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Unsung Heroes of Indian Freedom Movement

  • Devvrat Mainhallikar
  • August 15, 2020
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On 15th August 1947, Britain’s union jack was taken down and India’s Tricolor proudly waved in the air taking long breaths of Freedom from the British Government. Whenever we read about our freedom fighters’ story, we find some names who made a significant impact in their respective region to keep the fight alive of the independence movement but did not get popularity. Their struggle is the reason we are independent. They sacrificed their present for our better future.

Benoy Krishna Basu, Badal Gupta, and Dinesh Gupta

Benoy Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta assassinated Colonel Simpson, Inspector-General of Police who imposed atrocities on inmates of the jail. They dressed up as Europeans and entered the Writer’s building and shot Simpson dead. The trio did not wish to get arrested and hence they committed suicide. Benoy Basu and Dinesh Gupta shot themselves. Badal Gupta consumed potassium cyanide. Their sacrifice encouraged Bengali youth to take part in the movement. Post-independence, the Dalhousie square was named B. B. D. Baugh. A plate was carved in the wall of Writer’s building.

Peer Ali Khan

Peer Ali Khan was an Indian revolutionary and the rebel who inspired the youth in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. He was a bookbinder by profession, who secretly distributed pamphlets and coded messages against the British Government. He was arrested with his followers on 4th July 1857 and was hanged in a public view with other 14 rebellions. A road near Patna Airport is named after him. Also, a children’s park is named after him as Shaheed Peer Ali Khan Park. 

Tirupur Kumaran

He is also known as “Kodi Katha Kumaran” which means “Kumaran who saved the flag”. Tirupur Kumaran founded Desa Bandhu Youth Association. During the protests against the British Government, he bled to death as he sustained injuries on the head during police assault. Even after those injuries, he held the tricolor high. He lived for only 28 years but inspired thousands to take part in the freedom movement. There are institutes named after Tirupur Kumaran. Postal stamp issued by India Post in October 2004 on his 100th birth anniversary.  

Surya Sen

Surya Sen was an influential Indian freedom fighter and a revolutionary leader who is well known for Chittagong Armory raid. Surya Sen was a schoolteacher by profession and popularly known as Master Da. On 18th April 1930, Surya Sen with his group of revolutionary leaders raided the Chittagong Armory, seize the arms, and cut all the communication lines isolating Chittagong from the British Government. Twelve of his group members died in police attack and some managed to escape including him. Sen was arrested on 16th April 1933 and was hanged on 12 January 1934. A metro station in Kolkata named after him as Master Da Surya Sen metro station.  Films like “Khelein hum jee jaan se” and “Chittagong” were inspired by his life.

Velu Nachiyar

Velu Nachiyar was also known as “Veeramangai”.  She had all the skills like a warrior. She was trained in Horse riding, archery, and martial arts. she was a scholar of French, English, and Urdu. In 1780, Velu Nachiyar bravely defeated the Britishers with her intelligence and military skills. She also found out the storage of British ammunition and devised the first recorded suicide bombing in history with her commander-in-chief Kuyili.

Matangini Hazra

Matangini Hazra was also known as “Gandhi Buri”. From 1905, she participated in the Indian Independence Movement and Mahatma Gandhi was her source of inspiration. She actively participated in Mahatma Gandhi’s Civil Disobedience Movement, especially the Salt Satyagraha. In 1942 under the Quit India movement, she led the six thousand protestors mainly female protestors to capture Tamluk police station. When the protestors reached the outskirts of the city, police ordered section 144 of IPC. She appealed Police not to fire on the crowd, she was hit by a bullet. She was moving forward holding tricolor high despite being hit by bullets. The spirit of freedom remained until her last breath, which inspired other revolutionaries to come forward.  

Birsa Munda

Birsa Munda was a freedom fighter, a religious leader, and a folk hero. He abolished the feudal system introduced by the British in Adivasi land. He was also known as “Dharti Abba”. He started “Birsait” as opposed to the British conversion from the Munda and Oraon community. Birsa became part of anti-government and anti-missionary program. He raised a slogan threatening the government “Abua raj seter Jana, Maharani raj Tundu Jana” (“Let the kingdom of the queen be ended and our kingdom be established”). He was arrested at the Jamkopai forest on 3rd March 1900. Birsa Munda died in Jail during the trial on 9th June 1900. After his death, the movement he started was fade out. Several education institutes are named after him. His portrait hangs in the Indian Parliament.   

Nana Patil

He is popularly known as “Kranti Sinh” which means a revolutionary lion. He was a founder member of the Hindustan Republican Association. He was imprisoned eight times from 1932 to 1942. He went underground between 1929 and 1932. Once again, he went underground for the Quit India movement for 44 months in 1942. He was against the caste system and fought for farmers and the poor. He was also against the extra expenses during ceremonies and marriages and a strong supporter of education and social development. He established the Parallel Government in Satara. His method to attack directly on colonials was widely accepted by the people of Satara. He died on 6th December 1976. He represented Satara and Beed constituency in the Indian Parliament in 1957 and 1967.

Aruna Asaf Ali

Aruna Asaf Ali was the unsung freedom fighter and heart of Quit India Movement in 1942. She was at the forefront of the freedom struggle and went to jail during the Salt Satyagraha. Due to her immense popularity, the British Government refused to free her on the bail even after Gandhi-Irwin Pact 1931. Due to this, every woman prisoner refused to release unless Aruna gets freed. It led to Mahatma Gandhi’s intervention in the British Government to free her. She launched a hunger strike against the different treatment of political prisoners. On 9th August, she unfurled Indian Flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in then Bombay now Mumbai. Protests across city erupted as news of hoisting flag was spread like wildfire and She went underground. For her freedom fight to the nation, she was awarded the International Lenin Peace Prize in 1964, Padma Vibhushan in 1992, and the Bharat Ratna in 1997. She died on 29 July 1996.

Tirot Singh

He is also known as U Tirot Sing Syiem. Tirot Singh was the head of Nongkhlow and the King of Khadsawphra Syiemship.  Tirot Singh gave the nod to construct the road to Britishers from Rani to Surma Valley. Later the clear intensions of government came into the picture and he led the attack on the small band of officers. British government arranged troops against Tirot Singh who used to fight with swords and arrows proved futile against artillery and sophisticated guns. Even after this, the Khasi fighters did not give up. Tirot Singh was injured and was took into the caves. Unfortunately, he was betrayed and information about his presence was given by the native who was bribed by Britishers. He was arrested and taken away to Dhaka for Trial, but he died in captivity on 17th July 1835. Meghalaya government dedicated 17th July as Tirot Singh Day with a state holiday. The Tirot Singh award for Art and Literature is also considered prestigious in the state.

There many other freedom fighters who fought and died for India during British rule. Some got attention but some remain in the memory of the people and some faded away as time flies. To all the Heroes who struggled during the Freedom Movement, who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of India, we salute you! It is because of your fight; we are fortunate to see these golden days of new India.
Jai Hind!

– Tejas Joshi

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