#IndiaAt70: Women Freedom Fighters We Must Not Forget
We salute these valiant women who gave it their all in India’s struggle for independence.
While biopics on male freedom fighters is extremely common – Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, we tend to forget about the women who too made a valiant contribution to the cause. As India turns 70, it’s time we pay our tribute to the women responsible for helping our country free itself from the clutches of the British.
So without further ado, let’s take a look.
One of the primary figures of the 1857 rebellion, Rani Lakshmibai is still known as a valiant fighter who didn’t bow down even against a mighty opposition. To appreciate her even more, do watch the video embedded above where Shubha Mudgal recites a poem based on her called Khoob Ladi Mardaani.
Known as the nightingale of India, she was once the president of Indian National Congress. Renowned writer Aldous Huxley once sang praises of her in his book, and said, “It has been our good fortune, while in Bombay, to meet Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, the newly elected President of the All-India Congress and a woman who combines in the most remarkable way great intellectual power with charm, sweetness with courageous energy, a wide culture with originality, and earnestness with humour. If all Indian politicians are like Mrs. Naidu, then the country is fortunate indeed.”
Madam Bhikaji Cama
Madam Bhikaji Cama was an affluent Parsi woman who contributed to the freedom struggle both in terms of effort and money. She was the first person to hoist the Indian flag in a foreign country, and did so in Stuttgart, Germany. She was also an advocate for women’s rights, and in a conference in Egypt, she said, “Where is the other half of Egypt? I see only men who represent half the country! Where are the mothers? Where are the sisters? You must not forget that the hands that rock cradles also build persons.”
Begum Hazrat Mahal
Begum Hazrat Mahal too (like Rani Lakshmibai) was a part of the 1857 revolt against the British. “Begum Hazrat Mahal was an intuitive politician. She was praised for her military and administrative ability. She personally led the famous Siege of Lucknow Residency. This Queen fought the British tyrants of the East India Company and later, Queen Victoria herself. She would have been successful had the British usurpers not purchased help from the Nepal king,” Mohi-ud-Din Mirza, a documentary filmmaker who made a film on her, told Hindustan Times in an interview.