“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom” 15th August 1947, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru acknowledged the nation with these beautiful lines. The Golden bird could fly again; it was out of the cage. India spent 200 years in brutal slavery as a British colony. The British power gained its heights during the middle of the 19th century, they enslaved Indians and made their life miserable. Everyone during that rule fought in some way or the other with a common aim of ending the British colonial authorities in India. The Hindus, the Muslims, the Sikhs and all the other brave sons of India fought shoulder to shoulder. They underwent superhuman sacrifices and shed their precious blood so that we, belonging to a different generation, live a better life today. These heroes faced several tortures, hardships and exploitations to earn national freedom.They fought until their last breath with immense bravery and spirit of patriotism. They were our Freedom Fighters!
Here is a list of ten such Saviors who did not think twice before giving their life for their country
The ‘Original Rebel’. The man who started it all, the first revolutionary credited with igniting the fire that led to the “First Indian War of Independence”.1857, The British called it the Sepoy Mutiny but for Indians, it was the First War of Independence. Mangal Pandey an Indian soldier, whose attack on British officers on March 29, 1857, was the first major incident of what came to be known as the Sepoy Mutiny. He attacked two of those officers, attempted to shoot himself after having been restrained, and eventually was overpowered and arrested
9.Rani Laxmi Bai
Laxmi Bai was the queen of the Maratha-ruled princely state of Jhansi. She was the only women of her time who studied self defense, archery and horsemanship. She even trained her own army of women out of her female friends at the court. She was one of the prominent figures in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the East India Company. She did not hesitate to fight alone and was killed during the battle along with her few months old son Damodar Rao. As the poem by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan describes “She fought like a man against the British intruders: such was the Queen of Jhansi”
8.Bal Gangadhar Tilak
As the British described him “The father of Indian Unrest”, Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the leader of Indian Independence Movement. His slogan “Swaraj (Self Rule) is my birthright and I shall have it” inspired millions of Indians. He was not only a freedom fighter but also a national leader, social reformist and a scholar of Indian history, Sanskrit, Hinduism, mathematics and astronomy.
7.Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was one of the foremost leaders of Indian freedom struggle. He was also a renowned scholar, and poet. He started a weekly journal in Urdu called Al Hilal to increase the revolutionary recruits amongst the Muslims. He was leader of the Khilafat movement started by Mahatma Gandhi, after Independence he served as the first Minister for Education. His contribution in Indian Education is recognized by celebrating his birthday (11 Nov) as ‘National Education Day’.
6.Chandra Shekhar Azad
The great man who was Involved in Kakori Train Robbery, the attempt to blow up the Viceroy’s train, and the shooting of Saunders at Lahore, to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpatrai. He formed Hindustan Socialist Republican Association with fellow compatriots Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru. He actively participated in Non Cooperation Movement which was launched by Gandhi ji. He was the brave man and a true patriot, he shot himself when the British Police surrounded him thus he kept his pledge of not being caught alive.
A name heard by very few. Ashfaqulla Khan was one of the prominent freedom fighters who sacrificed his life for the country. He was the part of Hindustan Republican Association and was conspirator in Kakori Train Robbery along with Azad. He was also a poet and wrote under the pen name “Hasrat”. The Kakori case was concluded by awarding death sentence to Asfaqulla Khan and his other revolutionary friends. The whole country protested against this sentence but the British were thirsty of Indian revolutionaries’ blood. Monday, 19 December 1927, Khan reached his hanging rope and said “My hands are not soiled with the murder of man. The charge against me is false. God will give me justice”. He happily gave his life for his motherland and wrote a memorable chapter in the History of India’s freedom struggle
4. Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru & Sukhdev Thapar
‘Any sacrifice will be inadequate to accomplish the greatest aim of freeing the motherland’ was their inspiring outlook. When the British Govt implemented an act to suppress freedom struggle, it gave the British Police a free hand to carry out arrests without any permissions. In order to protest against this, these men carried out a plan to bomb the assembly hall. They voluntarily surrendered and were taken to trial. They were charged with attempt to murder and sentenced to 14 years life in prison. The British government sentenced them to hanging, Bhagat Singh then wrote a letter to the government saying, “We are no dacoits, goondas or thieves, we are freedom fighters, treat us like that by either shooting us with bullets or blast us with cannons. Who wants to face such a feeble sentence as hanging? We request you to respect this last wish of ours!” But the government denied. Bhagat Singh 24, Rajguru 23 & Sukhdev 23, were hanged in the early hours of 23rd march 1931.
3.Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar
Dr. B.R Ambedkar was the leader of the Dalit movement and ought against many social evils existing in the 20th century India. He was a born dalit and had faced caste discrimination, His efforts to demolish the social evils like untouchablity and caste restrictions were remarkable. The leader, throughout his life, fought for the rights of the dalits and other socially backward classes. He was one of the makers of the Constitution of India and was appointed as the first Law Minister. Now we have Universities and many Institutions named after him in his honor.
“All our struggle is for freedom. We seek neither misery nor happiness, but freedom, freedom alone”
This unknown monk of India suddenly leapt into fame at the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893, at which he represented Hinduism. In his short life of 39 years, He promoted peace and brotherhood. He introduced the philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world. He is regarded as the patriotic saint and his birthday (12 Jan) is celebrated as ‘National Youth Day’.
1.Netaji Subash chadra Bose
Give me blood and I will give you freedom!
The founder of Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj), Subash Chandra Bose, affectionately called as Netaji, was one of his own kinds. He was a fierce and popular leader in the political scene in pre-independence India. Bose was outspoken in his anti-British stance and was jailed 11 (eleven) times between 1920 and 1941. It was only because of Bose that The Indian National Congress had to adopt Poorna Swaraj (Complete Freedom) at the Lahore Congress convention. It was reported that he died in an air crash, however, even today his death is a mystery.
These were only a few freedom fighters, there are thousands of unsung heros that we do not know about and who laid down their lives so that our country breathes the air of freedom. Let us never forget their sacrifice.