Hi everyone, today I am sharing the article on an overview of Indian freedom fights which included a list of top 10 freedom fighters, and Indian Independence movements. After reading this article, you will also understand the principles behind British rule.
Indian Freedom Fighters of Modern History
India was colonized by the British Empire for over 200 years until it gained independence in 1947. The British Empire used force to control the people of India, and many Indians fought against this rule.
Some people might not find the proper reason to know about Indian freedom fighters and independence struggle. But today I am here to give that reason.
After having information about the sacrifice of our ancestors. The importance of freedom is something that you will understand. You will know what it takes to get out of slavery. You also understand the mistakes we made in the first war of Independence.
Ways followed by Indian freedom fighters for Independence
In history, there were some countries who ruled over other territories.
Mostly European ambitious countries had ruled over many countries. We also knew them as colonial countries.
As those countries were so inhuman with enslaved people. Hence, a slow revolt began in those territories.
As usual, people revolt with violent activities. Unlike other countries, India was the first country that was shown a non-violent way to revolt against tyrannic rule.
Who are called freedom fighters?
Regardless of the way of fighting for freedom. We call each person a freedom fighter that contributed in independence activities.
Freedom fighters Vs Revolutionaries
We can call each revolutionary a freedom fighter, but all freedom fighters cannot be revolutionaries. Revolutionaries do freedom struggle with violence against ruling government. Violent activities can include murders, bomb attack, etc.
On the other hand, some freedom fighters may include non-violent people. They used to protest against the government but with no violence.
Which way of struggle is better?
I think, in order to get freedom, both ways need dedication, sacrifice, devotion for the nation. The way of violence was straightforward and needed army, artillery, ammunition.
In contrast, the non-violent way does not require military power. But the unity of people that have dedication, devotion, and sacrifice for their nation plays a vital role.
During the Indian freedom struggle, British police used to beat protesters. But protesters don’t have to reply with stones. Protesters need to bear that pain for a good cause. Many times, British policeman beaten people to death.
Indian revolutionaries established an organization named Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). All revolutionary activities used to secretly carry out. These activities included bomb making, planning murders, bomb attacks, weapon attack, etc.
Top 10 Indian Freedom Fighters of Modern Period
There were many freedom fighters that contributed to the independence struggle. Except popular leaders, there were many ordinary people who sacrificed their lives. Here I am sharing the top leaders who inspire lakhs of Indians to take part in a freedom struggle.
List of Top 10 Indian freedom fighters
- Mahatma Gandhi
- Implemented Satyagraha not only in India but also in Africa
- He was a leader and member of the Indian National Congress (INC)
- His movements like non-operation movement, Dandi march were impactful
- In spite belong to rich background, his principles of simple living made him an icon of India
- Lal Bahadur Shastri
- Shastri became prime minister in 1964 for 2 years till his death in 1966
- He was a member of the Noncooperation movement of Gandhiji
- Shastri jailed several more times and earned leading positions in the Congress Party of United Provinces (now state of Uttar Pradesh)
- For his personality, people often used quote, “Idol small fame great!”
- Subhas Chandra Bose
- We knew him for his push for socialist policies and his militant way to freedom
- He led the Indian National Forces during World War II, participant in the Noncooperation movement and leader of the Indian National Congress
- During his reign, he was a journalist, youth educator, and commandant of the Bengal Congress volunteers
- His Indian National Army maintained its identity for some time as a liberation army
- Lala Lajpat Rai
- His notable protest was against the Simon Commission, in which he injured and died
- He was founder of the conservative Hindu society Arya Samaj, which means “Society of Aryans”. He also established the Indian Home Rule League of America in 1917
- He was a professional author and politician during his reign
- Here are his notable writings which inspire crores of Indian people:
- The Story of My Deportation (1908)
- Arya Samaj (1915)
- The United States of America: A Hindu’s Impression (1916)
- England’s Debt to India: A Historical Narrative of Britain’s Fiscal Policy in India (1917)
- Unhappy India (1928).
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak
- He began a nationalist movement by organizing festivals of “Ganesh Chaturthi” in 1893 and “Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti” in 1895
- Tilak published two newspapers, “Kesari” in Marathi “The Mahratta” in English and also founded the Deccan Education Society in 1884
- He was author, teacher, political leader, mathematician, philosopher, and nationalist
- His notable writing work is mentioned below:
- The Śrīmad Bhagavadgitā Rahasya (“Secret of the Bhagavadgita”) and we popularly knew it as Gita Rahasya, which was written in Marathi and published in 1915
- The Orion; or, Researches into the Antiquity of the Vedas, which published in English in year 1893
- The Arctic Home in the Vedas, according to some resources, this English book was written in 1898 but published later in 1903
- Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
- He was largest spanned prime minister of India as he served for 14 years from 1950 to 1964
- Very few people knew about his newspaper “The National Herald,” which he founded with the help of 1938
- He was a politician, leader, and author of several books
- His important writings include:
- “Glimpses of World History” in 1934
- “Letters for a Nation” written between period of 1947 to 1963
- “A Bunch of Old Letters” written by leaders to Nehru between 1917 and 1948
- “The Discovery of India” in 1946
- “Words of Freedom: Ideas of A Nation”
- “Letters from a Father to his Daughter” written in 1928
- “The Struggle for Civil Liberties with a Foreword by Jawaharlal Nehru” written between 1936
- “The Unity of India Collected Writings 1937-1940”
- “An Autobiography: Toward Freedom” written while in prison in June 1934 and February 1935 and published in 1936
- “An Anthology” published in November 1984
- Kamala Nehru
- She organized a group in order to picket shops selling liquor and foreign clothes
- Despite of the small reign, she became popular among young women also led and encouraged them to participate in freedom movement
- Kamala Nehru had to manage between her family and political career. Still, she played a nice role and delivered a speed of Jawaharlal while Jawaharlal imprisoned in jail
- She arrested and imprisoned twice during her lifetime
- Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
- According to britannica.com, the Indian Revolt of 1857 was the first expression of the Indian mass rebellion against British colonial rule. In order to tell this view, in year 1909 he wrote “The Indian War of Independence, 1857”
- He learned the sabotage and assassination from refugee Russian revolutionaries in Paris and also helped to instruct contemporary groups of Indian revolutionaries
- In March 1910, he was sent to India for trial and convicted
- British convicted him of his participation in the assassination of a British district magistrate
- In court results, he sentenced the custody “for life” and was exiled to the Andaman Islands
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
- During the first three years after independence, he served as first Deputy Prime Minister of India
- In 1928, Patel led the campaign of landowners against raised taxes and, therefore, he called with the title Sardar (leader)
- He served imprisonment for several times as below:
- During Salt march, he served imprisonment for three months
- He again imprisonment in January 1932 till July 1934
- In October 1940, he again arrested till August 1941
- Again in August 1942 British police imprisoned him until June 1945
- Babasaheb Ambedkar
- Because he belongs Dalit Mahar family, he had to suffer offensive treatment from colleagues
- At first he joined Baroda Public Service on request of Gaekwar
- But later began law practice and teaching because of ill treated by colleagues
- He established several journals on their behalf and several journals on their behalf, and accomplished in securing exclusive representation for them in the legislative councils of the government
Above are the top 10 freedom fighters of India who contributed in freedom struggle. Read the top 15 women freedom fighters of India.
Indian Freedom Struggle
We consider the year 1819 CE as the beginning of the Indian freedom struggle. Because this year Maratha Peshwa Bajirao-II was handed over to the British.
In other words, the entire India goes into the hands of British East India Company. Though British promised the rulers like Bajirao-II, Rani Laxmibai to pay a monthly pension.
But after the policy implementation of the Doctrine of Lapse, each province of India lost their rights to rule. The British East India Company gave reasons like the king had no heir, ruler was incapable, etc.
The reason is obvious because the Maratha Empire once used to rule over India. Though in the third battle of Panipat, Maratha lost their dignity and influence over India.
Still, they had their existence in Maharashtra till three sequential Anglo-Maratha wars. But after the third Anglo-Maratha war, British East India took control over Maratha territory.
India had many National Leaders that led thousands of people during freedom movements. You can take a look at the freedom fighters of India with name to check the entire list.
Great Indian Freedom Fighter- Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Gandhi had belonged to a wealthy family. After reading his biography, you will understand he was sensitive from his childhood.
His experience in Africa became the reason for raising a voice against injustice. There he gave Satyagraha mantra for the first time.
After returning to India, he again implemented the Satyagraha movement. Eventually, after several movements like non-cooperation movement, it became successful.
Independence Movements in India
Regardless of whether you are preparing for competitive exams. Having knowledge of history, especially about the Indian Independence events, is essential.
Indian Nation Congress – The beginning towards National Movement
After the 1857 revolt, even though the British repressed the influence of war and rebellions, still slowly again nationwide freedom struggle started.
Freedom fighters became leaders of people forming the Indian National Congress on 28 December 1885. The formation of INC ultimately emerged as the era of the national movement.
Surendranath Banerjee, Dadabhai Naoroji, along with Motilal Nehru and Madan Mohan Malviya were the moderate leaders. All of them were professional lawyers. The system of Constitutionalism was the center of belief of each moderate leader.
The contribution of moderates in the freedom struggle
Moderates remained faithful and held annual meetings to express their loyalty to the British. They passed several treaties on barley disputable problems, including government opportunities / civil rights.
They wanted to protect Indians from arbitrary acts of the bureaucracy and police.
Police system improvisation regarding efficiency, honesty, and popularity. It is another demand of moderates.
Moderates used to submit their petitions to the government of Viceroy, and sometimes also to the British Parliament.
No single resolution made any significant influence.
The Bengal partition and take of Nationalist leaders
According to Britannica, giving the reason for communalist and language differences, the British viceroy Lord Curzon executed the Bengal partition in 1905. The Curzon gave another reason for partition was drawing administrative performance.
The Congress and the nationalist leaders resisted regarding this. Everyone who adopted policies like Swadeshi boycotted British goods and promoted Indian goods in protest.
Because of the contrast views of rising groups of extremists and moderates, started division in Congress and the regulating forces of opposition came forward that were prevailing in the INC.
Indian people were so much in ignorance that they even didn’t know the 1857 struggle was not only a struggle, but that was the first war of independence.
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was the first freedom fighter who awakened youth across the country. He wrote a book named The Indian War of Independence 1857.
British colonial authorities banned that book. Though, it secretly circulated, and book inspires lakhs of Indians to join the freedom movement.
Lal – Bal – Pal – TRI pillars of Extremist
The professional lawyers like Bal Gangadhar Tilak including journalists like Bipin Chandra Pal and politicians like Lala Lajpat Rai gave new direction to INC.
Tilak started a new state of higher radical thinking within the organization.
He presented fresh methods and ideas for resisting imperialist rule. He also advocated courageous actions, including Swadeshi (self-reliance) policy and boycotting foreign goods.
He did not have faith regarding any benefit in British rule. Instead, he always felt their rule was very tyrannic. In 1897, he initiated the idea of Swaraj (complete independence).
He gave a popular slogan regarding Swaraj given as below.
“Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it!”– Bal Gangadhar TIlak
After the Bengal partition, he came up as a remarkable leader of extremist division. In the Calcutta session of 1906,
Tilak faced opposition from the moderates at the Calcutta Convention in 1906, but remained steadfast in his views on self-government, indigenousness, and exclusion.
After the division of INC in 1907, the British started taking action against extremist leaders. Tilak was imprisoned and exiled to Mandalay jail for six years.
According to cntraveller.in, Lokmanya Tilak was written ”The Arctic Home in the Vedas” in 1898. But according to gktoday.in, he published it later in 1903. The book is based on the origin of the Indo-Aryan peoples.
While in jail, he became the author of another book. He wrote based on the Karmayog of Bhagavad Gita, hence named as “Karmayog Shastra” or “Geeta Rahasya.”
After being released from Mandalay jail in 1914 CE, he initiated the home rule league in April 1916 CE. Annie Besant also started Home Rule league in September 1916 CE.
Both organizations were of short span that worked throughout India. Both organizations motivated the Indian youth against foreign rule.
Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol was mentioned Tilak as one hurtful pioneer of hatred and actually the father of Indian unrest.
Other prominent lawyers who upheld the radical ideology included Lala Lajpat Rai and C. Rajagopalachari.
Lajpat Rai was popularly known as the Punjab Kesari and Sher-e-Punjab and was also the founder of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company.
After the Culcutta session of 1906, he formed the extremist division of congress with help of Lokmanya Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal. Hence they called with trio, Lal-Bal-Pal. He also chaired the founding conference or the first session of All India Trade Union Congress in 1920.
He went as a representative of Indian labor in the eighth International Labor Conference. This conference happened in Geneva in 1926.
Lalaji also founded the Indian Home Rule League of America. The league published a newspaper named “Young India” which was also edited by Lalaji. He also edited “Arya Gazette”.
He also started newspapers. He started Urdu daily – Vande Mataram, The People, Punjabee. Lalaji published inspiring speeches inside the journals to end the suppression of foreign invaders.
Challenging the British in court
The Alipore Bomb Case controversy started after the Bengal partition. Because of that, frequent violence and repression began in different territories of the country.
The British officers suspected Aurobindo Ghosh, and other 37 revolutionaries, to have taken part in sedition and illegal work. Hence, British police arrested them.
But lawyer CR Das handled the case with brilliancy and succeeded in the rescue of others along with Aurobindo. Hence, the court had acquitted them.
After this case, Das came into the spotlight in his profession as well as in politics. Das also addressed as “Deshbandhu.” Because he saved a lot of patriotic revolutionaries from clutches of the British with help of his legal knowledge.
As he was renowned for handling criminal and civil law. Das was the defense counsel in the Dacca Conspiracy Case (1910-11).
British government also reported new reforms admitted as Marley-Minto reforms into the Indian government structure.
After rolling out these reforms results in disheartened because they didn’t make any advance notice towards the formulation of a representative Government.
As the entire power behind the nationalist movement rested on Hindu-Muslim unity. Hence, the policy of special representation of the Muslims was viewed as a threat to their unity. Therefore, the nationalists resisted these reforms crushingly.
British reported the new reforms in 1909. It results in dissatisfaction and led to the intensification of the struggle for Swaraj.
In this struggle, the extremists began virtual activities against the British. The revolutionaries on their side boosted their violent war activities.
Across the country, there was a great deal of unrest. Then, the Rowlatt Act passed in 1919, which added fuel to this countrywide unrest.
Rowlatt Act granted the Government to put people in prison without trial. This resulted in fury in the minds of people. People did mass demonstrations and strikes across the country.
When did British come to India?
I would like to give an answer for overall colonial countries. Those countries include Britain, Germany, France, Portugal, etc.
During the rule of Sri Krishnadevaraya, there was mention of the relation of Vijayanagar with Portuguese colonies.
Then during the period of Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje in Deccan. We knew the existence of Portuguese in Goa and British in Konkan region.
The Battle of Plassey was the first battle fought by British East India Company. After victory in the battle of Plassey, they settled in India.
After the Battle of Panipat happened on 14 January 1761, Maratha power diminished to a great extent. It favored the growth of the British East India Company.
Finally, in 1818, after the third Anglo-Maratha War, the British became powerful in India. They became victorious after that battle.