Union Minister of State for Culture Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi released a pictorial book on India’s Women Unsung Heroes of Freedom Struggle as part of Azadi ka Mahotsav, in New Delhi. The book has been released in partnership with Amar Chitra Katha which is a household name in India.
Addressing the occasion, Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi said that the book celebrates the lives of some of the women who led the charge and lit the flame of protest and rebellion throughout the country. It contains the stories of queens who battled colonial powers in the struggle against imperial rule and women who dedicated and even laid down their lives for the cause of the motherland, she added.
Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi further added that if we go through the glorious past of Indian history, we find that the Indian culture was the one that celebrated women and there was no place for gender discrimination. This is amply evident from the fact that women had the courage and physical strength to fight like soldiers on the battlefield. Narrating the tales of valour of some of the unsung women heroes included in the book, Smt Meenakashi Lekhi said that women were equally vocal in expressing dissent against imperial powers. For example, Rani Abbakka repulsed the Portuguese attacks for several decades. However, history has hardly been written with this perspective and now as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, as is the Prime Minister’s vision, the sacrifices of these unsung heroes will be brought to light, she said.
Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi said that the celebration of freedom has a meaning only when we familiarise our youth with the past and make them feel proud of their history. It is important for the youth to understand the history of the freedom struggle through an Indian perspective rather than the colonial one, which the book being released seeks to do, the Minister explained. She thanked the team at Amar Chitra Katha, and said that Amar Chitra Katha has for years played an important role in character building in children and imbuing them with sanskars,
Ministry of Culture has decided to release pictorial books on 75 Unsung Heroes of the Freedom Struggle in partnership with Amar Chitra Katha. The second edition will be on 25 unsung Tribal Freedom Fighters which is under process and will take some time. The third and final edition will be of 30 unsung heroes drawn from other areas.
The movement to gain India’s Independence brought together millions of people from every walk of life in protest of colonial rule. However, we all know only a few legendary, iconic leaders of the freedom struggle. In view of this, as a part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) commemorating 75 years of India’s Independence, the Government of India has decided to recall and remember forgotten heroes of our freedom struggle, many of whom might be renowned yet unknown to the new generation.
Rani Abakka, the Queen of Ullal, Karnataka fought and defeated the mighty Portuguese in the 16th century. Velu Nachiyar, the queen of Sivaganga was the first Indian queen to wage war against the British East India Company. Jhalkari Bai was a woman soldier who grew to become one of the key advisors to the Rani of Jhansi and a prominent figure in the First War of Indian Independence, 1857.
Matangini Hazra was a brave freedom fighter from Bengal, who laid down her life while agitating against the British. Gulab Kaur was a freedom fighter who abandoned her own hopes and dreams of a life abroad to fight for and mobilise the Indian people against the British Raj. Chakali Ilamma was a revolutionary woman who fought against the injustice of zamindars during the Telangana rebellion in the mid-1940s. Padmaja Naidu, the daughter of Sarojini Naidu and a freedom fighter in her own right, would later become Governor of West Bengal and a humanitarian after Independence.
The book contains the story of Bishni Devi Shah, a woman who inspired a large number of people in Uttarakhand to join the freedom movement. Subhadra Kumari Chauhan was one of the greatest Hindi poets, who was also a prominent figure in the freedom movement. Durgawati Devi was the brave woman who provided safe passage to Bhagat Singh after the killing of John Saunders and much more during her revolutionary days. Sucheta Kripalani, a prominent freedom fighter, became independent India’s first woman Chief Minister of UP Government.
The book contains the story of Accamma Cherian, an inspirational leader of the freedom movement in Travancore, Kerala, she was given the name ‘Jhansi Rani of Tranvancore’ by Mahatma Gandhi. Aruna Asaf Ali was an inspirational freedom fighter who is perhaps best remembered for hoisting the Indian National flag in Mumbai during the Quit India Movement in 1942. Durgabai Deshmukh, a tireless worker for the emancipation of women in Andhra Pradesh, was also an eminent freedom fighter and member of the Constituent Assembly. Rani Gaidinliu, the Naga spiritual and political leader, led an armed uprising against the British in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam. Usha Mehta was a freedom fighter from a very young age, who is remembered for organizing an underground radio station during the Quit India Movement of 1942.
Parbati Giri, one of Odisha’s most prominent women freedom fighters, was called the Mother Teresa of Western Odisha for her work in the upliftment of her people. Tarkeshwari Sinha, a prominent freedom fighter during the Quit India Movement, went on to become an eminent politician in the early decades of independent India. Snehlata Varma, a freedom fighter and tireless worker for the education and upliftment of women in Mewar, Rajasthan. Tileshwari Baruah, one of India’s youngest martyrs, was shot at the age of 12 by the British, during the Quit India Movement, when she and some freedom fighters tried to unfurl the Tricolour atop a police station.
Disclaimer : This is an official press release by PIB.