Women freedom fighters is a list of women who sacrificed their lives to free India from British rule. In India, the conventional role for women was one of dutiful daughter, wife, and mother. The far more difficult task of social change has to be undertaken by men. This changed with the coming of age of Indian women, who not only joined political parties but also attacked the existing social institutions that subjugated them. Many joined hands with their male counterparts to fight against oppression and even bared their breasts in public to do so.
There is a popular saying that goes thus “Freedom fighters come in different hues”. Every freedom fighter has a unique story to tell. Here I have listed some of them who chose a life of devotion and sacrifice while fighting against the Britishers. These freedom fighters will be remembered and honored as women who shaped India.
1. Mahadevi Verma (1907-1987)
Mahadevi Verma, was an Indian poet, freedom fighter, and social reformer. She was born in a small village of Nihali, Bulandshahar District in Uttar Pradesh. Her father Akhandanand Verma taught her everything from Sanskrit grammar to Vedas and Upanishad at home. She had no formal schooling except for brief periods at Banaras and Haldwani. Her writings were most noted for the portrayal of women as powerful characters.
She played an active role in the freedom struggle. She wrote many patriotic songs for children which were immensely popular among them. The Government of Uttar Pradesh published her biography in 1981 and posthumously awarded her the Padma Bhushan in 1989.
Mahadevi wrote in Hindi and Braj Basha. She started writing at the age of eight. Her first story, ‘Anandi’, was published in Hindi magazine Kahani Saugandh. Her other collections are Chand aur Suraj, Mahadevi ki kavitaen, Brihad Vani, Smriti ki Rekhaen, Chanckaur ki Nayika, and Neerja and Main Pawan Hoon.
She was a learned woman who dedicated her life to freeing India from British rule and uplifting the women of India. She was one of the most inspiring writers and woman freedom fighters of India.
2. Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949)
Sarojini Naidu was born on February 13, 1879, in Hyderabad, India. Her father Aghorenath Chattopadhyay was the founder of Nizam College, Hyderabad, and her mother Barada Sundari was a Bengali poet. She spent her early life in Hyderabad, traveling widely with her family who followed a tradition of public service and education.
When she was twelve years old she started writing poems. Her poem “In the Bazaars of Hyderabad” got the first prize in an all-India poetry competition which was held by the Indian Mirror.
She married Muthyala Govindarajulu Naidu of the Nizam’s service at the age of 19. They had five children.
Sarojini Naidu first met Mahatma Gandhi in 1915 during his visit to Madras and started taking an active part in Indian National Movement in 1916.
She participated in the Home Rule Movement started by Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856–1920) and joined Mahatma Gandhi in the Non-Cooperation Movement. Sarojini Naidu was one of the three women elected to lead the Salt Satyagraha at Dharasana along with Kasturba Gandhi and Arunachalam’s wife Lakshmi.
In 1905 she came across Gopal Krishna Gokhale whom she served as secretary for two years when he was President of the Indian National Congress at the Surat Conference in 1905. She campaigned for women’s rights and other social reforms such as reform in the Hindu marriage system.
Sarojini Naidu was born into an aristocratic family and she faced many challenges as a freedom fighter but she overcame them all. She is remembered as one of the greatest women freedom fighters of India.
3. Sucheta Kriplani (1908-1974)
Sucheta Kripalani was an Indian freedom fighter and politician. She was one of the prominent women leaders in India at the time of independence. Sucheta was born on June 25, 1908, in Ambala. Her father, a doctor of medicine, died when she was just five years old. Her mother, Swarnakumari Devi, took charge of her education and brought her up to be a social reformer.
Sucheta graduated from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, and Lucknow University where she was awarded a gold medal for standing first in M.A. Political Science examination. She met Mahatma Gandhi in 1935 during one of his visits to Wardha and became his follower.
In 1937, she became the secretary of the Congress unit and later went on to become a member of the Working Committee. In 1939, she married Achyuta Krishnan Kriplani who was an active freedom fighter in the 1942 Quit India Movement. Sucheta Kriplani was jailed during the Quit India Movement of 1942.
Sucheta Kriplani is a major name in India’s freedom movement. She was one of the many women freedom fighters of India who went to jail during the independence struggle.
4. Madam Bhikaji Cama (1861-1936)
Bhikaiji Cama was an Indian independence activist. She is remembered as a major force behind the Indian freedom struggle. Born in Bombay, she became a prominent member of the political wing of the Indian National Congress and an advocate for women’s rights. Bhikaiji, who was born in a rich Parsi family in Bombay, was lucky to have parents who were progressive in their outlook and encouraged her to pursue higher education.
She went to Alexandra Native Girls’ English Institution, where she was inspired by the speeches of Dadabhai Naoroji, an eminent Indian political leader, scholar, and one of the founders of the Indian National Congress.
Her family supported her by saying “We will accept every decree of fate except suffering under British rule. We are proud that we have given birth to a daughter like you who will sacrifice everything for her noble ideal”
She married a renowned Parsi lawyer Rustom Cama and had a son named Kaizad Rustom Cama.
Her legacy includes setting up two national flags for India and traveling to Europe with the goal of creating awareness about India’s bid for freedom from British rule.
Bhikaji Cama is remembered as a social worker, nationalist leader educator, and a brave and inspiring woman freedom fighter of India.
5. Annie Besant (1847-1933)
Besant was born in London, England on October 1, 1847. She spent most of her childhood with an aunt in Ireland because her mother died when she was only three years old. As a young woman, Besant became interested in theosophy, which is a religious philosophy that teaches about the existence of God and the purpose of life.
Besant was a British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer and orator, and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule. Although she was not Indian by birth, she made India her home in 1897. She fought for women’s rights and Indian Independence.
Besant traveled to India in 1893 and became an Indian citizen after marrying an Indian man. She was a prolific writer, publishing over 100 books. Her most famous works are “The Law of The Spirit of Life” and “Esoteric Christianity”. Besant traveled widely in Europe, America, and India and became an important figure in the Indian Independence Movement. Besant was also involved in the foundation of a new political party, the Home Rule League, which sought independence from British rule.
She was honored by the Indian people as a freedom fighter. In 1930, when she died, thousands of Indians lined the streets of Madras to pay tribute to her.
6. Kamini Roy (1864-1932)
Kamini Roy was an Indian poet and a feminist, who fought for women’s rights in India. She was born on October 12, 1864, in the town of Basandhara in the district of Bakerganj which is now known as the Barisal Division in Bangladesh.
She inspired a whole generation of Bengal and inspired them to fight for their rights against British colonial rule. In fact, she was also a member of the Swadeshi movement that called for boycotting British imports and promoting local Indian products. Section: She was born in 1864 and died in 1936. Her legacy lives on through her poetry which may have been written long ago but still resonates strongly with many people’s circumstances today.
She had strong family support from her parents who encouraged her education, but it was her sister Jagadamba Roy who helped her out financially during hard times and supported her through thick and thin. Kamini Roy’s name will always be mentioned when women freedom fighters of India are remembered and honored!
7. Kasturba Ghandhi (1869-1944)
Kasturba Gandhi was a leader of the Indian independence movement and the wife of Mohandas Gandhi. She came from a wealthy family, and like most women at that time, she became a housewife and mother.
Kasturba Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on April 11, 1869, in Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency, British India (now Gujarat).
Section: She was married at the age of 13, in May 1883. Her husband went to England for further education and she joined him in 1889. Kasturba’s husband was a lawyer and she supported him in every way possible. In 1900 they moved back to India, where they joined the Indian National Congress and became actively involved in politics. Kasturba also followed her husband into prison several times because of his protests against the British government. She never had any formal education but worked very hard to improve herself by reading books about health and nutrition. By the 1920s, Kasturba emerged as one of the most important figures in India’s struggle for independence from Britain.
Of the women freedom fighters of India, she is probably the most well know.
8. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (1900 – 1990)
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was born in Allahabad on August 18, 1900. Attracted by the freedom struggle of India, she was also active in the Congress party. She was elected as a Congress president in 1939. Vijaya Lakshmi was encouraged to be more politically active by her father, who was a prominent lawyer who had joined the freedom struggle at an early age.
She married Ranjit Pandit, an Indian Army officer from Maharashtra, with whom she had three children. Her husband died in 1944 from cancer. In 2006, the Government of India issued a commemorative stamp to honor her.
Her political career began in 1937 when she was elected as a member of the U.P legislative council and also started her work for women’s rights and also for equality for all citizens regardless of one’s gender, caste or religion. although she came from a family of freedom fighters, she made her new name as a courageous woman freedom fighter of India
9. Kamala Nehru ( 1899 -1936)
Section: Kamla Nehru, wife of Jawaharlal Nehru, was a prominent figure during the Indian Independence movement.
She was born as Kamala Kaul on 1 August 1899 in a Kashmiri Pandit family in Allahabad and was brought up in environs of luxury and comfort.
She married Motilal Nehru in 1916. Section: She had two children, Jawaharlal Nehru and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.
In Jawaharlal’s writings, she has been mentioned as the spiritual force behind him and her name has been engraved at two places in the Ashoka Pillar in his memory at Delhi.
In 1929, when Mahatma Gandhi led the Salt Satyagraha against British colonial rule, Kamala Nehru accompanied him for about twenty-four days on the Dandi March. She suffered severe health issues because of her visits to Indian prisons to meet political prisoners and their families during the Salt Satyagraha movement.
10. Captain Lakshmi Sahgal
Lakshmi Sahgal was a lawyer before independence, who chose to fight in the war against British rule. She helped the sick and wounded during the Second World War.
She joined the Indian National Army(INA) when she realized that people were suffering terribly under British rule. Lakshmi played an active role during the Quit India Movement of 1942.
In 1947, she joined Subhash Chandra Bose’s INA and later became the Captain of the Rani Jhansi Regiment of INA. She was one of the most prominent female leaders to lead a regiment in combat against British rule.
Lakshmi fought in Burma (now Myanmar) and Singapore with INA troops.
In conclusion, we have to say women are forces of nature. They are the ones who fight for their rights and those of others. The women freedom fighters in India are an inspiration for all the young girls who dream of becoming world leaders one day. They fought for their rights and for those of other women in India.
They have done everything from helping children, to fighting in wars, to leading protests against injustice. These women have shown that they have what it takes to be leaders even when they are outnumbered by men.
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