Time and again, women have proved that no limitation is strong enough to confine them within the patriarchal threshold. They have always come forward to perform their responsibilities with utmost dedication; so how could they keep calm when it came upon their motherland? When our male patriots were shedding their blood for their country, women, too, were pushing themselves to fight for Mother India. When India was growling in anger against the Britishers, women also jumped into the fire.
Naidu came forward to join the Civil Disobedience Movement and Quit India Movement, and became one of the significant figures along with Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru. As a Cambridge return, she could easily opt for a work of her comfort zone, but she chose her motherland over herself. Women emancipation was one of her major goals to achieve. She educated the women of Bengal, made them capable of understanding the importance of freedom and inspired them to become active in their actions that would benefit the country.
Lila Roy was the first woman who had a Masters in English from Dhaka University and was also a gold medalist in English from Bethune College, University of Calcutta. As a devoted disciple of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, she had walked in his steps to justify her devotion. Bose wanted Roy to inspire more and more women to join the battle against the oppressors, so she founded ‘Dipali Sangha’ to fulfil her purpose. Many women came forward to join her. She trained them to hold armours, and made them physically and mentally strong to face the difficulties waiting for them on the way to freedom.
One of the promising participants of ‘Dipali Sangha’ was Pritilata Waddeder. She had chosen her country over her own family. She was an active member of the Indian Republican Army, founded by Surya Sen. As a fellow warrior, she had joined Surya Sen in the vivacious Chittagong Armoury Raid with the pseudonym ‘Fulatar’. She had also led two major battles in Dhalghat and Jalalabad.
Unfortunately, she was captured by the British army while destroying the ‘European Club’. It was her immense bravery and compassion for her fellow companions that she took potassium cyanite to kill herself and let the secrets dissolve in the soil with her own body. Before dying, she wrote a letter to her mother, apologising for not being able to be an obedient daughter. She became the first female martyr at the age of 21. Her bravery is too great to be thanked.
Kalpana Dutta was a prominent figure of Surya Sen’s ‘Indian Republican Army’. Her bravery led her to head the mission of helping those who were sent behind bars after the Chittagong Armoury Raid by an explosion of the Cotton Gun. However, when the mission was not perfectly executed, she became a target of the Britishers. After Surya Sen was sentenced to death, Dutta also received lifetime imprisonment for showing bravery towards her country. In 1939, when she got released, she joined the Indian Communist Party and continued to pursue her dream of watching her country fight for its freedom.
Subhas Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind Fauj, which created a horrifying sense of fear in the Britisher’s mind, was one of the most active and effective organisations of the pre-emancipation period. The Fauj had a particular section for women that was captained by Lakshmi Agarwal, the epitome of bravery. She trained and led at least 1,500 women and made the Fauj proud for having her among them. Her contribution to her country is remarkable and praiseworthy. She proved that a moustache does not suffice to become a leader, if courage lacks the amount.
Women are born leaders and visionaries, they already have everything within themselves to achieve what they want to. The resilience and sacrifice of these women shall always be remembered until time immemorial.