"She is fierce, she is fearless & she is brave like a lioness."
From the Revolt of 1857 to the day of independence in 1947, not only men but women also paved the way toward India’s freedom and subdued the British rule in India. So, why not remember these women martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the country and women achievers who got the title of woman freedom fighter due to their contributions? The forgotten legends of these influential women freedom fighters must be remembered and paid tribute to. In this article, we will look at the contributions of these Indian women freedom fighters without whom the fight for freedom struggle would have been incomplete. Let’s get started.
10 Women Freedom Fighters in Indian History
1. Matangini Hazra
Matangini Hazra was called “Gandhi Buri.” She participated in the Quit India Movement and Non-Cooperation Movement. During one procession, even after being shot thrice, she bravely continued to lead with the Indian flag & kept shouting "Vande Mataram.” The first woman statue was instituted in Kolkata after Indian Independence, and that was Hazra’s in 1977. The statue stands at the spot where she was assassinated in Tamluk. Even Hazra Road in Kolkata is also named after her.
2. Kanaklata Barua
Kanaklata Barua, also known as Birbala, was an Indian freedom fighter from Assam. She participated in the Quit India Movement in 1942 at Barangabari and stood at the head of the women volunteers’ line with the National Flag in her hand. She was determined to hoist the flag at the British-dominated Gohpur Police Station by narrating the slogans “British imperialists should go back,” but was restricted by the Britishers. Though she tried to convince that her intentions were noble, British police shot her, and at the age of 18, she thus sacrificed her life for India.
3. Aruna Asaf Ali
Aruna Asaf Ali is famous as “The Grand Old Lady” of the Independence Movement. She was an Indian Independence activist and a freedom fighter best known for hoisting the Indian National Congress flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay (now Mumbai) during the Quit India Movement. Not only this, she actively participated in the Salt Satyagraha movement as well as other protest marches, when later she was sent behind the bars. She organized political prisoners and protested against the ill-treatment provided in the prisons by way of hunger strikes.
4. Bhikaiji Cama
The lady hoisted the first version of the Indian national flag on foreign soil in Germany as an Indian Ambassador. she was born on 24th September 1861 to a Parsi family in Bombay (now Mumbai). She is also popular as Madam Cama, a well-known freedom fighter. She came from a good family, and her father, Sorabji Framji Patel, was a powerful member of the Parsi community. She emphasized equality between both the genders- men and women. She gave away all her assets to help an orphanage for young girls.
5. Tara Rani Srivastava
Tara Rani was born in a simple family in Saran, Bihar, and married Phulendu Babu. Both joined Mahatma Gandhi’s Quit India Movement in 1942, regulated protests, and planned to raise the Indian flag on the roof of the Siwan Police Station. They managed to gather a crowd and began their march towards the Siwan Police Station, shouting ‘Inquilab.’ But when they were marching towards the police station, the police opened fire, and her husband was shot. Undeterred, Tara bandaged him with the help of her sari but bravely continued to lead the crowd towards the station shouting ‘Inquilab’ while holding the Indian flag. Her husband died when Tara returned. Even after all these barriers, she continued with her freedom struggle.
6. Annie Besant
Annie Besant, a British socialist, activist &the first woman President of the Congress who contributed to the Indian freedom movement with the foundation of the All India Home Rule League. She actively fought for self-rule or independence for India along with Bal Gangadhar Tilak. She united with the Indian National Congress (INC) & participated in India’s educational and political activities while working for women’s rights, she encouraged self-government for India after which she got the title of Indian women freedom fighter.
7. Rani Lakshmibai
The bravest soul Rani Lakshmibai was one of the first women Freedom Fighters to fight in the Indian Independence Movement of 1857, that is, the first war of Independence against the Britishers, Rani Lakshmibai is considered a symbol of resistance to the British Raj. She's remembered for her bravery and courage in the First war of 1857-58, also known as the Indian Mutiny.
8. Lakshmi Sahgal
Lakshmi Sahgal was a former Indian Army officer, popularly known as Captain Lakshmi. She picked up a gun for Indian National Army (INA), founded by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, and led it like a tigress in the struggle for Freedom. She was in charge of establishing and leading the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, composing women soldiers. Did you know? That before joining INA, she had served a sentence in a Burma prison for her role in World War II.
9. Vijay Laxmi Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru’s sister Vijay Laxmi Pandit was the first woman to become the President of the United Nations General Assembly. She entered the Non- Cooperation Movement. She was detained thrice in connection with the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932, 1941, and 1942. In 1937, she was elected to the provincial legislature of the United Provinces and was designated minister of local self-government & public health. She played a significant role as India’s representative in San Francisco during the first meeting of the UN, where she challenged the power of the British.
10. Begum Hazrat Mahal
Another lady on the list who showcased immense bravery and courage was Hazrat Mahal Begum. She was the wife of the deposed ruler of Lucknow, who actively participated in the revolt of 1857 (first war of independence) against the Doctrine of Lapse under which Dalhousie wanted her to surrender Lucknow, but she gave a stiff resistance. But after the fall of Lucknow, she escaped to Kathmandu.
Not only these strong women personalities but other women freedom fighters such as Basanti Devi, Sarojini Naidu, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay & many others have been an inspiration and an ideal for women in modern times. A huge salute from us to every one of them!