From revolting against the British to gaining freedom for their land, revolutionaries overthrew one of the world’s biggest rules & blessed India with Independence. With 77 years of liberty, the country has grown to great heights. Now, that everyone is swell with national pride it seems appropriate to look back at those who gave up their lives for our better future.
We grew up reading about the sacrifices & efforts of freedom fighters to clench India from the British’s grasp. But there are many such martyrs whom history failed to recognise. So, we bring you stories of 15 little-known Freedom Fighters Who Died For The Nation
1. Surya Sen (A teacher, leader and patriot)
The teacher turned patriot, led an army in Bengal
A revolutionary in the truest sense, Sen led the Chittagong armoury raid of Bengal in 1930. He was a teacher who resorted to the path of ridding India of the British. With his acute leadership, he infused people with patriotism. Because of his national sentiments, he was captured & later hanged. However, his efforts didn’t die with him but ended up inspiring generations to come.
2. Matangini Hazra ( A lady who loved the country, immensely)
Shot by a policeman, died chanting “Vande Mataram”
She actively took to Quit India Movement and Non-Cooperation Movement. A stalwart supporter of Gandhi, she took part in Civil Disobedience Act but was later arrested for not following the Salt Act. Sadly, during Quit India Movement, she appealed to the police not to open fire at the crowd and ended up getting shot once. Soon, the police did the opposite & started shooting people. Hazra was shot multiple times, clenching the Indian flag in her hand and chanting “Vande Mataram”
3. Peer Ali Khan
A forgotten hero. Was given capital punishment for his rebellion.
Taking part in the fight for Independence as early as 1857, Peer Ali was one of the first who dreamed of leading India into sovereignty. In his struggle, he along with 14 others, was given capital punishment for his involvement in the freedom movement. We dearly remember this patriot & wish he never would have gotten lost in the pages of history.
4. Tirupur Kumaran
An exemplar of sheer love & respect for the nation. Killed while leading a protest against the British.
He founded Desa Bandhu Youth Association to protest against the British. While leading a protest march against the colonial government in 1932, he was killed. When succumbing to his wounds, he was found holding the Indian national flag!
5. Khudiram Bose
The country came before age for him. Hanged at the age of 18.
One of the youngest revolutionaries of India, Bose tried to assassinate a judge named Kingsford. He couldn’t succeed in his mission as the carriage he blew up, didn’t have Kingsford in it but two ladies. Soon, Bose was arrested for killing the women. Later, he was hanged at the tender age of 18 years, 8 months 8 days.
6. Benoy Badal Dinesh
Swiftly descended to martyrdom. A trio who infiltrated a police station to kill a brutal officer.
The trio of three rebels, Benoy Basu (22), Badal Gupta (18) and Dinesh Gupta (19). They entered Writer’s Building as impostors, wearing British outfits. Their plan was to infiltrate and kill the vicious Inspector General of Police, Colonel NS Simpson. Although succeeding in their plan, they got outnumbered at the police station. Benoy took a cyanide pill and the rest shot themselves, dying in the name of the nation.
7. Bhogeswari Phukanani
Died a leader. Shot by a British army man, died holding the Indian flag.
She actively participated in India’s yearning to freedom. During the Independence Movement, the Berhampur Indian national congress Office was forcibly taken by the British. She, along with her sons, took part in freeing the office from their clutches. She succeeded! Later, she was reportedly leading a group of people, holding the Indian flag and chanting slogans like “Vande Mataram”. A British army man tried to take the flag from her, she resisted and hit him with a pole but ended up getting shot.
8. Kanaklata Barua
One of the youngest martyrs. Shot at the age of 17.
Barua was from Assam and preached strong national sentiments. During the Quit India Movement, she was leading a procession of unarmed villagers to host the Indian Flag at the local police station. Despite several warnings from the police she proceeded and ended up getting shot. She was only 17 when she succumbed to martyrdom.
9. Kittur Chennamma
A ruler who tried to overthrow the British rule. One of the first lady rulers who fought for independence.
The Rani of Kittur, Karnataka, was one of the first lady rulers to revolt against the British. Her story of patriotism dates back to 1824. To overthrow the British East India Company, she led an armed rebellion but eventually got captured. While imprisoned, she was killed and went on to become a folk heroine as well as the symbol of the Independence Movement in India.
10. Kushal Konwar
A proud martyr who put the nation before his family
During the last stages of the Quit India Movement, Konwar led the Sarupathar Congress Committee. In 1942, some people sabotaged a train & many British soldiers lost their lives. Kushal was convicted of this crime and received a death sentence.
11. Ashfaqulla Khan
The man with unshakeable courage and loyalty to his country
Ashfaqulla Khan formed an organization for freedom fighters which was named Hindustan Republican Association. The only aim of this organization was to end British Rule in India. The revolutionaries of this association including him and Ram Prasad Bismil, looted a train carrying British Government money near Kakori on 9 August 1925. Khan was the only one who was untraced by the British. He tried remaining hidden for almost a year in Banaras before he asked one of his Pathan friends to help him leave the country. The friend betrayed him and he was arrested by the British. On 19 December 1927 he was hanged in Faizabad Jail along with his co-conspirators. His clarity of mind, intelligence, love for country and finally martyrdom will be remembered forever.
12. Jatindra Nath Das
A very young revolutionary who was an aide to Bhagat Singh
Jatindra Nath Das started working for the Indian freedom cause at a very young age. He joined the Anushilan Samiti, a revolutionary organization to help in India’s freedom movement. He was an important member of Bhagat Singh’s HRSA (Hindustan Republic Socialist Association). He also joined Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement at the young age of 17 years. He died in jail with other political prisoners after a 63 days fast fighting for the political rights of prisoners. He was called the ‘Young Dadhichee’ of the nation by Subhas Chandra Bose.
13. Lakshmi Sehgal
First lady officer of the Indian National Army
Captain Lakshmi was a World War II veteran and had spent time as a prisoner in Burma. She was the Captain of Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army’s Rani of Jhansi Regiment. She was arrested by the British army in May 1945 and was under house arrest in the jungles of Burma till March 1946 but was sent to India when INA trials were intensifying the hatred for the British. She lived to see India getting independence and finally breathed her last on 23 July 2012.
14. Pingali Venkayya
The man who designed the Tricolour- Indian National Flag
The man was not just a designer but also a teacher, author and agriculturist. Born in 1878, he never had an easy life. He lived a life where he struggled to make ends meet but never cashed on his reputation of designing the Indian National Flag. He died in 1963 in poverty and was later forgotten by society until 2009 when a stamp was issued to commemorate him and his contributions.
15. Bhikaji Cama
Hoisted the flag of India on foreign soil. Known as the ‘Mother of Indian Revolution’
Bhikaji Rustom Cama popularly known as Madam Cama was born on September 24, 1861. She was the founder of the Paris Indian Society. She joined hands with Indian freedom fighters and wrote and distributed literature for the freedom movement. She hoisted the ‘Flag of Independence’ in an event in Germany in 1907 where she talked about the ill ways of the British Raj in India. She passed away at the age of 74 in Parsi General Hospital in Mumbai in 1936.
The stories of these little-known freedom fighters may not form a part of schools’ history books but their sacrifices & efforts still hold great importance. We salute their passion for the nation!