India is my country and all Indians are my brethren.
The above quote has been inspired by something that Mahatma Gandhi said during his fight for India’s freedom.
We all know the role that Gandhiji played in winning the freedom of India, but the names of many freedom fighters are not much known.
Seventy four years of freedom from the British Raj is being celebrated today in India and I wish a happy Independence Day to all fellow Indians. The country is also recalling our two hundred-year-old campaign for our countrymen’s independence.
Mahatama Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Bhagat Singh are some of the well known freedom fighters. However, the names of many others who struggled for our freedom have gone into the dark.
Names of a few freedom fighters who are lesser known
Here are the names of a few men and women who made great sacrifices for the freedom of India. But they are not much known.
Peer Ali Khan
Mangal Pandey was the most recognised hero of the 1857 uprising, but just a few people have heard of Peer Ali Khan. He was one of India’s first rebels and one of the 14 people who were hanged for their part in the rebellion.
Aruna Asaf Ali
Aruna Asaf Ali hoisted the National Congress of India’s banner at the Bombay’s Gowalia Tank Maidan during 1942’s Quit India Movement.
Although a warrant to arrest her was issued, she avoided arrest by going underground and launched an underground movement. Aruna Asaf Ali’s property was confiscated and sold. Then a prize of Rs. 5,000 was given by the UK government to arrest her. She continued to be involved in politics and humanitarian activities after India’s Independence, but she was never recognised.
Matangini Hazra was another woman who fought for our freedom. She devoted her life to independence in the country, but did not receive her fair share of honour.Hazra was a member of the Quit India and Non-Cooperation Movement. She was shot several times during a protest against the British, but it didn’t stop her from walking with the tricolour in her hand.
On the highways and in the buildings, people have heard her name, but few know who was Bhikaji Cama and how she was doing for India.Cama was not part of the movement for independence in India and also a symbol, which in the late 19th and early 20th century stood for female equality. She gave away much of her personal property to a girl’s orphanage. At the International Socialist Conference in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1907, she also unfurled the flag of India.
Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi
For his strong participation in India’s free movement, Munshi was also known by pairs as Kulpati. He was a great advocate for the movement to quit India. The British authorities repeatedly arrested him for his participation in actions relating to freedom. He was also the founder of Indian Educational Trust Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Many of the unknown freedom fighters were Muslims
It is noteworthy that many of these unknown or lesser known freedom fighters were Muslims, but nobody talks about them. Our history books are filled with names like Gandhi and Nehru, but the children are not taught about those freedom fighters who were Muslims. In fact, Muslims are seen as unpatriotic people as some stupid Indians favor Pakistan over their own country. And such Muslims may be doing something wrong according to Islam which teaches us to love our country. But the stupidity of such people should not be an excuse for the other Muslims to be treated as aliens. It was initially the British rulers who used the policy of Divide an Rule to maintain their control over the Indians. But, every Indian should understand that the British have left India since long and we should now learn to live with love and harmony and respect each others religion by not hurling any comment that would hurt the feelings of others. And that is what all religions including Islam teaches.
Finally I would like to advice my Muslim brothers not to be hurt by what others say or treat you. But instead continue to strive for a better India, so that the sacrifices made by our freedom fighters does not go to waste.
I wish a very happy Independence Day to all my Indian brothers, irrespective of their religion.