India is an independent country today but this independence is not gifted to us on a platter. We snatched it from the hands of Britishers. The battle of independence was long, rigorous and exhausting. Lives laid. Bloodshed.
Compromises made. Patriots sacrificed themselves to see the vision of Independent India. The great National Leaders are remembered even today but what about those heroes who died without ever coming into limelight.
The struggle against the clutches of East India Company began way back in 1780`s. But the company`s officials had gained much power at that time and were able to crush the rising rebellions. The first movement of Independence took place in 1857.
Around 1857, the rumour of cartridges being loaded with pig fat and cow fat had spread like wild fire. Soldiers were disheartened to learn about this and it hurt their religious sentiments. Hindus considered cow as their mother and the thought of consuming beef infuriated them.
Likewise, pork was pious to Muslims and it agitated them as well. All Indians were willing to get rid of Britishers. But this uprising did not have a consorted movement. Rebellions were sprouting all over India. They did not have a common motive. Some fought for their religious sentiments. Some wanted their lost provinces back.
This Mutiny of 1857 brought forth many notable figures. Mangal Pandey and Rajguru sacrificed their lives. Birsa Munda, the only tribal leader who gained fame wanted agricultural rights from Britishers for his people. Rani lakshmi bai, Tantya Tope and Rao Saheb fought together for their lost provinces till their last breath. They either died in the battle field, injured from the wounds or were captured by Britishers and hanged. But none of them gave up fighting till their last breath.
Formation of Congress
After the revolution died down, some influential persons came together to form Congress. These were influential people and were socially motivated. Sir A.O. Hume brought Congress together, which was surprising as he was a British official.
With the formation of the congress, it became evident that congress was not a likeminded group. It contained mainly two mindsets- Radicals and Moderates. Radicals believed in violence whereas moderates adopted a peaceful approach to freedom.
Moderates believed in peaceful attempt to achieve their mission. They were great social reformers also. Their weapons consisted of peaceful protests, impression through literature pieces, speeches, and petitions.
Moderates like Dadabhai Naroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale left a deep impression on Indian history. Ranade & Gokhale felt deeply against child marriage and treatment of widows. Their principal agenda was 3P`s- Prayers, Petitions and Protest.
The Extremist or the Radical group believed in an “an eye for an eye concept”. They believed that the Britishers could be taken down only with the help of violence. Peaceful protesting would do no good.
The Extremist group was led by Bal gangadhar tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal famously known as Lal Bal Pal. Bal Gangadhar Tilak is credited for bringing the first anti- British movement into action. He was honored and respected among citizens so was credited the title of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
He was the first man to start the campaign of Poorna Swaraj or complete freedom from the Britishers. He gave the popular slogan of `Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it’. Unfortunately, if we look into the biographies of these men, we notice that they died an early death.
They were either captured to rot in hell or were immediately hanged. Even though extremists knew before hand, that their end was near, yet they never feared death. They didn’t even flinch for a second laying their lives for the nation.
The coming of Gandhiji
The freedom fighters noticed that there was not a particular way to drive out the Britishers. So, they united in their mission against Britishers. They started attempting to throw out the Britishers out of their territory. Meanwhile, Gandhi returned to India from his law practice. He had started to gain a lot of popularity among the masses.
He got success first in 117 with the Champaran Satyagraha where he realized the power of the masses. His devoted followers adopted the path of non violence and Satyagraha. But his working method was different from that of moderates. His immense popularity and conviction made it impossible for the Britishers to defy Gandhi.
His principles are famous and he is rightly known as ‘the Father of our Nation’. He always involved masses in whatever he did and thus he gained their trust and support.
This was the time when the freedom fighters also gained momentum and came into limelight. P.T Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad and other prominent leaders came into the picture. They were supportive of Gandhi and his missions.
Their satyagrahas, protests and marches resulted in freedom. Gandhiji lead many important movements like non co-operation movement, civil disobedience movement and quit India movement. These movements eventually drove out Britishers.
There are many other freedom fighters whose struggles have been recorded in the memoir of independence like:-
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Famously known as the steel man of India, he played great role on Bardoli Satyagraha. He was also the man behind uniting the several provinces into one union. He also had a strong influence in drafting the constitution of India.
Ram Prasad Bismil
Ram Prasad Bismil & Ashfaqullah khan both these revolutionaries were a part of Hindustan Republication Association (HRA). They are widely renowned for the famous Kakori Train Dacoity. They are also known as the `Dacoits of Independence`. Ashfaqullah Khan, along with the others involved in the robbery was executed for Kakori Train Dacoity.
Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru
Bhagat was an epitome of love, sacrifice, courage and vision. He was popularly famous as a symbol of heroism and continues to inspire generation for his acts of bravery even now.
They were executed together as they were involved in the Central Legislative Assembly Bombing attack.
He was a revolutionary and never failed to annoy the Britishers. He became a martyr with `Vande Matram` on his lips and patriotism in his heart.
Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India and is loved by one and all. He was known as `Chacha Nehru` as he loved kids with all his heart. He had a great hand in the freedom struggle of our country. He guided our country towards development after freedom.
Subhash Chandra Bose
He struggled for India’s independence. He assembled the Indian National Army. Popularly known as `Netaji`, his death is still a matter of mystery. His slogan of `Tum mujhe khoon do main tumhe azaadi dunga` is even remembered today.
There are many other freedom fighters who led down their lives for their country. Their number is countless. Such is the beauty of India and it’s people-willing to give all they had to their nation. If this patriotism is instilled in the hearts of people, no power can stop this country from progress.