Role of Women in Freedom Struggle – The memoirs of Indian freedom struggle would be half-done without remarking the contributions of women. In parallel to the sacrifice made by the men in India’s freedom struggle, women occupied prominent place in the history. Women of India fought undaunted courage and true soul and faced many troubles, exploitations, tortures hardships to bring in the freedom. During the situations where men got prisoned for India’s freedom struggle, many women ignited and kick-started the Indian freedom struggle in forward direction.
Role of Women in Freedom Struggle
The list of great women who fought for the India’s freedom struggle got decamped in the Indian history is a lengthy index, but here are few names in the list.
- Begum Hazrat Mahal (1820—1879)
- Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi (19 November 1828 – 17 June 1858)
- Annie Besant (October 1, 1847 – September 20, 1933)
- Madam Cama (24 September 1861– 13 August 1936.)
- Kasturba Gandhi (April 11, 1869 – February 22, 1944)
- Sarojini Naidu(February 13, 1879 – March 2, 1949)
- Kamala Nehru 1899–1936)
- Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (August 18, 1900 – December 1, 1990)
- Aruna Asaf Ali (July 16, 1909,—July 29, 1996)
- Usha Mehta (March 25, 1920 – August 11, 2000)
Great Indian Womens in Freedom Struggle
1. Begum Hazrat Mahal (Born in the year 1820—Died on 7th April, 1879)
Begum Hazrat Mahal, wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah(was a Lucknow ruler) played a vital role during the first war of independence or the Revolt of 1857, which happened in the period between 1857 and 1858. She was also named as “the Begum of Oudh(Awadh)”. She guided a troop of her supporters opposing the British rulers and also abducted the control of Lucknow(now the capital city of Uttarpradesh). Begum being a strategist also fought in the battle field.
She was also one of those leaders who revolutionized against the British East India Company. But when the british battalion rounded up for the second time and seized major part of the Awadh, Begum was forced to withdraw and go away. Her troop lost the clench and she retreated Oudh and gathered soldiers again in other areas. Begum turned down all grants of allowances and forgiveness by the British rulers.
Lastly, she took shelter in an asylum in Nepal, where she passed away on 7th April, 1879. To certify her continuous efforts induced for India’s struggle for freedom, on 10th May 1984 Government of India has circulated stamps on her name.
2. Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi (Born on19/11/1828 – Died on 17/06/1858)
Another important name to be mentioned in the history of Indian freedom struggle is Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. She was a prominent warrior of India’s freedom struggle who established a remarkable impact on the succeeding women freedom fighters. Handling the control of her horse with her words, holding sword in both hands and dressing like a man, she used to attack on enemies in the battlefield. Rani Lakshmi Bai fought fearlessly and though beaten she declined to give up and flattened as a warrior should, combating the rivals to the last.
Her outstanding courage impacted the men and women in India to fight against the opponent’s rule. She was an icon of perseverance, bravery, generosity, patriotism, self-respect and resistance to British rule. She fought against britishers till her last breath for the benefit of the women in the country and for a great cause of India’s freedom.
Role of Women in Freedom Struggle in India
3. Annie Besant (Born on 1/10/1847 – Died on 20/09/1933)
Annie Besant, addressed as a ‘Diamond Soul’ was an Irish lady and the 2nd president of the Theosophical Society had multiple brilliant facets to her trait. She was an excellent speaker of her time, a premier of educationist, human freedom, philanthropist and a writer of more than 300 hundred books. She stepped into India in 1893 and joined in the INC(Indian National congress) forwarded in a new pathway.
Annie Besant was the first women president of the congress and imparted an energetic lead to women’s movement in India. Within short span she turned out to be a leading strike leader, labour organizer and a reformer. She also took part in Indian Nationalism and established ‘Home Rule Movement’ in India in the year 1916 and headed as the president. She introduced a newspaper called “New India” condemning the British regime and got imprisoned for rebelling them. She joined in the rationalistic congress group of workers, who were against Gandhi’s views. She established many schools and colleges by getting involved in educational and political activities, the remarkable one is the establishment of Central Hindu College High School at Banars in 1913.
4. Madam Cama (Born on 24/9/1861– Died on 13/8/1936)
Bhikaiji Rustom Cama, popularly known as Madam Cama born in a parsi family in Mumbai(formerly called as Bombay) was a notable personality of the Indian National Movement and a powerful freedom fighter from the parsi community. She being from a moneyed family, fought for the welfare of the society and India freedom struggle.
Madam Cama in 1907 unfolded the first Indian national flag in Stuttgart, Germany during the International Socialist Conference. She described that this flag represents the indian independence and born from the blood of young Indians who submitted their lives for the Indian freedom struggle and called everyone to stand and salute this flag and also appealed to the whole to support this flag. She has travelled to many countries like America, Europe etc and proliferated Americans about efforts made by the freedom fighters to make India independent.
Role of Women in India’s Struggle For Freedom
5. Kasturba Gandhi (Born on 11/4/1869 – Died on 22/2/1944)
Kasturba Gandhi, wife of Mahatma Gandhi also supported and worked with him in India’s freedom struggle. She stood as a leader in the Women’s Satyagraha for which she was jailed in the prison. She coordinated her husband in the motive of No Tax campaign in Kaira, Gujarat and Indigo workers in Champaran, Bihar. Kasturba was imprisoned for blockading the foreign cloths and liquor and also for taking part in Rajkot Satyagraha in 1939. She replaced her husband’s position when he was imprisoned.
Kasturba Gandhi got deteriorated because of the chronic bronchitis. Crunches from Quit India Movement led her to stay behind the bars and fell sick in the ashram life. After causing Pneumonia, she passed away on Feb 22, 1944 due to severe heart attack. This happened when Kasturba and her husband Mahatma Gandhi were in jail.
6. Sarojini Naidu(Born on 13/2/1879 – Died on 2/3/1949)
Sarojini Naidu, popularly know as ‘the Nightingale of India’, was an exceptional poet, well-known freedom fighter and great speaker of her time. She was chosen as the president of the INC(Indian National Congress). The aggressive stage of her career was in the period 1917 to 1919, the time she canvassed for the Khilafat Movement.
When Mahatma Gandhi introduced the Civil Disobedience Movement, she demonstrated as a trustworthy supporter and with exceptional courage she defeated the rioters, sold condemned literature and addressed agitated meetings on the massacre of Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi selected her to lead the Salt Satyagraha Movement and her stories turned out to be myriad. After Gandhi was imprisoned, Sarojini gathered 2000 supportes under the sweltering sun to attack the Dharasana Salt works, while the British soldiers faced a lot of problem to handle them. Later, she dropped writing poetry and concentrated completely on the liberation of women, Hindu-Muslim oneness, education etc.
Great Women Freedom Fighters of India
7. Kamala Nehru ( Born on 1/8/1899–Died on 28/2/1936)
Kamala Nehru, wife of Jawaharlal Nehru gave her husband full coordination and actively took part in India’s freedom struggle. She grouped processions, organized meetings in Nehru home and led blockading foreign cloth shops and liquor. She played a vital role in organizing the No tax canvass in the Uttar Pradesh(formerly United Provinces).
In 1921, during the Non-Cooperation Movement, Kamala formed many women groups in Allahabad and inseminated use of Khadi fabrics. When Jawaharlal Nehru was jailed, in order to avert her husband delivering a rebellious public speech, Kamal replaced her by reading it out and got imprisoned twice by the British rulers. Kamala passed away after suffering from Tuberculosis in Switzerland on 28 February, 1936.
8. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (Born on 18/8/1900 – Died on 1/12/1990)
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, sister of Jawaharlal Nehru and daughter of Motilal Nehru was the president of Congress. Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi was Vijaya’s inspiration and vijaya was impressed by the works of Sarojini Naidu. She joined in the Non-Cooperation Movement to fight against the aliens.
She represented India in many international conferences and meetings, attended innumerable public speeches and challenged the British authorities in obtaining Indian independence. She participated in various freedom movements and got arrested many a times.
Great Indian Womens in History
9. Aruna Asaf Ali (Born on 16/7/1909 — Died on 29/7/1996)
Aruna Asaf Ali was an activist during the Indian National Movement and an active member of the Congress party. Aruna Ganguly became aruna Asaf Ali after marrying Asaf Ali, a leading lawyer during Indian freedom struggle time. She took part in public speeches during the Salt Satyagraha Movement. She was imprisoned on the grounds of she being a vagrant and didn’t released her in 1931, as there was an agitation going on to free up all the political prisoners under the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. During this event, other women prisoners declined to leave the place until and unless she is released. finally , she got released after the interference of Mahatma Gandhi.
In 1932, she revolted against the impartial treatment of the political prisoners and bombarded with a hunger strike, but got arrested and put in Tihar jail. Her works in the Tihar jail resulted in an amendment of conditions in the jail, but she was later shifted to Ambala and was subjected to unsociable confinement.
10. Usha Mehta (Born on 25/3/1920 – Died on 11/8/2000)
Usha Mehta, a Gandhian, a freedom fighter and well recognized for broadcasting the Congress Radio. She was also referred to as the ‘Secret Congress Radio’, considered to be an underground radio station. This station couldn’t run for more time and got shut down during the Quit India Movement of 1942.
In 1928, she was treated as the child leader, at the age of eight years, she took part in a march against the Simon Commission and raised her voice by saying “Simon Go Back”. She didn’t knew the consequences of protesting against Simon Commission, but she only knows that we are fighting to obtain freedom of India under the guidance of Gandhiji. She along with other children also joined in protesting against the British rule and blockading the liquor shops. She turn out to be a leader in short span during the Quit India Movement. She then shifted from Delhi to Bombay, where she hoisted the Indian flag at Gowalia Tank ground on 9th August, 1942.
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