10 Indian Women

Freedom Fighters We Salute

There is something about those moments during the flag hoisting which makes our heart bloom with pride and patriotism, isn't it? And as India celebrated its 63rd Republic Day , let's take a moment to remember all the brave Indian women  who made our country proud.

Rani of Jhansi: You will hardly find an Indian who hasn't grown up hearing the brave adventures of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi. She was one of the leading personalities in the National Uprising of 1857. Because of her never-say-die spirit, today she is an epitome of courage and her name is used as a metaphor for bravery!

Sarojoni Naidu: Sarojini Naidu has been a beacon of inspiration to many women. At a time when women were oppressed to a large extent in many states, she was one of the first few women who stepped out and took the reins of leadership in her own hands. As the first woman President of Indian National Congress and Governor of Uttar Pradesh, she displayed some rare qualities. Her poems continue to inspire us.

Begum Hazrat Mahal: She was one of the iconic freedom fighters of the National Uprising in 1857. When the mutiny began, she was one of the first freedom fighter who urged the rural folk to rise up against the British oppression. She thus seized the control of Lucknow and announced her son as the King of Oudh. However, when the British recaptured Lucknow, she was forced to retreat to Nepal.

Vijaylakshmi Pandit: Like her brother Jawaharlal Nehru, she too felt passionately for her country. After serving our nation for years, she became the first woman President of the United Nations General Assembly. A writer, a diplomat, and a politician, her works are an inspiration to many young women.

Kittur Rani Chennamma: Even though you may hardly be familiar with her name, she was one of the earliest Indian rulers who fought for freedom. 33 years before the National Uprising, this queen of a princely state in Karnataka led an armed rebellion against the British, and lost her life in the end. Even today, she is revered as one of the bravest women in Karnataka.

Bhikaiji Cama: Bhikaji Cama is undoubtedly one of the bravest women in the history of Indian Freedom Struggle. She was one of the pioneers in setting up the Indian Home Rule Society. When in exile, she wrote several revolutionary literatures from the freedom movement. She even made radical speeches for gender equality in Egypt.

Sucheta Kriplani: With the dedication and passion that she exuded for her country during the struggle, she was elected as the first woman Chief Minister of any Indian state. She stepped up for her country with the Quit India Movement and she was one of Gandhiji's close associates in several Partition riots. She was a role model and encouraged many women to join the struggle.

Aruna Asaf Ali: She was an active member of the Congress Party who not just fought for our country's freedom, but also for the rights of political prisoners in Tihar Jail. She launched a hunger strike for the latter and her efforts resulted in improved conditions but she was subjected to solitary confinement. She displayed great courage by standing up to the oppressive rule as well as her family who were against the idea of her marrying a Muslim (she was originally a Brahmo).

Savitribhai Phule: "If you educate a boy, you educate an individual but if you educate a girl, you educate the whole family," was the words in which she firmly believed in. Tired of seeing women being oppressed and being denied the rights of education, Savitribai Phule took it upon herself to provide girl education. Even though she had to bear the insults and abuse which were thrust upon her by the higher class, she continued to provide basic education to girls and women.

Usha Mehta: She was one of the youngest freedom fighters of the Indian freedom movement. She was hardly five years old when she met Gandhi and was inspired by his ideals. At the age of 8, she participated in the `Simon Go Back' protest. Even though her father who was a judge under the British Raj tried his best to dissuade her from participating in the freedom struggle, she made sure to be a part of it in small yet significant ways. After quitting her studies to be a part of the Quit India Movement, she dedicated herself completely to the struggle.