The epoch names in the history of freedom struggle, are a testimony to the fact that men dominated most aspects of our social lives. Even the women’s movements such as Abolition of Sati and Widow Remarriage were triumphed by men. However, the national awakening in the 19th century gave rise to many new faces in the freedom movement. The rising tide of nationalism engulfed not only men but women too. The history of freedom struggle is replete with the saga of sacrifice, bravery, selflessness and political sagacity of women. Know more about these bold women and their roles in the Indian freedom struggle.

Sarojini Naidu

With the sobriquet, “Nightingale of India”, Sarojini Naidu, is known for becoming the first woman governor of a state. She was the second woman to become the president of the Indian National Congress, after Annie Besant. Also the first Indian woman to achieve this facet. Naidu played one of the most important roles in the Civil Disobedience struggle for which she was jailed. However, her contribution was not confined to politics only and she was a well-renowned poetess.

The ‘Indian Nightingale’-“Sarojini Naidu”. Photo credits- Alchetron

Annie Besant

Annie Besant was a theosophist and a women’s rights activist who travelled to India as a part of her theosophy related work. She launched the Home Rule Movement,in 1917, campaigning for the democracy in India.  She was supported by Balgangadhar Tilak  which led to her election as the president of the Indian Nation Congress. Not only did she help Indians in the freedom struggle, but also formulated favourable opinions and a positive image of India worldwide.

Bhikaji Cama

Bhikaji Cama was a philanthropist and a social worker. She was exiled to Europe and was allowed to come to India only if she promised not to take part in the freedom struggle. However, she continued to work for the freedom movement from abroad throughout her life. She even unfurled the Flag of Indian independence in Stuttgart, Germany while attending the International Socialist Conference on 22nd August 1907.

The flag that she hoisted had a sun and a crescent to represent Hinduism and Islam together and the three broad lines of green, yellow and red represented Islamism, Hinduism and Buddhism respectively.

Kamala Kaul Nehru

Kamala Kaul Nehru is a colossal name in the clique of women freedom fighters of our country. She has been a pivot along with the Nehrus in the national movement. Being in the forefront in the Non-Cooperation movement of 1921, she organized groups of women in Allahabad and picketed shops selling foreign cloth and liquor. When her husband was arrested while delivering a “seditious” public speech, she went in his place to read it out. The British soon realized the threat that Kamala Nehru emerged as. Hence, she was arrested on two occasions for involvement in Independence struggle activities, along with Sarojini Naidu, Nehru’s mother and other women in the Indian freedom struggle.

Begum Hazrat Ali

Begum Hazrat Ali, was the wife of the last Tajdaar-e-Awadh Wajid Ali Shah. She took over the affairs of the state after her husband’s demise. Not only did she reclaim Awadh from the British, she even reinstated her son on the throne. Further, she made efforts in the direction of making people realize that the British were not sympathetic to Indian sentiments. She called out how they demolished mosques and temples alike for the construction of roads. Karl Marx holds the testimony of her valour in which he wrote that the Begum, “during the national liberation uprising of 1857-1859 in India headed the rebels”.

Also read: India had the first all-women infantry regiment in the world: Vera Hildebrand

Divyangna Singh is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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