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Ever Freght Train Reaches Rani Gaidinliu Railway Station in Manipur

Ever Freght Train Reaches Rani Gaidinliu Railway Station in Manipur

Relevance:

  • GS 1 || History || MODERN HISTORY 2 (Other Movements) || Women Movements

Why in news?

The first-ever freight train arrived at the Rani Gaidinliu Railway Station in Tamenglong district of Manipur, marking a major breakthrough for railway authorities who has put-in concerned efforts to improve the railway connectivity across Manipur & other northeastern regions.

Role of women in India’s freedom struggle

  • Without highlighting the contributions of women to the Indian freedom struggle, the history of the Indian freedom struggle would be incomplete. The sacrifices made by the women of India shall take precedence.
  • They fought with unwavering fortitude and bravery in the face of different tortures, exploitations, and sufferings in order to secure our independence. When the majority of the men freedom fighters were imprisoned, the women stepped forward to lead the fight. The list of remarkable women whose names have gone down in history for their unwavering commitment to India’s service is long.
  • Women’s engagement in India’s independence struggle dates back to 1817. Bhima Bai Holkar fought heroically against British colonel Malcolm in guerilla warfare and overcame him. Many women fought against the British East India Company in the 19th century, notably Rani Channama of Kittur and Rani Begam Hazrat Mahal of Avadh, 30 years before the “First War of Independence” in 1857.
  • Women’s contributions during the War of Independence (the Great Revolt) of 1857 were laudable, and even the Revolt’s leaders admired them. Rani of Ramgarh, Rani Jindan Kaur, Rani Tace Bai, Baiza Bai, Chauhan Rani, and Tapasvini Maharani led their forces into war with courage.

Contribution of North East in Freedom Struggle:

Shoorvir Pasaltha Khuangchera 

  • During the latter half of the nineteenth century, Mizoram was included into the colonial empire. The resistance to colonialism in the Lushai Hills was as fierce as it was in the rest of India.
  • He was the first Mizo independence fighter to give his life in the face of British imperialism.
  • In 1890, he was slain while attempting to repel advancing British troops during the British invasion of the Lushai Hills, which are now Mizoram.
  • Khuangchera is remembered not only for his bravery, but also for his strength and morality, which helped him win over his people’s hearts.

U Tirot Sing:

  • In the early nineteenth century, he was a chief of the Khasi people.
  • Tirot Sing struggled to keep the Khasi Hills from being taken over by the British.

Rani Gaidinliu:

  • She was a spiritual and political leader of the Naga people who led an uprising in India against British control.
  • She joined her cousin Haipou Jadonang’s Heraka religious movement when she was 13 years old. Later, the movement became a political movement aimed at driving the British out of Manipur and the surrounding Naga lands. She was regarded as an incarnation of the Goddess Cherachamdinliu by the Heraka faith.
  • Gaidinliu was caught when he was 16 years old in 1932, and the British overlords sentenced him to life in jail. In 1937, Jawaharlal Nehru met her in Shillong Jail and promised to work for her release.
  • She was given the title “Rani” (“Queen”) by Nehru, and she became known as Rani Gaidinliu in her home country.
  • After India’s independence in 1947, she was released and continued to fight for the betterment of her people. She was a fervent opponent of Naga conversion to Christianity, as she was a supporter of traditional Naga religious customs. The Indian government recognised her as a freedom warrior and bestowed the Padma Bhushan upon her.

Bhogeshwari Phukanani:

  • In 1930, Phukanani took part in a peaceful march against the British authority as an act of civil disobedience and was detained for picketing.
  • She was also a key figure in the Quit India movement.
  • Phukanani was active in the Nagaon district of Assam’s Berhampur, Babajia, and Barpujia districts, where he assisted in the establishment of Indian National Congress offices.

Kanaklata:

  • Kanaklata joined the Mrityu Bahini, a murder squad made up of youth from Assam’s Gohpur sub division, during the Quit India Movement.
  • The Bahini agreed to raise the national flag at the local police station on September 20, 1942. To do so, Barua led a parade of unarmed locals. When the police opened fire on the demonstration, the procession continued walking forward unafraid.
  • Kanaklata was shot, and Mukunda Kakoti, who was also shot, took up the flag she was carrying. The police intervention resulted in the deaths of Kanaklata and Kakoti.
  • Kanaklata was only 17 years old when she was martyred.

Zou martyrs:

  • During World War I, 94 Zou martyrs from Manipur gave their life fighting against the British attempt to enslave them as labourers.

Five Historical Women Leaders From North East India:

Sati Joymoti:

  • Joymoti was an Ahom princess who eventually married King Gadadhar (Gadapani/Supaatpha) Singha and became his Queen.
  • In Assam, her self-sacrifice for her kingdom and husband is well-known. She gave her life to Lora Roja in order to establish a kingdom free of corruption, oppression, and poor governance (Sulikphaa).
  • After being chained to Kotkora Gos, she was subjected to cruel physical torture in Jareng Pathar (Jareng field) in Assam’s Sivasagar district (a thorny plant).
  • Despite being tortured, Joymoti remained silent regarding her husband’s location. Until her last breath, she tried to safeguard her husband and her realm.
  • Sati was bestowed upon her for her devotion to her husband and realm. She attempted to preserve her country and people from Sulikphaa’s horrors.
  • She quickly rose to prominence as a symbol of bravery. Her altruistic sacrifice, patriotism, courage, honesty, and pride have earned her the title of Assamese hero. Every year on March 27th, Assam celebrates Sati Joymoti Divas (Sati Day).

Kanaklata Baruah:

  • One of the Assamese leaders in the Indian Independence Movement was Kanaklata Baruah. She was a member of the Quit India Movement and battled the British with tenacity.
  • She led a protest demonstration in Gohpur police station with other leaders to raise the Indian flag on the top of the police station as a symbol of freedom struggle against British rule as part of the Mrityu Bahini (Death Squad).
  • She led the women’s procession and carried the Indian flag towards the police station. She was shot by the cops while she was walking towards the police station.
  • Kanaklata, a member of the prominent and orthodox Dolakharia Barua family, died when he was only 17 years old. She had struggled since she was five years old, when she became an orphan. She took control of her siblings and the household on her own.
  • Finally, she joined the Indian independence movement and fought for her homeland. She was a powerful leader as well as a strong woman in her personal life.

Chandraprabha Saikiani:

  • Chandraprabha Saikiani has made significant achievements as a writer, a teacher, a social reformer, and a women’s rights campaigner.
  • In 1926, she founded the Assam Pradeshik Mahila Samiti. She has advocated for women’s and girls’ education since she was a child. She spoke about the negative effects of opium usage and requested that it be banned during the Assam session of the Asom/Axom (Assam) Chhatra (Students) Sanmilan in 1918.
  • She was constantly against caste discrimination and used Srimanta Sankardev’s teachings to combat it. Women’s admission into religious locations and rituals, she claimed. She also joined the National Non-Cooperation Movement and participated in the Indian independence struggle.

Mina Agarwala:

  • Mina Agarwala was an important figure in the Tezpur Mahila Samity for more than 50 years. Inspired by Chandraprabha Saikiani, she worked for women rights throughout her life.
  • She was the President of the District Social Welfare Boardin the 1950s. Her work with rural women is impeccable. She was a strong youth mobiliser and mobilised women to welcome Tibetan refugees and helped them from the hands of Chinese atrocities in 1959.
  • In 1962 she and her team worked enormously and raised fund for National Defence Fund against Chinese aggression.
  • Her works were not only for the women of her community. She also spoke for Muslim women’s rights and stood against Triple TalaqMehr and inefficient maintenance.
  • She widely advocated for women’s education, especially rural women’s education. Mina Agarwala passed away on 24th July 2014, leaving behind the legacy of her works.

Silverine Swer:

  • Silverine Swer worked as a social worker in Meghalaya. Her contribution to the field of social work for young girls has been enormous.
  • She was the first Khasi woman to serve as a trainer and adviser for the Girls Guide Movement, which later became her life’s work. During World War II, she was assigned to the position of Assistant Controller of Rationing.
  • Her contributions to academia are numerous. She was a faculty member and then the Principal of Changlang Tirap’s Teachers’ Training Institute.
  • Silverine left the company in 1968. She also spent 15 years as the Chief Social Education Organizer in Arunachal Pradesh. Her work in the social sector continued after she retired. She was involved with a number of women’s social welfare organisations and educational institutes.
  • She served as Chairman of the State Social Welfare Advisory Board, State Commissioner (Guides), Chairman of the International Year For Women, and served on the boards of several social organisations. Swer attended Kolkata’s Scottish Church College.
  • Her contributions to indigenous women in Meghalaya are numerous. She died on February 1, 2014, at the age of 103, following a long career in social service.

Conclusion:

Hence Women played an essential role in the Indian liberation struggle, spanning from regular people to leaders of the mass movement, and their contribution is incalculable. Katherine Mayo criticised Hindu men and the slave-like situation of women within the family in her book Mother India. Families were required to be the focus of nationalists and reformers, who were compelled to make the home environment nonviolent. This criticism also brought Indian men and women closer together in the sake of national honour.

Mains oriented question:

Discuss the importance of women in the liberation movement, particularly during Gandhi’s time. (200 words)