Monday, December 24, 2007


Hakim Ajmal Khan

Date of Birth : 1863
Date of Death : 1927
Place of Birth : Delhi

Dr. Hakim Ajmal Khan was a noted Indian freedom fighter, renowned physician and educationalist. He was the founder of the Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. Hakim Ajmal Khan was born in 1863 in Delhi. His family, a distinguished line of physicians descended from the army of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire in India. Khan studied the Qur'an and traditional Islamic knowledge, before studying medicine at home, under the tutelage of his relatives. After launching himself in practise, Khan was appointed chief physician to the Nawab of Rampur from 1892 to 1902. In Rampur he met Syed Ahmed Khan and was appointed a trustee of the Aligarh college, now the Aligarh Muslim University.

Hakim Ajmal Khan took much interest in the expansion and development of the indigenous system of medicine, Tibb-i-Yunani, or Unani. Khan's family established the Tibbiya school in Delhi, in order to expand the research and practise of Unani. In recognition of his services in this field the Government of India conferred on him, in 1907 the title of 'Haziq-ul-Mulk'. But in 1910, Dr. Khan was organizing Indian physicians in protest of a Government decision to revoke official recongition for the practioners of Indian systems of medicine, of Unani and Ayurveda. Dr. Khan's involvement in politics began with writing for the Urdu weekly 'Akmal-ul-Akhbar', which was founded in 1865-70 and was run by his family. Dr. Khan was in the deputation of Muslims that met the Viceroy of India in Shimla in 1906, presenting him a memorandum on behalf of the community, and in 1907 was present in Dhaka where the All India Muslim League was created. Dr. Khan also backed the British during World War I, encouraging Indians to support the government, but the situation changed with the entry of Turkey. Upon the arrest of many Muslim leaders, Dr. Khan came to Mahatma Gandhi for support, who joined Khan and other Muslim leaders like Maulana Azad, Maulana Mohammad Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali in the Khilafat movement. Dr. Khan resigned from the AMU when the authorities refused to endorse or participate in the Non-Cooperation Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. He was elected the President of the Congress in 1921, and fiercely condemned the Amritsar Massacre and the British response to the Khilafat. He was imprisoned for many months by police authorities. Dr. Khan had left the AMU owing to its historic resistance to the Indian National Congress. Along with many prominent Muslim nationalists like Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, he laid the foundations of the Jamia Millia Islamia (Islamic National University) in Aligarh in 1920, in response to Mahatma Gandhi's call for Indians to boycott government institutions. The JMI grew into a prominent and prestigious university, and was moved to Delhi, where it stands today. Dr. Khan served as its first Chancellor, and was a key patron of the institution.

Dr. Khan died of heart problems on December 29, 1927. Dr. Khan had renounced his government title, and many of his Indian fans awarded him the title of 'Masih-ul-Mulk' (Healer of the Nation). He was succeeded in the position of JMI Chancellor by Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari.


Thursday, December 20, 2007


Surendranath Banerjee
Born - 10 November 1848
Died - 6 August 1925
Achievements - Being among the earliest of Indian politicians in the pre-independence era, Sir Surendranath Banerjee established the Indian National Association that he later merged with the Indian National Congress owing to their common agenda. At a very young age, he cleared the British instituted ICS examinations, but was dismissed due to racial discrimination. He whipped up a strong protest against this.

Among the earliest Indian politicians during the British raj was Sir Surendranath Banerjee. He set up the Indian National Association that was among the earliest political organizations of that era. Later on, Banerjee became a senior member of the Indian National Congress. Born on 10 November 1848 at Calcutta in West Bengal, Surendranath Banerjee was intensely swayed by the liberal, progressive thinking of his father, Durga Charan Banerjee. Read on to know more about the biography of Sir Surendranath Banerjee.

Sir Surendranath BanerjeeAfter graduating from the University of Calcutta, Surendranath traveled to England in 1868 along with Romesh Chunder Dutt and Behari Lal Gupta to appear for the Indian Civil Service exams. Though he passed the ICS in 1869, he was dismissed because of a dispute over his right age. After this matter was sorted out in a court of law, Banerjee reappeared for the exam and once again managed to clear it in 1871. He was appointed as the assistant magistrate in Sylhet, but was chucked out due to racial discrimination.

Not one to leave challenges lying down his entire life history, Sir Surendranath Banerjee headed straight to England this time. Though he raised his voice against the injustice, his protest failed to deliver any positive result. However, during his stay in England from 1874 to 1875, Banerjee acquainted himself with the works of Edmund Burke and other liberal philosophers. Upon returning to India, Surendranath Banerjee instead started working as a professor of English at the Metropolitan Institution, the Free Church Institution and at the Ripon College.

In the time to come, Banerjee went on to launch 'The Bengali' newspaper and the Indian National Association in 1876. He employed these forums to address political and social issues like the age-limit for Indian students appearing for ICS. He rebuked the racial discrimination practiced by the British officers through public speeches all over the country, which made him very popular. After the Congress was set up in 1885 at Bombay, Banerjee merged his Indian National Association with it owing to their common agenda. He served as Congress President in 1898 and 1904.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Durgaabaayi Deshmukh (1909-1981)
[Durgabai Deshmukh]
Eminent freedom fighter, social reformer, educator and leader of early women's movement

Jaateeya Pataaka Nirmaata,
Pingali Venkaiah (1887-1963)
[Pingali Venkayya]
Freedom fighter. Great follower of Mahatma Gandhi. Designed the tricolour -the Indian national flag.

Amara veerudu,
Potti Sreeraamulu (1901-1952)
[Potti Sriramulu]
Freedom fighter. Led the popular movement to unite Telugu speaking people under a single government and martyred himself in the process. His act of "Satyagraha" directly led to the eastablishment "Linguistic states" in modern India.

Andhra Kesari,
TanguTuuri Prakaasam Panthulu (1872-1957)
[Tanguturi Prakssam]
One of the greatest freedom fighters of India, eminent leader and administrator. Chief minister of Madras Presidency and the first chief minister of Andhra.

Candra Raajesvara Raavu (1915-1994)
[Chandra Rajeswara Rao]
Freedom fighter, eminent socialist, long time general secretary of the communist party of India

Swaami Raamaananda Teertha (?-?)
[Swami Ramananda Tirtha one*, ..]
Freedom fighter. He and other prominent communist and non-communist leaders led the free Telangana movement.

Telangaanaa Poru Bidda
Raavi Naarayana raavu (1908-1991)
[Ravi Narayana Rao]
Eminent freedom fighter, philanthropist, reformer, and parliamentarian. Spear headed liberation of Telangana movement. Founding member of the communist party of India.

Alluuri Seetaaraama Raaju (1897-1924)
[Alluri Sitarama Raju one*, two*]
Fearless freedom fighter. Led the most famous armed revolt in Telugu history against the British occupation

Kamyuunishtu Gaandhi,
puccala palli Sundarayya (1913-1985)
[Puchchalapalli Sundarayya]
Great freedom fighter, social reformer and parliamentarian. Led communist movements in Andhra and beyond for many decades.

Tenneti visvanaatham (1895-1979)
[Tenneti Viswanatham]
Freedom fighter, parliamentarian, leader and administrator. Close associate of Tanguturi Prakasam.

Uyyaalavaada Narasimhaa Reddi (d. 1847)
[Uyyalavada Narasimha Reddy]
Led one of the first popular revolts in all of India against British occupation



Nethaji Subhash Chandra Bose was born on January 23, 1897 at Cuttack, in Orissa. He was the sixth son of Janakinath and Prabhavati Bose.
Subhash was an excellent student and after school joined the Presidency College, Calcutta, where he studied philosophy, a subject he was interest in.
As a young boy Subhash felt neglected among his 8 siblings. At his English school he suffered under the discrimination faced by Indians which made him even sadder.

nethaji Subhash chandra boseNethaji wanted to work for the poor but his father, had other ideas. He sent Subhash to England to appear for the Indian Civil Service. In July 1920, barely eight months later Subhash Chandra Bose appeared in the Civil Service Examination and passed it with distinction. But he didn't want to be a member of the bureaucracy and resigned from the service and returned to India.

Back home, he participated in the freedom movement along with 'Deshbandhu' C.R. Das. He was thrown into jail but that only made him more determined. Subhash joined the congress and rose to its Presidentship in 1938 a post he held for 2 years.

In 1939, when the Second World War started Gandhiji and other leaders were against doing anything anti-Britain. But Subhash thought differently. He knew, for instance, that the fall of the Roman Empire had led to the freedom of its colonies. He decided to seek foreign help for his cause of freeing India.

He was arrested and kept in his house under detention. On January 17, 1941, while everyone was asleep, Bose slipped out of his house into a waiting car. Disguised as a Muslim religious teacher, Bose managed to reach Peshawar two days later.

Bose went to Italy, Germany and even Russia to seek help but without much use. Subash decided to organize Indians on his own. He landed in Singapore and grouped Indians there into the Indian National Army or the Azad Hind Fauj and declared himself the temporary leader of the free Indian government. Japan, Germany and Italy recognizied Subhash's government and the whole of India rejoiced.

The INA marched to Andaman and Nicobar islands, liberating and renaming them as Shaheed and Swaraj islands. On March 18, 1944, it crossed the Burmese border and reached Manipur where free India's banner was raised with the shouts of 'Jai Hind' and 'Netaji Zindabad'. But heavy rain prevented any further movement and the units had to fall back. Even then Netaji was determined. On August 17, 1945, he issued a Special Order to the INA which said that "Delhi is still our goal".

He then wanted to go to Russia to seek Soviet help to fight the British. But the ill-fated plane in which he was flying, crashed in Taipei on August 18, 1945, resulting in his death.

Some people believe that Subhash Chandra Bose didn't die, that he faked his own crash to escape the British who wanted to arrest him. There were even reports of Bose living in Russia and other foreign countries, even some claims of having seen him as a sadhu… but none were ever proved and today his death in the plane crash is the accepted version.

Events in Nethaji's Life

* 1897: Born to Sri Janaki Nath Basu and Pravabati Devi in Cuttack, Orissa
* 1913: Stood second in the School leaving examination and took admission in Presidency college, Calcutta.
* 1915: Passed Intermediate examination in first division.
* 1916: Charged for misbehaving with British Professor, rusticated from Prsidency college.
* 1917: Got admitted in Scottish Church college in Philosphy Honours.
* 1919: Got first class in Philosophy Honours and left for England for ICS examination.
* 1920: Passed the then ICS examnation in London with highest marks in English.
* 1921: He got the prestigious tripos degree of Cambridge University.
* Resigned from his ICS job and came back to mother land in the same year. Formed South Calcutta Sevak Samity. Was arrested in the end of 1921 for anti British movement.
* 1922: Released from jail on August 1. Joined Swarajya dal under the leadership of Deshbandhu Chittaranjan in Gaya congress.
* 1923: Elected President of All India Youth Congress; elected Secretary of Bengal State Congress and Editor of the paper 'Forward', founded by Deshabandhu.
* 1924: Swarajya Dal won Calcutta Municipality election. Deshabandhu elected Mayor of Calcutta and Subhas Chandra became CEO. Arrested again in October by the British Government.
* 1924-27: Spent nearly three years in the Burma jail; released in May.
* 1925: Deshabandhu passed away.
* 1927: Elected General Secretary of All India Congress Committee.
* 1928: Formed the Volunteer organization in the Calcutta summit of Indian Congress and elected as the General Officer in Command.
* 1929: Addressed the Lahore summit of Indian Congress and proposed for a parallel Government in India.
* 1930: Jailed in January again; elected Mayor of Calcutta Corporation from jail.
* 1931: Elected President of INTUC in Calcutta meeting.
* 1933: Left for Europe.
* 1933-36: Met reputed personalities like Mussolini in Italy, Felder in Germany, D. Valera in Ireland and Roma Rolland in France.
* 1936: Returned to India in April; arrested in Bombay.
* 1936-37: Released in March and started for Europe; published 'Indian Struggle'.
* 1938: Elected President of Indian Congress. d President of Indian Congress; made the historic speech in Haripura convention; formed National Planning Commission. Rabindra Nath Tagore falicited Subhas Cahndra in Santiniketan.
* 1939: Reelected President of Indian Congress; resigned and formed the new organization Forward Block; Rabindra Nath laid the Foundation stone of Mahajati Sadan.
* 1940: Arrested and started fasting in the jail; released from the jail.
* 1941: Left home and absconded; reached Kabul and then left for Moscow; met Hitler in Berlin.
* 1942: Left home and made the historic speech on air from Germany; formed Indian Legion and expanded its activities.
* 1943: Started for Japan by submarine; reached Tokyo and delivered the speech on air in Tokyo; convened the meeting of South East Asian Indian Independence League.
* Formed the Azad Hind Government on October 21; visited Andaman islands in December.
* 1944: The Azad Hind Fauz approached the Arakan front; war breaks out near Imphal and Azad Hind took control of Kohima-Imphal; rejected the peace proposal of British Govrnment through a speech on air; reached Tokyo to discuss with Japanese Government; addressed a massive public meeting in Kualalampur.
* 1945: Delivered the speech on air from Sonan Radio; started for Bangkok.
* Laid foundation stone for Martyrs' statues at Sonan; Hirosima and Nagasaki destroyed by atom bomb by the Americans; Japan surrenders; Subhas left Saigon to implement his future plans.Netaji Subhas could not be traced after that. Some people believe that he died in a plane crash, others refuse to accept that even today.

Comments of Nethaji Subash Chandra bose

Netaji was a 'dare-all leader' By Satya Prakash Malaviya in "The Pioneer"

Subhash Chandra Bose is one of the few heroes of history who left the deepest impress on the minds of the people of India within a short span of his charismatic life. He was born on January 23,1897 at Cuttack in Orissa.

Subhash Bose passed the Indian Civil Service examination obtaining fourth position but resigned in April, 1921. He was the first Indian to resign from the Indian Civil Service.

The Under Secretary of State for India sent for him. Subhash told him, "I do not think one can be loyal to the British Raj and yet serve India honestly, heart and soul."

He returned to India on July 16th, 1921, and met Mahatma Gandhi on the same day at Bombay. He wrote, "I remember clearly the scene of that afternoon...

"Facing the door sat the Mahatma...(he) received me with his typical hearty smile and soon put me at ease and the conversation started at once. I wanted to know about his plan which would finally lead to overthrowing foreign rule. And so I heaped question upon question and the Mahatma replied with patience."

However, Subhash left Gandhi, disappointed because he thought it impossible to change the British.

Subhash was an indefatigable fighter for democracy within Congress. Mahatma Gandhi loved Subhash and Subhash had the highest respect for him. Gandhi called him "dare all leader". It is said that the sobriquet Netaji was given by Gandhi.

Subsequently at a mass rally held on July 9, 1943 at Singapore the title Netaji was affectionately conferred on Subhash by public acclamation. Both Gandhi and Subhash had one thing in common: their chief concern was to transform ideas into facts.

Gandhi believed in the doctrine of nonviolence to attain freedom, but Bose believed in revolutionary means for the goal of Swaraj.

Political testament of Subhash is remarkable. He wrote, "To my countrymen I say forget not that the grossest crime is to compromise with injustice and wrong.

"Remember the eternal law you must give life, if you want to get it. And remember that the highest virtue is to battle against inequity, no matter what the cost may be. The individual must die so that the nation may live. Today I must die, so that India may live and may win freedom and glory."

He was completely dedicated to the cause of India's independence. He had one desire alone to find ways and means to fight for liberation of the motherland.

On January 17, 1941, Subhash escaped from his Eight Road House in Calcutta and left India.

For about a year nothing was heard of him. There was also a news flash towards the close of 1941 that Subhash had died in air crash. On March 25, 1942 all doubts about Subhash were set at rest when he made a Broadcast from Radio Berlin. He spoke, "This is Subhash Chandra Bose, who is still alive speaking to you over the Azad Hind Radio...

"Ever since I left India last year, British propaganda agencies have from time to time given contradictory reports about my whereabouts... The latest report about my death is perhaps an instance of wishful thinking. I can imagine that the British Government would, at this critical hour in India's history, like to see me dead since they are now trying their level best to win India over to their side for the purpose of their imperialistic war".

In August 1942 Gandhi gave a call for Britishers to "Quit India" and for Indians to "Do or Die." Subhash Bose gave his full support to this call through his Radio Broadcast from Germany on August 31, 1942 in which he said, "In the last days of our campaign there will be much suffering and sorrow, much persecution and slaughter... But that is the price of liberty and it has to be paid. It is but natural that in its last hours the British lion will bite hard, but it is after all the bite of a dying lion, and we shall survive it."

In a broadcast from Bangkok on October 2, 1943, on the occasion of 75th birth anniversary of Gandhi, Bose described him as the greatest leader of Indians and his services to the cause of India's freedom as unique and unparalleled and added that his name will be written in letters of gold in our national history for all time.

Subhash was the first to address Mahatma Gandhi as Father of Nation. (NB: The "Mahatma" had not yet "died" a coward's death at Partition talks! At that particular moment in time the "Mahatma" was like the Cardinal who had not yet shot dead his mother or raped his kitchen maid.)

In a Broadcast from Azad Hind Radio on July 6, 1944 he said, "India's last war of Independence has begun... Troops of the Azad Hind Fauz are now fighting bravely on the soil of India... Father of our nation! In this holy war of India's liberation, we ask for your blessings and good wishes".

The deeds of INA are heroic and a saga of supreme sacrifice. On August 22,1945 Tokyo Radio announced that Subhash Chandra Bose had died in an air-crash in Formosa on August 18,1945 en route to Japan. He was then forty-eight years only. No Indian believed the shocking news.

Today we must remember the following tribute of Gandhi to Bose: "The greatest and the lasting act of Netaji was that he abolished all distinctions of caste and class. He was Indian first and last. What is more, he fired all under him with the same zeal so that they forgot in his presence all distinctions and acted as one man."

The nation refuses to believe that their true Idol of Patriotism, Subhash Bose, is dead.


Sunday, December 16, 2007


Sarojini Naidu was born as the eldest daughter of a scientist-philosopher father, Aghornath Chattopadhyaya, and mother Varasundari, who was a Bengali Poetess, on 13 February, 1879. Her father was a pioneer in education, a linguist and an original thinker. He established the Nizam’s college in Hyderabad in 1878, pioneering English and women’s education. She was bought up in a house of intellectuals, poets, philosophers and revolutionaries. She claims that she was bought up in a home of Indians, not Hindus or Brahmins.

She passed Matriculation at the age of 12, and came out first in Madras Presidency. Young Sarojini was a very bright girl. Her father wanted her to become a mathematician or a scientist. But she loved poetry from a very early age. With her father’s support, she wrote a play called “Maher Muneer” in the Persian language. The Nawab of Hyderabad reading a copy of it sent by Sarojini’s father was impressed by the beautiful play written by the young girl. The college gave her a scholarship to study abroad. At the age of 16, she got admitted to King’s College of England.

At the age of 15, she met Dr. Govindarajulu Naidu and fell in love with him. He was from South India. After finishing her studies at the age of 19, she married him during the time when inter-caste marriages were not allowed. Her marriage was a very happy one. They were married by the Brahmo Marriage Act (1872), in Madras in 1898. They had four children. Their house in Hyderabad is the renowned Golden Threshold.

In 1916, she met Mahatma Gandhi and from then on she totally contributed herself to the fight for freedom. The independence of India became the heart and soul of her work. She was responsible for awakening the women of India. She re-established self-esteem within the women of India. In Hyderabad she was awarded the Kaiser-I-Hind Gold Medal for her outstanding work during the plague epidemic. In 1925, she became the Chairperson to the summit of congress in Kanpur. She went to USA in 1928 with the message of the non-violence. In 1929 she presided over the East Africa Indian Congress in Mombassa, and gave lectures all over South East Africa. In 1942, she was arrested during the “Quit India” protest and stayed in jail for 21 months with Gandhiji.

Sarojini NaiduSarojini Naidu is also well acclaimed for her contribution in poetry. Her poetry had beautiful words that could also be sung. Her collection of poems was published in 1905 under the title “Golden Threshold”. She published two other collections called “The Bird of Time”, and “The Broken Wings”. Later, “The Magic Tree”, “The Wizard Mask”, and “A Treasury of Poems” were published. Mahashree Arvind, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Rabindranath Tagore were among the thousands of admirers of her work. Gopala Krishna Gokhle advised her to use her poetry and her beautiful words to rejuvenate the spirit of independence in the hearts of villagers and also asked her to use her talent to free Mother India.

After Independence, she became the Governor of Uttar Pradesh. As the first women governor of the largest state of the union, she brought beauty, and grace to public life. She was a woman of a great country, with such a great heritage in which great women were born. Their purity, courage, determination, and self-confidence were the foundation of her own character and personality.

On March 2 1949, she took her last breath and India lost her beloved child, “Bulbul”. She died in her office at Lucknow at the age of seventy. Nevertheless, her name will be in the Golden history of India as an inspiring poet and a brave freedom fighter. Sarojini Devi was a great patriot, politician, orator, and administrator. She was a life-long freedom fighter, social worker, ideal house wife, and poet. She was truly one of the jewels of the world. Being one of the most famous heroines of the 20th century, her birthday is celebrated as “Women’s Day”.


Saturday, December 15, 2007


She ruled over a small state, Keladi for twentyfive years (1671-1696). but proved herself a great and heroic queen. She protected the kingdom when her husband failed his duty. And she faced the wrath of the mighty Aurangazeb, and gave shelter to Rajaram, Shivaji's son.


She was the Queen of an ancient State. She had no husband. Still she fought with the many foes around and freed the kingdom from several dangers. But soon she had to face another danger. Aurangzeb was the Moghul Emperor then. 'Alamgir' was his title. Alamgir means one who has conquered the whole world. Aurangzeb had conquered manykingdoms in North India and had turned his eyes towards the South. His thirst for expansion was not yet quenched and his vast: powerful army attacked this small State. The reason given was that the Queen had given shelter to the son of Maharaja Shivaji. But the Queen was not afraid. Nor did she feel sorry. She did not ask for pardon. She fa6ed the attack like a heroic woman. When the enemies themselves withdrew their attack and begged for a treaty, she was quite generous. This heroic Queen and noble lady was Queen Chennamma of Keladi. Chennamma ruled the kingdom of Keladi for twenty-five years. She had the complexion of a pearl, with bright eyes and a broad forehead. A long nose and curly hair adorned a face of royal dignity. The beautiful Queen was full of good qualities too. And she had the ability to kill her enemies in the battles, like Durga (the goddess of power). Beauty, valour, piety and generosity all blended in this great Queen.

An Extraordinary King

'I Have Chosen My Bride'

Keladi was a kingdom in the MaInad area of Karnataka. The first King of Keladi was Chowdappa Nayaka who came to the throne in 1500. He was a great hero. In about 1645, the able King Shivappa Nayaka came to the throne. During his reign, many reforms were effected in Keladi. This King became famous as a great ruler because of his administrative reforms. Government and collection of taxes were so systematized that he came to be called 'Shistina Shivappa Nayaka' ('shistu' - meaning discipline and order and it is also known as a kind of Local Tax). His younger son Somashekhara Nayaka became the King in 1664. At that time the kingdom of Keladi stretched along the entire seacoast from Goa to Malabar. Somashekhara Nayak was a very efficient king. With a good figure, power and wealth, he also had good qualities. He was religious-minded, too. Somashekhara Nayaka did not marry for several years. He was young and a king; and was also handsome, virtuous and famous. Naturally many a king tried to make him his son-in-law. The Nayaka saw many beautiful princessesses. But he never thought of marriage. His subjects, knowing his religious mind and devotion to God, wondered whether their king would become a monk.

A Happy, Blessed Union

The king once went to the Rameshwara fair. There he saw a very pretty maid. She was Chennamma, the daughter of Siddappa Shetty of Kotepura. She was beautiful like a carefully sculptured doll. With her friends she was going to the temple; she moved with striking dignity. Somashekhara Nayaka saw her; he said to himself, 'if at all I marry, I should marry this girl.' Through his servants he learnt who she was. Next day he sent for his Chief Minister and said to him, "You have been compelling me to marry. Ye9terday when I went to the Rameshwara fair, I saw Kotepura Siddappa Shetty's daughter. If I marry at all, I will marry her. Please send for Siddappa Shetty and speak to him." The Chief Minister replied, "My Lord, so far all kings of Keladi have married only princesses of royal blood." "That may be. But I know only one way, - and that is, to do as I say. I have nothing to do with any other tradition. I will marry only this girl."

Kalavathi, A Curse

Once, during the Dasara festival, the famed dancer Kalavathi of Jambukhandi gave a performance before the royal couple. Dancing like a peacock and singing like a cuckoo, this beautiful woman won the love of Somashekhara Nayaka. The King who was pleased with her excellence in dancing, gave her much wealth. Kalavathi became the dancer of the royal court. Her mother and her foster-father, Bharame Mavuta, lived with her. The latter was a master of black magic and secret medicines Knowing that Queen Chennamma had no children, the wicked Bharame Mavuta developed an intimate friendship with Somashekhara Nayaka. Gradually the Nayaka began to live with Kalavathi herself. He became a puppet in the hands of Bharame Mavuta. He forgot his beloved darling Chennamma and stayed away from the palace. He swallowed all that Bharame Mavuta gave him as medicine and as a result became half-mad. Various diseases began to eat him up. Even the ministers and respected officers had to go to the dancer's house to discuss matters of the State. Chennamma felt very sad that the husband who once loved her so deeply never came to the palace now. She was always in tears. Once all the subjects felt happy that it was their good fortune they had such an ideal King. But now he had to thought for the kingdom. Because of the King's indifference there was chaos in the kingdom. The news of his ill-health spread all over the kingdom. The King had no children. What if he died suddenly? In such a pass, naturally, many persons began to hatch conspiracies to usurp the throne. The Sultan of Bijapur who had often been defeated by the kings of Keladi, now attacked the kingdom.

'My Lord, Come back'

The Queen was determined that the kingdom nursed and handed down by their elders should be saved from these dangers. If she remained passive, thinking she was only a woman, the kingdom wouid be lost. She put aside her pride and even stepped into the dancer's house to meet the King. Worn out by diseases, the King was a mere shadow of his old robust self. The face had lost lustre and the eyes were dull. Chennamma was greatly grieved. But she checked her sorrow and said, "My Lord, please come back to the palace. The physicians of the court will treat you. The kingdom of the great Shivappa Nayaka should not be ruined. You can adopt a worthy boy as son." She fell at his feet and begged him to return. Bharame Mavuta, the source of all evil for the kingdom, was right there. Deceived by his words, the King refused to listen to Chennamma. The Queen returned in misery. But she had no time even to weep, because the enemies had already besieged the kingdom.

Tender Hands Rule The Land

There was only one way, thought Chennamma, for the kindgom to continue and the dynasty to survive; she herself should rule the land and also hold the sword. Trusting God, the young Queen took this crushing burden on her tender shoulders. The clever and heroic Queen also took the counsel of her father Siddappa Shetty. She enlisted the help of trustworthy commanders. Delicate hands adorned with bangles now brandished the sword. Arrogant enemies thought that after all she was a woman and could be frightened. They began to threaten her. One day the Chief Minister, Thimmanna Nayaka of Kasaragod, went to her with Subnis Krishnappa and said to her, "You must adopt as son Veerabhadra Nayaka, the son of the Commander-in Chief, Bhadrappa Nayaka. It is only then that we shall support you. Or else, we will unite the people against you and crown him." The same threat was held out by another minister, Narasappayya and a senior officer, Lakshmayya. Queen Chennamma heard them all patiently. On one side, Bharame Mavuta had the King under his thumb and was eager to take over the kingdom. On another side, all the ministers and other important men were ready to bring some one whom they liked to the throne and perpetuate their own positions. The Queen could not approve of either of these developments. She had no child; so she decided that she should adopt a boy who was virtuous and would herald the welfare of the State. She choose a boy by name Basappa Nayaka. She decided to give him the proper type of training so that the kingdom survived and the people were made happy.

Troubles Come In Battalions

The Sultan of Bijapur was waiting to swallow up the kingdom of Keladi. Now he heard that the King was negligent and troubled by disease and that the State was in the hands of a woman. He was tempted. Opportunity seemed to be inviting him. He sent a representative by name Jannopant to the Queen for negotiations. Close on the heels of Jannopant the Sultan also sent a big army under the command of Muzaffar Khan. Jannopant met the Queen. Through her own spies Chennamma had already understood the trick of the Sultan. But she was not in a position to declare war on the Sultan just then. So she gave three lakh rupees to Jannopant and came to an agreement with the Sultan. Yet, the Sultan's army was marching towards Keladi. So, the Queen summoned her subjects and said to them : "My beloved heroes of the Kannada Land, you are great warriors. Today the fate of the kingdom is in your hands. Remember, victory gives us this kingdom and death gives us heaven. There is no third way. If you win, all of you will be rewarded with befitting honours." So she spoke to her people with affection. She gave them her jewels and, the gold in the royal treasury. Inspired by her heroic words, and moved by her generosity, the soldiers girded their lions to fight. After taking leave of the Queen, Jannopant went to Bharame Mavuta. Moved by the sweet words of Jannopant, Bharame Mavuta got the King murdered. The Queen heard the news. Her husband was dead! It was a shock, and grief flooded the heart of the young Queen. But she was not the woman to weep in passive sorrow. Yes, her husband was dead. But he had not died a natural death. He had been murdered. Chennamma was now like the Goddess of War, determined to avenge her husband's death. The Bijapur army besieged the fort of Bidanur. The henchmen of Bharame Mavuta gave all help to the Sultan's soldiers. The-enemy army was very big. Siddappa Shetty and the officers of the State told the Queen that, even if they fought with all valour, victory was doubtful. They advised her to leave Bidanur for the time being. The very thought of leaving Bidanur was like poison to her. But there was no other way. The throne of the kingdom, the wealth of the royal treasury and all other valuables were moved to Bhuvanagiri. The enemies pulled down the gates of the fort and entered the palace. But they could not find the Queen there. The treasury was also empty. They felt disappointed and were very angry. The fort at Bhuvanagiri, situated amidst a thick jungle, was quite secure. The chieftains of the Keladi Court and the soldiers were in Bhuvanagiri with the Queen.

'I Have Sinned Terribly'

The Chief Minister, Thimmanna Nayaka, who had, gone away from Bidanur after his differences with the Queen in the matter of the adoption, now learnt of the fall of Bidanur. He was at heart a true patriot. He was enraged that enemies had taken Bidanur. Thimmanna Nayaka came to the Bhuvanagiri palace and met the Queen. He said, "Your Highness, I am guilty of a great crime. I should not have left Bidanur after the death'of Somashekhara Nayaka. I have sinned terribly. It is very painful for me to see the Bidanur, where I was born and bred, is now in alien hands. Please accept my services again in this difficult hour." The Queen was generous. She replied, "Thimmanna Nayaka, your conduct and your words amply bear out your deep loyalty to the kingdom. Keladi now needs the assistance of all and the blessings of the Almighty for its protection. You are experienced in statecraft. We do need your help; you have served the State from the days of the great Shivappa Nayaka. The Chief Minister's office is yours, if you will accept it." Chennamma bestowed honours on him. People who had benefited from the kings of Keladi and from Chennamma in particular, arrived in thousands in Bhuvanagiri. They were ready to give up their all for Keladi and the Queen.

A Mother To The Subjects

Thimmanna Nayaka got together the chieftains and brave soldiers from all parts of Keladi and raised an army. He marched towards Bidanur. The soldiers of Bijapur, who were proud of their seizure of Bidanur were marching towards Bhuvanagirii to capture it. In the midst of the thick forest and in a narrow pass, the Sultan's soldiers fell into the hands of the heroic Kannada warriors. The men of Keladli knew the terrain quite well; they destroyed the Bijapur army and went to Bidanur. The people there were overjoyed at the arrival of the Kannada soldiers. They opened the gates wide and welcomed them. The people of Keladi, one and all, accepted Chennamma as their ruler. In 1671 Chennamma was crowned as the Queen in the fortress of Bhuvanagiri. The Queen now took over the entire adminis- tration into her hands. She honoured the chiefs and soldiers, who had helped in the fight for Bidanur, suitably with money, gold, lands and high offices. The kingdom had become worn out with chaos and misrule. The Queen brought peace and happiness to it. She again enforced the system which had been formulated by Shivappa Nayaka. She arranged forspecial temple honours and worship with great pomp to the deities of Rameshwara, Aghoreshwara and Goddess Mookambike, whose grace, she felt, had warded off all dangers. She offered diamond-studded crowns and golden lamps to these deities. The Queen also arrested both Bharame Mavuta and Jannopant who were responsible for the death of her husband, and put them to death. Those who had conspired against her and wanted to usurp the kingdom were also punished and banished from the kingdom. Queen Chennamma now ruled over the kingdom ably. She was like a goddess to the virtuous and like destruction itself to the wicked. She had an 'Agrahara' - an entire street with houses on either side - formed, and invited scholars to settle down there. It was named 'Somashekharapura'. Day and night Chennamma toiled for the welfare of the state. With the consent of her people she adopted as her son, a good boy, Basappa Nayaka by name. She expanded the army and strengthened security at the borders. After her work for the kingdom, Chennamma spent whatever leisure she had, in meditation and in acts of charity and kindness. She gave gifts of lands to Mutts and religious institutions. The Queen respected all the religions and was herself respected by everybody.

A Sheild For The Kingdom

Years before, there had been two or three wars between the kings of Mysore and the kings of Keladi. In these wars, the rulers of Mysore had been defeated. As the kings of Keladi had a long seacoast under them, they reaped considerable profits from the foreign traders, the Dutch and the English. At the time Chennamma was ruling in Keladi, the ruler in Mysore was Chikkadevaraya Wodeyar. A person by name Andhaka Venkata Nayaka also belonged to the dynasty of Keladi kings. He wrote a letter to the Mysore ruler; he said, "I should have been the King of Keladi. But Chennamma came in the way. Therefore if you will fight with her and help me to get the kingdom, I shall give half of it to you and render other help also." Chikkadevaraya was very pleased with the letter. He thought it would be quite easy to win the kingdom which was in the hands of a woman. If he did so, all the foreign trade now under Keladi would be in his hands. So he began preparations for a war. Queen Chennamma was not at all afraid that the Mysore ruler had declared war on Keladi. She remained undaunted and sent a big army under her Commander Bhadrappa Nayaka to fight the enemy. The chieftains of Sode, Sirsi and Banavasi also declared war on Keladi. But the Queen very cleverly managed to defeat them all. The Mysore army was the first to be defeated. But the next year that army defeated the Keladi force. Again when there was a war, the Queen was victorious. Several officers of the Mysore army were captured. But the Queen treated them with courtesy. She also set them free. Because of this, Chikkadevaraya developed a high regard for the Queen. The rulers of Mysore and Keladi signed a treaty of friendship. Queen Chennamma had banished some leaders who had their eyes on the throne. Now all those men, obtaining the help of other rulers, began a war with the Queen. But the able Queen defeated them. Chennamma had adopted Basappa Nayaka. He was to become the King later. So she gave personal attention to his training and education. Every morning after her bath, prayers and breakfast, she would go to the court hall. She would stay there till mid-day, and listen patiently to any of her subjects who had any difficulties. She would give them whatever help was necessary. She would discuss matters of statecraft and administration with Basappa Nayaka and her ministers and officers and give her decisions. After the midday prayers and worship, she would spend an hour giving alms. At that time monks, sanyasis, priests and the poor and the needy would all receive help.

'I am The Son Of Chatrapati

"I know that, Queen. I have made bold to come here only after hearing of your valour and generosity. If your ministers agree, please give me shelter here for a short while and then help me to reach the fort of Jinji. I will never forget your kindness. If that is not possible, I shall leave this place tomorrow morning." "Prince, I shall summon the royal court this evening and discuss the matter. Whatever might happen, I will give shelter to those who ask me for it. To act according to the royal code, and to see that you reach Jinji safely, is my responsibility." "Noble Queen, the royal house of Keladi is very generous. I am astonished that, when powerful kings of big realms have refused to give me shelter, a lady should muster courage to face such a danger. I am greatful to you." So saying, Rajaram saluted her with great devotion and went to the Guest House. That evening Queen Chennamma summoned the royal court. She narrated all that had happened and asked her advisers for their opinion. Prime Minister Thimmanna Nayaka sounded a note of warning - "Your Highness, Aurangzeb's army is chasing Rajaram. It has already captured Raigadh, Panhalgadh and other forts. If Aurangzeb comes to know that Rajaram is in Keladi, it would surely mean our total ruin." Siddappa Shetty was very clear in his words to his daughter - "What the Prime Minister says is quite true. So far we have fought with the enemies around. Just now peace and order are returning to the kingdom. Fighting with Aurangzeb now is beyond our capacity." Commander Bhadrappa and Minister Narasappayya also were of the same opinion. "Gentlemen, what you say is true," said Chennamma. "I have thought about this very deeply. Until this day the kings of Keladi have always given shelter to anyone who sought it. It is my duty to keep up that tradition. Shivaji Maharaj wore himself out to save Hinduism. When his son asks for help can it be denied? The safety of the kingdom is a matter in God's hands." "I agree, mother," said Basappa Nayaka. "What you say is true. You have always taught me it is nobler to save than to kill. What can Aurangzeb do against God's blessings and- the valour of our heroes?" All the younger persons in the Court were for giving shelter to Rajaram. Inevitably all the ministers also agreed.

The Black Shadow Of The Moghul Army

"To the Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb, Your letter has reached us. The people of this kingdom are ever ready to extend the hand of friendship to the Moghuls. But you have asked for something in return for your friendship. But that is impossible. Rajaram is not in this kingdom. It is of course known that he went through Keladi." By the time the Queen's letter reached Aurangzeb, the big Moghul force was near Keladi. The Queen was fully prepared for the war. The brave soldiers of Keladi were readily waiting in the path of the Moghul army. The way lay through a thick jungle. And the rainy season had set in. The Moghul soldiers who were accustomed to the dry climate of the North, found it extremely difficult to pass through the forest in the heavy downpour of theMaInad area. But obeying Aurangzeb's orders they were marching ahead under great strain. The Karnataka heroes took positions in the thick jungle and began butchering the Moghul soldiers. Prince Azamath Ara was shocked. He who had defeated many chief tains and kings had now to suffer defeat from a woman; and when he went back after that defeat, he would be beheaded. The very idea made him perspire. But his soldiers did not have the grit now to advance further, fight fiercely and raze the Keladi fort. The major part of the army had been destroyed. The forces of Keladi had captured several of the Moghul captains, a large number of horses and considerable war material. So the fight went on at a slow and uncertain pace. Prince Azamath Ara was very much troubled. By then he received a letter from Aurangzeb which said, "Rajaram is now ruling the Jinji fort. So leave Keladi at once and proceed to Jinji." This was just what Azamath Ara wanted. So the Moghuls came to an agreement with Queen Chennamma. The Queen also was glad to have this treaty. She treated the Moghul captains very generously and according to the pact released them all. Aurangzeb recognized her as an independent ruler. The Queen rewarded the soldiers and officers of her army suitably. The great honour of a decisive victory in a war with Aurangzeb thus belongs to the brave Chennamma, a heroine of Karnataka. Rajaram who had reached Jinji, wrote. A letter of gratitude to the Queen: "When kings and rulers of bigger kingdoms refused to help me, you bravely gave me shelter and helped to protect Hinduism. I can never forget this bravery and generosity of yours. May GoddessBhavani give you all happiness! I pray God that your land may be a home of happiness." The Queen thought that a difficulty which had come upon her like a mountain had melted like the fog.

An Excellent Administrator

Meanwhile Basappa Nayaka, the adopted son, had come of age. Trained by Chennamma, he was now learned in statecraft. He was courteous, virtuous and valiant. The Queen had the confidence that he could rule the kingdom well. She made over to him the major share in the administration. She then spent most of her time in the service of others. She also went on a pilgrimage and visited the Aghoreshwara. Temple at Ikkeri, the Mookambike Temple at Kollur and.the Sharadamba Temple at Shringeri. She gifted lands to the temples she visited to that worship could go on in these temples round the year. Meanwhile she also captured Hulikere near Basavapattana. The fort there was in ruins. She got it rebuilt. After Basappa Nayaka came to the throne, he renamed it. Chennagiri in honour of his mother. Queen Chennamma got a beautiful chariot made and dedicated it to the temple of Lord Neelakanteshwara of Venipura near Bidanur. She made arrangements for the Neelakanteshwara, fair to be held every year. She gave liberal gifts of land and gold to the temple of her family deity Rameshwara and Veerabhadreshwara of Keladi and also to the temple of Goddess Mookambike of Kollur, so that the worship in those temples might go on without any difficulty. The tower of the Veera- bhadreshwara Temple at Keladi was rebuilt by her and a flag-pillar was erected. She offered gifts to the temples at Kashi, Rameshwara, Shrishaila and Tirupati. She also built monasteries for the Veershaiva monks and Agraharas for Shaivas and Vaishnavas. She ruled over Keladi very ably and nobly from 1671 to 1696. Her life was a life of fame and grandeur. She was always pious and god-fearing. When she was on her death-bed, the righteous Queen called her son and said, "Basappa Nayaka, the task of protecting and developing the kingdom of Keladi founded by Chowdappa Nayaka, is now yours. Conduct yourself according to the words of our saints. Let your speech be a string of pearl3. Never should you sin, and you must live to uphold truth, kindness and righteousness. Do not waste time in bad habits. Devote your time to good deeds. Look after the people of Keladi as your children. You must share their joys and sorrows. Earn a good name, and bring fame to the royal house and to the kingdom. "Let Keladi State be the home of happiness. Let the people be satisfied and joyful. And may God bless you." The pious and virtuous woman, the brave and intelligent Queen, breathed her last in Shravana, a holy month of Hindus. Basappa Nayaka and the people of Keladi were in deep grief. Chennamma was laid to rest in the Koppalu monastery in Bidanur.

A Fountain Of Inspiration

a mere matter of feeding a person. It is a question of the kingdom's survival or otherwise." "Prince Rajaram, the Kannada people never go back on their words. They are not such cowards that they will not help those who come to them for shelter." The Queen put her trust in God and gave shelter to Rajaram. Preparations for a war began in Keladi. Aurangzeb sent his son Azamath Ara with a huge army to invade the kingdom. But by then Rajaram had safely reached the Jinji fort. The cunning Moghul Emperor on the one hand sent a big army to Keladi; and, on the other, before it could reach the kingdom, he sent a messenger to Queen Chennamma with a letter and also costly presents including diamonds and other precious stones. His letter ran thus: "To Queen Chennamma of Keladi. Between us there is no enmity. But I have heard that my great enemy Rajaram is under your protection. He must at once be given up to me. When that is done, there can be a treaty of friendship between the two kingdoms. Otherwise you will have to face the Moghul army." The shrewd Queen consulted her ministers and sent a reply as follows: Chennamma tactfully negotiated trade treaties with the Arabs and the Portuguese to carry on trade along the seacoast under her rule. It was very convenient - and also profitable - to import the various commodities her kingdom needed. She traded with the Arabs for horses so necessary for the protection of Keladi. The Arabs and the Portuguese bought the rice and the pepper grown in the MaInad areas. This enriched the kingdom. When, because of the foolishness of the king Somashekhara Nayaka, Keladi was in chaos and was encircled by enemies, Chennamma acted boldly and -wisely and in the interests of the State and the subjects. She crushed all the enemies. Other kings were all afraid of Aurangzeb and denied shelter to the great shivaji's son. But this lady of the Kannada land helped him. As a queen she was wise and able as she was brave.So she established a peaceful era in Keladi. She ruled the kingdom in such a way that the people could live without fear of the enemies, and without trouble from thieves or oppression from officers. She gave succor to the poor and respected all religions. The name of Keladi's brave Queen is written in Golden letters in the history of Karnataka and the history of India. Chennamma's life is a source of inspiration to all who love freedom and admire courage and nobility.



Madame Cama


That was the name of the ship. She had the good fortune to carry the brave Savarkar from London towards India. He was fighting fearlessly for the freedom of India. The brave fighter was arrested abroad and was being brought to India for trial.

The Dream Of The Release Of The Brave Fighter

The Dream of the Release of the Brave FighterIt is the first day of July 1910. The ship sailing to India.

Here in Paris a revolutionary and Rishi are hatching a plot. Somehow Savarkar must be released from custody.The ship should not be allowed to reach India, without an attempt to free Savarkar.

The revolutionary was about fifty years old. The companion, Rishi, had hardly completed thirty-five. Because he had a luxurious beard and moustaches his nickname was 'Rishi - a sage. His real name was V.V.S. 1year.

The morning of the 8th of July.

Savarkar gives the slip to the guards and jumps into the sea from the moving ship. He swims and reaches the shore. All arrangements have been made secretly to ensure his safety. In a vehicle near the beach the revolutionary and other associates are awaiting for his arrival. As Savarkar reaches the shore the lady and Madame Cary her associates take the tired Savark carriage and speed away. Savrkar release from imprisonment was over. He has become completely free.

'Victory to Freedom' is the joyous every where.

But all this was a dream.
The Dream Remained A Dream !

When the revolutionary, Rishi and their companions reached Marseilles harbor, it was too late. The police had deceitfully arrested Savarkar who had jumped from the ship to the sea and swum to the shore; they had dragged him back to the ship. The plans made for weeks had been upset in a moment. It was not Savarkar who was brought home. It was a bundle of disappointment and failure heavier than that warrior.

Hers was one of the well-furnished houses in Paris. It was a beautiful, spacious house. In the living room the furniture was neatly arranged. There was a full-length mirror in the corner.

She came directly and stood before the mirror. The face was pale. The earlier
enthusiasm was no more. How could she believe that when she went just a little late,
Savarkar had become a prisoner again?

Failures - Steps To Success

The reflection gave her courage again: 'Oh foolish lady, do not lose heart. Do not forget you are Madame Cama. Failures are stepping-stones to success. Forget the past and think of what is to be done.'

She sat down and began to think of other efforts to free Savarkar. She sent a telegram to a famous patriotic advocate of Bombay to examine this subject. Every drop of Madame Cama's blood was hungry for freedom. Indians were being reduced to pulp under the heels of the British masters; the firm resolve to free the Indians had entered her every nerve and bone.

The Fire Lit By Oppression

Madame Cama was not a born revolutionary. At first she was opposed even to any talk of violence. She used to condemn people who rebelled or rioted. But as days passed she came to know the arbitrary administration of the Englishmen. Hypocrisy had crowned the heartless administration! As she realized the torture the Indians were suffering silently, a spark of revolution appeared in Madame Cama, which in course of time began to spread like wildfire. She is the mother of revolution who preached non-cooperation to the Indians even when she was abroad.

The Clever Munni

Madame Cama was born on 24th September 1861, in Bombay. Sorabji Framji Patel was wellknown in Bombay. He was big merchant and quite rich. He had a large family. He had nine children. Rustom Bhikaiji Cama who was one day to terrify the British Government, was one of them. The father, Sorabji Framji Patel, brought up the child Madame Cama with great affection. He called her 'Munni'. While still young she was admitted to the Alexandra Parsee Girls' School.

Munni was very clever. She stood first in the class in all subjects. She would not eat
supper without completing the lessons of the day and the homework. She would not go to bed without writing and finishing lessons to be studied at home. So she scored high marks in all subjects; also, Munni was the favorite of all the teachers.

Even at the young age Munni wished to attain proficiency in many languages. As a little girl she had considerable interest in India's fight for freedom. She used to worship patriots who sacrificed their lives for the good of the country. She honored those who labored for the country.

Her activities brought a headache to her father. Sorabji Framji Patel wanted to prevent his daughter from fighting for freedom.

To Curb Her Spirit

But how could that be done?


Yes, once married she could not be as free as she was.

So the father at last found a young man to become his son-in-law and to keep the
daughter away from politics! His name was Rustom K.R. Cama. He was a social worker and had made a name in politics. He had faith in British rule. By profession he was a lawyer. It is strange that a man of this sort should have agreed to marry Madame Cama knowing that she was a lioness thirsting for' freedom. Truly he was a Rustom - a very bold man!

On 3rd August 1885 the marriage was celebrated with great pomp.

Just for two days there was a lull in the political activities of Madame Cama; on the third day they were resumed. The father had bestowed the headache, with his daughter, on the son-in-law.

Two Persons - And Two Parties!

Madame Cama's husband was quite handsome. In wealth and intelligence the husband and wife appeared to be made for each other. But, about the British rule their opinions are differed.

To the husband who thought England was heaven, the Englishman was God Himself. He was of the view that there was no power which could excel or even equal the British rule.

But in Madame Cama's view the British were tyrants who were sucking the blood of India; they were the polished deceivers, the unprincipled people who had invaded India to suck blood till the body was just a bag of bones.

As was to be expected, Madame Cama's husband who bowed blindly to the barren
British models became a source of trouble to her. He warned his wife not to take part in the movement for independence. But the husband's compulsions andrestrictions had effect on Madame Cama. Thus the house was divided into two parties - the wife siding with the Indians and the husband with the British! When freeing India from subjection became Madame Cama's sacred goal, Cama's house became a small battlefield. Married life did not bring happiness. As Saint Meera left her wealthy family and husband for the sake of God Giridhara, so did Madame Cama forget a rich husband and high status in life to devote her life to free Mother India from the rule of the foreigners.

Fight Against Plague

At this time plague broke out in Bombay. When people began to succumb to that fearful disease Madame Cama ignored the danger to her life and threw herself into the service of the people. She waited upon the patients like a nurse and comforted them like a mother. Because of these efforts thousands of people, who would have died otherwise, were saved. As the thirst of the patients for water was quenched and they got better she created in them the thirst for freedom. Madame Cama was engaged in serving the sick without caring for sleep or food; plague attacked her, too. But even death was afraid to approach that lion-hearted lady. Although she recovered she did not regain her earlier strength and stamina. Her relatives and friends practically forced her and sent her to Europe in 1902, so that she might recover fully.
In London

It was in 1905 that Madame Cama reached London after spending about a year each in Germany, Scotland, France and other countries. After an operation she regained strength and stamina. Dadabhai Naoroji, a highly respected leader of India, was then in London, By the time she had served for a year-and-a-halt as his private secretary, Madame Cama had come in contact with many patriots and men of letters.

'Salute This Flag'

It was the third week of August 1907. She learnt that the International Socialist Conference would be held in Stuttgart 'in Germany. Madame Cama got a golden
opportunity to expose to worldview the conditions in enslaved India. A thousand
representatives from several countries of the world attended the Conference. When
India's turn came, Madame Cama ascended the rostrum. She was wearing a colorful saree. She had an attractive personality. Dignity shone in the face. The representative’s thought: 'She is an Indian princess.'

Madame Cama spoke about the sorrows and the poverty of lakes of Indians who were suffering silently.

'One-fifth of mankind lives in India. All lovers of freedom should cooperate to free these people from subjection.' This was the gist of the resolution, she boldly placed before the conference. She condemned the British Government which was looting from India thirty-five million pounds every year. She explained how the Indian economy was growing weaker day by day because of the lawless imperialists sucking the blood of India. At the end of her speech she unfurled the Indian flag and said:

"This flag is of Indian Independence. Behold it is born! It has been made sacred by the blood of young Indians who sacrificed their lives.I call upon you, gentle men, to rise and salute this flag of Indian Independence. In the name of this flag I appeal to lovers of freedom all over the world to cooperate with this flag."

As if held by magic, the whole assembly stood up and honored the flag. Madame Cama was the lady who first unfurled the Indian flag, in a foreign land, in the presence of representatives of many countries! "It is my practice to speak under the flag of my country" - she would say and unfurl the flag before she spoke at any function.

That Sacred Flag

Madame Cama, Veer Savarkar and some other patriots met and designed that tricolor flag in 1905. It was flown first in 1905 in Berlin and next in 1907 in Bengal.

The tricolor flag contained green, saffron and red stripes. In the green stripe at the top there were eight blooming lotuses. India was then divided into eight provinces and the flowers represented these provinces. The words 'Vande Mataram' in Devanagari script across the central saffron strip of the flag were a salutation to Mother India. In the red stripe at thebottom there was a half-moon on the right and the rising sun on the left. Red represents strength, saffron represents victory; and boldness and enthusiasm are represented by green. "This flag was designed by a distinguished selfless young Indian patriot" said Madame Cama. She was referring to Veer Savarkar.

In America

After the conference in Germany concluded she came to America. To gain the support of the people there for the sacred cause in which she was engaged she had to start a campaign. In New York she explained her objects to press reporters who met her and they were full of praise for her. She told the reporters that lakes and lakes of people in India,although illiterate and suffering from hunger, loved their country. There was confidence and hope in the voice of Madame Cama when she said that Indians would attain independence within a few years and live in liberty, equality and brotherhood.

It was 28th October 1907. The Minerva Club had organized a meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The speaker was Madame Cama. In her speech she said that Indians should be given the political right to vote.

"People here may know of Russia. But they may not know much about conditions in India. The British Government is adopting the practice of destroying people who are educated and can think, or of sending them to jail. They are torturing the people and driving them to hospitals in jails. We desire a peaceful atmosphere and not bloody revolution. By proceeding in a non-violent manner as far as possible we have to overthrow despotic rule" said Madame Cama. Also Madame Cama spoke at several places. She may be called Mother India's representative to the United States of America.
"March Forward, Friend'

Madame Cama returned to London in 1908; she addressed a meeting at the 'India House'. Her speech was published in booklets. Large numbers of them found their way to India. The booklets gave a summary of the core of the principles of revolution.

Non-violence is a great virtue, true. But when somebody unreasonably uses force it should be resisted. Violence must be met with violence. This should be the attitude towards tyrannical rule. Anything done on this principle is right. Patriotism consists in building up a strong revolt against foreign governments. Said Madama Cama: "The fulfillment of life lies in dedicating oneself to one’s country." In a message to the youth of the country she gave the following call:

"March forward friend, march forward. Mother India’s children are caught under the heels of the tyranny of the British. They are helplessly sinking to the lowest depths; lead them to the soft bed of Swarajya. March forward. Let this be our motto: We are for India; India is for Indians."

Whether she was addressing Hindus or Muslims she proclaimed the message of unity. The question of caste must be brushed aside. We are all Indians. We belong to one family. She wished that the feeling of brotherhood must grow and unity achieved. She would warn everybody not is accept any job, however big, offered by the British. She called upon the people to learn to live by their efforts, to encourage trade, commerce, industry and arts and to make everything wholly Indian.

To France

Even when she was working as private secretary to Dadabhai Naoroji she had spoken in many places. She was already famous as an excellent speaker who was fighting for India’s freedom. The people of London were amazed to see this lady fighting the lion in its own den. The British rulers were afraid that as Madame Cama’s fame spread their troubles would increase. They tried to frighten her so that she would leave London. Madame Cama resisted the Government’s move. But when some officials attempted to murder her she escaped secretly, crossed the English Channel and went to France.

The leading French socialists gave Madame Cama a hearty welcome. Indian
representatives are heartily welcomed by the people in all corners of the world because of the great culture of India, which has spread far and wide.

Welcome - Do Not Come !

Within a few days the house in France where Madame Cama was staying became the secret fort where the revolutionaries of different countries met. Besides India's 'General' Bapat and Hemachandra Das, Lenin, the father of the Russian Revolution, and others visited Madame Cama's house and exchanged views. Savarkar, the heroic fighter for freedom, brought her peace of mind and inspiration. The British Government was very much disturbed by her activities in France. It begged her to return to India. The British Government also requested the French Government to send her back to her native land. But Madame Cama did not agree to return to India. When the French Government also, rejected the British request, the British Government felt insulted. Like the fox which said, 'The grapes are sour; I do not want them', the British Government ordered that Madame Cama should not come to India at any time in the future! That was not all; it took over the property belonging to Madame Cama worth over a lake of rupees,and swallowed it all.

Shadowed By Danger

These events added new brightness to Madame Cama's name. The fame of her courage and adventure spread even in the countries, which she had not visited. It was only after all this that the conference in Stuttgart, mentioned earlier, was held. She then became an international figure. From Germany she went to America; on many platforms she referred to the miseries of India at the time. She returned to London in 1908. By then, the 'India House' in London there had become a furnace in the fight for independence. Shyamji Krishna- varma, Sardar Singh Rana and other revolutionaries had fanned the fires of revolution. Even as a child Madame Cama had made up her mind to devote her life to her motherland; she continued her work in London systematically. She was in contact with the nationalists of Ireland, Russia, Egypt and Germany. Under the pretext of giving them Christmas presents, she was sending them pistols made to look like toys; she gave them money, too.

As the activities of revolutionaries in London increased spies gave them more and more trouble. At last they had no choice but to leave London. Shyamji Krishnavarma, Sardar Singh Rana and others came to Paris.

As Madame Cama's adventures multiplied her name became a household word in
London. The British Government thought that she was a destructive revolutionary who would uproot it and trembled. Spies of the Government followed her likeshadows. The situation was such that danger could strike at any time.

Madame Cama decided that it was safer to leave London and go to Paris;she reached
Paris on 1 st May 1909.

In The World Of Jounalism

Numerous patriots who were fighting for India's freedom had been forced to settle down in foreign countries; they began to gather in Paris. Madame Cama also joined their group. When so many revolutionaries settle at one place something unusual is bound to take place, is it not? A revolu- tionary magazine was started. The name of the magazine was 'Vande Mataram'.

An able person was required to take over the editorship of the periodical. It was decided to appoint as editor Lala Hardayal who was a fearless elderly revolutionist. Hardayal gladly agreed to come to France from England. The first sparks of the first issue appeared in September 1909. All the 24 hours of the day were not sufficient for Madame Cama who was the publisher of 'Vande Mataram' and had also to distribute the copies.

Although engaged in so many activities Madame Cama was feeling that she was not doing enough work. All the strength in every drop of her blood was devoted to Mother India.

In addition to Mande Mataram' another magazine 'Madan's Talwar'was started to send forth sparks of revolution. This magazine was started to make deathless the memory of Madanlal Dhingra who had sacrificed his life for the country. Madame Cama was publishing it from Berlin.

Veer Savarkar came to Madame Cama's house at this time. Because of continuous hard work in London his health had broken down. Savarkar had come to Paris to improve his health to some extent.

The British Government Confused

Madame Cama nursed Savarkar back to health in a short time. He had also the
assistance of Shyamji, Rana, Hardayal, Virendranath and such other friends. He had also some leisure to write articles for 'Vande Mataram' and 'Madan's Talwar' ' The work of getting into touch with the Indians there,organizing them and sending arms to India was going on steadily without a pause.

The copies of 'Vande Mataram' from January to August 1910 were secretly published from Geneva. So Geneva caught the eye of the British Government. Immediately the place of publication was shifted to Holland.

It was May 1912. All clever efforts to send copies of Vande Mataram' secretly from
Oxford to India failed. Copies of 'Vande Mataram' and other leaflets, which were meant to be distributed among the revolutionaries in several parts of India, fell into the hands of the British Government. It is more difficult to send out secretly copies of such revolutionary writings than to print them. Even in such difficult circumstances copies of Vande Matararn' were reaching the Indian fighters for freedom. The British Government was unable to find a way to prevent revolu- tionary literature from secretly entering the country. British Officers did not know what to do.

On 30th May 1913, the Secretary of State for India in the British Government had
received a complaint. It was from the Director of Criminal Investigation, Simla. The Director had suggested complaining to the Government of Holland about the publication of 'Vande Mataram' from Holland. The British Government thought over the matter for three weeks. Feeling that the Government of Holland would not take any action against Madame Cama and that there was no point in making arequest, the British Government decided not to do anything.

Fighting In Not One, But Ten Ways

Though Madame Cama was abroad her influence on the Indian people did not diminish. Lala Lajpat Rai was a stalwart who was bravely fighting for India's freedom. In 1907 when he was sent out of India,Madame Cama's call made the blood of Indian revolutionaries’ boil.People rose in revolt everywhere. The number of revolutionaries deported from India in British ships also increased. She was not satisfied with merely exhorting people. She trained Indian revolutionaries to make bombs. As soon as her call through the 'Indian Sociologist' edited by Shyamji Krishnavarma reached India, bombs exploded in several parts of the country. She sent money and arms secretly to India.

In 1908 Savarkar had arranged a program to mark the golden jubilee of India's first fight for independence. Madame Cama sent money generously to help the families of those who lost their lives in the 1857 war.

Savarkar wrote a book called 'The First War of Indian Independence of 1857'. Even before the book was printed, the British Government ordered that it should not be published. At such a time Madame Cama came forward and published the book. She used secret method of distribution so that copies could reach the right hands.

To the Indian revolutionaries the book became sacred as the Ramayana or the
Mahabharatha. Madame Cama and M.P.T. Acharya translated it from English into
French and published it. The book was later reprinted by Lala Hardayal, Subhas
Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh and other revolutionaries.
'Where Is The Other Half Of Egypt?'

Madame Cama held the view that in the advancement of the nation women have an
important part to play and said that they must share all difficulties and responsibilities.

Speaking at the National Conference (1910) in Egypt she said:

I see here only the representatives of one half of Egypt. The assembly is full of only
men. Where is the other half of Egypt?

"Sons of Egypt, where are your mothers? Where are you sisters? Do not forget that the hand that rocks the cradle shapes the individual. Do not forget that the role of women in also important in building a nation."

'Do Not Take Part In This War'

In 1914, when the First World War began, Madame Cama's activities to gain the
country's freedom became intense. The leading articles in the press condemning the autocratic rule of the British grew sharper.

To the Indian soldiers fighting for the British, she gave a warning in the following words:

"Children of Mother India, you are being deceived. Do not take part in this war. You are going to fight and die, not for India, but for the British.The British have put shackles on Mother India's hands; think how they can be removed. If you help the British, you will tighten the shackles."

She herself would visit army camps in Marseilles. There she would meet Indian soldiers and ask them to keep away from the war. Questioned she: "Are you going to fight for those who have imprisoned your mother?" Return the arms, she would preach.

The French were allies of the British. Therefore the French Government must have been dissatisfied with the propa- ganda carried on by Madame Cama. The French Government warned Madame Cama that she was carrying on false propaganda against the British.

A Licence

The British were ashamed at not being able to take action against ordinary women who was living abroad and toying with them. They thought of getting her to India and keeping her under their control.

The British Government forgot the ban it had imposed on Madame Cama's coming to India and invited her again. But the French Government did not agree to send her. Instead, it imposed certain restrictions on Madame Cama and kept her away from Paris.

After the war started no foreigner was permitted to stay in Paris. If any foreigner had to stay he had to get a license.

In the license issued to Madame Cama she was described as a citizen under British control. Madame Cama was surprised. She proclaimed that she was a free citizen of India.

Those who did not get licenses were sent to jail. When Madame Cama found that it
would be difficult to get any changes made in the license, she accepted the license that had been issued to her. It was also amusing. What did it matter what the license said? It was enough if she could stay where she was. She would be quite happy if her activities were not obstructed.

The Government communicated its new decision to her that she should stop all her
activities till the war ended. Some more restrictions were imposed on Madame Cama on 1st November 1914. She had to report to the police once in a week.

Madame Cama tried to get information about the conditions of life of the prisoners of war in Geneva. But the French Government did not allow her. It was a kind of imprisonment for Madame Cama, too, till the war ended.

When the war ended the Govern removed the restrictions imposed on Madame Cama went back to the house Pads.

Once the restrictions placed on her were removed Madame Cama could breathe freely again. She jumped into political activities as freely as before.

Madame Cama's fame had spread to many countries and 'Madame Cama' had come to be regarded as another name for daring. Eveywhere lovers of freedom and
revolutionaries held her in great respect. She was the brave lady who was praised by eastern countries like China, by Egyptians, Turks and Persians. The revolutionaries of those countries used to approach her for help and guidance.

Madame Cama's health began to break down now and then. She never gave any
attention to her health, as she was always busy nursing revolution. Even after the First World War came to an end many years were spent in the fight for indepen- dence. Her body grew weaker. She was past 70 years by then.
Back To Her Beloved Homeland

She fervently wished to return to India and spend the last few days of her life in the land of her birth. The permission of the British Government was needed to enter India. Sir Cowasji Jahangir made inquiries about it in the Home Department. There was a good deal of discussion. Finally the British Government agreed.

But the Government imposed one condition: She was to state in writing that she would not participate in the struggle for freedom. She should have nothing to do with revolutionaries.

At first Madame Cama did not agree. But friends and relatives pressed her and she had to agree. By nature she opposed any restrictions and conditions imposed on her.

About thirty-four years before, young Madame Cama had left India. Youth and middle age had been dedicated to the service of the motherland and the coura- geous fight for freedom. The body was now seventy years old but the mind was still throbbing with the desire freedom and the zeal to fight. In this stage, she traveled towards the motherland. Even as she was nearing India she became ill. She was even unable to get up from the bed.

Her Breath One with the Winds of the Land

As soon as Madame Cama came to Bombay, the place of her birth, she was supremely satisfied and happy.

She was taken directly from the Bombay port to the Petit Hospital. For eight months she lay between life and death.

Madame Cama passed away on 13th August 1936. She had fought for India's freedom. That freedom dawned eleven years after her death.

'Loss of Freedom Means Loss of Virtue'

In a sense Madame Cama's life abroad where she fought for India's freedom was like living in obscurity. She sacrificed her life for the motherland. Even during the last
moments of her life she urged repeatedly: "To gain freedom from subjection stand up against all difficulties." "He who loses freedom will lose virtue. Opposition of tyranny is obedience to God's command" said Madame Cama; she practiced what she preached.

Her Breath One With The Winds Of The Land

As soon as Madame Cama came to Bombay, the place of her birth, she was supremely satisfied and happy.

She was taken directly from the Bombay port to the Petit Hospital. For eight months she lay between life and death.

Madame Cama passed away on 13th August 1936. She had fought for India's freedom. That freedom dawned eleven years after her death.

'Loss Of Freedom Means Loss Of Virtue'

In a sense Madame Cama's life abroad where she fought for India's freedom was like living in obscurity. She sacrificed her life for the motherland. Even during the last
moments of her life she urged repeatedly: "To gain freedom from subjection stand up against all difficulties." "He who loses freedom will lose virtue. Opposition of tyranny is obedience to God's command" said Madame Cama; she practiced what she preached.