India’s freedom struggle is full of tales of several female freedom fighters of India. It’s another thing that they’re not much talked about but they do exist.
Strongest female freedom fighters of India
With names like Shivaji Maharaj, Bajirao, Maharana Pratap, Rana Sanga, Prithviraj Chauhan and others, here are 5 strong female warriors in the history of india that have engraved their names in the history of India.
Must Read: Timeline of Indian Freedom Struggle
These female freedom fighters of India are not only the strongest but are also ones who fought till the last of their breath. Check out the names of female freedom fighters of india below:
Rani Lakshmibai, also called by the names: Jhansi ki Rani and Manikarnika Tambe, was an Indian queen of Jhansi in North India. Jhansi is now present in Uttar Pradesh, India. She was a leading figure of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and became a symbol of resistance to the British Raj for all Indian nationalists.
Fondly referred to as ‘Manu’, Rani Lakshmibai was the daughter of a Varanasi Brahmin priest. After marrying Maharaja Gangadhar Rao of Jhansi, Manikarnika rechristened as Lakshmibai in 1842. Her husband’s death in 1853 is what caused her the kingdom. Post this unfortunate incident, Rani Lakshmibai was to be annexed by the British under Lord Dalhousie’s Doctrine of Lapse. She was forced out of her fort and was demoted. Post this, she sent several appeals to England against the annexation policy, which were all rejected.
In 1857, with a sword in one hand and her child tied to her back, she fought valiantly against the attacks by the neighbouring princes. In 1858, the British force attacked Jhansi, but Laxmibai fled with her son to Kalpi, and joined Tatya Tope. They captured Gwalior, but the Britishers regained control. She fought the battle of Kotah-ki-Serai in 1858, dressed in a mans uniform, but was shot dead.
Rani Lakshmibai was accustomed to ride on the horseback. Some names of her horses included Sarangi, Pavan, and Baadal. According to historians, she rode Baadal while escaping from the fort in 1858. Today, the Rani Mahal, also called the palace of Rani Lakshmibai has been converted into a museum. It contains a collection of archaeological remains of the time between the 9th and the 12th centuries AD.
Also Read: Top 10 Philanthropists in the World
History of some female freedom fighters of India
Uda Devi Pasi, wife of soldier Makka Pasi from the army of Hazrat Mahal, was also a warrior in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Devi was a Dalit resistance fighter. Today, people recognize her and her Dalit participants as ‘Dalit Veeranganas’. It was Uda Devi who reached out to the queen, Begum Hazrat Mahal to enlist for war. The Begum then helped Devi in forming a women’s battalion under her command.
When the British finally attacked Awadh, both Uda Devi Pasi and her husband were part of the armed resistance. Hearing about her husband’s death in the battle, she unleashed her final campaign in full force. Uda Devi then took part in the Battle in Sikandar Bagh in November 1857. After issuing instructions to her battalion, she climbed up a pipal tree and began shooting at the advancing British soldiers. When a British officer noted that many of the casualties had bullet wounds indicating steep, downward trajectory, they suspected a hidden sniper. He ordered his officers to fire at the trees and dislodged a rebel who fell to the ground dead. The sniper was later revealed as Uda Devi Pasi. It is in her memory why the brave woman warrior’s statue still stands erect in the square outside Sikandar Bagh, Lucknow.
Begum Hazrat Mahal
Begum Hazrat Mahal, also called Begum of Awadh, was the second wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. She was freedom fighter of India as she rebelled against the British East India Company during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. She took charge of the affairs of the state after her husband was exiled to Calcutta. After falling in Lucknow and being forced to abandon her reign, she escaped to Kathmandu. Post her death in 1879, on the occasion of the jubilee of Queen Victoria, the British government pardoned Birjis Qadar (Begum Hazrat Mahal’s son) and allowed him to return home.
Do Read: 7 Unknown Special Forces of India
History of some female freedom fighters of India
Onake Obavva was a brave woman who fought the forces of Hyder Ali single-handedly with an Onake (Pestle) in the kingdom of Chitradurga of Karnataka. Her husband was a guard of a watchtower in the fort of Chitradurga. She is celebrated along with other women warriors of the country.
During the reign go Madakari Nayaka, Chitradurga was besieged by Hyder Ali’s troops. While the guard went home for his lunch, his wife Obavva went on to collect water from a pond which was near the holes in the rocks from where the troops were planning to enter the fort. This is when she spot the soldiers and killed them with the pestle one after the other. Though she fought bravely and saved the fort this time, Madakari still lost the fort to Hyder Ali during their attack in 1779.
Keladi Chennamma was the queen of Keladi Kingdom in Karnataka. After her husband’s death in 1677, Chennamma efficiently handled all the administration of the Keladi Nayaka Dynasty. During her 25 years of reign, she managed to repel advance of the Mughal Army led by Aurangzeb from her military base in Sagara, Karnataka.
Keladi Chennamma provided shelter to Rajaram Chhatrapati who was fleeing from the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who attacked Keladi. Chennamma fought the war without defeat. The battle with the Mughals ended in a treaty. Her kingdom was probably the last to lose autonomy to Mysore rulers and subsequently to the British.
Today, she is remembered as the epitome of Kannada women’s valour along with Rani Abbakka, Onake Obavva, and Kittur Chennamma. The Mirjan fort was built by Keladi Chennamma and she is known to be a very virtuous and pious woman. She was a pragmatic administrator of her times.
Recommended Reading: Battles fought by India after independence you may not even know about