Women's Role In INM Introduction Lesson-1 By Dr. Roma n Saini
Beginning Of Participation: Before 1857 Women's participation in the freedom struggle of India began as early as in 1817. Maharani Velu Nachiyar bravely fought with the British army decades before the 1857 Revolt. She probably remains the only queen to have defeated the British army successfully . Bhima Bai Holkar defeated the British colonel Malcolm in guerrilla warfare before the 1857 revolt.
Many women including Rani Chennamma of Kittur and Rani Begam Hazrat Mahal of Avadh also fought against British East India company in the early 19th century, thirty years before the "First War of Independence" in 1857. One more great women, Gauri Parvati Bai who was the queen of Travancore carried out reforms and emphasized the need for education of girls. Therefore, in some ways, women were active in the struggle against the colonial power and striving for their emancipation from the very beginning as early in the 19th century
Participation During 1857 Revolt The role played by women in the Great Revolt of 1857 was incredible and even made the leaders of the Revolt and the British commanders as well to praise their bravery. . Rani Lakshmi Bai dressed up as man and lead her army courageously against the British army. . Begum Hazrat Mahal refused to accept the Doctrine of Lapse and reclaimed Awadh from the British as well as reinstated her young son as the king. . Rani Avantibai Lodhi of Ramgarh, Rani Tace Bai, Rani Jindan Kaur, Jhalkaribai and Uda Devi are other historical women who fought with the British army during the revolt. .
Participation Before Gandhian Era Where many great men like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Chandrasekhar Azad etc. emerged as leaders in their own way, women stalwarts too matched them step to step. In fact, undoubtedly women freedom fighters have made significant contributions to the independence movement. Moreover, the coordinated synchronization between the two has been an important landmark in the achieving of Indian independence. However, Indian women association with the freedom struggle took a new dimension with the growth of popular politics of the Gandhian model. . . .
Because the women's participation before Gandhi was in a restricted manner for example in Swadeshi Movement in Bengal and the Home Rule Movement. However, they also attended sessions of Indian National Congress and participated in rallies or demonstrations. e But the involvement of a sizable number of women in freedom struggle began with Gandhi who assigned the special role to women. Gandhi induced the concept of "collective sisterhood" Hence, ideas like "sisters of mercy" and "mothers of entire e . humanity" symbolized the women's role in the freedom struggle.
Participation During Non-Cooperation Movement The participation of women in public domain started during NCM in 1920, when Gandhi mobilized a large number of women. However, the participation of women far from active and they could participate only from within the domestic sphere. And this very separation of domestic and public sphere helped to organize their activities strongly in the domestic sphere. . . In the absence of the male who would be jailed for his involvement in the nationalist activity, the woman became the emotional support. Women organized themselves to play the role of both agents of proliferation and recipients of information related to movement. .
In the NCM Gandhi consciously invited the women in the attempts to link their struggle for emancipation with the struggle for national independence. . But the programmes for women were devised in the way that they could play their domestic role and contribute to the national movement simultaneously. In this way, he gave women a sense of mission within their domestic sphere and women keeping their traditional role became the base of the freedom movement. . . By aligning their both roles, he developed political awareness of their own abilities as mothers, sisters, and daughters but within the uncompromising structure of patriarchy .
Participation During Civil Disobedience Movement During the Civil Disobedience Movement, women's public activities were more pronounced alongwith the previous activities. Though Gandhi visualized a supportive role for women, women started getting impatient and demanded a more active role in the freedom struggle like their counterparts. Gandhi appreciated the impatience as "healthy sign" but refused to increase their greater role. Because he believed that women can play a higher and impactful role in the activities like picketing of liquor and foreign cloth shops. . . .
He denied the enhancement of the women's role because he believed in their "inherent" capacity for non-violence. So he maintained that the agitation of picketing could remain non-violent for long with women participation. However, in Bengal, some women also participated in the violent revolutionary movement. Kalpana Dutta and Pritilata Wadkar were some brave freedom fighters who picked the arms under Master Surya Sen . . Now they stood shoulder to shoulder with men with guns and shooting pistols at government officials and robbed the government armory and treasury as well.
Sucheta Kriplani coordinated the non-violent Satyagraha while Aruna e Asaf Ali provided leadership for the underground revolutionary activities. also those women who had joined the communist movement. For example, in 1942, Mahila Atma Raksha Samiti (women's self The movement also witnessed large participation of rural women and . defence) mobilized the rural women in Bengal Subash Chandra Bose also added a women's regiment to his INA (1943) . called the Rani of Jhansi Regiment. The Tebhaga Movement in 1946 saw the formation of women and Brigade as Nari Bahinis to fight against colonial policies.
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