Know about the freedom-fighters of India: Daughter of the Hills Rani Gaidinliu

We know very little about the freedom movement in the north-eastern part of India. In this article, we are going to learn about a courageous freedom-fighter of north-east, Rani Gaidinliu. Read on to know more about the great soul.

During one hundred and ninety years of freedom struggle of India, many great men and women fought for our independence. Some of them are well-known, but most of them are little-known and unknown. As citizens of independent India, it is our duty to know about the sacrifice of the freedom-fighters. In this article, we will learn about Rani Gaidinliu, a great freedom-fighter from Manipur and Nagaland. The great freedom-fighter earned the title of "Daughter of the Hills" from Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the country.

Early life

Gaidinliu was born on 26th January 1915 is a small village named Longkao in present Tamenglong district of Manipur state. She belonged to the Rongmei tribe of the Nagas. She did not receive a formal education due to lack of facilities at that time.

Heraka movement

At an age of 13, Gaidinliu joined the Heraka movement initiated by her cousin Haipou Jadonang. This movement was initiated to revive the traditional religion of the Nagas, but with the passage of time, it became an armed rebellion against the British ruling class.Within three years, she became a guerilla leader of the Haraka forces. The founding father of the movement, Haipou Jadonang was arrested by the British force and he was hanged to death. Gaidinliu assumed the leadership of the movement and gave a clarion call to her followers: "We are free people. The white men should not rule over us". Influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, she asked people not to pay taxes and not to work for the British rulers. She had to go underground and she personally led many attacks on British administration.

Struggle against the British

British rulers put a monetary award on this teen-aged girl of 16. They also declared 10 years of tax-break to any person who would provide information about her. Ultimately In October 1932, Gaidinliu was captured from Pulomi village, where she was monitoring the progress of the building of a wooden fortress. A contingent of Assam Rifles launched a surprise attack and captured her along with many of her followers.

In December 1932 some of her followers killed a Kuki watchman working in the Naga Hills, who was suspected to be an informer of British. Although Gaidinliu was in a British jail at that time, she was also charged in this particular case. She was convicted after a trial of ten months. Many of her followers were executed or jailed.

She remained in various Brith jails from 1933 to 1947 and was ultimately freed on the eve of independence of India. Immediately after independence, she resumed working for upliftment for her people. In 1953, she met Jawaharlal Nehru in New Delhi to discuss the welfare of her people. Nehru addressed her as the "Queen of the Hills."

Fight against Naga secessionists

However, even after independence, her life was not smooth. The Naga secessionists under A.Z. Phizo started harassing Gaidinliu and her followers. Haraka movement was considered anti-Christian by Phizo and his followers. While Phizo wanted separation from India, Rani wanted a separate administrative unit within the country. Rani Gaidinliu again had to go underground in 1960 due to threats from Naga secessionists. She finally entered into an understanding with the Government of India in September 1966. Some of her followers were recruited by Nagaland Armed Police.

Last stage: Awards and recognitions

She started staying at Kohima. She was conferred with Freedom Fighters' Award in 1972, Padma Bhushan in 1982, Vivekananda Seva Award in 1983. She returned to her birthplace at Longkao in 1991 and breathed her last on 17th February 1993. All the top dignitaries of Manipur and Nagaland attended her funeral.

After her death, she was awarded Birsa-Munda award. The Government of India issued a postal stamp in her honour in 1996 and commemorative coin in 2015. Stree Shakti Purashkar was instituted in the name of this great lady.

Let us pay our homage

However, till now, very few people of the country know about this great freedom-fighter from the north-eastern part of India, who fought courageously against the British before independence and against the secessionists after independence. Let us pay our respectful homage to Rani Gaidinliu, the Queen of the Hills.

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