EARLIER ERA INDIAN ROLE MODELS
1]Rajamata Jijabai (Jijau )
Rajmata Jijabai was born in Deulgaon near Sindhkhed of Osmanabad District in 1598. Married at early age to Shahaji Raje Bhosale who was military commander serving under Adil Shahi of Bijapur sultanate. She gave birth to eight children of Shahaji raje but six daughters died in infancy. Sambhaji and Shivaji reached adulthood. Shahaji Raje gained importance due to his administrative skills. He remained in Bijapur but had estates in various parts of Maharashtra. After Shivaji reached adulthood Shahaji raje granted Shivaji and Jijabai his estates near Pune and both Shivaji and Jijabai shifted to Pune. Jijabai was very pious and intelligent mother with a great vision for independent kingdom. She arranged to train Shivaji in in his early child hood in Military warfare and administrative techniques. She used to inspire Shivaji by telling him great stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. She motivated him to become a king and thinking about forming his own kingdom. Her inspiration led Shivaji to take oath of Swarajya
At the young age of 17 year at Fort temple of Raireshwar in 1645. She is credited with a lions share in Raja Shivaji’s impeccable, spotless character and courage. She is always referred to with great respect as “Rajmaata” in our country.
2] Ahilyadevi Holkar
Rajmata Ahilyadevi was born in village Chondi, Jamkhed in Ahemadnagar District of Maharashtra in 1725. She was married to Khanderao Holkar prince of Malwa kingdom in Madhy Pradesh. Her husband died in the battle of Kumbher in 1754 and soon after her father in law also died. A year after she was crowned as queen of Malwa kingdom. She was trained in both administrative and military matters by husband Khanderao. She ruled Malwa successfully for many years as queen. She developed Indore from a small village to a thriving city. She was very able administrator and ruler and commanded great respect in her life time. She was of very religious nature and has built many temples, ghats, dharmashalas, wells, tanks and rest houses across north India. She was awarded Punyashlok title for her religious work. She is always referred to with great respect as a holy and able women ruler across India.
Onake Obavva is one superwoman who had single-handedly pounded a few invading
troops of Hyder Ali’s army to death using a pestle (a wooden long club meant for pounding paddy grains). In the early 18th Century her husband was a guard of a watch tower in the rocky fort of Chiradurga . When he was having lunch she went to fetch water with the pestle in her hand. She noticed the enemy trying to enter the fort through a hole. She used the onake (pestle) to kill the enemy soldiers one by one by hitting on their head and resisted the enemy from entering the fort. She was killed by the enemy in that fight but her courage and loyalty to her king has become inspiration for many. She is considered to be the epitome of Kannada female pride.
Kittur Chennamma was the Queen of Kittur a princely state in Karnataka. She was one of the first Indian Female rulers to lead and armed rebellion against the British army of East India Company in 1824. Rani Chennama fought fiercely with the aid of her lieutenant Sangoli Rayanna. The resistance ended in her arrest and she was jailed & kept in Bailhongal Fort where she died in 1829. She became symbol of courage in the Independence movement in India. She is considered one of the first and foremost freedom fighter of India.
Laxmibai was born in a Bramhin family in 1828 in the holy town of Varanasi. She was married to Maharaja of Jhansi Raja Gangadhar rao Newalkar in 1842 and was afterwards called as Laxmibai. From the marriage she had one son but he died in early days. Her husband was suffering from some illness and adopted one son before he died. The British East India Company first accepted the adoption but latter rejected it on some ground and the claim of the adopted son to the throne of Jhansi and annexed the state to it’s territories. Later the East India Company ordered Rani Laxmibai to leave the palace and the fort. When the Indian soldiers rebellion against East India Company started in 1857 she raised her own army and protected her state. When she decided to fight the british army for independence and declared war against them. Jhansi was attacked by british army which had superior gun power but she fought with courage. After Jhansi was captured by British army she joined Tatya Tope and kept fighting the enemy army. In Gwalior she fought her last battle dressed as a Cavalry Leader. She is considered as one of the first freedom fighters of India.
Savitribai Phule the wife of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule equally participated & supported in the social reforms undertaken by Mahatma Phule. She was a social reformer and poet. She established the first women school in Bhide Wada in Pune in 1848. She also worked to abolish discrimination and unfair treatment of people based on cast and gender. She herself became the first woman teacher of our country. She is regarded as an important figure of the Social Reforms Movement in India and in particular in Maharashtra.
7]Anandi Gopal Joshi
Anandi bai Joshi is the first Indian woman to obtain a degree in Western medicine in (1886). In those times women were not allowed to go alone out of their homes. Travelling to a foreign country was banned even for Indian me. Anandi bai decided to travel to foreign country to learn medicine and come back and serve Indian brothers and sisters. She is also the first Hindu woman to have set her foot in America.
Sarla Thakral was the first Indian women to fly an aircraft and to earn an aviation pilot
licence at the age of 21. She made a solo flight in Gypsy Moth aero plane. She was the first Indian to get airmail pilot license. After obtaining her pilot license she completed 1000 hours of flying in Lahore Flying Club. She wanted to work as commercial pilot but family responsibilities and death her husband in air crash prevented her from doing that. But her determination and fearless attitude is always recognized in Indian History.
9]Lakshmi Sahgal or ‘Captain Lakshmi’
Laxmi Sahgal was born as Laxmi Swaminathan in Madras presidency in 1914. She obtained her MBBS degree and a diploma in Gynecology at Madras.. After an unsuccessful marriage she and shifted to Singapore where she established a clinic for poor Indian labors. In Singapore she came in to contact of some workers of Indian National Army and then with Subhash Chandra Bose. In Indian National Army she become a revolutionary soldier and an officer in the Great Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army. In the Indian struggle for independence, the Indian National Army carried out an important role and Captain Laxmi played an important role in it. Captain Laxmi was a versatile person a politician, a social activists, a prisoner of war and one of the founding mothers of ‘All India Democratic Women’s Association’.
Born in 1907 she was married at the age of 11years to Bhagawati Charan Vora. She was active member of Naujwaan Bharat Sabha. Durgavati Devi was a well known Indian revolutionary and one of the very few women who participated in armed revolution for India’s Independence. She is mainly recognized for having accompanied Shahid Bhagat Singh in a train journey after he killed General Saunders. Due to her Bhagat Singh could escape the clutches of the British police. She posed herself as his wife during a train journey. Her husband was active worker of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).