Indian Freedom Fighters- Courage under Fire

I want freedom for the full expression of my personality-Mahatma Gandhi

Indians have always rewritten the definition of exhibiting resilience under pressure. Trial by fire has been the stronger point for Indian Freedom fighters who have left behind a legacy of courage, valor and never–say-die spirit.

Here’s saluting the indomitable spirit of Indian Freedom Fighters for their selfless sacrifice in laying down their precious lives for the sake of freedom.

Mangal Pandey

Mangal Pandey (19 July 1827 – 8 April 1857) is synonymous for his role in the initial stages of the Indian Uprising of 1857. Born in Uttar Pradesh, Pandey was a Sepoy in the 6th company of the 34th Native Infantry .The daring attack on a superior officer provoked the spark of India’s First War of Independence. Mangal Pandey became the first freedom fighter and martyr of 1857.

The reason for the uprising reached its culmination as the British introduced reforms which were very stringent and unfair. The provision provided for sepoys were meager with paltry salaries. The East India Company made matters worse by introducing the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle. The cartridges for these rifles were coated with grease membrane that has to be cut by the teeth, before loading.

The rumor was the membrane was extracted from the fat of either cow or pig. This proved to be the last straw, as it is offensive to both Hindu as well as Muslim soldiers. There was no reasoning with the sepoys, despite the permission to create grease from vegetable oil.

On March 29,1857, Mangal Pandey launched an open mutiny at Barrackpore near Kolkata. Wounded in the combat , Pandey was arrested and sent to the gallows. Mangal Pandey’s execution was scheduled for April 18, but was carried out ten days earlier.

In 1984, the Indian government issued a postage stamp bearing the image of Mangal Pandey on October 5,1984,commemorating his spirit. His valor has become the subject of films, plays and fiction.

  Alluri Sita Rama Raju

Alluri Sita Rama Raju (born July 5, 1897 – died May 7, 1924) was a force to be reckoned with for the British Empire. As a protagonist he led a band of tribals in the “Rampa Rebellion” of 1922-24. The Revolutionary leader, born with an ideology, earned himself the name “Manyam Veerudu” (Hero of the Jungles) among  the locals.

In 1857, during the first war of independence, Sri Alluri Seetarama Raju traveled into the deep forests of Gond land, united different tribes, trained them in guerrilla warfare to stand up against the oppression by the British.

On 22nd August 1922, the well trained tribal army raided three police stations Chintapalli Police Station, Krishnadevipeta Police Station, and Rajavommangi for three consecutive days taking away large number of guns, bayonets and cartridges and swords. Between (1922 to 1924) the British Army was terrorized by the exploits of Alluri Sita Rama Raju.

Known as a sharp archer, he was lured out of hiding in 1922, when the British deployed a company of Assam Rifles near Pegadapalle under the leadership of Saunders. Armed with tribal volunteers using bows and arrows, he openly rebelled against the British. Capturing the revolutionary leader was a herculean task but he was eventually overpowered. He was tied to a tree and shot dead with a rifle in Mampa village.

The Department of Posts issued a 50 Paise multicolored stamp in memory of the freedom fighter Sri Alluri Sitarama Raju.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (28 May 1883 – 26 February 1966). Freedom fighter, Revolutionary, Politician and proponent of liberty, poet, writer and play writer. He strongly advocated Utilitarianism, Rationalism and Positivism, Humanism and Universalism, Pragmatism and Realism.

The spark of revolutionary activities was ignited during his study in India and England. He founded student societies including Abhinav Bharat Society and Free India Society. His publication ‘The Indian War of Independence’ about the rebellion of 1857 was banned by the British Empire.

Arrested in 1910 over his association with revolutionary group ‘India House’, Savarkar was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment and moved to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Within the confines of prison, Savarkar penned his work describing Hindutva, openly espousing Hindu nationalism. Post his release, Savarkar traveled widely emerging as an orator and writer, advocating Hindu political and social unity. Openly endorsing the ideal of India as a Hindu Rashtra he opposed the Quit India struggle in 1942, calling it a “Quit India but keep your army” movement. The airport at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar’s capital has been named after him as Veer Savarkar International Airport.

Bhagat Singh

Considered as one the most influential and youngest revolutionaries of the Freedom struggle, Bhagat Singh (28 September 1907 – 23 March 1931) is referred to as Shaheed Bhagat Singh, meaning “martyr” in many Indian languages. Born into a Sikh family which had earlier been involved in revolutionary activities against the British Raj, Bhagat Singh was attracted to anarchist and marxist ideologies.

Avenging the death of another freedom fighter, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh was successful at throwing two bombs and leaflets inside the Central Legislative Assembly while shouting slogans of Inquilab Zindabad. Held on these charges, Bhagat Singh undertook a 116 day fast in jail, demanding equal rights for both British and Indian political prisoners. Convicted and subsequently hanged at the age of 23, Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom has transformed him into a role model. Inspiring many films, Bhagat Singh is commemorated with a large bronze statue in the Parliament of India.

Mahatma Gandhi

India attained Independence under the aegis of Mahatma Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948), who is referred to as the “Father of the Nation”. Political and spiritual leader of India, he is considered the chief architect of the Indian independence movement. Pioneer and perfector of Satyagraha – the peaceful path of resisting tyranny through mass civil disobedience laid the foundation for ahimsa-total non-violence. Gandhi is commonly addressed as Bapu.

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.-Mahatma Gandhi

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