In an apparent swipe at previous Congress dispensations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that attempts were made after independence to erase contributions of many great people besides India’s culture and values, and asserted that the country is now correcting mistakes of the past. In a race to promote their own people, the congress has been hiding thousands of freedom fighters across the country. Here are a few unsung heroes:
Aruna Asaf Ali
At the age of 33, Ali gained prominence among Indian masses and infamy in the British Raj camp after she hoisted the Indian National Congress flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay during Quit India Movement in 1942.
An arrest warrant was issued in her name but she went underground to evade arrest and started an underground movement. Her property was seized and sold. The British government announced then a reward of 5,000 rupees for her capture.
Following India’s Independence, she remained active in politics and social work but never received recognition.
Hazra is another freedom fighter who never received her fair share of fame despite sacrificing her life for the country’s freedom. She was part of the Quit India Movement and Non-Cooperation Movement.
During a procession against the British, she was shot thrice but that did not deter her from marching with the tricolour in her hands. She also kept shouting ‘Vande Mataram’ till she breathed her last.
People may have heard her name on roads and buildings, but very few know who she was and what she did for India.
Cama was not only a part of India’s independence movement but also an iconoclast who stood for gender equality during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
She donated most of her personal belongings to an orphanage for girls. She also unfurled the Indian flag at the International Socialist Conference at Stuttgart in Germany, 1907.
Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi
Mushi was also known as Kulpati among peers for his active participation in India’s freedom movement. He was a big proponent of the Quit India Movement.
He was arrested by the British regime a number of times for his involvement in freedom-related activities. He was also the founder of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Peer Ali Khan
The most famous hero of the 1857 mutiny was Mangal Pandey, however, only a handful have heard of Peer Ali Khan. He was one of the initial rebels of India and among the 14 people who were hanged for their role in the mutiny.
Even still, his work inspired many who followed. But generations later, his name just faded away.
Captain Lakshmi was an officer in the Indian Army who also served in World War II. She also served time as a prisoner in Burma, now Myanmar.
When Sahgal heard that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was building an army of women soldiers, she enlisted herself. She was directed by the high command to form a female regiment called ‘Rani of Jhansi regiment, where she was appointed as a Captain.
Even before the Sepoy mutiny of 1857, Velu Nachiyar was the first Indian queen to wage a war against the British Raj. The former princess of Ramanathapuram opposed British rule and gave the rulers a good run for their money.
Some might have heard his name as he was one of the youngest revolutionaries of India and is often discussed in history books. His contribution to the freedom struggle is also a significant one as he was just 18 years old when the British hanged him for his activities against the Raj.
The President of Sarupathar Congress Committee was an Indian Tai-Ahom freedom fighter from Assam. He is the only martyr who was hanged in the last phase of the Quit India Movement of 1942-43.
Benoy Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta were 22, 18 and 19 years old respectively when they wore European outfits and entered the Writer’s Building. Their target was then Inspector General of Police, Colonel NS Simpson.
They succeeded in killing him but were outnumbered by the security personnel. Benoy took a cyanide pill while the other two shot themselves to avoid capture.
Info courtesy: Times Now