7 Women Warriors of India’s Freedom Struggle that you Should Know About

7 Women Warriors Of India’S Freedom Struggle That You Should Know About

The history is replete with the supreme sacrifice of women in their struggle for Independent India. From Uda Devi to Chennamma, Rani Gaidinliu to Ammu Swaminathan here’s our compilation of women warriors who fought relentlessly for their motherland.

1. Rani Abbakkadevi

A brave queen who fought against Portuguese 300 yrs before the 1st War of Independence in 1857. She is the only woman in history to confront, fight, and repeatedly defeat the Portuguese.

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Abbakka Chowta, a 30-year-old woman ruled over a small settlement of Ullal, 14 km from Mangalore. The Queen repeatedly sent back bruised, decapitated Portuguese fleets who came to capture Ullah. After multiple defeats, the Portuguese sent a huge army under João Peixoto, an experienced Portuguese General to Ullal to Subjugate Ullal and capture Abbakka Chowta. When the Portuguese soldiers reached Ullal, they found it deserted. Abbakka was nowhere in sight. The moment they were about to call it a victory, Chowta attacked with 200 of her chosen men. This led to a bloodbath, many Portuguese lost their lives, General João Peixoto was assassinated, 70 Portuguese were captured, and remaining ran away.

The moment they were about to call it a victory, Chowta attacked with 200 of her chosen men. This led to a bloodbath, many Portuguese lost their lives, General João Peixoto was assassinated, 70 Portuguese were captured, and remaining ran away.

Abbakka Chowta didn’t stop here, she rode with her men towards Mangalore that same night and laid a siege of the Mangalore fort. She not just broke inside the fort successfully, but assassinated Admiral Mascarenhas, Chief of Portuguese, forced remaining Portuguese to vacate fort. She went on to capture Portuguese settlement at Kundapura, 100 km north of Mangalore.

2. Uda Devi

The Dalit Veerangana of 1857. Uda Devi was a patriot by heart and fearless woman warrior who led from the front.

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Uda Devi climbed on a banyan tree as a sniper and killed 32 soldiers of the British Army. On suspecting a sniper sitting on the tree, commander Colin Campbell ordered to fire at the tree. She was shot dead. The British soldiers were taken aback when they saw it was a woman who killed as many as 32 soldiers alone.

When Colin Campbell, the British Commander attacked Sikandarbagh with his army, they had to face the wall of thousands of Dalit women led by Uda Devi. When Uda Devi saw the British army marching unstoppably towards Sikandra, she climbed on a banyan tree as a sniper and killed 32 soldiers of the British Army. Commander Colin Campbell ordered to fire at the tree as he suspected a sniper on it. Uda Devi was shot dead and fell on the ground. The British soldiers were taken aback when they saw it was a woman who killed as many as 32 soldiers by herself.

4. Jhalkari Bai

Jhalkari Bai like Uda Devi is a Dalit Veerangana. A woman of grit and valor who forced a group of dacoit to retreat as they were raiding a house in a village. She is a woman who didn’t bat an eyelid while killing a tiger with an ax in a jungle. Most importantly she is the one who didn’t hesitate before taking the command of the army in the battle of 1857 disguised as Rani of Jhansi, which gave Rani Laxmi Bai a chance to escape.

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Jhalkari Bai’s fighting and leadership skills made her the leader of Durga Dal as well.

5. Umabai Kundapur

The founder of Bhagini Mandal and the leader of the women’s wing of Hindustani Seva Dal, Umabai Kundapur played a pivotal role in India’s freedom struggle. She was born to Golikeri Krishna Rao and Jungabai in Mangalore, 1892. She helped Dr. Hardikar, the founder of Hindustani Seva Dal, recruit over 150 women to help in the Belgaum session of the All India Congress. She was arrested and kept in Yervada Jail for four months in 1932, meanwhile the British sealed her school and declared her organization “Bhagini Mandal” as unlawful.

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In 1932, Umabai was arrested and kept in Yervada Jail for four months, meanwhile the British sealed her school and declared her organization “Bhagini Mandal” as unlawful.

Umabai was known as the pioneer in providing shelter to the freedom fighters from the British at the expense of her own life. She remained away from posts and honors, while she continued with her selfless service to the nation.

6. Ammu Swaminathan

Born in 1894, Ammu Swaminathan was an Indian social worker and political activist during India’s Independence movement. She was also a member of the constituent assembly of India. Ammu rose to prominence after her marriage to Dr. Subbarama Swaminadhan. She vehemently opposed the caste system. Raised her voice against patriarchy and in favor of free speech for women. She was a member of the committee for drafting the Indian Constitution. Along with numerous social work, she had a political career and went to Russia (erstwhile USSR), China, USA, and Ethiopia as a goodwill ambassador. She also served as the President of the Bharat Scouts and Guides from 1960 to 1965.

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7. Rani Gaidinliu

At the age of 13, Rani Gaidinliu started voicing her dissent against British Raj. She joined her cousin Haipou Jadonang in the Heraka Movement for the revival of the Naga Tribal religion. She led this movement at the age of 17, which resulted in her arrest. She was then sent for 14-year long imprisonment.

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She had mobilized thousands of people of Naga tribes against British atrocities. Her Forces were engaging in armed rebellion against the British in Cachar Hills (16 February 1932) and the Hangrum village (18 March 1932). Her growing followers and popularity threatened the British forces that led to a manhunt for her.

She led this movement against the British when she was 17, which resulted in her arrest. She was then sent for 14-year long imprisonment.

With many more sacrifices, the valiant Rani of hills is still remembered for her indomitable spirit and for the freedom that she fought from a tender age of 13.

There can be several reasons for not celebrating the women fighters of independence, but the only question that must haunt you and me, is why, why we do not celebrate our women fighters of Independence? These are just 7, the list is bigger. We call for your participation. Let us know in the comments the women warriors who inspired and motivated you.

Featured Image: India Today

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