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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Women in Indian freedom struggle - Google doodle on Subhadrakumari Chauhan !

WE celebrated  the 75th   INDEPENDENCE DAY of the Nation ~ the great day of 15th August when BHARAT was liberated from foreign rule. .. .. often described in a terse statement, India achieved freedom ‘without battle or shedding blood’ – Indian freedom struggle was far different perhaps – thousands sacrificed and more number underwent innumerable difficulties for that magic freedom, which we happily enjoy .. .. .. and, Indian History does not have much written about those great martyrs.

.. .. more so about the women in freedom struggle – apart from Jhansi Rani Laxmi Bai, we read aboput : Annie besant, Sarojini Naidu,  Kamala Nehru, Sucheta Kripalani  Vijayalaxmi Pundit, Aruna Asaf Ali, Kasturba Gandhi  - (do you remember or have heard of more persons ?) 

Back home, in Chennai, ‘Kasturibai Nagar’ station is the one at Madhya Kailash Jn in MRTS, where the OMR aka IT corridor starts.  .. .. strangely, this is what we studied in school too – Kasthuribhai Gandhi was the wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.   Kasthuribai sounds a Tamilised version of Kasturba.  Triplicane houses century old specialty hospital for women famously known as ‘Gosha Hospital’ -  which was  named after Kasturba Gandhi,  the wife of Gandhiji.  One needs to go back to the history of the Nation, the State and of the locality to understand the significance of this hospital.  Born as Kasturba Makhanji (1869 – 1944) – she was married to   Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the National leader.

Of course, there were innumerable freedom fighters :  Kanaklata Barua was one ! .. .. hailing   from Assam, also known as Birbala, Kanaklata Barua took leading steps in the 1942 Quit India Movement at Barangabari. At the tender age of 18, she proudly held the Indian flag with intentions to unfurl it at the British acquired Gohpur Police Station. Shouting slogans “Britishers Go Back,” she was silenced by the deadly lead shot from a British policeman’s rifle.

Thankfully Google celebrated Subhadra Kumari Chauhan's 117th birth anniversary with a doodle, yesterday. It was an  illustrated one  by New Zealand-based guest artist Prabha Mallya and featured the activist and author sitting with a pen and paper, dressed in a saree.  Google honoured India’s first woman Satyagrahi Subhadra Kumari Chauhan with a special graphic on her 117th birth anniversary on August 16. Subhadra Kumari Chauhan was a trailblazing writer and freedom fighter whose work rose to national prominence during a male-dominated era of literature.

Google doodle on Indian Independence Day & Subhadrakumari

Subhadra Chauhan was born in Nihalpur village in Allahabad District, Uttar Pradesh. She initially studied in Allahabad and passed the middle-school examination in 1919. She married Thakur Lakshman Singh Chauhan of Khandwa in 1919 when she was sixteen with whom she had five children. After her marriage,  she moved to Jubbulpore (now Jabalpur), Central Provinces. In 1921, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan and her husband joined Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement. She was the first woman Satyagrahi to court arrest in Nagpur and was jailed twice for her involvement in protests against British rule in 1923 and 1942.  She later became a member of the legislative assembly of Central Provinces but sadly she  in 1948 in a car accident near Seoni, Madhya Pradesh, on her way back to Jabalpur from Nagpur, the then capital of Central Provinces, where she had gone to attend the assembly session.

Google doodle on Indian Independence Day & Subhadrakumari

Subhadra Chauhan authored a number of popular works in Hindi. Her most famous composition is Jhansi Ki Rani, an emotionally charged poem describing the life of Rani Lakshmi Bai. The poem is one of the most recited and sung poems in Hindi literature. An emotionally charged description of the life of the queen of Jhansi (British India) and her participation in the 1857 revolution, it is often taught in schools in North India. A couplet repeated at the end of each stanza reads thus:

बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,

खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

This and her other poems, Jallianwala Bagh mein Vasant, Veeron Ka Kaisa Ho Basant, Rakhi Ki Chunauti, and Vida, openly talk about the freedom movement. They are said to have inspired great numbers of Indian youth to participate in the Indian Freedom Movement.  

Her first poem was published when she was just 9.The call for Indian independence reached its height during her early adulthood. As a participant in the Indian Nationalist Movement, Subhadra used her poetry to call others to fight for their nation’s cause. The Google Doodle page described her poetry as, “Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s poetry and prose primarily centered around the hardships that Indian women overcame, such as gender and caste discrimination. Her poetry remained uniquely underscored by her resolute nationalism.”  In 1923, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s unyielding activism led her to become the first woman satyagrahi, a member of the Indian collective of nonviolent anti-colonialists to be arrested in the struggle for national liberation. She continued to make revolutionary statements in the fight for freedom both on and off the page into the 1940s. She published a total of 88 poems and 46 short stories.

The ICGS Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, an Indian Coast Guard ship, was named after her and the Govt of Madhya Pradesh placed a statue of Subhadra Kumari Chauhan before the Municipal Corporation office of Jabalpur. On 6 August 1976, India Posts released a postage stamp to commemorate her. 

Thanks Google for bringing out more about this women who fought for freedom of the Nation.  Jai Hind.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Aug 2021.

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