On this day, our nation feels honored and delighted as we proudly mark our calendars with the 70th national day of independence. The 15th of August, 1947 was the date that is now etched in all of our history textbooks as the day that India gained independence from the British rule and the tricolor was unfurled with gratification. Our nation has come a long way since then, but as a tree does not grow if its roots are cut; our freedom would not have been possible without the struggle and sacrifice of innumerous fierce freedom fighters. There are many of patriots whose contributions are known and appreciated from time to time, but behind all those who were upfront; there was a whole troop that worked it’s magic amongst the shadows and are rarely acknowledged for their involvement. Therefore, before we move forward and indulge ourselves in Independence Day celebrations, let’s know about the unsung heroes of India’s Freedom Movement as a gesture of respect towards the sacrifices that they made.
1. Ramprasad Bismil
He was the mastermind behind the Kakori conspiracy against the British East India Company. Kakori rail dacoit was a great landmark in the history of the revolutionary movement and not only did he plan it but he spotlessly executed it as well. Bismil was also a patriotic poet who wrote innumerous Hindi and Urdu poems. We feel honored to remember him on this Independence Day.
2. Udham Singh
The Jallianwala Wala Bagh massacre is one of the most impactful and sobering incidents that occurred during the British Raj and its memories are never going to wane from the memory of all Indians. Udham Singh was the man who assassinated Sir Michael O’Dwyer, former lieutenant governor of Punjab in British India, who was responsible for the massacre.
3. Aurobindo Ghosh
He was the main conspirator behind the Alipore Bomb Conspiracy. He was an Indian Civil servant who received his education in UK and he published a paper called Vande Matram after which he was prosecuted for spreading sedition through it.
4. Jatindra Das
He was an active participant of the Non-Cooperation Movement and spent several years in prison. He was also victimized in the Lahore conspiracy case before Bhagat Singh and trio was convicted. He fasted for 63 days as a part of the hunger strike against the British atrocities and died a martyr’s death that deserves our remembrance and respect.
5. Ashfaqulla Khan
He was given the death sentence for his involvement in the Kakori Dacoity. He worked directly under Ram Prasad Bismil and was the first Muslim to embrace death on the gallows for his country.
6. Vasudev Balwant Phadke
After India lost the war of Independence in 1857, the nation felt discouraged. At that moment Vasudev Phadke played an integral role in the revival of lost spirit amongst the masses. He formed a revolutionary group and rebelled against the Britishers through an armed struggle. The group launched raided British businessmen to obtain money for their struggle. He was caught and sent to jail after which he went on a hunger strike until he met his demise as a result.
7. Captain Laxmi Sehgal
She was an officer in the Indian national army and is regarded as the pioneer of women’s participation in the army. After receiving information regarding the formation of a women’s revolutionary organization by Subhash Chandra Bose, she herself stepped in and later formed the women’s regiment known as ‘Rani of Jhansi Regiment’ and promptly became it’s captain.
8. Raj Kumari Gupta
She and her husband used to be closely involved in the activities of Mahatama Gandhi and Chandrashekhar Azad and also played a very crucial role in the Kakori case. She supplied guns to all those who were involved in the operation and was arrested while she went to deliver firearms hidden beneath her undergarments alongside her 3 year old son. Her family did not know about her involvement in spreading messages and materials to the revolutionaries and therefore, she was later disowned by them when they about this knowledge.
9. Baikunth Shukla
Baikunth Shukla was executed by the British for avenging the death of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru by killing Phanindra Nath Ghosh who became a British government approver. He was also an active member of the Civil Disobedience Movement before being a part of the Indian revolutionary Movement. In every way, he actively contributed to India’s struggle of freedom.
10. Tara Rani Srivastava
This woman lost her husband during the fight for her country but did not stop and held the tricolor flag high despite her sorrows. Both Tara and her husband were a part of Mahatma Gandhi’s Quit India Movement in 1942 and decided to organize a protest in their area by raising the Indian flag on the roof of a police station which symbolized major defiance. They gathered a crowd while marching towards the police station shouting ‘Inquilab’ during which her husband was shot. She tore a part of her saree and bandaged him but continued the movement until the flag was successfully unfurled and raised.