IAS Preparation: 10 Women leaders of Indian National Struggle and their contribution

Indian National Movement is the topic with highest priority in Modern History for UPSC Prelims 2018. Lately UPSC has been asking questions from the Women Freedom Fighters and one cannot afford to miss this topic during their IAS preparation. This topic can’t be studied from a single source as the information on this has been discrete and incomplete.

So, Oliveboard has compiled the information present across the resources and made into a blog for the aspirant’s convenience. The following personalities list is not comprehensive, but these are the most important ones that you cannot ignore from your IAS preparation.

Take a note of the information in bolded words. Don’t study in insolation as these could lead to information overload. See the sample questions on how to study comparing one personality to the other.


1. Aruna Asaf Ali

  • She was born into a Bengali family in 1909.
  • Her First step in Freedom Struggle was participation in Salt Satyagraha in 1930.Some Months after Gandhi Irwin Pact she was arrested by the Chief Commissioner 1941 she was again arrested for Individual Satyagraha.
  • In 1942, she was the first to hoist tricolor at Gowalia Tank Maidan on 9th August after all the major leaders were arrested the previous day.
  • In 1942, all her properties were confiscated and was asked to surrender to get them back. When she refused to surrender they were sold off.
  • Along with Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya brought out Inqilab Patra where they created awareness about freedom struggle and many students quit colleges to join the movement.
  • She was called Rani Jhansi of 1942.
  • She became First lady mayor of Delhi Municipal Corporation.
  • Her journals include LINK and PATRIOT.

2. Sucheta Kriplani

  • She was born in 1908 in
  • She did primary education in Lahore and M.A from Delhi University
  • With a dream of living in Independent India she entered public service in 1932 and after joined politics in 1939.
  • In 1940 she was elected by Gandhiji for Individual Satyagraha and got arrested for that.
  • She founded All India Mahila Congress after she went underground and used it as a platform to inspire women to fight for the country.
  • She founded underground Volunteer force in 1942 that trained women in drills, operating arms, first aid and self-defense techniques.
  • She was arrested in 1944 and after she came out in 1945 she was into social service.
  • She was the first lady chief minister of Independent India for U.P from 1963-1967.


3. Kalpana Dutta

  • She was born in 1913 in Sripur in Bengal Province.
  • She was a student of Higher education and hated English rule and their language and even wanted to change the pledge from ‘to be loyal to God and King ‘ to ‘to be loyal to God and Country’.
  • She took admission in Calcutta University and there she learnt use of different weapons.
  • Although she came into touch with revolutionaries in 1929 she became active only after 1932.
  • She usually dressed herself in Man’s clothes.
  • She was innovated in secretly conducting raids on Government buildings.
  • Later She was caught and booked under Chittagong Armory Raid case and was sentenced to life imprisonment. When she was freed in 1942 she was joined Communist party and married Communist leader P.C. Joshi in 1943.

4. Rani Gaidinliu

  • She was known as Lakshmi Bai of Nagaland. At a tender age of 13 she had decided to fight against the British rule.
  • She decided to join the struggle after her was hanged when she was 16 years. She fought with the help of 4 Naga Soldiers.
  • She was well versed in tactics of Guerilla War and Arm Operations.
  • She was caught for being very aggressive and sentenced to Life Imprisonment.
  • She was 30 years old when she was out of jail and been called as RANI for her bravery by Pandit Nehru.
  • She was also awarded Padma Bhushan for her role in freedom struggle.

5. Pritlatha Waddenar

  • She was born in 1911 in Chittagong.
  • She did her B.A with distinction in Calcutta University.
  • She joined Surya Sen’s Revolutionary Party. She was a member of the group that raided Chittagong Armory.
  • In 1931 she and other members attacked European Club in Chittagong. She and other members attacked indiscriminately British counter attacked and she was hit with a bullet. Knowing that she would die she consumed Potassium Cyanide and died before succumbing to the injury.

6.Sarojini Naidu

  • Sarojini Naidu Joined the National Movement around 1905 during partion of Bengal.
  • She was an important Nationalist around 1917and she became second woman president in 1925.
  • East African Indian Congress was presided by her in 1929.
  • British Government awarded her Kaisar-i-hind for her work during plague epidemic
  • She participated in salt satyagraha at Darshana Salt works.
  • In 1931 She along with Gandhi and Malviya participated in round table conference.
  • She played a leading role in Civil Disobedience Movement and Quit India movement and has been jailed for both.
  • She became the first governor of united province of Oudh and Agra.

7. Durgabai Deshmukh

  • Born in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh.
  • After she got married at 8 years old, Durgabai found herself attracted to the Indian Freedom Struggle. She later left her family to pursue her education.
  • She is the first female criminal lawyer of India.
  • She was also a great social activist who encouraged people to ignite the nationality in them.
  • She was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and thus; played an active role in Gandhi Satyagraha movement and played a role of Indian struggle.
  • She founded the Andhra Mahila Sabha (Andhra Women’s Conference) in 1937
  • She was a Lok Sabha member as well as a member of Planning Commission of India.
  • While being a member of Planning Commission she launched a Central Social Welfare Board through which she improved the condition of education, women, children, handicap and rehabilitation of needy persons.

8. Annie Besant

  • Though she was British socialist she was a supporter of Indian self-rule.
  • In 1890 she joined Theosophical society as a member and later became its president thus; she visited India where she helped in the establishment of Central Hindu College, and Sind National Collegiate Board in Mumbai in 1902.
  • She founded many education institutes and when the world was witnessing World War I in 1914, she began All India Home Rule League along with Lokmanya Tilak.
  • This compelled the Company to declare that they are working towards the Indian self-government.
  • She also joined Indian National Congress and once became president of the Congress for one year. Her active participation in politics gave way to Indians to gain independence.

9.Madam Bhikaji Cama

  • She belonged to Parsi community and was a philanthropist and an active social worker.
  • The founder of Indian home rule society, Madam Cama was one of the greatest women India ever witnessed.
  • She dreamed an Independent India, designed a flag and became the first woman to hoist Indian Freedom Struggle flag in Germany on 22nd August 1907 and raised her voice for the human rights and equality in India.
  • During the epidemic of bubonic plague that hit Mumbai in 1896, she herself got infected with the disease while providing aid to the others and she was sent to Britain for her treatment.
  • Throughout her life, she struggled for Indian Independence from abroad as she was told by her acquaintances not to take part in freedom struggle if she comes back to India.
  • While working as secretary to Dadabhai Naoroji she supported the founding of Shyamji Krishna Verma’s Indian Home Rule Society.
  • She was an active freedom fighter and was later sent to exile in Europe until 1935.

10. Kasturba Gandhi

  • Being the wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Kasturba Gandhi played a role as a political activist fighting for civil rights as well as Indian independence.
  • She accompanied her husband to all demonstrations and movements and even took his place in his absence.
  • She played the role of teaching Indians basic lesson of health, hygiene, discipline, reading, and writing due to lack of proper education to all.
  • She played an important role at the backstage of the freedom struggle.


IAS Preparation Sample Questions

Match the following

  1. Sarojini Naidu ————— a.Kaisar-I-hind
  2. Madam Cama ————— b.First lady Mayor of Delhi.
  3. Aruna Asaf Ali ————— c.Andhra Mahila Sabha
  4. Durgabai Deshmukh ————– d.Designed a flag for India






2.Which of the following are correctly paired.

  1. Rani Jhansi of 1942-Rani Gaidinliu
  2. Lakshmi bai of Nagaland-Aruna Asaf ali

A) 1 is true

B) 2 is true.

C) Both are true

D) Both are false.


Some of the above list were taken from Women Empowerment articles in Yojana and cannot be found anywhere in the traditional resources for the exam. Many times, were questions were lifted from Yojana boxed items and we listed some of them in anticipation.

Others like Kamala Nehru, Rani Lakshmi Bai can be found in other traditional sources like Bipan Chandra and NCERT’s. While reading Indian National Movement try to give emphasis on these women freedom Fighters who sacrificed many things for the independence of the nation.

Hope you liked our effort in easing and guiding your IAS preparation to Success.

All the Best!


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