Hundreds and thousands left everything, and many sacrificed their life for one common goal – freedom of India from foreign rule! These freedom fighters, activists and revolutionaries came from different backgrounds and philosophies to fight one common enemy – the foreign imperialists! While we are aware of several freedom fighters and revolutionaries, many have remained unsung heroes. We have made best efforts to present some of the most prominent freedom activists and revolutionaries who made immense contribution towards India’s struggle for freedom.
Tantia Tope (1814 – 18 April 1859)
Tantia Tope was one of the Indian rebellions of 1857. He served as a general and led a group of Indian soldiers against the British. He was an ardent follower of Nana Sahib of Bithur and continued to fight on his behalf when Nana was forced to retreat by the British army. Tantia even forced General Windham to retreat from Kanpur and helped Rani Lakshmi of Jhansi to retain Gwalior.
Nana Sahib (19 May 1824 – 1857)
After leading a group of rebellions during the 1857 uprising, Nana Sahib defeated the British forces in Kanpur. He even killed the survivors, sending a hard-hitting message to the British camp. Nana Sahib was also known as an able administrator and is said to have led around 15,000 Indian soldiers.
Kunwar Singh (November 1777 – 26 April 1858)
At the age of 80, Kunwar Singh led a group of soldiers against the British in Bihar. Using guerrilla warfare tactics, Kunwar bedazzled the British troops and managed to defeat the forces of Captain le Grand near Jagdispur. Kunwar Singh is known for his bravery and was fondly called as Veer Kunwar Singh.
Rani Lakshmi Bai (19 November 1828 – 18 June 1858)
One of the key members of India’s first war of independence, Rani Lakshmi Bai went on to inspire thousands of women to join the fight for freedom. On 23 March, 1858 Lakshmi Bai defended her palace and the entire city of Jhansi when it was threatened to be captured by British troops led by Sir Hugh Rose.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak (23 July 1856 – 1 August 1920)
Bal Gangadhar Tilak was one of the most prominent freedom fighters of India who inspired thousands with the slogan – “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it”. As a form of protest against the British, Tilak established schools and published rebellious newspapers. He was famous as one of the trios – Bal, Pal and Lal. People loved him and accepted him as one of their leaders and so, he was called Lokmanya Tilak.
Mangal Pandey (19 July 1827 – 8 April 1857)
Mangal Pandey is said to have played a key role in inspiring Indian soldiers to start the great rebellion of 1857. Working as a soldier for the British East India Company, Pandey started firing at English officials and caught them unawares. His attack is regarded as the first step of the Indian rebellion that started in 1857.
Begum Hazrat Mahal (1820 – 7 April 1879)
Working along with leaders like Nana Saheb and Maulavi of Faizabad, Begum Hazrat Mahal rebelled against the British during the revolt of 1857. She was successful in taking control of Lucknow after leading the troops in her husband’s absence. She rebelled against the demolition of temples and mosques before retreating to Nepal.
Ashfaqulla Khan (22 October 1900 – 19 December 1927)
Ashfaqulla Khan was a firebrand among the young revolutionaries, who sacrificed his life for the sake of his motherland. He was an important member of the Hindustan Republican Association. Khan, along with his associates, executed the train robbery at Kakori for which he was arrested and executed by the British.
Rani Gaidinliu (26 January 1915 – 17 February 1993)
Rani Gaidinliu was a political leader who revolted against the British rule. She joined a political movement at the age of 13 and fought for the evacuation of British rulers from Manipur and the neighbouring areas. Unable to withstand her protests, the British arrested her when she was just 16 years old and sentenced her to life imprisonment.
Bipin Chandra Pal (7 November 1858 – 20 May 1932)
Bipin Chandra Pal was one of the key members of the Indian National Congress and a prominent freedom fighter. He advocated the abandonment of foreign goods. He, along with Lala Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, spearheaded many revolutionary activities. For this reason, he is called as the ‘Father of Revolutionary Thoughts.’
Chandra Shekhar Azad (23 July 1906 – 27 February 1931)
One of the close associates of Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad is credited for reorganizing Hindustan Republican Association. Azad, as he was popularly called, is known as one of the bravest freedom fighters of India. At the time of being surrounded by British soldiers, he killed many of them and shot himself to death with the last bullet of his Colt pistol. He did so, as he never wanted to be captured alive.
Hakim Ajmal Khan (11 February 1868 – 29 December 1927)
A physician by profession, Hakim Ajmal Khan founded the Jamia Millia Islamia University before participating in the fight for freedom. He joined the Khilafat movement along with other famous Muslim leaders like Shaukat Ali and Maulana Azad. In 1906, Hakim Ajmal Khan led a group of Muslim men and women who gave a memorandum to the Viceroy of India.
Chittaranjan Das (5 November 1869 – 16 June 1925)
Chittaranjan Das founded the Swaraj Party and was an active participant in the Indian National Movement. A lawyer by profession, Chittaranjan is credited for successfully defending Aurobindo Ghosh when the latter was charged under a criminal case by the British. Popularly known as Deshbandhu, Chittaranjan Das is best known for mentoring Subhas Chandra Bose.
Sidhu Murmu and Kanhu Murmu
In 1855, Sidhu Murmu and Kanhu Murmu led a group of 10,000 Santal people in order to revolt against British colonists in eastern India. The movement, which came to be known as the Santhal rebellion, took the British by surprise. The movement was so successful that the British government had no choice but to announce a bounty of Rs. 10,000 to those who were willing to capture Sidhu and his brother Kanhu.
Birsa Munda (15 November 1875 – June 9 1900)
Principally a religious leader, Birsa Munda used the religious beliefs of his tribe in order to revolt against the government of British. He implemented guerrilla warfare techniques to upset the rhythm of the British troops. In 1900, Birsa, along with his army, was arrested by the British soldiers. He was later convicted and was lodged in a jail in Ranchi.
Tilka Manjhi (11 February 1750 – 1784)
Approximately 100 years before Mangal Pandey took up arms to fight against the British, Tilka Manjhi gave up his life trying to do exactly the same. Manjhi was the first rebellion to fight for the Indian independence. He led a group of Adivasis to fight against the exploitation of the British.
Surya Sen (22 March 1894 – 12 January 1934)
Surya Sen is credited for planning and executing a raid that aimed at seizing the weapons of police forces from the Chittagong armoury of British India. He led a battalion of armed Indians to carry out the task. He is known for turning youngsters into firebrand revolutionaries. Surya Sen is among thousands of young Indians who lost their lives, battling for an independent India.
Subramania Bharati (11 December 1882 – 11 September 1921)
A poet by profession, Subramania Bharati used his literary skills to inspire thousands of Indians during the independence movement. His works were often impassioned and patriotic in nature. In 1908, Bharati had to flee to Puducherry when the British government issued an arrest warrant against him. A prominent member of the Indian National Congress, Bharati continued his revolutionary activities from Puducherry.
Dadabhai Naoroji (4 September 1825 – 30 June 1917)
Credited with establishing the Indian National Congress, Dadabhai Naoroji is remembered as one of the most prominent members to have participated in the independence movement. In one of the books published by him, he wrote about the colonial rule of the British which was precisely aimed at looting wealth from India.
Jawaharlal Nehru (14 November 1889 – 27 May 1964)
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the most important freedom fighters of India, who went on to become the first Prime Minister of free India. He was also the author of the famous book – ‘Discovery of India’. Nehru was extremely fond of children and was fondly called as ‘Chacha Nehru’. It was under his leadership that India embarked on the planned pattern of economic development.
Khudiram Bose (3 December 1889 – 11 August 1908)
Khudiram Bose was one of those young revolutionaries and freedom fighters whose deeds of bravery went on to become the subject of folklore. He was one of those brave men who challenged the British rule and gave them a taste of their own medicine. At the age of 19, he was martyred, with ‘Vande Mataram’ being his last words.
Lakshmi Sahgal (24 October 1914 – 23 July 2012)
A doctor by profession, Lakshmi Sahgal, popularly known as Captain Lakshmi, encouraged women to join the troop led by Subhas Chandra Bose. She took the initiative of forming a women’s regiment and named it ‘Rani of Jhansi regiment’. Lakshmi fought vigorously for the Indian independence before she was arrested by the British government in 1945.
Lala Har Dayal (14 October 1884 – 4 March 1939)
A revolutionary among Indian nationalists, Lala Har Dayal turned down a lucrative job offer and went on to inspire hundreds of non-resident Indians to fight against the atrocities of the British Empire. In 1909, he served as the editor of Bande Mataram, a nationalist publication founded by the Paris Indian Society.
Lala Lajpat Rai (28 January 1865 – 17 November 1928)
One of the most important members of the Indian National Congress, Lala Lajpat Rai is often revered for leading a protest against the Simon Commission. During the protest, he was assaulted by James A. Scott, the superintendent of police, which ultimately played a role in his death. He was a part of the famous triumvirate called ‘Lal Bal Pal.’
Mahadev Govind Ranade (18 January 1842 – 16 January 1901)
Mahadev Govind Ranade was one of the key founding members of Indian National Congress. Apart from serving as Bombay High Court’s judge, Mahadev Govind worked as a social reformer, encouraging women empowerment and widow remarriage. He understood that India’s fight for freedom can never be successful without a social reform which was the need of the hour.
Mahatma Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948)
Mahatma Gandhi led the Indian independence movement and was successful in freeing India from the clutches of the British. He employed non-violence and engaged in various movements as part of his inspiring protest against the British rule. He went on to become the most significant freedom fighter and hence is called as the ‘Father of the Nation.’
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (11 November 1888 – 22 February 1958)
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was an active member of the Indian National Congress and a great freedom fighter. Maulana Azad took part in most of the important movements. He presided over the special session of Congress in September 1923 and at the age of 35 he became the youngest man to be elected as the President of the Congress.
Motilal Nehru (6 May 1861 – 6 February 1931)
One of the most prominent leaders of the Indian National Congress, Motilal Nehru was also an important activist and member of Indian National Movement. Twice in his political career, he was elected as the President of Congress. He actively participated in many protests including the Non-Cooperation Movement, during which he was arrested by the British government.
Ram Manohar Lohia (23 March 1910 – 12 October 1967)
One of the founding members of the Congress Socialist Party, Ram Manohar Lohia was an active member of the Indian independence movement. Lohia was a key member in organizing the Quit India Movement, for which he was arrested and tortured in 1944. He even worked for the Congress Radio which operated secretly, propagandizing anti-British messages.
Ram Prasad Bismil (11 June 1897 – 19 December 1927)
Ram Prasad Bismil was one of those young revolutionaries who sacrificed his life for the sake of his motherland. Bismil was one of the most important members of the Hindustan Republican Association and also a prominent member of the group that was involved in the Kakori train robbery. He was sentenced to death by the British government for his involvement in the famous train robbery.
Ram Singh Kuka (3 February 1816 – 18 January 1872)
Ram Singh Kuka was a social reformer, who is hailed as the first Indian to have initiated the non-cooperation movement by refusing to use British merchandise and services. Like Mahadev Govind Ranade, he too, understood the importance of social reforms in order to stand strong against the British rule. Hence Ram Singh Kuka gave much importance to social reforms.
Rash Behari Bose (25 May 1886 – 21 January 1945)
Rash Behari Bose was one of the most important revolutionaries who tried to assassinate Lord Hardinge, the then Viceroy of India. Along with other revolutionaries, Bose is credited for organizing Ghadar Mutiny and the Indian National Army. He was also involved in persuading the Japanese to help the Indians in their struggle for freedom.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (31 October 1875 – 15 December 1950)
His brave deeds earned Vallabhbhai Patel the title, ‘the iron man of India.’ For his role in the Bardoli Satyagraha, Patel came to be known as Sardar. Though he was a famous lawyer, Sardar Patel gave up his profession in order to fight for the freedom of the country. After the independence, he became the deputy Prime Minister of India and played an important role in the integration of India by merging numerous princely states with the Indian Union.
Bhagat Singh (1907 – 23 March 1931)
The name Bhagat Singh is synonymous with sacrifice, courage, bravery and vision. By sacrificing his life at the age of 30, Bhagat Singh became an inspiration and a symbol of heroism. Along with other revolutionaries, Bhagat Singh founded the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. To remind the British government of its misdeeds, Bhagat Singh hurled a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly. By embracing death at a young age, Singh became a symbol of sacrifice and courage, thereby residing forever in the hearts of every Indian.
Shivaram Rajguru (26 August 1908 – 23 March 1931)
A member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, Shivaram Rajguru was a close associate of Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev. Shivaram is mainly remembered for his involvement in the assassination of John Saunders, a young British police officer. With an intention of killing James Scott, the police superintendent who had assaulted Lala Lajpat Rai just two weeks before his death, Shivaram mistook John for James and shot him to death.
Subhas Chandra Bose (23 January 1897 – 18 August 1945)
Popularly known as Netaji, Subhas Chandra Bose was a fierce freedom fighter and popular leader on the political horizon of pre-independent India. Bose was elected as the President of the Indian National Congress in 1937 and 1939. He founded the Indian National Army and raised the famous slogans, ‘Delhi Chalo’ and ‘Tum Mujhe Khoon Do main Tumhe Ajadi Doonga.’ For his anti-British remarks and activities, Bose was jailed 11 times between 1920 and 1941. He was the leader of the youth wing of Congress Party.
Sukhdev (15 May 1907 – 23 March 1931)
One of the key members of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, Sukhdev was a revolutionary and a close associate of Bhagat Singh and Shivaram Rajguru. He too, was involved in the killing of John Saunders, a British police officer. Sukhdev was captured, along with Bhagat Singh and Shivaram Rajguru, and was martyred at the age of 24.
Surendranath Banerjee (10 November 1848 – 6 August 1925)
Founder of the Indian National Association and the Indian National Liberation Federation, Surendranath Banerjee is remembered as a pioneer of Indian politics. He founded and published a newspaper called ‘The Bengalee’. In 1883, he was arrested for publishing anti-British remarks. Surendranath was elected as the President of Congress in 1895 and again in 1902.
Sri Alluri Sitarama Raju (1898 – 7 May 1924)
Alluri Sitarama Raju was a key revolutionary who killed many British army men. He, along with his followers, also raided several police stations and seized many guns and ammunition. He also initiated the Rampa Rebellion of 1922, which was aimed at protesting against a law passed by the British government.
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (28 May 1883 – 26 February 1966)
The founder of Abhinav Bharat Society and Free India Society, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an activist and was popularly known as Swatantryaveer Savarkar. Also an eminent writer, Savarkar published a book titled ‘The Indian War of Independence’ that spoke about the struggles of the Indian mutiny of 1857.
Bhim Sen Sachar (1 December 1894 – 18 January 1978)
A lawyer by profession, Bhim Sen Sachar was inspired by other revolutionaries and freedom fighters and joined the Indian National Congress at a young age. He was subsequently made as the Secretary of Punjab Congress Committee. Interestingly, Bhim Sen’s struggle for freedom continued even after 1947 as he got himself into trouble by voicing against the authoritarianism of Indira Gandhi.
Acharya Kripalani (11 November 1888 – 19 March 1982)
Jivatram Bhagwandas Kripalani, best known as Acharya Kripalani, was a Gandhian socialist and independence activist. He was one of the most ardent followers of Mahatma Gandhi and was actively involved in many protests led by the father of the nation, including Non-Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience, Salt Satyagraha and Quit India Movement.
Aruna Asaf Ali (16 July 1909 – 29 July 1996)
An active independence activist and member of the Congress Party, Aruna Asaf Ali is remembered for her participation in various movements including Salt Satyagraha and Quit India Movement. During the Quit India Movement, she risked being arrested by hoisting the INC flag in Bombay. She was arrested on many occasions for her revolutionary activities and was lodged in jail until 1931 when political prisoners were released under the Gandhi-Irwin Pact.
Jatindra Mohan Sengupta (22 February 1885 – 23 July 1933)
A lawyer by profession, Jatindra Mohan Sengupta defended and saved many young revolutionaries from being sentenced to death. He even joined the Indian National Congress and went on to actively take part in the Non-Cooperation Movement. He was arrested on several occasions before he eventually died while being held as a prisoner in Ranchi.
Madan Mohan Malaviya (25 December 1861 – 12 November 1946)
An important participant of the Non-Cooperation Movement, Madan Mohan Malaviya served as the President of Indian National Congress on two different occasions. On 25 April, 1932, he was arrested for his participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement. Malaviya was also a central figure during the protests against the Simon Commission in 1928.
Nellie Sengupta (1886 – 1973)
Born as Edith Ellen Gray, Nellie Sengupta was a British who fought for the independence of the Indians. She married Jatindra Mohan Sengupta and started living in India post her wedding. During the struggle for freedom, Nellie actively participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement and was also imprisoned on many occasions.
Pandit Bal Krishna Sharma (8 December 1897 – 29 April 1960)
Pandit Bal Krishna Sharma was an important member of the Indian freedom movement, who was arrested on six different occasions. He was also an important revolutionary as the British government had declared him a ‘dangerous prisoner.’ A journalist by profession, Pandit Bal Krishna Sharma was responsible in inspiring many Indians to stand up and fight for their independence.
Sucheta Kriplani (25 June 1908 – 1 December 1974)
The founder of ‘All India Mahila Congress’, Sucheta Kriplani became an important associate of Gandhi during the Partition riots. Along with other freedom fighters like Aruna Asaf Ali and Usha Mehta, Sucheta became an important member of the Quit India Movement. She was also active in politics post-independence and became the country’s first woman Chief Minister.
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur (2 February 1889 – 6 February 1964)
A co-founder of the All India Women’s Conference, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur was one of the most important members of Dandi March in 1930. After being imprisoned for her participation in the Dandi March, Amrit Kaur went on to actively participate in the Quit India Movement for which she was once again jailed by the British authorities.
E.M.S. Namboodiripad (13 June 1909 – 19 March 1998)
A co-founder of Congress Socialist Party, Elamkulam Manakkal Sankaran Namboodiripad, simply known as EMS, was a communist who became Kerala’s first Chief Minister. He was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and called him a Hindu fundamentalist. During his college days, EMS was an active participant in the Indian independence movement and was also affiliated with the Indian National Congress.
Pushpalata Das (27 March 1915 – 9 November 2003)
An active member of the Indian National Congress, Pushpalata Das started her revolutionary activities right from her childhood. She was even expelled from her school for gathering a group of girls in order to protest against the death sentence of Bhagat Singh. She was later arrested for participating in Civil Disobedience Movement and Quit India Movement.
Sagarmal Gopa (3 November 1900 – 4 April 1946)
The author of revolutionary books like ‘Azadi Ke Diwane’ and ‘Jaisalmer ka Gundaraj’, Sagarmal Gopa was a prominent freedom fighter who took part in the Non Co-operation Movement. For protesting against the rulers of Jaisalmer, he was expelled from Hyderabad and Jaisalmer. At the age of 46, Sagarmal Gopa was torched to death while being lodged in prison.
Madam Bhikaiji Cama (24 September 1861 – 13 August 1936)
Bhikhaiji Rustom Cama was one of the greatest women freedom fighters of India who promoted the cause of Indian freedom movement outside India as well. She was the one who first unfurled India’s national flag at an international assembly. She discarded the life of luxury and lived in exile to serve her motherland.
Damodar Hari Chapekar (1870-1898)
During the bubonic plague that hit Pune in the year 1896, the British administration came up with a special committee to minimize the damage caused by the dreaded disease. The committee was headed by an officer named W. C. Rand. Damodar Hari Chapekar, along with his brother Balkrishna Hari Chapekar, was arrested and sentenced to death for killing W. C. Rand.
Balkrishna Hari Chapekar (1873 – 1899)
Balkrishna Hari Chapekar and his brother Damodar Hari Chapekar were sentenced to death for killing W. C. Rand, the officer in charge of a special committee that was formed to fight against the spreading of a plague. Rand was killed as he misused his power by force stripping and examining women in public in the name of precautionary measure.
Baba Gurdit Singh (25 August 1860 – 24 July 1954)
Baba Gurdit Singh understood that India must take its fight for freedom overseas as well in order to truly succeed. But a law prevented the entry of Asians into countries like Canada and the United States. In order to change this law, Baba Gurdit Singh embarked on a journey to Canada and thus became actively involved in the ‘Komagata Maru incident’.
Udham Singh (26 December 1899 – 31 July 1940)
Udham Singh was one of the most important and famous revolutionaries who took part in the Indian independence movement. He is remembered for avenging the Jallianwala Bagh massacre by brutally murdering Sir Michael O’Dwyer on March 13, 1940. For his act, Udham Singh was convicted and was eventually sentenced to death.
Shyamji Krishna Varma (4 October 1857 – 30 March 1930)
Shyamji Krishna Varma was one of those revolutionaries who truly took the fight for freedom outside India. By establishing ‘The Indian Sociologist’, ‘Indian Home Rule Society’ and ‘India House’ in London, he inspired a bunch of Indian revolutionaries who fought for the freedom of their motherland right in the heart of the United Kingdom.
Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi (26 October 1890 – 25 March 1931)
A journalist by profession, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi was one of the most important leaders of the Indian National Congress. He was also a prominent member of many important movements including the Non-Cooperation Movement. A close associate of revolutionaries like Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh, Ganesh was imprisoned in 1920 for his revolutionary activities.
Bhulabhai Desai (13 October 1877 – 6 May 1946)
Bhulabhai Desai was a well-known independence activist. A lawyer by profession, Bhulabhai is widely remembered and acclaimed for defending three soldiers belonging to the Indian National Army during World War II. He was arrested in the year 1940 for his participation in civil resistance, which was initiated by none other than Mahatma Gandhi.
Vithalbhai Patel (27 September 1873 – 22 October 1933)
A co-founder of Swarajaya Party, Vithalbhai Patel was a fierce independence activist and elder brother of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Vithalbhai became a close associate of Subhas Chandra Bose and even called Gandhi a failure. When his health was fast deteriorating, he bequeathed his property, which amounted to a whopping Rs. 120,000, to Subhas Chandra Bose for his revolutionary activities.
Gopinath Bordoloi (6 June 1890 – 5 August 1950)
Gopinath Bordoloi’s fight for freedom began when he joined the Indian National Congress. He was then arrested for his participation in the Non-Cooperation Movement and was jailed for more than a year. A firm believer in Gandhi and his principles, Gopinath went on to become the Chief Minister of Assam after the independence.
Acharya Narendra Dev (30 October 1889 – 19 February 1956)
One of the most prominent members of the Congress Socialist Party, Acharya Narendra Dev embraced non-violence and democratic socialism in his fight for the freedom of India. A key figure in the Hindi language movement, Narendra Dev was arrested on several occasions throughout his fight for freedom.
Annie Besant (1 October 1847 – 20 September 1933)
Being a British, Annie Besant advocated Indian self-rule and eventually became a prominent freedom fighter. After becoming a part of the Indian National Congress, she was made the President of INC in 1917. After acting as one of the key members in establishing ‘Home Rule League’, she even founded a Hindu school in Benares to achieve her goal of freeing India from the clutches of her countrymen.
Kasturba Gandhi (11 April 1869 – 22 February 1944)
Best known as the wife of Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba was an ardent freedom fighter. Alongside Gandhi, Kasturba actively participated in almost all the independence movements, becoming one of the important activists. She was arrested on several occasions for her participation in nonviolent protests and Quit India movement.
Kamala Nehru (1 August 1899 – 28 February 1936)
Though she is widely remembered as the wife of Jawaharlal Nehru, Kamala was an eminent freedom fighter in her own right. She actively took part in the Non Co-operation Movement by gathering a group of women and by protesting against the shops that were selling foreign goods. She was arrested by the British government on two occasions.
C. Rajagopalachari (10 December 1878 – 25 December 1972)
A lawyer by profession, C. Rajagopalachari joined the Indian National Congress in the year 1906 and then successfully defended a revolutionary named P. Varadarajulu Naidu. He went on to become an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi and actively participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement. Rajagopalachari was an important representative of Congress in Tamil Nadu.
J. P. Narayan (11 October 1902 – 8 October 1979)
A close friend of a nationalist named Ganga Sharan Singh, Jayaprakash Narayan joined Indian National Congress in the year 1929 during which Gandhi himself became his mentor. He then actively participated in Quit India Movement and civil disobedience for which he was jailed by the British government.
Chempakaraman Pillai (15 September 1891 – 26 May 1934)
Often a forgotten freedom fighter, Chempakaraman Pillai was one of those activists who fought for the freedom of India from a foreign territory. A close associate of Subhas Chandra Bose, Pillai initiated his struggle for freedom in Germany. It was Chempakaraman Pillai who came up with the famous slogan ‘Jai Hind’ which is used even today.
Velu Thampi (6 May 1765 – 1809)
Velayudhan Chempakaraman Thampi, simply referred as Velu Thampi, was one of the most important and earliest rebels to have objected to the rising supremacy of the British East India Company. In the famous Battle of Quilon, Velu Thampi led a battalion of 30,000 soldiers and attacked a local garrison of the British.
T Kumaran (4th October 1904 – 11 January 1932)
Tiruppur Kumaran was one of those young revolutionaries who lost his precious life while protesting against the atrocities of the British. Like many other revolutionaries, Kumaran too, died young when he was assaulted by British soldiers while leading a protest against them. Kumaran refused to let go of the Indian Nationalist flag even at the time of his death.
B. R. Ambedkar (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956)
Fondly remembered as Baba Saheb, B. R. Ambedkar was a key figure in empowering Dalits. The British had used the Indian caste system to their advantage and were firm believers in the divide and rule policy. Ambedkar understood this motive of the British and ensured their downfall by inspiring the Dalit Buddhist Movement among many other movements.
V. B. Phadke (4 November 1845 – 17 February 1883)
Disturbed by the struggle faced by Indian farmers under the British rule, Vasudev Balwant Phadke decided to revolt against the rule by forming a revolutionary group. Apart from launching raids on English businessmen, Phadke also managed to take control of Pune through his surprise attack on British soldiers.
Senapati Bapat (12 November 1880 – 28 November 1967)
After earning a scholarship to study engineering in Britain, Senapati Bapat focused on bomb-making skills instead of learning engineering. He returned to India with his newly acquired skill and became one of the members who were involved in the Alipore bombing case. Senapati Bapat is also credited for educating his countrymen about the British rule as many of them hadn’t even realized that their country was being ruled by the British.
Rajendra Lahiri (29 June 1901 – 17 December 1927)
A member of the Hindustan Republican Association, Rajendra Lahiri was a close associate of other revolutionaries, such as Ashfaqulla Khan and Ram Prasad Bismil. He too, was involved in the Kakori train robbery for which he was later arrested. Lahiri was also involved in the famous Dakshineswar bombing incident. Lahiri was sentenced to death at the age of 26.
Roshan Singh (22 January 1892 – 19 December 1927)
Yet another member of the Hindustan Republican Association, Roshan Singh was a young revolutionary who too, was sentenced to death by the British government. Though he was not involved in the Kakori train robbery, he was arrested and was clubbed along with other revolutionaries who had taken part in the robbery.
Jatin Das (27 October 1904 – 13 September 1929)
Jatindra Nath Das died at the age of 25 after a hunger strike that lasted for 63 days. Jatindra Nath Das, also remembered as Jatin Das, was a revolutionary and was lodged in jail along with other revolutionaries. He began his hunger strike when the political prisoners had a strikingly different environment when compared to that of their European counterparts.
Madan Lal Dhingra (8 February 1883 – 17 August 1909)
One of the earliest revolutionaries who sacrificed his life for the sake of his motherland, Madan Lal Dhingra served as an inspiration to other important revolutionaries, such as Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad. When he was studying Mechanical Engineering in England, Dhingra murdered Sir William Hutt Curzon Wyllie for which he was sentenced to death.
Kartar Singh Sarabha (24 May 1896 – 16 November 1915)
Kartar Singh Sarabha was one of the most famous revolutionaries who sacrificed his life at the age of 19. Sarabha joined the Ghadar Party, an organization formed to protest against the British rule, at the age of 17. He, along with his men, was arrested when a member of the Ghadar Party betrayed them by informing the police about their hiding place.
V.O. Chidambaram Pillai (5 September 1872 – 18 November 1936)
A barrister by profession, V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, often referred as V.O.C, was one of the leaders of Indian National Congress. Chidambaram Pillai is remembered for his bravery as he became the first Indian to start a shipping service, competing against British ships. He was charged with sedition and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Kittur Chennamma (23 October 1778 – 2 February 1829)
Kittur Chennamma, the Queen of a princely state in Karnataka, was one of the earliest female revolutionaries. She led a battalion of armed soldiers to fight against the East India Company. Along with her lieutenant Sangolli Rayanna, Chennamma employed the guerrilla warfare technique and fought fiercely, taking many British soldiers by surprise.
K. M. Munshi (30 December 1887 – 8 February 1971)
The founder of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi was an important freedom fighter, who took part in Salt Satyagraha and Quit India Movement. He was arrested on several occasions for his protests. An ardent follower of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Mahatma Gandhi and Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, Munshi was an active member of Swaraj Party and Indian National Congress.
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay (3 April 1903 – 29 October 1988)
A social reformer who worked towards the betterment of socio-economic standard of women, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was an important member of Congress Socialist Party. She later became the party’s president and was arrested for selling contraband salt in Bombay. She was also a prominent member who took part in Salt Satyagraha.
Garimella Satyanarayana (14 July 1893 – 18 December 1952)
A poet by profession, Garimella Satyanarayana inspired thousands to fight against the atrocities of the British through his songs and poems. He actively participated in the civil disobedience movement by penning down fiery and revolutionary poems for which he was jailed on several occasions by the government of British.
N. G. Ranga (7 November 1900 – 9 June 1995)
After getting inspired by the freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi, Gogineni Ranga Nayukulu, commonly known as N. G. Ranga, started a protest of his own by leading a group of farmers in an agitation in 1933. He is considered one of the most important freedom fighters to have revolutionized the Indian Peasant Movement.
U Tirot Sing (birth date not known – July 17 1835)
One of the important historical leaders of the Khasi people, Tirot Sing led a battalion of soldiers and employed guerrilla warfare techniques to combat the British troops who were threatening to capture the Khasi Hills in its entirety. His attack on a British garrison gave rise to the famous Anglo-Khasi War.
Abdul Hafiz Mohamed Barakatullah (7 July 1854 – 20 September 1927)
A co-founder of Ghadar Party that operated from San Francisco, Abdul Hafiz Mohamed Barakatullah was one of those revolutionaries who fought for the freedom of India from overseas. He was associated with a leading daily in England, through which he published fiery articles, propagating the idea of independent India.
Mahadev Desai (1 January 1892 – 15 August 1942)
Best known as Gandhi’s personal secretary, Mahadev Desai was an important independence activist. He accompanied Mahatma Gandhi in most of his protests, including the Bardoli Satyagraha and Salt Satyagraha for which he was arrested. He was one of the members to have attended the Second Round Table Conference and the only Indian to have accompanied the Mahatma when he met with King George V.
Prafulla Chaki (10 December 1888 – 2 May 1908)
Prafulla Chaki was a prominent revolutionary who was a part of the Jugantar group. The group was responsible in assassinating many British officials. Prafulla Chaki was given the responsibility of killing famous British officers like Sir Joseph Bampfylde Fuller and Kingsford. While attempting to kill Kingsford, Prafulla Chaki, along with Khudiram Bose, accidentally killed Kingsford’s wife and daughter.
Matangini Hazra (19 October 1870 – 29 September 1942)
Popularly known as ‘Gandhi Buri’, Matangini Hazra was a fierce revolutionary who was shot dead by the British soldiers for her indulgence in revolutionary activities. During the Quit India Movement, a 71 year old Matangini famously led a group of 6000 volunteers with most of them being women. At the time of her death, she firmly held the Indian National Congress flag and repeated the words, ‘Vande Mataram’.
Bina Das (24 August 1911 – 26 December 1986)
Bina Das was one of the bravest women revolutionaries who attempted to murder Stanley Jackson, the then Bengal Governor, by firing five rounds at him at the Convocation Hall in the University of Calcutta. Unfortunately, she missed her target and was imprisoned for over nine years. She was once again arrested for participating in the Quit India Movement.
Bhagwati Charan Vohra (4 July 1904 – 28 May 1930)
An associate of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagwati Charan Vohra too, was an important revolutionary. In 1929, he rented a house in Lahore and turned it into a bomb factory. He planned to assassinate Viceroy Lord Irwin by blowing up the train he was travelling in. Lord Irwin escaped the attack unhurt.
Bhai Balmukund (1889 – 11 May 1915)
Bhai Balmukund was involved in the famous Delhi conspiracy case. The conspiracy was a planned assassination of Lord Hardinge. A group of revolutionaries, including Bhai Balmukund, hurled a bomb at the Howdah that was carrying Lord Hardinge. Although Hardinge escaped the attack with injuries, his mahout was killed. Balmukund was later arrested and was sentenced to death.
Sohan Singh Josh (12 November 1898 – 29 July 1982)
An eminent writer, Sohan Singh Josh played a critical role in publishing a revolutionary daily called ‘Kirti’. The daily was responsible in propagating Bhagat Singh’s ideas. Sohan Singh also went on to become the editor of ‘Jang-i-Azadi’, a communist paper. For his revolutionary activities, Sohan Singh was arrested and imprisoned for three years by the British government.
Sohan Singh Bhakna (1870–1968)
Sohan Singh Bhakna was an important member of the Ghadar Conspiracy and was also the party’s founding president. For his involvement in the Ghadar Conspiracy, which was aimed at initiating a pan-Indian attack to end the British rule, he was sentenced to sixteen years of rigorous imprisonment. He also worked closely with the Communist Party of India.
C. F. Andrews (12 February 1871 – 5 April 1940)
Charles Freer Andrews, who was a British missionary, played a key role in persuading Gandhi to return to India when the latter was fighting for the Indian civil rights in South Africa. He eventually became a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi and played his part in the Indian Independence Movement.
Hasrat Mohani (1 January 1875 – 13 May 1951)
At the Ahmedabad Session of Indian National Congress, Hasrat Mohani became the first person to raise his voice against the British rule in India. An eminent writer and poet, Hasrat was arrested on multiple occasions for propagating anti-British policies through his articles that were published in the magazine, ‘Urdu-e-Mualla’. He was also a co-founder of Communist Party of India.
Tarak Nath Das (15 June 1884 – 22 December 1958)
Tarak Nath Das was a shrewd freedom fighter, who instead of getting himself involved in revolutionary activities, found a more profound way of fighting for the country’s freedom. During a meeting in 1906, Tarak Nath Das, along with Jatindra Nath Mukherjee, decided to fly out to pursue higher education. But the real motive behind his act was to learn military knowledge and to create sympathy among leaders of the Western countries in order to seek their support for a free India.
Bhupendranath Datta (4 September 1880 – 25 December 1961)
Bhupendranath Datta was arrested in 1907 for his involvement in the Jugantar Movement and for working as the editor of a revolutionary newspaper called ‘Jugantar Patrika’. Post his release, he joined the Ghadar Party and went on to become the secretary of Indian Independence Committee. Bhupendranath Datta fought for Indian independence from outside the country.
At least 56 years before the Great Rebellion broke out in 1857, the Maruthu brothers, rulers of Sivagangai, Tamil Nadu, fought for the independence from the emerging British rule. They waged a war and were successful in capturing three districts. But the British called upon additional troops from Britain and defeated the Maruthu brothers in two successive battles.
Shambhu Dutt Sharma (9 September 1918 – 15 April 2016)
At the age of 24, Shambhu Dutt Sharma gave up on the respectable post of a gazetted officer to join Mahatma Gandhi in the famous Quit India Movement. Shambhu was immediately arrested and was then jailed for his participation in the movement. Even after the Indian independence, Shambhu continued his fight against corruption among other social evils.
Manmath Nath Gupta (7 February 1908 – 26 October 2000)
Manmath Nath Gupta was an acclaimed writer who fought for the independence through his revolutionary articles and books. He was also a part of the Hindustan Republican Association and was involved in the Kakori train robbery, for which he was jailed for 14 years. Even after his release, he continued his revolutionary activities and was once again jailed in 1939.
Batukeshwar Dutt (18 November 1910 – 20 July 1965)
Batukeshwar Dutt was a firebrand revolutionary who is often remembered for his association with Bhagat Singh. Batukeshwar was involved in the serial blast that took place in the Central Legislative Assembly on April 8, 1929. A member of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, Batukeshwar is also remembered for his hunger strike that secured a few rights for the Indian political prisoners.
Pritilata Waddedar (5 May 1911 – 23 September 1932)
Pritilata Waddedar is remembered as one of the bravest women freedom fighters. She was involved in a host of revolutionary activities that were headed by Surya Sen. Pritilata is best known for attacking Pahartali European Club which sported a derogatory sign board against the Indians. At the time of being arrested, she took her own life by consuming cyanide.
Ganesh Ghosh (22 June 1900 – 16 October 1994)
A close associate of Surya Sen, Ganesh Ghosh was an important member in the group that took part in the Chittagong armoury raid. Also a member of the Jugantar party, Ganesh Ghosh was eventually arrested by British soldiers. Post his release, he joined the Communist Party of India and continued his fight for freedom.
Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee (1895 – 1969)
A co-founder of Hindustan Republican Association, Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee was another freedom fighter who was imprisoned for getting involved in the Kakori train robbery. He was also a part of ‘Anushilan Samiti’, an organization that encouraged violent means to end the British rule. After the independence, he served as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
Barindra Kumar Ghosh (5 January 1880 – 18 April 1959)
A key founding member of Jugantar Party, Barindra Kumar Ghosh carried out many revolutionary activities including the famous Alipore bombing. He even published a weekly named ‘Jugantar’ that propagated anti-British and revolutionary ideas. He also formed a group that was responsible in making bombs and other ammunition in a secret place.
Hemchandra Kanungo (1871 – 8 April 1950)
A close associate of Barindra Kumar Ghosh and Aurobindo Ghosh, Hemchandra Kanungo was instrumental in setting up the secret bomb factory that Barindra Kumar was a part of. Kanungo went all the way to Paris just to learn the art of bomb making. He returned to India and taught other freedom fighters what he had learned from his Russian friends in Paris.
Bhavabhushan Mitra (1881– 27 January 1970)
Bhavabhushan Mitra took part in many Indian independence movements including the famous Non Cooperation Movement and Quit India Movement. He was also a prominent social worker who sought a few important changes in the Indian society in order to achieve complete independence from the British rule. He was also arrested for his revolutionary activities.
Kalpana Datta (27 July 1913 – 8 February 1995)
Kalpana Datta was one of the most prominent members of the group that executed the Chittagong armoury raid under the leadership of Surya Sen. She was also involved in the attack of the Pahartali European Club, along with Pritilata Waddedar. She was arrested on multiple occasions for her brave deeds.
Binod Bihari Chowdhury (10 January 1911 – 10 April 2013)
Binod Bihari Chowdhury too, was one of the important firebrand freedom fighters who was associated with Surya Sen. An active member of Jugantar Party, Binod is best remembered for his heroic deeds during the Chittagong armoury raid. He eventually became the last surviving revolutionary from the famous raid that took the British by surprise.
Liaquat Ali (1 October 1895 – 16 October 1951)
Moved by the ill-treatment of Indian Muslims by British officials, Liaquat Ali resolved to free them from the clutches of the British. He joined the All-India Muslim League which was growing in prominence under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Eventually, Liaquat Ali became a key figure in acquiring a separate country for Indian Muslims.
Shaukat Ali (10 March 1873 – 26 November 1938)
One of the prominent Muslim leaders of the Khilafat Movement, Shaukat Ali was instrumental in forming the political policy of the Muslims by publishing revolutionary magazines. He was arrested on several occasions for his revolutionary activities and for supporting Mahatma Gandhi. He was also an important member in the Non-Cooperation Movement.
S. Satyamurti (19 August 1887 – 28 March 1943)
Sundara Sastri Satyamurti was an important member of the Indian National Congress. Satyamurti actively participated in the protests against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. For his revolutionary activities during the Quit India Movement, he was arrested and tortured by the British soldiers. Satyamurti is also remembered as the mentor of K. Kamaraj, another freedom fighter who later became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (6 February 1890 – 20 January 1988)
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was one of those independence activists who opposed the partition of India at the time of its independence. Popularly known as Bacha Khan, he advocated non-violence and wanted a secular country. In 1929, he initiated the ‘Khudai Khidmatgar’ movement, which gave the British a run for their money. Since his principles were similar to that of Mahatma Gandhi’s, he worked closely with Gandhi in all his endeavours.