India’s Struggle for Independence was a long sought and hard fought one where many people laid their lives and stood against the oppressive British Colonial rule. While we all know the names of Rani Laxmi Bai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Lala Lajpat Rai, Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Netajee Subhash Chandra Bose and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel there are many others who contributed to our freedom but were relegated to a secondary status. India’s independence saw the sweat and blood of millions of Indians who came together to support these leaders and fought against the foreign rule.
Our history books also seem to have forgotten these unsung heroes of India’s freedom struggle and glorify only the works of popular leaders. Some of these lesser known freedom fighters were responsible in hastening the process of getting rid of the British Empire through their actions and the revolt that they mobilized in their wake. On this 71st Independence Day let’s take a look at lesser known but brave and valorous freedom fighters who made an indelible mark on India’s history. 71st Indian Independence Day: Lesser Known Facts About India And The Indian Freedom Struggle
1.Ram Prasad Bismil
Ram Prasad Bismil was a revolutionary who participated in the Mainpuri conspiracy of 1918, and the Kakori conspiracy of 1925. Ram Prasad Bismil was one of the founding members of the revolutionary organisation Hindustan Republican Association. He was also a patriotic poet and wrote in Hindi and Urdu using the pen names of Ram, Agyat and Bismil. He was the mastermind behind the Kakori rail dacoity conspiracy and was hunted by the British forces with utmost zeal. The popular poem Sarfaroshi Ki Tammanna Aaj Hamare Dil Mein Hai is attributed to him. Ram Prasad Bismil was given death sentence along with Ashfaqullah Khan in the Kakori case. He was hanged on December 19, 1927 at the age of 30.
Vinayak Damador Savarkar or popularly known as Veer Savarkar was a lawyer, politician, poet, writer and playwright. He advocated the reconversion of the converted Hindus back to Hinduism. He was an atheist who disapproved of strong orthodox beliefs in all religions. Veer Savarkar published The Indian War of Independence about the Indian Rebellion of 1857 that was banned by the British authorities. He was aagainst the idea of partition and opposed the Indian National Congress’s acceptance of it. He was imprisoned in the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands but was released in 1921. The Port Blair airport in Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been named Veer Savarkar International Airport.
3.Madam Bhikaiji Cama
Madam Bhikaiji Cama with SR Rana and Munchershah Burjorji Godrej founded the Paris Indian Society. She wrote, published and circulated revolutionary literature supporting the Indian struggle for independence while living in exile. She unfurled the “Flag of Indian Independence” at the second Socialist Congress at Stuttgart, Germany. Madam Cama’s flag was a modification of the Calcutta Flag and was co-designed by her and Shyamji Krishna Varma. The flag is significant as it serves as a template for the present Indian National Flag. Independence Day Special: How The Indian National Flag ‘Tiranga’ Came To Its Present Design
Khudiram Bose was one of the youngest revolutionaries who were given capital punishment by the British. At the time of his hanging he was only 18 years, 8 months and 8 days old. Khudiram Bose carried out several bomb attacks against the British, the most significant one was against Magistrate Kingsford.
5.Sardar Udham Singh
Sardar Udham Singh is remembered and hailed for assassinating Sir Michael O’Dwyer who supported the mass firing at the peaceful gathering of people in the Jallianwala Bagh during Baisakhi. He killed Sir Michael O’Dwyer to avenge the merciless Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He was sentenced to death and hanged for the murder on July 31, 1940. Michael O’Dwyer was the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab from 1912 to 1919.
Annie Besant was a British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist and a supporter of Indian and Irish home-rule. She helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India and dominion status within the British Empire. She was elected as president of the India National Congress in late 1917.
Batukeshwar Dutt was an Indian revolutionary who along with Bhagat Singh exploded a few bombs in the Central Legislative Assembly in New Delhi on April 8, 1929. Batukeshwar Dutt and Bhagat Singh were imprisoned for life where they started a historic hunger strike against the abusive treatment of Indian political prisoners.
After 70 years of Independence it is a pity that we have forgotten these brave people who went all out to mobilize the youths of the nation and who laid their lives for the freedom that we take so lightly today.