HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY 2022: It has been 75 years since India secured independence from British rule and became a sovereign democratic nation. Countless brave women such as Rani Velu Nachiyar, Rani Lakshmibai, Udaa Devi and Madam Cama among others led the Indian independence movement alongside men for over 190 years.
As the country gears up for the 76th Independence Day, we take a look at five such brave women below.
- Rani Velu Nachiyar
Rani Velu Nachiyar, the queen of the erstwhile estate of Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu, was the first Indian queen to fight against the erstwhile British East India Company. The death of her husband in 1780, at the hands of British soldiers, and the loss of Sivaganga, prompted her rebellion. With the help of Mysore ruler Hyder Ali, she recaptured her kingdom.
- Rani Lakshmibai
Lakshmibai and Maharaja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar of Jhansi had a son who died just four months after birth. Gangadhar then adopted his cousin’s child before his death, but the British East India Company refused to acknowledge him and annexed the kingdom of Jhansi. Lakshmibai fought to regain control of Jhansi and gave her life battling them, near Gwalior, in 1858.
- Uda Devi
Uda Devi was one of the fiercest Dalit women in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. In the Battle of Sikandar Bagh (1857), she led an army of women against the British. Uda Devi climbed a tree and shot and killed more than half-a-dozen British soldiers before being killed on November 16, 1857.
- Madam Cama
Bhikaiji Rustom Cama, known simply as Madam Cama, is famous for unfurling the first version of the Indian tricolour flag while attending the International Socialist Conference in Germany on August 21, 1907. She helped establish the Indian Home Rule Society, which advocated the self-rule of Indians in British India. Cama also distributed revolutionary materials to Indians from Paris after forming the Paris Indian Society in 1905.
- Pritilata Waddedar
Pritilata Waddedar, who joined Surya Sen’s group of revolutionaries, is hailed as Bengal’s first woman martyr. She is known for her historic 1932 attack against a European club in Chattogram, now in Bangladesh, for its anti-Indian outlook. The attack left one European woman dead and several injured. Waddedar refused to be captured and committed suicide.