Freedom’s Guardians: The Top 10 Freedom Fighters of India
By Jaya Pathak
India has achieved significant milestones and accomplishments across various fields specially in science & tech, sports etc. India is touching the sky with its growing global power. With the nuclear development to the space exploration- India is setting the goals indeed. The people of India are free to express their views on any topic. They do have the voting rights as well irrespective of caste, colour, gender or creed. Education is given utmost importance in the present scenario.
India is lying in the world map in flying colours. But all these things would not have been possible without the efforts and sacrifice of our national heroes – brave, courageous, determined, visionary, selfless, heroic as well as inspiring.
This article will provide some insights upon the National Heroes of our country whose visionary thoughts and courageous, influential & selfless attitude helped the nation to get independence.
The Top 10 Freedom Fighters of India are as follows:
01. Subhash Chandra Bose:
- Subhas Chandra Bose is remembered as a charismatic and dynamic leader who was willing to take bold and unconventional steps in the pursuit of India’s independence. Bose played a pivotal role in India’s struggle for independence through his unwavering commitment, dynamic leadership, and innovative approaches.
- As a prominent figure in the Indian National Congress (INC) and later as the founder of the Forward Block (1939), Bose advocated for a more militant and determined stance against British colonial rule.
- His presidency of the INC in 1938 and 1939 marked a critical period when he emphasized the need for immediate and forceful action. However, his differences with the INC leadership led to his resignation, and he sought international support for India’s cause during World War II.
- Bose’s escape from British surveillance and his journey to Germany and then Japan showcased his determination to align with any force that could help achieve India’s independence. He formed the Indian National Army (INA) in 1942, comprising Indian prisoners of war and civilians, which aimed to liberate India with military force. The INA’s battle cries and the Azad Hind Government he established in Japanese-occupied Singapore further galvanized the independence movement.
- He remains a symbol of courage and determination, inspiring generations of Indians to continue the struggle for freedom. His mysterious death in 1945 only added to the mystique surrounding his life and legacy, making him an iconic figure in India’s fight for independence.
02. Bhagat Singh:
- Bhagat Singh, an iconic figure in India’s struggle for independence, played a pivotal role through his unwavering dedication, fearless actions, and unwavering commitment to the cause.
- Bhagat Singh’s journey in the fight for independence began at a young age, inspired by the sacrifices of earlier freedom fighters and the injustices of British colonial rule. He became a member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), an organization committed to achieving independence through armed struggle.
- One of the most defining moments in Bhagat Singh’s life was the bombing of the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi in 1929, a protest against oppressive laws. While the bombing aimed to symbolically challenge British authority rather than cause harm, it marked a turning point in the struggle for independence.
- Bhagat Singh’s arrest and subsequent trial turned him into a national hero. His courage, eloquence, and unwavering commitment to his principles during the trial inspired millions of Indians to join the struggle. Even when facing the gallows, he remained steadfast and unrepentant, declaring, “Inqilab Zindabad”.
03. Chandrashekhar Azad:
- Chandrashekhar Azad was a fearless Indian revolutionary who played a pivotal role in the struggle for India’s independence from British colonial rule.
- Alongside Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and others, Azad was a prominent member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), a revolutionary organization that believed in armed resistance against the British. The HSRA aimed to overthrow British rule and establish a democratic and socialist India.
- On February 27, 1931, Chandrashekhar Azad faced a fierce police encounter at Alfred Parkin Allahabad. Surrounded by British police, he chose to fight to the death rather than surrender. He used his last bullet to take his own life, keeping his vow to never be captured by the British.
- Azad’s unwavering commitment, courage, and determination in the face of adversity made him a heroic figure and a source of inspiration for the youth of India. His sacrifice reinforced the resolve of countless Indians to continue the fight for independence.
04. Ram Prasad Bismil:
- Ram Prasad Bismil was a notable Indian revolutionary and poet who played a significant role in the Indian independence movement. Bismil was deeply influenced by the Swadeshi Movement and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He joined the non-cooperation movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and was an active participant in various protests and demonstrations.
- Bismil, along with fellow revolutionaries like Ashfaqulla Khan, formed the HRA in 1924, later renamed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). The HSRA aimed to end British colonial rule through armed resistance and sought to establish a democratic and socialist India.
- Bismil played a key role in the famous Kakori conspiracy of 1925, where HSRA members robbed a British train near Kakori to fund the revolutionary activities. This incident brought the organization into the national limelight.
- Bismil was not only a revolutionary but also a gifted poet. His patriotic poems, especially “Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna,” became anthems of the freedom struggle, inspiring generations of Indians to join the cause.
05. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar:
- Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, often known as Veer Savarkar, was a multifaceted freedom fighter and prominent figure in the Indian independence movement.
- Savarkar is best known for coining the term “Hindutva” and promoting the idea of cultural and national unity among Hindus. His book “Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?” argued for the protection and preservation of Hindu culture and heritage.
- Veer Savarkar was associated with revolutionary activities against the British Raj. He was involved in various conspiracies and was arrested in 1909 for his alleged involvement in the assassination of a British official, but he was eventually acquitted.
- Savarkar advocated a more militant approach in the fight against British rule and sought to inspire a spirit of self-defence among Indians. He became a prominent leader in the Hindu Mahasabha, a political organization that aimed to protect and promote Hindu interests.
- Veer Savarkar’s contributions to the Indian independence movement were multifaceted. He inspired many with his writings and his vision of a united and culturally vibrant India.
06. Rani Laxmi Bai:
- “Rani of Jhansi,” was a fearless and iconic freedom fighter during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, often referred to as the First War of Independence.
- During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Lakshmibai played a significant role in the uprising against the British East India Company. She refused to accept the Doctrine of Lapse, which would have allowed the British to annex Jhansi, and instead, she joined the revolt.
- Rani Lakshmibai led her army into battle and became a symbol of resistance against British rule. Jhansi faced a British siege in March 1858. Lakshmibai valiantly defended her city but was eventually forced to escape with her son. She continued to fight alongside other rebel leaders.
- Rani Lakshmibai died in battle in Gwalior in June 1858, fighting against the British forces. Her sacrifice and bravery made her a symbol of India’s struggle for freedom.
- Rani Lakshmibai’s indomitable spirit and her willingness to lay down her life for her country have earned her a place of honor in India’s history. She remains an inspirational figure, particularly for her unwavering commitment to defending her kingdom and her resistance against British colonialism during a pivotal period in India’s fight for independence.
07. Mangal Pandey:
- Mangal Pandey was a courageous and influential figure in the early stages of the Indian independence movement, specifically during the prelude to the Indian Rebellion of 1857, often referred to as the First War of Independence.
- The immediate trigger for the Indian Rebellion of 1857 was the introduction of the new Enfield rifle cartridges that were rumored to be greased with cow and pig fat, offensive to both Hindu and Muslim sepoys. Mangal Pandey’s protest against using the cartridge sparked a broader movement against British rule.
- On March 29, 1857, Mangal Pandey attacked his British officers at the Barrackpore cantonment in Bengal, refusing orders and inciting rebellion among fellow sepoys.
- Mangal Pandey’s act of defiance galvanized other sepoys and civilians to join the revolt against British rule. He became a symbol of resistance and a catalyst for the wider rebellion that followed.
- Mangal Pandey’s brave and selfless actions marked the beginning of a larger movement that ultimately led to the First War of Independence in 1857.
08. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi:
- Mahatma Gandhi played a pivotal role in India’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule through his philosophy of nonviolent resistance, known as Satyagraha. Gandhi emerged as the leader of the Indian National Congress and led numerous campaigns and movements that contributed significantly to India gaining independence in 1947.
- Gandhi’s leadership was marked by his unwavering commitment to nonviolence and civil disobedience. He mobilized millions of Indians in acts of passive resistance against British oppression, including the Salt March, Quit India Movement, and various boycotts of British goods. His approach inspired people of all backgrounds and united India’s diverse population in the pursuit of freedom.
- Gandhi’s moral authority and personal sacrifices, such as fasting, captured the world’s attention and garnered international support for India’s cause. His philosophy influenced other civil rights movements globally, including the American Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King Jr.
- Ultimately, Gandhi’s role in Indian independence cannot be overstated. His dedication to peaceful protest and his ability to galvanize a nation led to India’s liberation in 1947. He remains an enduring symbol of nonviolent resistance and a revered figure in India’s history.
09. Lala Lajpat Rai:
- Lala Lajpat Rai, often referred to as “Punjab Kesari,” was a prominent figure in India’s struggle for independence during the early 20th century. His role was instrumental in shaping the course of the freedom movement. He was known for his charismatic leadership and oratory skills, which made him a popular and influential figure in the freedom movement.
- Lajpat Rai vehemently protested against the Simon Commission, which was seen as an unfair and undemocratic attempt by the British to review and suggest reforms for India’s governance without any Indian representation. His protests, along with others, led to the famous incident where he was injured in a police baton charge and later succumbed to his injuries.
- He actively supported the Swadeshi Movement, encouraging Indians to boycott British goods and promote Indian-made products, which had a significant economic impact on the British colonial system.
- Lajpat Rai was a proponent of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement. He believed in passive resistance and nonviolent protest as powerful tools for achieving independence.
10. Bal Gangadhar Tilak:
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak, frequently appertained to as” Lokmanya Tilak,” was a prominent freedom fighter and nationalist leader who played a significant part in India’s struggle for independence during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Tilak was a loyal advocate of Swadeshi, prompting Indians to swap British- made goods and support indigenous He also promoted a strong sense of nationalism, emphasizing the idea of” Swaraj” or tone- rule.
- His jottings and speeches inspired a sense of pride and concinnity among Indians. His call for” Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it” came a rallying cry for the freedom movement.
- He believed that unresistant resistance alone might not be enough to achieve independence. While he differed with Mahatma Gandhi on some tactics, Tilak supported the idea of civil defiance as a means to challenge British authority and advance the cause of independence.
India has a rich history of Muslim freedom fighters who played significant places in the country’s struggle for independence from British social rule. These individualities came from different backgrounds and regions of India, and they were united in their determination to free their country from British oppression.
Some prominent Muslim freedom fighters of India are Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Allama Iqbal, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauher, Maulana Shaukat Ali, Hasrat Mohani, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Ashfaqulla Khan, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai and numerous further. These are just a many exemplifications of the numerous Muslim freedom fighters who made significant benefactions to India’s struggle for independence. They worked alongside leaders from colorful religious and artistic backgrounds, united in their common thing of achieving freedom and justice for all Indians.
There were female freedom fighters who played pivotal places in the country’s struggle for independence from British social rule. These women displayed immense courage, determination, and leadership in colorful ways. Some notable female freedom fighters from India are Rani Lakshmi Bai, Sarojini Naidu, Annie Besant, Kasturba Gandhi, Aruna Asaf Ali, Sucheta Kriplani, Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, Kamla Nehru, Begum Hazrat Mahal, Kalpana Datta and numerous further.
These women, along with numerous others, made inestimable benefactions to India’s struggle for independence. Their conductand offerings continue to inspire generations of Indians and serve as a testament to the important part women played in the fight for freedom and justice.
India’s struggle for independence saw the benefactionsof multitudinouslesser- known orundervalued freedom fighters who made significant offerings for the cause of freedom. While their names may not be as extensively honoured as some of the more prominent leaders, their fidelity and sweats were pivotal to India’s fight for independence.
Many similar uncredited freedom fighters are Matangini Hazra, U Tirog Singh, Birsa Munda, Durgawati Devi, Rani Avantibai etc. These are just a many exemplifications of the numerous uncredited freedom fighters who played pivotal places in India’s struggle for independence. Their stories and offerings are an integral part of India’s history and should be conceded and flashed back .
One of the young freedom fighters in India’s struggle for independence was Khudiram Bose. At the age of 18, Khudiram Bose, along with Prafulla Chaki, carried out an enterprising act of resistance against the British. On April 30, 1908, they tried to bump off a British judge named Kingsford, who was known for his harsh and rough rulings against Indians. The attempt was made by throwing a bomb at a carriage that they believed was carrying the judge. Unfortunately, they mistook the carriage, and the two youthful revolutionaries were arrested.
On August 11, 1908, Khudiram Bose was executed by hanging in Muzaffarpur Jail, Bihar. He was just 18 times old at the time of his martyrdom. Khudiram Bose’s immolation and fidelity to the freedom struggle made him one of the youthful and most inspiring numbers in India’s struggle for independence.
The roleof our national heroes in country’s independence cannot be described in words. They’re immortal in the pages of history of the nation. Their courage, visionary thinking, sacrifice and selfless attitude towards nation continues to inspire generations of Indians who recognize their commitment to the cause of freedom.