Indian National Movement & the Role of Women | UPSC Notes

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Indian National Movement & the Role of Women | UPSC Notes

The history of the Indian freedom fight would not be complete if it didn’t talk about what women did. The most important thing will be the sacrifices made by the people of India. The past of freedom struggles is full of stories of women who gave up their lives, helped others, and were brave. Many of us don’t know that hundreds of women fought alongside men. They fought with real heart and courage that didn’t give up. The Indian women broke free of many restrictions and left their usual roles and responsibilities around the home. So, the fact that women took part in the freedom fight and National awakening is amazing and something to be proud of. But in a world where men are in charge, it is hard for women to fight as warriors. Even though women tried to change the minds of traditionalists who thought women were only meant to do housework. Also, women not only risk their lives but also fight against these problems. Rani Laxmi Bhai was one of these women who fought against the British Empire despite all chances. This paper is meant to show how fierce women were in history and how they left a mark on the world.

There is no question that a lot of women took part in the fight against British rule in India. If we try to remember all of the women who have led our national cause, we will find that the list is very long. At the national level, we have Sarojini Naidu, Rani Laxmi Bai, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, and Mridula Sarabhai. At the local level, we have Annie Mascarene and A.V. Kuttimaluamma in Kerala, Durgabai Deshmukh in Madras Presidency, Rameshwari Nehru and Bi Amman in U.P., Satyawati Devi and Subhadra Joshi in Delhi, Hansa Mehta and Usha Mehta in Bombay and several others. In fact, because of how our nationalism movement works, it is very hard to tell the difference between regional leaders and leaders for all of India. Many women started out on the local level and then moved up to the middle stage of nationalist politics. Along with all of these Indian women, there were also Irish women like Annie Besant and Margaret Cousins, who used what they knew from being exploited by the British in Ireland to help people in India.

Women’s role from 1757-1857

• After Plassey in 1757, John Company slowly became the most powerful political force in the subcontinent. This process was hampered by many rebellions, insurrections, revolts, and peasant and military mutinies, starting with Buxur in 1864. But John Company usually prevailed pensioning the mughal monarch and later also the Peshwa (Bithoor, 1818); the mighty Nawabs Haider Ali, Tipu Sultan of Mysore (1799) were crushed, the Awadh nawabi reduced to vassalage; but Col Malcolm was defeated by Bimabai Holkar in guerrilla warfare, and Queen Chenamma, successfully defended her small kingdom of Kittoor (in Karnataka) from being annexed,, demonstrating female prowess.

• The 1857 Uprising was special because several women led the fight against the British Empire. Because of this, they were mentioned in administrative and military reports as warriors, leaders, and people who made decisions. Powerful women’s points of view emerged, but Rankeian-based imperial and nationalist narratives focused on a select few, like Rani Laxmibai (Jhansi) and Begum Hazrat Mahal, who tried hard but failed to secure Lucknow and Shahjehanpur. They turned down Queen Victoria’s offer of forgiveness and chose to live in Nepal instead. This made it hard to see the extraordinary contributions of not only the socially and economically disadvantaged, but also the patriot

• After World War II, frameworks, methods, and approaches for writing complete histories using the “bottoms-up” method and a variety of traditional and non-traditional sources became more developed. This made it possible for Social Scientists, such as the Subaltern School, to raise public awareness of “Ghadar” and the bravery, sacrifices, and patriotism of the subalterns, including women like UdaDevi, Jhalkaribai, Mahaviridevi, and Panndhai

• Female maids even used “weapons of the weak” and worked on “hidden transcripts” to help the nationalist cause in sneaky and brave ways. So, an angry Rooth Coopland at the Agra fort said that those who bobbed and insulted them took pleasure in the spread of rebellion and making their masters look bad, which added to their insults and pain. Most maids quit or stopped coming to work, and the ones who stayed charged higher wages and were very rude. They spent their extra money on flashy clothes and gold and silver jewellery, and they would ask their employers, “Where are your ornaments?” to make fun of them.

Women’s role After 1857

• After 1857, there was a time of peace called “constructive imperialism,” which encouraged women to go to school. This was a goal that Indian liberals, reformers, and reformist groups had been working towards since the 1830s. Thus Atmiya Sabha, Bramho Samaj, Arya Samaj, Prartahana Samaj, Theosophical Society, Ram Krishna Mission, Indian National Congress (from 1885), linked national regeneration to women’s education, rights, dignity, reminding that the prime moral justification for foreign domination was women’s inferior, oppressed position, illiteracy which ill equipped almost half the Indian population to think or act for itself, thus rendering India unfit to govern itself.

• These encouraged women to go to school, join their group, and take part in different nationalist projects. This became the story of how nationalism spread. Women were seen as important symbols of national pride, enlightenment, or backwardness, with the point being made that even in the past, women were never as passive, stupid, or subservient as hegemonic imperial narratives made them out to be. This point of view has been backed up by recent studies that show women’s power within the family, their struggles, critiques, resistances, and how they broke up and negotiated male-dominated socio-economic, political, and power relations in different So, widows went to the law courts to get their inheritance rights and honour upheld, fought for their husband’s property, and even got divorces from abusive husbands and in-laws. During famines, women asked the government for help while criticising colonialism for ruining their rich history.

• This changed with the spread of education, which happened slowly and was met with opposition and complicated situations. However, a small number of women were able to get an education, especially in urban university centres like Bombay, Poona, Calcutta, Madras, and Allahabad. This created small, visible groups of female intelligentsia who were exposed to science, technology, and other modernization processes that changed the way they thought and lived. So, Mukatabai, a 14-year-old Mang girl in Jotiba Phule’s school in 1855, was able to write about how the dominant Brahmanical order was unfair and cruel to lower caste women (Mang Maharachya Dukha Viasaiyi); Tararbai Shinde wrote “Stree-Purush tulna,” which compares men and women; and Phule’s wife, Savitri, criticised

• Kadambini Ganguly and Chandramukhi Basu were the first women in the British empire to graduate from college (Calcutta University, 1883). Kadambini, Haimavati Sen, Anandibai became medical doctors. Anandibai and Pandita Ramabai went to the United States and England, respectively, to further their careers. Ramabai married someone from a different culture. She then became a Christian, went back to India, and fought for women’s rights and education, especially for widows. She started the Mahila Samaj and, with the help of Justice Ranade, “The Aryan Women’s Association.” Another Maharashtrian, Ramabai Ranade, also started the Seva Sadans with the same goals.

• Begum Rokeya Sakahawat Hossain worked in Bengal to help muslim women get ahead. The writer Swarana Kumari Ghoshal, established the Sakhi Samiti (1886), to promote traditional handicrafts, Sarala Ghoshal founded a gymnasium in Calcutta (1902); Sarala Devi Chaudurani’s Bharat Stree Mahamnadal (1910), having branches all over India promoted women’s education, and Annsuiyabai Kale started the Bhagini Mandal (1925), organised the Provincial Ladies Association Conference thus empowering women whose activism increased perceptibly. Educated women also questioned, criticised, and criticised the British rule over India. They did this because they were so proud of democratic rule in their own country.

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• At the beginning of the 20th century, women worked on tea and coffee farms, in mines, and in Jute and Cotton mills. Basanti Devi, Cornelia Sorabji, Sarojini Naidu, Ladorani Zuthshi, Annie Besant, Muthulaksmi Reddy, Mitain Tata Lam, Perrin Captain, Freda Bedi, Durgabai Joshi, and Mahadevi Verma became political activists, lawyers, lawmakers, reformists, poets, writers, and got involved in revolutionary and trade union activities despite the insults and rumours of people with bad ideas.

• Bhikaji Cama was an important figure for young Indians living abroad. He started the “Free India Society” and the magazine “Vande Matram.” He also travelled a lot to fight for India’s freedom and raised the national flag at the international Socialist Conference in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1907. Bhikaji also helped Savarkar publish his groundbreaking book, “Indian War of Independence.” This book was almost the first to say that 1857 was a unified national war for independence, and it was banned in Britain and India even before it came out. But in the end, Bhikaji got the book quietly released in Holland without a cover. He then smuggled it into India. Even though most people outside of their immediate circle didn’t know about these brave, secret acts, they showed a united front of resistance and struggle. They also showed the power and perspective of women and their determination not to let their gender stop them from reaching their full potential and goals. This changed and consolidated women’s interests, leaving an indelible mark on the women’s question.

Indian National Congress

• The Indian National Congress, which was founded in 1885, was the most important pan-nationalist platform. It urged women to take the lead on different national projects and work with other women who shared their ideas, goals, and vision. This led to a degree of national integration. District Congress Committees made ties with women’s groups like Rashtriya Stree Sangha, Rashtriya Stree Sabha, Devdasis Sangha, Desh Seviaka’s, and Bharat Stree Mahamnadal, whose members had to be members of the District Congress. This gave the Congress a strong female base. At each General Session of the Congress, more and more women members and observers (like Swarna Kumari Ghoshal and Kadambari Ganguli in 1889) showed up. Because of these changes, women met other women from different religions, regions, and languages outside of their homes. They talked about women’s issues, shared ideas, and made women-only schools, hospitals, dispensaries, and shelter homes. They also formed small social networks that often grew into larger, umbrella groups, like the Women’s Indian Association in 1917, the National Council for Indian Women in 1925, and the All India Women’s Conference in 1927. Within a decade, these groups set up subcommittees to work on issues like labour, industries, child marriage, and opium, which shows that women were

• In 1905, Bengal was divided into East Bengal, which was mostly Muslim, and West Bengal, which was mostly Hindu. This caused a large movement against the division, which grew to include broader social, economic, and political problems. It emphasised Swadeshi, national education, the creation of cottage industries and indigenous institutions, and it advocated passive opposition to unjust laws. This made it a forerunner of Gandhian traditions and agenda. In Bengal, thousands of women, led by Basanti, Urmila, and Suniti Devi, the wife, sister, and niece of veteran lawyer and freedom fighter C.R. Das, took part in hartals, protest marches, picketing foreign goods/liquor shops, and singing patriotic songs while risking arrest. The bonfires of foreign goods showed how committed they were to their country, which inspired women all over India.

• When World War I broke out, India’s civil rights and politics became less active. But Mrs. Annie Besant, an Irish woman, made Indian politics more radical with her Home Rule movement. She always protested India’s oppression and fought for swarajya. In 1917, when she was President, the Congress stood for full self-government. She also cared about women’s problems and worked to get more women involved in politics, activism, and education. With the help of the Maharaja of Banaras, she started the Central Hindu College.

• Annie Besant and other passionate women fought for Indian women to have the right to vote as adults. At a special Congress meeting in Mumbai in 1918, Sarojini Naidu pointed out that women were becoming more educated and civically aware. She also pointed out that women were becoming more involved in politics by sitting on municipal councils and other local bodies. Sarla Devi Chaudurani also passed a motion calling for voting rights for adults, using similar reasons. Its rejection made women angry. Princess Sophie Duleep Singh (grand daughter of Raja Ranjit Singh), Lady Herabai Tata, Mitian Tata-Lam, a graduate of London School of Economics, Mrs. Radhabai Subbrayan, Mrs. Shah Nawaz, Mrs. Muthulaksmi Reddy, Sarla Ray, Dorothy Jinarjadas, Margaret Cousins over the years organised protest meetings, passed resolutions, wrote letters, petitions, emphasising the right to vote as essential for women’s overall empowerment.

Between 1921 and 1930, provincial governments gave women the right to vote, as long as they met certain educational and property requirements. In 1935, the Government of India Act “reserved” seats for women. By the time the first provincial elections were held in 1937, about 4.25 million women were able to vote.

• But it was the ambitious Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi who figured out how to use women’s skills and abilities to help with family, neighbourhood, and nationalist projects to make social and political changes on a local and national scale. Gandhian political traditions didn’t require complicated weapons, ammunition, military training, or complicated mechanisms. Instead, they emphasised firm resistance to subjugation and brute force through nonviolent, peaceful Satyagraha, self-discipline, and the ability to change people and systems through love, ahimsa, and sacrifice, which women embodied. This made them the perfect people to lead the freedom struggle. Gandhi revered women as Janani, Shakti, and Lakshmi. He used Sita, Durga, Draupadi, Damyanti, and Savitiri as examples of strong, noble women who were tempered by virtue. These women fought against unfairness in human relationships and chose to suffer or die rather than give up on their honour or cause. He called on the strength and respect of women to help build a strong, free India, which became a part of nationalist thought.

• India was “mother” who needed to be set free. This idea was first shown in Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s famous poem “Anand Math.” In fact, women’s rights, education, and freedom were boosted by the fact that their roles were not limited to housework. The national movement got a social, gender-inclusive, and morally uplifting boost from this advocacy, which was combined with a socially reforming plan that focused on community harmony, the rights of dalit people, and fighting most kinds of discrimination. Gandhian tradition made places for even the weakest, poorest, and most illiterate women to be activists. This was done through multiple forms of peaceful but firm resistance, which can be seen in the three main Gandhian movements. In these movements, women stood up to the colonisers and became agents of change.

Non Co-operation Movement:

• Post World War I, Indians expected substantial political concessions from the Raj, which instead extended the draconian Rowlatt Acts which subverted civil liberties, fundamental rights; subsequent martial law in Punjab, brutal Jallianawala Bagh massacre, the crawling orders, public floggings had a catalytic effect, numerous women being massacred, maimed, widowed, losing children; the unwanted Montague-Chelmsford Act adding to the injury. Gandhi used Khilafat, Swadeshi, and his call for Swarajya to address these problems. Gandhi thought that if all Indians calmly refused to work with the colonisers, it would be impossible to run the country.

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• The Non-Cooperation Movement, which began in January 1921, put satyagraha to the test on a national scale. It started when the Indians stopped being members of the reformed councils. They also stopped going to law courts, schools, universities, government-run hospitals, dispensaries, and government jobs. They also stopped working for the colonisers, which caused a problem. Kasturba, Gandhi’s wife, set a good example for other women by being disciplined, peaceful, and strong. She ran the Gandhian home and did things like spin charkha weaving and wear khadi to show that women could be financially and morally independent. She stood by Gandhji through all of his trials, from South Africa to the Quit India Movement, when she was arrested and died in jail.

• Basanti, Urmil, Sunit devi, and Hemparabha Mazumdar led Bengali women, who used their rich anti-partition experience to their advantage. Basanti was a very good person, and she was also the President of the Bengal Congress Committee from 1921 to 1922. These groups supported not only swadeshi and swarajya, but also the general upliftment and education of women. Since they had access to and control over most women, they socialised them into not cooperating. A lot of students and Sikh women who wanted to help joined. Basanti, Suniti, and Urmila devi’s arrest angered people of all religions and ideologies so much that the police let them go within hours because they were afraid of more trouble. The women went back to their work almost right away.

• In Punjab, Lado Rani Zuthshi, Kumari Lajjawati (wife of Dhuni Chand of Lahore), Smt. Parbati Devi (d/0 Lajapat Rai), Pushpa Gujral above all Sarla Devi Chudurani led the conflict. Because of what they did, 500 women joined the Rawalpindi Congress Committee in May 1921. Since then, the number of members has grown steadily. In the United Provinces, the women of the Nehru group set an example by how they lived. At the front were Pandit Motilal Nehru’s wife, Swarup Rani, Kamala Nehru, Vijay Laxmi Pandit, Krishna Nehru-Hutthee Singh, and Uma Nehru. They used charkhas, wore khadi, took part in protests and rallies, spoke at and planned meetings, and turned Swarajya and Ananad Bhawan into places where patriotism grew and where freedom fighters were welcomed and helped with logistics.

• In Bihar, Sarla Devi and Savitri Devi (Hazaribagh), who did similar things, got thousands of women to go door-to-door to talk about Gandhian ideas, Khadi, and why they should not buy foreign goods. Sarojini Naidu gave back her Kaiser-i-hind medal in other places in 1921. Durgavati Deshmukh, Muthulakshmi Reddy, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Sucheta Kriplani, S. Ambujammal, Krishnabai Ram, Padmaja Naidu, Kamaladevi Chattopadhya inspired women to help the national cause.

• Bi Amman, the mother of Khilaft leaders Maulana Mohammad and Shaukat Ali, Mrs. Haji Yousuf Shobhani, and Mrs. Mazhar ul Haq, were all strong supporters of swadeshi and Hindu-Muslim unity. They spoke at women’s meetings all over India, including in the United Provinces, Patna, Bombay, and Punjab, to bring more Muslim women into mainstream nationalism. Bi, she sometimes spoke at meetings with her face uncovered, which was a bold move in society. At the All India Women’s Conference in Ahmadabad, where more than 6,000 women delegates were present, Bi urged women to join the Congress, become self-sufficient through Khadi spinning, boycott foreign goods, raise money for Khilafat-non-cooperation, and picket liquor shops, which he thought women were especially good at. Women who wanted independence gave up their valuable jewellery on their own. Mrs. Mazhar Ul Haq gave four diamond bangles to show her dedication.

• Because of this, women in India fought for Gandhian ideals, even though their ideas about Gandhi and his cause were often different and unclear, as were their goals and methods. But women’s participation was not widespread. Instead, it was limited to urban, educated, middle-class women, though Devdasis, or prostitutes, also gave money to Gandhi Baba. Where there were already women’s groups, societies, and organisational structures, gendered activism was strong. But even here, women weren’t involved in volunteer movements. Gender equality was still a long way off, even though female satyagrahis wore Khadi and gave fiery speeches in spite of bans. They also took part in hartals, peaceful political protests, marches, rallies, and picketed liquor and foreign goods shops and handed out anti-colonial literature. These actions were repeated all over India and came to a head during Satyagraha week. (6-13 April, 1920). Women’s involvement often went against the patriarchy, but it was often made easier by men who admired the power, potential, and patriotism of women.

• Many women helped indirectly by taking part in village reconstruction projects and civic affairs, spreading the word that charkha and khadi were the best ways to achieve economic independence, opening their homes to freedom fighters and cooking and running errands for them, coordinating work between different groups, taking part in prabhat pheris and singing patriotic songs, and telling their children stories about the bravery, sacrifices, and courage of Indians. Many women, like my educated grandmother, started their letters with “Vande matram” instead of “Namaste, pranam.” Later, in the 1940s, women began to add “Jai Hind” to the beginning of their letters, which shows the spread of nationalism and the depth of gendered contributions that have yet to be properly assessed.

• Non-cooperation gave people a sense of self-worth and made women realise how important they were to the nationalist struggle. This made them want to build spaces where they could act on their own, and many women’s nationalist groups spread the word about nationalism.

Salt Satygraha

• After Non-cooperation, the fire of opposition to colonialism kept burning, and it flared up again during Civil Disobedience (1930–1922), which included not paying taxes. Congress asked women in particular to spin charkha, weave, wear, and sell Khadi, to stop buying foreign goods, to break harsh local laws, and to stop paying taxes.

• Salt satyagraha was Gandhi’s master move. Salt was an important item that was always used in cooking, so it was seen as feminine. Salt was given by nature for free, but it was taxed and the colonisers had a monopoly on making it. Gandhiji chose to break this by making salt on the Dandi sea coast. The march began on April 6, 1930, at Sabaramati Ashram, but there were only seventy women who signed up to take part. Sarojini Naidu was very upset about how poorly women were represented, and she believed that women should be able to participate fully and equally. Sarojini was a poet and activist. In 1925, she became the first woman to be President of the Congress. She also took part in the Round Table Conferences and was the first woman Governor of Uttar Pradesh after India gained freedom. Her appearance with Gandhiji during the Satyagraha made it clear that women from all walks of life in India should join. At almost every stop along the Dandi march, thousands of women met to hear Gandhiji explain how civil disobedience is different for large numbers of women to take part.

• Police abuse and patriarchal hurdles didn’t stop women from joining Satyagraha. In Karnataka, Ambabai, a widow who was only 16 at the time, was one of them. Often, two to three thousand women marched with pots, pans, and clay pitchers towards rivers, the sea, and other bodies of water to make, sell, and buy salt in markets. They broke harsh local laws, such as forest laws, without fear or shame, which amazed the authorities. The north east wasn’t hurt emotionally. Naga nationalists, led by Rani Gaidineliu, who was only thirteen at the time, fought hard to get strangers out of Manipur. Rani Gaiineliu was arrested in 1932, and she spent the next fifteen years in British jails, which were a living hell. Nehru’s almost first thing to do after India gained freedom was to sign the release orders for his “Naga princess,” whose bravery inspired generations.

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• In the United Provinces, Vijay Laxmi Pandit was in charge of organising, and Kamala Nehru was a key part of the effort to get rid of taxes. On December 26, 1930, Kamala spoke to 5,000 people in Bazaar Kareem, Bradbuza village, even though she was told not to. She told them to join the Congress, support khadi, and not pay taxes. She was given a simple prison term of six months, which got a lot of attention. But sadly, the contributions of lakhs of brave women like Saraswati Devi and 26 other women and Sunder Devi and 36 other women, who were each jailed for six months for taking part in protests, rallies, picketing foreign goods and liquor shops, prabahat pheris, singing patriotic songs, and bhajans in Allahabad, have not been recognised. Mrs. Bannerji, the daughter-in-law of Pranlal Bannerji of Allahabad, took part in a parade and Independence Day celebrations in Mohammad Ali Park on January 26, 1932, even though it was against the law. She was arrested and given a harsh sentence of one year in jail. Mohini Devi got a year in prison, while Hari Devi and Ganga Devi got six months of hard time for doing the same things.

• In Bombay, Kamala Devi Chattopadhya shocked a judge by walking into a courtroom and asking him to buy a packet of “salt freedom.” This caused a lot of excitement. Perrin Captain, who was one of the first people to join Rashtriya Stree Sabha, asked to be arrested here. Sarojini Naidu, Mrs. Hari Ram (Sir Ganga Ram’s daughter-in-law from Lahore), Smt. Gyan Devi, Jung Bahadur’s wife, Ms. Zuthshi, and Mrs. Tarachand were all put in jail for different lengths of time. Ms. Satyavati was elected to the Meerut Municipal Council in 1931. In 1932, she was given a harsh two-year prison sentence for editing the magazine “Jwala Sakha,” which focused on women’s issues. From jail, she kept writing against colonialism. Women breaking the salt monopoly showed how household life was linked to politics and Indian nationalism. This is a popular topic of study in gender studies right now.

• During Swadeshi, non-cooperation movements, cops were careful not to hurt women, but during Civil Disobedience, women were not spared. As the police used brute force to break up the Satyagraha, women stepped up to help their unarmed male satyagrahis. This is shown so movingly in Attenborough’s Oscar-winning film “Gandhi.” Women who were arrested said that they were dragged by their hair, beaten, spat on, and even stripped of their thalis. Some were left in jungles at night. Authorities called them ‘low castes,’ ‘not from respectable classes,’ ‘loose-charactered,’ and ‘kept women.’ These insults angered nationalist leaders like Lilavati Munshi, who debunked Britain’s moral and civilising claims. These stories were published around the world, which helped the Indian cause gain support.

The Quit India movement:

• When Gandhi started the “Quit India” movement, Bharat Chhodo Aandolan, in 1942, there were many powerful women in student, trade, and labour unions, as well as in rural movements and revolutionary groups. Uma Nehru was chosen to the Allahabad municipality in 1926 and put in charge of the education committee. Bibi Raghbir Kaur was a member of the Punjab legislative council, which Begum Shah Nawaz and Ms. Lekhwati Jain were also a part of. Durgbai Joshi was chosen to the Central Provinces Assembly. Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur was a powerful member of the Congress and the All India Women’s Conference (AIWC). Sucheta Kriplani led the women’s wing of the Congress.

• In 1942, the colonisers quickly arrested almost all of the top national leaders. However, local activists, often women, led the movement by leading protest marches, hartals, rallies, raising the national flag, risking arrest, and passing out anti-colonial literature. Subhadra Joshi published the cyclostyled newspaper Hamara Sangram from underground. Aruna Asaf Ali, the editor of the monthly Congress magazine Inquilab, raised the national flag at Gowalia tank maidan in Bombay and then went underground to lead the movement. Kasturba Gandhi, Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur, Rameshwari Nehru, Mrs. Satyavati, Lajjavati, and Prbhavati Devi were all just as involved. They were all jailed for different lengths of time, and some were kept in solitary confinement. The whole country was sad about Kasturba’s death in jail. Indira Nehru, who as a child started the Vanar Sena and later joined the Congress, was put in jail for 13 months in 1938.

• Usha Mehta, a dedicated fighter, set up a radio station called The “Voice of Freedom” to spread the “mantra” of freedom-war. People all over India heard about protests, arrests, and the actions of young nationalists. They also heard about Gandhi’s famous “Do or Die” call for the Quit India movement. Usha Mehta and her brother kept doing what they were doing until they were caught.

• Women took part in Quit India in a way that had never been done before in the countryside, where student, peasant, and left-party movements had set up associations and societies with women cadres. So, the Kisan Sabhas (Awadh), the All India Students Federation (AISF), and the Mahila Atma Raksha Samiti (MARS) in Bengal mobilised their women cadres, who often came from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. For example, Ram Piyari and Maharaj Kumari were jailed for six months in Fatehpur (UP) for telling a crowd of 100 people in Graghipur bazaar that it was “haram”

• This is a good place to talk about the part of fiery, patriotic women who didn’t believe in petition politics because they thought force should be met with force. Almost all women activists went to college, where they met other revolutionaries whose ideas and courage inspired them to join their groups. By getting married to people of different religions or castes, they made a bold statement to society. They also learned how to make bombs and handle weapons, so society and their families turned against them. Many people, like Nonibala Devi (1888–1967, Jugantar party) and Mrs.Vohra (Durga Bhabhi), hid weapons and gave cover to rebels by pretending to be their wives, fooling the authorities and helping to keep the revolutionary agenda going. Such clandestine acts needed tremendous courage, intelligence, diplomacy.

• Latika Ghosh, a revolutionary, started the Mahila Rashtriya Sangha in 1928. Veena Das tried to kill the Governor of Bengal, and the extreme actions of Kamala Das Gupte and Kalyani Das got a lot of attention. Kalapana Datta and Preetilata took part in the Chittagong armoury raids, which led to the capture and death of many rebels. Pritilata killed herself by bombing the European club in Chittagong, but Kalpana Das got away and spent years in hiding and jail. She joined the Communist Party of India and worked to improve the lives of the poor. During the Bengal famine of 1943, she helped plan relief, including medical care, and she gave shelter to both Hindus and Muslims during the Partition. The world took notice of how much he cared about India’s freedom and how kind he was, but he was still left out of South Asian history. Dr. Lakshmi Swaminathan led the women-only Rani Laxmibai regiment (INA), which was the greatest tribute to female courage and patriotism.