The history of the Indian Freedom Struggle would be incomplete without mentioning the contributions of many unsung Female Freedom Fighters of India. The contribution of women in the struggle for an Independent India cannot be overlooked. A lot of courageous women raised their voices against British rule. Many women took to the streets, led processions, and held lectures and demonstrations.

The sacrifice made by the women of India has occupied the foremost place. They fought with true spirit and undaunted courage and faced various tortures, exploitations, and hardships to earn us freedom. The entire history of the freedom movement is replete with the saga of bravery, sacrifice, and political sagacity of hundreds and thousands of women in our country.


This article covers the following women freedom fighters of India

  1. Rani Lakshmi bai
  2. Begum Hazrat Mahal
  3. Kasturba Gandhi
  4. Kamla Nehru
  5. Vijay Laxmi Pandit
  6. Sarojini Naidu
  7. Aruna Asaf Ali
  8. Madam Bhikaji Cama
  9. Kamla Chattopadhyay
  10. Annie Besant
  11. Kanaklata Barua
  12. Savitribai Phule
  13. Matangini Hazra
  14. Lakshmi Sahgal
  15. Tara Rani Srivastava
  16. Sucheta Kriplani
  17. Kittur Chennamma
  18. Usha Mehta

Rani Laxmi Bai

The bravest soul Rani Lakshmibai was one of the first women Freedom Fighters to fight in the Indian Independence Movement of 1857, that is, the first war of Independence against the Britishers, Rani Lakshmibai is considered a symbol of resistance to the British Raj. She’s remembered for her bravery and courage in the First war of 1857-58, also known as the Indian Mutiny.

She was the second wife of the ruler of Jhansi Raja Gangadhar Rao who protested against the ‘Doctrine of Lapse’. She refused to surrender to Jhansi and fought bravely attired as a male during the Revolt of 1857 and died on the battlefield fighting the British forces. Her courage inspired many Indians to rise against the alien rule.

Begum Hazrat Mahal

Another lady on the list who showcased immense bravery and courage was Hazrat Mahal Begum. She was the wife of the deposed ruler of Lucknow, who actively participated in the revolt of 1857 (first war of independence) against the Doctrine of Lapse under which Dalhousie wanted her to surrender Lucknow, but she gave a stiff resistance. But after the fall of Lucknow, she escaped to Kathmandu.

Kasturba Gandhi

Kasturba, the wife of Mahatma Gandhi, was one of the foremost supporters of Gandhi’s programs. One of the first women to be imprisoned in Transvaal, she took part in the Quit India Movement (1942) and was arrested. She died while imprisoned in Poona.

Kamla Nehru

Kamala Nehru, who married Jawaharlal Nehru in 1916, participated in various movements, and led the Civil Disobedience Movement. She played a prominent part in organizing the No Tax Campaign in the United Provinces (Now Uttar Pradesh).

Vijay Laxmi Pandit

Jawaharlal Nehru’s sister Vijay Laxmi Pandit entered the Non- Cooperation Movement. She was imprisoned thrice in connection with the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932, 1941, and 1942. In 1937 she was elected to the provincial legislature of the United Provinces and was designated minister of local self-government and public health. She played an important role as India’s representative in San Francisco during the first meeting of the UN where she challenged the might of the British. She was the first woman to become the President of the United Nations General Assembly.

Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu holds pride of place among women freedom fighters of India. She was responsible for awakening the women of India. She was the first Indian woman president of the Indian National Congress in 1925 at the Kanpur Session. In 1928, she came to the USA with the message of the nonviolent movement from Gandhiji. When in 1930, Gandhi was arrested for a protest, Sarojini took the helm of his movement. In 1931, she participated in the Round Table Summit, along with Gandhiji and Pundit Malavyaji.

She was also the acting President of Congress in 1932. In 1942, she was arrested during the ‘Quit India’ protest and stayed in jail for 21 months. She was a gifted poet of the English language and was popularly known as the Nightingale of India. After independence, she became the first-ever woman Governor of an Indian State (Uttar Pradesh).

Aruna Asaf Ali

Aruna Asaf Ali is famous as “The Grand Old Lady” of the Independence Movement. Aruna Asaf Ali played a leading role during the Quit Indian Movement. Her moment of reckoning came in 1942 during the Quit India Movement and she rose to the occasion. She unfurled the National Flag at the Gowalia Tank maidan in Bombay to signify the commencement of the Quit India Movement and became a legend for thousands of youth that rose to emulate her. She became a full-time activist in the Quit India movement. Moved and went underground to evade arrest.  She organized political prisoners and protested against the ill-treatment provided in the prisons by way of hunger strikes.

She edited ‘Inquilab’ a monthly journal of the Indian National Congress. She was awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

Madam Bhikaji Cama

Madam Bhikaji Cama was influenced by Dadabhai Naoroji and was a source of inspiration for Indian youth in the UK. She hoisted the first version of the Indian national flag at the International Socialist Conference in Stuttgart (Germany) in 1907, organized Free India Society, and began the journal ‘Bande Mataram’ to spread her revolutionary thought.

She was born on 24th September 1861 to a Parsi family in Bombay (now Mumbai). She is also popular as Madam Cama, a well-known freedom fighter. She came from a good family, and her father, Sorabji Framji Patel, was a powerful member of the Parsi community. She emphasized equality between both genders- men and women. She gave away all her assets to help an orphanage for young girls. 

She traveled a lot and spoke to people about Indians Struggling for Independence. She could aptly be called “Mother India’s first cultural representative of the USA”.

Kamladevi Chattopadhyay

Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was elected President of the Youth Congress in December 1929 and appealed to the National Congress leaders to declare Poorna Swaraj as their goal. On January 26, 1930, Kamaladevi captured the imagination of the entire nation when in a scuffle, she clung to the Tricolor in order to protect it. Blows rained on her as she stood like a rock to protect the flag, bleeding profusely. She galvanized the All India Women’s Conference into a dynamic movement. Besides the hundreds and thousands of Indian women who dedicated their lives for India’s freedom, there were many foreign women who saw in India a hope for the redemption of the world. 

Annie Besant

Annie Besan was born in Annie Wood (Ireland) on 1 October 1847. She was one of the renowned political activists, freedom fighters and a champion of the anti-Church movement and women’s rights. 

Annie Besant became a member of the National Secular Society in the 1870s and the Fabian Society championed freedom of thought and liberation from the tyranny of the Catholic Church in England. Being socialist and having spiritual solace led her to join the Theosophical Society in 1889. With the objective of evangelization the ideals of the Theosophical Society she came India in 1893. After landing in India she was inspired by the ongoing struggle for freedom against British rule and gradually became an active participant.

In 1916 she founded HOME RULE LEAGUE along with Bal Gangadhar Tilak and carried on this historic movement with the aim of attaining the Dominion of India. Her contribution led her to be elected as the FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT OF the INDIA NATIONAL CONGRESS in 1917. She died in India on 20 September 1933. Throughout her life, she was a brave and strong woman’s personality

Kanaklata Barua

Kanaklata Barua, also known as Birbal, was an Indian freedom fighter from Assam. She participated in the Quit India Movement in 1942 at Barangabari and stood at the head of the women volunteers’ line with the National Flag in her hand. She was determined to hoist the flag at the British-dominated Gohpur Police Station by narrating the slogan “British imperialists should go back,” but was restricted by the Britishers. Though she tried to convince others that her intentions were noble, British police shot her, and at the age of 18, she thus sacrificed her life for India.

Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Jyoti Rao Phule was born on 3 January 1831. She was one of the prominent reformers, educationalists and poets who belonged to Maharashtra. Savitribai Phule was married to Jyoti Rao Phule who was a great thinker, activist, and caste social reformer. Along with her husband she played a pivotal role in improving women’s rights in India. Savitribai along with her husband founded the first modern Indian girl’s school in Pune. She is also regarded as the ‘FIRST FEMALE TEACHER OF INDIA’.

Matangini Hazra

Matangini Hazra was called “Gandhi Buri.” She participated in the Quit India Movement and Non-Cooperation Movement. During one procession, even after being shot thrice, she bravely continued to lead with the Indian flag & kept shouting “Vande Mataram.” The first woman statue was instituted in Kolkata after Indian Independence, and that was Hazra’s in 1977. The statue stands at the spot where she was assassinated in Tamluk. Even Hazra Road in Kolkata is also named after her.

Lakshmi Sahgal

Lakshmi Sahgal was born on 24 October 1914. She is an officer of the Indian National Army and a Women’s Affairs Minister in the Azad Hind government. Also commonly regarded as Captain. She completed her studies in medicine. She is regarded as the organizer of relief camps and medical aid in Calcutta for refugees of Bangladesh. She is among the founding members of the India Democratic Women’s Association. 

Tara Rani Srivastava

Tara Rani was born into a simple family in Saran, Bihar, and married Phulendu Babu. Both joined Mahatma Gandhi’s Quit India Movement in 1942, regulated protests, and planned to raise the Indian flag on the roof of the Siwan Police Station. They managed to gather a crowd and began their march towards the Siwan Police Station, shouting ‘Inquilab.’ But when they were marching towards the police station, the police opened fire, and her husband was shot. Undeterred, Tara bandaged him with the help of her sari but bravely continued to lead the crowd towards the station shouting ‘Inquilab’ while holding the Indian flag. Her husband died when Tara returned. Even after all these barriers, she continued with her freedom struggle.

Sucheta Kriplani

Sucheta Kriplani was an ardent nationalist with a socialistic orientation. She was a close associate of Jai Prakash Narayana who actively participated in the Quit India Movement. This St Stephen’s educated politician sang Vande Mataram in the independence session of the Constituent Assembly on August 15, 1947. She was a member of the Constituent Assembly in 1946. She was general secretary of the Indian National Congress from 1958 to 1960, and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 1963 to 1967.    

Kittur Chennamma

Rani Chennamma was born in Karnataka a small village kakati in 1778 that is almost 56 years earlier than Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. At a very young age, she started training in horse riding, sword fighting, and archery. At the age of 15, she got married to Mallasarja Desai. Rani was not able to win the war against the British but still, she is remembered for many centuries in the world of history. She was revered as an icon of bravery in Karnataka.

As Rani Kittur lost his son due to the Doctrine of Lapse imposed in her region. She fearlessly fought against the British but this humiliation was not swallowed by the British due to which Rani negotiated with Chaplin and the Governor of Bombay Presidency under whose regime Kittur fell but this not had any effect. She was compelled to declare war. For 12 days, the valor Queen and her soldiers defended their fort, but The Rani was defeated (1824 CE). She was imprisoned and was kept in the fort of Bailhongal for life. She spent her further  days reading holy texts and performing pooja till her death in 1829 CE

Usha Mehta

Usha Mehta was born on 25th March 1920 and belonged to the state of Gujarat from a very small village of saras. At a very young age, she was regarded as one of the active participants in the fight against the Britishers.  At the age of 8, she took part in her first protest which was against Simon Commission. She is remembered for organizing Secret Congress Radio. She also took part in Quit India Movement. She was conferred with India’s second-highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan





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