Synopsis: Two very brave women who gave their life for the independence movement in India are remembered here because they made the ultimate sacrifice that made them heros that the succeeding generations should never forget.
The struggle for freedom in India started long before 1857 and culminated in the uprising in 1857 called Sepoy mutiny by the British when a Hindu soldier of the British army named Mangal Pandey in Kolkata attacked and killed his British officer. This was the trigger that led to the massive uprising of Indians against the British in many parts of India’s garrison towns like Meerut, Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Kolkata and Jhansi just to name a few places.
I have written about the Queen of Jhansi Lakhsmibai and how bravely she fought and died in the battle at the age of less than 30 in a previous blog but there were many such heroes who sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom of India.
Perhaps the hardest fought battle was in Lucknow where thousands of British men, women and even children died in a place called Residency that was completely surrounded by the rebellious troops and bombarded day and night to reduce it to rubbles. The siege of The Residency was lifted when the loyal troops of the British army arrived from Kolkata and retook the city.( Photo of Residency — Google photo)
They hanged thousands of Indians wholesale as revenge in Meerut, Lucknow, Allahabad and many other cities but the flame of the desire for independence burned bright in the hearts of millions of Indians so the struggle continued.
There were great freedom fighters in this long struggle about whom I have written in many blogs like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose who led the Indian National Army (INA) against the British and fought tooth and nail so I will not repeat it here .
I will write today about two very brave women who gave their lives for the cause and are called national heroes in India although the outside world has probably never heard of them.
Matangini Hazra: ( Born (19th October, 1870 — Died 29th September, 1942)
Matangini Hazra( Source : Google photo) was one of the most groundbreaking female revolutionaries who actively took part in Indian Independence Movement. She was popularly known as “Gandhi Buri”, a bengali name which means old lady Gandhi, for her affection and humbleness as a fighter.
Most of her early life is vaguely known except for the fact that she was born in a small village of Hogla near Tamluk. As she was born in a poor family she had not been through any formal education. Around 1905, eventually she was married at a very early age and was widowed at the age of 18 with no offspring. She became active in the ‘Gandhian movement’ in Midnapore, where most women were stepping in for the revolution. She started being active for the Indian National Congress and later started spinning her own khadi as the act of non-cooperation movement (a movement in which all the “Swadeshi” products were being used).
She was behind bars for breaking the Salt Act. She also protested the abolition of the tax. For all this, she was incarcerated for 6 months in Baharampur. She was so devoted for the struggle that at the age of 73, when Indian National Congress planned for the “Quit India Movement”, matangini herself led a procession of six thousand supporters with the intention of taking over Tamluk police station. In the tragic turn of events, when the procession reached the outskirts they were ordered to disperse under section 144 of IPC.
Still Matangini stepped forward and was hit by a shot. She wanted to plea not to open fire but the situations went out of hands and she marched forward in spite of being shot numerous times. She never stopped chanting “Vande Mataram” and died with the flag of the Indian Congress in her hands. She was 73. ( source — Wikipedia )
Pritilata Waddedar: (Born 5th May, 1911 and died — 23rd September, 1932
Pritilata Waddedar ( Source : Google photo) was one of the leading Bengali revolutionary nationalists. She was born in a small village called Dhalghat in Patiya Upzilla of Chittagong (now in Bangladesh). Her father was Jagabandhu Waddedar and mother Prathibhamayi Devi. Waddedar was a title honoured to one of the ancestors of her family who was previously known as Das Gupta. She was inspired by the Nationalism of Rani Lakshmibai in her childhood. She attended Dr. Khastagir Government Girls School in 1921 and after standing first in the intermediate examination of Dhaka board, she enrolled in Eden College, Dhaka. She then became an active member of the group — Sree Sangha headed by Dipali Nag, under the banner of Dipali Sangha. She then came to Kolkata to study in Bethune College and decided to join the independence movement after meeting Master Da Surya Sen and Nirmal Sen in their Dhalghat Camp.
She was one of the pillars of Revolutionary movements by Surya Sen. She took part in many raids on Telegraph and Telephone offices and in the Jalalabad battle, she was responsible for supplying the explosives. She fought like a relentless brave fighter, with the British even after being injured. She swallowed Cyanide and committed suicide because she did not want to surrender herself to the British Police. She was only 21 years old when she took her life ( Wikipedia)
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