Freedom fighters including thousands of men and women fought alongside the brutal British Raj, this dominion was traumatizing and devastating. Due to colonization Indians suffered from poverty, malnutrition, disease, cultural upheaval, economic exploitation, political disadvantage, and systematic programs aimed at creating a sense of social and racial inferiority.
But at the end of the nineteenth century, Indian nationalism emerged and tried to overthrow British power. This led to the Indian liberation struggle and ultimately freedom. Freedom fighters stood up and fought. Some of these freedom fighters we know and some that were overshadowed. Unsung heroes are those who fought equally hard but never got a share of the brilliance because they simply did not care. Their only focus was on seeing an independent India. But as citizens of this country, we should be aware of these freedom fighters.
1. Surya Sen – Master Da
Surya Sen was better known as Masterda. He was an Indian revolutionary known for leading the Chittagong armed conflict in 1930 against the British government.
Inspired by his teacher, Sen joined Anushilan Samity, a revolutionary movement led by Sarat Chandra Basu. Basu believed in the idea of violence as a means of ending British rule in India. Sen also worked with Chittaranjan Das, another freedom fighter who led the Non-Cooperation Movement in Bengal.
During his last days, there were stories as to how his bones, limbs, and joints were broken with a hammer by the Britishers. Despite all the harassment, Sen’s spirit did not break.
The spirit, courage, self-sacrifice, and ideas that Sen stands for preserve his legacy.
2. Durgawati Devi – The Agni Of India
Durgawati Devi or Durga Bhabhi, also known as the ‘Agni of India’, is still remembered to this day as a threat to British police. She has been a major influence on freedom fighters such as Bhagat Singh, Ashafaqullah, and Chandra Shekhar Azad.
She also exerted a powerful influence on members of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). Durgawati was a Bengali, married to Professor BhagwatiCharan Vohra at the age of 11.
Durga met many freedom fighters along with Bhagat Singh and learned to make bombs. Durga openly opposed the sentencing of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru. She even sold her jewelry to rescue Bhagat Singh. In retaliation for their execution, Durga decided to assassinate Lord Hailey.
3. Ashfaqulla Khan – The Kakori Freedom Fighter
Ashfaqullah Khan was an Indian Freedom fighter and a well-known activist born on October 22, 1900, into a Muslim Pathan family in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
Khan was a teenager when Mahatma Gandhi launched a non-cooperation movement against British rule in India. But 1.5 years after its launch, Chauri Chaura’s incident in Gorakhpur took place when several uncooperative protesters set fire to a police station, killing at least 22 police officers. Gandhi then decided to withdraw the movement.
Many young people, including Khan, were disappointed by this decision. At that time, he decided to form a movement with like-minded freedom fighters, which led to the formation of the Hindustan Republican Association in 1924.
Khan was hanged to death because of his involvement in the looting of the government treasury carried in the trains.
4. Rani Gaidinliu – Tribal Freedom Fighter
The spiritual and political leader, Rani Gaidinliu, of the Rongmei tribe, was a freedom fighter at the age of 13 itself. Rani Gaidiliu was one of the few female political leaders who demonstrated outstanding courage during colonial times, despite her limitations.
Historians even praised Rani’s move as a milestone in the liberation struggle that encouraged many. Adding that in 1938, Nikhil Manipur Maha Sabha, the first political party in Manipur during the British colonial period, decided to release Rani Gaidinliu from prison.
5. Bagha Jatin – The Bengal Tiger
Long before India gained independence in 1947, an attempt was made under Jatin’s leadership in 1915 to liberate the country from slavery by armed rebellion. Jatin’s efforts can also be considered a precursor to Netaji Subhas Chandra
The nation was burning with dissatisfaction against British Raj. It was then that Jatin’s call “Amra morbo, Jagat jagbe” (We will die to resurrect the nation) stirred up the rising tide of Indian nationalism. Thousands of young people joined the Jatin type of liberation movement.
Jugantar soon became a pan-India organization. The Jugantar Party successfully established its units throughout India and spread far and wide throughout South-East Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
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