Women and India’s Independence Movement

Sarojini Naidu

  • Great as a poet and orator, Sarojini Naidu was one of the most enlightened women of modern India. She joined the Home Rule movement launched by Annie Besant. On the call of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, she joined the Indian National Congress in 1915. He became President of the Congress in 1925. She was invited along with Gandhiji to the Second Round Table Conference in London. After India became independent in 1947, she was appointed Governor of Uttar Pradesh as a token of recognition of her services.

Vijay Laxmi Pandit

  • The sister of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru also played a great role in the freedom movement. She was elected to Uttar Pradesh Assembly in 1936 and in 1946. She was the first woman in India to hold a ministerial rank. She was imprisoned thrice for taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932, 1941 and 1942. She was the first woman to become president of the United Nations General Assembly.

Indira Gandhi

  • During the 1930 movement, she formed the Vanar Sena — a children’s brigade to help freedom fighters. She became a member of the Indian National Congress in 1938. In the eventful years of her leadership as Prime Minister, Indian society underwent profound changes.

Sister Nivedita

  • Sister Nivedita was one of the host of foreign women who were attracted towards Swami Vivekananda and Hindu philosophy. Born in Ireland on 28 October 1867, she arrived in India in January, 1898, in search of truth. She attacked Lord Curzon for the Universities Act of 1904 and partition of Bengal in 1905.
    Swami Vivekananda described her as a real Lioness. Rabindranath Tagore regarded her as Lok-Mata and Aurobindo Ghosh as Agni-sikha.

Dr. Annie Besant

  • A strong votary of truth, Dr. Annie Besant came to India in 1893 at the age of 46, impressed as she was by its great religion and philosophy. She entered active politics in 1914.
    She founded Home Rule League in India.
  • She fittingly became the president of Indian National Congress in 1917. Tilak declared that if we were nearer our goals, it was due to Dr. Annie Besant’s sincere efforts. Gokhale considered her a true daughter of Mother India.