We have come a long way after independence from Britishers. In 2022 we will be celebrating 75 years of Indian independence and rejuvenate the essence of independent democratic India. While embracing our democratic nation we must remember that for this day lives of millions of our ancestors were sacrificed. Many of them who sacrificed for independent India is still remembered by Indians proudly like Mahatama Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Tatya Tope, Nana Saheb, Lal Bahadur Shashtri, Subash Chandra Bose, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Bhagat Singh, Rani Laxmi Bai, Kunwar Singh, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Mangal Pandey, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, C. Gopalachari, Dadabhai Naorji, Ram Prasad Bismil, K.M. Munshi, Bipin Chandra Pal, Chandrashekhar Azad, Begum Hazrat Mahal and the list goes on. These are the common names which you will find in our history books but the historians have ignored many of our freedom fighters about whom you will rarely find mention anywhere. So, here will see some of these unsung freedom fighters who deserve our salute too in addition to those mentioned above.
1. Alluri Sitaram Raju – Alluri Sitaram Raju was a Telugu freedom fighter from Andhra Pradesh. He was born in Padrangi village of Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh. When Madras forest act was passed in the year 1882 restricting the free movement of tribal people and prevented them from getting involved in shifting cultivation. Alluri Sitaram Raju led the Rampa Rebellion of 1922 fighting the British forces in the bordering areas of Andhra Pradesh against the law. Raju also laid raids on police stations and killed some British police officers but later he was arrested and executed in Koyyuru village by the Britishers. Despite leading such a huge revolt, Alluri Sitaram Raju finds mentions only in very few history books.
2.Tirot Sing -Tirot Sing also known as U Tirot Sing Syiem was born in 1802 in some unknown place of Northeastern India. He was one of the chiefs of the Khasi Hills in Shillong plateau of Meghalaya. He was Syiem(chief) of Nongkhlaw part of Khasi hills also the member of council leading all clans within the territory. When Britishers tried to take over control of Khasi hills, Tirot Sing declared war against them, known as Anglo-Khasi war. He managed to keep Britishers away for four years until he was captured by them and died on 17 July 1835 in Dhaka, now in Bangladesh. At the time when no one was aware of the British ill-will, Tarot Sing understood their motive and fought against them bravely. His death anniversary is commemorated as U Tirot Sing Day in Meghalaya and is a sate holiday. Despite such a major role, Tirot Sing remains unsung freedom fighter at the national level.
3. Surya Sen – Surya Sen also called Surjo Sen in Bengali was born in Chittagong district of Bengal Presidency on 22 March 1894. Sen was a school teacher and was popularly called as ‘Master Da’ by the people. He was also the president of the Indian National Congress, Chittagong branch. Sen formed a group of young revolutionaries along with his colleagues Anant Singh, Ganesh Ghosh and Lokenath Baul by the name Chittagong group and with the help of them fought against the British forces at the Chittagong. He led a well-organised attack on the British cantonment, armoury, telegraph office, railway lines, European Club and other British establishments. He aimed to completely disable the British control over Chittagong and liberate it from their rule. Even though most of his attacks were successful but his dream of free Chittangong was short-lived and he was arrested by the British on 16 April 1933. He was tortured for his acts against by the British and was finally executed on 12 January 1934 at Chittagong. He led a full-fledged attack on Britishers to liberate Chittagong but his contribution was not given the deserved honour by our historians and he remained hidden in some of our history books.
4. V. V. S. Aiyar – Varahaneri Venkatesa Subramaniam Aiyar was born on 2 April 1882 in Trichinopoly in Madras Presidency of present Tamil Nadu. He became a barrister in districts courts of Tiruchi after passing after pursuing law from Madras University. He then moved to Rangoon and later on went to London for becoming a Barrister at Law where he came in contact with Vinayak Damodar Savarkar at the India house. Under the influence of Savarkar, he began a militant struggle against the Britishers and motivated others to join the struggle. His closest aides were Subramania Bharati and Sri Aurobindo Ghose who also became part of the struggle. He was a proficient writer and wrote several stories, translated Tirukkural in English and was also editor of the newspaper Desabhaktan(Patriot). He influenced many people by his writings but later he was arrested by the British in 1921 on sedition charges and spent nine months in prison. He drowned in the Papanasam falls while trying to save his drowning daughter and died on 3 June 1925.
5.Veerpandiya Kattabomman– Veerpandiya Kattabomaman was an 18th-century Polygar and chieftain from Panchalankurichi in Tamil Nadu. He was born on 3 January 1760 in Panchalankurichi and at the age of 30, in 1790 took charge as 47th polygar. He was one of the first Indian to openly rebel against the British and refused to accept the suzerainty of either Britishers or the rulers of Madurai province deployed by them. He rebelled against the British East India Company and used guerilla warfare to keep them at bay. But unfortunately, he was betrayed by one of his allies, the ruler of Padukottai who revealed his location to the British resulting in his arrest. He was executed on 3 January 1760, becoming one of the first martyrs of the Indian freedom struggle. Being one of the first Indian to go against the British and sacrificing his life, he was not well described by historians.
Here, we saw only five Indian freedom fighters who remained hidden in the pages of our history books but the list is very long. This is one of the reasons why all of them does not come in the limelight and we find mention of them only in some places. However unsung they may be, they all deserve the same honour as other freedom fighters. So, let’s salute these brave-hearted warriors of India.