Unsung Freedom Struggle Of 5 Women From Marginalised Communities

In India's struggle for freedom, the remarkable contributions of marginalised women fighters often remain in obscurity. Rectifying this oversight is crucial – their stories inspire unity, diversity, and a more inclusive future.

Harnur Watta
New Update
Women Of Independence Series Creative By STP, Image taken from Asianet Newsable

Women Of Independence Series Creative By STP, Image taken from Asianet Newsable

As the pages of history recount the valiant efforts of India's struggle for independence, a glaring oversight emerges – the significant contributions of women freedom fighters from marginalised communities echo close to none. 

Amidst the grand narratives of the fight against colonial rule, the stories of these formidable women often remain in the shadows, their names and deeds hidden from the mainstream discourse. 

These unsung heroes, hailing from the depths of societal marginalisation, stood resolute against injustice, challenging not only foreign oppression but also deeply entrenched norms that sought to suppress their voices. 

Their courage and sacrifice, often overshadowed, are testaments to the unwavering spirit that coursed through the veins of India's independence movement.

Uda Devi

A daring woman warrior from the Dalit community, Uda Devi's legacy is a testament to her unwavering commitment to justice, equality, and the cause of Indian freedom. Born into the margins of society, Uda Devi defied the social norms of her time and fearlessly took up arms against the British colonial oppressors. 

Uda Devi's story transcends mere historical documentation; it reverberates as a symbol of empowerment for marginalised communities as she mobilised her fellow “Veeranginis” (warriors) in the fight towards Indian Independence


Her exploits challenged not only colonial rule but also the deeply entrenched caste-based discrimination that had plagued Indian society for centuries.

Her battles weren't limited to the battlefield; she fiercely advocated for the rights of Dalits and tirelessly worked towards dismantling the oppressive social structures that had relegated her community to the fringes. 

Her contributions remind us that the struggle for freedom was multi-faceted, encompassing not only political protests but also a ceaseless fight against injustice and inequality.

Women Of Independence Series Creative By STP, Image taken from Wikimedia Commons
Women Of Independence Series Creative By STP, Image taken from Wikimedia Commons

Jhalkari Bai

Born into a humble Dalit family in Uttar Pradesh, Jhalkari Bai's journey from obscurity to becoming a valiant commander in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 is nothing short of extraordinary. 


Enduring societal prejudices and challenges, she rose to prominence for her unwavering commitment to the cause of freedom. 

The brilliance of Jhalkari Bai lies not only in her battlefield prowess but also in her resilience to dismantle the caste barriers that sought to confine her. She exemplified courage during the 1857 uprising, masquerading as the legendary queen Rani Lakshmibai to mislead British forces and plan strategic attacks. 

Her courage, skill, and leadership not only galvanised her fellow fighters but also shattered stereotypes that sought to limit the role of Dalit women in society.

Jhalkari Bai's legacy is a potent reminder of the multitudes of Dalit women who contributed significantly to India's freedom movement, yet were often sidelined in historical narratives. 

Jhalkari Bai, the Dalit warrior queen, not only fought against foreign oppression but also shattered the chains of discrimination, leaving an enduring legacy for generations to come.

Women Of Independence Series Creative By STP, Image taken from Navbharat Times
Women Of Independence Series Creative By STP, Image taken from Navbharat Times

Mahabiri Devi

Hailing from the Bhangi caste, she resided in the village of Mundbhar in Muzaffarnagar district. Despite her lack of formal education, Mahabiri Devi exhibited exceptional intelligence and an unwavering determination to challenge injustice from an early age.

Mahabiri Devi's passion for equality led her to initiate an organisation of women to liberate women and children from engaging in "grihnit karya," or degrading tasks while striving to restore their dignity.

The pivotal year of 1857 witnessed Mahabiri Devi's audacious move to assemble a group of 22 women, propelling them into action against the British oppressors. In the face of adversity, her fearless spirit manifested as she led her group into battle. With resolute determination, she engaged in fierce combat, emerging as a symbol of defiance against colonial rule. 

Mahabiri Devi's extraordinary contribution was not limited to the battlefield alone. Her resolute advocacy for women's rights and her unyielding stance against exploitation paved the way for an inclusive struggle for independence. 

Her actions resonated deeply within her community, motivating others to break the chains of subjugation and assert their right to a dignified life.

Tragically, her valiant fight against the British forces ended in her own sacrifice and the demise of her entire group. 

Rani Gaidinliu

Hailing from the picturesque hills of Manipur, Rani Gaidinliu carved her path as a fearless freedom fighter, cultural custodian, and Adivasi icon.

Born in 1915 in the remote Naga village of Longkao, Rani Gaidinliu's early years were marked by a spiritual revelation that led her to rally her people against British colonial rule and proselytising efforts by missionaries. 

Drawing from her deep-rooted understanding of Naga culture and the need to protect it, she became a resolute defender of her community's identity. Gaidinliu's influence extended beyond her village. She united various Naga tribes under the banner of the Heraka religious movement, which also became a platform for advocating freedom from British rule. 

Imprisoned at the tender age of 16, Gaidinliu's spirit remained unbreakable even during her 14-year incarceration. 

Gaidinliu not only resisted colonial oppression but also fought to preserve her people's cultural heritage. Her efforts earned her the title of 'Rani' or queen among her followers, a reflection of her leadership qualities and their devotion to her cause.

Women Of Independence Series Creative By STP, Image taken from Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav
Women Of Independence Series Creative By STP, Image taken from Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav

Putalimaya Devi Poddar

Putalimaya Devi Poddar, a Gorkha woman born in Kurseong, was well-known in her community for opposing both imperial and social orders.

Her valiant efforts in organising and mobilising her Adivasi community played a pivotal role in shaping the narrative of Indian independence. 

Poddar's activism was instrumental in creating unity among the indigenous population, strengthening their collective voice against oppression. Her leadership and involvement in grassroots movements laid the foundation for the socio-political empowerment of Adivasi women.

She established an organisation for women to encourage young girls to become patriotic community leaders and to harness nationalist sentiments to challenge colonial rule. She organised a huge Jan Sabha during the Quit India campaign in 1942, which culminated in her imprisonment by British police. 

Her resilience and courage were pivotal in bridging the gap between different communities and creating a unified front against colonial oppression. She envisioned a society where all Adivasis could reclaim their dignity and sovereignty.

She also established a Harijan Samaj in Kurseong to mobilise Dalits and Shudras for education.

It is a collective responsibility to rectify the historical oversight that has marginalised the stories of these extraordinary women fighters. 

Their legacy is not just an inspiration for the present but a reminder of the diversity and unity that defined India's struggle for freedom

As the nation moves forward, it is imperative that we re-examine our history, acknowledge the names and actions of these and many other unsung heroes, and weave them into the fabric of our national narrative. 

By recognising and honouring the valour of these women, we enrich our understanding of the multifaceted tapestry of India's fight for independence and pay homage to the indomitable spirit that transcended caste, class, and gender – a spirit that continues to guide us toward a more inclusive and equitable future.

Suggested Reading: Why Savitribai Phule And Her Visionary Idols Inspire Me Greatly


Dalit indian independence Women Of Independence Bahujan Adivasi