Role of Women during Indian Independence of twentieth century

Even though women are considered to be form of Goddesses in Indian Subcontinent , they were limited by the stereotypes and the structure of our society. The position of women in our society are still better than what it was few centuries back.( Yes!! this is so even with India’s dismal rank of 114 out of 142 countries in gender based disparities.)

The change in this tradition first started to begin evidently ,during the British rule under the impact of western education and Indian national movement. Great reformists like Bankim Chandra, Rabindranath Tagore began to acknowledge women an identity of their own outside their traditional purview, which meant rearing children ,looking after the family e.t.c. British Governor-Generals like Dalhousie, Bethune began spreading English education amongst Indian women.

Swadeshi Movement in 1906 was the first movement when women actively participated. Mahatma Gandhi by the time of 1916 had realized the power of Indian women and instigated them to involve in activities like boycott and picketing  during the Non-Cooperation movement of 1920s. His wife Kasturba Gandhi was always supporting him during innumerable marches and causes he had undertaken in india or South Africa.

Let’s have a quick look at some prominent women freedom fighters during this era whose contribution was indispensable during the agitation against British Rule:

  • Annie Besant,who became the first female Congress President in 1917.
  • Sarojini Naidu led agitation of women for not having voting rights . In 1925 she became the Congress President.
  • Urmila Devi and Sunita Devi openly opposed the visit of Prince of Wales at Bombay in 1921.
  • During the Chittagong revolution of Surya Sen in 1930 many women revolutionaries came to the fore. They were Bina Das, Preeti Lata, Kalpana Dutt,
  • Aruna Asaf Ali was an active member of Congress Party and participated in public processions during the Salt Satyagraha. She  was dubbed the Heroine of the 1942 movement for her bravery in the face of danger and was called Grand Old Lady of the Independence movement in her later years.
  • The mother of Ali brothers Bi Amma  participated in Khilafat and non-cooperation movement .
  • In western India Pandita Ramabai was active.
  • Rani Gadinleu from Nagaland and Kanaklata Barua from Assam were famous freedom fighters from the north eastern region.

What is noteworthy about this particular participation of women is that even with the widespread injustice that was going on with them, that is  they did not have any  political identity, socio-economic rights ;but still they fought for the common national cause rather then appealing for their own discomforts.Hats off these brave women without whose contribution Indian freedom would have gone for an even longer time.

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About Gangotri

Mostly old-school. Feminist. Fiesty. Passionate about things I believe in. Love to learn about something new every day.

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