List of Lesser-known Indian Freedom Fighters- Unsung Warriors of India

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Leaders, politicians, common men and women struggled for India’s independence against the British. Many sacrificed their lives for the sake of truth and justice. There are popular freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Bal Gangadhar Tilak who are mentioned in the pages of history but their followers largely remain left out of the limelight. Although their contribution is by no means meagre, these people remain the unsung warriors of India. These revolutionaries have fought valiantly and led several movements of India’s past. In this article, we present you 10 such unsung soldiers of India, men and women who deserve a place in history and our hearts. 

So, without any delay let us start our reading journey! 

Ke Mammen 

  • Ke Mammen was a young freedom fighter in the pre-independence era of India. 
  • As an intermediate student of the College of Fine Arts Trivandrum, he was jailed for motivating students to join the Indian freedom struggle. 
  • He was also expelled from his college for being an active member in the Quit India Movement. 
  • Mammen was a pacifist and a true follower of Mahatma Gandhi. 
  • In 2014, he turned 94 and celebrated his birthday despite being ill and undergoing treatment for 6 months. He remains one of the unsung warriors of India who passed away on 26 July 2017. 

Peer Ali Khan 

  • Peer Ali Khan was a rebel and one of the unsung freedom fighters who participated in the Indian Independence Movement. 
  • A bookbinder by profession, he supplied coded messages, important leaflets or pamphlets. 
  • He even participated in the campaigns against the British government. 
  • Due to his activities, he was hanged in full public view by the then commissioner in Patna, William Tayler along with 14 other rebels. 

Jhalkari Bai 

  • Jhalkari Bai is one of the unsung soldiers of India who fought against the Britishers. 
  • Jhalkari Bai belonged to a Dalit family due to which she didn’t receive her schooling, as was the custom those days. 
  • From her childhood, her father tutored her in horse riding and the martial arts. 
  • She was a courageous woman who committed many valiant feats like killing beasts from the wild. 
  • On learning about such a talented and brave woman, queen of Jhansi, Rani Lakshmi Bai was very impressed and she took her as a warrior in her army. 
  • Jhalkari Bai rose through the ranks to become an adviser to the queen. 
  • With the death of the king, the Britishers took over Jhansi in 1854. Four years later, Jhansi protested and demanded independence. 
  • It was greatly rumoured that when the war was nearing the end and the chances of Jhansi’s victory was thin, Jhalkari Bai asked Rani Laxmi Bai to escape the battlefield with his son. 
  • Dressed in the Queen’s robes, Jhalkari Bai fought the war valiantly. Even in a wounded state, she kept advancing against the British troops. Although Jhansi lost the battle, her story remains immortal. 

Durgabai Deshmukh 

  • Durgabai Deshmukh remains one of the unsung leaders of India who was a satyagrahi. 
  • She worked for social welfare, particularly upliftment of women in education. 
  • She protested against the Britishers when she was only 12. Durgabai left school as the medium of instruction was English. She later pursued her undergraduate and postgraduate course in Political Science from Andhra University. 
  • She was a prominent member in the Salt Satyagraha led by Mahatma Gandhi. 
  • For her activities of Satyagraha, she was imprisoned three times (1930-33) by the British. 
  • She was the only woman in the panel of chairmen of the Constituent Assembly and was also a part of the Planning Commission of India. 
  • She left no stone unturned to fulfil her responsibility as an in-charge of a khadi exhibition. Since visitors without tickets were not allowed, she stopped Jawaharlal Nehru from entering the premises of the exhibition. 
  • It was only after Nehru procured a ticket that he was allowed in. Although chided by others, Jawaharlal Nehru was highly impressed with her dutifulness. 

Matangini Hazra 

  • Matangini Hazra was a supporter of Mahatma Gandhi and was an active member of Quit India and Non-cooperation movements. 
  • She was arrested in 1932 because of participating in the Salt Satyagraha during the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
  • During an act of protestation against the British, she kept advancing even after being shot three times. 
  • Although mortally wounded, she kept chanting the slogan “Vande Mataram”. Her persistent opposition, particularly in her final moments is a true example of her fiery demeanour and her devotion to her country. 

Bhikaiji Cama 

  • Bhikaiji Cama remains one of the unsung heroes of the Freedom movement in India as only few know about her although roads are named “Bhikaiji Cama” or “Madame Cama”. 
  • Bhikaiji Cama fought for equal rights for men and women. 
  • She worked for social welfare and was deeply engaged in philanthropic work. She even made huge donations of her personal assets for the girls’ orphanage. 
  • In her demand for her country’s independence, Bhikaiji Cama hoisted the first earlier version of the Indian flag in 1907 at the International Socialist Conference at Stuttgart in Germany. She co-designed the Indian flag and called it the “Flag of India’s Independence“. 
  • Although exiled, she wrote two books Bande Mataram and Madan’s Talwar which was later smuggled into India. 

Khudiram Bose 

  • Khudiram Bose was one of the youngest revolutionaries from Bengal and a martyr who opposed British rule. 
  • Khudiram started volunteering at the age of 15 and participated in planting bombs near British offices while he was 16. 
  • He was sentenced to death by the British because of his direct role in the Muzaffarpur Conspiracy Case. 
  • He along with another revolutionary Prafulla Chaki attempted to assassinate Magistrate Kingsford by dropping bombs in a carriage. However, instead of the Magistrate, two British women were killed. 
  • Following a trial, he was hanged only at an age of 18 years, 8 months and 8 days old. 

Lakshmi Sahgal 

  • Lakshmi Sahgal is one of the unsung soldiers of India. 
  • She was an Indian revolutionary who served in the Indian National Army or Azad Hind Fauj. She was also the Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Azad Hind government. 
  • Lakshmi was a war veteran who was imprisoned in Burma until March 1946 during the Second World War. 
  • She provided full aid to the Bangladesh refugees through relief camps and medical support. 
  • When Subhash Chandra Bose was recruiting women soldiers, she enlisted her name and requested a mandate to form the Rani of Jhansi regiment. She was appointed as a captain in the women’s regiment. 
  • Lakshmi Sahgal was also nominated for the Presidential elections against A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. 

Kushal Konwar 

  • Kushal Konwar was a Tai-Ahom freedom fighter from Assam. 
  • As a school student, Kushal was highly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-cooperation Movement and followed in the ideals of Swaraj, Truth and Ahimsa. 
  • He also served as the President of the Sarupathar Congress Committee and led people in movements of India’s independence. 
  • A train which had derailed after sleepers were removed from the railway line, killed many Allied soldiers and Kushal Konwar was blamed to be the mastermind of the conspiracy. 
  • He was a man who followed the path of non-violence and was not guilty of the crime. 
  • Kushal accepted his verdict with dignity and was hanged in the Jorhat jail. 

Benoy Badal Dinesh 

  • Benoy, Badal and Dinesh are the unsung heroes of the Freedom movement in India. 
  • Benoy (Benoy Basu) Badal (Badal Gupta) Dinesh (Dinesh Gupta) are the names of three revolutionaries of India. 
  • They were aged 22, 18 and 19 respectively when they planned to kill the brutal Inspector General of Police, Colonel NS Simpson. 
  • Dressed in European attires, the three men entered the Writers’ Building and shot the General. 
  • The revolutionaries tried to fight off other police personnel but were eventually cornered. 
  • The three men didn’t want to get arrested and decided to become a martyr in their own hands. While Benoy took a cyanide pill, Badal and Dinesh shot themselves. 

Final thought! 

Both sung and unsung warriors of India evokes patriotism in every Indian who comes across them. Independence Day 2022 was an opportunity to celebrate these freedom fighters and their indelible contributions. It was also one moment to salute all the serving soldiers of India. Life is certainly not an ordinary thing to be ended at will. These heroes of India’s freedom struggle show us that nation and its inhabitants were their first priority. They were willing to sacrifice their precious lives only to see the Indian flag unfurl with pride, only to have peace. 

Which unsung warriors of India from this list of freedom fighters moves you immensely and why? Can you name other unsung leaders of India?  Let us know in the comment section. 

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