
9. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay: An Indian social reformer and freedom activist, Kamaladevi Chattopadhya is most remembered for her contribution for being the driving force behind the renaissance of Indian handicrafts, hand looms, and theater in independent India; and for upliftment of the socio-economic standard of Indian women by pioneering the co-operation.
10. Rani Lakshmi Bai: Lakshmibai, fought against the British bravely and fearlessly, and eventually lost her life in battle on June 18th 1858 in Gwalior. Rani of Jansi was one of the leading leaders of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and a symbol of the resistance to British rule in India.
11. Kasturba Gandhi: In 1939, Kasturba took part in nonviolent protests against the British rule in Rajkot, after the women in the city specifically asked her to advocate for them. In 1942, she was arrested again, along with Gandhi and other freedom fighters for participating in the Quit India movement.
Their passion and power has had a significant impact on many. Let their struggle not go unnoticed; let us make sure each of us learns to never give up. Just like how unstoppable they were.