In the past few years, Bollywood has doused itself to produce more and more biopics and films that depict true stories. An element that relates with the audience, however, it has not explored this genre to its fullest potential. Since most of these films revolve around a popular personality, it is high time filmmakers take into account the heroes who bring glory to India.
This Independence Day we take a look at these unsung heroes who give new India a hope to cling on even today. From lesser known brave hearts to freedom fighters, here are ten personalities who deserve to be in the spotlight.
A lesser known name is of this freedom fighter, an 18th century queen from Sivagangai district of Tamil Nadu, who created the first human bomb. Velu found the place where the British stored their ammunition and had Kuyili, her loyal follower to walk into the store after dousing herself in oil and lighting up in self destruction along with the arms.
Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi was one of the earliest Indian female physicians. Married off at the tender age of 9, she overcame repression and stigma at a time when woman’s education was deemed irrelevant and completed her study in medicine. With the help of a liberal husband, Anandibai opened the gates for Indian women who wanted to be more independent.
Usha met Mahatma Gandhi as a child and grew up idolising the leader. At a time when British had succeeded in silencing the Quit India movement, with more than 100,000 protestors being arrested with the prominent leaders jailed or in hiding, Usha took charge of the situation. Amidst this gloom, the words “This is the Congress radio calling on (a wavelength of) 42.34 meters from somewhere in India,” uttered by Usha Mehta echoed throughout the country. She had resurfaced with a secret underground radio station with her associates which gave a new hope to freedom fighters.
“If we go to war right now, I can guarantee you 100% defeat. Shall I send in my resignation?” An unbeatable man of courage, Sam Manekshaw is a name that stood against former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s on her decision to go to war when the army wasn’t ready. But following protocol, Sam led the attack a few months later, to capture ports in Karachi and Lahore, which came to be known as the Indo-Pak war of 1971.
A retired IPS, Ajit Doval is a former Indian intelligence and law enforcement officer is the 5th and current National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India. He served as an undercover spy in Lahore for 7 years, and was India’s main negotiator with the hijackers of the Indian Airlines flight that was taken to Kandahar in 1999. It doesn’t stop there, the man of steel was responsible for bringing back 45 Indian nurses from the ISIS captured regions of Iraq. It even served as an outline for the recent movie Tiger Zinda Hai starring Salman Khan.
This Pahari Gujjar woman is best-known for the 2009 shooting of a LeT militant at her home, in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir. The militants demanded Rukhsana to be handed over to them who had apparently escaped her abductors two months prior the invasion. Watching her family being attacked by the militants, Rukhsana emerged from the hiding place with an axe and hit the LeT commander on his head. She then grabbed the dead militant’s AK-47 and opened fire along with her brother at the militants, forcing them to flee the scene.
Irom Chanu Sharmila
Also known as the “Iron Lady” or “Mengoubi” (“the fair one”), Irom Sharmila is a civil rights activist, political activist, and poet from the Indian state of Manipur. On 5 November 2000, she began a hunger strike to fight for the removal of Arms Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Having refused food and water for more than 500 weeks, she has been called “the world’s longest hunger striker”. She ended her fast on 9 August 2016, after 16 years of fasting in order to contest state elections in Manipur.
The 2013 Uttarakhand floods wiped off many livelihoods within seconds. Mamta Rawat saw her house being turned into debris but it did not stop her from climbing extremely dangerous terrains to save thousands of stranded pilgrims and locals. Rawat is a trained mountaineer who led many to safety single handed.
Arunima Sinha, a national level volleyball player was traveling by the Padmavat Express when a party of thieves attacked her. As she resisted, the goons threw her off the moving train where 49 carriages ran over her legs. As a result, one of her legs had to be amputated below the knee. Two years later, Arunima climbed the tallest peak in the world: Mount Everest, making her the first woman amputee to scale the peak.
Born to a farmer in Karnataka, Shekar Naik suffered from blindness since birth, but was subsequently operated upon in Bangalore and was able to get 60% of his vision in his right eye. He is currently the captain of Indian Blind Cricket Team who has led to victories at the T20 Blind Cricket World Cup in 2012 and Blind Cricket World Cup in 2014.