We all are well-versed with Gandhi Ji, Nehru, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Subhash Chandra Bose and more other famous freedom fighters who made a greater contribution in freeing India from British Raaj and we are thankful to them. However, there are hundreds of freedom fighters that people have forgotten and they were either lost to history or the history books. Today we introduce you to those unsung heroes of the Indian independence struggle.
1. Khudiram Bose
Khudiram Bose was a young Bengali revolutionist who took part in the revolutionary movement for Indian Independence. At the age of 15, Khudiram joined ‘Anushilan Samiti’ which was in the network of Barindra Kumar Ghosh of Calcutta. In 1908, Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki were appointed to kill Muzzafarpur district magistrate Kingsford, the Chief Magistrate of Calcutta Presidency, who was responsible for punishing Bipin Chandra Pal and took pride in ordering corporal punishments against college students and revolutionaries. For this act, he was hanged till death. He was just 18 years, 8 months and 8 days old when he was hanged. To honor his memories and extreme sacrifice a railway station is named after him Khudiram Bose Pusa Station.
2. Tiruppur Kumaran
The lesser known Indian Revolutionist Tiruppur Kumaran was the founder of ‘Desa Bandhu Youth Association’ and organized several protest marches against the British. He inspired the youth to stand against the oppressive and unjust regime of the British rule. In one such protest march, the British opened lathi charge on the protestors and started beating them. He sustained a lot of injuries and later died of those injuries. He was carrying the Indian National Flag, which was banned by the British, which made them furious and they charged on the protestors. Despite repeated lathi attacks on his body he did not let go of the flag, even when he became comatose he held on to it.
3. Saraswathy Rajamani
Saraswathy Rajamani was only 16 years old when Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose visited Rangoon. She was so inspired by his fiery speech that she donated all her jewelry to the INA. Upon knowing this, Netaji returned the jewelry but she stood ground and said: “It’s not my father’s jewelry it’s mine and I will not take it back.” She forced Netaji through her conviction to recruit her in the Indian National Army. She was recruited in the intelligence wing of the INA and during her training in INA camp in Rangoon, she was bestowed with an onus to spy on British Officials to collect all their confidential information and that too in the disguise of a boy. ‘Mani’, her alias, was an errand boy of the British officials and when one of the fellow spy got caught by the British, she dressed as a dancing girl, drugged the soldiers and rescued the girl. While escaping she was shot at, after a two day camp at a nearby tree the girls finally escaped. She wears the limp her injury left her with pride even on this date. That’s how brave a 16-year-old girl was.
4. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay
The Indian social reformer, art enthusiast, a free-thinking feminist and a freedom fighter, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, was the driving force behind the renaissance of Indian handicrafts, handlooms, and theatre in independent India. She was first women to be run for Madras Provincial Legislative Assembly. She served one-year imprisonment as she sold salt packets at The Bombay Stock Exchange.Her ideas and work towards egalitarian politics, gender-equality and against child-marriage are relevant even today.
5. The Trio of Binoy, Badal, and Dinesh
Binoy Basu, Badal Gupta, and Dinesh Gupta were the members of ‘Bengal Volunteers’, an organization started by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose which aimed to “punish” the oppressive officers of the British regime in Bengal. On December 8, 1930, the trio took the disguise of European officials, entered the Calcutta Writer’s Building and killed the cruel Inspector General of Police, Colonel NS Simpson. These brave hearts were hardly 20 years old when they could muster the courage to kill themselves so that the Britishers never catch them. The Britishers took Dinesh to a hospital when he shot himself, where he was saved but later hanged at the age of 19.
6. Matangini Hazra
Matangini Hazra was part of Civil Disobedience Movement and the Quit India Movement. In 1932, she was arrested for participating in Dandi March along with Mahatma Gandhi as the British Government had introduced taxation on salt production and hence it was against the law. In 1942, while she led the procession of 6000 supporters for the Quit India Movement and to take over Tamluk Police Station, she was shot dead by the British Police. She died with a chant of ‘Vande Mataram’ and the Indian Tricolour in her hand.
7. Garimella Satyanarayana
“Pen is mightier than sword” was best exemplified by Garimella Satyanarayana. Satyanarayana was a poet and a freedom fighter from Andhra Pradesh. He penned down several patriotic songs and poems, influencing and mobilizing people of Andhra against the British rule. As a result, he was jailed several times by the British administration. Satyanarayana took part in Civil Disobedience Movement to support Gandhi Ji. During this period, he wrote the famous song ‘Maakoddee Telladoratanamu’ for which he served in jail for one year. After his release, he continued his participation in the movement by rendering his poems and songs in the villages for which he served rigorous imprisonment for two and a half years.
8. Birsa Munda
Belonged to the Munda Tribe, Birsa Munda was a freedom fighter, religious leader, and the folk hero. Died at the young age of 25, he had remarkable achievements in his name. Heled the millenarian movement that inspired tribal of the modern day Bihar and Jharkhand, in the late 19th century, to stand against the British Raj, as the British Colonial system was intensifying the transformation of the tribal agrarian system into a feudal state. His impact on the national movement was so strong that the state of Jharkhand was created on his birth anniversary. He was a force to reckon for the British and they dealt with him by imprisoning him and ultimately killing him.
9. Alluri Sitaram Raju
Also referred to as ‘Manyam Veerudu’” (‘Hero of the Jungles’) by the local people, Alluri Sitaram Raju was an Indian revolutionary involved in the Indian independence movement. Raju led the ‘Rampa Rebellion’ which focused on tribal people fighting against the British Raj, which had passed the 1882 Madras Forest Act that was restricting the free movement of tribal people in the forest and their agricultural practices. Raju had to go underground after an armed coordinated attack on the British. However, the Rampa Rebellion continued for some time under a different leadership.
10. Velu Nachiyar
Velu Nachiyar was the queen of Sivagangai estate in 1760-1790. She was said to be the first queen to fight against the British colonial power in India. She waged a war against the British by destroying the place where they kept their ammunition and gave them a good run for their money. She created an army of women and named it Udaiyaal in honor of her adopted daughter who died while fighting the British. She was a fierce woman and a force of nature. She captured the Nawab of Arcot (an Indian State during 1692 to 1855) who was working against her, with the British and traded him for her kingdom’s freedom. Her unquestionable and unsurmountable bravery and valor allowed her to leave a lasting impression on those who followed her and pledged their loyalty to her. She is celebrated by Tamilians as ‘Veeramangai’ or brave women
11. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
An Indian pro-independence activist, lawyer, politician, poet, writer and playwright, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was one of the famous and strong revolutionists. He coined the term ‘Hindutva’, promoting the idea of ‘Hindu’ being the core of Bharatvarsh. While serving in jail, Savarkar wrote a book named ‘Hindutva: Who is Hindu?’ that laid emphasis on the vision of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ as ‘Akhand Bharat’. According to him, all Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists are part of Hindutva and that Hindus are neither Aryan nor Dravidian but as “People who live as children of a common motherland, adoring a common holy land.” He strongly opposed the Quit India movement and called it a “Quit India but leave the army” movement as INC passed a resolution to allow the Britishers to keep the allied army stationed in India. He wrote several books, out of which The First War of Independence, 1857, is very popular. He served rigorous imprisonment in the infamous Cellular Jail in Andaman and Nicobar Islands for all of his work against the British during the Indian Freedom Struggle.