AS Rakshabandhan coincides with Independence Day this year, today’s post is dedicated to the women whose actions contributed to India’s freedom. Here are inspirational quotes from five of them – to remember their lives and achievements and celebrate what they fought for.

1. Sarojini Naidu

A.k.a the ‘Nightingale of India’, Sarojini Naidu was a celebrated poet. She took part in the Indian nationalist movement and was a follower of Gandhi.

Her considerable achievements include being appointed the President of the Indian National Congress in 1925 and serving as the first Governor of the United Provinces (Uttar Pradesh) post-Independence. This quote is from a lecture she gave at the age of 24 to a group of university students.

2. Annie Besant

There are few notable Britons who believed in India’s Independence, Annie Besant was one of them. She was a British women’s rights activist, author and educationist – among several other undertakings.

She even founded the Benaras Hindu University!

3. Aruna Asaf Ali

Aruna Asaf Ali was an Indian Independence activist who became the face of the Quit India movement in 1942 when she hoisted the national flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay.

Post-Independence, she became the first mayor of Delhi, and in her later years came to be known as the ‘Grand Old Lady’ of the Independence movement. This is a quote from her book ‘Words of Freedom: Ideas of a Nation’.

4. Sucheta Kriplani

Indian freedom fighter Sucheta Kriplani also came to prominence during the Quit India movement. She worked very closely with Gandhi, particularly during the Partition riots. Post-Independence, she was one of 15 women chosen to draft the Indian Constitution, and later became India’s first ever woman Chief Minister – of Uttar Pradesh.

5. Captain Lakshmi Sahgal

Captain Lakshmi Sahgal was an officer in the Indian National Army, and captain of the Rani of Jhansi regiment of the Azad Hind Fauj under Subhas Chandra Bose.

As a trained medical doctor, she provided relief to several prisoners of war and refugees during her career. She continued her medical practice well into her 90s!

-compiled by Maya McManus

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