We have heard countless tales of the bravery of these women; the ones who fought for the freedom of India alongside their male counterparts. You may know of their prowess in the freedom struggle, but do you know their education background? Education makes a person who he or she is in life. What have these 5 famous women freedom fighters of India studied?
1. Rani Laxmi Bai
Also famously known as Rani of Jhansi, Rani Laxmi Bai broke defined female stereotypes by donning the attire of a man and leading her troops into battle. Fighting till the her last breath, she died a true warrior. But, where did she begin? As a child she was educated at home, and apart from the traditional formal education she received training in archery, horsemanship and self-defence, which helped and prepared her to fight for what she believed in.
2. Sarojini Naidu
Fighting with the power of politics, Sarojini Naidu, also known as the Nightingale of India, joined the Indian National Movement and later was the first governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. Using the strength of word, Sarojini Naidu was a powerful orator and convinced many to support the movement. The flair of words began at an early age as she was an exceptional student with knowledge of Urdu, Telugu, English, Bengali and Persian. She topped the matriculation exam at the tender age of 12 years and followed her studies to London. Her expertise in a wide range of languages helped her become such a famous poet, orator and writer.
3. Madam Bhikaji Cama
The lady to whom we owe our beautiful national flag, travelled across Europe for the cause of India’s freedom. She is another woman with a flair for language, though she used her skills in a different manner. After studying at Alexandra Native Girl’s English Institution, Madam Bhikaji was married but subsequently left to care for plague victims eventually falling ill herself. She was sent for recuperation to Europe and once healed she fought for India independence cause from London and other European countries. From Europe she translated and distributed Nationalist documents and helped the formation of the Flag of India.
4. Aruna Asaf Ali
The ‘Grand old Lady of India’ as she was later known, led many protests and agitations, both as an active member of the Congress party and Quit India movement and as a political prisoner within Tihar Jail. When arrest warrants were released in her name, Aruna Asaf Ali, led the ‘Quit India’ movement from underground. Educated at Sacred Heart Convent in Lahore and then in Nainital, she was considered highly educated at the time. After graduation, she worked as a teacher at the Gokhale Memorial School in Calcutta. Aruna Asaf Ali’s aptitude for leading others, enhanced by her time as a teacher, served her throughout her life. She received a Padma Vibhushan during a lifetime and a Bharat Ratna posthumously, honouring her lifetime efforts.
The first woman Chief Minister of India, Sucheta Kriplani began the fight for our country during the Quit India Movement. Educated at Indraprastha College and St.Stephen’s College, Delhi, Sucheta Kriplani became a Professor of Constitutional History at Banaras Hindu University and was a part of the subcommittee that drafted the Indian Constitution. Using her knowledge of constitution basics, she fought for the freedom cause with the power of law and policy, becoming an essential component of the Indian constitution we know today.
Women have used the power of education in various ways. Whatever may be your forte, language, civics or even self-defence, education will help you reach your goal. A century has passed, the problems have changed, but the solution is more clear than ever – education. To achieve any goal you might have, be it curing the world of AIDS, removing corruption or finding the perfect energy source, take inspiration from these women who fought the most difficult problem of their day and age; a foreign rule on their homeland. Be strong, be aware, be determined. Happy Women’s Day.