Today, Google celebrates the 117th birthday of Indian activist and author Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, whose work rose to national prominence during a male-dominated era of literature. She was also a freedom fighter.
Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s nationalistic poem ‘Jhansi ki Rani’ is widely regarded as one of the most recited poems in Hindi literature. Subhadra Kumari Chauhan was born on August 16, 1904 in Rajput family of Nihalpur village in Prayagraj District, Uttar Pradesh.
Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s first poem was published at just nine years old. She used to write constantly, even in the horse cart on the way to school. She initially studied in the Crosthwaite Girls’ School in Prayagraj and passed the middle-school examination in 1919.
While Subhadra Kumari Chauhan reached her adulthood, the call for independence gained good height under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi. She and her husband Thakur Lakshman Singh Chauhan joined Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement. She was the first woman Satyagrahi to court arrest in Nagpur and was jailed twice for her involvement in protests against the British rule in 1923 and 1942.
Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s poetry and prose primarily centered around the hardships that Indian women overcame, such as gender and caste discrimination. Her poetry remained uniquely underscored by her resolute nationalism. In 1923, her unyielding activism led her to become the first woman satyagrahi, a member of the Indian collective of nonviolent anti-colonialists to be arrested in the struggle for national liberation. She continued to make revolutionary statements in the fight for freedom both on and off the page into the 1940s, publishing a total of 88 poems and 46 short stories.
She authored a number of popular works in Hindi poetry. Her famous poem Jhansi Ki Rani is one of the most recited and sung poems in Hindi literature. Her other poems are Jallianwala Bagh mein Vasant, Veeron Ka Kaisa Ho Basant, Rakhi Ki Chunauti, and Vida, which also talk about the freedom movement. Her poems inspired great numbers of Indian youth to participate in the Indian Freedom Movement.
Subhadra Kumari Chauhan died in a car accident on February 15, 1948 at the age of 43. The accident took place near Seoni in Madhya Pradesh on her way back to Jabalpur from Nagpur. The government of Madhya Pradesh placed a statue of Subhadra Kumari Chauhan before the Municipal Corporation office of Jabalpur.
On August 6, 1976, India Posts released a postage stamp to commemorate her. Today Google dedicates a beautiful doodle on her 117th birthday.