Lakshmi Sahgal: Life, Contributions & More

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Lakshmi Sahgal

Lakshmi Sahgal was an Indian revolutionary of the Independence Movement and an officer of the Indian National Army, she was also the Minister Of Women’s Affairs in the Azad Hind Government. In India, she is referred to as Captain Lakshmi. Read this blog to learn more about Lakshmi Sahgal and her contribution to the independence movement.

Overview of the life of Lakshmi Sahgal

Aspect Description
Life 1914-2012
OccupationINA officer, Doctor
Known ForLeading role in the Indian independence movement, Captain in the Azad Hind Fauj (INA)
Early LifeBorn in Meerut, IndiaStudied Medicine at the King Edward Medical College
Revolutionary ActivitiesJoined the Indian National Congress Worked with leftist groups Became a close associate of Subhash Chandra Bose
AwardsPadma Bhushan 

Also read: Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar: Life, Contributions, Impact

Lakshmi Sahgal: Early Life and Political Journey

Lakshmi Sahgal was born on October 24, 1914.

  • She was born to S. Swaminathan, a lawyer who used to practice criminal law at Madras High Court, and A.V. Ammukutty, a social worker and an independent activist.
  • Later, Lakshmi decided to pursue a career in medicine and graduated with an MBBS from Madras Medical College in 1938 after attending Queen Mary’s College.
  • After her marriage to pilot P.K.N. Rao failed, she went to Singapore in 1940.  She had the opportunity to meet a few Indian National Army soldiers under Subhas Chandra Bose while she was in Singapore. 
  • The Provisional Government of Free India, headed by Subash Chandra Bose in Singapore, had Captain Lakshmi as its Minister in Charge of Women’s Organizations.
  • Lakshmi joined the Communist Party of India and represented the party in the Rajya Sabha in 1971.
  • She started many organization’s initiatives and campaigns as one of the original members of the All India Democratic Women’s Association in 1981.

Lakshmi Sahgal’s Role In the Indian Army

When Lakshmi Sahgal was living in Singapore, she came in contact with the members of the Azad Hind Fauj, and several things were carried out by Lakshmi Sahgal in the Indian Army, some of which are as follows:

OfficerHeld the rank of Captain and later Colonel in the INA.
Rani of Jhansi Regiment       Played a pivotal role in establishing and leading the first all-women infantry regiment in Asia as part of the INA.
RecruiterActively recruited women into the INA starting in 1943. 
Minister of Women’s AffairsServed in the Azad Hind government formed by Subhas Chandra Bose.

Also Read – Sarojini Naidu: Biography, Education, Quotes, Poems 

Later Years Of Lakshmi Sahgal

1947Marriage & Personal LifeShe married Prem Kumar Sahgal and settled in Kanpur. She had two daughters, Subhashini Ali and Anisa Puri.
1947 (post-partition)Humanitarian WorkShe used her medical expertise to help refugees arriving due to the Partition of India.
1971Political ActivismJoined the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
1971 (Bangladesh Crisis)Relief EffortsOrganized relief camps and medical aid for refugees from Bangladesh in Calcutta.
1981Women’s Rights ActivismShe became the founding member of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA).
1984 (Bhopal Gas Tragedy)Medical SupportLed a medical team to provide aid in Bhopal after the gas tragedy.
1984 (Anti-Sikh Riots)Peace EffortsWorked towards restoring peace and harmony in Kanpur following the anti-Sikh riots.
1996Activism & ArrestShe participated in a protest against the Miss World competition in Bangalore and was arrested.
Up to 2006Continued Medical PracticeShe continued to see patients at her clinic in Kanpur well into her 90s.
1998RecognitionAwarded the Padma Vibhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honors.
2002PoliticsRan for President of India as the sole challenger to A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
2012DeathPassed away in Kanpur at the age of 97.


When was Lakshmi Sahgal born?

Lakshmi Sahgal was born on October 24, 1914.

What was Lakshmi Sahgal’s occupation?

She was an officer in the Indian National Army (INA) and a doctor.

What is Lakshmi Sahgal known for?  

She is known for her leadership in the Indian independence movement and as a Captain in the Azad Hind Fauj (INA).

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