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Martin Luther (10 November 1483 18 February 1546)

initiated the Protestant Reformation. As a priest and
theology professor, he confronted indulgence salesman
Johann Tetzel with his The Ninety-Five Theses in 1517.
Luther strongly disputed their claim that freedom from
God's punishment of sin could be purchased with money.
His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of
Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V at the Edict of Worms meeting in 1521 resulted
in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as
an outlaw by the emperor. Martin Luther taught that
salvation is not from good works, but a free gift of God, received only by grace through faith in
Jesus as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority of the pope of the Roman
Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge[2]
and opposed sacerdotalism by considering all baptised Christians to be a holy priesthood. Those
who identify with Luther's teachings are called Lutherans.
His translation of the Bible into the language of the people (instead of Latin) made it more
accessible, causing a tremendous impact on the church and on German culture. It fostered the
development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of
translation,[4] and influenced the translation into English of the King James Bible.[5] His hymns
inspired the development of singing in churches. [6] His marriage to Katharina von Bora set a
model for the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant priests to marry.[7]
Much scholarly debate has focused on Luther's writings about the Jews. His statements that the
Jews' homes should be destroyed, their synagogues burned, money confiscated, and liberty
curtailed were revived and used in propaganda by the Nazis from 1933 to 1945.[8] As a result of
this and his revolutionary theological views, his legacy remains controversial.[9]
Martin Luther was born to Hans Luder (or Ludher, later Luther)[10] and his wife Margarethe (ne
Lindemann) on 10 November 1483 in Eisleben, Germany, then part of the Holy Roman Empire.
He was baptized as a Catholic the next morning on the feast day of St. Martin of Tours. His
family moved to Mansfeld in 1484, where his father was a leaseholder of copper mines and
smelters [11] and served as one of four citizen representatives on the local council. [10] Martin
Marty describes Luther's mother as a hard-working woman of "trading-class stock and middling
means" and notes that Luther's enemies would later wrongly describe her as a whore and bath
attendant.[10] He had several brothers and sisters, and is known to have been close to one of them,
Jacob.[12] Hans Luther was ambitious for himself and his family, and he was determined to see
Martin, his eldest son, become a lawyer. He sent Martin to Latin schools in Mansfeld, then
Magdeburg in 1497, where he attended a school operated by a lay group called the Brethren of
the Common Life, and Eisenach in 1498.[13] The three schools focused on the so-called "trivium":
grammar, rhetoric, and logic. Luther later compared his education there to purgatory and hell.[14]
In 1501, at the age of nineteen, he entered the University of Erfurt which he later described as
a beerhouse and whorehouse.[15] The schedule called for waking at four every morning for what
has been described as "a day of rote learning and often wearying spiritual exercises." [15] He
received his master's degree in 1505.[16]

In accordance with his father's wishes, Luther enrolled in law school at the same university that
year but dropped out almost immediately, believing that law represented uncertainty. [16] Luther
sought assurances about life and was drawn to theology and philosophy, expressing particular
interest in Aristotle, William of Ockham, and Gabriel Biel.[16] He was deeply influenced by two
tutors, Bartholomus Arnoldi von Usingen and Jodocus Trutfetter, who taught him to be
suspicious of even the greatest thinkers[16] and to test everything himself by experience. [17]
Philosophy proved to be unsatisfying, offering assurance about the use of reason but none about
loving God, which to Luther was more important. Reason could not lead men to God, he felt, and
he thereafter developed a love-hate relationship with Aristotle over the latter's emphasis on
reason.[17] For Luther, reason could be used to question men and institutions, but not God. Human
beings could learn about God only through divine revelation, he believed, and Scripture therefore
became increasingly important to him.[17] He did not complete his law studies.

George Washington

George Washington (February 22, 1732 [O.S. February 11, 1731][1][2][3] December 14, 1799) was
the commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War (17751783) and
the first President of the United States of America (17891797).[4] For his central role in the
formation of the United States, he is often referred to as the father of his country.[5][6]
The Continental Congress appointed Washington commander-in-chief of the American
revolutionary forces in 1775. The following year, he forced the British out of Boston, lost New
York City, and crossed the Delaware River in New Jersey, defeating the surprised enemy units
later that year. As a result of his strategy, Revolutionary forces captured the two main British
combat armies at Saratoga and Yorktown. Negotiating with Congress, the colonial states, and
French allies, he held together a tenuous army and a fragile nation amid the threats of
disintegration and failure. Following the end of the war in 1783, King George III asked what
Washington would do next and was told of rumors that he'd return to his farm; this prompted the
king to state, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world." Washington did return to
private life and retired to his plantation at Mount Vernon.[7]

He presided over the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787
because of general dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation. Washington became
President of the United States in 1789 and established many of the customs and usages of the
new government's executive department. He sought to create a nation capable of surviving in a
world torn asunder by war between Britain and France. His unilateral Proclamation of Neutrality
of 1793 provided a basis for avoiding any involvement in foreign conflicts. He supported plans
to build a strong central government by funding the national debt, implementing an effective tax
system, and creating a national bank. Washington avoided the temptation of war and a decade of
peace with Britain began with the Jay Treaty in 1795; he used his prestige to get it ratified over
intense opposition from the Jeffersonians. Although never officially joining the Federalist Party,
he supported its programs and was its inspirational leader. Washington's farewell address was a
primer on republican virtue and a stern warning against partisanship, sectionalism, and
involvement in foreign wars.
Washington was awarded the very first Congressional Gold Medal with the Thanks of Congress.

Washington died in 1799, and the funeral oration delivered by Henry Lee stated that of all
Americans, he was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen".[9]
Washington has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 July 4, 1826)[2] was the third President of the United States
(18011809), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the
most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of republicanism in the United
States. Jefferson envisioned America as the force behind a great "Empire of Liberty."[3], that
would promote republicanism and counter the imperialism of the British Empire.

Major events during his presidency include the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and the Lewis and
Clark Expedition (18041806), as well as escalating tensions with both Britain and France that
led to war with Britain in 1812, after he left office.
As a political philosopher, Jefferson was a man of the Enlightenment and knew many intellectual
leaders in Britain and France. He idealized the independent yeoman farmer as exemplar of
republican virtues, distrusted cities and financiers, and favored states' rights and a strictly limited
federal government. Jefferson supported the separation of church and state[4] and was the author
of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1779, 1786). He was the eponym of Jeffersonian
democracy and the cofounder and leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, which dominated
American politics for 25 years. Jefferson served as the wartime Governor of Virginia (1779
1781), first United States Secretary of State (17891793), and second Vice President (1797
A polymath, Jefferson achieved distinction as, among other things, a horticulturist, political
leader, architect, archaeologist, paleontologist, inventor, and founder of the University of
Virginia. When President John F. Kennedy welcomed 49 Nobel Prize winners to the White
House in 1962 he said, "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human
knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House with the possible exception
of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."[5] To date, Jefferson is the only president to serve two
full terms in office without vetoing a single bill of Congress. Jefferson has been consistently
ranked by scholars as one of the greatest of U.S. presidents.
Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743[2] into a family closely related to some of the most
prominent individuals in Virginia, the third of eight children. His mother was Jane Randolph,
daughter of Isham Randolph, a ship's captain and sometime planter, first cousin to Peyton
Randolph, and granddaughter of wealthy English gentry. Jefferson's father was Peter Jefferson, a
planter and surveyor in Albemarle County (Shadwell, then Edge Hill, Virginia.) He was of Welsh
descent. When Colonel William Randolph, an old friend of Peter Jefferson, died in 1745, Peter
assumed executorship and personal charge of William Randolph's estate in Tuckahoe as well as
his infant son, Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. That year the Jeffersons relocated to Tuckahoe where
they would remain for the next seven years before returning to their home in Albemarle. Peter
Jefferson was then appointed to the Colonelcy of the county, an important position at the time

November 21, 1694 May 30, 1778), better known by the
pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer,
essayist, and philosopher known for his wit and his defense
of civil liberties, including both freedom of religion and free
trade. Voltaire was a prolific writer and produced works in
almost every literary form including plays, poetry, novels,
essays, historical and scientific works, more than 20,000
letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an
outspoken supporter of social reform, despite strict
censorship laws and harsh penalties for those who broke
them. A satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his
works to criticize Catholic Church dogma and the French
institutions of his day.

Voltaire was one of several Enlightenment figures (along with Montesquieu, John Locke,
Thomas Hobbes, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau) whose works and ideas influenced important
thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions.
The name "Voltaire", which the author adopted in 1718 both as a pen name and for daily use,
[citation needed]
is an anagram on "AROVET LI," the Latinized spelling of his surname, Arouet, and the
initial letters of the sobriquet "le jeune" ("the younger"). The name also echoes in reverse order
the syllables of the name of a family chteau in the Poitou region: "Airvault". The adoption of
the name "Voltaire" following his incarceration at the Bastille is seen by many to mark Voltaire's
formal separation from his family and his past.
Richard Holmes[4] supports this derivation of the name, but adds that a writer such as Voltaire
would have intended it to also convey its connotations of speed and daring. These come from
associations with words such as "voltige" (acrobatics on a trapeze or horse), "volte-face" (a
spinning about to face one's enemies), and "volatile" (originally, any winged creature). "Arouet"
was not a noble name fit for his growing reputation, especially given that name's resonance with
" rouer" ("for thrashing") and "rou" (a "debauchee").
Voltaire is known to have used at least 178 separate pen names during his lifetime of writin
The aptitude for quick, perceptive, cutting, witty and often scathingly critical repartee for which
Voltaire is known today made him highly unpopular with many of his contemporaries, including
much of the French aristocracy. These sharp-tongued retorts were responsible for Voltaire's exile
from France, during which he resided in England.
After Voltaire retorted to an insult given him by the young French nobleman Chevalier de Rohan
in late 1725, the aristocratic Rohan family obtained a royal lettre de cachet, an irrevocable and
often arbitrary penal decree signed by the French King (Louis XV, in the time of Voltaire) that
was often bought by members of the wealthy nobility to dispose of undesirables. They then used
this warrant to force Voltaire first into imprisonment in the Bastille and then into exile without
holding a trial or giving him an opportunity to defend himself. [6] The incident marked the
beginning of Voltaire's attempts to improve the French judicial system.
Voltaire's exile in England lasted over two years, and his experiences there greatly influenced
many of his ideas. The young man was impressed by Britain's constitutional monarchy in
contrast to the French absolute monarchy, as well as the country's support of the freedoms of
speech and religion. He was also influenced by several of the neoclassical writers of the age, and
developed an interest in earlier English literature, especially the works of Shakespeare, still little
known in continental Europe at the time. Despite pointing out his deviations from neoclassical
standards, Voltaire saw Shakespeare as an example French writers might look up to, since drama
in France, despite being more polished, lacked on-stage action. Later, however, as Shakespeare's
influence was being increasingly felt in France, Voltaire would endeavour to set a contrary
example with his own plays, decrying what he considered Shakespeare's barbarities.
After almost three years in exile, Voltaire returned to Paris and published his views on British
attitudes towards government, literature, and religion in a collection of essays in letter form
entitled the Lettres philosophiques sur les Anglais (Philosophical Letters on the English).
Because he regarded the British constitutional monarchy as more developed and more respectful
of human rights (particularly religious tolerance) than its French counterpart, these letters met
great controversy in France, to the point where copies of the document were burnt and Voltaire
was again forced to leave France.

Jean Jacques Rousseau (Geneva, 28 June 1712
Ermenonville, 2 July 1778) was a major Genevois
philosopher, writer, and composer of the eighteenth-century
Enlightenment, whose political philosophy influenced the
French Revolution and the development of modern political
and educational thought.
His novel, Emile: or, On Education, which he considered
his most important work, is a seminal treatise on the
education of the whole person for citizenship. His
sentimental novel, Julie, ou la nouvelle Hlose, was of
great importance to the development of pre-Romanticism
and romanticism in fiction.[2] Rousseau's autobiographical
writings: his Confessions, which initiated the modern
autobiography, and his Reveries of a Solitary Walker were among the pre-eminent examples of
the late eighteenth-century movement known as the "Age of Sensibility", featuring an increasing
focus on subjectivity and introspection that has characterized the modern age.
Rousseau also wrote a play and two operas, and made important contributions to music as a
theorist. During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of the
philosophes among members of the Jacobin Club. He was interred as a national hero in the
Panthon in Paris, in 1794, sixteen years after his death.
Rousseau was born in 1712 in Geneva, which since 1536 was a Huguenot republic and the seat
of Calvinism (now part of Switzerland). Rousseau was proud that his family, of the moyen (or
middle-class) order, had voting rights in that city and throughout his life he described himself as
a citizen of Geneva. In theory Geneva was governed democratically by its male voting citizens
(who were a minority of the population). In fact, a secretive executive committee, called the
Little Council (made up of 25 members of its wealthiest families), ruled the city. In 1707 a
patriot called Pierre Fatio protested at this situation and the Little Council had him shot. JeanJacques Rousseau's father Isaac was not in the city at this time, but Jean-Jacques's grandfather
supported Fatio and was penalized for it. Rousseau's father, Isaac Rousseau, was a watchmaker
who, notwithstanding his artisan status, was well educated and a lover of music. "A Genevan
watchmaker," Rousseau wrote, "is a man who can be introduced anywhere; a Parisian
watchmaker is only fit to talk about watches."[4] Rousseau's mother, Suzanne Bernard Rousseau,
the daughter of a Calvinist preacher, died of birth complications nine days after his birth. He and
his older brother Franois were brought up by their father and a paternal aunt, also named
Rousseau had no recollection of learning to read, but he remembered how when he was five or
six his father encouraged his love of reading:
Every night, after supper, we read some part of a small collection of romances [i.e., adventure
stories], which had been my mother's. My father's design was only to improve me in reading, and
he thought these entertaining works were calculated to give me a fondness for it; but we soon
found ourselves so interested in the adventures they contained, that we alternately read whole
nights together and could not bear to give over until at the conclusion of a volume. Sometimes,
in the morning, on hearing the swallows at our window, my father, quite ashamed of this
weakness, would cry, "Come, come, let us go to bed; I am more a child than thou art."

When Rousseau was ten, his father, an avid hunter, got into a legal quarrel with a wealthy
landowner on whose lands he had been caught trespassing. To avoid certain defeat in the courts,
he moved away to Nyon in the territory of Bern, taking Rousseau's aunt Suzanne with him. He
remarried, and from that point Jean-Jacques saw little of him. [5] Jean-Jacques was left with his
maternal uncle, who packed him, along with his own son, Abraham Bernard, away to board for
two years with a Calvinist minister in a hamlet outside of Geneva. Here the boys picked up the
elements of mathematics and drawing. Rousseau, who was always deeply moved by religious
services, for a time even dreamed of becoming a Protestant minister.

Tipu Sultan

Sultan Fateh Ali Tipu (Kannada: , Urdu: ) November 1750,

Devanahalli 4 May 1799, Srirangapattana), also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de
facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the first son of Hyder Ali by his second wife,
Fatima or Fakhr-un-nissa. His full name is Sultan Fateh Ali Khan Shahab or Tipu Saheb Tipu
Sultan. In addition to his role as ruler, he was a scholar, soldier, and poet. He was a devout
Muslim but the majority of his subjects were Hindus. At the request of the French, he built a
church, the first in Mysore. In alliance with the French in their struggle with the British both
Tipu Sultan and Haider Ali did not hesitate to use their French trained army against the Marathas,
Sira, Malabar, Coorg and Bednur. He was proficient in many languages.[1] He helped his father
Haider Ali defeat the British in the Second Mysore War, and negotiated the Treaty of Mangalore
with them. However, he was defeated in the Third Anglo-Mysore War and in the Fourth AngloMysore War by the combined forces of the British East India Company, the Nizam of Hyderabad
and to a lesser extent, Travancore. Tipu Sultan died defending his capital Srirangapattana, on 4
May 1799.
Sir Walter Scott, commenting on the abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814, wrote:
"Although I never supposed that he [Napoleon] possessed, allowing for some difference of
education, the liberality of conduct and political views which were sometimes exhibited by old
Haidar Ally, yet I did think he [Napoleon] might have shown the same resolved and dogged spirit
of resolution which induced Tipu Sahib to die manfully upon the breach of his capital city with
his sabre clenched in his hand."[cite this quote]

Tipu Sultan was born at Devanahalli, in present-day Bangalore District, some 33 km (21 mi)
North of Bangalore city. The exact date of his birth is not known; various sources claim various
dates between 1749 and 1753. According to one widely accepted dating, he was born on 10
November, 1750 (Friday, 10th Dhu al-Hijjah, 1163 AH). His father, Haider Ali, was the de facto
ruler of Mysore. His mother Fatima or Fakhr-un-nissa was the daughter of Shahal Tariq,
governor of the fort of Cuddapah. He was also a strongly religious man, there is a conflict
between Sunni-Shia practice of religion.[citation needed] He built a church, the first in Mysore, at the
request of the French. He was a noted linguist, Islamic patriot.

Ranjit Singh was born in Gujranwala (now in Pakistan),
into a family of Sandhawalia Jatts [2] [4] [5] [6][7][8][9] ,of which
some historians postulate a Sansi origin [10] [11][12][13] As a
child he suffered from smallpox which resulted in the loss
of one eye. At the time, much of Punjab was ruled by the
Sikhs under a Confederate Sarbat Khalsa system, who had
divided the territory among factions known as misls. Ranjit
Singh's father Maha Singh was the Commander of the
Sukerchakia misl[14] and controlled a territory in west
Punjab based around his headquarters at Gujranwala. Ranjit
Singh succeeded his father at the young age of 12. After
several campaigns, his rivals accepted him as their leader,
and he united the Sikh factions into one entity.
At the Harmandir Sahib, much of the present decorative gilding and marblework date back from
the early 1800s. The gold and intricate marble work were conducted under the patronage of
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Maharaja of the Punjab. The Sher-e-Punjab (Lion of the Punjab) was a
generous patron of the shrine and is remembered with much affection by the Sikhs. Maharaja
Ranjit Singh deeply loved and admired the teachings of the Tenth Guru of Sikhism Guru Gobind
Singh, thus he promoted the teachings of the Dasam Granth (the Tenth Granth) and built two of
the most sacred temples in Sikhism. These are Takht Sri Patna Sahib, the birth place of Guru
Gobind Singh, and Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, the place where Guru Gobind Singh took his final rest
or mahasamadhi, in Nanded, Maharashtra in 1708.
Ranjit Singh's early conquests were minor and forgettable when he was a young misldar (baron)
but by the end of his reign he had conquered vast tracts of territory, and in 1799, he even
captured Lahore, (which is now located in Pakistan).
After the capture of Lahore, he rapidly annexed the rest of the Punjab. The war rose to a climax
at the battle of Multan. Thereafter he was the undisputed ruler of Punjab, the Land of the Five
Rivers. To secure his empire, he defeated the Pashtun militias and tribes of the tribal areas of
Afghanistan. The Muslim Mughals, at this time, had already lost their empire due to their
internal fightings, thus causing famous Rajput revolt, the reestablishment of the Maharana of
Mewar and the rising power of the Marathas during the 1700s. In the year 1819, Ranjit Singh
successfully annexed Kashmir.

Ranjit Singh lead the Sikh army and invaded Sewad (the Peshawar area) in 1818 wresting it from
Afghanistan and making it a part of The Sikh Kingdom of Punjab. In 1820 he annexed Hazara. In
1823, he defeated a large Afghan army at Nowshera, on the banks of the Kabul River.

Jamsetji Tata

Jamshetji Nusserwanji Tata (March 3, 1839 - May 19, 1904) was an Indian entrepreneur and
industrialist, prominent for his pioneering work in Indian industry. He was born to a Parsi family
in Navsari, Gujarat, India.
He founded what would later become the Tata Group of companies. Jamsetji Tata is regarded as
the "father of Indian industry".[1]
Jamshetji Tata was born to Nusserwanji and Jeevanbai Tata on 3 March 1839 in Navsari, a small
town in South Gujarat. Nusserwanji Tata was the first businessman in a family of Parsi
Zoroastrian priests. He moved to Bombay and started trading.
Jamshetji joined his father in Bombay at the age of 14 and enrolled at the Elphinstone College.
He was married to Hirabai Daboo[2] while he was still a student.[3] He graduated from college in
1858 and joined his father's trading firm. It was a turbulent time to step into business as the
Indian Rebellion of 1857 had just been defeated by the British government.

Lord William Bentinck

Lieutenant-General Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck
GCB, GCH, PC (14 September 1774 17 June 1839), known as
Lord William Bentinck, was a British soldier and statesman. He
served as Governor-General of India from 1828 to 1835.
Bentinck was the second son of Prime Minister William
Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, and Lady Dorothy,
daughter of William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire
Career until 1827
After service in the Peninsular War, Bentinck was appointed commander of British troops in
Sicily. A Whig, Bentinck used this position to meddle in internal Sicilian affairs, effecting the
King's withdrawal from government in favour of his son, the Crown Prince, the reactionary
Queen's disgrace, and an attempt to devise a constitutional government for the troubled island, all
of which ultimately ended in failure. In 1814, Bentinck landed with British and Sicilian troops at
Genoa, and commenced to make liberal proclamations of a new order in Italy which embarrassed
the British government (which intended to give much of Italy to Austria), and led, once again, to
his recall in 1815.
Bentinck in Sicily
As conditions in Sicily began to deteriorate at the beginning of the 19th century, England began
worrying about its interests in the Mediterranean. Internal dissensions in the Sicilian government
and an ever increasing suspicion that Queen Maria Carolina was in correspondence with the
French with the French Occupation of Sicily as its object led to the appointment of Lord William
Bentinck as British representative to the Court of Palermo in July of 1811.[2] At the beginning of
his time at the head of Sicilian affairs, politicians in London opposed the Bourbon rule and
appealed for Sicilian annexation. Bentinck was sympathetic to the cause and plight of the
Sicilians and "was quickly convinced of the need for Britain to intervene in Sicilian affairs, not
so much for Britains sake as for the well-being of the Sicilians. He was also one of the first of
the dreamers to see a vision of a unified Italy.[2] The English, however, were content to support
the Bourbons if they were willing to give the Sicilians more governmental control and a greater
respect of their rights. Bentinck saw this as the perfect opportunity to insert his ideas of a Sicilian
constitution. Opposition to the establishment of a constitution continued to surface, Maria
Carolina proving to be one of the toughest. Her relationship with Bentinck can be summed up in
the nickname that she gave him: "La bestia feroce" or the ferocious beast. Bentinck, however,
was determined to see the establishment of a Sicilian Constitution and shortly thereafter exiled
Maria Carolina from Palermo. On June 18, 1812 the Parliament assembled in Palermo and, about
a month later, on July 20, 1812 the constitution was accepted and written on the basis of 15
articles. With the establishment of the constitution the Sicilians had now gained an autonomy
they had never experienced before. The constitution set up the separation of the legislative and
executive powers and abolished the feudalistic practices that had been established and
recognized for the past 700 years. [2]
Bentinck's success in establishing a Sicilian constitution lasted only a few years. On December 8,
1816, A year after Ferdinand IV returned to the throne of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the

constitution was abolished and Sicily was reunited with Naples. The constitutional experiment
was deemed a failure although it can not be said to be his alone. [2] The Sicilian nobles were
inexperienced and in the face of the difficulties of 1814 and 1815 could not sustain a constitution
without outside British support that was pulled away in the wake of the end of the Napoleonic
wars. The British no longer had an invested interest in the internal affairs of Sicily now that the
threat of French invasion had been removed. The establishment of a Sicilian constitution that was
facilitated by Bentinck was not to be soon forgotten. The ideas found therein and the small taste
of freedom lingered in the memories of the Sicilians and had an influence on the desire for
autonomy that was at the base of the Sicilian revolutions of 1820 and 1848.

Mangal Pandey

Mangal Pandey (c. 19 July 1827 8 April 1857) (Hindi:

) was a sepoy (soldier) in the

34th Regiment of the Bengal Native Infantry (BNI) of the English East India Company. He is
widely seen in India as one of its first freedom fighters. The Indian government has issued
postage stamps commemorating him as freedom fighter and his life and actions have been
adapted to the silver screen.
Mangal Pandey was born in the village of Nagwa in district Ballia (Uttar Pradesh), that time,
administrative headquarter of Ghazipur in a Bhumihar Brahmin family[1] of Saryupareen
Brahmin division.[2] He joined the English East India Company's forces in 1849 at the age of 22,
as per this account. Pandey was part of the 5th Company of the 34th B.N.I. regiment and is
primarily known for attacking the officers of that regiment in an incident that was the first act of
what came to be known as the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 or the First War of Indian Independence. It
is said that Mangal Pandey was a devout Hindu and that he practiced his religion diligently,
although there are no sources to confirm this.

The 1857 incident

At Barrackpore on March 29, 1857, in the afternoon, Lieutenant Baugh, Adjutant of the 34th
Native Infantry, was informed that several men of his regiment were in an excited state. Further,
it was reported to him that one of them, Mangal Pandey raged in front of the regiment's barracks
on the parade ground, armed with a loaded musket, calling upon the men to rebel and threatening
to shoot the first European he set his eyes on. Baugh immediately buckled on his sword, placed
loaded pistols in his holsters, mounted his horse, and galloped to the lines. Pandey, who heard the
hoof-beat of the approaching horse, took position behind the station gun, which was in front of

the quarter-guard of the 34th, took aim at Baugh and fired. He missed Baugh, but the bullet
struck his horse in the flank, and both horse and rider were brought down.[3] Baugh quickly
disentangled himself, and, seizing one of his pistols, advanced towards Pandey and fired. He
missed. Before Baugh could draw his sword, Pandey attacked him with a talwar (an Indian
heavy sword) and closing with the adjutant, slashed him on the shoulder and neck and brought
him to the ground. It was then that another sepoy, Shaikh Paltu, intervened and tried to restrain
Pandey even as he tried to reload his musket.[3]
The English Sergeant-Major, Hewson, had arrived on the ground, summoned by a native officer,
prior to Baugh. He had ordered the jemadar in command of the quarter-guard to arrest Mangal
Pandey. To this, the jemadar expostulated that he could not take Pandey on alone. At this,
Hewson ordered him to fall in his guard with loaded weapons. In the meantime, Baugh had
arrived on the field shouting 'Where is he? Where is he?' Hewson called out to Baugh, 'Ride to
the right, Sir, for your life. The sepoy will fire at you!' At that point Pandey fired, with the
consequences outlined in the last paragraph.

Nanasaheb Peshwa

Nanasaheb Peshwa (1720 or 1721 1761), also known as Balaji Bajirao, was the son of
Bajirao from his marriage with Kashibai and one of the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire. He
contributed heavily to the development of the city of Pune, India. He was appointed as Peshwa
by Chattrapati Shahu himself. At time of his death in 1749, the issueless Shahu made the
Peshwas the rulers of the Maratha Empire.

Contribution to Pune city

During his 20 year reign (1740 to 1761), Balaji Bajirao completely transformed Pune from a
nagar into a big city. He established many new neighbourhoods (called peths) like Sadashiv Peth,
Nana Peth, Etc. He built the famous Parvati temple atop a hill that overlooks the city and built
the first permanent bridge across the river Mutha. (That bridge was made of wood, so the new
concrete bridge that stands at the same location today is also called LakDi Pool or 'the wooden
bridge'). He also established a reservoir at the nearby town of Katraj to provide clean running

water to the city. The 250 year old system is still functioning, but parts of it have been destroyed
by careless development.

His reign
His career saw some of the best and worst moments of the Maratha empire. Maratha power in
India reached its peak under his reign. Balaji Bajirao, his uncle (Kaka) Chimaji Appa (younger
Brother of Bajirao-I), his cousin Sadashivrao Bhau (Chimaji Appa's son), and his younger
brother Raghunathrao were successful in establishing and consolidating Maratha dominance in
India. He radically extended the Maratha Empire. However, he is partly responsible for the
defeat of the Marathas at the Battle of Panipat (1761).

Ramachandra Pandurang Tope (1814 - 18 April 1859), also
known as Tatya Tope (pronounced Toh-pey), was an Indian leader
in the First War of Indian Independenceof 1857. He was a personal
adherent of Nana Sahib of Kanpur. He progressed with the Gwalior
contingent after the British reoccupation of Kanpur and forced
General Windham to retreat from Kanpur. Later on, he came to the
rescue of Rani Laxmi Bai. However he was defeated by General
Napier`s troops and was executed by the British Government at
Shivpuri on 18 April 1859.
Born in village Yeola in Maharashtra, he was the only son of Pandurang Rao Tope and his wife
Rukhmabai, an important noble at the court of the Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao II. His father shifted
his family with the Peshwa to Bithur where his son became the most intimate friend of the
Peshwa's adopted son, Nana Dhondu Pant (known as Nana Sahib) and Maharaja Madhav
In 1851, when Lord Dalhousie deprived Nana Sahib of his father's pension, Tatya Tope also
became a sworn enemy of the British. In May 1857, when the political storm was gaining
momentum, he won over the Indian troops of the East India Company, stationed at Kanpur
(Cawnpore), established Nana Sahib's authority and became the Commander-in-Chief of his
When Nana Sahib's forces attacked the British entrenchment in June, 1857, General Wheeler's
contingent incurred heavy losses as a result of successive bombardments, sniper fire, and assault.
Also slow supplies of food, water and medicine added to their misery and they decided to
surrender, in return for a safe passage to Allahabad. But despite Nana Sahib's arrangements,
some confusion at the Satichaura ghat led to attacks on the departing British by the rebel sepoys,
and were either killed or captured.The surviving British women and children were moved from
the Savada House to Bibighar ("the House of the Ladies"), a villa-type house in Kanpur.
Retaliation occurred as Company forces started approaching Kanpur, and Nana Sahib's
bargaining attempts had failed(in exchange for hostages). Nana Sahib was informed that the
British troops led by Havelock and Neill were indulging in violence against the Indian
villagers.Nana Sahib, and his associates, including Tatya Tope and Azimullah Khan, debated
about what to do with the captives at Bibighar. Some of Nana Sahib's advisors had already

decided to kill the captives at Bibighar, as revenge for the murders of Indians by the advancing
British forces. The details of the incident, such as who ordered the massacre, are not clear.

Rani Laxmibai
Lakshmibai, The Rani (Queen) of Jhansi (c.19
November 1828 17 June 1858) (Hindi-

Marathi- ), known as Jhansi Ki Rani, was the
queen of the Maratha-ruled princely state of Jhansi, was
one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857,
and a symbol of resistance to British rule in India. She has
gone down in Indian history as a legendary figure, as
India's "Joan of Arc."
Originally named Manikarnika at birth, she was born to a
Maharashtrian Karhade Brahmin family on 19 November
1828 at Dwadashi, District Satara. She lost her mother at
the age of four. She was educated at home. Her father
Moropant Tambey worked at the court of Peshwa Baji Rao
at Bithur and then travelled to the court of Raja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar, the Maharaja of
Jhansi, when Manu was thirteen years old. [ambiguous] She married Gangadhar Rao, the Raja of
Jhansi, at the age of 14.[2]
After her marriage, she was given the name Lakshmi Bai. Because of her father's influence at
court, Rani Lakshmi Bai had more independence than most women, who were normally
restricted to the zenana: she studied self defense, horsemanship, archery, and even formed her
own army out of her female friends at court.
Rani Lakshmi Bai gave birth to a son in 1851, however this child died when he was about four
months old. After the death of their son, the Raja and Rani of Jhansi adopted Damodar Rao.
However, it is said that her husband the Raja never recovered from his son's death, and he died
on 21 November 1853 of a broken heart.
Because Damodar Rao was adopted and not biologically related to the Raja, the East India
Company, under Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, was able to install the Doctrine of Lapse,
rejecting Rao's rightful claim to the throne. Dalhousie then annexed Jhansi, saying that the throne
had become "lapsed" and thus put Jhansi under his "protection". In March 1854, the Rani was
given a pension of 60,000 rupees and ordered to leave the palace at the Jhansi fort.
While this was happening in Jhansi, on May 10, 1857 the Sepoy (soldier) Mutiny of India started
in Meerut. This would become the starting point for the rebellion against the British. It began
after rumours were put about that the new bullet casings for their Enfield rifles were coated with
pork/beef fat, pigs being taboo to Muslims and cows sacred to Hindus and thus forbidden to eat.
British commanders insisted on their use and started to discipline anyone who disobeyed. During
this rebellion many British civilians, including women, and children were killed by the sepoys.
The British wanted to end the rebellion quickly.

She died on 18 June, 1858 during the battle for Gwalior with 8th Hussars that took place in
Kotah-Ki-Serai near Phool Bagh area of Gwalior. She donned warrior's clothes and rode into
battle to save Gwalior Fort, about 120 miles west of Lucknow in what is now the state of Uttar
Pradesh. The British captured Gwalior three days later. In the report of the battle for Gwalior,
General Sir Hugh Rose commented that the rani "remarkable for her beauty, cleverness and
perseverance" had been "the most dangerous of all the rebel leaders"[6].

Bahadur Shah
bu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar
) , also

known as Bahadur Shah or Bahadur Shah II (Urdu:
( ) October 1775 7 November 1862) was
the last of the Mughal emperors in India, as well as the last
ruler of the Timurid Dynasty. He was the son of Akbar
Shah II and Lalbai, who was a Hindu Rajput. He became
the Mughal Emperor upon his father's death on 28
September 1837. Zafar ( Urdu: ) , meaning victory
was his nom de plume (takhallus) as an Urdu poet. Even in
defeat it is traditionally believed that he said
As long as there remains the least trace of love of faith in
the hearts of our heroes, so long, the sword of Hindustan
shall be sharp, and one day shall flash even at the gates of
Zafar's father Akbar Shah Saani II ruled over a rapidly disintegrating empire between 1806 to
1837. It was during his time that the East India Company dispensed with even the fig leaf of
ruling in the name of the Mughal Monarch and removed his name from the Persian texts that
appeared on the coins struck by the company in the areas under their control.
Bahadur Shah Zafar who succeeded him was not Akbar Shah Saanis choice as his successor,
Akbar Shah was, in fact, under great pressure by one of his queens, Mumtaz Begum to declare
her son Mirza Jahangir as the successor. Akbar Shah would have probably accepted this demand
but Mirza Jahangir had fallen foul of the British and they would have none of this.

otiba Govindrao Phule (Marathi: ) (April 11,
1827 November 28, 1890), also known as Mahatma Jotiba
Phule wa s an activist, thinker, social reformer, writer,
philosopher, theologist, scholar, editor and revolutionary from
Maharashtra, India in the nineteenth century. Jotiba Phule and his
'Krantijyoti' Savitribai Phule were the pioneer of women's
education in India. His remarkable influence was apparent in
fields like education, agriculture, caste system, women and
widow upliftment and removal of untouchability. He is most


known for his efforts to educate women and the lower castes as well as 'Bahujan people'. He,
after educating his wife, opened the first school for girls in India in August 1848.
In September, 1873, Jotirao, along with his followers, formed the Satya Shodhak Samaj (Society
of Seekers of Truth) with Jotirao as its first president and treasurer. The main objective of the
organisation was to liberate the Bahujanas, Shudras and Ati-Shudras and to prevent them from
'exploitations' and 'artocites' created by the Brahmins , (he did however have a few Brahmin
friends like Sadashiv Ballal Govande. ) For his fight to attain equal rights for peasants and the
lower caste and his contribution to the field of education he is regarded as one of the most
important figures in Social Reform Movement in Maharashtra.

Jotirao Govindrao Phule was born in Satara district of Maharastra in a family belonging to mali
caste, a caste perceived to be inferior caste by certain sections of the society. His father,
Govindrao, was a vegetable vendor. His mother died when he was 9 months old. After
completing his primary education Jotirao had to leave school and help his father by working on
the family's farm. He was married at the age of 12. His intelligence was recognised by a Muslim
and a Christian neighbor, who persuaded his father to allow Jotirao to attend the local Scottish
Mission's High School, which he completed in 1847. The turning point in Jotiba's life was in
year 1848, when he was insulted by family members of his Maratha friend, a bridegroom for his
participation in the marriage procession, an auspicious occasion. Jotiba was suddenly facing the
divide created by the caste system.[2] Influenced by Thomas Paine books Rights of Man (1791),
Phule developed a keen sense of social justice, becoming passionately critical of the Indian caste
system. He argued that education of women and the lower castes was a vital priority in
addressing social inequalities.

On 24 September 1874, Jotirao formed 'Satya Shodhak Samaj' (Society of Seekers of Truth) with
himself as its first president and treasurer. The main objectives of the organisation were to
liberate the Shudras and Ati Shudras and to prevent their 'exploitation' by the upper caste like
ruling caste Maraths. Through this SatyaShodhak Samaj, Jotirao refused to regard the Vedas as
sacrosanct. He opposed idolatry and denounced the chaturvarnya system (the caste system).
SatyaShodhak Samaj propounded the spread of rational thinking and rejected the need for a
Brahman priestly class as educational and religious leaders.

Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Jotiba Phule (January 3, 1831- March 10, 1897) was a social reformer who along
with her husband, Mahatma Jotiba Phule played an important role in improving women's rights
in India during the British Raj. Savitribai was the first female teacher of the first women's school
in India and also considered as the pioneer of modern Marathi poetry. [2] In 1852 she opened a
school for Untouchable girls.
Women education and social reform
Jyotirao is regarded as one of the most important figure in social reform movement in
Maharashtra and India. He is most for his efforts to educate women and the lower castes.
Jyotirao, then called as Jyotiba was Savitribais mentor and supporter. Under his influence
Savitribai had taken womens education and their liberation from the cultural patterns of the
male-dominated society as mission of her life. She worked towards tackling some of the then
major social problems including womens liberation, widow remarriages and removal of
Womens education
Jyotiba who was working for women's education had started the first girls school and required
women teachers to assist him. Jyotiba educated and trained Savitribai, his first and ideal
candidate for this job of a teacher. Savitribai and Jyotiba faced fierce resistance from the
orthodox elements of society for this. They had to separate from their in-laws family under this
pressure. Jyotiba sent her to a to a training school from where she passed out with flying colours
along with a Muslim lady Fatima Sheikh. When Savitribai completed her studies, she along,
with her husband, started a school for girls in Pune in 1848. Nine girls, belonging to different
castes enrolled themselves as students. Leaving the house in the morning and going to the school
was an ordeal for Savitribai. Orthodox society was not prepared for this `misadventure`, as
women's education was frowned upon. It was believed that if a woman starts writing she would
write letters to all. People claimed that the food, her husband ate would turn into worms and she
would lose him by his untimely death. However, apart from all these oppositions, Savitribai yet
continued to teach the girls. Whenever Savitribai went out of her house, groups of orthodox men
would follow her and abuse her in obscene language. They would throw rotten eggs, cow dung,
tomatoes and stones at her. She would walk meekly and arrive at her school. Fed up with the
treatment meted out to her, she even decided to give up. But it was because of her husband that
she continued with her efforts. Jyotiba purposely gave her two saris. He told Savitribai to wear
the coarse sari on her way to the school to receive all the filth that society heaped on her, whereas
the other one was to change before her classes. She would then, again wear the same dirty sari
while returning home. The ordeal continued for a long time till Savitribai had to slap a person
who tried to molest her. That slap brought to an end her ordeal and she continued her job of
teaching. Slowly and steadily, she established herself. Jyotiba and Savitribai managed to open 5
more schools in the year 1848 itself. She was ultimately honoured by the British for her
educational work. In 1852 Jyotiba and Savitribai were felicitated and presented with a shawl
each by the government for their commendable efforts in Vishrambag Wada.
Widow Remarriage
The next step was equally revolutionary. During those days marriages were arranged between
young girls and old men. Men used to die of old age or some sickness and the girls they had
married were left widows. Thus, widows were not expected to use cosmetics or to look beautiful.
Their heads were shaved and the widows were compelled by society to lead an ascetic life.
Savitribai and Jyotiba were moved by the plight of such widows and castigated the barbers. They

organized a strike of barbers and persuaded them not to shave the heads of widows. This was the
first strike of its kind. They also fought against all forms of social prejudices. They were moved
to see the untouchables who were refused drinking water meant for the upper caste. Both Jyotiba
and Savitribai opened up their reservoir of water to the untouchables in the precincts of their

Dhondo Keshav Karve

Maharshi Dr. Dhondo Keshav Karve (April 18, 1858 - November 9, 1962) was a preeminent
social reformer of his time in India in the field of women's welfare.
Karve was one of the pioneers of promoting women's education and the right for widows to
remarry in India. The Government of India recognized his reform work by awarding him its
highest civilian award, Bhrat Ratna, in 1958 (Incidentally his centennial year).
The appellation Maharshi, which the Indian public often assigned to Karve, means a great
sage. Those who knew Karve affectionately called him as Ann Karve. (In Marthi-speaking
community, to which Karve belonged, the appellation Ann is often used to address either one's
father or an elder brother.)
Early life
Annasaheb Karve was born on 18 April 1858 at Sheravali, Khed Tluk of Ratngiri district in
Mahrshtra. He was a native of Murud in the Konkan region. He was born in a lower middleclass Chitpvan Brahmin family. His father's name was Keshav Bpunn Karve. In his
autobiography, he wrote of his struggle to appear in a certain public service examination,
walking 110 miles in torrential rain and difficult terrain to the nearest city of Str, and his
shattering disappointment at not being allowed to appear for the examination because he looked
too young.
Karve studied at Elphinstone College in Bombay (Mumbai) to receive a bachelor's degree in
mathematics [2].
First Marriage
Karve's parents arranged his marriage when he was 14 to an 8 year old girl named Rdhbi.
Karve had written in his autobiography:
" I was married at the age of fourteen and my wife was then eight. Her family lived very near
to ours, and we knew each other very well and had often played together. However, after
marriage, we had to forget our old relation as playmates and to behave as strangers, often
looking toward each other but never standing together to exchange words. We had to
communicate with each other through my sister My marital life began under the parental
roof at Murud when I was twenty".

Radhabhai died in 1891 during childbirth at age 27, leaving behind a young son named
Raghunath Karve. Raghunath became a visionary social reformer.
Second Marriage
Reformatory thoughts concerning the then prevalent harsh social mores against womankind,
stated above, were already stirring up the mind of Karve by the time Radhabai died.
Implementing his own reformatory thoughts with extraordinary courage, two years later he chose
as his second wife a widow --a 23 year old widow named Godubi-- rather than an unmarried
girl whom he could have easily arranged to secure as his new wife according to the prevalent
social mores. Godubai, who had been widowed at age 8 within three months of her marriage
even before she knew, as she would say later, what it was to be a wife. Before marrying Karve,
Godubai had started studying in her early twenties at Pandit Rambis pioneering Shrad
Sadan as its first widow student, and had also displayed equal courage, like Karve, in defying
social mores against remarriages by widows [4].
Concerning his marriage to Godubai, Karve described in his autobiography how he had asked for
her hand in marriage to her father:
"I told him..[that] I had made up my mind to marry a widow. He sat silent for a minute, and
then hinted that there was no need to go in search of such a bride".
Career as a college professor
During 1891-1914, Karve taught mathematics at Fergusson College in Pune, Maharashtra[5].
After marriage Dodhubai's name became Aanandibai
The work of Pandita Ramabai inspired Karve to dedicate his life to the cause of female
education, and the work of Pandit Vishnushstri and Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidysgar inspired
him to work for uplifting the status of widows. Writings of Herbert Spencer had also highly
influenced him.

Gopal Ganesh Agarkar

Gopal Ganesh Agarkar (18561895) was a social reformer from Maharashtra, India during the
British Raj. He was the first editor of Kesari, a prominent Marathi weekly in his days which was
started by Lokmanya Tilak in 1880-81. He subsequently left Kesari out of ideological differences

with Tilak concerning the primacy of political reforms versus social reforms, and started his own
periodical Sudharak.
Agarkar, Tilak, and Vishnu Shastri Chiplunkar were the founder members of Deccan Education
Tilak and Agarkar:
Tilak and Agarkar had contrasting characteristics although both came from families with same
ideologies. By nature Tilak was extremist, while agarkar was of moderates' philosophy. They say
Jahal Tilak ani Maval Agarkar in marathi.
Tilak was born with a silver spoon, while agarkar was born in indigence. His financial condition
was so bad, that He used to study in the light of streetlamp during his college days, wear only
one shirt, and never never would hire a train or auto for traveling.
Ideological Confilict led to separation of these two legends. Bibliography: Agarkar(A Marathi
Novel)- Y. D. Phadake

Narayana Guru

Sri Nryana Guru (Malayalam: ) (1855 - 1928), also known as Sree Nryana
Guru Swami, was a Hindu saint, sage, prophet [2] and social reformer of India. The Guru was
born into an Ezhava family, in an era when people from backward communities like the Ezhavas
faced much social injustices in the caste-ridden Kerala society. Gurudevan, as he was fondly
known to his followers, revolted against casteism and worked on propagating new values of
freedom in spirituality and of social equality, thereby transforming the Kerala society and as
such he is adored as a prophet. [2]
Nryana Guru is revered for his Vedic knowledge, poetic proficiency, openness to the views of
others, non-violent philosophy and his unrelenting resolve to set aright social wrongs. Nryana
Guru was instrumental in setting the spiritual foundations for social reform in today's Kerala and
was one of the most successful social reformers who tackled caste in India. He demonstrated a
path to social emancipation without invoking the dualism of the oppressed and the oppressor.
Guru stressed the need for the spiritual and social upliftment of the downtrodden by their own
efforts through the establishment of temples and educational institutions. In the process he
brushed aside the Hindu religious conventions based upon Chaturvarna.
Nryana Guru was born in August 20 1856, in the village of Chempazhanthi near
Thiruvananthapuram, the son of Madan Asan, a farmer, and Kutti Amma. The boy was dotingly
called Nnu. Madan was also a teacher ("Asn") who was learned in Sanskrit and proficient in
Astrology and Ayurveda.He had three sisters. As a boy, Nnu would listen to his father with keen
interest when he narrated stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to the simple folks of
his village. Nnu was initiated into the traditional formal education Ezhuthinirithal by
Chempazhanthi Pillai, a local schoolmaster and a village officer. Besides schooling, young Nnu
continued to be educated at home, under the guidance of both his father and uncle Krishnan
Vaidyan who was a reputed Ayurvedic physician and a Sanskrit scholar, where he was taught the
basics of the Tamil and Sanskrit languages and traditional subjects such as Siddharpam,
Blaprobhodhanam and Amarakoam.
As a child, Nanu was very reticent and was intensely drawn to worship at the local temple. He
would criticise his own relatives for social discrimination and the apartheid-like practice of
segregating children from, supposedly, lower castes. He preferred solitude and would be found
immersed in meditation for hours on end. He showed strong affinity for poetics and reasoning,
composing hymns and singing them in praise of God. He lost his mother when he was 15. Nnu

spent the most part of his early youth assisting his father in tutoring, and his uncle in the practice
of Ayurveda, while devoting the rest of his time for devotional practices at the temples nearby.[4]
Transformation as master, yogi and seeker of truth
The young Nanu had a keen mind and was sent to a famous scholar, Kummampilli Rman Pillai
n at Karunagapalli, a village fifty miles away from his home, at the age of 21. Living as a
guest in a prominent family house Varanapally near Kayamkulam, Nnu, along with other
students, was taught Sanskrit language and poetry, drama and literary criticism, and logical
rhetoric. He studied the Vedas and the Upanishads. He also began teaching in a near-by school.
His knowledge earned him the respect of many and he came to be known as "Nanu Asan".
Nanu returned home to spend some time with his father, who was on the death bed. For a short
period he ran a village school for the children of his neighbourhood. While continuing his quest
for "the ultimate truth", Nnu would often spend time in the confines of temples, writing poems
and hymns and lecturing to villagers on philosophy and moral values.
Married life
Under pressure from his family, Nanu married Kaliamma, the daughter of a traditional village
doctor. The marriage was a simple affair with the groom's sisters themselves investing the bride
with the 'Thaali' (wedding knot) on his behalf. The bride remained with her parents, since Nanu
asan became a wanderer not long after.
'Parivrajaka' (A Spiritual Wanderer)
After the demise of his father and wife, Nanu Asan continued his life of a wandering Sanyasin.
He became a 'Parivrajaka' (one who wanders from place to place in quest of Truth). It was during
one of these days that Nanu met Kunjan Pillai, who later came to be known as Chattampi
Swamikal. Kunjan Pillai, who discovered and appreciated Nnu ns philosophical genius and
passion for Yoga, introduced him to Thycaud Ayyavu, a Hatha yogi. Under the Yogi, Nnu n
mastered various Yogic practices including Hatha Yoga. The exposure gained from this
scholastic experiences had a lasting impact on the later life and philosophy of Nryana Guru.
Enlightenment and its poetic expression
Nnu moved to his hermitage deep inside the hilly forests of Maruthwmala, where he led an
austere life immersed in meditative thought and yoga and subjected himself to extreme
sustenance rituals. This phase of solitude lasted for 8 long years. After an unpretentious life of
over thirty years abounding in knowledge and harsh experiences, this epoch is considered the
culmination of the meditative recluse; the point at which Nryana Guru is believed to have
attained a state of Enlightenment.
Nryana Gurus later literary and philosophical masterpiece Atmopadea atakam (one hundred
verses of self-instruction, written in Malayalam circa 1897) is considered a fertile poetic
expression, encapsulating the Gurus philosophy of egalitarianism, emanating from the authors
attainment of an experienced state of primordial knowledge and quintessence of the Universe;
and his ensuing ability to view the human race, from a dignified and elevated perspective, as
nothing but one of a genus, in unqualified equality and without any racial, religious, caste or
other discriminations whatsoever.

Mahadev Govind Ranade

Justice Ranade (Marathi: )(16 January 184216 January 1901) was a

distinguished scholar, great social reformer, and an author from India. He was a founding
member of the Indian National Congress and owned several designations as member of the
Bombay legislative council, member of the finance committee at the centre, and the judge of
Bombay High Court.[2].
Professional career
Ranade was born in a small town in Nasik district named Niphad. Ranade began studies at the
Elphinstone College in Mumbai, at the age of fourteen. He belonged to Bombay University, one
of the three new British universities, and was part of the first batches for both the B.A. (1862)
and the LL.B. (Government Law School, 1866) where he graduated at the top of his class. Great
scholar and founder of BORI mr. Bhandarkar was his classmate.
He was appointed Presidency magistrate, fourth judge of the Bombay Small Causes Court in
1871, first-class sub-judge at Pune in 1873, judge of the Poona Small Causes Court in 1884, and
finally to the Bombay High Court in 1893. From 1885 until he joined the High Court, he
belonged to the Bombay legislative council. He was a well known public figure, who's
personality as a calm and patient optimist would influence his attitude towards dealings with
Britain, as well as with reform in India. During his life he helped establish the Poona Sarvajanik
Sabha, the Prarthana Samaj, and would edit a Bombay Anglo-Marathi daily paper, the
Induprakask, founding all on his ideology of social and religious reform.
In 1897, Ranade served on a committee charged with the task of enumerating imperial and
provincial expenditure and making recommendations for financial retrenchment. This service
won him the decoration of Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire. Ranade also served as
a special judge under the Deccan Agriculturists' Relief Act from 1887.
In addition, Ranade held the offices of syndic and dean in arts at Bombay University, where he
displayed much organizing power and great intimacy with the needs of the student class. Himself
a thorough Marathi scholar, he encouraged the translation of standard. English works, and tried,
with some success, to introduce vernacular languages into the university curriculum. He
published books on Indian economics and on Maratha history. He stated the requirement of
heavy industries such as Steel as necessity for economic progress. He believed in Western

education as a vital element to the foundation of an Indian nation. He felt that by understanding
the mutual problems of India and Britain, both reform and independence could be achieved to the
benefit of all. He insisted that an independent India could only be stable after such reforms were
made. Reform of Indian culture and use of an adaptation of Western culture, in Ranades view,
would bring about common interest and fusion of thoughts amongst all men.
Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda (January 12, 1863July 4, 1902), born Narendranath Dutta[2] is the chief
disciple of the 19th century mystic Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and the founder of
Ramakrishna Mission. He is considered a key figure in the introduction of Vedanta and Yoga in
Europe and America and is also credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to
the status of a world religion during the end of the 19th century. [4] Vivekananda is considered to
be a major force in the revival of Hinduism in modern India.[5] He is best known for his inspiring
speech beginning with "sisters and brothers of America",[6][7] through which he introduced
Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions at Chicago in 1893.[2]
Swami Vivekananda was born in an aristocratic Kayastha family of Calcutta in 1863. His parents
influenced the Swami's thinking the father by his rational mind and the mother by her religious
temperament. From his childhood, he showed inclination towards spirituality and God
realization. While searching for a man who could directly demonstrate the reality of God, he
came to Ramakrishna and became his disciple. As a guru, Ramakrishna taught him Advaita
Vedanta and that all religions are true, and service to man was the most effective worship of God.
After the death of his Guru, Vivekananda became a wandering monk, touring the Indian
subcontinent and getting a first-hand account of India's condition. He later sailed to Chicago and
represented India as a delegate in the 1893 Parliament of World Religions. An eloquent speaker,
Vivekananda was invited to several forums in United States and spoke at universities and clubs.
He conducted several public and private lectures, disseminating Vedanta, Yoga and Hinduism in
America, England and a few other countries in Europe. He also established Vedanta societies in
America and England. He later sailed back to India and in 1897 he founded the Ramakrishna
Math and Ramakrishna Mission, a philanthropic and spiritual organization. Swami Vivekananda
is regarded as one of India's foremost nation-builders. His teachings influenced the thinking of

other national leaders and philosophers, like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas
Chandra Bose, Aurobindo Ghosh, [Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan]].
Birth and Childhood
Swami Vivekananda was born in Shimla Pally, Calcutta at 6:33 a.m on Monday, 12 January
1863, during the eve of Makra Sankranti festival[10] and was given the name Narendranath Datta.
His father Vishwanath Datta was an attorney of Calcutta High Court. He was considered
generous, and had a liberal and progressive outlook in social and religious matters. [12] His mother
Bhuvaneshwari Devi was pious and had practiced austerities and prayed to Vireshwar Shiva of
Varanasi to give her a son. She reportedly had a dream in which Shiva rose from his meditation
and said that he would be born as her son.[10]
Narendranath's thinking and personality were influenced by his parentsthe father by his
rational mind and the mother by her religious temperament. [8][13] From his mother he learnt the
power of self-control.[13] One of the sayings of his mother Narendra quoted often in his later
years was, "Remain pure all your life; guard your own honor and never transgress the honor of
others. Be very tranquil, but when necessary, harden your heart."[11] He was reportedly adept in
meditation and could reportedly enter the state of samadhi.[13] He reportedly would see a light
while falling asleep and he reportedly had a vision of Buddha during his meditation.[14] During
his childhood, he had a great fascination for wandering ascetics and monks.[13]
Narendranath had varied interests and a wide range of scholarship in philosophy, history, the
social sciences, arts, literature, and other subjects.[15] He evinced much interest in scriptural texts,
Vedas, the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas. He was also
well versed in classical music, both vocal and instrumental and is said to have undergone training
under two Ustads, Beni Gupta and Ahamad Khan.[16] Since boyhood, he took an active interest in
physical exercise, sports, and other organizational activities. [15] Even when he was young, he
questioned the validity of superstitious customs and discrimination based on caste[17] and refused
to accept anything without rational proof and pragmatic test.[8]
College and Brahmo Samaj
Narendranath started his education at home, later he joined the Metropolitan Institution of Ishwar
Chandra Vidyasagar in 1871[18] and in 1879 he passed the entrance examination for Presidency
College, Calcutta, entering it for a brief period and subsequently shifting to General Assembly's
Institution.[19] During the course, he studied western logic, western philosophy and history of
European nations.[17] In 1881 he passed the Fine Arts examination and in 1884 he passed the
Bachelor of Arts.[20][21]
Narendranath is said to have studied the writings of David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Johann
Gottlieb Fichte, Baruch Spinoza, Georg W. F. Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Auguste Comte,
Herbert Spencer, John Stuart Mill, and Charles Darwin.[22][23] Narendra became fascinated with
the Evolutionism of Herbert Spencer, and translated Spencers book on Education into Bengali
for Gurudas Chattopadhyaya, his publisher. Narendra also had correspondence with Herbert
Spencer for some time.[24][25] Alongside his study of Western philosophers, he was thoroughly
acquainted with Indian Sanskrit scriptures and many Bengali works. [23] According to his
professors, student Narendranath was a prodigy. Dr. William Hastie, the principal of Scottish
Church College, where he studied during 1881-84,wrote, "Narendra is really a genius. I have
travelled far and wide but I have never come across a lad of his talents and possibilities, even in
German universities, among philosophical students."[22] He was regarded as a srutidharaa man

with prodigious memory.[26][27] After a discussion with Narendranath, Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar
reportedly said, "I could never have thought that such a young boy had read so much!"[28]
Narendranath became the member of a Freemason's lodge and the breakaway faction from the
Brahmo Samaj led by Keshab Chunder Sen another Freemason.[19] His initial beliefs were shaped
by Brahmo concepts, which include belief in a formless God and deprecation of the worship of
idols.[29] Not satisfied with his knowledge of Philosophy, he wondered if God and religion could
be made a part of one's growing experiences and deeply internalized. Narendra went about
asking prominent residents of contemporary Calcutta whether they had come "face to face with
God".[30] but could not get answers which satisfied him.[31]
His first introduction to Ramakrishna occurred in a literature class in General Assembly Institute,
when he heard Principal Reverend W. Hastie lecturing on William Wordsworth's poem The
Excursion and the poet's nature-mysticism.[32] In the course of explaining the word trance in the
poem, Hastie told his students that if they wanted to know the real meaning of it, they should go
to Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar. This prompted some of his students, including Narendranath
to visit Ramakrishna.

Syed Ahmed Khan

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, KCSI (also Sayyid Ahmad Khan) (Urdu: ( } October 17,
1817 March 27, 1898), commonly known as Sir Syed (although this is technically incorrect; he
would have properly been called "Sir Ahmed" as Sayyid is itself a title in this case), was an
Indian educator and politician, and an Islamic reformer and modernist[2] . Sir Syed pioneered
modern education for the Muslim community in India by founding the Muhammedan AngloOriental College, which later developed into the Aligarh Muslim University. His work gave rise
to a new generation of Muslim intellectuals and politicians who composed the Aligarh
movement to secure the political future of Muslims in India.
Born into Mughal nobility, Sir Syed earned a reputation as a distinguished scholar while working
as a jurist for the British East India Company. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857 he remained
loyal to the British and was noted for his actions in saving European lives. [2] After the rebellion
he penned the booklet Asbab-e-Baghawat-e-Hind (The Causes of the Indian Mutiny) a daring
critique, at the time, of British policies that he blamed for causing the revolt. Believing that the
future of Muslims was threatened by the rigidity of their orthodox outlook, Sir Syed began
promoting Western-style scientific education by founding modern schools and journals and
organising Muslim intellectuals. Towards this goal, Sir Syed founded the Muhammedan AngloOriental College in 1875 with the aim of promoting social and economic development of Indian
One of the most influential Muslim politicians of his time, Sir Syed was suspicious of the Indian
independence movement and called upon Muslims to loyally serve the British Raj. He
denounced nationalist organisations such as the Indian National Congress, instead forming
organisations to promote Muslim unity and pro-British attitudes and activities. Sir Syed
promoted the adoption of Urdu as the lingua franca of all Indian Muslims, and mentored a rising
generation of Muslim politicians and intellectuals. Although hailed as a great Muslim leader and
social reformer, Sir Syed remains the subject of controversy for his views on Hindu-Muslim
Timeline of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan's life

Sir Syed's early group photo

Syed Ahmed Khan Bahadur was born in Delhi, then the capital of the Mughal Empire. His
family is said to have migrated from Herat (now in Afghanistan)[4] in the time of emperor Akbar,
although by other accounts his family descended from Arabia. Many generations of his family
had since been highly connected with the Mughal administration. His maternal grandfather
Khwaja Fariduddin served as wazir in the court of Akbar Shah II.[5] His paternal grandfather
Syed Hadi held a mansab, a high-ranking administrative position and honorary name of Jawwad
Ali Khan in the court of Alamgir II. Sir Syed's father Mir Muhammad Muttaqi was personally
close to Akbar Shah II and served as his personal adviser.[6] However, Sir Syed was born at a
time when rebellious governors, regional insurrections and the British colonialism had
diminished the extent and power of the Mughal state, reducing its monarch to a figurehead
status. With his elder brother Syed Muhammad Khan, Sir Syed was raised in a large house in a
wealthy area of the city. They were raised in strict accordance with Mughal noble traditions and
exposed to politics. Their mother Azis-un-Nisa played a formative role in Sir Syed's life, raising
him with rigid discipline with a strong emphasis on education. [citation needed] Sir Syed was taught to
read and understand the Qur'an by a female tutor, which was unusual at the time. He received an
education traditional to Muslim nobility in Delhi.[5] Under the charge of Maulvi Hamiduddin, Sir
Syed was trained in Persian, Arabic, Urdu and religious subjects. He read the works of Muslim
scholars and writers such as Sahbai, Rumi and Ghalib.[citation needed] Other tutors instructed him in
mathematics, astronomy and Islamic jurisprudence.[5][7] Sir Syed was also adept at swimming,
wrestling and other sports. He took an active part in the Mughal court's cultural activities. His
elder brother founded the city's first printing press in the Urdu language along with the journal
Sayyad-ul-Akbar.[citation needed] Sir Syed pursued the study of medicine for several years, but did not
complete the prescribed course of study.[5] Until the death of his father in 1838, Sir Syed had
lived a life customary for an affluent young Muslim noble.[5] Upon his father's death, he inherited
the titles of his grandfather and father and was awarded the title of Arif Jung by the emperor
Bahadur Shah Zafar.[8] Financial difficulties put an end to Sir Syed's formal education, although
he continued to study in private, using books on a variety of subjects. Sir Syed assumed
editorship of his brother's journal and rejected offers of employment from the Mughal court.
Having recognised the steady decline in Mughal political power, Sir Syed entered the British
East India Company's civil service. He was appointed serestadar at the courts of law in Agra,
responsible for record-keeping and managing court affairs. [citation needed] In 1840, he was promoted
to the title of munshi.

[edit] Scholarly works

The Social Reformer was a pioneering publication initiated by Sir Syed to promote liberal ideas
in Muslim society.
While continuing to work as a jurist, Sir Syed began focusing on writing, from the age of 23 (in
1840), on various subjects (from mechanics to educational issues), mainly in Urdu, where he
wrote, at least, 6000 pages.[9][10] His career as an author began when he published a series of
treatises in Urdu on religious subjects in 1842. He published the book A'thar-as-sanadid (Great
Monuments) documenting antiquities of Delhi dating from the medieval era. This work earned
him the reputation of a cultured scholar. In 1842, he completed the Jila-ul-Qulub bi Zikr-il
Mahbub and the Tuhfa-i-Hasan, along with the Tahsil fi jar-i-Saqil in 1844. These works focused
on religious and cultural subjects. In 1852, he published the two works Namiqa dar bayan
masala tasawwur-i-Shaikh and Silsilat ul-Mulk. He released the second edition of A'thar-assanadid in 1854.[11] He also penned a commentary on the Bible the first by a Muslim in
which he argued that Islam was the closest religion to Christianity, with a common lineage from
Abrahamic religions.[5]
Acquainted with high-ranking British officials, Sir Syed obtained close knowledge about British
colonial politics during his service at the courts. At the outbreak of the Indian rebellion, on May
10, 1857, Sir Syed was serving as the chief assessment officer at the court in Bijnor.[citation needed]
Northern India became the scene of the most intense fighting. [12] The conflict had left large
numbers of civilians dead. Erstwhile centres of Muslim power such as Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and
Kanpur were severely affected. Sir Syed was personally affected by the violence and the ending
of the Mughal dynasty amongst many other long-standing kingdoms. [citation needed] Sir Syed and
many other Muslims took this as a defeat of Muslim society. [13] He lost several close relatives
who died in the violence. Although he succeeded in rescuing his mother from the turmoil, she
died in Meerut, owing to the privations she had experienced.[12][citation needed]
In 1858, he was appointed to a high-ranking post at the court in Muradabad, where he began
working on his most famous literary work. Publishing the booklet Asbab-e-Bhaghawath-e-Hind
in 1859, Sir Syed studied the causes of the revolt [citation needed]. In this, his most famous work, he
rejected the common notion that the conspiracy was planned by Muslim lites, who were
insecure at the diminishing influence of Muslim monarchs. [citation needed] Sir Syed blamed the British

East India Company for its aggressive expansion as well as the ignorance of British politicians
regarding Indian culture. However, he gained respect for British power, which he felt would
dominate India for a long period of time. Seeking to rehabilitate Muslim political influence, Sir
Syed advised the British to appoint Muslims to assist in administration. His other writings such
as Loyal Muhammadans of India, Tabyin-ul-Kalam and A Series of Essays on the Life of
Muhammad and Subjects Subsidiary Therein helped to create cordial relations between the
British authorities and the Muslim community.[5] Tafhimur rahman has further edited
Muslim reformer
Through the 1850s, Syed Ahmed Khan began developing a strong passion for education. While
pursuing studies of different subjects including European [jurisprudence], Sir Syed began to
realise the advantages of Western-style education, which was being offered at newly-established
colleges across India. Despite being a devout Muslim, Sir Syed criticised the influence of
traditional dogma and religious orthodoxy, which had made most Indian Muslims suspicious of
British influences.[14] Sir Syed began feeling increasingly concerned for the future of Muslim
communities.[14] A scion of Mughal nobility, Sir Syed had been reared in the finest traditions of
Muslim lite culture and was aware of the steady decline of Muslim political power across India.
The animosity between the British and Muslims before and after the rebellion (Independence
War) of 1857 threatened to marginalise Muslim communities across India for many generations.
Sir Syed intensified his work to promote co-operation with British authorities, promoting
loyalty to the Empire amongst Indian Muslims. Committed to working for the upliftment of
Muslims, Sir Syed founded a modern madrassa in Muradabad in 1859; this was one of the first
religious schools to impart scientific education. Sir Syed also worked on social causes, helping to
organise relief for the famine-struck people of the North-West Frontier Province in 1860. He
established another modern school in Ghazipur in 1863.
Upon his transfer to Aligarh in 1864, Sir Syed began working wholeheartedly as an educator. He
founded the Scientific Society of Aligarh, the first scientific association of its kind in India.
Modelling it after the Royal Society and the Royal Asiatic Society,[7] Sir Syed assembled Muslim
scholars from different parts of the country. The Society held annual conferences, disbursed
funds for educational causes and regularly published a journal on scientific subjects in English
and Urdu. Sir Syed felt that the socio-economic future of Muslims was threatened by their
orthodox aversions to modern science and technology.[14] He published many writings promoting
liberal, rational interpretations of In face of pressure from religious Muslims, Sir Syed avoided
discussing religious subjects in his writings, focusing instead on promoting education.[15]
On the pre-colonial system he siad The rule of the former emporors and rajas was neither in
accordance with the Hindu nor the Mohammadan religion. It was based on nothing but tyranny
and oppression; the law of might was that of right; the voice of the people was not listened to
(Bipan Chandra: India's struggle for independence)
Surendranath Banerjee

Sir Surendranath Banerjee

Sir Surendranath Banerjea (November 10, 1848 August 6, 1925) was one of the earliest
Indian political leaders during the British Raj. He founded the Indian National Association, one
of the earliest Indian political organizations, and later became a senior leader of the Indian
National Congress. He was also known by the sobriquet, Rashtraguru (the teacher of the nation) .
Surendranath Banerjea was born in Calcutta, in the province of Bengal to a kulin Brahmin Hindu
family. He was deeply influenced in liberal, progressive thinking by his father Durga Charan
Banerjea, a doctor. Banerjea was educated at the Parental Academic Institution and at the Hindu
College. After graduating from the University of Calcutta, he traveled to England in 1868, along
with Romesh Chunder Dutt and Behari Lal Gupta to compete in the Indian Civil Service
examinations. He cleared the competitive examination in 1869, but was barred owing to a
dispute over his exact age. After clearing the matter in the courts, Banerjee cleared the exam
again in 1871 and was posted as assistant magistrate in Sylhet. However, Banerjee was dismissed
soon from his job owing to racial discrimination. Banerjea went to England to protest this
decision, but was unsuccessful. During his stay in England (1874-1875) he studied the works of
Edmund Burke and other liberal philosophers.
Political career
Upon his return to India in June, 1875, Banerjea became an English professor at the Metropolitan
Institution, the Free Church Institution and at the Ripon College, founded by him in 1882. He
began delivering public speeches on nationalist and liberal political subjects, as well as Indian
history. He founded the Indian National Association with Anand Mohan Bose, the first Indian
political organization of its kind, on July 26, 1876. He used the organization to tackle the issue of
age-limit for Indian students appearing for ICS examinations. He condemned the racial
discrimination perpetrated by British officials in India through speeches all over the country,
which made him very popular.
In 1879, he founded the newspaper, The Bengalee. In 1883, when Banerjea was arrested for
publishing remarks in his paper, in contempt of court, protests and hartals erupted across Bengal,
and in Indian cities such as Agra, Faizabad, Amritsar, Lahore and Pune. The INA expanded
considerably, and hundreds of delegates from across India came to attend its annual conference
in Calcutta. After the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885 in Bombay, Banerjee
merged his organization with it owing to their common objectives and memberships. He was
elected the Congress President in 1895 at Poona and in 1902 at Ahmedabad.

Surendranath was one of the most important public leaders who protested the partition of the
Bengal province in 1905. Banerjea was in the forefront of the movement and organized protests,
petitions and extensive public support across Bengal and India, which finally compelled the
British to reverse the bifurcation in 1912. Banerjea became the patron of rising Indian leaders
like Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Sarojini Naidu. Banerjea was also one of the senior-most
leaders of the "moderate" Congress - those who favoured accommodation and dialogue with the
British - after the "extremists" - those who advocated revolution and political independence - led
by Bal Gangadhar Tilak left the party in 1906. Banerjea was an important figure in the Swadeshi
movement - advocating goods manufactured in India against foreign products - and his
popularity at its apex made him, in words of admirers, the "uncrowned king of Bengal."
Later career
The declining popularity of moderate Indian politicians affected Banerjea's role in Indian
politics. Banerjea supported the Morley-Minto reforms 1909 - which were resented and ridiculed
as insufficient and meaningless by the vast majority of the Indian public and nationalist
politicians. Banerjea was a critic of the proposed method of civil disobedience advocated by
Mohandas Gandhi, the rising popular leader of Indian nationalists and the Congress Party.
Accepting the portfolio of minister in the Bengal government earned him the ire of nationalists
and much of the public, and he lost the election to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1923 to
Bidhan Chandra Roy, the candidate of the Swarajya Party - ending his political career for all
practical purposes. He was knighted for his political support of the Empire. Banerjea made the
Calcutta Municipal Corporation a more democratic body while serving as a minister in the
Bengal government.
Banerjea died in 1925. He is remembered and widely respected today as a pioneer leader of
Indian politics - first treading the path for Indian political empowerment. He published an
important work, A Nation in Making which was widely acclaimed.
The British respected him and referred to him during his later years as "Surrender Not" Banerjea.
Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee

Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee (December 29, 1844 July 21, 1906) was an Indian politician
and the first president of Indian National Congress.
Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee was born on December 29, 1844 at Calcutta, in the present-day
state of West Bengal in an upper middle class Brahmin family of considerable social standing. In
1859, he married Hemangini Motilal. His career began in 1862 when he joined the firm of W. P.
Gillanders, Attorneys of the Calcutta Supreme Court, as a clerk. In this post he acquired a good
knowledge of law which greatly helped him in his later career. In 1864 he was sent to England
where he joined the Middle Temple with a scholarship and was called to the Bar in June, 1867.
On his return to Calcutta in 1868, he found a patron in Sir Charles Paul, Barrister-at-Law of the
Calcutta High Court. Another barrister, J. P. Kennedy, also greatly helped him to establish his
reputation as a lawyer. Within a few years he became the most sought after barrister in the High
Court. He was the first Indian to act as a Standing Counsel, in which capacity he officiated four
times. In 1883 he defended Surendranath Banerjea in the famous Contempt of Court Case
against him in the Calcutta High Court.
As a president of Indian National Congress
He presided over the first session of the Indian National Congress held at Bombay in 1885. In the
1886 session held at Calcutta, under the presidency of Dadabhai Naoroji, he proposed the
formation of standing committees of the Congress in each province for the better co-ordination
of its work and it was on this occasion that he advocated that the Congress should confine its
activities to political matters only, leaving the question of social reforms to other organisations.
He was the president of the Indian National Congress again in the 1892 session in Allahabad
where he denounced the position that India had to prove her worthiness for political freedom .
In 1906 Bonnerjee died after a long illness and was given a non-religious burial in accordance
with his wishes. He dictated his epitaph to his daughter Susie: Here beside the ashes of his son
rest the ashes of Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee Hindu Brahmin who died on a visit to England
[and] fell victim to Brights disease on 21-07-06.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (Marathi: Born as Keshav Gangadhar Tilak) 23 July

18561 August 1920 (aged 64), was an Indian nationalist, teacher, social reformer and
independence fighter who was the first popular leader of the Indian Independence Movement.
The British colonial authorities infamously and derogatorily called the great leader as "Father of
the Indian unrest". He was also conferred upon the honorary title of Lokmanya, which literally
means "Accepted by the people (as their leader)". Tilak was one of the first and strongest
advocates of "Swaraj" (self-rule) in Indian consciousness. His famous quote, "Swaraj is my
birthright, and I shall have it !" is well-remembered in India even today.
Tilak was born in Madhali Alee (Middle Lane) in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, into a middle class
family. His father was a famous schoolteacher and a scholar of Sanskrit. He died when Tilak was
sixteen. His brilliance rubbed off on young Tilak, who graduated from Deccan College, Pune in
1877. Tilak was among one of the first generation of Indians to receive a college education.
Tilak was expected, as was the tradition then, to actively participate in public affairs. He believed
that Religion and practical life are not different. To take to Samnyasa (renunciation) is not to
abandon life. The real spirit is to make the country your family instead of working only for your
own. The step beyond is to serve humanity and the next step is to serve God. This dedication to
humanity would be a fundamental element in the Indian Nationalist movement.[2]
After graduating, Tilak began teaching mathematics in a private school in Pune. Later due to
some philosophical differences with the colleagues in the New School, he decided to withdraw
from that activity. In that time frame he became a journalist. He was a strong critic of the
Western education system, feeling it demeaned the Indian students and disrespected India's
heritage. He organized the Deccan Education Society with a few of his college friends, including
Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Mahadev Ballal Namjoshi and Vishnu Krishna Chiplunkar whose goal
was to improve the quality of education for India's youth. The Deccan Education Society was set
up to create a new system that taught young Indians nationalist ideas through an emphasis on
Indian culture. Tilak began a mass movement towards independence that was camouflaged by an
emphasis on a religious and cultural revival.[4] He taught Mathematics at Fergusson College.

Tilak co-founded two newspapers with Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Vishnushastri Chiplunakar and
other colleagues: Kesari, which means "Lion" in Sanskrit and was a Marathi newspaper, and 'The
Maratha', an English newspaper in 1881. In just two years 'Kesari' attracted more readers than
any other language newspaper in India. The editorials were generally about the people's
sufferings under the British. These newspapers called upon every Indian to fight for his or her
rights. Tilak used to say to his colleagues: "You are not writing for the university students.
Imagine you are talking to a villager. Be sure of your facts. Let your words be clear as daylight."
Tilak strongly criticized the government for its brutality in suppressing free expression,
especially in face of protests against the division of Bengal in 1905, and for denigrating India's
culture, its people and heritage. He demanded that the British immediately give Indians the right
to self-government.
Indian National Congress
Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in the 1890. He opposed its moderate attitude,
especially towards the fight for self government.
In 1891 Tilak opposed the Age of Consent bill. The act raised the age at which a girl could get
married from 10 to 12. The Congress and other liberals supported it, but Tilak was set against it,
terming it an interference with Hinduism. However, he personally opposed child marriage, and
his own daughters married at 16.
Plague epidemic spread from Mumbai to Pune in late 1896, and by January 1897, it reached
epidemic proportions. In order to suppress the epidemic and prevent its spread, it was decided to
take drastic action, accordingly a Special Plague Committee, with jurisdiction over Pune city, its
suburbs and Pune cantonment was appointed under the Chairmanship of W. C. Rand, I. C. S,
Assistant Collector of Pune by way of a government order dated 8 March 1897. On 12 March
1897, 893 officers and men both British and native, under command of a Major Paget of the
Durham Light Infantry were placed on plague duty. By the end of May the epidemic had ebbed
and the military action was gradually ended. In his report on the administration of the Pune
plague, Rand wrote, "It is a matter of great satisfaction to the members of the Plague Committee
that no credible complaint that the modesty of a woman had been intentionally insulted was
made either to themselves or to the officers under whom the troops worked". He also writes that
closest watch was kept on the troops employed on plague duty and utmost consideration was
shown for the customs and traditions of the people. [5][6] Indian sources however report that Rand
used tyrannical methods and harassed the people.[7] An account based on local Indian sources
writes that the appointment of military officers introduced an element of severity and coercion in
the house searches, the highhandedness of the government provoked the people of Pune and
some soldiers were beaten in Rastapeth locality. It quotes Kelkar [nb 1] on the conduct of British
soldiers, "Either, through ignorance or impudence, they would mock, indulge in monkey tricks,
talk foolishly, intimidate, touch innocent people, shove them, enter any place without
justification, pocket valuable items, etc.."[9] Tilak took up the people's cause by publishing
inflammatory articles in his paper Kesari, quoting the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, to say
that no blame could be attached to anyone who killed an oppressor without any thought of
reward. Following this, on 22 June, Rand and another British officer Lt. Ayerst were shot and
killed by the Chapekar brothers and their other associates. Tilak was charged with incitement to
murder and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. When he emerged from prison, he was

revered as a martyr and a national hero and adopted a new slogan, "Swaraj (Self-Rule) is my
birth right and I will have it."
Following the partition of Bengal in 1905, which was a strategy set out by Lord Curzon to
weaken the nationalist movement, Tilak encouraged a boycott, regarded as the Swadeshi
Tilak opposed the moderate views of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, and was supported by fellow
Indian nationalists Bipin Chandra Pal in Bengal and Lala Lajpat Rai in Punjab. They were
referred to as the Lal-Bal-Pal triumvirate. In 1907, the annual session of the Congress Party was
held at Surat (Gujarat). Trouble broke out between the moderate and the extremist factions of the
party over the selection of the new president of the Congress. The party split into the "Jahal
matavadi" ("Hot Faction," or extremists), led by Tilak, Pal and Lajpat Rai, and the "Maval
matavadi"("Soft Faction," or moderates).
On 30 April 1908 two Bengali youths, Prafulla Chaki and Kudiram Bose, threw a bomb on a
carriage at Muzzafurpur in order to kill a District Judge Douglass Kenford but erroneously killed
some women travelling in it. While Chaki committed suicide when caught, Bose was tried and
hanged. Tilak in his paper Kesari defended the revolutionaries and called for immediate Swaraj
or Self-rule. The Government swiftly arrested him for sedition. He asked a young Muhammad
Ali Jinnah to represent him. But the British judge convicted him and he was imprisoned from
1908 to 1914 in the Mandalay Prison, Burma.[11] While imprisoned, he continued to read and
write, further developing his ideas on the Indian Nationalist movement.

Sardar Griha Lodge, Tilak stayed here when in Mumbai

Much has been said of his trial of 1908, it being the most historic trial. His last words on the
verdict of the Jury were such: "In spite of the verdict of the Jury, I maintain that I am innocent.
There are higher powers that rule the destiny of men and nations and it may be the will of
providence that the cause which I represent may prosper more by my suffering than my
remaining free". These words now can be seen imprinted on the wall of Room. No. 46 at
Bombay High Court.
Life after prison
Tilak had mellowed after his release in June 1914. When World war I started in August, Tilak,
cabled the King-Emperor in Britain of his support and turned his oratory to find new recruits for
war efforts. He welcomed The Indian Councils Act, popularly known as Minto-Morley Reforms
which had been passed by British parliament in May 1909 terming it as a marked increase of
confidence between the Rulers and the Ruled. Acts of violence actually retarded than hastened

the pace of political reforms, he felt. He was eager for reconciliation with Congress and had
abandoned his demand for direct action and settled for agitations strictly by constitutional
means - a line advocated his rival Gopal Krishna Gokhale since beginning
All India Home Rule League
Later, Tilak re-united with his fellow nationalists and re-joined the Indian National Congress in
1916. He also helped found the All India Home Rule League in 1916-18 with Joseph Baptista,
Annie Besant and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. After years of trying to reunite the moderate and
radical factions, he gave up and focused on the Home Rule League, which sought self-rule. Tilak
travelled from village to village trying to conjure up support from farmers and locals to join the
movement towards self-rule.[11] Tilak was impressed by the Russian Revolution, and expressed
his admiration for Lenin.[12]
Tilak, who started his political life as a Maratha protagonist, during his later part of life
progressed into a prominent nationalist after his close association with Indian nationalists
following the partition of Bengal. When asked in Calcutta whether he envisioned a Maratha type
of government for Free India, Tilak replied that the Maratha dominated Governments of 17th and
18th centuries were outmoded in 20th century and he wanted a genuine federal system for Free
India where every religion and race were equal partners. He added that only such a form of
Government would be able to safeguard India's freedom.
Social contribution
In 1894, Tilak transformed household worshipping of Ganesha into Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav. It is
touted to be an effective demonstration of festival procession. Gopal Ganesh Agarkar was the
first editor of Kesari, a prominent Marathi weekly in his days which was started by Lokmanya
Tilak in 1880-81. Gopal Ganesh Agarkar subsequently left Kesari out of ideological differences
with Bal Gangadhar Tilak concerning the primacy of political reforms versus social reforms, and
Gopal Ganesh Agarkar started his own periodical Sudharak.

Gopal Krishna Gokhale

Gopal Krishna Gokhale, CIE (Marathi: ) (May 9, 1866 - February 19, 1915)
was one of the founding social and political leaders during the Indian Independence Movement
against the British Empire in India. Gokhale was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress
and founder of the Servants of India Society. Through the Society as well as the Congress and
other legislative bodies he served in, Gokhale promoted not only or even primarily independence
from the British Empire but also social reform. To achieve his goals, Gokhale followed two

overarching principles: avoidance of violence and reform within existing government

Indian National Congress and Rivalry with Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Gokhale became a member of the Indian National Congress in 1889, as a protg of social
reformer Mahadev Govind Ranade. Along with other contemporary leaders like Bal Gangadhar
Tilak, Dadabhai Naoroji, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai and Annie Besant, Gokhale fought
for decades to obtain greater political representation and power over public affairs for common
Indians. He was moderate in his views and attitudes, and sought to petition the British authorities
by cultivating a process of dialogue and discussion which would yield greater British respect for
Indian rights. Gokhale had visited Ireland[2] and had arranged for an Irish nationalist, Alfred
Webb, to serve as President of the Indian National Congress in 1894. The following year,
Gokhale became the Congresss joint secretary along with Tilak. In many ways, Tilak and
Gokhales early careers paralleled both were Chitpavan Brahmin (though unlike Gokhale, Tilak
was wealthy), both attended Elphinstone College, both became mathematics professors, and both
were important members of the Deccan Education Society. When both became active in the
Congress, however, the divergence of their views concerning how best to improve the lives of
Indians became increasingly apparent.
Gokhales first major confrontation with Tilak centered around one of his pet projects, the Age of
Consent Bill introduced by the British Imperial Government, in 1891-2. Gokhale and his fellow
liberal reformers, wishing to purge what they saw as superstitions and abuses from their native
Hinduism, wished through the Consent Bill to curb child marriage abuses. Though the Bill was
not extreme, only raising the age of consent from ten to twelve, Tilak took issue with it; he did
not object per se to the idea of moving towards the elimination of child marriage, but rather to
the idea of British interference with Hindu tradition. For Tilak, such reform movements were not
to be sought after under imperial rule when they would be enforced by the British, but rather
after independence was achieved when Indians would enforce it on themselves. Despite Tilaks
opposition, however, Gokhale and the reformers won the day and the bill became law in the
Bombay Presidency. [4] In 1905, Gokhale became president of the Indian National Congress.
Gokhale used his now considerable influence to undermine his longtime rival, Tilak, refusing to
support Tilak as candidate for president of the Congress in 1906. By now, Congress was split:
Gokhale and Tilak were the respective leaders of the moderates and the "extremists" (the latter
now known by the more politically correct term, 'aggressive nationalists') in the Congress. Tilak
was an advocate of civil agitation and direct revolution to overthrow the British Empire, whereas
Gokhale was a moderate reformist. As a result, the Congress Party split into two wings and was
largely robbed of its effectiveness for a decade. The two sides would later patch up in 1916 after
Gokhale died.
Gokhale continued to be politically active through the last years of his life. This included
extensive travelling abroad: in addition to his 1908 trip to England, he also visited South Africa
in 1912, where his protg Gandhi was working to improve conditions for the Indian minority
living there. Meanwhile, he continued to be involved in the Servants of India Society, the
Congress, and the Legislative Council while constantly advocating the advancement of Indian
education. All these stresses took their toll, however, and Gokhale died in Feb 19 1915 at fortynine years of age.
Dadabhai Naoroji

Dadabhai Naoroji, 1892.

Dadabhai Naoroji (4 September 1825 30 June 1917), known as the "Grand Old Man of
India", was a Parsi intellectual, educator, cotton trader, and an early Indian political leader. His
book Poverty and Un-British Rule in India brought attention to the draining of India's wealth into
Britain. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) in the British House of Commons between 1892
and 1895, and the first Asian to be a British MP. He is also credited with the founding of the
Indian National Congress, along with A.O. Hume and Dinshaw Edulji Wacha.
Naoroji was the son of Maneckbai and Naoroji Palanji Dordi, born into a poor family of ParsiZoroastrian priests in Navsari in Southern Gujarat. His father died when he was four, leaving his
illiterate mother to raise him. [2] Naoroji was educated at Elphinstone College, Mumbai. At the
early age of 25, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the Elphinstone Institution in 1850,
becoming the first Indian to hold such an academic position. Being an Athornan (ordained
priest), Naoroji founded the Rahnumae Mazdayasne Sabha (Guides on the Mazdayasne Path) on
1 August 1851 to restore the Zoroastrian religion to its original purity and simplicity. In 1854, he
also founded a fortnightly publication, the Rast Goftar (or The Truth Teller), to clarify
Zoroastrian concepts. By 1855 he was Professor of Mathematics and Natural philosophy in
Mumbai. He travelled to London in 1855 to become a partner in Cama & Co, opening a
Liverpool location for the first Indian company to be established in Britain. Within three years,
he had resigned on ethical grounds. In 1859 he established his own cotton trading company,
Naoroji & Co.[4] Later he became professor of Gujarati at University College London.

Statue of Naoroji in Mumbai

In 1867 Naoroji helped establish the East India Association, one of the predecessor organizations
of the Indian National Congress. In 1874 he became Prime Minister of Baroda and was a
member of the Legislative Council of Mumbai (then Bombay) (1885-88). He also founded the
Indian National Association from Calcutta a few years before the founding of the Indian National
Congress in Mumbai, with the same objectives and practices. The two groups later merged into
the INC, and Naoroji was elected President of the Congress in 1886.
Naoroji moved to Britain once again and continued his political involvement. Elected for the
Liberal Party in Finsbury Central at the 1892 general election, he was the first British Indian MP.
He refused to take the oath on the Bible as he was not a Christian, but was allowed to take the
oath of office in the name of God on his copy of Khordeh Avesta. In Parliament he spoke on Irish
Home Rule and the condition of the Indian people. In his political campaign and duties as an MP,
he was assisted by Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the future Muslim nationalist and founder of Pakistan.
In 1906, Naoroji was again elected president of the Indian National Congress. Naoroji was a
staunch moderate within the Congress, during the phase when opinion in the party was split
between the moderates and extremists.
Naoroji was a mentor to both Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Naoroji was the paternal uncle of famous industrialist J. R. D. Tata.[citation needed] He was married to
Gulbai from the age of eleven. He died in Mumbai on 30 June 1917, at age 92.

Annie Besant

Annie Wood Besant (pronounced /bsnt/; Clapham, London October 1 , 1847 September
20, 1933 in Adyar, India) was a prominent Theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and
orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self rule.
In 197? she separated Frank Besant moved to London and became a prominent speaker for the
National Secular Society and writer and a close friend of Charles Bradlaugh. In 1877 they were
prosecuted for publishing a book by birth control campaigner Charles Knowlton. The scandal
made them famous and Bradlaugh was elected MP for Northampton in 1880.
Annie became involved with Union organisers including the Bloody Sunday riot and the London
matchgirls strike of 1888 and a leading speaker for the Fabian Society and the (Marxist) Social
Democratic Federation and was elected to the London School Board for Tower Hamlets, topping
the poll even though few women were qualified to vote at that time.
In 1890 Annie Besant met Helena Blavatsky and over the next few years her interest in
Theosophy grew and her interest in left wing politics waned. She travelled to India and in 1898
helped establish the Central Hindu College in India.
In 1902 she established the International Order of Co-Freemasonry in England and over the next
few years established lodges in many parts of the British Empire.
In 1908 Annie Besant became President of the Theosophical Society and began to steer the
society away from Buddhism and towards Hinduism. She also became involved in politics in
India, joining the Indian National Congress. When war broke out in Europe in 1914 she helped
launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India and dominion status within
the Empire which culminated in her election as president of the India National Congress in late
1917. After the war she continued to campaign for Indian independence until her death in 1933.
Annie Wood was born in 1847 in London into a middle-class family of Irish origin. She was
always proud of being Irish and supported the cause of Irish self-rule throughout her adult life.

Her father died when she was five years old, leaving the family almost penniless. Her mother
supported the family by running a boarding house for boys at Harrow. However, she was unable
to support Annie and persuaded her friend Ellen Marryat to care for her. Marryat made sure that
Annie had a good education. She was given a strong sense of duty to society and an equally
strong sense of what independent women could achieve. As a young woman, she was also able to
travel widely in Europe. There she acquired a taste for Catholic colour and ceremony that never
left her.

St. Margaret's church, Sibsey, where Frank Besant was vicar, 18711917

Grave of Frank Besant at Sibsey, where he remained vicar until his death
In 1867, at age nineteen she married 26-year-old clergyman Frank Besant, younger brother of
Walter Besant. He was an evangelical Anglican clergyman who seemed to share many of her
concerns. Soon Frank became vicar of Sibsey in Lincolnshire. Annie moved to Sibsey with her
husband, and within a few years they had two children: Digby and Mabel. The marriage was,
however, a disaster. The first conflict came over money and Annie's independence. Annie wrote
short stories, books for children and articles. As married women did not have the legal right to
own property, Frank was able to take all the money she earned. Politics further divided the
couple. Annie began to support farm workers who were fighting to unionise and to win better
conditions. Frank was a Tory and sided with the landlords and farmers. The tension came to a
head when Annie refused to attend Communion. She left him and returned to London. They were
legally separated and Annie took her daughter with her.
Annie began to question her own faith. She turned to leading churchmen for advice. She even
went to see Edward Bouverie Pusey, leader of the Catholic wing of the Church of England. He
simply told her she had read too many books. Annie returned to Frank to make one last effort to

repair the marriage. It proved useless. She finally left for London. Divorce was unthinkable for
Frank, and was not really within the reach of even middle-class people. Annie was to remain Mrs
Besant for the rest of her life. At first, she was able to keep contact with both children and to
have Mabel live with her. She got a small allowance from Frank. Her husband was given sole
custody of their two children.
[edit] Birkbeck
For a time she undertook part-time study at the Birkbeck Literary and Scientific Institution,
where her religious and political activities were to cause alarm. At one point the Institution's
governors sought to withhold the publication of her exam results.
[edit] Reformer and secularist

Annie Besant - 1880s

She fought for the causes she thought were right, starting with freedom of thought, women's
rights, secularism (she was a leading member of the National Secular Society alongside Charles
Bradlaugh), birth control, Fabian socialism and workers' rights.
Once free of Frank Besant and exposed to new currents of thought, Annie began to question not
only her long-held religious beliefs but also the whole of conventional thinking. She began to
write attacks on the churches and the way they controlled people's lives. In particular she
attacked the status of the Church of England as a state-sponsored faith.
Soon she was earning a small weekly wage by writing a column for the National Reformer, the
newspaper of the National Secular Society. The Society stood for a secular state: an end to the
special status of Christianity. The Society allowed her to act as one of its public speakers. Public
lectures were very popular entertainment in Victorian times. Annie was a brilliant speaker, and
was soon in great demand. Using the railway, she criss-crossed the country, speaking on all of the
most important issues of the day, always demanding improvement, reform and freedom.
For many years Annie was a friend of the Society's leader, Charles Bradlaugh. It seems that they
were never lovers, but their friendship was very close. Bradlaugh, a former seaman, had long
been separated from his wife. Annie lived with Bradlaugh and his daughters, and they worked
together on many issues.
Bradlaugh was an atheist and a republican. He was working to get himself elected as MP for
Northampton to gain a better platform for his ideas.

Besant and Bradlaugh became household names in 1877 when they published a book by the
American birth-control campaigner Charles Knowlton. It claimed that working-class families
could never be happy until they were able to decide how many children they wanted. It
suggested ways to limit the size of their families. The Knowlton book caused great offence to the
Churches, but Annie and Bradlaugh proclaimed in the National Reformer: "We intend to publish
nothing we do not think we can morally defend. All that we publish we shall defend."
The pair were arrested and put on trial for publishing the Knowlton book. They were found
guilty, but released pending appeal. As well as great opposition, Annie and Bradlaugh also
received a great deal of support in the Liberal press. Arguments raged back and forth in the
letters and comment columns as well as in the courtroom. For a time, it looked as though they
would be sent to prison. The case was thrown out finally only on a technical point: the charges
had not been properly drawn up.
The scandal lost Annie her children. Frank was able to persuade the court that she was unfit to
look after them, and they were handed over to him permanently.
Bradlaugh's political prospects were not damaged by the Knowlton scandal. He got himself into
Parliament at last in 1881. Because of his atheism, he refused to swear the oath of loyalty.
Although many Christians were shocked by Bradlaugh, others (like the Liberal leader Gladstone)
spoke up for freedom of belief. It took more than six years before the whole issue was sorted out
(in Bradlaugh's favor) after a series of by-elections and court appearances.
Meanwhile Besant built close contacts with the Irish Home Rulers and gave them support in her
newspaper columns. These were crucial years, in which the Irish nationalists were forming an
alliance with Liberals and Radicals. Annie met the leaders of the movement. In particular, she got
to know Michael Davitt, who wanted to mobilise the Irish peasantry through a Land War: a direct
struggle against the landowners. She spoke and wrote in favour of Davitt and his Land League
many times over the coming decades.
However, Bradlaugh's parliamentary work gradually alienated Annie. Women had no part in
parliamentary politics. Annie was searching for a real political outlet: politics where her skills as
a speaker, writer and organiser could do some real good.
[edit] Socialist
For Annie, politics, friendship and love were always closely intertwined. Her decision in favour
of Socialism came about through a close relationship with George Bernard Shaw, a struggling
young Irish author living in London, and a leading light of the Fabian Society. Annie was
impressed by his work and grew very close to him too in the early 1880s. It was Annie who made
the first move, by inviting Shaw to live with her. This he refused, but it was Shaw who sponsored
Annie to join the Fabian Society. In its early days, the Society was a gathering of people
exploring spiritual, rather than political, alternatives to the capitalist system.
Annie now began to write for the Fabians. This new commitment - and her relationship with
Shaw - deepened the split between Annie and Bradlaugh, who was an individualist and opposed
to Socialism of any sort. While he would defend free speech at any cost, he was very cautious
about encouraging working-class militancy.
Unemployment was a central issue of the time, and in 1887 some of the London unemployed
started to hold protests in Trafalgar Square. Annie agreed to appear as a speaker at a meeting on

13 November. The police tried to stop the assembly. Fighting broke out, and troops were called.
Many were hurt, one man died, and hundreds were arrested. Annie offered herself for arrest, but
the police refused to take the bait.
The events created a great sensation, and became known as Bloody Sunday. Annie was widely
blamed - or credited - for it. She threw herself into organising legal aid for the jailed workers and
support for their families. Bradlaugh finally broke with her because he felt she should have asked
his advice before going ahead with the meeting.
Socialists saw the trade unions as the first real signs of working people's ability to organise and
fight for themselves. Until now, trade unions had been for skilled workers - men with a craft that
might take years to acquire and which gave them at least a little security. The Socialists wanted
to bring both unskilled men and women into unions to fight for better pay and conditions.
Her most notable victory in this period was perhaps her involvement in the London matchgirls
strike of 1888. Annie was drawn into this first really important battle of the "New Unionism" by
Herbert Burrows, a young socialist with whom she was for a time in love. He had made contact
with workers at Bryant and May's match factory in Bow, London, who were mainly young
women. They were very poorly paid. They were also prey to horrendous industrial illnesses, like
the bone-rotting Phossy jaw, which was caused by the chemicals used in match manufacture.
Some of the match workers asked for help from Burrows and Annie in setting up a union.
Annie met the women and set up a committee, which led the women into a strike for better pay
and conditions. The action won enormous public support. Annie led demonstrations by "matchgirls". They were cheered in the streets, and prominent churchmen wrote in their support. In just
over a week they forced the firm to improve pay and conditions. Annie then helped them to set
up a proper union and a social centre.
At the time, the matchstick industry was an immensely powerful lobby, since electric light was
not yet widely available, and matches were essential for lighting candles, oil lamps, gas lights
and so on. (Only a few years earlier in 1872, lobbyists from the match industry had persuaded
the British government to change its planned tax policy.) Besant's campaign was the first time
anyone had successfully challenged the match manufacturers on a major issue, and was seen as a
landmark victory of the early years of British Socialism.
[edit] Marxist
During 1884, Annie had developed a very close friendship with Edward Aveling, a young
socialist teacher, who lived in her house for a time. Aveling was a scholarly figure and it was he
who translated the important works of Marx into English for the first time. Annie seems to have
fallen in love with Aveling, but it is not clear that he felt the same way. He was certainly a great
influence on her thinking, and she was a great support to his work. However, Aveling left Annie
to live with Eleanor Marx, daughter of Karl Marx. This led to permanent ill-feeling between
Annie and Eleanor and probably pushed Annie towards the rival Fabians at that time. Aveling
and Eleanor joined the Marxist SDF but they distrusted its leader, Henry Hyndman. Soon they
left the SDF to join the Socialist League, a small Marxist splinter group which formed around the
artist William Morris.
It seems that Morris played a large part in converting Annie to Marxism, but it was to the SDF,
not his Socialist League, that she turned in 1888. She remained a member for a number of years
and became one of its best speakers. Strangely, she was still a member of the Fabian Society.

Neither she nor anyone else seemed to think the two movements completely incompatible at the
Soon after joining the Marxists, Annie stood for election to the London School Board. Because
women were not able to take part in parliamentary politics, it is often thought that they did not
have the vote until 1918. In fact, women householders had been brought into the local electorate
in 1881, and soon began to make a mark in local politics.
Annie drove about with a red ribbon in her hair, speaking at noisy meetings. "No more hungry
children," her manifesto proclaimed. She made clear that her Socialism had a feminist side too:
"I ask the electors to vote for me, and the non-electors to work for me because women are
wanted on the Board and there are too few women candidates." Astonishingly, Annie came out
on top of the poll in Tower Hamlets, with over 15,000 votes. Annie wrote in the National
Reformer: "Ten years ago, under a cruel law, Christian bigotry robbed me of my little child. Now
the care of the 763,680 children of London is placed partly in my hands." Annie was also closely
involved in the struggle for the "Dockers' Tanner". The dockers were poorly paid for hard and
dangerous work. They were casual labourers, only taken on for one day at a time. Ben Tillett set
up a union for dockers. Annie was crucial in this. She helped Tillett to draw up the union's rules
and played an important part in the meetings and agitation which built up the organisation. Tillett
led the dockers in a fight for better wages: sixpence (2p.) an hour. Annie spoke for the dockers
at public meetings and on street corners. Like the match-girls, the dockers won a lot of public
support for their struggle. Even Cardinal Manning, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in
England, came out on their side. After a bitter strike, the "dockers' tanner" was won.
[edit] Co-Freemasonry

Annie Besant in 1897

Given Annie Besant's activity in pursuing the rights of women, humanitarian causes, the
mysteries and occult teachings, her interest in freemasonry and subsequent leadership and
activism comes as no surprise. She pursued freemasonry with equal vigour when it was
mentioned to her that there was a masonry that "accepted women as well as men". She saw
freemasonry, in particular co-freemasonry, as an extension of her interest in the rights of women
and the greater brotherhood of man and saw co-freemasonry as a "movement which practised
true brotherhood, in which women and men worked side by side for the perfecting of humanity.

She immediately wanted to be admitted to this organisation", known now as The International
Order of Co-Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Gujarati: , pronounced [mondas

kmtnd andi] ( listen); 2 October 1869 30 January 1948) was the pre-eminent
political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement. He was the
pioneer of satyagraharesistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded
upon ahimsa or total nonviolencewhich led India to independence and inspired movements for
civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi is commonly known around the world as
Mahatma Gandhi (Sanskrit:
mahtm or "Great Soul", an honorific first applied to him
by Rabindranath Tagore), and in India also as Bapu (Gujarati: , bpu or "Father"). He is
officially honoured in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday, 2 October, is
commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International
Day of Non-Violence.
Gandhi first employed non-violent civil disobedience while an expatriate lawyer in South Africa,
during the resident Indian community's struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915,
he organized protests by peasants, farmers, and urban labourers concerning excessive land-tax
and discrimination. After assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi
led nationwide campaigns to ease poverty, expand women's rights, build religious and ethnic
amity, end untouchability, and increase economic self-reliance. Above all, he aimed to achieve
Swaraj or the independence of India from foreign domination. Gandhi famously led his followers
in the Non-cooperation movement that protested the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km
(240 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930. Later he campaigned against the British to Quit India.
Gandhi spent a number of years in jail in both South Africa and India.
As a practitioner of ahimsa, he swore to speak the truth and advocated that others do the same.
Gandhi lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian
dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn he had hand spun on a charkha. He ate simple vegetarian food,
and also undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and social protest.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi[2] was born in Porbandar, a coastal town in present-day Gujarat,
India, on 2 October, 1869. His father, Karamchand Gandhi (1822-1885), who belonged to the
Hindu Modh community, was the diwan (Prime Minister) of the eponymous Porbander state, a
small princely state in the Kathiawar Agency of British India. His grandfather's name was
Uttamchand Gandhi, fondly called Utta Gandhi. His mother, Putlibai, who came from the Hindu
Pranami Vaishnava community, was Karamchand's fourth wife, the first three wives having
apparently died in childbirth.[4] Growing up with a devout mother and the Jain traditions of the
region, the young Mohandas absorbed early the influences that would play an important role in
his adult life; these included compassion for sentient beings, vegetarianism, fasting for selfpurification, and mutual tolerance between individuals of different creeds.[citation needed]
The Indian classics, especially the stories of Shravana and Maharaja Harishchandra from the
Indian epics, had a great impact on Gandhi in his childhood. The story of Harishchandra, a well
known tale of an ancient Indian king and a truthful hero, haunted Gandhi as a boy. Gandhi in his
autobiography admits that it left an indelible impression on his mind. He writes: "It haunted me
and I must have acted Harishchandra to myself times without number." Gandhi's early selfidentification with Truth and Love as supreme values is traceable to his identification with these
epic characters.[5][6]
In May 1883, the 13-year old Mohandas was married to 14-year old Kasturbai Makhanji (her
first name was usually shortened to "Kasturba," and affectionately to "Ba") in an arranged child
marriage, as was the custom in the region. [7] Recalling about the day of their marriage he once
said that " As we didn't know much about marriage, for us it meant only wearing new clothes,
eating sweets and playing with relatives." However, as was also the custom of the region, the
adolescent bride was to spend much time at her parents' house, and away from her husband. [8] In
1885, when Gandhi was 15, the couple's first child was born, but survived only a few days;
Gandhi's father, Karamchand Gandhi, had died earlier that year.[9] Mohandas and Kasturba had
four more children, all sons: Harilal, born in 1888; Manilal, born in 1892; Ramdas, born in 1897;
and Devdas, born in 1900. At his middle school in Porbandar and high school in Rajkot, Gandhi
remained an average student academically. He passed the matriculation exam for Samaldas
College at Bhavnagar, Gujarat with some difficulty. While there, he was unhappy, in part because
his family wanted him to become a barrister.

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore ( )[][] (7 May 1861 7 August 1941),[] sobriquet

Gurudev,[] was a Bengali polymath. As a poet, novelist, musician, and playwright, he reshaped
Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As author of Gitanjali and
its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature.[2]
A Pirali Brahmin [4][5][6] from Calcutta, Tagore wrote poems at age eight. [7] At age sixteen, he
published his first substantial poetry under the pseudonym Bhanushingho ("Sun Lion")[8][9] and
wrote his first short stories and dramas in 1877. Tagore denounced the British Raj and supported
independence. His efforts endure in his vast canon and in the institution he founded, VisvaBharati University.
Tagore modernised Bengali art by spurning rigid classical forms. His novels, stories, songs,
dance-dramas, and essays spoke to political and personal topics. Gitanjali (Song Offerings),
Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World) are his best-known works, and
his verse, short stories, and novels were acclaimed for their lyricism, colloquialism, naturalism,
and contemplation. Tagore penned the anthems of Bangladesh and India: Amar Shonar Bangla
and Jana Gana Mana.
A prospective barrister, Tagore enrolled at a public school in Brighton, East Sussex, England in
1878. He read law at University College London, but left school to explore Shakespeare and
more: Religio Medici, Coriolanus, and Antony and Cleopatra;[19] he returned degreeless to
Bengal in 1880. On 9 December 1883 he married Mrinalini Devi (born Bhabatarini, 18731900);
they had five children, two of whom died before reaching adulthood. [20] In 1890, Tagore began
managing his family's vast estates in Shilaidaha, a region now in Bangladesh; he was joined by
his wife and children in 1898. In 1890, Tagore released his Manast poems, among his bestknown work.[21] As "Zamindar Babu", Tagore crisscrossed the holdings while living out of the
family's luxurious barge, the Padma, to collect (mostly token) rents and bless villagers, who held
feasts in his honour.[22] These years18911895: Tagore's Sadhana period, after one of Tagores
magazineswere his most fecund.[11] During this period, more than half the stories of the threevolume and eighty-four-story Galpaguchchha were written.[17] With irony and gravity, they
depicted a wide range of Bengali lifestyles, particularly village life.[23]

Lala Lajpat Rai

Lala Lajpat Rai (1865-1928, Punjabi: ,Urdu: ; Hindi:

) was an Indian author and politician who is chiefly remembered as a leader in the Indian fight
for freedom from the British Raj. He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari (The Lion of
Punjab). He was also the founder of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company.
Early life
(Born in Jagraon, on 28 January, India in 1865 in a Hindu Vysya Family, Lajpat Rai created a
career of reforming Indian policy through politics and writing. (When studying law in Lahore,
he continued to practice Hinduism. He became a large believer in the idea that Hinduism, above
nationality, was the pivotal point upon which an Indian lifestyle must be based.) Hinduism, he
believed, led to practices of peace to humanity, and the idea that when nationalist ideas were
added to this peaceful belief system, a non-secular nation could be formed. His involvement with
Hindu Mahasabhaite leaders gathered criticism from the Bharat Sabha as the Mahasabhas were
anti-secularism, which did not conform with the system laid out by the Indian National Congress.
This focus on Hindu practices in the subcontinent would ultimately lead him to the
continuation of peaceful movements to create successful demonstrations for Indian
[edit] Political life
As the need for partition and independence took an important turn for the possible, Lajpat Rais
involvement became imperative to the Indian Independence Movement. His actions in antiimperialist movements led to numerous arrests. He became an important member of the Arya
Samaj. This political group was full of British-educated Indians who believed that Hinduism had
a specific and direct impact on what it meant to be Indian. The group also took the ideas of a
merged western and eastern world and promoted the view that the subcontinent had benefited
from its coagulation. The involvement of the Arya Samaj in constitutional reform supported the
freedom movement which took hold of the Indian population. Lajpat Rai led political rallies
which taught how the history of the subcontinent had always been heading to the philosophical
idea that it would become an independent nation.
(Lajpat Rai presided over the first session of the All India Trade Union Congress in 1920. In
1923, he became a member of the Imperial Legislative Assembly. He also went to Geneva to
attend the eighth International Labour Conference in 1926 as a representative of Indian labour.

He had an opportunity to watch the labour movement in the USA and England where he was
required to prolong his stay for political reasons.)
In addition to espousing his philosophical principles, Lajpat Rai engaged heavily in direct action
and protest against British rule. (He led the Punjab protests against the Amritsar Massacre
(1919), the Non-Cooperation Movement (1919 - 1922), and the "Simon go back" demonstrations
against the Simon Commission (1928)). He was repeatedly arrested.He disagreed, however, with
Mohandas Gandhi's suspension of the movement due to the Chauri Chaura incident.(He formed
the Congress Independence Party, which was particularly pro-Hindu in voice and policy)SS.
He was not only a good orator but also a prolific and versatile writer. His journal Arya Gazette
concentrated mainly on subjects related to the Arya Samaj. Bande Mataram and People,
contained his inspiring speeches to end oppression by the foreign rulers. He founded the Servants
of the People Society, which worked for the freedom movement as well as for social reform in
the country. He also wrote an autobiography in English titled The Story of My Life.
[edit] Simon Commission protests
In 1928, Lajpat Rai led a procession with Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya to demonstrate against
the Simon Commission. During this procession, Rai became the target of a lathi charge (a form
of crowd control in which the police use heavy staves or `lathis' in Hindi) led by British police.
He was severely injured in the charge. Nevertheless, at a meeting held the same evening, he
spoke with great vigour. His words at this meeting, "Every blow aimed at me is a nail in the
coffin of British imperialism", have become historic. Though he recovered from the fever and
pain within three days, his health had received a permanent setback and on November 17, 1928,
he died of his injuries. His death led to great disturbances in the country and it inspired national
struggle for freedom.
[edit] Author
(Lajpat Rais journey to the United States during World War I helped him to gather knowledge of
how an independent nation formulates a nationalist identity.) This is where he gathered
information about how foreign nations, specifically Britains imperialist hold on India, had
negative affects on the people, the lifestyles, and the ability to generate bonds with other nations.
He wrote articles that persuaded foreign nations to side with the subcontinents struggle for
independence. By accepting that westernized ideals were positive to the creation of nationalities,
he gained support for breaking from Britain. In Europeanization and the Ancient Culture of
India, Lajpat Rai wrote that nationalization of India was imperative to spread western ideology to
the rest of the world. Since the westernization of India had successfully been adapted while
continuing traditions remained a large part of the culture, he believed that India no longer needed
an overbearing imperialist government. He wrote that: at first sight it seems absurd to give one
name to all Indian civilization. But a close examination for facts and data amply proves the unity
of Indian civilization, at least for the present geological period. [4] These ideas were passed to
foreign countries in order to show that despite cultural differences from the western world,
Indias society had become a sustainable, functional nation which deserved its own nationality as
opposed to being overseen by an alien western country.
(Writings by Lajpat Rai include Josiah Wedgewood - The Man And His Work, The United States
of America: A Hindu's impressions and a study, History of the Arya Samaj, Swaraj and social
change, Englands Debt to India: A historical narrative of Britain's fiscal policy in India, The
Problems Of National Education In India and Unhappy India: Being a reply to Katherine

Mayo's "Mother India", published in 1928.) (Mother India was a polemical account of India's
self rule by American historian Katherine Mayo.)
[edit] Inspiration and memorial
The Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Trust was formed in 1959 on the eve of his Centenary Birth
Celebration, to promote education. The trust was founded by a group of Punjabi philanthropists
(including R.P Gupta and B.M Grover) who have settled and prospered in the Indian State of
A statue of Lajpat Rai stands at the central square in Shimla, India. Lajpat Nagar and Lajpat
Nagar Central Market in New Delhi, Lala Lajpat Rai Hall of Residence at Indian Institutes of
Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur and Lala Lajpat Rai Institute of Engineering and Technology,
Moga are named in his honor. Also many institutes, Schools and Library in his hometown of
Jagraon, district Ludhiana are named after him.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru (Hindi: , pronounced [darlal neru]; 14 November

188927 May 1964 ) was an Indian statesman who was the first, and is to date the longestserving, prime minister of India, having served from 1947 until 1964. A leading figure in the
Indian independence movement, Nehru was elected by the Congress party to assume office as
independent India's first Prime Minister, and later when the Congress won India's first general
election in 1952. As one of the founders of the Non-aligned Movement, he was also an important
figure in the international politics of the post-war era. He is frequently referred to as Pandit
Nehru ("pandit" being a Sanskrit and Hindi honorific meaning "scholar" or "teacher") and,
specifically in India, as Panditji (with "-ji" being a suffix to the honorific).
The son of a wealthy Indian barrister and politician, Motilal Nehru, Nehru became a leader of the
left wing of the Indian National Congress when still fairly young. Rising to become Congress
President, under the mentorship of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru was a charismatic and radical leader,
advocating complete independence from the British Empire. In the long struggle for Indian
independence, in which he was a key player, Nehru was eventually recognized as Gandhi's
political heir. Throughout his life, Nehru was also an advocate for Fabian socialism and the
public sector as the means by which long-standing challenges of economic development could be
addressed by poorer nations.
Nehru was educated in Britain: at Harrow School, an independent school for boys in Harrow on
the Hill, in West London, followed by Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, in
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
[edit] Life and career
Nehru was given the singular honour of raising the flag of independent India in New Delhi on 15
August 1947, when India gained Independence. Nehru's appreciation of the virtues of
parliamentary democracy, secularism and liberalism coupled with concerns for the poor and
underprivileged are recognised to have guided him in formulating policies that influence India to
this day. They also reflect the socialist origins of his worldview. His long tenure was instrumental
in shaping the traditions and structures of independent India. He is sometimes referred to as the
"Architect of Modern India". His daughter, Indira Gandhi, and grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, also
served as Prime Ministers of India.

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890 - 20 January 1988) (Pashto/Urdu: , Hindi:

) was a Pashtun political and spiritual leader known for his non-violent
opposition to British Rule in India. A lifelong pacifist, a devout Muslim, and a follower of
Mahatma Gandhi, he was also known as Badshah Khan (also Bacha Khan, Urdu, Pashto: lit.,
"King Khan"), and Sarhaddi Gandhi (Urdu, Hindi lit., "Frontier Gandhi").
He was initially encouraged by his family to join the British Indian Army; however the treatment
of a British Raj officer towards a native offended him, and a family decision for him to study in
England was put off after his mother's intervention.
Having witnessed the repeated failure of revolts against the British Raj, he decided social
activism and reform would be more beneficial for Pashtuns. This ultimately led to the formation
of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement (Servants of God). The movement's success triggered a
harsh crackdown against him and his supporters and he was sent into exile. It was at this stage in
the late 1920's that he formed an alliance with Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. This
alliance was to last till the 1947 partition of India.
After partition, Ghaffar Khan was frequently arrested by the Pakistani government in part
because of his association with India and his opposition to authoritarian moves by the
government. He spent much of the 1960's and 1970's either in jail or in exile.
In 1985 he was nominated for the Nobel peace prize. In 1987 he became the first person not
holding the citizenship of India to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award. In
1988 on his passing, he was buried in Jalalabad, despite the heavy fighting at the time, both sides
in the Afghan war declared a ceasefire to allow his burial.
Ghaffar Khan was born into a generally peaceful and prosperous family from Charsadda, in the
Peshawar Valley of British India. His father, Behram Khan was a local farmer in Charsadda.
Ghaffar was the second son of Behram to attend the British run Edward's mission school -- an

unusual arrangement since it was discouraged by the local mullahs. At school the young Ghaffar
did well in his studies and was inspired by his mentor Reverend Wigram to see the importance of
education in service to the community. In his 10th and final year of high school he was offered a
highly prestigious commission in The Guides, an elite corp of Pashtun soldiers of the British Raj.
Ghaffar refused the commission after realising even Guide officers were still second-class
citizens in their own country. He resumed his intention of University study and Reverend
Wigram offered him the opportunity to follow his brother, Khan Sahib, to study in London.
While he eventually received the permission of his father, Ghaffar's mother wasn't willing to lose
another son to London -- and their own culture and religion as the mullahs warned her. So
Ghaffar began working on his father's lands while attempting to discern what more he might do
with his life. [2]

Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu or Sarojini Chattopadhyaya (February 13, 1879, Hyderabad March 2, 1949,
Lucknow), also known by the sobriquet Bharatiya Kokila (The Nightingale of India), was a
child prodigy, freedom fighter, and poet. Naidu was the first Indian woman to become the
President of the Indian National Congress and the first woman to become the Governor of Uttar
She was active in the Indian Independence Movement, joining Mahatma Gandhi in the Salt
March to Dandi, and then leading the Dharasana Satyagraha after the arrests of Gandhi, Abbas
Tyabji, and Kasturba Gandhi.
Sarojini Naidu was born in Hyderabad, India to a Bengali family as the eldest daughter of
scientist, philosopher, and educator Aghornath Chattopadhyaya, and Barada Sundari Devi, a

poetess. Her father was the founder of the Nizam College, and also the first member of the
Indian National Congress in Hyderabad with his friend Mulla Abdul Qayyum. He was later
dismissed from his position as Principal and even banished in retaliation for his political
Naidu's brother, Virendranath Chattopadhyaya, was also a noted Indian activist. During World
War I Virendranath was instrumental in founding the Berlin Committee and was one of the
leading figures of the Hindu German Conspiracy. He later became committed to Communism,
travelling to Soviet Russia where he is believed to have been executed on Stalin's orders in 1937.
Another brother Harindranath Chattopadhyaya was a playwright, poet and actor.
She passed her Matriculation examination from Madras University at the age of twelve, also
being first in the entire Presidency. From 1891 to 1894 she took break from her studies and was
involved in extensive reading on various subjects. In 1895, at the age of sixteen, she travelled to
England to study first at King's College London and subsequently at Girton College, Cambridge.
Sarojini Naidu learnt to speak Urdu, Telugu, English, Persian and Bengali. Her favorite poet was
P.B. Shelley.
Kasturba Gandhi

Kastrb Gndhi (April 11, 1869 February 22, 1944), affectionately called Ba, was the wife
of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, marrying him in an arranged child marriage in 1883.
Early life and background
Kasturba Gandhi was born in Gujarat into a Vaishnav family. She had 4 children.
Political career
Kasturba Gandhi joined her husband in political protests. She traveled to South Africa in 1897 to
be with her husband. From 1904 to 1914, she was active in the Phoenix Settlement near Durban.
During the 1913 protest against working conditions for Indians in South Africa, Kasturba was

arrested and sentenced to three months in a hard labor prison. Later, in India, she sometimes took
her husband's place when he was under arrest. In 1915, when Gandhi returned to India to support
indigo planters, Kasturba accompanied him. She taught hygiene, discipline, reading and writing
to women and children.
Kasturba suffered from chronic bronchitis. Stress from the Quit India Movement's arrests and
hard life at Sabarmati Ashram caused her to fall ill. Kasturba fell ill with bronchitis which was
subsequently complicated by pneumonia. In January 1944, Kasturba suffered two heart attacks.
She was now confined to her bed much of the time. Even there she found no respite from pain.
Spells of breathlessness interfered with her sleep at night. Yearning for familiar ministrations,
Kasturba asked to see an Ayurvedic doctor. After several delays (which Gandhi felt were
unconscionable), the government allowed a specialist in traditional Indian medicine to treat her
and prescribe treatments. At first she respondedrecovering enough by the second week in
February to sit on the verandah in a wheel chair for a short periods, and chat then came a
relapse. The doctor said Ayurvedic medicine could do no more for her. To those who tried to
bolster her sagging morale saying "You will get better soon," Ba would respond, "No, my time is
up." Shortly after seven that evening, Devdas took Mohandas and the doctors aside. In what he
would later describe as "the sweetest of all wrangles I ever had with my father," he pleaded
fiercely that Ba be given the life saving medicine, even though the doctors told him her condition
was beyond help. It was Mohandas, after learning that the penicillin had to be administered by
injection every four to six hours, who finally persuaded his youngest son to give up the idea.
"Why do you want to prolong your mother's agonies after all the suffering she has been
through?" Gandhi asked. Then he said, "You can't cure her now, no matter what miracle drug you
may muster. But if you insist, I will not stand in your way."
Gandhi and his son Devdas Gandhi had a fight over the treatment. Devdas had arranged for
penicillin from Calcutta, but Gandhi refused to give it to Kasturba as it had to be injected.[2]
After a short while, Kasturba stopped breathing. She died in Gandhi's arms while both were still
in prison.

B. R. Ambedkar

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (Marathi: . ) (14 April 1891 6 December

1956), also known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, political leader, Buddhist activist,
philosopher, thinker, anthropologist, historian, orator, prolific writer, economist, scholar, editor,
revolutionary and the revivalist of Buddhism in India. He was also the chief architect of the
Indian Constitution. Born into a poor Mahar so called Untouchable family, Ambedkar spent his
whole life fighting against social discrimination, the system of Chaturvarna the Hindu
categorization of human society into four varnas and the Hindu caste system. He is also
credited with having sparked the bloodless revolution with his most remarkable and innovative
Buddhist movement. Ambedkar has been honoured with the Bharat Ratna, India's highest
civilian award.
Overcoming numerous social and financial obstacles, Ambedkar became one of the first so called
"untouchables" to obtain a college education in India. Eventually earning law degrees and
multiple doctorates for his study and research in law, economics and political science from
Columbia University and the London School of Economics, Ambedkar returned home a famous
scholar and practiced law for a few years before publishing journals advocating political rights
and social freedom for India's untouchables. He has been given the degree of Bodhisattva by
Indian Buddhist Bhikkues.
Early life
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born in the British-founded town and military cantonment of
Mhow in the Central Provinces (now in Madhya Pradesh). He was the 14th and last child of
Ramji Maloji Sakpal and Bhimabai Murbadkar.[2] His family was of Marathi background from
the town of Ambavade in the Ratnagiri district of modern-day Maharashtra. They belonged to the
Hindu Mahar caste, who were treated as so called untouchables and subjected to intense socioeconomic discrimination. Ambedkar's ancestors had for long been in the employment of the
army of the British East India Company, and his father Ramji Sakpal served in the Indian Army
at the Mhow cantonment. He had received a degree of formal education in Marathi and English,
and encouraged his children to learn and work hard at school.
Belonging to the Kabir Panth, Ramji Sakpal encouraged his children to read the Hindu classics.
He used his position in the army to lobby for his children to study at the government school, as

they faced resistance owing to their caste. Although able to attend school, Ambedkar and other
Untouchable children were segregated and given no attention or assistance by the teachers. They
were not allowed to sit inside the class. Even if they needed to drink water somebody from a
higher caste would have to pour that water from a height as they were not allowed to touch either
the water or the vessel that contained it. This task was usually performed for the young
Ambedkar by the school peon, and if he could not be found Ambedkar went without water. [2]
Ramji Sakpal retired in 1894 and the family moved to Satara two years later. Shortly after their
move, Ambedkar's mother died. The children were cared for by their paternal aunt, and lived in
difficult circumstances. Only three sons Balaram, Anandrao and Bhimrao and two
daughters Manjula and Tulasa of the Ambedkars would go on to survive them. Of his
brothers and sisters, only Ambedkar succeeded in passing his examinations and graduating to a
higher school. His native village name was "Ambavade" in Ratnagiri District so he changed his
name from "Sakpal" to "Ambedkar" with the recommendation and faith of Mahadev Ambedkar,
his teacher who believed in him.
Ramji Sakpal remarried in 1898, and the family moved to Mumbai (then Bombay), where
Ambedkar became the first untouchable student at the Government High School near
Elphinstone Road. Although excelling in his studies, Ambedkar was increasingly disturbed by
the segregation and discrimination that he faced. In 1907, he passed his matriculation
examination and entered the University of Bombay, becoming one of the first persons of
untouchable origin to enter a college in India. This success provoked celebrations in his
community, and after a public ceremony he was presented with a biography of the Buddha by his
teacher Krishnaji Arjun Keluskar also known as Dada Keluskar, a Maratha caste scholar.
Ambedkar's marriage had been arranged the previous year as per Hindu custom, to Ramabai, a
nine-year old girl from Dapoli. In 1908, he entered Elphinstone College and obtained a
scholarship of twenty five rupees a month from the Gayakwad ruler of Baroda, Sahyaji Rao III
for higher studies in the USA. By 1912, he obtained his degree in economics and political
science, and prepared to take up employment with the Baroda state government. His wife gave
birth to his first son, Yashwant, in the same year. Ambedkar had just moved his young family and
started work, when he dashed back to Mumbai to see his ailing father, who died on February 2,
Fight against untouchability
As a leading Indian scholar, Ambedkar had been invited to testify before the Southborough
Committee, which was preparing the Government of India Act 1919. At this hearing, Ambedkar
argued for creating separate electorates and reservations for Dalits and other religious
communities. In 1920, he began the publication of the weekly Mooknayak (Leader of the Silent)
in Mumbai. Attaining popularity, Ambedkar used this journal to criticize orthodox Hindu
politicians and a perceived reluctance of the Indian political community to fight caste
discrimination. His speech at a Depressed Classes Conference in Kolhapur impressed the local
state ruler Shahu IV, who shocked orthodox society by dining with Ambekdar. Ambedkar
established a successful legal practice, and also organised the Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha to
promote education and socio-economic uplifting of the depressed classes.
By 1927 Dr. Ambedkar decided to launch active movements against untouchability. He began
with public movements and marches to open up and share public drinking water resources, also
he began a struggle for the right to enter Hindu temples. He led a satyagraha in Mahad to fight
for the right of the untouchable community to draw water from the main water tank of the town.

He was appointed to the Bombay Presidency Committee to work with the all-European Simon
Commission in 1925. This commission had sparked great protests across India, and while its
report was ignored by most Indians, Ambedkar himself wrote a separate set of recommendations
for future constitutional reformers.
Vinoba Bhave

(September 11, 1895 - November 15 1982) often called Acharya (In Sanskrit means teacher),
was an Indian advocate of Nonviolence and human rights. He is considered as a National
Teacher of India and the spiritual successor of Mahatma Gandhi.
He was born in Gagode, Maharashtra on September 11, 1895 into a pious family of the
Chitpavan Brahmin clan. He was highly inspired after reading the Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharat,
Ramayan at a very early age. His father was a devout Hindu and his mother, who died in 1918,
was a great influence on him. In his memoir, Bhave states that, "there is nothing to equal the part
my mother played in shaping my mind". Specifically, his devotion and spirituality.
His two brothers, Balkoba Bhave and Shivaji Bhave, were also bachelors devoted to social work.
Freedom struggle

Vinobha Kutir at Sabarmati Ashram

He was associated with Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian independence movement. In 1932 he was
sent to jail by the British colonial government because of his fight against British rule. There he
gave a series of talks on the Gita, in his native language Marathi, to his fellow prisoners.
These highly inspiring talks were later published as the book "Talks on the Gita", and it has been
translated to many languages both in India and elsewhere. Vinoba felt that the source of these
talks was something above and he believed that its influence will endure even if his other works
were forgotten.

In 1940 he was chosen by Gandhi to be the first Individual Satyagrahi (an Individual standing up
for Truth instead of a collective action) against the British rule. It is said that Gandhi envied and
respected Bhave's celibacy, a vow he made in his adolescence, in fitting with his belief in the
Brahmacharya principle. Bhave also participated in the Quit India Movement.
Religious and social work
Vinoba's religious outlook was very broad and it synthesized the truths of many religions. This
can be seen in one of his hymns "Om Tat" which contains symbols of many religions.
Vinoba observed the life of the average Indian living in a village and tried to find solutions for
the problems he faced with a firm spiritual foundation. This formed the core of his Sarvodaya
(Awakening of all potentials) movement. Another example of this is the Bhoodan (land gift)
movement. He walked all across India asking people with land to consider him as one of their
sons and so give him a portion of their land which he then distributed to landless poor. Nonviolence and compassion being a hallmark of his philosophy, he also campaigned against the
slaughtering of cows.

Abul Kalam Azad

Maulana Abul Kalam Muhiyuddin Ahmed (11 November 1888 22 February 1958) was a
Muslim scholar and a senior political leader of the Indian independence movement. He was one
of the most prominent Muslim leaders to support Hindu-Muslim unity, opposing the partition of
India on communal lines. Following India's independence, he became the first Minister of
Education in the Indian government. He is commonly remembered as Maulana Azad; he had
adopted Azad (Free) as his pen name.
As a young man, Azad composed poetry in Urdu as well as treatises on religion and philosophy.
He rose to prominence through his work as a journalist, publishing works critical of the British
Raj and espousing the causes of Indian nationalism. Azad became a leader of the Khilafat
Movement during which he came into close contact with Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi. Azad
became an enthusiastic supporter of Gandhi's ideas of non-violent civil disobedience, and
worked actively to organise the Non-cooperation movement in protest of the 1919 Rowlatt Acts.

Azad committed himself to Gandhi's ideals, including promoting Swadeshi (Indigenous)

products and the cause of Swaraj (Self-rule) for India. He would become the youngest person to
serve as the President of the Indian National Congress in 1923.
Azad was one of the main organisers of the Dharasana Satyagraha in 1931, and emerged as one
of the most important national leaders of the time, prominently leading the causes of HinduMuslim unity as well as espousing secularism and socialism[dubious discuss]. He served as Congress
President from 1940 to 1945, during which the Quit India rebellion was launched and Azad was
imprisoned with the entire Congress leadership for three years. Azad became the most prominent
Muslim opponent of the demand for a separate Muslim state of Pakistan and served in the
interim national government. Amidst communal turmoil following the partition of India, he
worked for religious harmony. As India's Education Minister, Azad oversaw the establishment of
a national education system with free primary education and modern institutions of higher
education. He is also credited with the establishment of the Indian Institutes of Technology and
the foundation of the University Grants Commission, an important institution to supervise and
advance the higher education in the nation.
Early life
Azad's family descended from a line of eminent Ulama or scholars of Islam, hailing from Herat,
Afghanistan, and had settled in India during the reign of the Mughal emperor Babur. His mother
was of Arab descent, the daughter of Shaikh Muhammad Zahir Watri, and his father, Maulana
Khairuddin was, then living in Bengal, was of Persian (Tajik) origin. The family lived in the
Bengal region until Maulana Khairuddin left India during the Indian rebellion of 1857 and settled
in Mecca, the holiest city in Islam, where he met his wife.
.[4] Azad mastered several languages, including Urdu, Arabic, Hindko, Persian, and Hindi. He
was also trained in the subjects of Hanafi fiqh , shariat , mathematics, philosophy, world history
and science by reputed tutors hired by his family. An avid and determined student, the precocious
Azad was running a library, a reading room, a debating society before he was twelve, wanted to
write on the life of Ghazali at twelve, was contributing learned articles to Makhzan (the best
known literary magazine of the day) at fourteen [6], was teaching a class of students, most of
whom were twice his age, when he was merely fifteen and succeeded in completing the
traditional course of study at the young age of sixteen, nine years ahead of his contemporaries,
and brought out a magazine at the same age.[7] In fact, in the field of journalism, he was
publishing a poetical journal (Nairang-e-Aalam)[8] and was already an editor of a weekly (AlMisbah), in 1900, at the age of twelve and, in 1903, brought out a monthly journal, Lissan-usSidq, which soon gained popularity.[9] At the age of thirteen, he was married to a young Muslim
girl, Zuleikha Begum.[5] Azad was, more closer, a follower of the Ahl-i-Hadith school and
compiled many treatises reinterpreting the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the principles of Fiqh and
Kalam.[4] A young man, Azad was also exposed to the modern intellectual life of Kolkata, the
then capital of British-ruled India and the centre of cultural and political life. He began to doubt
the traditional ways of his father and secretly diversified his studies. Azad learned English
through intensive personal study and began learning Western philosophy, history and
contemporary politics by reading advanced books and modern periodicals. Azad grew
disillusioned with Islamic teachings and was inspired by the modern views of Muslim
educationalist Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, who had promoted rationalism. Increasingly doubtful of
religious dogma, Azad entered a period of self-described "atheism" and "sinfulness" that lasted
for almost a decade.

Nana Patil

Nana Patil (d.Dec 6, 1976) , popularly known as Krantisinha ( lit. 'revolutionary lion') was an
Indian independence activist and Member of Parliament for the Communist Party of India
representing Satara. Earlier, he had been a founder of the revolutionary 'Prati-sarkar' formed in
Satara district of west Maharashtra. He died on December 6, 1976.
British Raj period
Krantisinh Nana Patil was imprisoned several times during the struggle with the British Raj. For
a period of 44 months he was underground during the 'Quit India' movement in 1942. Instead of
Gandhian resistance, Krantisinh Nana Patil's method of direct attack on the colonial government
was widely accepted in this district.[citation needed] A parallel administration known as the Prati
Sarkar existed in some form for 4 and half years (August 1943 to May 1946) in 150 villages.
Connections with Satyashodhak Samaj
Nana patil had long connections with the Satyashodhak Samaj. Inspired by Mahatma Phule he
chose to have his wife educated, an act considered irreligious at the time. He arranged many
Satyashodhak marriages, marriages solemnised without the presence of a brahmin. These
marriages were very popular among the poor because it cost less money than conventional

In Parliament
Krantisinh Nana Patil was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1957 from north Satara constituency on
the ticket of Communist Party of India. He was the first to give a speech in Marathi on the floor
of Parliament.[2]
Political career
Krantisinh Nana Patil started his public life in the Indian National Congress but later joined the
Shetkari Kaamgaar Paksha with S.K. Patil. In 1957, he got a ticket from Communist Party of
India to contest the Lok Sabha elections. And after some disputes he quit the CPI.
Krantisinh Nana Patil also fought along with Aacharya Atre for the creation of a separate
Marathi-speaking state out of the Bombay state.
Shyamji Krishnavarma

Shyamji Krishna Varma (Shyamji Krishna Nakhua) (1857 - 1930) was an Indian scholar,
lawyer, nationalist and a journalist who founded the Indian Home Rule Society, India House and
The Indian Sociologist in London. A graduate of Balliol College, Krishna Varma was a noted
scholar in Sanskrit and other Indian languages. He pursued a brief legal career in India and
served as the Divan of a number of Indian princely states in India. . He had, however, differences
with Crown authority and was dismissed following a supposed conspiracy of local British
officials at Junagadh,[2] and chose to return to England. An admirer of Dayanand Saraswati's
approach of Cultural nationalism, and of Herbert Spencer, Krishna Varma believed in Spencer's
dictum "Resistance to aggression is not simply justified, but imperative". In 1905 he founded the
India House and The Indian Sociologist, which rapidly developed as an organised meeting point
for radical nationalists among Indian students in Britain at the time, and one of the most
prominent centres for revolutionary Indian nationalism outside India. Most famous among the
members of this organisation was V.D. Savarkar. Krishna Varma himself moved to Paris in 1907,
fearing prosecution. He died in 1930.
Shyamji was inspired by the philosophy of Herbert Spencer. At Spencer's funeral in 1903, he
announced the donation of 1,000 to establish a lectureship at University of Oxford in tribute to

him and his work. A year later he announced that Herbert Spencer Indian fellowships of RS 2000
each were to be awarded to enable Indian graduates to finish their education in England. He also
announced additional fellowship in memory of the late Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the founder
of Arya Samaj, along with another four fellowships in the future.
Political Activism
In 1905, Shyamji focussed his activity as a political propagandist and organiser for the complete
independence of India. Shyamji made his debut in Indian politics by publishing the first issue of
his English monthly, The Indian Sociologist, an organ of freedom and of political, social and
religious reform. This was an assertive, ideological monthly aimed at inspiring mass opposition
to British rule, which stimulated many intellectuals to fight for the freedom of India.
Shyamaji Krishna Varma was born October 30, 1857 in Mandvi, Kutch province as Shamji, the
son of, Karsan Bhanushali (Karsan Nakhua, Nakhua is the specific surname while [Bhanushali]
is the community Name), a labourer for cotton Press Company and Gomatibai, his mother who
died when Shyamaji was only eleven years old. He was raised by his grandmother. After
completing secondary education in Bhuj he went to Mumbai for further education at Wilson
High School. Whilst in Mumbai he learnt Sanskrit.
In 1875 Shyamaji got married to Bhanumati, a daughter of a wealthy businessman of the Bhatia
community and sister of his school friend Ramdas. Then he got in touch with the nationalist
Swami Dayananda Saraswati, a radical reformer and an exponent of Vedas, who had founded
Arya Samaj. He became his disciple and was soon conducting lectures on Vedic Philosophy and
Religion. In 1877, a public speaking tour secured him a great public recognition all over Bharat.
He became the first non-Brahmin, to receive the prestigious title of Pandit by the Pandits of
Kashi in 1877. He came to the attention of Professor Monier Williams, an Oxford Professor of
Sanskrit who offered Shyamaji a job as his assistant.
Shyamji arrived in England and joined Balliol College on 25 April 1879 with the
recommendation of Professor Monier Williams. Passing his B.A. in 1883, he presented a lecture
on the origin of writing in India to the Royal Asiatic Society. The speech was very well
received and he was elected a non-resident member of the society. In 1881 he represented India
at the Berlin Congress of Orientalists.
Legal career
He returned to India in 1885 and started practice as a lawyer. Then he was appointed as Diwan
(chief minister) by the King of Ratlam State; but ill health forced him to retire from this post
with a lump sum gratauity of RS 32052 for his service. After a short stay in Mumbai he settled in
Ajmer, headquarters of his Guru Swami Dayananda Saraswati, and continued his practice at the
British Court in Ajmer. He invested his income in three cotton presses and secured sufficient
permanent income, to be independent for the rest of his life. He served for the Maharaja of
Udaipur as a council member from 1893 to 1895, followed by the position of Diwan of Junagadh
State. He resigned in 1897 after a bitter experience with the British agent which shook his faith
in British Rule.

Krishna Varma was very much impressed with Lokmanya Tilak and supported him during the
Age of Consent bill controversy of 1890. However, he rejected the petitioning, praying,
protesting, cooperating and collaborating policy of the Congress Party, which he considered
undignified and shameful. In 1897, following the atrocities inflicted by the British Government
during the plague crisis in Poona, he supported the assassination of the Commissioner of Plague
by the Chapekar brothers but he soon decided to fight for Indian Independence in Britain.
Upon his arrival in London, he stayed at the Inner Temple and studied Herbert Spencer's writings
in his spare time. In 1900 he bought an expensive house in Highgate. His home became a base
for all political leaders of India. Gandhi, Lenin, Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Gopal Krishna Gokhale,
etc., all visited him to discuss the Indian Independence Movement. Avoiding the Indian National
Congress, he kept in contact with rationalists, free thinkers, national & social democrats,
socialists, Irish republicans etc.
Shyamji was inspired by the philosophy of Herbert Spencer. At Spencer's funeral in 1903, he
announced the donation of 1,000 to establish a lectureship at University of Oxford in tribute to
him and his work. A year later he announced that Herbert Spencer Indian fellowships of RS 2000
each were to be awarded to enable Indian graduates to finish their education in England. He also
announced additional fellowship in memory of the late Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the founder
of Arya Samaj, along with another four fellowships in the future.
Political Activism
In 1905, Shyamji focussed his activity as a political propagandist and organiser for the complete
independence of India. Shyamji made his debut in Indian politics by publishing the first issue of
his English monthly, The Indian Sociologist, an organ of freedom and of political, social and
religious reform. This was an assertive, ideological monthly aimed at inspiring mass opposition
to British rule, which stimulated many intellectuals to fight for the freedom of India.

Bhikhaiji Rustom Cama

Madame Bhikaiji Cama

Date of birth:
24 September 1861
Place of birth:
Bombay, British India
Date of death:
13 August 1936
Place of death:
Bombay, British India
Indian independence movement
India House,
Major organizations: Paris Indian Society,
Indian National Congress
Bhikaiji Rustom Cama[n 1] (1861 1936) was a prominent figure in the Indian independence
Bhikhaiji Rustom Cama was born Bhikai Sorab Patel on 24 September 1861 in Bombay (now
Mumbai) into a large, well-off Parsi family. Her parents, Sorabji Framji Patel and Jaijibai Sorabji
Patel, were well-known in the city, where her father Sorabji a lawyer by training and a
merchant by profession was an influential member of the Parsi community.
Like many Parsi girls of the time, Bhikhaiji attended Alexandra Native Girl's English Institution.
Bhikhaiji was by all accounts a diligent, disciplined child with a flair for languages.

On 3 August 1885, she married Rustom Cama, a wealthy, pro-British lawyer with a desire to
enter politics. It was not a happy marriage, and Bhikhaiji spent most of her time and energy in
philanthropic activities and social work.
In October 1896, the Bombay Presidency was first hit by famine, and shortly thereafter by
bubonic plague. Bhikhaiji joined one of the many teams working out of Grant Medical College
(which would subsequently become Haffkine's plague vaccine research center), in an effort to
provide care for the afflicted, and (later) to inoculate the healthy. Cama subsequently contracted
the plague herself, but survived. Severely weakened, she was sent to Britain for medical care in
She was preparing to return to India in 1902 when she came in contact with Shyamji Krishna
Varma, who was well known in London's Indian community for fiery nationalist speeches he
gave in Hyde Park. Through him, she met Dadabhai Naoroji, then president of the British
Committee of the Indian National Congress, and for whom she came to work as private
secretary. Together with Naoroji and Singh Rewabhai Rana, Cama supported the founding of
Varma's Indian Home Rule Society in February 1905. In London, she was told that her return to
India would be prevented unless she would sign a statement promising not to participate in
nationalist activities. She refused.
That same year Cama relocated to Paris, where together with Singh Rewabhai Rana and
Munchershah Burjorji Godrej she co-founded the Paris Indian Society. Together with other
notable members of the movement for Indian sovereignty living in exile, Cama wrote, published
(in Holland and Switzerland) and distributed revolutionary literature for the movement, including
Bande Mataram (founded in response to the crown ban on the poem Vande Mataram) and later
Madan's Talwar (in response to the execution of Madan Lal Dhingra).[2] These weeklies were
smuggled into India through the French colony of Pondicherry on the subcontinent's south-east
On 22 August 1907, Cama attended the International Socialist Conference in Stuttgart, Germany,
where she described the devastating effects of a famine that had struck the Indian subcontinent.
In her appeal for human rights, equality and for autonomy from Great Britain, she unfurled what
she called the "Flag of Indian Independence".[n 2] That flag, a modification of the Calcutta Flag,
was co-designed by Cama, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Shyamji Krishna Varma, and would
later serve as one of the templates upon which the current national flag of India is based.
In 1909, following Madan Lal Dhingra's assassination of William Hutt Curzon Wyllie, an aide to
the Secretary of State for India, Scotland Yard arrested several key activists living in Great
Britain, among them Vinayak Savarkar. In 1910, Savarkar was ordered to be returned to India for
trial. When the ship Savarkar was being transported on docked in Marseilles harbour, he
squeezed out through a porthole window and jumped into the sea. Reaching shore, he expected
to find Cama and others who had been told to expect him (who got there late), but ran into the
local constabulary instead. Unable to communicate his predicament to the French authorities
without Cama's help, he was returned to British custody. The British Government requested
Cama's extradition, but the French Government refused to cooperate. In return, the British
Government seized Cama's inheritance. Lenin reportedly invited her to reside in the Soviet
Union, but she did not accept.
Influenced by Christabel Pankhurst and the Suffragette movement, Bhikhaiji Cama was
vehement in her support for gender equality. Speaking in Cairo, Egypt in 1910, she asked, "I see
here the representatives of only half the population of Egypt. May I ask where is the other half?

Sons of Egypt, where are the daughters of Egypt? Where are your mothers and sisters? Your
wives and daughters?" Cama's stance with respect to the vote for women was however secondary
to her position on Indian independence; in 1920, upon meeting Herabai and Mithan Tata, two
Parsi women outspoken on the issue of the right to vote, Cama is said to have sadly shaken her
head and observed: "'Work for Indian's freedom and [i]ndependence. When India is independent
women will not only [have] the [v]ote, but all other rights.'"[4]
With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, France and Britain became allies, and all the members
of Paris India Society except Cama and Singh Rewabhai Rana left the country (Cama had been
advised by fellow-socialist Jean Longuet to go to Spain with Acharya, but she had preferred to
stay). Cama and Rana were briefly arrested in October 1914 when they tried to agitate among
Punjab Regiment troops that had just arrived in Marseilles on their way to the front. They were
required to leave Marseilles, and Cama then moved to Rana's wife's house in Arcachon, near
Bordeaux. In January 1915, the French government deported Rana and his whole family to the
Caribbean island of Martinique, and Cama was sent to Vichy, where she was interned. In bad
health, she was released in November 1917 and permitted to return to Bordeaux provided that
she report weekly to the local police. Following the war, Cama returned to her home at 25, Rue
de Ponthieu in Paris.
Cama remained in exile in Europe until 1935, when, gravely ill and paralysed by a stroke that
she had suffered earlier that year, she petitioned the British government through Sir Cowasji
Jehangir to be allowed to return home. Writing from Paris on 24 June 1935, she acceded to the
requirement that she renounce sedetionist activities. Accompanied by Jehangir, she arrived in
Bombay in November 1935 and died nine months later, aged 74, at Parsi General Hospital on 13
August 1936.[5]
Bikhaiji Cama bequeathed most of her personal assets to the Avabai Petit Orphanage for girls,
which established a trust in her name. Rs. 54,000 (1936: 39,300; $157,200) to her family's fire
temple, the Framji Nusserwanjee Patel Agiary at Mazgaon, in South Bombay.[6]
Several Indian cities have streets and places named after Bhikhaiji Cama, or Madame Cama as
she is also known. On 26 January 1962, India's 11th Republic Day, the Indian Posts and
Telegraphs Department issued a commemorative stamp in her honor.[7]
In 1997, the Indian Coast Guard commissioned a Priyadarshini-class fast patrol vessel ICGS
Bikhaiji Cama after Bikhaiji Cama.
Following Cama's 1907 Stuttgart address, the flag she raised there was smuggled into British
India by Idulal Yagnik and is now on display at the Maratha and Kesari Library in Pune. In 2004,
politicians of the BJP, India's Hindu nationalist party, attempted to identify a later design (from
the 1920s) as the flag Cama raised in Stuttgart.[8] The flag Cama raised misrepresented as
"original national Tricolour" has an (Islamic) crescent and a (Hindu) sun, which the later
design does not have.

Chandrasekhar Azad


Place of birth:
Place of death:

Chandrashekar Azad
Bhavra, Jhabua District, Madhya Pradesh,
Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Indian Independence movement
Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Kirti Kissan
Party and Hindustan Socialist Republican

Chandrashekhar Sitaram Tiwari, better known as Chandrasekhar Azad (July 23, 1906,
Bhavra, Jhabua District, Madhya Pradesh February 27, 1931, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh) is one
of the most important Indian revolutionaries, and is considered the mentor of Bhagat Singh.
Chandrashekhar Azad, often called, Panditji (Brahman ji) was the founder of Garam Dal. After
the Indian Rebellion of 1857, he was the first among many Indian revolutionaries to use arms in
their fight for independence against the British rulers. A devout Brahmin, he believed that it was
his "dharma" (duty) to fight for others. He also believed that a soldier never relinquishes his
Born to Pandit Sitaram Tiwari and Jagaraani Devi, Azad spent most of his childhood and
received primary education in Badarka village in Unnao District, Uttar Pradesh. He then went to
the Sanskrit Pathashala at Varanasi for higher education. Azad was an ardent follower of Lord
Hanuman and once disguised himself as a priest in a Hanuman temple to escape a British police
Chandrashekhar Azad was deeply troubled by the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar in
1919. In 1921, when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation movement, he actively
participated in the protest movement. He was arrested and received his first punishment at the
age of fifteen for this act of civil disobedience. When the magistrate asked him his name, he said
"Azad" (meaning free). For this, he was sentenced to fifteen lashes. With each stroke of the whip,
young Chandrasekhar shouted "Bharat Mata Ki Jai"["Hail The Motherland!"]. From that point

onwards, Chandrashekhar assumed the title of Azad and came to be known as Chandrashekhar
After suspension of the non-cooperation movement, Azad was attracted by more aggressive and
violent revolutionary ideals. He committed himself to complete independence by any means.
Towards this end, he formed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association and was mentor to
revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Batukeshwar Dutt, and Rajguru. HSRA's goal
was full Indian independence and wanted to build a new India based on socialist principles. Azad
and his compatriots also planned and executed several acts of violence against the British. He
was involved in numerous such activities like the Kakori Train Robbery (1925), the attempt to
blow up the Viceroy's train (1926), and the shooting of John Poyantz Saunders at Lahore (1928)
to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai.
Azad was a terror to the British police. He was on their hit list and the British police badly
wanted to capture him dead or alive. For his part, Azad had also vowed that he would never be
arrested by the British police and that he would die a free man. On February 27, 1931
Chandrashekhar Azad met two of his comrades at Alfred Park, Allahabad. He was betrayed by an
informer, the police surrounded the park and ordered Chandrashekhar Azad to surrender. Azad
fought alone and killed three policemen but got shot in the thigh. After nearly exhausting his
ammunition and foreseeing no means of escape, he shot himself in the head with his last bullet.
Most of his revolutionary activities were planned and executed from Shahjahanpur.
Azad was one among a young generation of Indians who were deeply inspired by the launch of
the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920 and took an active part in it. But like many, Azad was
disillusioned with Gandhi's suspension of the struggle in 1922 due to the Chauri Chaura
massacre of 22 policemen. Although Gandhi was appalled by the brutal violence, Azad did not
feel that violence was unacceptable in such a struggle, especially in view of the Jallianwala Bagh
Massacre of 1919, when a British Army unit killed hundreds of unarmed civilians and wounded
thousands in Amritsar. The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre deeply influenced young Azad and his
He once claimed that as his name was "Azad," he would never be taken alive by police. That is
why he killed himself towards the end of a shootout with the police. Azad also believed that
India's future lay in socialism. Allegedly, he was aware of the informer who betrayed him to the
His friendship with Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil
Azad was a very good friend of Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil. Azad and Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil
were the founding members, and pillars of HRA.
In Jhansi
In his very brief life of 24 years, Chandrashekhar Azad had made Jhansi his organisation's hub
for a considerable duration. He chose the forest of Orchha (15 kilometers from Jhansi) for
shooting practising. He was a brilliant shooter and he used to train other members of his group
here. Near the forest, on the banks of a small river called Saataar, by a temple of Lord Hanuman,
Azad established a small hut. He started living there in the disguise of Pandit Harishankar

Brahmachari. He started teaching kids of the nearby village Dhimarpura, and also managed to
establish good rapport with the local residents. The village Dhimarpura is now named after him
and is known as Azadpura.
In Jhansi, he learnt to drive a car at Bundelkhand Motor Garage in Sadar Bazaar, in the
Cantonment area. In Jhansi, he met Sadashiv Rao Malkapurkar, Vishwanath Vaishampayan,
Bhagwan Das Mahaur and they all became an integral part of his revolutionary group. The then
congress leaders from Jhansi Pandit Raghunath Vinayak Dhulekar and Pandit Sitaram Bhaskar
Bhagwat were also close aides of Chandrashekhar Azad.
Chandrashekhar Azad stayed in Master Rudranarayan Singh's house at Nai Basti and Pandit
Sitaram Bhaskar Bhagwat's house in Nagra.
Jhansi was a safe place in Chandrashekhar Azad's own words and true to them, as soon as he left
Jhansi, he fell victim to betrayal by a former group member.
Bhagat Singh
The Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) was formed by Sachindranath Sanyal in 1923
after just one year of the Non co-operation movement. In the aftermath of the Kakori train
robbery in 1925, the British clamped down on revolutionary activities. Sentenced to death for
their participation were Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Thakur Roshan Singh and
Rajendra Lahiri. Two escaped capture; one was Sunderlal Gupta and the other was Azad. Azad
reorganized the HRA with the help of secondary revolutionaries like Shiva Varma and Mahaveer
Singh. He was also an associate of Rasbihari Bose. Azad, along with Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev,
and Rajguru, transformed the HRA into the HSRA (Hindustan Socialist Republican Association)
in 1927, with the goal of complete Indian independence based on socialist principles.
In 1931 Azad was living in the Jhansi area of Allahabad. One of his close friends, Banwari, was
successfully lured by the British's promise of wealth, into betraying Azad's whereabotus. On 27
February 1931 Banwari spotted Azad and Sukhdev at Alfred Park discussing some plans and
reported their presence to the police. Within a few minutes policemen surrounded the whole
park. During the initial encounter, Azad suffered a bullet wound in his thigh, making it difficult
for him to escape. But he made it possible for Sukhdev to escape by providing him covering fire.
After Sukhdev escaped, Azad managed to keep the police at bay for a long time. Finally, with
only one bullet left in his pistol and being completely surrounded and outnumbered,
Chandrashekhar Azad shot himself, keeping his pledge to never be captured alive. It is said that
the Indian soldiers who saw him die did not approach his dead body for about two hours. He had
always induced the guilt of Indian soldiers and policemen working for the British government,
wherever he went, claiming that 'they were not of true Indian blood'. His COLT pistol is
displayed at the Allahabad Museum along with some very rare photographs of his.

Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh (September 27, 1907[2] March 23, 1931) was an Indian freedom fighter,
considered to be one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence
movement. He is often referred to as Shaheed Bhagat Singh (the word shaheed means "martyr").
Born to a Sikh family which had earlier been involved in revolutionary activities against the
British Raj in India, Singh, as a teenager, had studied European revolutionary movements and
was attracted to anarchism and communism. He became involved in numerous revolutionary
organizations. He quickly rose through the ranks of the Hindustan Republican Association
(HRA) and became one of its leaders, converting it to the Hindustan Socialist Republican
Association (HSRA). Singh gained support when he underwent a 64-day fast in jail, demanding
equal rights for Indian and British political prisoners. He was hanged for shooting a police
officer in response to the killing of veteran freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai. His legacy prompted
youth in India to begin fighting for Indian independence and also increased the rise of socialism
in India.

Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh in jail at the age of 20

Bhagat Singh was attracted to anarchism and communism. Both communism and western
anarchism had influence on him. He read the teachings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir
Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Mikhail Bakunin.[27][28] Bhagat Singh did not believe in Gandhian
philosophy and viewed that Gandhian politics will replace one set of exploiters by another.[29]
Singh was an atheist and promoted the concept of atheism by writing a pamphlet titled Why I am
an Atheist.[citation needed]
Bhagat Singh was also an admirer of the writings of Irish revolutionary Terence MacSwiney.
[citation needed]
When Bhagat Singh's father petitioned the British government to pardon his son,
Bhagat Singh quoted Terence MacSwiney and said ""I am confident that my death will do more
to smash the British Empire than my release" and told his father to withdraw the petition.[citation

Some of his writings like "Blood Sprinkled on the Day of Holi Babbar Akalis on the Crucifix"
were influenced by the struggle of Dharam Singh Hayatpur.[citation needed]
From May to September, 1928, Bhagat Singh serially published several articles on anarchism in
Punjabi periodical Kirti. He expressed concern over misunderstanding of the concept of
anarchism among the public. Singh tried to eradicate the misconception among people about
anarchism. He wrote, "The people are scared of the word anarchism. The word anarchism has
been abused so much that even in India revolutionaries have been called anarchist to make them
unpopular." As anarchism means absence of ruler and abolition of state, not absence of rule,
Singh explained, "I think in India the idea of universal brotherhood, the Sanskrit sentence
vasudhaiva kutumbakam etc., have the same meaning." He wrote about the growth of
anarchism,"the first man to explicitly propagate the theory of Anarchism was Proudhon and that
is why he is called the founder of Anarchism. After him a Russian, Bakunin worked hard to
spread the doctrine. He was followed by Prince Kropotkin etc."
Singh explained anarchism in the article:
The ultimate goal of Anarchism is complete independence, according to which no one will be
obsessed with God or religion, nor will anybody be crazy for money or other worldly desires.
There will be no chains on the body or control by the state. This means that they want to
eliminate: the Church, God and Religion; the state; Private property.
Bhagat Singh was also influenced by Marxism. Indian historian K. N. Panikkar described Singh
as one of the early Marxists in India.[29] From 1926, Bhagat Singh studied the history of the
revolutionary movement in India and abroad. In his prison notebooks, Singh used quotations
from Lenin (on imperialism being the highest stage of capitalism) and Trotsky on revolution. In
written documents, when asked what was his last wish, he replied that he was studying the life of
Lenin and he wanted to finish it before his death. [30]
During his teenage years, Singh was a Arya Samajist.[citation needed] However, he began to question
religious ideologies after witnessing the Hindu-Muslim riots that broke out after Gandhi
disbanded the Non-Cooperation Movement.[31] He did not understand how members of these two

groups, initially united in fighting against the British, could be at each others' throats because of
their religious differences. At this point, Singh dropped his religious beliefs, since he believed
religion hindered the revolutionaries' struggle for independence, and began studying the works of
Bakunin, Lenin, Trotsky all atheist revolutionaries. He also took an interest in Niralamba
Swami's[32] book Common Sense, which advocated a form of "mystic atheism".[33]
While in a condemned cell in 1931, he wrote a pamphlet entitled Why I am an Atheist in which
he discusses and advocates the philosophy of atheism. This pamphlet was a result of some
criticism by fellow revolutionaries on his failure to acknowledge religion and God while in a
condemned cell, the accusation of vanity was also dealt with in this pamphlet. He supported his
own beliefs and claimed that he used to be a firm believer in The Almighty, but could not bring
himself to believe the myths and beliefs that others held close to their hearts. In this pamphlet, he
acknowledged the fact that religion made death easier, but also said that unproved philosophy is
a sign of human weakness.
Bhagat Singh was known for his appreciation of martyrdom. His mentor as a young boy was
Kartar Singh Sarabha.[34] Singh is himself considered a martyr for acting to avenge the death of
Lala Lajpat Rai, also considered a martyr. In the leaflet he threw in the Central Assembly on 9
April 1929, he stated that It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great
empires crumbled while the ideas survived.[35] After engaging in studies on the Russian
Revolution, he wanted to die so that his death would inspire the youth of India which in turn will
unite them to fight the British Empire.
While in prison, Bhagat Singh and two others had written a letter to the Viceroy asking him to
treat them as prisoners of war and hence to execute them by firing squad and not by hanging.
Prannath Mehta, Bhagat Singh's friend, visited him in the jail on March 20, four days before his
execution, with a draft letter for clemency, but he declined to sign it.
Shivaram Rajguru

Shivaram Hari Rajguru (August 24, 1908 - March 23, 1931) was an Indian revolutionary from
Maharashtra and belonged to the Deshastha Brahmin community. Rajguru was born in a place
named Khed near Pune. It was later renamed as Rajgurunagar in his honor. He is best known as
an aide of Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev in the killing of a British police officer J.P. Saunders at
Lahore in 1928 in order to take revenge for the death of veteran leader Lala Lajpat Rai due to
excessive police beating. All three were convicted of the crime and hanged on March 23, 1931.

He also had immense potential in terms of memory and had learnt various scriptures by heart. He
was also a sharp and accurate shooter and was regarded as the gunman of HSRA.
He was the means of entertainment in the HSRA meetings due to his competition with Bhagat
Singh. He always wanted to be one step ahead than Bhagat Singh in every case, which often led
to comic situations.
Rajguru was hiding in Nagpur. He met Dr. K. B. Hedgewar and was hiding in one of the RSS
worker's house. But after some days he went to Pune and later was arrested there. He was a
freedom fighter who sacrificed his life for the independence of India. He was a member of
Hindustan socialist republican army who wanted India to become free by all means necessary.
He believed that violence against oppression was far more effective against British rule than the
nonviolent ways of Mahatma Gandhi.

Sukhdev Thapar

Sukhdev Thapar: was an Indian freedom fighter who lived from 15 May 1907 to March 23,
1931). He is best known as an accomplice of Bhagat Singh and Shivaram Rajguru in the killing
of a British police officer J.P. Saunders in 1928 in order to take revenge for the death of veteran
leader Lala Lajpat Rai due to excessive police beating.
All three were hanged in Lahore Central Jail on March 23, 1931 in the evening at 7.33 pm
against all norms of hanging. The dead bodies were secretly taken away by breaking the back
walls of the jail and were seceretly burnt on the banks of River Satluj at Hussainiwala about 50
miles away from Lahore. The bodies were cut into pieces to make the burial quick.
Sukhdev was an active member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, being one of
its most senior leaders. He is known to have started study circles at National College, (Lahore) in
order to delve into India's past as well as to scrutinize the finer aspects of world revolutionary
literature and the Russian Revolution. Along with Bhagat Singh, Comrade Ram Chandra and
Bhagwati Charan Vohra, he started Naujawan Bharat Sabha at Lahore. The main aims of this
organisation were to activate youth for freedom struggle, inculcate a rational scientific attitude,
fight communalism and end the practice of untouchability.
Sukhdev was deeply impressed by Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil, and Chandrashekhar Azad.
Sukhdev also participated in the 1929 Prison hunger strike to protest against the inhuman
treatment of inmates.
His letter to Mahatma Gandhi written just prior to his hanging, protesting against the latter's
disapproval of revolutionary tactics, throws light on the disparities between the two major
schools of thought among Indian freedom fighers.

However, Hansraj Vohra - the man who gave the clinching testimony that resulted in the hanging
of the trio, claimed that Sukhdev had himself turned an approver.
Nevertheless, this relatively baseless contention does not detract from the tremendous courage,
patriotism and self-sacrifice that Sukhdev Thapar embodifies, as is evident in the recent naming
of a school after him, in his native Ludhiana (city in Punjab).

Surya Sen

Surya Sen
Surya Sen (1894- January 12, 1934) also known as Masterda Surya Sen was a prominent
Bengali Indian freedom fighter and was the chief architect of anti-British freedom movement in
Chittagong, Bengal (now in Bangladesh).
His father's name was Ramaniranjan. A resident of Noapara in Chittagong, he was a teacher by
profession. He was initiated into revolutionary ideas in 1916 by one of his teachers while he was
a student of Intermediate Class in the Chittagong College and joined the renowned anarchist
group Anushilan. But when he went to Behrampur College for BA course, came to know about
Jugantar and became more inspired with their ideas. On his return to Chittagong in 1918, he
organized Jugantar there. Every revolutionary groups were using Indian National Congress as
umbrella to work. Consequently in 1929, Surya Sen became the president of the Chittagong
district committee of the Indian National Congress . He continued to organize the hardline
patriotic organisations and first became a teacher of the National school in Nandankanan and
then joined the Umatara school at Chandanpura. Hence, he was known as Mastarda (teacher
By 1923 Surya Sen spread the anarchist organization in different parts of Chittagong district.
Aware of the limited equipment and other resources of the freedom fighters, he was convinced of
the need for secret guerrilla warfare against the colonial Government. One of his early successful
undertakings was a broad day robbery at the treasury office of the Assam-Bengal Railway at
Chittagong on December 23, 1923.
Chittagong armoury raid and its aftermath
Main article: Chittagong Armoury Raid

His major success in the anti-British revolutionary violence was the Chittagong Armoury Raid
on April 18, 1930. Subsequent to the raid, he marched to the Jalalabad hills along with his fellow
revolutionaries. After the battle with the British troops on April 22, he escaped from there.
Surya Sen, being constantly followed up by the police, had to hide at the house of Sabitri Devi, a
widow, near Patiya. A police and military force under Captain Cameron surrounded the house on
13 June 1932. Cameron was shot dead while ascending the staircase and Surya Sen along with
Pritilata Waddedar and Kalpana Dutta escaped to safety.
Surya Sen was always in hiding, moving from one place to another. Sometimes he used to take a
job as a workman; sometimes he would take a job as a farmer, or milkman, or priest,
houseworker or even as a pious Muslim. This is how he used to avoid being captured.

Subhas Chandra Bose

Subhas Chandra Bose : Subhas Chndr Bos; born January 23, 1897; presumed to have died
August 18, 1945 although this is disputed), popularly known as Netaji (literally "Respected
Leader"), was a legend in the Indian independence movement.
Bose was elected president of the Indian National Congress for two consecutive terms but had to
resign from the post following ideological conflicts with Mahatma Gandhi and after openly
attacking Congress foreign and internal policy. Bose believed that Mahatma Gandhi's tactics of
non-violence would never be sufficient to secure India's independence, and advocated violent
resistance. He established a separate political party, the All India Forward Bloc and continued to
call for the full and immediate independence of India from British rule. He was imprisoned by
the British authorities 11 times. His famous motto was "Give me blood and I will give you
His stance did not change with the outbreak of the Second World War, which he saw as an
opportunity to take advantage of British weakness. At the outset of the war, he went away from
India and travelled to the Soviet Union, Germany and Japan, seeking an alliance with the aim of
attacking the British in India. With Japanese assistance, he re-organised and later led the Indian

National Army, formed from Indian prisoners-of-war and plantation workers from British
Malaya, Singapore, and other parts of Southeast Asia, against British forces. With Japanese
monetary, political, diplomatic and military assistance, he formed the Azad Hind Government in
exile and regrouped and led the Indian National Army in battle against the allies at Imphal and in
His political views and the alliances he made with Nazi and other militarist regimes at war with
Britain have been the cause of arguments among historians and politicians, with some accusing
him of fascist sympathies, while others in India have been more sympathetic towards the
inculcation of realpolitik as a manifesto that guided his social and political choices.
Bose advocated complete freedom for India at the earliest, whereas the Congress Committee
wanted it in phases, through a Dominion status. Other younger leaders including Jawaharlal
Nehru supported Bose and finally at the historic Lahore Congress convention, the Congress had
to adopt Purna Swaraj (complete freedom) as its motto. Bhagat Singh's martyrdom and the
inability of the Congress leaders to save his life infuriated Bose and he started a movement
opposing the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. He was imprisoned and expelled from India. But defying the
ban, he came back to India and was imprisoned again.
He is presumed to have died on 18 August 1945 in a plane crash over Taiwan. However,
contradictory evidence exists regarding his death in the accident.

Rash Behari Bose

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Rash Behari Bose

File photo of Rash Behari Bose

Subaldaha village, Burdwan Dist., West
Place of birth:
Bengal, India
Place of death:
Tokyo, Japan
Indian Independence movement, Ghadar
Conspiracy, Indian National Army
Jugantar, Indian Independence League,
Indian National Army
Rashbehari Bose (May 25, 1886January 21, 1945 was a revolutionary leader against the
British Raj in India and was one of the key organisers of the Ghadar conspiracy and later, the
Indian National Army.
Revolutionary activities
Main articles: Delhi-Lahore Conspiracy and Ghadar Conspiracy
Though interested in revolutionary activities early in his life, he left Bengal to shun the Alipore
bomb case (1908). At Dehradun he worked as a head clerk at the Forest Research Institute.
There, through Amarendra Chatterjee of the Jugantar led by Jatin Mukherjee, he secretly got
involved with the revolutionaries of Bengal and, thanks to Jatindra Nath Banerjee alias
Niralamba Swami - the earliest political disciple of Sri Aurobindo - he came across eminent
revolutionary members of the Arya Samaj in the United Provinces (currently Uttar Pradesh) and
the Punjab. Following the attempt to assassinate Lord Hardinge, Rash Behari was forced to go
into hiding. He was hunted by the colonial police due to his active participation in the failed
bomb throwing attempt directed at the Governor General and Viceroy Lord Charles Hardinge in
Delhi (the bomb was actually thrown by Basanta Kumar Biswas, a disciple of Amarendra
Chatterjee). He returned to Dehra Dun by the night train and joined the office the next day as
though nothing had happened. Further, he organised a meeting of loyal citizens of Dehradun to
condemn the dastardly attack on the Viceroy. Who on earth could imagine that he was the same

person who had masterminded and executed the most outstanding revolutionary action. Lord
Hardinge in his My Indian Years has described the whole incident in an interesting way. During
the flood relief work in Bengal, in 1913, he came in contact with Jatin Mukherjee in whom he
"discovered a real leader of men," who "added a new impulse" to Rash Behari's failing zeal.[2]
Thus,during World War I he became extensively involved as one of the leading figures of the
Ghadar Conspiracy that attempted to trigger a mutiny in India in February 1915. Trusted and
tried Ghadrites were sent to several cantonments to infiltrate into the army. The idea of the
Jugantar leaders was that with the war raging in Europe most of the soldiers had gone out of
India and the rest could be easily won over. The revolution failed and most of the revolutionaries
were arrested. But Rash Behari managed to escape British intelligence and reached Japan in


Prof. N.G. Ranga

Prof. N.G. Ranga is one of the great soldiers of freedom movement of India. He was a great
parliamentarian and made enormous contribution to the Indian Polity.
Dr. Adharapurapu Tejovathi, the author of this book is well versed in English, Telugu and Hindi
and has written around 15 novels. She has done a thorough research work to pen this book
related to thelife of the great freedom fighter and parliamentarian Prof. N.G. Ranga. This
biography of Prof. Ranga and his contribution to Indian Polity has been presented in a
comprehensive, lucid and simple manner by the author.
N. G. Ranga
Gogineni Ranganayukulu (Telugu: . . ) , better known as N. G. Ranga (7 November
19009 June 1995), was an Indian freedom fighter, parliamentarian, and kisan (farmer) leader.
He was an exponent of the peasant philosophy, and considered the father of the Indian Peasant
Movement after Swami Sahajanand Saraswati.[1]
Early life
Ranga was born in Nidubrolu village in Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh. He went to school in
his native village, and graduated from the Andhra-Christian College, Guntur. He received a
B.Litt. in Economics from the University of Oxford in 1926. On his return to India, he took up
teaching as Professor of Economics at Pachaiyappa's College, Madras (Chennai).
Political career
Lok Sabha
Period Constituency
2nd Lok Sabha 1957-1962 Tenali
Congress Party
3rd Lok Sabha 1962-1967 Chittoor
Swatantra Party
4th Lok Sabha 1967-1970 Srikakulam Swatantra Party
7th Lok Sabha 1980-1984 Guntur
Congress (I)
8th Lok Sabha 1984-1989 Guntur
Congress (I)
9th Lok Sabha 1989-1991 Guntur
Congress (I)

Ranga joined the freedom movement inspired by Gandhi's clarion call in 1930. He led the ryot
agitation in 1933. Three years later, he launched the Kisan Congress party. He held historic
discussions with Gandhiji on the demand for a rythu-coolie state. He wrote a book, Bapu Blesses
regarding his discussions with Gandhi..
Ranga was one of the founders of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers. He
represented India at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (Copenhagen) in 1946, the
International Labour Organisation (San Francisco) in 1948, the Commonwealth Parliamentary
Conference (Ottawa) in 1952, the International Peasant Union (New York) in 1954 and the Asian
Congress for World Government (Tokyo) in 1955.
He quit the Congress Party and founded the Bharat Krishikar Lok Party and the Swatantra Party,
along with Rajaji who was a trenchant critic of the cooperative farming idea. Ranga became the
founder-president of the Swatantra Party and held that post for a decade. In the general elections
held in 1962, the party won 25 seats and emerged as a strong Opposition. He rejoined the
Congress (I) in 1972.
Ranga served the Indian Parliament for six decades from 1930 to 1991.

Agricultural University of Andhra Pradesh is named in his honour and memory as

Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University.[2]

His name found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as a Parliamentarian
with fifty years of service.[citation needed]

The N.G. Ranga Farmer Award for Diversified Agriculture was instituted by the Indian
Council of Agricultural Research in 2001.

A commemorative postage stamp was released by Government of India in 2001.[3]

He was awarded Padma Vibhushan by the President of India in 1991

Pandurang Sadashiv Sane

Pandurang Sadashiv Sane (24 December 1899 to 11 June 1950), affectionately known as Sane
Guruji (Guruji means "Teacher") to his students and followers was a famous Marathi author,
teacher, social activist, and freedom fighter from Maharashtra, India.
Sane was born on December 24, 1899 to Sadashivrao Sane and Yashodhabai Sane in Palgadh
town, in Ratnagiri district of the Konkan region of rural Maharashtra. He was their second son
and third child. Sadashivrao was a broker (called khot in Marathi) who evaluated and collected

village crops on behalf of the government and got to keep 25% of those collections as his share.
The family was relatively well off during Sane's early childhood but their financial condition
rapidly deteriorated, leading to their house being confiscated by government authorities.
Sane completed his primary education in Palgadh. After his primary education, he was sent to
Pune to live with his maternal uncle for further education. However, he did not like his stay in
Pune and returned to Palgadh to stay at a missionary school in Dapoli, about 6 miles from
Palgadh. While at Dapoli, he was quickly recognized as an intelligent student with good
command over Marathi and Sanskrit languages. He was also interested in poetry. While he was
in school at Dapoli, the financial condition at home deteriorated rapidly and he could not afford
to continue his education. Like his elder brother, he considered taking up a job to help with the
family finances. However, on the recommendation of one of his friends, and with support from
his parents, he enrolled at the Aundh Institution which provided free education and food for poor
students. Here at Aundh he suffered many hardships but continued his education. However, a
plague broke out in Aundh and all students were sent back home. Back in Palgadh, one night he
overheard his parent's conversation in which his father suspected his dedication to education.
Enraged and hurt by his father's suspicion, he immediately traveled to Pune and enrolled as a
student at the Nutan Marathi Vidyalaya.[citation needed]
Life was not easy for Sane in Pune either, and he had to subsist on limited meals. However, he
continued to excel in academics and graduated 10th grade in 1918 after which he enrolled for
further education in New Poona College (now known as Sir Parshurambahu College). He
completed his B.A. and M.A. degrees from New Poona in Marathi and Sanskrit literature.
Sane's father was a freedom fighter.[citation needed] Sane Guruji was also very much influenced by his
mother. He graduated with a degree in Marathi and Sanskrit and earned a Master's degree in
philosophy,Then they decides to teaching. Guruji work as teacher in pratap high school in
amalner town. later joining the teaching profession. He chose to teach in the rural schools,
forgoing a perhaps larger salary he could have earned by teaching wealthier students. He also
worked as a hostel warden. Sane was a gifted orator, captivating audiences with his impassioned
speeches on civil rights and justice.[citation needed] While in school he published a magazine named
Vidyarthi which was very popular among the students.[citation needed] He inculcated cultural and
moral values in the student community. Sane guruji was very popular in students. Students love
them alot and guruji love students alot.
After the Dandi March conducted by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930, he resigned as a teacher and
joined the Indian nationalist movement. He was imprisoned by the British in the Dhule Jail for
more than 15 months for his work in the Quit India Movement. Sane recognized the importance
of the movement, and worked tirelessly for independence, often closely with Gandhi himself.
Vinoba Bhave was in the same jail where Sane was imprisoned. Bhave used to deliver a lecture
on the Bhagavad Gita on each Sunday morning. Sane took notes and wrote the famous book
Geeta Pravachane.
In Tiruchi Jail he learned Tamil and Bengali. He recognised the importance of learning Indian
languages, particularly in the context of the problem of national integration; and started the Antar
Bharati movement.

He has about 73 books to his credit. His famous works in Marathi literature include Shyamchi
Aai (Shyam's mother), Dhadapadanari Mule (Struggling Children) and Shyam. Shyamchi Aai is
now available in English, translated by Aaditi Kulkarni.
The Rashtra Seva Dal has built a national memorial in the name of Sane at Vadghar Taluka
Mangoan, Raigad district, Maharashtra. It is being developed as a camping ground for students
since 2001.
Dalits (untouchables) were not allowed then to enter temples and worship. Sane fought for the
right of Dalits to worship in temples. Sane became incredibly disillusioned with Indian societial
rigidities by the time of his death. A street in Mumbai has since been named in his honor, and an
Indian stamp has been created bearing his portrait.
He died on 11 June 1950. It is commonly believed that he had been depressed for some time and
took his own life.
Narayan Meghaji Lokhande
Narayan Meghaji Lokhande who pioneered the labour movement in India will be remembered
not only for ameliorating the working conditions of textile mill-hands in the 19th century but
also for his courageous initiatives on caste and communal issues.

Shripat Amrit Dange

Shripat Amrit Dange (Marathi: ) (10 October 1899 - 22 May 1991) was a
founding member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and a stalwart of Indian trade union
movement. During the British Raj, Dange was arrested by the British authorities for communist
and trade union activities and was jailed for an overall period of 13 years. After India's
Independence, a series of events like Sino-Soviet split, Sino-Indian war, and the revelation that
while in jail, Dange had written letters to the British Government, offering to cooperate with
Britain against Germany in the World War II, led to a split in the Communist Party of India, in
1964. The breakaway Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) emerged stronger both in
terms of membership and their performance in the Indian Elections. Dange who remained the
Chairman of the CPI till 1978, was removed in that year because the majority of party workers
were against Dange's political line of supporting Indian National Congress, and Indira Gandhi,
the then Congress Prime Minister. He was expelled from the CPI in 1981. He joined the All India
Communist Party (AICP), and later, United Communist Party of India. Towards the end, Dange
got increasingly marginalized in the Indian Communist movement. He was also a well known
writer and was the founder of Socialist the first socialist weekly in India. Dange played an
important role in the formation of Maharashtra state.
Dange was born in a family of Deshastha Brahmins in Nasik, Maharashtra. He was expelled
from college for organizing a movement against compulsory teaching of the Bible.[1] While in
work, Dange was exposed to conditions of workers when he undertook voluntary work in the
textile mill areas of Bombay (now Mumbai). Dange was drawn into active politics by the fervor
of nationalist movement against the British rule in India.[2] Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a veteran leader
of Indian National Congress from Maharashtra, the earliest proponent of swaraj (complete
independence) greatly inspired young Dange. Later, when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-

Cooperation Movement in 1920, Dange gave up his studies and joined the Independence
He became interested in Marxism, while following the Russian Revolution of 1917. He grew
increasingly skeptical about Gandhism, especially about Gandhi's promotion of cottage
industries as the sole solution for India's economic ills, while overlooking possibilities of an
industrial economy.

Ram Manohar Lohia

Ram Manohar Lohia (March 23, 1910 - October 12, 1967) was an
Indian freedom fighter and a socialist political leader
Early life
Ram Manohar Lohia was born in a village Akbarpur in Faizabad district,
Uttar Pradesh, in India to Hira Lal, a nationalist and a teacher, and
Chanda. His mother died when he was very young. Ram was introduced to the Indian
Independence Movement at an early age by his father through the various protest assemblies
Hari Lal took his son to. Ram made his first contribution to the freedom struggle by organizing a
small hartal on the death of Lokmanya Tilak.
Hari Lal, an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi, took his son along on a meeting with the
Mahatma. This meeting deeply influenced Lohia and sustained him during trying circumstances
and helped seed his thoughts, actions and love for swaraj. Ram was so impressed by Gandhiji's
spiritual power and radiant self-control that he pledged to follow the Mahatma's footsteps. He
proved his allegiance to Gandhi, and more importantly to the movement as a whole, by joining a
satyagraha march at the age of ten.
Lohia met Jawaharlal Nehru in 1921. Over the years they developed a close friendship. Lohia,
however, never hesitated to censure Nehru on his political beliefs and openly expressed
disagreement with Nehru on many key issues. Lohia organized a student protest in 1928 to
protest the all-white Simon Commission which was to consider the possibility of granting India
dominion status without requiring consultation of the Indian people.
Lohia attended the Banaras Hindu University to complete his intermediate course work after
standing first in his school's matric examinations. In 1929, Lohia completed his B.A. from
Calcutta University. He decided to attend Berlin University, Germany over all prestigious
educational institutes in Britain to convey his dim view of British philosophy. He soon learned
German and received financial assistance based on his outstanding academic performance.
Freedom Fighter
While in Europe, Lohia attended the League of Nations assembly in Geneva. India was
represented by the Maharaja of Bikaner, an ally of the British Raj. Lohia took exception to this
and launched a protest there and there from the visitors gallery. He fired several letters to editors
of newspapers and magazines to clarify the reasons for his protest. The whole incident made
Lohia a recognized figure in India overnight. Lohia helped organize the Association of European
Indians and became secretary of the club. The main focus of the organization was to preserve and
expand Indian nationalism outside of India.
Lohia wrote his PhD thesis paper on the topic of Salt Satyagraha, focusing on Gandhiji's socioeconomic theory.

Pandita Ramabai
Pandita Ramabai (23 April 1858, Maharashtra- 5 April 1922) was an
eminent Indian Christian social reformer and activist.
She was a poet, a scholar, and a champion of improvement in the plight of
Indian women. As a social reformer, she championed the cause of
emancipation of Indian women. A widely traveled lady, she visited most
parts of India, and even went to England (1883) and the U.S. (1886-88). She
wrote many books including her widely popular work titled The High Caste
Hindu Woman, which showed the darkest of subject matter relating to the
life of Hindu women, including child brides and the treatment they receive
by the government. She had a strong view of what should be accomplished
so women would be able to have more freedom, including protection of
widowed women and child brides and she was also against the practice of suttee.
Pandita Ramabai was born into an intellectual Brahmin family. Her father believed that women
should have an education and against traditional Hindu social structure he taught Ramabai as
well as his second wife, Ramambais mother Puranic and how to read and write Sanskrit. As well
as how to interpret vedic texts. She was raised by her father Anant Shastri Dongre and her
mother Lakshmibai. Her father was a scholar of Sanskrit, and her mother was educated as well.
They were a Chitpawan Brahmin couple. Through her childhood Ramabai proved to be a
dedicated student and a good learner. In her book "The High-Caste Hindu Women" she writes
that less than one percent of Hindu women were educated and able to read or write. Her
education was of such importance to her father that he went against tradition and didnt arrange
her marriage at a young age like most Hindu girls. Her father, mother and sister died of
starvation during the famine of 1874-76, and her brother and she traveled around and eventually
ended up in Calcutta. [1]
After her brother's death in 1880, even though it was considered inappropriate for a Hindu to
marry into a lower caste, she married, on November 13, 1880, Babu Bipin Behari Medhavi, a
Bengali lawyer at Bankipore (Patna, Bihar), who was not a Brahmin. Six months after the birth
of their daughter, Babu died, and Pandita was once again left with just one family member.[2]
She received a scholarship to study in England, although she waited until she sold her first book
Stree Dharma-Neeti to pay her way there. Many believed that Ramabai being in England instead
of in India jeopardized her power as an Indian reformer. However, Ramabai refused to do
anything that was not satisfactory to her mind. She believed that it was important that Indians
remain recalcitrant towards the British colonization in the sub-continent in order to maintain
their rich culture. During her time in England, she converted to Christianity and interestingly did
not ever lose sight of her goals for the social system in India. She clung to her roots and when
she returned to India she helped put up Christian Churches which had Sanskrit writing instead of
traditional Latin which was used in England. Ramabai attempted to combine her new Christian
ideals with her old Indian Culture and used this mix to promote change in India. Being raised as
in the Brahman caste made her uniquely able to bring both men and women to Christianity due
to the castes image as social leaders.

Ramabai Ranade
Ramabai Ranade has been the pioneer of the modern women`s
movement in India and outside. Though an illiterate she toiled hard to
climb up the social ladder with the guidance of her husband, Madhav
Govind Ranade. She was the founder and president of the Seva Sadan,
which is the most successful of all Indian women`s institution and is
attended by over 1000 women. The immense popularity of the institution
was due to the fact that it was under Ramabai`s close personal supervision. She concentrated all
her energy for the growth of Seva Sevadan and as a result it has become an institution without a
second of its kind. It will ever remain a monument in her sacred memory. She spent all her time
Ramabai was born on 25 January 1862. She was barely 11 years old when she was married to
Madhav Govind Ranade, who was a scholar, idealist and a revolutionary social activisy. Ramabai
was an illiterate when she was married as she lived in a time when the superstitious belief existed
that it was a sin for a girl to read or write. Her husband was a graduate of Bombay University
with first class honors. Scholars addressed him as the "Prince of Graduates". He worked as the
Profes-sor of English and Economics at the Elphinstone College in Bombay. He was an oriental
translator and a social reformer. Later he was posted as the sub-judge of Pune. He was a
transparent judge who served humanity. He worked against all the evils that existed in the
society. He was against untouchability, child marriage and Sati. He sponsored the first widowermarriage in Bombay. He claimed for women`s education and equal rights for women He took
over the Saroajanik Sabha and led a number of movements for social development. He had won
the praise of the whole of Maharashtra by the time he was in his early thirties. He took over the
Saroajanik Sabha and led a number of movements for social development. He had won the praise
of the whole of Maharashtra by the time he was in his early thirties.
Ramabai made it a mission to educate herself, so that she could be an equal partner in the active
life led by her husband. She became his devoted disciple and slowly became his Secretary and
later as his trusted friend. Madhav gave regular lessons to young Ramabai in writing alphabets,
reading Marathi, History, Geography, Mathematics and English. He used to make her read all
newspapers and discuss with him current af-fairs. She became fond of English literature.
Ramabai`s important literary contribution is her autobiography Memories in which she gives a
detailed account of her married life. She published a collection of Justice Ranade`s Lectures on
Ramabai made her first public appearance at Nasik High School as the Chief Guest. Madhav
wrote her maiden speech. She mastered the art of speaking Marathi and English effectively in
public. Her speeches were simple but her words touched the hearts of the audience. She began
working for Prarthalltl Samaj in Bombay. She established a branch of Arya Mahila Samaj in the
city. From 1893 to 1901 Ramabai was at the peak of her popularity in her social activities. She
established the `Hindu Ladies Social and Literary Club` in Bombay and started a number of
classes to train women in languages, general knowledge, tailoring and handwork.

Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj

An ideal ruler, progressive leader and a foresighted social reformer
Born in the Ghatge family of Kagal in Kolhapur district, Shahu
Maharaj was given the name Yashwantrao. After the death of Shivaji
IV, the king of Kolhapur Princely State, the young child Yashwantrao
was adopted by Anandibai, the Kings widow, and subsequently
coroneted King in 1894. His rule in the period 1894 to 1922, lasting 28 years, is an important
chapter in the history of Maharashtra.
During his reign, Shahu Maharaj gave special importance to the education of the masses and
introduced several programs for them. He started separate hostels in Kolhapur for students from
the Maratha, Lingayat, Panchal, Jain, Muslims, Shimpi, Devadnya, Vaishya, Dhor-Chambhar and
Nabhik communities and the Miss Clark Boarding especially for the students from the
untouchable (socially quarantined) communities. He offered scholarships to the needy and
intelligent students from the backward castes so that they could continue their education. He
made primary education compulsory and free for all in his Princely State. His royal decree held
up the cause of womens education. To abolish untouchability, he stopped the cruel system
followed by many institutions to hold separate schools for the upper and lower castes in 1919.
He started Patil schools so that village heads could be good administrators. In times when the
study of Vedic literature was considered a domain of the Brahmins (higher caste Pundits), he
established Vedic schools that taught the Vedas to the masses and Sanskrit schools for the
propagation of the Sanskrit language.
He vehemently opposed caste discrimination and took many steps to abolish untouchability. He
introduced reservation for the untouchables in government jobs. He issued a royal decree in his
Princely State to treat all humans equal and to give equal access to the untouchables to public
utilities like common wells, schools, hospitals and common buildings. His commitment to
abolish untouchability was such that he was even ready to give up his throne for the service of
the dalit or lower class people. He legalised inter caste marriages and discontinued the hereditary
tenures (Watan) of revenue collectors (Kulkarni), infamous for exploiting the masses, as also the
Mahar tenures that enslaved the Mahars (a lower caste). In 1917 he legalised remarriages and
widow remarriages in his Princely State. He also introduced a law banning thepractice of
Devdasi (a tradition where a girl is offered to God).
Rajarshi Shahu is considered one of the leaders of the anti-Brahmin movement. He strived for
giving the masses and lower class communities equal participation in political power. In 1916, he
established the Deccan Rayat Association in Nipani with the objective of securing political rights
for the non-Brahmins. He toured Maharashtra extensively and held public meetings to promote
the cause of the anti-Brahmin movement. The struggle over the right to recite the Vedas occurred
in Rajarshi Shahus time. This struggle created a storm in the social life of Maharashtra, and gave
birth to the Satyashodhak (truth finding) movement.

Maharshi V R Shinde
A great social reformist who strived all his life to eradicate untouchability

Vitthal Ramji Shinde was born on 23rd April, 1873 in the village Jamkhandi in Karnataka State.
He was influenced by the Warkari environment in the house. He knew Marathi and Kannada
languages well. Later, he also learnt other languages like Sanskrit, Pali and English. He received
a scholarship from the Deccan Maratha Education Association while studying in Punes
Fergusson College. He got his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1898 and completed the first year of
Law. He received a monthly scholarship of Rs.25 from Maharaja SayajiRao Gaikwad (a
progressive and reformist in his own rights) of the Baroda Princely State, on a promise that after
completing his education, he would work for the Baroda Princely State.
The same year, Vitthalrao was drawn towards Prarthana Samaj and became its missionary. Here,
he was further inspired and influenced by G. B. Kotkar, Shivrampant Gokhale, Justice Ranade,
R. G. Bhandarkar and K. B. Marathe. In 1901 he was sent by the Samaj to the Manchester
College, Oxford, England, where he studied comparative religion, Pali language and Buddhist
religion for two years. Maharaja SayajiRao provided financial assistance for his travel abroad.
He returned to Mumbai in October 1903. In 1905 he started a night school for the untouchables
in Meethganjapeth. VitthalRao considered Mahatma Phule as his Guru. On 18th October 1906
he established the Indian Depressed Class Mission in Mumbai. The objectives of the mission
were the following:

Propagate education among the untouchables;

Garner jobs for them;
Resolve their social issues;
Propagate exemplary values in individuals like good disposition, secularism, civic sense

Many schools and hostels were founded by this mission. He worked for two years for the free
dispensary run by the mission.
On 14th March 1907, he established the Somvanshiya Mitra Samaj with the aim of religious and
social reforms, especially for the untouchables. He attempted to abolish the Devdasi system (a
practice where young girls are offered to temples and they spend their entire life in the temple,
dancing at the whim and fancy of the men and being exploited) among the Mahar and Mang
women and practices of animal sacrifice, eating beef and drinking.
In 1910, he ended his association with the Prarthana Samaj.
By 1912, the Depressed Classes Mission had 23 schools, 55 teachers, 1100 students, 5 hostels,
12 branches, and 5 canvassing volunteers across 14 locations, in seven States and four different
languages. In 1917 he established the Akhil Bhartiya Nirashrit Asprushyata Nivarak Sangha. He
also convened an all-India convention in Mumbai to eradicate untouchability. He attempted
social reform through convening many such conferences for eradicating untouchability. He
succeeded in getting the Indian National Congress to pass a resolution condemning the practice
of untouchability. In 1922, he completed the construction of the AhilyaAshram.

From 1925 to 1926 he visited Burma to study the social ethos there and Buddhist religion as
practiced there.
Maharshi Shinde also attempted social reform through his writings. He wrote articles for the
magazine Upasana and for the weekly SubodhChandrika. He tried to awaken the society towards
the issue of untouchability through his Bahishkrut Bharat (ostracised India) and Bharatiya
Asprushyatecha Prasna (the problem of Indias untouchability), published in 1933. His thoughts
and examination of the Hindu religion and social culture were similar to Raja Ram Mohan Roy
and Dayananda Saraswati. In his writings, he rejects the caste system, idol worship and
discrimination against woman and the depressed classes. He rejected meaningless rituals, the
dominance of hereditary priesthood and the requirement for a priest to mediate between God and
his devotees. His essay Hindustanatil Udar Dharma (the munificent region of India) presented in
the religious convention in Holland became famous. He also wrote an autobiography titled
Aathavani ani Anubhav. He was the president of the Marathi Literary convention held in Baroda
in 1934.
In 1930 he participated in the Civil Disobedience movement of Mahatma Gandhi and was
imprisoned for six months of hard labour in the Yerawada prison near Pune. He also undertook
social and political work through organisations like Rashtriya Maratha Sangh, Samata Sainik
Dal and Bahujan Samaj Paksha. He did outstanding work in issues related to the entry of
untouchables in temples, animal sacrifice during Holi festival, the Murali tradition (children are
offered to God, and eventually end up getting exploited), etc. He studied the farmers problems
and tried to organize them.
He strongly believed that along with the upliftment of the untouchables and giving them
confidence, it was equally important to work with the upper castes to remove their biases against
the untouchables.
Maharshi Vitthal Ramji Shinde, the stalwart who worked against untouchability all his life,
expired on January 2, 1944.
Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru (Hindi: , pronounced [darlal neru]; 14 November

188927 May 1964[1]) was an Indian statesman who was the first, and is to date the longestserving, prime minister of India, having served from 1947 until 1964. A leading figure in the
Indian independence movement, Nehru was elected by the Congress party to assume office as
independent India's first Prime Minister, and later when the Congress won India's first general
election in 1952. As one of the founders of the Non-aligned Movement, he was also an important

figure in the international politics of the post-war era. He is frequently referred to as Pandit
Nehru ("pandit" being a Sanskrit and Hindi honorific meaning "scholar" or "teacher") and,
specifically in India, as Panditji (with "-ji" being a suffix to the honorific).
The son of a wealthy Indian barrister and politician, Motilal Nehru, Nehru became a leader of the
left wing of the Indian National Congress when still fairly young. Rising to become Congress
President, under the mentorship of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru was a charismatic and radical leader,
advocating complete independence from the British Empire. In the long struggle for Indian
independence, in which he was a key player, Nehru was eventually recognized as Gandhi's
political heir. Throughout his life, Nehru was also an advocate for Fabian socialism and the
public sector as the means by which long-standing challenges of economic development could be
addressed by poorer nations.
Nehru was educated in Britain: at Harrow School, an independent school for boys in Harrow on
the Hill, in West London, followed by Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, in
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Life and career
Nehru was given the singular honour of raising the flag of independent India in New Delhi on 15
August 1947, when India gained Independence. Nehru's appreciation of the virtues of
parliamentary democracy, secularism and liberalism coupled with concerns for the poor and
underprivileged are recognised to have guided him in formulating policies that influence India to
this day. They also reflect the socialist origins of his worldview. His long tenure was instrumental
in shaping the traditions and structures of independent India. He is sometimes referred to as the
"Architect of Modern India". His daughter, Indira Gandhi, and grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, also
served as Prime Ministers of India.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Vallabhbhai Patel (Gujarati: , pronounced [lbai pel] ( listen)) (31

October 1875 15 December 1950) was a political and social leader of India who played a major
role in the country's struggle for independence and guided its integration into a united,
independent nation. He was called as "Iron Man Of India" In India and across the world, he was

often addressed as Sardar (Gujarati: , [sda]), which means Chief in many languages of
Raised in the countryside of Gujarat in Patidar Gurjar[1] [2] community and largely self-educated,
Vallabhbhai Patel was employed in successful practice as a lawyer when he was first inspired by
the work and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. Patel subsequently organised the peasants of
Kheda, Borsad, and Bardoli in Gujarat in non-violent civil disobedience against oppressive
policies imposed by the British Raj; in this role, he became one of the most influential leaders in
Gujarat. He rose to the leadership of the Indian National Congress and was at the forefront of
rebellions and political events, organising the party for elections in 1934 and 1937, and
promoting the Quit India movement.
As the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel organised relief for
refugees in Punjab and Delhi, and led efforts to restore peace across the nation. Patel took charge
of the task to forge a united India from the 565 semi-autonomous princely states and British-era
colonial provinces. Using frank diplomacy backed with the option (and the use) of military
action, Patel's leadership enabled the accession of almost every princely state. Hailed as the Iron
Man of India, he is also remembered as the "Patron Saint" of India's civil servants for
establishing modern all-India services. Patel was also one of the earliest proponents of property
rights and free enterprise in India.
Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel was born at his maternal uncle's house in Nadiad in Leva Patidar
Gurjar[3] community of Gujarat. His actual date of birth was never officially recordedPatel
entered 31 October as his date of birth on his matriculation examination papers.[4] He was the
fourth son of Jhaverbhai and his wife Ladba Patel. They lived in the village of Karamsad, in the
Kheda district where Jhaverbhai owned a homestead. Somabhai, Narsibhai and Vithalbhai Patel
(also a future political leader) were his elder brothers. He had a younger brother, Kashibhai and a
sister, Dahiba. As a young boy, Patel helped his father in the fields and bimonthly kept a daylong fast, abstaining from food and watera Hindu cultural observance that enabled him to
develop physical toughness.[5] When he was eighteen years old, Patel's marriage was arranged
with Jhaverba, a young girl of twelve or thirteen years from a nearby village. As per custom, the
young bride would continue to reside with her parents until her husband started earning and
could establish their household.
Swami Ramanand Tirtha
Swami Ramanand Tirtha or Swami Ramanand Teerth (1903-1972), an educator and social
activist participated in the Hyderabad liberation struggle, during the reign of the last Nizam.
He fought the Nizam, and created a revolutionary movement which helped Hyderabad to
integrate with the Indian union in 1948. The integration was successful after Police Action.
The Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University, Nanded which caters for southern part of
Marathwada Region of Maharashtra State, specifically to the districts of Nanded, Latur, Parbhani
and Hingoli has been named after him. The University, set up in 1994, has 172 colleges affiliated
to it.
Portrait of T.B. Cunha

Vikas Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri

Dr. T.B. Cunha (1891-1958)

Tristao de Braganza Cunha was a Goan nationalist and one of the first to merge Goan freedom
struggle with rest of India's freedom struggle
Tristao de Braganza Cunha

First Day Cover issued in Goa; September 1998~ Courtesy Jerry Menezes
1891 ~ 1958

Father of Goan Nationalism

This account is abstracted from the book " FRANKLY SPEAKING, The Collected Writings of
Prof. Frank D'Souza" Editor-in chief Mgr. Benny Aguiar, published by the Prof. Frank D'Souza
Memorial Committee, Bombay 1987.
Tristao de Braganza Cunha, an illustrious son of Chandor, Salcette, was born on April 2, 1891.
His father, Dr. Ligorio da Cunha, was the editor of the paper "Nacionalista". Tristao remained a
bachelor all his life, wedded to one cause ----- the ultimate liberation of Goa from Portuguese
After completing his school education at Panjim, he joined the French College at Pondicherry,
where he obtained his Baccalaureate (B.A.) and proceeded to Paris for advanced studies at the
celebrated Sorbonne University, where he qualified as an electrical engineer. He worked in
France as an engineer for some years. At that time, France was the intellectual centre of Europe.
Tristao with his powerful nationalistic leanings, wielded his trenchant pen to propagate the cause
of the freedom of Goa, a Portuguese colony hardly one-third the size of a British Indian district
of the time. Tristao de Braganza Cunha is rightly regarded as the Father of Goan Nationalism.
While he was in France, the national struggle for the freedom of India under the charismatic
leadership of Mathma Gandhi, was in full swing. Its vibrations reached Tristao in France, and he
became a regular contributor the French papers Clarte and L'Humanite, reporting news from the
Indian political scenes. The Jallianwalla Bagh massacre, highlighting the brutal sadism and
barbarism of the British military brass-hats, was first made known in all its gory detail, through
the forceful pen of Tristao. He also wrote a biographical study of Mahatma Gandhi in serializes
form; it became the source material of Romain Rolland's biography of Mahatma Gandhi.
During his time in France he came under the spell of the conflicting ideologies of Lenin and
Mahatma Gandhi, and was, by some miracle of genius, able to achieve a synthesis between them.
He had, however, pronounced Leftist leanings. After a long sojourn in France, he returned to
India in 1926, and carried on his noble mission of rousing the political consciousness of the
people and mobilising them for the struggle against Portuguese oppression. India's historian,
Sadar K.M. Panniker, had paid him a high compliment by describing him as in effect, nationalist
India's first ambassador in France where he generated an awareness and created a lively interest
in India's struggle for freedom.
Once back in India, he did not let the grass grow under his feet. He founded the Goa Congress
Committee in Portuguese India in 1928, to strive for the liberation of Goa, Daman and Diu,
against overwhelming odds. With is writings, he sought to inspire the Goan intelligentsia to
organize themselves to struggle against the brute might of the Portuguese colonial power. His
booklet, Four hundred years of Foreign Rule, and his pamphlet, Denationalisation of Goa, were
to be proven eye-openers to the Goans themselves to the painful oppression that had been forced
upon them. Messages of sympathy, expressing solidarity with the Goans in the struggle for
freedom, were received by the Goa Congress Committee from Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Jawaharlal
Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, and several others.
12th October, 1938 was a historic date for the Goa Liberation struggle. T. B. Cunha with other
members of the Goa Congress Committee met Subhas Chandra Bose, the President of the Indian
National Congress, and on his advice, they opened a Branch Office of the Goa Congress
Committee at 21, Dalal Street, Bombay. The Goa Congress was affiliated to the Indian National

Congress. T.B. Cunha was selected its first President. He gave a clarion call to all Goans to join
the liberation movement.
In June 1946, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, the great Indian Socialist leader, entered Goa on a visit to
his friend, Dr. Juliao Menezes, a nationalist leader, who had founded in Bombay the Gomantak
Praja Mandal and edited the weekly, Gomantak. Tristao and other leaders were also with him. As
a result of this visit, there was a great political awakening among the Goans, and shouts of "Jai
Hind" reverberated in Goa for the first time. But the Portuguese authorities, with their usual
political myopia turned a blind eye to the writing on the wall, and a deaf year to the clamour for
independence. When they woke up to the gravity of the situation, they brutally assaulted the
Goan Satyagrahis, by bayonetting them, and T. B. Cunha carried the mark of the bayonet to the
grave. He was arrested and kept in a dark damp cell in Fort Aguada. He was tried by a military
tribunal (the first civilian to be so tried) and sentenced to eight years imprisonment in the Fort of
Peniche in Portugal. After his release, he returned to Bombay in 1953, to take up the
chairmanship f the Goa Action Committee and editorship of the fortnightly, Free Goa
After five years of valiant swordsmanship with his powerful pen, he died on September 28, 1958
--- three years before the liberation of Goa, cause which he so zealously espoused. The National
Congress (Goa) in a condolence resolution described him as "The founder of the Goan
Liberation Movement." In a message, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru remarked,
" What is worth remembering is that a small territory has produced a relatively large number
of men and women who have sacrificed much for the struggle. Among them that stands out is
that of Dr. T. B. Cunha"
Belated recognition came to him from the World Peace Council at Stockholm in 1959.
Posthumously T. B. Cunha was awarded a gold medal for his contribution to the cause of "Peace
and Friendship among People."

Nanasaheb Peshwa

Nanasaheb Peshwa (1720 or 1721 1761), also known as Balaji Bajirao, was the son of
Bajirao from his marriage with Kashibai and one of the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire. He
contributed heavily to the development of the city of Pune, India. He was appointed as Peshwa
by Chattrapati Shahu himself. At time of his death in 1749, the issueless Shahu made the
Peshwas the rulers of the Maratha Empire.

Contribution to Pune city

During his 20 year reign (1740 to 1761), Balaji Bajirao completely transformed Pune from a
nagar into a big city. He established many new neighbourhoods (called peths) like Sadashiv Peth,
Nana Peth, Etc. He built the famous Parvati temple atop a hill that overlooks the city and built
the first permanent bridge across the river Mutha. (That bridge was made of wood, so the new
concrete bridge that stands at the same location today is also called LakDi Pool or 'the wooden
bridge'). He also established a reservoir at the nearby town of Katraj to provide clean running
water to the city. The 250 year old system is still functioning, but parts of it have been destroyed
by careless development.

His reign
His career saw some of the best and worst moments of the Maratha empire. Maratha power in
India reached its peak under his reign. Balaji Bajirao, his uncle (Kaka) Chimaji Appa (younger
Brother of Bajirao-I), his cousin Sadashivrao Bhau (Chimaji Appa's son), and his younger
brother Raghunathrao were successful in establishing and consolidating Maratha dominance in
India. He radically extended the Maratha Empire. However, he is partly responsible for the
defeat of the Marathas at the Battle of Panipat (1761).

Ramachandra Pandurang Tope (1814 - 18 April 1859), also
known as Tatya Tope (pronounced Toh-pey), was an Indian leader
in the First War of Indian Independenceof 1857. He was a personal
adherent of Nana Sahib of Kanpur. He progressed with the Gwalior
contingent after the British reoccupation of Kanpur and forced
General Windham to retreat from Kanpur. Later on, he came to the
rescue of Rani Laxmi Bai. However he was defeated by General
Napier`s troops and was executed by the British Government at
Shivpuri on 18 April 1859.
Born in village Yeola in Maharashtra, he was the only son of Pandurang Rao Tope and his wife
Rukhmabai, an important noble at the court of the Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao II. His father shifted
his family with the Peshwa to Bithur where his son became the most intimate friend of the
Peshwa's adopted son, Nana Dhondu Pant (known as Nana Sahib) and Maharaja Madhav
In 1851, when Lord Dalhousie deprived Nana Sahib of his father's pension, Tatya Tope also
became a sworn enemy of the British. In May 1857, when the political storm was gaining
momentum, he won over the Indian troops of the East India Company, stationed at Kanpur
(Cawnpore), established Nana Sahib's authority and became the Commander-in-Chief of his
When Nana Sahib's forces attacked the British entrenchment in June, 1857, General Wheeler's
contingent incurred heavy losses as a result of successive bombardments, sniper fire, and assault.
Also slow supplies of food, water and medicine added to their misery and they decided to
surrender, in return for a safe passage to Allahabad. But despite Nana Sahib's arrangements,
some confusion at the Satichaura ghat led to attacks on the departing British by the rebel sepoys,
and were either killed or captured.The surviving British women and children were moved from
the Savada House to Bibighar ("the House of the Ladies"), a villa-type house in Kanpur.
Retaliation occurred as Company forces started approaching Kanpur, and Nana Sahib's
bargaining attempts had failed(in exchange for hostages). Nana Sahib was informed that the
British troops led by Havelock and Neill were indulging in violence against the Indian
villagers.Nana Sahib, and his associates, including Tatya Tope and Azimullah Khan, debated
about what to do with the captives at Bibighar. Some of Nana Sahib's advisors had already
decided to kill the captives at Bibighar, as revenge for the murders of Indians by the advancing
British forces. The details of the incident, such as who ordered the massacre, are not clear.

Rani Laxmibai
Lakshmibai, The Rani (Queen) of Jhansi (c.19
November 1828 17 June 1858) (Hindi-
Marathi- ), known as Jhansi Ki Rani, was the
queen of the Maratha-ruled princely state of Jhansi, was
one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857,
and a symbol of resistance to British rule in India. She has
gone down in Indian history as a legendary figure, as
India's "Joan of Arc."
Originally named Manikarnika at birth, she was born to a
Maharashtrian Karhade Brahmin family on 19 November
1828 at Dwadashi, District Satara. She lost her mother at
the age of four. She was educated at home. Her father
Moropant Tambey worked at the court of Peshwa Baji Rao
at Bithur and then travelled to the court of Raja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar, the Maharaja of
Jhansi, when Manu was thirteen years old. [ambiguous] She married Gangadhar Rao, the Raja of
Jhansi, at the age of 14.[2]
After her marriage, she was given the name Lakshmi Bai. Because of her father's influence at
court, Rani Lakshmi Bai had more independence than most women, who were normally
restricted to the zenana: she studied self defense, horsemanship, archery, and even formed her
own army out of her female friends at court.
Rani Lakshmi Bai gave birth to a son in 1851, however this child died when he was about four
months old. After the death of their son, the Raja and Rani of Jhansi adopted Damodar Rao.
However, it is said that her husband the Raja never recovered from his son's death, and he died
on 21 November 1853 of a broken heart.
Because Damodar Rao was adopted and not biologically related to the Raja, the East India
Company, under Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, was able to install the Doctrine of Lapse,
rejecting Rao's rightful claim to the throne. Dalhousie then annexed Jhansi, saying that the throne
had become "lapsed" and thus put Jhansi under his "protection". In March 1854, the Rani was
given a pension of 60,000 rupees and ordered to leave the palace at the Jhansi fort.
While this was happening in Jhansi, on May 10, 1857 the Sepoy (soldier) Mutiny of India started
in Meerut. This would become the starting point for the rebellion against the British. It began
after rumours were put about that the new bullet casings for their Enfield rifles were coated with
pork/beef fat, pigs being taboo to Muslims and cows sacred to Hindus and thus forbidden to eat.
British commanders insisted on their use and started to discipline anyone who disobeyed. During
this rebellion many British civilians, including women, and children were killed by the sepoys.
The British wanted to end the rebellion quickly.

She died on 18 June, 1858 during the battle for Gwalior with 8th Hussars that took place in
Kotah-Ki-Serai near Phool Bagh area of Gwalior. She donned warrior's clothes and rode into
battle to save Gwalior Fort, about 120 miles west of Lucknow in what is now the state of Uttar
Pradesh. The British captured Gwalior three days later. In the report of the battle for Gwalior,
General Sir Hugh Rose commented that the rani "remarkable for her beauty, cleverness and
perseverance" had been "the most dangerous of all the rebel leaders"[6].

Bahadur Shah
bu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar
) , also

known as Bahadur Shah or Bahadur Shah II (Urdu:
( ) October 1775 7 November 1862) was
the last of the Mughal emperors in India, as well as the last
ruler of the Timurid Dynasty. He was the son of Akbar
Shah II and Lalbai, who was a Hindu Rajput. He became
the Mughal Emperor upon his father's death on 28
September 1837. Zafar ( Urdu: ) , meaning victory
was his nom de plume (takhallus) as an Urdu poet. Even in
defeat it is traditionally believed that he said
As long as there remains the least trace of love of faith in
the hearts of our heroes, so long, the sword of Hindustan shall be sharp, and one day shall flash
even at the gates of London.[2]
Zafar's father Akbar Shah Saani II ruled over a rapidly disintegrating empire between 1806 to
1837. It was during his time that the East India Company dispensed with even the fig leaf of
ruling in the name of the Mughal Monarch and removed his name from the Persian texts that
appeared on the coins struck by the company in the areas under their control.
Bahadur Shah Zafar who succeeded him was not Akbar Shah Saanis choice as his successor,
Akbar Shah was, in fact, under great pressure by one of his queens, Mumtaz Begum to declare
her son Mirza Jahangir as the successor. Akbar Shah would have probably accepted this demand
but Mirza Jahangir had fallen foul of the British and they would have none of this.

Babu Kunwar Singh

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For the former Governor of Bombay, see Raja Maharaj Singh.
Babu Veer Kunwar Singh

Babu Kunwar Singh


Veer Kunwar Singh

Jagdispur, Bihar
1858 (aged 8081)
Jagdispur, Bihar
Shabzada Singh(father), Panchratan Devi(mother)

Babu Veer Kunwar Singh (17771858), one of the leaders of the Indian Rebellion of 1857
belonged to a royal Ujjaini house[citation needed] of Jagdispur, currently a part of Bhojpur district,
Bihar state, India. At the age of 80 years, during Indias First War of Independence (1857), he
actively led a select band of armed soldiers against the troops under the command of the British
East India Company. He was the chief organizer of the fight against the British in Bihar.[1]

Early life
Babu Kunwar Singh was born in November 1777 to Raja Shahabzada Singh and Rani
Panchratan Devi, in Jagdispur in the Shahabad (now Bhojpur) District, in the state of Bihar.[1] He
belongs to the Paramara community.[citation needed] In the early thirteenth century, the Paramara
Rajputs (descendants of great Raja Bhoja and Vikramaditya Parmar) of Dhar, Malwa (Ujjain)
came to the eastern part (Gaya) of India for doing Pind Daan to their forefathers and they settled

along the fertile banks of the river Ganges in the western part of Bihar (Shahabad district). They
were locally known as Ujjainya (Ujjain) Rajputs because of their place of origin, Ujjain.

Veer kunwar singh married the daughter of Raja Fateh Naraiyan Singh, a wealthy zamindar of
Gaya district, Bihar and a descendants of Maharana Pratap of Mewar[citation needed].

He was an expert in the art of guerrilla warfare. He was the first Indian warrior after Shivaji to
prove the efficacy of the warfare. His tactics left British puzzled.[2]

Indian rebellion of 1857

Kunwar Singh and his attendants

Kunwar Singh led the rebellion in Bihar. He assumed command of the soldiers who had revolted
at Danapur on 5th July. Two days later he occupied Arrah, the district headquarter. Major Vincent
Eyre relieved the town on 3rd August, defeated Kunwar Singh's force and destroyed Jagdishpur.
Kunwar Singh left his ancestral village and reached Lucknow in December 1857. Kunwar Singh
was nearly eighty and in failing health when he was called upon to take up arms. He gave a good
fight and harried British forces for nearly a year and remained invincible until the end. During
the rebellion, his army had to cross the Ganges river. Douglas' army began to shoot at their boat.
One of the bullets shattered Kunwar Singh's left wrist. Kunwar Singh felt that his hand had
become useless and that there was the additional risk of infection due to the bullet-shot. He drew
his sword and cut off his left hand near the elbow and offered it to the Ganges.[2] [3] Kunwar
Singh assumed command of the soldiers who had revolted at Danapur on July 5. Two days later
he occupied Arrah, the district headquarters. Major Vincent Eyre relieved the town on 3 August,
defeated Kunwar Singh's force and destroyed Jagdispur. Kunwar Singh left his ancestral village
and reached Lucknow in December 1857. In March 1858 he occupied Azamgarh.[4] However, he
had to leave the place soon. Pursued by Brigadier Douglas, he retreated towards his home in Ara,
Bihar. On 23 April, Kunwar Singh had a victory near Jagdispur over the force led by Captain Le
Grand. On 26 April 1858 he died in his village. The mantle of the old chief now fell on his
brother Amar Singh who, despite heavy odds, continued the struggle and for a considerable time,
running a parallel government in the district of Shahabad. In October 1859, Amar Singh joined
the rebel leaders in the Nepal Terai.[3]

In his last battle, fought on 23 April 1858, near Jagdispur, the troops under the control of the East
India Company were completely routed. On 22 and 23 April being injured he fought bravely
against the British Army and with the help of his army drove away the British Army, brought

down the Union Jack from Jagdishpur Fort and hoisted his flag.[5] He returned to his palace on 23
April 1858 and soon died on 26 April 1858.[6][2]

Begum Hazrat Mahal

Begum Hazrat Mahal (Urdu: born c. 1820)[citation needed] also known as Begum of
Awadh, was the first wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah[citation needed]. She rebelled against the British
East India Company during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. After her husband had been exiled to
Calcutta, she took charge of the affairs of the state of Awadh and seized control of Lucknow. She
also set up her son, Prince Birjis Qadir, as the Wali (ruler) of Awadh, but he was soon forced to
abandon this role. She rejected the promises of allowance and status held out to her by the
British. She finally found asylum in Nepal where she died in 1879.

Her maiden name was Muhammadi Khanum, she was born at Faizabad, Awadh, India.[1] She was
a courtesan by profession and had been taken into the royal harem as a Khawasin after being sold
by her parents to Royal agents and later promoted to a Pari.[2] She became a Begum after being
accepted as a royal concubine of the King of Oudh,[3] and the title 'Hazrat Mahal' was bestowed
on her after the birth of their son, Birjis Qadra.
She was a junior[4] wife of the last Tajdaar-e-Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah. The British had annexed
Oudh in 1856 and Wajid Ali Shah was exiled to Calcutta. After her husband was exiled to
Calcutta, she took charge of the affairs of the state of Awadh despite her divorce from the
Nawab[5] which then was a large part of the current state of Uttar Pradesh, India.
During the Indian Rebellion of 18571858, Begum Hazrat Mahal's band of supporters led by
Raja Jailal Singh against the forces of the British East India Company, and was even able to
seize control of Lucknow. She declared her son Birjis Qadar as the ruler (Wali) of Oudh.[2] When
the forces under the command of the British re-captured Lucknow and most of Oudh, she was
forced to retreat. Hazrat Mahal worked in association with Nana Saheb but later joined the
Maulavi of Faizabad in the attack on Shajahanpur.

One of the principal complaints of Begum Hazrat Mahal was that the East India Company had
casually demolished temples and mosques in order to make way for roads.[6] In a proclamation
issued during the final days of the revolt, she mocked the British claim to allow freedom of
"To eat pigs and drink wine, to bite greased cartridges and to mix pig's fat with sweetmeats, to
destroy Hindu and Mussalman temples on pretense of making roads, to build churches, to send
clergymen into the streets to preach the Christian religion, to institute English schools, and pay
people a monthly stipend for learning the English sciences, while the places of worship of
Hindus and Mussalmans are to this day entirely neglected; with all this, how can people believe
that religion will not be interfered with?"[6]

Later life
Ultimately, she had to retreat to Nepal, where she was initially refused asylum by the Rana prime
minister Jang Bahadur[7] but was later allowed to stay.[8] She died there in 1879 and was buried in
a nameless grave in the grounds of Kathmandu's Jama Masjid.[citation needed]